Gogyohka Sequence of Night Sky Dreams

Odilon Redon, Flower Clouds

Moon whispers shimmer
in gossamer dreams
we float star-sprayed with light,
our barque sails to dawn
through blooms of flower clouds

the white mast glides aglow
under golden rays,
and the azure sky is rinsed clean
in the after-morn of summer storms,
the air perfumed with sea salt

and always,
stars and moon voice secret songs
haunting eternity with ghost rhythms
surrounding us with magic,
waking us to if

The Magnetic Poetry Oracle and I collaborated on this sequence for Colleen’s Challenge using the theme “The Night Sky.”

Poem in Ekphrastic Review

Figures in a Landscape, by Bertram Brooker (Canada) 1931

My poem, “Explorers,” is published as one of the responses to Bertram Brooker’s “Figures in a Landscape.” My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting mine, along with all the other excellent responses. You can read them all here–mine is toward the end.

Creation

“Listen,” by Catrin Welz-Stein

She is ever young and ancient, too,
mistress, mother, destroyer, divine,
she births the world, but burrows, then weeps
in cold blood darkness, and there she sleeps–

and when she dreams, the flowers bloom
on roots, warm-spun from her honeyed hair,
and ladybugs skitter, scatter, fly
beneath sun-kissed clouds and azure sky.

She is woman, goddess, earth’s true love,
diamond-eyed, rose and chocolate-scented
breast-achy, she nurses–but then sighs–
all that comes, goes, all that lives, yet dies.

An ekphrastic poem for dVerse, where Lillian is hosting and received permission from artist Catrin Welz-Stein to post four images of her work. We are permitted to choose only one of these four images to use as springboard for poetic fancy.

This is Enough

Cloud Reflections on the Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Trees and birds kiss the sky
in blue-on-blue reflection

and today, I’ll sky the world with you
without pause or hesitation.

In mirrored lands we’ll float
on dreams, the clouds our boat

watching the heron squawk, soar–
this is enough, I need nothing more.

Heron flying over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

A quadrille for dVerse, where De has asked us to use the word, sky. I think the rhythm of this one is more soothing than my previous post this morning. I don’t know why I’m stuck on couplets and rhyme though today.

Love, Loss, and Dancing Through It

Monday Morning Musings:

Beat away the aching time
in river blues, see serene, sublime

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

in those rippling rhythms. The tide rolls in, and thus begins
another round of what and when and who wins

the life and death struggles, the eagle soars, swoops, a pounce
there goes the fish, squirrel, another ounce, but we can’t denounce

an avian predator who wants to eat,
but human ones, we must unseat.

I see the lawn-stuck signs of misguided fools who think
freedom comes with soundbite slogans–but we’re on the brink

standing on a precipice, tottering, about to fall
while they embrace the treacherous, Russians and all–

the lies they think are fine, wish them away, spin, deny
in sheep-like flocks they gather, unmasked, I sigh

as I walk, watch the geese honk and fly
greeting each other, hello, goodbye

I say, wonder what it’s like to twirl and soar
and then, I go home to bake some more,

to dip bread and apples in honey’s sweetness
to wish for good to flourish, feeling a completeness

of life with loved ones, though from afar
with a world increasingly troubled and bizarre.

Every day more and more, surpassing–
we’re saddened by news of a hero’s passing.

More wine, more honey
talk of this and that, find something funny—

hold on to love (is love is love is love is love is love)
dance when you can, look for beauty above

and all around, fight for justice and truth—
remember our heroes, remember Ruth.

We celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah with a Zoom dinner with our daughters and their spouses. I don’t know how to make a small holiday meal, even though there are just two of us here. We heard about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg when the news flashed on a daughter’s phone.

Merril’s Movie Club: We saw And Then We Danced, which now is free on Amazon Prime. We had seen previews for it before the pandemic hit, and though I enjoyed the movie, it would have been wonderful to see it on a big screen. The film is about Merab, a member of Georgia’s National Dance Ensemble. It’s an art form that is beautiful, but rigid, and steeped in tradition. Merab and a new dancer, Iralki are first rivals, but then attracted to each other. It is dangerous to be gay in Georgia (the country, not the state). The government would not finance the movie, and there were bodyguards on the set. The choreographer remains anonymous. I fear this is what it could be like here.
My husband and I both liked the movie very much. The drumming music is great. The subtitles could be better, and they even though I watch subtitled movies all the time, I had to full with the settings.

Soaring

Breathe if—

and let time fly into the fevered brilliance of the sky—
fire and ice, the stars know

the secret of eternity,
ghost-lights sailing in a vast sea,

a dazzling memory,
like a voice, a laugh, a kiss that lingers

from a dream
as you wake, surrendering to the now–

summer now an almost-smile
in the blue-shadowed mist.

Did I cry? Did you—
asking for angels–but

a hero gone
to the ever-after.

The stars know the secrets,
ghosts dancing to the music of the universe,

but closer, I watch the birds by the riverside
catch the wind and soar out of sight.

