The closing door truncates all sound and light
reveals instead the still and dark of night.
The trees and fields again bedecked with snow
encompass great Orion from below.
That nightly friend of three belt stars hung low
revolves, an axel fixed among life’s flow.
The quiet crunch of boot on snow and ice
disturbs Orion’s frigid paradise.
To home I speed with gritted teeth, and hands
in gauntlets black, against the wind-swept lands.

I haven’t done iambic pentameter since grade school, so I thought I would give it a try.
What could possibly go wrong? A lot obviously. It’s quite tough to find ten syllables per line that rhyme. It’s even tougher to make offbeats and beats alternate.

When the sky is clear, the most recognizable constellation is the Big Dipper, Ursa Major, the second most being Orion, the hunter. For those not familiar with Orion, it appears only in winter months in the northern hemisphere (summer months in the southern hemisphere). In the summer it is above the horizon only in daytime, so you would have to look into the sun to see it.

Illustration of Orion visibility, only in winter in the northern hemisphere

Many’s the time I would exit some warm and cosy gathering to make my way home, in that deep and serene silence that comes from a new snowfall. I’ve taken a bit of poetic license here, because as a Canadian lad, I drove a motorcycle, but rarely in the snow - at least on purpose. There is a bit of overlap though, between the April to October motorcycle season and Orion’s winter appearance. But boy, is it uncomfortable. Hence the reference to gritted teeth and motorcycle gauntlets.

So, Orion always reminds me of good times and lives past - and freezing my ass off.



A Canadian electrical engineer living in Switzerland, developing software for over 40 years, e.g. big data for electric distribution utilities and the cloud security space, but now retired.

Read More