Sunday, January 24, 2016

Occultation and Conjunction

Occultation And Conjunction

Our dance was like the firefly's with night,
sowing the black fields of plush eclipse
with frail and sulfurous intermittent light;
or like the dotted waltz of Moon and Mars
spaced ringing in the void on the ellipse,
made to shudder close and rebound far
to the heavy metal strings of sun's guitar.
So close were we, so paired where gravity slips,
to earthbound eyes it seemed we sometimes touched.
Yet one of us was always unconjunct,
occluded and deluded in the rushed
ambition of a self-rule lost to us

for in that moonlit field of anthracite,
what struts like a planet is really a satellite.

~January 2016

posted for real toads

Photography  © Daryl Edelstein


  1. Your opening line is stunning.....beautiful writing, Joy.

  2. The stars have been powerful of late....

  3. Ohhhhhh, that last couplet! You set it up perfectly and then came across with what I'm told magicians used to call The Prestige. I'm laughing, because it delights me to see you do what you do. It's rare, and it's a gas. (I know the poem is somber in its content. Plz forgive me for being all about how you did it, this time.)

  4. Attraction, occlusion,'ve touched on the impediments to pairing that may not be apparent to the naked eye. The cosmic metaphors help to give me a sense of the large emptiness that often seems to surround we mere satellites. There is much here to make me pause and consider. Fine lines throughout, a good idea executed well.
    Steve K.

  5. Brilliant sonnet! I love your rhymes and the phrasing of lines which created a smooth flow. Also, this poem has a wealth of delicious words, and a superb final couplet. Just a most enjoyable read.

  6. I see a perfect sonnet.. the rhymes so subtle that they are not really there, and a perfect volta to conclude with the perfect conclusion. I feel that dance, the love, the night is afterwards peripheral to perfection... wonderful

  7. First, the pic is lovely and so apt for this time of month and year-- I love the play on the orbits and the human. Also, it is quite wonderful that this is a sonnet; the form is certainly there but not the least bit obtrusive--I actually went back and counted the lines, as sometimes the last couplet is particularly forced (not here)--I don't know what form of sonnet you have going on--something with that chained rhyme--but I don't know if that is Petrarchan or Spenserian--(ha) but it works very well here as it underlines the meaning; the interlocking that keeps slipping loose, because it is a sort of following and not a true coupling--or a kind of coupling--but not bonded, I guess. Anyway, the use of the space and physical (as in it comes from physics) imagery very effective, especially when couples with the plush and the guitars, which have such a kind 70's sort of rocker feel--so a very human constellation of forces here--and rock. k.

  8. Heavy metal strings of the sun's guitar. Wow! I may never view sunlight the same way again! Love this piece!

  9. Fantastic sonnet.
    OH! This line:
    "the heavy metal strings of sun's guitar"

    I can feel the squint as I hear this...

  10. I love the dance between and the similes and metaphors. The music you let us hear through light, the astronomy through dance... My favorite part is the end, but only because they make the first part of the poem so perfect. We are told so much about the grandiose speaker and her subject... just to be shown what is truly real, at least to the speaker. And although the speaker gives the impression of believer herself less than what she projects, i find myself thinking, feeling that the projection and what the speaker sees as reality are just as wonderful.

  11. Hey H, sorry it took so long to come round -- drowning in local politics -- : Something of the news of Planet Nine from Outer Space exerts a distant pull on this mediation on musical spheres occulted and conjunct (a marvelous way of calling something lost and bound). As with lovers, so in the heavenly dance: that's the old majestic formula, though something wizened sees the attempt a dance of fireflies under starry night, akin to how the Moon and Mars dance (up there but not the same). And the lover is "unconjunct" for looking for his own image in the beloved, and cannot appreciate the fullness of another (ripe with all qualities of a planet), and so confuses satellite (bound to one's own orbit) with heavenly body. So much fun in this to ponder and wonder at. Kudos.

    1. Thanks, B. Glad you enjoyed it. I am not much of a natural sonneteer, and this was a bitch to write. Sorry about the politics--a hazardous wasteland to wander in.

  12. Hey H, hoping to be around more. The three-month slog is concluded, all that remains is the paper mountain to climb and hew. (Ha. paper. digital, anyways.) We'll see how that translates to writing, but at least I'll be able to read more often.

    As to this sonnet - like Karin, I went back and counted lines. The form itself is planet and satellite, isn't it: the first 12 lines, and the final couplet (killer, killer, as previously observed) - there's a mutual definition, as it were, operating between the two.

    Now to dive further back - and btw, I always feel compelled to comment on your pens, not out of some misguided duty, but because invariably you push back the veil and let me see deeper into the dark. That's what needs illumination, anyways - the subtle shadows, the oblique angles - and you are master at peeling back the curtain. ~

    1. Good to see you around, and writing. You also are a peeler back, and you do it with such surgical skill that sometimes I can read your stuff two or three times, and each reading get something else, something more, from it. I wrote the notes for this one back when we were having that triple conjunction of Venus, Mars and the moon--it was very visible here where there are no city lights--they were like beads on a string and seemed definitely tied together as one unit--yet now, a few weeks later, they are separate and all over the sky each in its own spot as decreed by the sun--it seemed a great analogy to me, with my delightful history with relationships. ;_) Thanks for your always deeply appreciated comments, M. Good luck with the digital paper.


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats