Three Witches Echo the Light

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“In a light echo, light from the flash is reflected by successively more distant rings in the complex array of ambient interstellar dust that already surrounded the star. V838 Mon lies about 20,000 light years away toward the constellation of the unicorn (Monoceros), while the light echo above spans about six light years in diameter.” Image Credit: NASA

 For Kerfe and Jane

 

The echo of stars’ light

(so bright, so bright)

twinkles through space and time

 

in radiant waves shimmering

(the sight, the sight)

of shimmering stars

 

and humming moon

(her tune, her tune)

propels us forward

 

with Oracle and alchemy

(rhapsodies of fantasy)

we three witches seek guidance

 

through conjuring magic

(the gifts, the gifts)

of whys and ifs,

 

thus, we pause life’s darkness

to reveal the light—it’s there, it’s there!

So bright, so bright, so bright, so bright.

 

This is for my prompt at dVerse, where I’ve asked everyone to echo or write about echoes.

Poem in Black Bough Poetry, Winter Edition

My poem, “Origami Winter” has been published in Black Bough Poetry’s special Christmas/ Winter issue of micropoems. I’m pleased and honored to be among the fine poets in this issue. Thank you to Matthew M.C. Smith and the guest reader team. Grab a hot beverage of your choice, snuggle under a blanket, light some candles or sit before a fireplace, if you have one, and enjoy this issue!

I want to thank my sister for giving me the inspiration for the closing lines. 🙂  Love you!

To Drive the Dark Away

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Stars, in your multitudes

Scarce to be counted

Filling the darkness with order and light. . .”

–“Stars” from Les Misérables

“So the shortest day came, and the year died,

And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world

Came people singing, dancing,

To drive the dark away.”

Susan Cooper, “The Shortest Day”

“Even if all life on our planet is destroyed, there must be other life somewhere which we know nothing of. It is impossible that ours is the only world; there must be world after world unseen by us, in some region or dimension that we simply do not perceive.”

–Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle

 

The shortest day approaches,

we celebrate with tales and light

in centuries-old traditions,

we gather, talk, and drink

to drive the dark away

to drive the dark away

we count the stars

on the shortest day,

they fill the sky

with order and light.

 

With order and light

soon we’ll celebrate

eight nights of Hanukkah

to drive the dark away,

remembering

 

remembering, my mother says

girls were not sent to school,

but her mom knew where everything was

in their store, she could find the peas

the cans had pictures

 

the cans had pictures

and she knew the prices

she could add the figures quickly–

order in this world

like stars in the sky

 

like stars in the sky

we make patterns in our brains

memories form

and we fill in the gaps

stories of might and if

 

stories of might and if–

is the movie a cautionary tale?

What happens when we mess with nature?

Or is it tale of mothers and children,

variations on madness and guilt?

 

Variation on madness and guilt,

describe a host of myth and legends

along with greed, anger, and lust,

in animating stars, clouds, and trees

we try to make order of our world.

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We try to make order of our world

in patterns and statues and stories.

In art and poetry and song, we transform

and celebrate the light within

and without

and without this ability

what would we be?

Worlds unseen, other dimensions

beyond the stars, but here now,

we drive the darkness way

 

we drive the darkness away

with love and light and food

with sisters and sister-friends

with children and mothers and kin

we let the light in.

It’s been a busy, crazy week, and I apologize for being so behind in visiting and reading other blogs. I’m finishing reviewing my copyedited book manuscript. There have been many calls and text with my sisters about my mom’s care. We had to suddenly go to my mom’s when an aide called out sick. While there, we discovered that PBS was showing the 25th anniversary concert version of Les Misérables, which my mom and I both enjoyed. We did a “Nightmare Before Christmas” tour for my early birthday celebration with younger daughter—it turned out to be a fun evening of talking and drinking. We visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Christmas Village.

Merril’s Movie Club: We saw Little Joe. It’s a quirky film about a woman who develops a new plant that she names for her son Joe. But perhaps there are unintended consequences. It’s filmed in bright colors and with a percussive soundtrack. Emily Beecham won best actress at the Cannes Film Festival. We liked it, but I may not sniff a flower for a while.

We’re on the penultimate episode of The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime. It’s so good—and kind of frightening to think of what could be, what might have been, and where we’re headed with the present administration.

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From “Designs for Different Futures” Philadelphia Museum of Art

And a more peaceful image to leave you with

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Winter trees form a bower outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art–Merril D. Smith, December 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Poetry of If

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Franz Marc, Dreaming Horse

 

Blue magic perfumes the night

(and ghosts are almost here)

in my heart, embracing

haunting, breathing secrets

of eternity

 

~and the universe~

 

throbs and dazzles–

there a star dances,

and voices wake

laughter, joy–

the poetry of if

 

A collaborative poem with the Oracle. She seems to be fond of the Puente form.  I think the blue horses must dream blue magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pleiades

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The Pleiades, an open cluster consisting of approximately 3,000 stars at a distance of 400 light-years (120 parsecs) from Earth in the constellation of Taurus. It is also known as ‘The Seven Sisters’, or the astronomical designations NGC 1432/35 and M45. NASA, ESA, AURA/Caltech, Palomar ObservatoryThe science team consists of: D. Soderblom and E. Nelan (STScI), F. Benedict and B. Arthur (U. Texas), and B. Jones (Lick Obs.) [Public domain]

He’s breathless

at the sight of them,

all seven

beautiful.

