Today's dual prompts from Poetic Asides and NaPoWriMo: (1) write a "secret" poem, and (2) write a poem about the stars, or more specifically, the constellations. The first prompt reminds me a little of Peter Murphy, the poet and retired teacher who founded the annual Winter Prose and Poetry Getaway held each January in southern NJ. Peter always offers challenging and often devilish prompts throughout the weekend, and one of his favorite addenda to those prompts is "Tell a secret, tell a lie, but don't tell which is which." You can find some of Peter's fiendishly entertaining prompts and some of the poems inspired by them in the book Challenges for the Delusional from Jane Street Press. This poem was inspired by a recent conversation with a favorite young lady, but most of it is fictionalized.
The Stars Obliterated
She looks up at the night sky, amazed
to see it so clearly. In my city, she says,
the sky is only gray –
all the city light washes out the stars.
She doesn't know the constellations,
so I point out Orion, sighting his belt,
the row of three bright stars, blue giants
from hundreds of light years away.
She doesn't know the mythology either,
so I describe his stature and heroism,
his hunting prowess, and how as Poseidon’s son
he could walk on the ocean floor
with his head above the waves.
But he was a pig to women, I tell her.
He assaulted Merope after too much wine
and he pursued the Pleiades so relentlessly
that Zeus scooped them up for protection
and deposited them in the sky.
That reminds me of something, she says,
but she will not share it,
and she is quiet for the rest of the night.