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David W. Parsley

Clips of the Horizon

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David W. Parsley

Clips of the Horizon

On January 1, 2019 the New Horizons spacecraft executed a flyby of Kuiper Belt object (KBO), 2014 MU69 (Ultima Thule).



Ultima Thule: it’s a rock.

No good for skipping.

Not a Sagan cross


placed to get us supposing

perhaps Divinity

willed the blink of arriving.


No, just an oblong ruddy

guitar case with swells

wobbling its uneventful way


down the Kuiper Belt.

It’s hidden strings had no

chance to strum or melt


out notes resonant to

the music of those spheres

formed in Sol’s accreted halo.


It’s only a spectator,

contact-binary Eremite

too cold to change one crater


or pebble of its 20-mile

extent since early exile

from Let’s Make the Worlds.

Just what the scientists ordered.



Thule: long held

the place most remote

as antiquities tell


it.  Further, even those

adrenaline junkies

could not think to go.


Geographers now believe

they didn't all

manage to achieve


a common shore or people

describing blue skinned Picts

then wolf or seal


hooded Inuits

dwelling half submerged

in ice smoothed meter-thick


over whale bone.  Urged

there by who knows what

well-intentioned splurge


of zeal or eye for profit,

those first ones from Pytheas

to Saint Brendan brought


back tales of perpetual ice,

diminished sun spans, and

a certainty that there is


more beyond those lands,

a Georgic Ultima north

of any Thule then extant.


The name became a by-word

meaning “unattainable,”

till recently conferred


upon an improbable

KBO a billion

miles beyond the pole


of Pluto, New Horizons’

last place visited.

Attainment was harder than


even Virgil could

imagine: bridging distance,

cold, and airless void


like an archangel errant

of any motive other than

a glimpse of Sol’s defunct


planet-making brick-kiln.

The accretion models seem pleased

with the binary body found


glued together like my first grade

papier machete sculpture.

With just more questions raised,

it’s good for now to have made it here.


© 2019 David W. Parsley

Parsley Poetry Collection

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Dave, as your other works have masterfully done, "Clips of the Horizon" presents as an amalgamation. The mysteries of mankind's place in this universe, his notion that "we're all in this together," as the level of collaboration the space missions so often the subject for your works implies is offset by his extreme and ultimate loneness, as inferred from Frost's "Desert Places" and now here from your very own portrayal of New Horizon's (mankind's, to wit) encounter with 2014 MU69 -- this nothing "oblong ruddy guitar case" that is "too cold to change one crater / or pebble of its 20-mile / extent."

Somehow, vast distance has great personal meaning to me. It serves as my muse. Sometimes when my poems take me to the ends of the earth, to where today conventional travel is possible even routine, I console myself by telling myself that still there are places in my imagination that tourists can't ever reach. When I read "Clips of the Horizon" I am hopeful that there will always be another Ultima Thule. Thank you for this.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Hi David,  Totally unknown territory. I am embarssingly ignorant in the space continuum.  I don’t even know if I said that right.  And yet reading your poem hurled me where I never thought to go.  I loved the sounds of your words and the images you conjured and now I’m going to google Kulper Belt.and Thule.and a few other names you used.  


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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