Snowflakes and Time

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“Every snowflake has an infinite beauty which is enhanced by knowledge that the investigator will, in all probability, never find another exactly like it.”

Wilson Bentley

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Beneath a frantic cry

a need for love

is carried on the wind

over a thousand summers

through winter storms of snow and ice,

the moon hums

***

There is no present the man says,

only past and future,

no division between beach and sea,

only water and sand

both existing together.

 

“In physics there’s no arrow of time.”

In a place beyond our beyond

the past might be the future,

perhaps time existed

before our universe.

 

My toddler daughter once asked

“Do you remember when I was in your belly

and I hiccupped and that made you laugh?”

A conversation that she no longer remembers,

but that I still do—

 

that moment in time

frozen—no–

like a movie in my mind—

the improbable (could she have remembered?),

the reality

 

of mothers and daughters

over and over through time

we’ve moved my mother to a new facility–

she is exhausted,

she is exhausting.

It is an exhausting week.

Time seems to work differently,

dragging, then suddenly gone.

The world is wind and clouds

I am housebound–

by work

not trapped–

but constrained by deadlines

and circumstances

and January grey.

 

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The snowstorm-that-isn’t comes

and goes–

nevertheless, I cook and bake–

comfort food, candles, and wine

while we watch the trapped Icelandic town

caught by weather and geography,

old grievances and new politics.

The world is weary everywhere

trapped by hate,

mired in ignorance.

 

My daughter says there’s a good musician here,

if you’re not doing anything today?

We’re not

and we go

listen to music, drink some wine–

 

It’s an afternoon out

but inside—away from the wind—

a moment in time, different,

as each snowflake, and ephemeral

but carrying its unique beauty in our memories

 

through time

(whatever that may be).

 

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It’s been a strange week with moving mom and cleaning out her old apartment. While driving, we listened to an episode of the Ted Radio Hour, Episode “Shifting Time,” first broadcast in 2015.

We’re watching an Icelandic mystery series called Trapped. We’re almost finished with the first season, and we’re enjoying it.

Almost an Afterthought

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Almost an afterthought—

the breeze dances,

leaving a perfume of if

and airborne secrets

sailing into the night

 

~as the fire-sky lingers~

 

you listen for ghosts’ laughter

as they fly through broken coffee clouds–

their voices in the flowers and trees–

and with fevered embrace

they (and you) remember the rhythm of time

 

 

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I collaborated with the Oracle to create this puente. I remembered to include a screenshot this time, in case anyone wants to see the tiles. 😉

All the Women Left Behind

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The roaring wind

blows my love

 

away from me he goes

far off on the sea

 

to war, to adventure,

to find a better life

 

he leaves family,

his love, his wife,

 

a centuries-old tale.

 

Will he return? When?

The wind only roars again.

 

I felt the need for a bit of poetry before I start work today, so this late response to Monday’s dVerse prompt. De asked us to use the word roar in a quadrille—a poem of exactly 44 words. We’re expecting roaring winds here today, but for some reason I thought of the move Atlantics, which we saw on Netflix not too long ago (mentioned in one of my Musings.) It was made and set in Senegal, and it won a prize at Cannes.

 

 

 

 

Memento Mori

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Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, September 2017

 

Monday Morning Musings (Late Afternoon Edition):


 

Ask the wind where time goes

(away from spring’s light)

 

cycling from beautiful bloom

to cold brown earth—the sight

 

of vultures in skeleton branches, it seems

cleaning up the dead things, and dreams

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at night of when and after,

but yet I wake in laughter

 

and cat purrs, a sniff, a whiff

of coffee, and beautiful dawn breathing if,

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and always on the breeze

is life-music, birds in the trees

 

the sun behind the clouds,

the moon’s setting loud

Late afternoon January Sun

January sun glowing faintly through the clouds over ramp to Walt Whitman Bridge.

 

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with fierce humming,

another day coming

 

time circling again,

and again, and again

 

constant, traveling like light

far beyond our lives and sight.

 

***

We walk city streets in shadow and light

reflecting back the old and true

perhaps, or not—

maybe we see what we want to see,

or see not at all,

 

 

the ghosts and night creatures

walk beside us, and should we fear them,

or they us?

I learn that Mister Rogers loves graveyards

and blood is life—of course–

 

it ties families together

through generations, as we pack and unpack

stories and belongings

carting them across oceans,

over highways, in and out of rooms,

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discarding some, embellishing others

past golden suns and silver moons

to here and now—memento mori,

we all die, forgiven, or not,

still . . .

 

we all carry stardust

in our blood

through time and space,

and if we can, we find the time

to stop, drink some wine,

 

share some kindness

and remember those who came before

and those who will come after

we’re a speck in the wind

blowing into forever.

Late afternoon January Sun

January sun glowing faintly through the clouds over ramp to Walt Whitman Bridge.

 

After some very loooooong days of packing, today we moved my mom into her new facility. Today was the first day I had seen the place. It’s very nice—homey—rather than institutional, and everyone was quite friendly and pleasant. Tomorrow there will be more moving and cleaning. So, it may take me a while to catch-up with posts and comments–and actually get some work done, too!

My husband and I finally saw the movie, It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which is actually more about the journalist telling Mister Rogers’ story than it is Mister Rogers. The journalist is played by the Welsh actor, Matthew Rhys, who played Phillip in the wonderful show, The Americans.  Tom Hanks, of course, is Mister Rogers. Believe the hype. It really is a very good movie, and even my husband got a bit teary-eyed.  The movie is based on this Esquire article, Can you say. . .hero?

