Astronomy for Big Tent 14

Big Tent wants us to turn our poetry on its head this week –
write something out of character, turn our ideas upside down and
inside out. We’re asked to look at our recent output to discover
common elements of style, layout, protagonist or content.
Hmmm! I thought. My poems take many forms, styles and themes.
But one thing is common: they tend to arrive in my head on their own,
according to what I am thinking about, reading or doing at the time.
A major stumbling block for me as a poet is the use of metaphor:
perhaps I should try harder to re-direct my thoughts, find a way of
becoming less direct.
A serendipity Skype call from my daughter as I was thinking about
this prompt, produced a glimmer of an idea. They are going to the
library this afternoon to meet an astronomer. As this is a subject of
which I am totally ignorant, and have never really thought about properly,
I decided it might form the basis of a poem outside my comfort zone.
I put a metaphorical pin into a random Google search.
An hour into the writing, and I realise that though the theme may be
something with which I am unfamiliar, my normal style seems to be creeping
in. Can I change something inherent in my personality? You will be
the judges of that. If the metaphor is indecipherable, you may find my
source material here:

If you click on the picture, the beauty of the scene becomes clearer.

    Streaking with Pandora

A while ago, a voyager
found a teardrop in a ring.
Faithfully it circled,
spread dark streamers
on the host silhouette.
Spiralling, swirling,
notched and kinked, the ring
marked by the passing
of its shepherd satellite:
a tiny Titan, texture and colour
of sorbet, frozen meringue.
In orbital dance, two teardrops
do-si-do and skip
around their gloomy parent,
trailing footprints.


All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
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27 Responses to Astronomy for Big Tent 14

  1. vivinfrance says:

    Thanks daughter. I downloaded the software last night, and will have a play with it now.


  2. Deb says:

    This is a gorgeous poem, Viv. I’m glad your voice is intact, but the poem is very special. Incredible images.


    • Sally Hutt says:

      Those that like astronomy and stargazing might like to check out this weblink to download some excellent free software:

      It was recommended by the amateur astronomer that my son and I went to see. My son has since had hours of fun watching the stars in the comfort of our study. We need to get a laptop so we can compare the views with the real thing.

      From the daughter who prompted this poem!


  3. pieceofpie says:

    hi viv, loved yr comments at the beginning… one of the best prompts… the image of a tiny titan is very strong in the big picture of a big bang…. i like the thought that everything has a footprint…


  4. wayne says:

    well done Viv…thanks for sharing your words


  5. You brought to mind the dreamlike, mesmerized feeling I get while watching the night sky…Lovely!


  6. Wow. Very beautiful… and I saw eyelashes. I looked and I thought, “This looks like a divine vision, this looks like an eye…” I suppose one of my usual “things” in poetry or in life is to see things other people don’t necessarily see or to see differently.

    Love the words, the image and your reflective thoughts prior to writing.

    (And thanks for your suggestion on my poem. I changed indulgent to indulgently because the SELF part was the main point of that particular stanza. That “sin” was over-the-top focus on self.)


  7. Paul Oakley says:

    Viv, thanks for sharing the photo to accompany the description of the dark streamers. Word and image work in perfect concert! The ancients looked to the heavens and saw their myths and legends in the constellations. It is wonderful that imagination still allows us to take hard images and data streams and reshape it into human meaning. Very nice!


  8. Ron. says:

    You don’t need me to tell you this is gooooood. But I’m tellin ya. Teardroppy frozen merigue. Yum image.


  9. Tumblewords says:

    Stellar! Visual and vivid. I love tiny Titans.


  10. 1sojournal says:

    Viv, all of us overtime develop a distinct voice, a signature stroke, distinctly our own, no matter the form, technique, or context we use. What I find here is that wonderful wink you own that is only glimpsed at in your more formal pieces. Here it is very apparent and absolutely delightful as I watch you do-si-do, skip and swirl, and arc your way through the entire piece. I agree with you that the response to this prompt has uncovered some very exceptional pieces, and lady, your’s is one of them. You may have had to work at this one, but it comes across as sheer unadulterated play. And I love it,



  11. This style change fits you quite well. Loved the images.



  12. brenda w says:

    Viv, This seems different to me than your usual work, and I like it just as much, or more. It’s clever what you present here. Rich with metaphor and imagery, I love it! Well done, indeed. ~Brenda


  13. Rallentanda says:

    I think this is one of your best poems to date.


  14. systematicweasel says:

    An excellent post filled with wonderful images!



  15. pamela says:

    Viv a stunning piece and so full of imagery!
    btw I love your new blog!


  16. vivinfrance says:

    Thank you everyone. The approval makes the effort worthwhile! And it was an effort. I am astonished by the quality of the poems which have appeared on BigTent today – I think this has been the best prompt of all, and brought out some marvellous ideas.


  17. I’ve seen artists (painters) who have changed their style. I guess we should try as poets to do the same. And, congratulations, Viv, YOU DID IT! Great piece!


  18. Damn I love astronomy. I believe my dogs and I saw that wayward child as we lay on our backs this past week in the backyard and gazed at the heavens (next door neighbor thought we were dead). The versatility of your talent and observation is evident in this piece. After reading the verse several times I am drawn back to it .


  19. EKSwitaj says:

    gorgeous images here


  20. eskenosen says:

    “skip/around their gloomy parent”–that carries a LOT of stuff. I like this a lot.


  21. Stan Ski says:

    It has a noticeably different tone to it, than what I’ve come to expect, but sticks to the economy of words you like to employ… old habits, especially good ones, die hard.


  22. derrick2 says:

    This puts an ethereal, magical, playful slant on the moons of Saturn, Viv! It seems different to me but at the same time I suppose it must have some echoes of our voice or character. I really like it!


  23. There are some marvelous visuals in this. And I like the playful description of “tiny Titan.” I think it’s a good thing to have a strong voice that comes through even when we try different forms.


  24. Mary says:

    Viv, I think, in answer to your question, it is VERY hard to change something inherent in one’s personality. I think if a person looks at many poets’ works (Dickinson, Frost, Merwin, most anyone) there will be recognizable components. I do think it is hard to go far outside one’s style….but it is fun to try to deviate just a bit. And in that, your attempt is exemplary!


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