Vulture over the Delaware at Red Bank Battlefield Park

My message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. It was a struggle today to get a clear message. We have lost a hero. Rest in peace, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Moon Dreams

In their dreams, they sleep with the moon, though I don’t think they remember it– the moon. Kirsten says she does, but she was only three when we left. Still, it’s become our bedtime ritual to say good night to things, even if she and Lilly are too old for picture books. We have no telephones or red balloons–or kittens and mittens, for that matter. I hold on to my tattered copy of Good Night Moon—print books are rare and treasured, this one especially so because I remember Jonas reading it to the girls. They and I managed to escape on the last ship from Earth. We’ll never see it or the Moon again. We’ll never see you again. Good night, moon; good night, my love. I’ve become the old woman whispering, “hush,” but in my dreams, I sleep with you.

I’m hosting dVerse today for Prosery Monday. For this prompt, everyone must use the line “In their dreams they sleep with the moon.” It’s from Mary Oliver’s, “Death at Wind River.” Good Night Moon is a popular picture book. My husband and I had it memorized at one point. **Also, a reminder that Thursday’s dVerse will be a live event.

Inconceivable, Unbelievable, and True

Geese in flight over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Monday Morning Musings:

“It’s just that masks are terribly comfortable — I think everyone will be wearing them in the future,”
–Westley in The Princess Bride

Inconceivable and unbelievable
the world has become

plague-filled and fire-flashed
now, ashes fill the sky,

and sudden storms come surging,
while people plead, urging

the powers-that-be to see
what is and to agree

on what is needed. More than hope
and prayers, some care

must be taken if we’re to survive,
herd immunity and hive minds–

we seek solutions from concepts of animals and nature—but
I watch them, charmed,

admiring even the funny walks of birds,
a turkey, like a little dinosaur, and somewhat absurd,

yet most protect their young—and some
mate for life. Perhaps we should look to wildlife

for a portrait of true love. Difficult to see now
in this time of masks and isolation,

the frustration of privation and desolation,
the death of loved ones, the vexation over celebrations

that shouldn’t be, until we’re vaccinated or virus-free–
When will that be?

I sigh and bake, take long walks,
rake my fingers through my greying hair–

there, in front of me, a family of deer,
all clear, I think, as they dart across the street—

leaving me to admire their spirit and grace,
a trace of wonder stays within

to ease the stress of every single day.
I stand by the riverside watch a heron, stay

longer than I planned—but these moments of water and sky
and watching the birds spread wings and fly

it’s something I do, observe the colors of river and sand–
this I understand,

time flows at different speeds and rates,
fast in a dream, slow when we wait,

but either way, we’re specks
in a vast array. Time may be infinite, or

perhaps it loops, swooping future into past
or giving us another chance

Geese and Clouds, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

to seek true love, or defy death with sweetened pill,
better than nevermore, is maybe it will.

A very late MMM because I’m trying to finish some work. And, I’ll be back in just a bit because I’m hosting dVerse today.

Sunrise over the Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ.

This past week was strange, the weather shifting from humid summer to clear autumn. Friday, as you all know, was the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. It was a gloomy day, but the next day was bright, beautiful, gorgeous, which I will hope is an omen. I’ve been seeing a heron almost every morning at the river at the battlefield park. We watched The Princess Bride on Saturday night in preparation for the livestream reading with much of the original cast that took place last night. It was a fundraiser for Wisconsin Democrats in support of Joe Biden. The livestream drew of 100,000 viewers, and though there were a few technical problems, it was great fun. More importantly, it might help in November. It’s inconceivable how we will survive four more years with the current resident of the White House.

Watching The Princess Bride

I’m linking this to dVerse Open Link night, where Björn was hosting our live stream open mike even.t

If I Dream

If I beat away the shadows,
will the moon’s music drift
in a shining spray of silver
to dazzle-dance in haunting rhythms
till the sun wakes—then

if I rise,
languid as a summer day,
will the murky mist shift
to reveal an azure sky, where geese wing
above in raucous celebration of life?

If I ask moon, sun, geese,
will they tell me the secrets
of why and when and nevermore—
of how time is a dream, and how dreamtime flutters
and flits, like leaves in the wind?

If I dream of you,
of laughter flowering,
dropping seeds in my heart
do you grow and bloom–
to live forever?

It took me all day today to visit and get my message from the poetry Oracle. I took the photo this morning. It’s a beautiful day here.

Who’s Listening

In early America, neighbors eavesdropped
from other rooms, behind the shed, from a bed.

Now, the surveillance is also electronic
from devices, lovers (or friends platonic),
scammers and crooks hear what you say—
the powers-that-be, also may—

hear all. Who knows
where conversations go?

Kim is hosting dVerse, and she has asked us to use the word eavesdrop in a quadrille. My dissertation/first book was on marital discord in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. Court papers and divorce depositions often included the testimony of neighbors or people living in or visiting the household. And yes, sometimes listening to a sexual encounter while lying in the same bed.