Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"Wishing on Stars" by Carol Hamilton, Poet of the Week

Wishing on Stars
Carol Hamilton

We watched Orion
            or pretended 
    his brave glitter watched us  
When you were a child
I taught you 
how his dogs obeyed 
                  and disobeyed

He still cuts crystal
            above everything
makes light the darkest deeds
            his slaughters left behind
and I taught you we have nothing 
to do with such things

That his story leaves us 
     a glorious birthplace of stars 
all as diaphanous as rainbows 
            and of the many colors
     l stirred and stirred to come alive
        and look down on us 
            all full of our chosen
                          stories

Poet’s Notes:  I taught a course in astronomy and geology called "Look Up, Look Down" in a public school for gifted children for twelve years and I had a big 12" Dobsonian telescope during those years. The Orion nebula is spectacular, and Orion, Canis Major, and Canis Minor were and are my favorite constellations. During those years I ran five miles a day (or night.)  At night Orion seemed a lovely companion as I ran. One of my grandsons was about five-years-old at that time, so for him and my students, fanciful stories and facts about Orion and his companion big and little dogs were often told.

I had a short story about Brad, my grandson, and Orion in a children's science magazine at the time, titled "Bradie Meets a Hunter in the Sky". My grandson was delighted, as I had published another story about his first camp out in my backyard. I called it "Carey's Campout" (I have always been a lover of alliteration!), and he had been most disappointed that his name was not used. 

Editor’s Note:  It saddens me that these myths and legends are becoming lost.  I doubt many members of the millennial generation could point out Orion in the sky or know of Sirius (part of Canis major) anything beyond the reference to XM radio.  I love the way the speaker addresses his/her child, and how the reader becomes that child. 

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