Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Monday, July 15, 2013


It was Dad's doing. He's the one who put names and recognizable shapes to certain groups of stars. I learned to recognize the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) and Orion early on. Orion is such a show-off, so big and obvious while the Dipper's shape is familiar. Other constellations followed. Torus was a big V, Cassiopeia's Chair kind of like a big W and in between them was a cluster of stars called the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters. But Scorpio eluded me. I just couldn't see it.

One night when, I was maybe 10 or 11, Dad put large black dots on a piece of white paper. Then he took me outside and held up the paper next the constellation and WOW, there it was! 


In the late 1950's, up at Gifft Hill, the sky was filled with stars, no light pollution. Sometimes I'd lie outside and stare into the heavens trying to comprehend infinity. I understood, from Dad, that infinity meant it went on forever, that there was no end. My little girl brain couldn't comprehend the idea. I'd lie out there and stare at the sky studded with stars and I'd drift out and out and out trying to find the edge. There HAD to be one. I'd go so far out I'd become scared I'd get lost and never come back to earth. Somehow I'd pulled myself back, feel the safety of the ground under my back, and see warm friendly glow of yellow lantern light through the windows. Infinity would have to wait for another night when maybe I'd be braver.

It still eludes me. 

Though I've never thought of myself as a poet, two constellations inspired "poems." There is, in both of them, the common theme that nothing, not even the constellations, last forever. Everything is finite, ephemeral. Nothing stays the same, everything changes. The first one I wrote in high school, the second one about 10 years later. In a way, they are also poems to my father.


Sternbild orion

He is silent, strong,
and patient.
He hunts the bear.
And until Time herself
scatters his stars
he will continue to 
hunt the bear
unafraid, and,
without success.


And when I gaze 
into the south southwestern sky,
do you see Scorpio as I?
There lies the great sweep,
the curve of tail,
the grand array of stars eternal...
I am reminded of my finiteness,
of numbered days,
but know it is not too late
to relate
the thoughts and feelings 
locked deep within the heart.
And I know too
that Scorpio will have his day,
when all his stars will blow away.
Then he and I 
will understand infinity
and dance 
the cosmic dance
one hundred million million times
as molecules of space dust,
as atoms of ethereal air,
as star, as human,
as all things
both great and rare.
Have you ever contemplated infinity? Are you a star gazer?  How many constellations can you recognize? Has your writing ever been inspired by the heavens?


  1. Hi Bish!

    Hope you're doing well. :-)

    Just stopped by to let you know that you've won a prize for the Paying Forward Awards. Congrats! Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com to claim your prize.

  2. Those flowed really nice! I enjoy looking at the stars. Best to do it on a winter night though, when there's no humidity to haze over the view.

  3. Lovely poems and thoughts. I, too, would stare endlessly at the night sky when I was a child, trying to sort out my place in the universe. It made me realize how tiny I was but also that I was part of something immense. Thanks for this beautiful post.

  4. Your dad sounds super cool. I love that he taught you about the stars.

    I love your description of pondering infinity, looking for the edge, not finding it and getting scared. Beautiful.

  5. Enjoyed your poetry. You put together some nice thoughts. I used to be a star gazer but no more because of the lack of stars. Every little kid should be taught about the stars by their parents. You were lucky. One of my sons is deep into astronomy.

  6. Such beautiful words. I could stare at the stars all night.

  7. Oh yes I'm definitely a star-gazer. Unfortunately, there's too much light where I live at the moment.

  8. Hi Bish .. we had star nights too - my mother showed me Orion's belt - then I could recognise the rest ..

    We had the plough, the Great Bear as many do .. and we saw the others ..

    Since I've learnt about the Pleiades .. and wrote about varieties of Seven Sisters .. we have the chalk cliffs here in Sussex ..

    The infinity symbol on cameras always bemused me ... and I can see you easily being hooked on what is up there .. I think I was one of those people who decides at that point I don't need to linger and think!

    Cheers - and I love the poems for your father .. wonderful read .. Hilary

  9. I'm in awe of what you've written. It has to be because of those stars and those wonderful patterns your dad showed you in the sky.

  10. How wonderful that your dad shared his passion for astronomy!

  11. I always loved star-gazing. That's one thing I miss about living in the Philippines--I could always see the stars at night.

  12. I remember as a child growing up in St Thomas. I'd be in awe of seeing millions of stars. didn't know about Constellations then. Arrived in the States, over time found the Big/Little Dippers/North Star, Orion, Scorpio. However, the density of those childhood stars are seared in my brain. Is the night sky in the V.I. still like that?


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