Marc Latham’s latest Folding Mirror poem has space constellations as its subject. Some constellations can only be seen in either the northern or southern hemisphere sky on Earth. Others can be seen from all over the planet, but in the opposite seasons of the two hemispheres (e.g. summer in the north and winter in the south).
As winter becomes spring in the north, and summer becomes autumn in the south, constellations such as Orion, Taurus and Gemini will be leaving the night sky, and constellations such as Cancer, Leo and Lynx will become visible again.
The poem was recently inspired by the BBC’s Orbit documentary, and was mainly researched on the Dome of the Sky website. Here’s it is:
Constellations of the North and South
North Pole darkest skies
have exclusive views for eyes
Camelopardus, Cepheus, Cassiopeia,
only seen from Earth’s northern hemisphere
Triangulum, Ursa-Major, Draco
are another trio
Anquila, Antlia, Auriga,
northern spring, summer, autumn, winter
straddle the equator, visible to all, signifying seasons
southern autumn, winter, spring, summer
Vela, Virgo, Vulpecula
travel way below
Triangulum-Australe, Norma, Dorado
visible solely in planet’s southern section
Circinus, Crux, Chamaeleon,
tell astronomers they observe space
South Pole night-time face
Marc Latham’s central site is the Greenygrey (http://www.greenygrey.co.uk)
Marc Latham’s new Folding Mirror poem celebrates the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere. And here it is:
Ring a Ding Ding, it’s Spring
green is the trampoline
bounce on sunshine
cross the finishing line
long evenings of light
bing bang dynamite
vernal equinox unlocks equator
ending cold explosives
short dark days unfolded
started early last year
increased risk hypothermia
white slippery ice fear
After the serious topic of the first folding mirror the next few mixed nature, football and comedy as their subjects, and the one featured below managed to combine two of the three.
The poem uses the equator as the folding middle line, and mirrors the north (top half) and south (bottom half) poles.
Structurally, the poem succeeds in mirroring the word count and metre of the lines in each half, but the punctuation doesn’t mirror.
With the words, watch how gloom and room switch between the outer and next to outer lines in the two halves of the poem.
Both halves contain references to the cold and solitude in the poles, but the life form chosen for the top half is more humouros and the bottom half more tragic.
Long way from the Equator
Mountains of ice, winter gloom.
Not many people, plenty of room.
get plenty of stares
Long way from the Equator
Scott and Oates lost
Humans are rare, plenty of gloom,
Icebergs of doom, winter room.