“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades…?” Job 38:31.
Hello dVersians! Sleepless the other night, I was struck, once again, by the clarity of our late Autumnal nocturnal sky here in the Northern Hemisphere, when the pressure is high and that familiar hunter Orion is back chasing the bull. And just out of reach of his lustful intentions, loom the seven sisters of the Pleiades.
November is the month of the Pleiades reaching its highest spot in the sky on or around the 21st of the month. As a frost patch of stars, it is perhaps indicative of the cold weather to come. In the Southern Hemisphere however, this star conglomerate is coincident with the Spring awakening and agriculture and hence they are ‘the hoeing stars’ in South Africa.
I visualize the Pleiades as a jewelled setting of marcasites and this stellar phenomenon turns up in many poems throughout time. (And isn’t the magic of stars that they connect us not only across continents but down the centuries too.) Evidently Sappho was sleepless and star-gazing like me, in her Midnight Poem
“Tonight I’ve watched
The moon and then
The night is now
goes; I am
in bed alone”
“Watching the east, the autumn sky.
Up through the darkness,
While ravening clouds, the burial clouds, in black masses spreading,
Lower sullen and fast athwart and down the sky,
Amid a transparent clear belt of ether yet left in the east,
Ascends large and calm the lord-star Jupiter,
And nigh at hand, only a very little above,
Swim the delicate sisters the Pleiades…”
And I particularly like Marjorie Pickthall’s “Stars”
“Now in the West the slender moon lies low,
And now Orion glimmers through the trees,
Clearing the earth with even pace and slow,
And now the stately-moving Pleiades,
In that soft infinite darkness overhead
Hang jewel-wise upon a silver thread…”
For some like Anne Spencer (The Wife Woman ), the Pleiades is not so much a star assembly as just another example of the ‘seven’ phenomenon, evident in many earthly things:
“Maker-of-sevens in the scheme of things
From earth to star;
Thy cycle holds whatever is fate, and
Over the border the bar.
Though rank and fierce the mariner
Sailing the seven seas,
He prays, as he holds his glass to his eyes,
Coaxing the Pleiades…“
And so, for this month’s Poetics challenge:-
1A. Write a poem using the PLEIADES FORM (click HERE for MTB 16/10/14 post on this). Pick a ONE-WORD TITLE then write a SEVEN-LINE poem of SEVEN SYLLABLES whereby each line begins with the FIRST LETTER of your title.
1B. Since only 6 of the Pleiades are now visible to the naked eye, some Greek legends explore what might have happened to the missing sister, Merope, sometimes called the Lost Pleiad. So you may prefer to write the Pleiades form with just SIX LINES of SIX SYLLABLES instead. For example ‘Perpetual’
“Plain-song echoes in old
porous stone. Wilting weeds
plead. Thistles fly where once
prayers flew. Roof gone, sky stark,
peel back centuries: the
Passion, or passions, all
places die, immortal.”
2. Write an ACROSTIC poem of PLEIADES or its derivative PLEIADIAN with each letter starting the first word of subsequent lines
Note: Your poem(s) should be pertinent to the subject here – within a cosmic, mythic, or numeric theme pertinent to ‘seven’.
[If you want to have a go at both – write them under the same ONE WORD TITLE]
Once you have published your poem, add it to the Linky widget and leave a comment (see below). Then go visiting, reading and sharing your thoughts with other contributors which is half the fun of our dVerse gatherings.