the dog’s tail

Ursa Minor surrounded by Draco
Ursa Minor surrounded by Draco in Urania's Mirror, 1825

on the sea divine
men guide ships through rough waters
trust in the dog's tail

Daily Haiku #5
Word Challenge:  cynosure
The Haiku Challenge

Cynosure comes from the Greek kynosoura which is the name of Ursa Minor and broken out, kynos + oura, dog's tail.  Although Ursa Minor is called the Little Bear.  Ursa Minor had the title Cynosura, 'dog's tail', in Greek mythology, Cynosura was a nymph on Mount Ida in Crete, who along with Helice (Ursa Major), nursed Zeus/Jupiter when he was being hidden from his father, Cronus/Saturn. In gratitude, Zeus placed her in the heavens as the constellation Ursa Minor.  Ursa Minor was the preferred navigation method for sailors because it had a smaller orbit and the northern star.  Or so I am told.


  1. trisha said on February 5, 2011
    yay! we wrote about the same constellation i believe, we call it saptarshi in india, translating to seven sages. :)
  2. trisha said on February 5, 2011
    sorry, i forgot to say loved your haiku. cynosure is used as a guide in India too.
  3. dan said on February 5, 2011
    At a very early age I was taught to use The little dipper, Ursa Minor, for finding my way in the woods. The north star was used by native americans in daily life and on expeditions,and by slaves who were escaping to freedom. I've never heard the constellation called the dog's tail or the seven sages. I'm glad to know that. Thanks for sharing.
  4. RJ Clarken said on February 5, 2011
    I would always trust my dog - so your haiku makes total sense! Seriously though, you wrote a marvelous haiku.
    1. Terri said on February 5, 2011
      Yes! I never thought of it...I totally trust my dog. Thanks. :)
  5. Mike Patrick said on February 5, 2011
    I never encountered “the dog’s tail” definition before. Who knew one could learn so much from haiku? Wonderful!
  6. Jingle said on February 5, 2011
    unique take. lovely dog's tail...
  7. iblogmoore said on February 5, 2011
    wonderful! and thanks for the extra lesson I knew part of it but not the part about the dogs tail so interesting!
  8. otterblossom said on February 6, 2011
    thank you for sharing the history/mythology

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