Friday’s Word of the Day Haiku


Today’s Word of the Day is Selenotropism. It’s a whopper of a word comprised of six syllables. This presents quite a challenge when tasked with writing a Haiku! I decided to use the adjective form giving me another syllable to work with and I also opted to take further creativity liberty in the application of the word. Selenotropism is a Biology term that refers to plant growth and movement in response to moonlight. The word entered English in the 1880’s and comes from the Greek “se”ēnē” for “moon” and trópos which means “turn”.

A bit about the biological term…

Most of us know that plants will lean toward light. If you place a plant in a window, you will find that you need to turn it every so often to keep it from leaning to one side. This phenomenon is called “heliotropism” (helio referring to the sun). A biologist by the name of M. Musset, intrigued by the  heliotropic movement of plants decided to conduct experiments on the influence of the reflected light of the moon. He chose three nights in February of 1883 to test his theory, exposing young plants to direct moonlight from 9 pm to 3 am. Almost immediately the buds of the plants bent the stalks in the direction of the moonlight and remained in a leaning position until the moon disappeared from view. He coined the term selenotropism, a nocturnal counterpart to the established heliotropism to name his discovery.

Source: Journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, Ser. II–Vol. III, 1883)

So now that you have a new bit of random information to log away in your brain, I am going to take this word on another twist. I propose that our dreams are inspired by the cool light of the moon. At least when I saw the Greek influence of the word, that is where my mind went…a “turning toward the Moon” and the way that moon glow influences our subconscious thoughts as we sleep. I suppose I’m taking full advantage of artistic liberty and freedom here, but then I am also prone to coloring outside of the lines too. Blame it on the moon!

To Dream Selentropic 

Adrift in sleepy
selenotropic currents
dreams flood the gray void.

kat ~ 8 July 2016

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