Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Dog Star

The man in the moon was in hiding.

In his skeletal, sickle-shaped state, he knew all too well that his light was too meager, too thin, to compete with the one who tonight ruled the skies.

For the heavenly wolf had appeared once again to lay claim to the firmament; the celestial prism of old who has steered the hand of the sailor, commanded the Nile, and sowed bright seeds of wonder in the heart of the shepherd alone on the cold windswept hill.

Sirius, The Dog Star, had returned.

An unblinking eye hanging high in the sphere of a cloudless January night, he stared calmly into our cottage window, as incandescent as a diamond.

From his place snuggled down in his fat paisley bed, the white dog was lost in a black and white dream, a canine film noir seen only by him.

His sleep was deep, not a sound of his breathing was heard.

When suddenly, up from the depths of his soul came a sound so arcane, so immortal, it drew shivers from the humans huddled up in their bed.

A howl.

Starting softly as an idea, then building and building to a crescendo of unfathomable feeling. A song from his ancestors, a chant from the angels, lifted up to the light of his very own star.

The enigmatic melody stayed in our minds long after its notes had diminished.

Another profound reminder of all we do not yet know.


Sirius, the brightest star in the whole of the night sky, is best seen on dark January nights. It can be found by using the constellation Orion's three-star belt and drawing an imaginary line to the lower left. Its true colour is blue-white, but it often blinks with all colours of the spectrum due to its proximity to the horizon and our constantly shifting atmosphere. I had no idea that Edward was aware of its presence, but learned better.

Painting by Theodor Severin Kittelsen


  1. The feelings invoked while reading this reminded me of my childhood, tucked in my Tante's bed watching the star filled sky. In her little village, lacking electric light posts, the universe was just a touch away.
    I shall watch for Sirius tonight.

  2. I enjoyed your poem.

    I haven't lived in the South for a long while, but I should think it would be quite late at night before you could see Sirius in January--or it's follower, Procyon, the brightest star in Canus Minor.

    Sirius meant different things to different ancient cultures, depending upon when it was prominent. To the Egyptians, drought. To the northern peoples, good weather.

  3. Ooh, now that sent a shiver through me, Pamela! Wonderful!

  4. I often see Sirius here in the sky. Love the painting and the poem.

  5. Beautiful as always Pamela. :)
    I love the painting too. I'd like a print of that one on my wall here.
    The stars were stunning here tonight. Its clear and I think we will be in for a visit from Jack frost.

  6. Wow. Now I'm inspired to get out and enjoy the winter sky.

  7. It is amazing how much brighter the stars seem in winter...

  8. How beautiful Pamela
    Your words always take me to my happy place..!
    I wonder if I can see Sirius here in the southern hemisphere.. unfortunately we do not get to see some of your amazing constellations down here... maybe that is why i travel... I'll have to do a bit of research.. xx Julie

  9. Pamela,
    I do not know so much about stars,
    but reading your poem, I will love looking at them and maybe I will find Sirios!!!

  10. Dear Pamela, I do so admire your creativity and the thought which lies behind the poem. Also most aptly illustrated with the painting.

    I was amused with the idea of a "canine film noir", wondering just what exactly it might contain!

  11. I'd liker to think that being a PON Edward has many hidden talents, such as star spotting, learnt many generations ago on the Polish plains .

  12. Communicating with his personal star - I like that Pamela. You are quite right in that there is a lot we do not know - there are moe things in heaven and earth Horatio - as usual Shakespear had a way of expressing it.

  13. "A song from his ancestors, a chant from the angels, lifted up to the light of his very own star."

    Edward and I would get along very well viewing the night sky.

  14. Sirius is also where the term "dog days of summer" comes from. Those hottest, most sultry days I hate so much!

  15. You find the most wonderful paintings to illustrate your words.

  16. I just love standing out in the cold and looking at the stars...they are amazing....looking tonight i will think of you and edward!!!

  17. lovely poem pamela...makes me want to look up at the sky and dream more often.

  18. I'm off to gaze at the skies, Pamela to see what I can see. I just wish that I could take Edward with me. I think that he would be good company.
    Beautiful painting and inspiring words. XXXX

  19. And now, my friend, I will keep a lookout for Sirius. I could see a lot more stars on the island than I can here in the city, but I'll find it.

    Edward is one amazing dog, by the way.

    xoxo Gigi

  20. Hello P&E,

    Much as I love looking into a night sky, I'm never very good at knowing which star, planet or constellation I may be looking at!

  21. My brother had a dog named Sirus.
    Wonderful poem.

  22. ... a beautiful image and a lovely poem!

  23. The stars have been shining brightly these past nights. I am grateful for late evening walks with Ernie ...now I can look up & enjoy the star lit sky. I noticed one particular star glistening brighter than all the others ...but we named it Bentley ♥
    Your writing is beautiful Pamela ~ such a lovely post.

  24. So incredibly beautiful. Edward's howl.

  25. Like Angie, this post took me back to my childhood, when my grandfather would steer my eager eyes heavenward.

  26. Edward thrilling to the dog star! Mysterious, indeed. When I think of stars, or tides, I marvel at the gravitational forces that we don't really understand.

    I hope we get some clear skies soon. Lots of dense gray stuff here. Fat wet clumps of snow today, so I'm staying indoors and keeping dry!

  27. I love the idea that Edward is communicating with the dog star. As you rightly say Pamela, there is so much we don't know. We don't see as many stars these days because of the problem with light pollution but on holiday in West Ireland years ago we could see the milky way as clearly as we did as children.

  28. Your lovely words are the perfect accompaniment to the cozy painting. You capture a winter night so well. It feels like Maine only my dog howls at passing sirens. Next time I spot Sirius I shall think of you and dear Edward.

  29. Chilling... I know the depths that such howls hold...

    Hug that gentle soul!

    Beautiful writing... xo

  30. Absolutely amazing! After being a crazy over-the-top extrovert all my life, I'm finally discovering the beauty of mystery. Thank you, Edward, for adding your howl to a beautiful evening!

  31. Hi,
    Oh, I just love this !!


  32. Sirius fits so well in this beautiful scene by Kittelson


I love to read your comments! Each and every one! Though I'm always reading your comments, I may not respond in the comment section. If you want to write me directly, you may do so at pamela@pamelaterry.net. Thank you for reading!