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Tami is one of two first-place finalists in IPS Pages of Stars Contest. Read the winning entry here!

“World Beneath Worlds” is an original poem, appearing in my 2021 self-published chapbook, Unraveling, under the pen name Anjelika Keisuke. It is about dreams and how we project ourselves out into the universe as well as the universe projected within us. I was influenced by Joseph Campbell’s “Inner Reaches of Outer Space” and wrote this piece while reflecting upon its themes of myth and space exploration. The poem is partly inspired by Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic, Dune, which follows the Hero’s Journey of Campbell’s studies. The references to water represent the fluid nature of circumstance and how ideas take on a life of their own. Much like the chaos of the universe, the results are dependent upon the context or container of circumstance into which the ideas, or “unspoken dances”, are thrown. The “City” whose “connections entwine at nightfall” is the Milky Way, and the ‘severed streams’ are Eridanus. There are many reasons why Eridanus, “The River”, is an allegory for the human story. The constellation itself is located at the foot of Orion, who just as well may be a representation of the ill-fated Phaeton. The myth of Phaeton refers to Eridanus. Phaeton’s opportunity to run his father Helios’ chariot turns tragic when he loses control of the reigns and is struck down by Zeus’ thunderbolt. Phaeton fell into the river Eridanus and perished, which causes his father to cease riding his solar chariot and plunges the world into darkness for days. The name Eridanus may be based on the Babylonian for the Star of Eridu. Eridu was a city held sacred to their god Enki-Ea, ruler of the cosmic Abyss. Here, Eridanus is both as a mythical river and as the sixth largest constellation. Notable stars in Eridanus include Achernar, from the Arabic for ‘end of the river’, one of the brightest stars in the night sky; Cursa, a white giant that marks the footrest of Orion; Acamar, a binary star that marked the end of Eridanus during the time of Ptolemy; and Epsilon Eridani, one of the nearest stars visible to the naked eye that also hosts a confirmed exoplanet. Eridanus is the home of the CMB Cold Spot, also known as the Eridanus Supervoid or the “Endless land” in the poem, and is the largest void ever discovered; the Eridanus Group of galaxies; and the Witch Head Nebula, a reflection nebula lit up by the lucent glow of Rigel in the adjacent constellation of Orion.

Here is my poem, “World Beneath Worlds”.

Meet me in the world beneath worlds

Where the unspoken dances

Of the living and unliving

Mingle into the place of dreams

And write verses of their own.

Into the Endless land of wind and fury,

Where connections entwine at nightfall

as the City grows and stretches,

And yet, the twines cannot ever be broken.

Let us meet there,

Between the severed streams,

The unsunned beams of delight,

An allegory, yet powerful,

Ever inscribed within each Being.

And when we do meet,

Hand in hand,

Desert skin cracked and thirsting;

May our waters join together

And finally release, each form upon form,

To grow this garden

With eyes closed to the world.

NGC 1487. NASA, ESA

REFERENCES:

Eridanus

https://www.constellation-guide.com/constellation-list/eridanus-constellation/

IPS Pages of Stars

https://www.ips-planetarium.org/page/pagesofstars

NGC 1487

https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2016/hubble-views-merging-galaxies-in-eridanus

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