Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Carpe Diem #815 Delphinus (Dolphin)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you did like the last two posts and of course that they have inspired you all to write new poems. Our first Renga Party is running to an end, only Jazzy is left to complete the Renga. I will gather all the links and publish it here.
Than as you maybe have seen I have created two links by Michael Dylan Welch to visit his websites. I will do the same for Tom D'Evelyn. Tom emailed me a few days ago and he has written a nice essay for us while we are celebrating our third anniversary next October.
As you have read in our last episode of "Modern Times Haiku", in which I introduced Michael Ketchek to you I have asked him permission to use his haiku and I hope he will grant me that permission.

We are on "s space odyssey" through the richness of our universe. We are visiting several constellations all taken from the list of 88 known constellations. Maybe we will encounter alien life, but, as I wrote earlier, maybe those constellations are the aliens whom we will encounter. Today we will explore Dolphinus (Dolphin) and I will tell you something more about this constellation.

As I was preparing this episode I remembered that I used a "dolphin-like" race in my first novel, which I published in 2007. In that novel one of the head characters has to encounter a "dolphin-like" species, half man half dolphin and is called the Nommos. The Nommos are from a legend of the Dogon tribe in Mali (West Africa). I love to tell you something more about this legend.

Credits: A Dogon drawing of "The Nommos"

In Mali, West Africa, lives a tribe of people called the Dogon. The Dogon are believed to be of Egyptian decent and their astronomical lore goes back thousands of years to 3200 BC. According to their traditions, the star Sirius has a companion star which is invisible to the human eye. This companion star has a 50 year elliptical orbit around the visible Sirius and is extremely heavy. It also rotates on its axis.
This legend might be of little interest to anybody but the two French anthropologists, Marcel Griaule and Germain Dieterlen, who recorded it from four Dogon priests in the 1930's. Of little interest except that it is exactly true. How did a people who lacked any kind of astronomical devices know so much about an invisible star? The star, which scientists call Sirius B, wasn't even photographed until it was done by a large telescope in 1970.
The Dogon stories explain that also. According to their oral traditions, a race people from the Sirius system called the Nommos visited Earth thousands of years ago. The Nommos were ugly, amphibious beings that resembled mermen and mermaids. They also appear in Babylonian, Accadian, and Sumerian myths. The Egyptian Goddess Isis, who is sometimes depicted as a mermaid, is also linked with the star Sirius.
The Nommos, according to the Dogon legend, lived on a planet that orbits another star in the Sirius system. They landed on Earth in an "ark" that made a spinning decent to the ground with great noise and wind. It was the Nommos that gave the Dogon the knowledge about Sirius B.
The legend goes on to say the Nommos also furnished the Dogon's with some interesting information about our own solar system: That the planet Jupiter has four major moons, that Saturn has rings and that the planets orbit the sun. These were all facts discovered by Westerners only after Galileo invented the telescope.

Credits: Delphinus (Dolphin) at the left
A wonderful story, but there is more to tell about Delphinus. There are nice stories about this constellation found in Greek Mythology and (of course) I have to share those stories here too, just to inspire you.
The Greek god Poseidon wanted to marry Amphitrite, a beautiful nereid. She, however, wanting to protect her virginity, fled to the Atlas mountains. Her suitor then sent out several searchers, among them a certain Delphinus. Delphinus accidentally stumbled upon her and was able to persuade Amphitrite to accept Poseidon's wooing. Out of gratitude the god placed the image of a dolphin among the stars.

Another story tells of the Greek poet Arion of Lesbos (7th century BC), who was saved by a dolphin. He was a court musician at the palace of Periander, ruler of Corinth. Arion had amassed a fortune during his travels to Sicily and Italy. On his way home from Tarentum his wealth caused the crew of his ship to conspire against him. Threatened with death, Arion asked to be granted a last wish which the crew granted: he wanted to sing a dirge. This he did, and while doing so, flung himself into the sea. There, he was rescued by a dolphin which had been charmed by Arion's music. The dolphin carried Arion to the coast of Greece and left.

between the stars
the sweet songs of Arion of Lesbos
comforts my soul

© Chèvrefeuille

It was really a joy to write this episode and I am looking forward to all of your wonderful and beautiful responses. 

Credits: Dolphins
dolphins gather
their sweet song resonates
through the waves

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until September 12th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Draco (Dragon), later on. For now .... just have fun! Be inspired and share your haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form with us all.


  1. Another interesting flight...i like the drawings of the Nommos :)

  2. Having trouble posting my link,

  3. This prompt is such a major, important prompt. Somehow the concept of dolphins and other cetaceans like whales or orcas need to be seen through haiku...