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Little Kate

Little Kate
Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
September 13
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. ~ Author Unknown


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JUNE 28, 2011 9:43PM

CASSIOPEIA - Iron Poet Challenge

Rate: 15 Flag


Celestial, heavenly queen
Beauty unrivalled
Oh vanity! ‘Tis quicksand of reason
And angry Gods speak

Purity and innocence
Shackled to crystalline quartz
And blamelessness the sacrificial quarry

Retribution is costly --
Though beauty shines brightly
With vanity
Comes lonely truth



Words by Kate Little

June 2011

All Rights Reserved



An excerpt from starryskies.com: 

The constellation Cassiopeia is an ancient one, dating as far back as 3500 BC.

The most commonly known story about it comes from the Greeks, and relates that Cassiopeia is the beautiful wife of Cepheus, King of Ethiopia, and mother of Andromeda.
Cassiopeia was not just beautiful; she knew it and she bragged about it.

But one day, she went too far. While gushing on about how beautiful she was, Cassiopeia announced she was even more beautiful than the sea nymphs.

This was a mistake; the sea nymphs were incensed. They complained to Neptune, the ruler of the sea. Neptune agreed that Cassiopeia had to be punished and he sent a sea monster to ravage the shores of Ethiopia. But the punishment did not end there. Neptune decreed that Cassiopeia must take her daughter, Andromeda, and chain her to a rock by the sea. There she would perish to the sea monster, and only then would Cassiopeia’s punishment be over.

Naturally Andromeda was not happy about the situation, but there was little she could do; she awaited her fate.

But fate was with her because, just before the monster reached her, Perseus flew by on his winged horse Pegasus.

Perseus saw the girl, and at once fell in love. He swooped down upon the sea monster and killed it. Perseus then flew away with Andromeda.

Cassiopeia was bound to her throne and banished to the stars by Poseidon and was put upside down for half the year because of her vanity.

All of these characters, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Andromeda, Perseus and Pegasus, inhabit the northeast sky in October. Cassiopeia and Cepheus are called circumpolar constellations, meaning they circle the north pole star, Polaris. These two constellations are visible at all times of the year at our latitude, though they are not always in the same place.

Cassiopeia is the brightest of the constellations, and easiest to find.

To find the Queen, look high in the northeastern sky around 9PM. Cassiopeia’s stars from a distinctive "W" shape which at this time, is almost on its side with the open end pointing north. Cepheus is farther north than Cassiopeia, and his stars form a pointed square, upside down.

The main stars of Pegasus make a great square in the sky, big enough that the constellation Cassiopeia would easily fit into. Look for Pegasus high in the east, to the right of Cassiopeia.

In Andromeda, which is about halfway between Cassiopeia and Pegasus, in a dark sky, you can notice a hazy patch.  This is the Andromeda galaxy, the farthest object we can see with the naked eye. The Andromeda galaxy, known to astronomers as M31, is a galaxy much like our own Milky Way Galaxy which we call home. Binoculars or a small telescope will show much more detail.

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On Sunday I posted an Iron Poet Challenge for Cinquains and yesterday I found this in the comments thread:

My my Little Kate.
I turn my back for a second, and look what you are up to...... : )
I think it is fair to say that I'm not going to let ANY IPC from you go unanswered. So watch for that.....

BUT...in poker....you call or raise.
I'm raising you!!!

A poem please,...with the following mix..
the name of a rock or mineral
the letter Q showing up three times
a star seen only in the northern hemisphere

Well J D …. Here ‘tis!!!!!
Retribution IS costly!!! Lovely poem. I enjoyed it. You served up a good one for the challenge.
Rei Momo: Thank you for reading and I sure am glad you liked it. I'm hoping this meets JD's challenge well enough.
Beautiful poem! I don't know if I can rise to that challenge, but I have written a few ciquains. The problem is, it became sort of an art project. I started a watercolor to go along with it. I am an illustrator and haven't done a lot in color so it is a challenge too! I hope to post soon!
I love my nightly star gazing...weather permitting, of course.
Nicely done. Very nicely done...
Susie: Wow! That sounds wonderful! I can't wait to see your cinquain post! But I know too you can do this one as well. No pressure! ; )
Just Thinking: I'm hoping you have a much better chance of seeing the stars in the Northern Hemisphere at the moment than I have down here ... it is raining here.
It is raining at the moment too, Kate, but I love your explanation of mythology and your reply to the challenge. Especially the last quatrain:

"Retribution is costly --
Though beauty shines brightly
With vanity
Comes lonely truth"

No offense, JD, but Kate is my iron Poetess!
Oh my, you guys!!! I havn't seen one from JD, so I think that means you win, my friend. You did such a good job on this and then all the information along with it is wonderful. Don't know if i can jump in on this one..I'll think about it. Great job Kate.
OH my GOD!!!!

How am I suppose to compete with THIS??? You took a series of handcuffs I placed as hurdles....and turned them into the best poem I have ever read from you!