Heedless of their desires,

only knows his own.

 

A god’s touch–

they’re doves. Now weightless,

flying high

and higher

through the moon’s shimmer, and then,

too, they glimmer.

 

Ageless, they

wander, star-lighted,

twinkling and

traveling

through the skies. Are they at peace?

Immortal sisters

 

still pursued

but untouchable,

in stellar

grace they sail

an indigo timeless sea

forever and on.

 

For Laura’s dVerse prompt, “less is more. . .”  She gave us a list of words. I chose breathless, weightless, ageless, and I added timeless. This is a shadorma sequence. I’m also linking it to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt. 

 

 

 

 

North Wind, or Ebenezer’s Dream

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North wind blows

gusting. Bustling

 

come the spirits

past and future here

 

carrying scents of cinnamon,

and good cheer, meeting, greeting

 

dreams, desires—

they swirl, cross-sweeping

 

without hurry, but you scurry

because the world seems blurry

 

till you wake–settled–somehow—

allow the now.

 

A bit of fun for dVerse, where De has asked us to write a quadrille using the word spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

And You, Too, Have Come to This Still Point

November at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

Monday Morning Musings:

“Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”

–fromMary Oliver “When I Am Among the Trees”

“After the kingfisher’s wing

Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still

At the still point of the turning world.”

T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”  Four Quartets

 

I walk among the trees

watch the light golden-streaming,

and feel the wind river-breezing

listen to the crows caw and go

then all is still, in the glow,

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Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ.–November

 

though now it’s blanket season

when the wind blows, teasing

the clouds that alternate grey and bright

while I seek some warmth, some light

and find delight in sunrise pink rising high

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I look to the sky

the flocking of birds in flight.

We gather with family

hope there’s no drama

[insert comma]

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or not too much.

Some come from lunch

to share our dinner

and so, we talk and laugh,

and most definitely eat (repeat)

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(not forgetting the sweets)

till it is time for them to go–

and you think you know

how life will be

but suddenly, you see

 

all the moments—

the traditional breaking of stuffing bread

under Capt. Janeway’s gaze, her cool head

once again guiding her crew

–and for them so much to do–

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and you, too, so much done,

all the times before—

and after–the squirrels, the sisters and daughters,

the laughter and traditions, the people come and gone—

babies grown, moving on

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we watch a movie of love and longing

of trying to find a better life, men migrating

women left behind, waiting

for escape, for weddings, for revenge—

gritty life and magic realism, avenging

 

ghosts among us

life not ending, but flowing like the sea—

what happens when we cease to be,

does love carry on through time and space?

Is there a still point, full of grace

 

and light, golden

like the emblazoned leaves

shining. . .

beauty to remember when it snows

to recall it will return

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even as the darkness grows

and the world turns, day to night

and all is still–

but beyond the clouds—

stars and moon still burn bright.

 

We celebrated Thanksgiving. Some of my sibling saw my mom that day, and we saw her the next day.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Atlantics on Netflix. This film from Senegal won the Grand Prix at Cannes. It moves from social realism of life in Dakar—forced marriages, laborers who don’t get paid, migration—to a sort of magic realism based on folk tales. I imagine it was a beautiful movie to see on a large screen.We both liked it very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dancing, Dazzling, If

Irregular Galaxy NGC 4485

“The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 shows all the signs of having been involved in a hit-and-run accident with a bypassing galaxy. Rather than destroying the galaxy, the chance encounter is spawning a new generation of stars, and presumably planets.” Credit: NASA, ESA; acknowledgment: T. Roberts (Durham University, UK), D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts) and the LEGUS Team, R. Tully (University of Hawaii) and R. Chandar (University of Toledo)

 

After the secrets dance

from blushing clouds

and with wild magic

(like long kisses)

wake

 

~an eternity of ifs~

 

till you return,

and beneath the honeyed sea-spray

where diamond drops shine in the light

we embrace again and again

remembering this dazzling life

 

~and yet~

 

here with fevered almosts

ghosts surround us,

haunting in soft color

firing hearts and voices,

to picture never and always

 

 

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Ilya Repin, “What Freedom”

 

The magnetic poetry Oracle and I collaborated on this double puente. So, that’s probably not a form, but I don’t argue with the Oracle.

Tradition, or How a Squirrel Came to Define our Thanksgiving

Many people are curious about the squirrel mold we use for our cranberry sauce. This is a post that I wrote about it–I guess when I first began my blog. For the very first time, my mom won’t be with us at the table this Thanksgiving.

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

In the opening monologue of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye, the Jewish milkman with five daughters who lives in a Russian shetl called Anatevka, says, “You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But it’s a tradition.” I suspect most people seldom think about how for every tradition there had to have been a first time it took place—before it was a tradition.  Most of us never consider how a tradition started.  There are many different types of traditions. There are all encompassing cultural and religions traditions, destructive traditions that label particular groups or people as inferior and deny them rights, and there are fun cultural traditions. Groups of friends and families also have their traditions.

In my family, the cranberry sauce squirrel is one of our most cherished traditions. Every Thanksgiving the squirrel makes his appearance on our table . . .except for…

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