Preconfigured deities

I arranged this poem as a series of linked morae of seventeen syllables of the haiku/senryu 5/7/5 pattern.

In a world of the brilliant spark of life, the desire to survive, rival species, judgment and chaos, I took inspiration from periodical cicadas.

They are quite an interesting bug of the order Hemiptera, genus Magicicada and comprise seven of the approx. 3,000 species of cicadas which only occur in the eastern United States. Unlike most cicadas, periodical cicadas lay eggs that hatch and then their nymphs burrow underground for either 13 or 17 years, depending on the species, while subsisting on xylem fluids of rootlets. Brood X of 2021 (roman numeral – ten) was one of the largest groups. Cicadas emerge when ground temperatures reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit. This year it was in May. Males of the periodical cicadas sing using special organs called tymbals which are membranes that vibrate very quickly when pulled by tiny muscles and this vibration creates the cicada’s song.

Cicadas protest
the harsh light.       A horary
ear splitting drumroll
            of sunday sermons -

simply pungent polemic
   crowding around in
a bowl of       sticky
      gruel      ad infinitum

   Stars made no promise
to enflame the sky,
poet! Yet,    how we believe ..
      unctuous metaphor,

sparking delusions,
   imagery       combust .. piss ..
on the bathroom floor.
The Stoic's ablaze. We 

rise to bright, indifferent
self immolation.
Stars fade, cool, splutter
supernovas. The light's not
         always about us.

We are,
             because of ...

For those interested, there is the cicadasafariapp available online, that maps annual cicada emergence and helps share and identify species.

Some references:
https://source.wustl.edu/2021/05/brood-x-cicadas-emerge-in-a-rapidly-changing-world/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/martinsvillebulletin.com/news/local/the-secret-underground-life-of-cicadas/article_1c6ac5a5-a40d-5c38-a5a9-622a9150dbce.amp.html

https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/cicadas-brood-x.htm

Wetland Haiku

Here are some Haiku I posted at my Instagram handle. I photographed the plants while on a walk in a marshland.

Dark, red rum cherries 
of summer, drip bittersweet.
The heart remembers.
Rose-mallow unfurls.
Lady leaves her parasol
in Eden's bower.
Thick rain lashed burdock.
The sun will hurl a rainbow
at senescent sky.
Long myths of pokeweed.
Healing colours of marshes,
are poison berries.

A Fable for Sirius

(I photographed Saturn last month, risen above the Thunder Moon of July, the month of thunderstorms. Jupiter was to the left but I could not get it into the picture, which is a bit grainy with the zoom)

The thunder moon of July was beautiful, from on top of Cadillac mountain. It lost its bloodied tint as it rose higher above the horizon while slowly shrinking. The temperature had dipped, even though the month had vacillated between the dog days of summer and the cooling dregs of starry respite. They say the heliacal rising of Sirius from late July to Mid August made the days hot in those long forgotten times [1]

July is also the month of dramatic thunderstorms [2] and we experienced some that were particularly frightful this year. Through the zip and crackle of lightening, the resounding heavens created this ominous atmosphere like from a Greek mythology, a genesis of dripping skies, for Ouranos himself wailed of his impotence, his inability to action except in the assemblage of his warring clouds and dire sounding racket. He dripped like foam on the seas. Kronos as Saturn, brightly risen with the moon, appears to contemplate over this ancient spectacle, so close to her luminous being as he slowly strips her of her ruby illusions. There was a bright Jupiter to the left (not in the picture) that shone this July and made for brilliant respite, from a restrictive Saturn near the moon.

Saturn was linked to agriculture by astrologers. In Greek mythology, Kronos or Saturn was the son of Uranus / Ouranos (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth) and the youngest of the twelve Titans. On the advice of his mother, he castrated his father and thus separated Heaven from Earth. He then became the king of the Titans, and took his sister Rhea as his consort. Kronos was in turn killed by his son Zeus, the Olympian, god of sky whose weapon was the thunderbolt. He changed the weather and manipulated the movement of the sun and the moon.

Mythologies create a fascinating connection between stars and planets with life on Earth. For a moment there, the weather seemed orchestrated by celestial machinations. It wasn’t simply staid, matter of fact meteorological observations but divine shenanigans or perhaps, this is how I wished to see it.

These would have been the months of deluge on the Nile in earlier times. The brightest star in Canis Major would have staved people off the flood plains to higher ground because of the predictable annual flooding of the river which in some places was known to rise up to 46 feet ! [3][4] Here, the dog days of summer and thunder moons are a mirage of divine charioteers that drive the weather. This poem is devoted to Sirius, which for personal reasons is one of my favourite stars. Canis Major spans over 20 degrees of the Zodiac in the Sign of Cancer. Cancer is a deeply emotional and intuitive sign while its opposite in the zodiac Capricorn, is cool, practical and logical. These polarities are ruled by different celestial bodies; in the case of Cancer, it is the Moon and Capricorn is ruled by Saturn.

The poem is more of a myth building exercise, loosely inspired by the Gods that control the weather and/or our fears. It is also a poem anchored contemplation of the cosmic forces behind the deluge of the Nile as it happened in ancient times and some facetious meteorology 😄

Bright dog days 
scorched summer hearts,
melting icy lemonades
beneath stars, hidden
in broad daylight.
And as Sirius dogged
the heels of night,
starry portent
warned of deluge
on ancient sounding
rivers. Hearts aquiver,
the eyes simply blinked
a thunder moon.