I have work still tonight...but trust me..I will get something up in a day or two.
Of course...not NEARLY as good as this!!! I can't believe I just read this!!!

FuSun...don't blame you...and Tril...don't count me totally out just yet.....
Oh come on Tril!!!

Please?????????? : (
Well....maybe...no promises...but i do like a challenge.
"With vanity comes lonely truth." Wow!
Fusun: Oh, it's raining there too? Darn! I'm glad the additional info helped. Thank you too for your support. I'm gonna need it 'cos I know JD will post an awesome poem when he finds time.
Trilogy: You're very, very kind but there's no way I've won yet. The challenge was only issued last night and JD's snowed under with something else right now. There's plenty of time. I can't wait to see what he produces though. I just know it will be awesome!

But you, my friend, come on! I KNOW you could do something pretty awesome with this one too! Please???
JD: Oh my. My best poem? Really? Well, thank you! Thank you so very, very much! You've made me smile big time.

I understand about work so no pressure. Okay? Write when the mood and time is right ... it will make for a poem all the more worth the wait!
Just Cathy: G'day friend! And thank you so much for reading ... I really do appreciate it.
I really enjoyed this, and the story! And the form! And will see Cassiopeia differently from now on.
Spike: It is wonderful to see you here! Thank you!

Cassiopeia cannot be seen where I live ... in the Southern Hemisphere ... but I did enjoy learning about her.
What constellation/s do you like that you see in your hemisphere, Kate?

While I like seeing the sprawled 'w' of Cassiopeia in our sky, it's the cluster of the Pleiades, 'The Seven Sisters' that is my favorite.
Just Thinking: When I look to the night sky I will usually look for "the saucepan" which is a familiar group of stars for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere. "The Saucepan" is actually part of the Orion constellation ... the Hunter's belt and sword. You see, for us Down Under, Orion is upside down!
What a gorgeous poem and a fantastic post. Seriously well done. R
"Vanity of vanities. All is vanity."
Retribution is indeed costly.
Well done, fine writing.
Thoth: Thank you so very, very much. I appreciate your kind words.
Scylla: Hey there friend. It is always an honour to have you come by. Thinking of you and wishing you well.

look love---[ w w w - ( jor dans for king ) - c o m ]

believe you will love it.

love good go.

Your response is brilliant. And I note your hand has 4 queens (q's), not merely three of a kind. You're all aces!
I just love the Cassiopeia story, one of my favorites. Lovely poem too.
Pilgrim: Ah, you noticed ... Yes, 4 queens! And you know what else? He asked for a star and I gave him a Constellation! Thank you for your lovely words too. I do appreciate them.
jramelle: Oh goodness! Thank you for your lovely words too!

Ah, now about the Iron Poet Challenge .... JD Smith and I often challenge each other with poetry and hope that others will join in on the fun too. I put out a challenge a few days ago for a Cinquain (see: http://open.salon.com/blog/little_kate/2011/06/26/iron_poet_challenge_open_call_a_cinquain).

My poem here, Cassiopeia, though is not a Cinquain. It is a response to JD's raising me a challenge to produce a poem that contains 3 words with the letter Q, a rock and a star seen only in the northern hemisphere!

Now, are you with us? Will you join in? I sure do hope so!!!
Bluestocking Babe: I must admit to not knowing anything about Cassiopeia until taking on JD's challenge! I had heard of it before but knew nothing. That's why I love these challenges from JD ... I somehow end up going down a path I never would have taken otherwise and often finding a wonderful surprise!
Most excellent, and with an explanation for those of us who no nothing about the stars, thank you.
Marty's Husband: Thank you. I know next to nothing about the stars too but JD's challenge gave me the opportunity to learn a little more! I thoroughly enjoyed doing this.
Kate, this is beautiful. You're such a poet! I would love to know how you write so effortlessly.
Patricia: If only it were effortless for me! I'll let you in on a little secret .... I'm a bit of a perfectionist (please note ... "I'm a BIT of a perfectionist") and my poetry, more often than not, is not effortless. I wage a battle about which poetry form to use ... or should I just run with free verse? Or will I try a form of poetry I haven't tried before? Then do some research if I need to on the form ... or the topic, like this one! I knew next to nothing about stars, constellations or rocks and minerals! Then I write thought after thought and draft after draft ... change this word for that ... then change and change again ... count syllables and meter if needed .... rework again and then I hope to goodness it is half way decent!

But remember the, "I'm a bit of a perfectionist"? Sometimes, I just think I try too hard and then I say, "What the heck! Just go with my heart ... write from my heart." And more often than not, they're the ones that people seem to like best! Sheesh!
A lesson in celestial bodies and a beautiful cinquain about one.
I love it when I can learn something new and it is a great story too.
rated with love
RomanticPoetess: I enjoyed the learning too. Thank you so much for reading.