poetry and prose about place

coat hanger

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My most recent poetry book, a glimpse of dragon, includes several poems about the mystery and magic of the night sky. One of the most interesting star groupings I have seen is Collinder 399, also known as Brocchi’s Coathanger. Its ten stars look a lot like a little upside-down coat hanger. The grouping is not a true star cluster or constellation, but is considered an asterism — just a random pattern of stars. To see the asterism, you need a dark, summer sky. Find the Summer Triangle (the triangle created by Altair, Vega and Deneb) and Collinder 399 is near the line between Vega and Altair. On my back deck, it can be found by facing south, and looking along the roof ridge of our house, so I can always find it at the right time of year. 


(Source: Wikimedia Commons, Petr Novak)


Here is a poem about the asterism from a glimpse of dragon:


coat hangers



metal hangers aggravate

refuse to cooperate

they are

jangled, tangled




her closet has


padded satin hangers



kind to arthritic hands

pearl buttons to keep

her dresses from slipping to the floor



Brocchis’ Coathanger Cluster

between Altair and Vega –

with binoculars

this fuzzy patch of light resolves

to ten splendid stars


suspends the fabric of sky –

a strong little hanger

with an oversized hook




To get a copy of a glimpse of dragon, take a trip to Westminster Books in Fredericton, or order from Amazon


Hurry up summer sky!

All my best


Written by jane tims

January 5, 2022 at 7:00 am

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