A mirage of the night
spawned a genesis
of dripping skies
as Ouranos contemplated
in airy impotence
the foaming mouth
of a raging Ocean,
and Kronos stripped
a red eye moon
of bloody illusions
even as she rose,
brilliantly luminous
to thunderclap
having shed
the betrayal
of a Saturnine deceit,
a frozen rigidity.

In these breathless
oppositions
those oft repeated tales
of cyclical depressions,
regaled mankind
with unstable weather.
Low pressures
stoked
compassionate release
of ancient burdens, on cue.
It was Sirius that simply
shone for millennia
in the arc
of the Sun's brow
and prod the moon
to flood a cove.

Notes:

The dog days refer to Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major, which means “big dog” in Latin and is said to represent one of Orion’s hunting dogs. To the Greeks and Romans, the “dog days” occurred around the time Sirius appears to rise alongside the sun, in late July in the Northern Hemisphere. They believed the heat from the two stars combined is what made these days the hottest of the year, a period that could bring fever or even catastrophe. In 2021, the dog days span from July 3 to August 11.” [1]

“The full moon in July also is called the Thunder Moon because of the frequency of thunderstorms during this hot, dry month.” [2]

According to historical evidence of Greek authors and later Egyptian texts, flooding of the Nile based on heliacal rising of Sirius could be predicted at the beginning of I millennium AD. This fact is confirmed by astronomical calculations” [3]

Sirius played a significant role in every aspect of Ancient Egypt culture, a role that carried on well into the 20th century, because its heliacal rising in mid-August each year was the signal from the natural world that the mighty river Nile was about to flood. At the heliacal rising of Sirius, people would move off the flood plain to make way for the river, which would rise up to 46 feet in some places!The ‘heliacal rising’ is the first appearance of a bright star in the morning sky, before sunrise.” [4]

References:

[1]~https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2012BlgAJ..18c..53N/abstract

[2]~https://www.interlochenpublicradio.org/news/2019-08-26/sirius-and-the-flooding-of-the-nile-this-week-on-the-storytellers-night-sky

[3]~https://blogs.nasa.gov/Watch_the_Skies/tag/thunder-moon/

[4]~https://www.google.com/amp/s/api.nationalgeographic.com/distribution/public/amp/animals/article/150710-dog-days-summer-sirius-star-astronomy-weather-language

Seize the day !

At breakfast one day ~ a friend taught me the art of poaching eggs the right way. It requires that you sieve off the very watery white before you poach the remainder of the yolk and  white in boiling water. She poached the perfect egg while I only made the crepe and assembled it. Team work !

Quick edit ~ had to format the poem 😬 posting again!

They heard the sun rise 
in the crack of a shell

as the day's aspirations
spilled onto a strict griddle

and sometimes the sun simply
cocoons itself in a fever,

poached in the liquor of dreams
of yesterday but not today,

for they scramble up the momentous
orbs, defining time in the ribboning

of yellows and whites until it congeals
into the brilliance of light on a plate.

They call it breakfast.
What injustice a word can do.

Zephyr on the Appalachian Trail

We were at the Perkins Memorial Tower yesterday, that can be accessed via the Appalachian Trail, located near Bear Mountain in New York and it was breathtakingly beautiful. There was a couple making music near the parking lot. A young wispy woman perched on a rock while her partner strummed away on a guitar as she sang Leonard Cohen’s “a thousand kisses deep”. Nymph like, she elevated the mountain many rhythmic stanzas and the drop in the heart felt that much  precipitous. The Universe conspires sometimes  to have a nightingale in places you truly desire to hear one and this world of puzzling disparate parts becomes all the more better for it.

This poem is for that beautiful girl with the heavenly voice.

Notice how her wispy voice floats 
like a dandelion seed in a breeze,

meant for a vestal Assumption. Our Lady
here was a Zephyr that swirled through

the senescent leaves of stately trees
and the trenchant needles of pine,

simply in song. This must be valour,
singing to a mountain side; amidst

the self same species that traipse around
in dissonant syllables stricken

by the contrivance of worldly commandments.
She isn't busking, nor basking in accolades

of the tone deaf rocky ledge. She is singing
to the wind because she can and she will

waste words into minutes past, in sounds
that challenge the awakening cicadas

while heartbeats mill around her tone,
rhythmically resonant in utter belief.

On a Leonine Occasion

I am surrounded by Leonine folk i.e. those with their sun in Leo. My mother is ruled by this sign. My husband and a very dear friend of ours, are too, and we celebrated a birthday for them both yesterday. Chocolate cupcakes marked the occasion. This poem is dedicated to my husband and also to my Mother; big cats both !

Sun signs are a bit cliche and all that, but they make for interesting assumptions, like in those MBTI personality inventories . I find it amusing that Fixed and Cardinal Suns (all elements) are the majority of my closest friends, at least those that I feel I can trust and depend on, must be the temperament 😂 Then again, one is more than simply a Sun sign or a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator . That said, this is for the two remarkable Leos in my life !

The leonine mane of the Sun sparkled gold
the day you were born to the rulership of light.

Swift as a ray, warm bright amber purpose
steadies your every step. Lion heart is as large

as a savanna, throbbing with the pulse of life
like in a wildebeest migration. Fiery charms

in the depths of your embrace move in fluidly molten
sentiment that solidify to an igneous character,

the rock you can depend on to steady the soul
in any fickle wind. Yours isn't the abrading

of airy tempests but the braid of brilliance
that tethers the sail to the mast,

steers the prow through the wasted breath
of gales, to defined shores,

harnessed to the purity of a rising sun
to emerald glades and shimmering turquoise realms.
One of many birthday cakes this August !