Tag Archives: moon

To the moon

I have a poem going to the moon.

No, really: way back at the beginning of 2022, I sent a poem in response to a call from Brick Street Poetry for an international collection of original poetry to be included in the Lunar Codex, a library of contemporary creative works that will be housed in three operational sites on the moon. The Polaris Trilogy: Poems for the Moon is slated for launch with NASA’s VIPER mission to the lunar south pole in late 2024. To my immense surprise and delight, my poem was selected.

The Polaris Trilogy includes work from all seven continents (researchers stationed in Antarctica contributed several poems) and dozens of nations and languages, several of them Indigenous. Brick Street plans a series of podcasts featuring poets who wrote in a language other than English, reading their poems in the original and then in English translation. (I’m almost as excited about this as I am about the whole lunar thing – I can’t wait to hear those poets and their work!)

Lead editor Joyce Brinkman talks about the Codex and Lucy Park reads her poem from the anthology, first in Korean and then in English translation in this interview by Susanna Song for the Sejong Cultural Society. Bonus feature: learn about sijo, an ancient Korean poetic form!

Although the nickel-based microfiche edition is reserved for the lunar mission, The Polaris Trilogy is available in paperback here on earth at Amazon. Click on the sample to read the foreword by project founder Samuel Peralta and the introduction from lead editor Joyce Brinkman.


NASA’s VIPER mission: https://www.nasa.gov/viper

Susanna Song’s interview with Lucy Park and Joyce Brinkman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDK0STIKHN0

Amazon purchase page for The Polaris Trilogy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BSWS61PV


A birthday gift

Today I honor the anniversary of my youngest sister’s birth with a poem I  drafted exactly one year ago. Happy birthday, dearest Julie, and may you enjoy many happy returns of the day!

For my sister on her birthday

Pulled from bed to witness
that giant leap, I think of you in grainy images
of one small step and boot prints, a watershed
moment on a waterless world

Hours later you arrived
with police escort, crossed the dangerous
void into life, a tiny explorer setting foot
from watery darkness into cold light

Crabby moon baby
that you are, you sidestep
through perilous tides of molting and shape
fantastic structures from the flotsam
left by receding waves

Remember that the combers will always roll you
back to shore no matter where
the current takes you, sure as labor
pains, steady as the moon’s
compulsive ebb and flow

Day of blessing

Today is a very special day: it is Friday, and it is the 13th day of the month. Three Fridays fall on the 13th this year, 13 weeks apart from each other. Today is the third and final Friday the 13th of 2012. You have to admit that’s pretty cool, from a mathematical perspective if nothing else.

The origins of various superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th are not clear, nor are those superstitions universal. Folklorists have recorded several theories explaining the supposed unluckiness of the date, all of which fall apart when correlated with other historical information. Superstitions, both good and bad, surrounding the number 13 and the sixth day of the week are well documented throughout history, but the two don’t seem to be linked until the beginning of the 20th century. Ironically, it would seem that the phenomenon of Friday the 13th, as we know it today, is a product of modern thinking.

I’ve never thought of it as unlucky myself, and once I learned about various pre-20th century associations with the number and the day, I started to view it as a day of special significance to me as a woman.

Friday is named for the chief goddess in the Norse pantheon, and is the only day of the week that bears a goddess’ name. I suppose this could be the reason why Friday seems like such a grrrrl power day to me.

There are 13 lunar months in a solar year, so the number 13 is often associated with the moon. Women and the moon are frequently connected in folklore and tradition for a variety of reasons, and many cultures in the West personify the moon as female. (I have felt an affinity with the moon since I was a small child, long before I knew any of that stuff.)

So the coincidence of these two calendrical facts has led me to view Friday the 13th as a special day for most of my life. (No doubt my tendency to flout tradition plays into it a bit, too.)

And if you need more proof that Friday the 13th is anything but unlucky, I offer this: it has been raining here – softly, gently, steadily – since before 6:00 a.m. In this year of record-breaking heat and drought, that is a blessing.

Full moon with star-crossed lovers

Tonight is the full moon — always a good omen for lovers — and this full moon happens to fall on Tanabata, the Japanese Festival of Stars.

The sky emperor Tentei (known to us as Polaris) has a daughter whose skills at the loom are unsurpassed. Her name is Orihime (we call her Vega), and she weaves the finest and most beautiful cloth ever seen. From it she fashions exquisite clothing and Tentei will wear nothing that is not made by her hands.

Once long ago, Orihime grew sad when she realized that she spent so much time at her loom and needle that she would never meet someone special and marry. Upon learning of his daughter’s grief, Tentei arranged for her to meet Kengyuu (Altair to us), who cares for the cattle of heaven. The two fell in love and were soon happily married — too happily, as it turned out.

Besotted with one another, the lovers neglected their duties. The celestial cattle repeatedly turned up in all sorts of places they didn’t belong, and the sky emperor himself began to look a bit shabby as his clothing began to show signs of everyday wear and tear and he had nothing with which to replace it. Tentei felt he had no choice but to separate the pair so he placed them on either side of the great river of the sky (the Milky Way).

If Orihime and Kengyuu attend to their responsibilities with diligence, Tentei permits them to spend one night together each year: the seventh night of the seventh month. On that night, the boatman of the moon will ferry Orihime across the great river to her beloved. If, however, either of the lovers has not performed his or her duties as expected, Tentei may cause it to rain, flooding the river and making it impassable. When this happens, magpies, harbingers of joy and symbols of marital bliss, flock together to form a bridge of their wings and bodies so that these most ardent of lovers will not be denied their one night together.

Love does indeed conquer all, even the dictates of the emperor of heaven. May we remember this and pursue those passions that enliven and inflame us to the neglect of all else.