Monday, April 14, 2008

the visual poetry of orion seen by an amateur astronomer...

1939 snapshot of orion

yesterday, i found this beautiful 8x10 inch photograph in a scrapbook at the flea market. dated 1939, it's a photo of 'the great nebulae of orion', as seen through a telescope. the exposure time was 2 hours and 5 minutes, and while i know it's not true, i like to imagine the photographer staring up at the stars for that exact amount of time, deciding to close the shutter at just the right moment, knowing internally that the image would be just right.

beneath the photo is a quote from something i know not what:
"a single misty star
which is the second in a row of stars
that seem a sword beneath a belt of thee".

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Blogger Dave Lovely said...

It's a quote from Tennyson's "Idylls of the King", the "Merlin and Vivien" section, see here, about halfway down:

"Sweet were the days when I was all unknown,
But when my name was lifted up, the storm
Brake on the mountain and I cared not for it.
Right well know I that Fame is half-disfame,
Yet needs must work my work. That other fame,
To one at least, who hath not children, vague,
The cackle of the unborn about the grave,
I cared not for it: a single misty star,
Which is the second in a line of stars
That seem a sword beneath a belt of three,
I never gazed upon it but I dreamt
Of some vast charm concluded in that star
To make fame nothing."

Pre-Raphaelite Arthurianism, surviving until 1939...

3:42 PM  

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