Lepus, from Atlas coelestis by John Flamsteed                                                Lackluster
And miniscule, anonymous stars cluster
Under the gray Hare and between the Beast
And Argo’s tiller. These cannot be pieced
Into the limbs of a prepared design—
Not like those star-signs marching in a line
Along set circuits as the years go round.

Some one of those no longer living found
A way to lump stars generally and call
A group one name. Since he could not name all
The stars minutely nor consider each
Because so many in their circuits reach
All round the world and often seem the same
In size and brightness, he devised a frame
For clustered stars and sealed shapes in a border,
And thus the heavens were marshaled into order.
No longer nameless, stars no longer rise
Into our sphere of vision a surprise.
Although most clusters have been named by us,
The hunted Hare treads these anonymous,
Dim stars.

Aratus. translated, with an introduction and notes, by Aaron Poochigian. Phaenomena. © 2010 The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Reprinted with permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Image Credit: John Flamsteed, courtesy of The United States Naval Observatory Library

Aaron Poochigian was born in 1973. He attended Moorhead State University from 1991 to 1996 where he studied under the poets Tim Murphy, Dave Mason and Alan Sullivan. He entered graduate school for Classics in 1997 at the University of Minnesota. After traveling and doing research in Greece on fellowship from 2003-4, he earned his Phd in Classics in 2006. He was a visiting professor of Classics at the University of Utah in 2007-8 and D.L. Jordon Fellow at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia from 2008-2009. He now lives and writes in New York City.

He has recently completed translations, with introduction and notes, of Sappho’s poems and fragments for Penguin Classics. His translations of Aeschylus, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes appeared in the Norton Anthology of Greek Literature in Translation, and Johns Hopkins University Press put out his edition of Aratus’ astronomical poem, The Phaenomena, with his introduction and notes, in the Spring of 2010. His original poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Arion, The Dark Horse, Poetry Magazine and Smartish Pace.