We also watched the new BBC version of Dracula on Netflix, which was also quite good. It puts a different spin on the story, which you may or may not appreciate, but I did really enjoy Sister Agatha.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening, Watching, Hoping

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The world is sad and broken,

clouds of smoke rising

 

and the voices of trees lost.

(Say not forever.)

 

Still I listen for the secret rhythm

of stars and moon

 

and watch the sun rise

brilliant fire in the sky

 

lighting our days,

reminding us of if and when

 

the universe is born and dies,

again and again–

 

and yet, the flowers bloom in spring

(until they don’t)

 

and their perfume rises

in morning’s smile.

 

My collaboration with the magnetic poetry Oracle. She always seems to know what is and what might be.

 

 

Endings to Beginnings to Endings

 

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This may be my mother’s last move. We fold old years into new boxes; rearrange the past to fit the present. But somewhere, in some bit of time-space, the what was, still is. I stare at a painting on her wall. There’s a small red figure among the winter birch trees. Have I never noticed it before, or have I forgotten? It has always been there. I see it now.

 

Silvered bare branches

in moonlight they dream of spring–

leaves fall, new buds bloom

 

A Haibun for dVerse, where Björn has asked us to write about a beginning.

 

 

 

 

Hidden

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Look up!  Vultures just hanging out. Hidden in plain sight.  National Park, NJ.

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“. . .for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

― George Eliot, Middlemarch

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars”

–Walt Whitman, #31 from “Song of Myself”

 

“It may diminish some our dry delight

To wonder if everything we are and do

Lies subject to some little law like that;

Hidden in nature, but not deeply so.”

–from Howard Nemerov, “Figures of Thought”

 

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The sun is hidden behind the clouds,

the images waver through a wet wall,

and the world is dark, dreary, until the charcoal clouds part

through the droplets, a ray of bright hope–

colors arc across the sky,

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and in that magic moment

my spirits lift, not forever, but enough

there, hidden behind the gloom

there is beauty, beneath the sleepy despondency,

there is hope, joy, love.

 

We walk through Old City streets,

bones beneath our feet, hidden

ghosts walk with dry leaf rustle.

We see their reflections

in the end of the year.

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Curtis Center Building, Philadelphia, December 31, 2019.

The year turns, a page reflected

(we reflect)

in the late afternoon sun-glow

as couples take their vows,

beginning a new life

 

We see a movie,

a hidden life,

but reflect upon so many hidden lives

at that time, in this time–

time flows faster

 

towards what?

We travel east,

the sun setting behind us

announcing the year is ending,

a new year about to begin.

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From a Patco train, crossing the Delaware River from Philadelphia to New Jersey. December 31, 2019.

We eat Chinese food,

watch a musical of hidden lives

danced into acceptance

in boots—

kinky boots. Well, why not?

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Why not? And why–

do leaders deny and lie?

foment hate?

The world burns

hidden beneath smoke and rage

 

are flower bulbs,

seeds of hope.

If we destroy the world

perhaps something better will come,

rising over our hidden bones

 

buried, like secrets

of family and history

in tombs sealed and forgotten

someday to be uncovered

to live again

 

perhaps in legend or song.

I find a recording of Yiddish songs

hidden in plain sight in my mother’s bookcase.

She is calmed by old, familiar melodies

as we sort and pack her belongings,

 

much of her past now hidden (treasures)

buried in time, tossed aside in many moves

“I’m reduced to one room,” she says

almost in tears,

saltwater, like the sea

 

from which we sprang,

the work of the stars,

their light and songs carrying us on

Starlight, starbright,

I wish tonight.

 

Hope buried, sometimes found, like that piece of bread that drops into the fondue pot.

Merril’s Movie Club—So many movies; so little time! We saw A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick’s latest. It was beautiful, like all of his movies—and well, you have to accept and go along with the meandering pace. It is based on a true story, and while I admire someone who sticks up for his convictions– and it is difficult not to see present-day parallels—I also was not certain what his objections actually were. At one point, he says he doesn’t know if Hitler is evil. Um, what? And though he suffers for not signing a paper giving allegiance to Hitler, the war does not really seem to touch the beautiful village in the clouds. I liked how the movie showed all the hard work the women do on their farm, but everyone seems well-fed while the war is going on. Yes, this man stood up for his undefined objections, but places were being bombed, people were sent to concentration camps, and other horrors were going on.

Last night we watched I Lost My Body.It’s a French animated film about a severed hand looking for its body. I know that sounds weird and creepy, but it’s surprisingly moving, as we learn about the young man’s life. I never thought I’d be rooting for a hand.

On New Year’s Eve, we watched a Broadway production of the musical Kinky Boots that I had recorded when PBS’s Great Performances ran a few weeks of Broadway shows in November. It’s great fun, and it was perfect for New Year’s Eve. (If you’re a Passport member you can see it.)

We’re almost finished with a Turkish show on Netflix called, The Gift. We’ve enjoyed it—an artist who draws strange symbols teams up with an archeologist to uncover family secrets and legends from the past.

And finally–a shout out to my cousin, David Lesser! His story, Bodies at Rest, was made into a Chinese movie. I don’t know how it will be distributed, but it’s an action movie, set in a morgue in Hong Kong, and it opened an Asian film festival. Trailer here.