Freedom: Microfiction

ilya_repin-what_freedom

Ilya Repin. “What Freedom!” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Sergei took Vera’s hand and pulled her toward the sea. Vera had never before seen him looking so relaxed in his uniform. As though he was wearing a costume for fun, she thought. Similarly, she felt loose, unconfined—and free–in her elegant midnight blue traveling gown.

They stood encircled by the swirling water. Waves of blue and white crashed over and about them. Foam and mist dotted the air, but not a drop of water dampened their clothing.

“Where are we?” Vera asked in delight, and accidentally dropped the fur muff she had carried. It stopped mid-air, then began to dance to the rhythm of the waves. It jumped back into her arms. Vera laughed. She could hear the sea singing—and felt its song throughout her body.

“We’re in our place,” Sergei answered. “Where we can be together always. Don’t worry. It will all be clear soon.”

Vera woke, disoriented.  She was sitting in a chair in her parlor, holding the telegram telling her of Sergei’s death at the front. A blue fur muff lay on her lap. She stared at it and wondered. She had always trusted Sergei. Perhaps it would all become clear in time.

 

This story is for Jane Dougherty’s microfiction challenge, using the above painting by Ilya Repin as a prompt.

Survivor

vincent_van_gogh_-_sorrow

Vincent van Gogh, “Sorrow,” 1882 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Now years have passed, the pain is gone–

physical pain, the dreams remain,

demons, terror, always the same.

 

Family gone–denouement

of war, of destruction, of fright–

she mourns them still, alone at night.

 

For evil men, she was a pawn.

They took her youth, left no trace

in tattooed arm and withered face.

 

The past is gone, she won’t dwell on,

memories–peace comes, with a book,

a cat, some tea, a quiet nook

 

in which she sits, sometimes till dawn,

longing to die, willing to live,

she tries not to hate; she tries to forgive.

 

This week, Jane asked us to write about pain for her poetry challenge in a poem using the rhyme scheme: abb acc add aee, etc. I didn’t use the prompt words or the image she suggested. I think this Van Gogh drawing conveys the mood of the poem. The model was pregnant and abandoned by the father of the child. She was forced to prostitute herself to buy food. Van Gogh took her in as a model, paid her rent, and shared his bread with her. The Wikipedia page has more information.

For World Peace Day: A New Trend

knaus_ludwig_-_peace

Ludwig Knaus, “Peace,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 “I many times thought Peace had come

When Peace was far away—“

–Emily Dickinson (Full Text here with original.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

With seeming wit, some may cackle

and let Rome burn,

But (with wits intact), I wonder

(Can we be honest here?)

How many notes must be taken

to perfect the art of war?

What tests must be performed?

Would it not be better to note,

to test how

not to kill

not to hate

not to hurt the innocent

not to believe the lies?

It’s a simple question.

What do you think?

A new test. Peace.

Let’s try it, shall we?

An era of love,

instead of hate,

If nothing else,

it would be something new.

Be a trendsetter.

 

I used  Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge to create this poem for World Peace Day, September 21, 2016.

The prompt words were:  Wit/hurt/note/honest/test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE ARE PUBLISHED!!! – #PoetsForPeace

I am pleased to be a part of this wonderful collaboration. #poetsforpeace
(p. 65)

forgottenmeadows

image copyright neha 2016 image copyright neha 2016

Hello Everyone!

Michael, Marie and I are so excited to announce that #PoetsForPeace is now LIVE and PUBLISHED in Praxis Magazine Online! We are so grateful to  Laura M Kaminski and Tee Jay Dan, editors at Praxis, for giving us this wonderful opportunity and working tirelessly in helping us get published!

We would especially like to thank all our contributors who helped make this project successful! We could not have done this without you!

You can view and download the publication here: http://www.praxismagonline.com/peace-poem-2016-poetsforpeace-collaboration/

We are thrilled that this collaboration will also be archived in the ‘Stanford University Archive’ of the ‘100,000 Poets for Change’ collection!

We hope you can all join us next year as we aim to make #PoetsForPeace a growing annual event!

Share and Spread the word with your friends and family! Please use #PoetsForPeace!

Cheers to #PoetsForPeace!

Michael, Marie & Neha

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Encyclopedia of Rape and Sexual Violence: Contributors Needed

I still have several topics that need to be covered. Each entry covers both the US and the rest of the world.  Authors do not have to be connected to a university, but this is an encyclopedia, so I am NOT looking for personal accounts. Graduate students are welcome to contribute, as are independent scholars or professionals in various related fields. The topics are set and each entry follows a definite format. Please share widely!

 

Call for Contributors: Encyclopedia of Rape and Sexual Violence

To be published by ABC-CLIO, this 2-volume encyclopedia will feature long-form articles of approximately 11,000 words or 40-45 double-spaced manuscript pages. The encyclopedia will focus on rape in various contexts throughout the world, covering such topics as marriage or intimate partner rape, drug-facilitated rape, and rape in war. I am seeking scholars who have expertise in and understanding of contemporary issues surrounding rape and sexual violence–and who can write clearly and objectively on the subject. For more information or to see the list of still available topics, please send a brief CV/bio to Merril D. Smith at merrildsmith@gmail.com as soon as possible. Put Encyclopedia of Rape and Sexual Violence in the subject heading. I would like to have all topics covered as quickly as possible, ideally by November 30, 2016, but definitely by January 2, 2017.

Moon, Monsters, and Hope

harvest_moon-_7916064846By Phil Sangwell from United Kingdom (Harvest moon.) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Monday Morning Musings:

I gaze at the Harvest Moon

from my kitchen door.

Glorious, golden, and full,

she hums a message of hope,

and winks at me from the star-lit sea.

 

She appears, full moon

just before the autumnal equinox

gleaming and glowing for farmers’ gleaning,

giving them light in the darkness.

 

She’s a moon for lovers,

and for lunatics and werewolves, too.

Do you see them walking through the streets of Soho?

Lon Chaney and the queen? Aaooooooo!

 

Was it the call of the moon that brought to Whitechapel

a demon, a golem, a monster, a man

who ripped and mutilated bodies

and then vanished in the dark? Vanished in time?

 

We think monsters walk only in the night,

hiding in the shadows,

hiding under beds,

but some appear in daylight, too,

disguised as men.

They were there when the ovens glowed red hot,

the ovens that worked full-time, day and night

and yet people still deny they existed,

these extermination factories

though the stench of death rose in the air

and ashes drifted like snow.

 

And monsters are here now still, spreading hatred

spreading lies, burying truth like old bones,

denial, the métier of despotic regimes

We see the movie, Demon,

my husband and I

a Polish wedding goes horribly wrong,

the groom possessed by a dybbuk,

a Jewish woman who lived in the town

(I did say horribly wrong.)

A nightmare of a wedding,

but it goes on,

the guests getting drunker and wilder,

the bride’s parents denying anything is wrong,

until her father says,

“We must forget what we didn’t see here.”

Ghosts of the past haunt people and nations.

 

And so it goes,

bury the bones, bury the truth

but the truth is out there,

so I’ve heard,

and history is bound to be repeated.

But bones can be dug up,

And truth can be recovered.

 

After the movie, we see a wedding party

they are smiling and taking photos,

to remember the moment, the joy,

a record of a golden day.

At Independence Mall,

love glowing, love growing

in the cradle of liberty.

 

And so, we strive, we try.

Men have reached the moon

and ships have sailed past it.

We seek to tell other beings we are here

here on this pale blue dot,

the third planet from our sun.

Our golden record,

gold like our sun,

gold like the Harvest Moon,

is journeying, telling our story.

It carries the music of Berry and Bach,

bagpipes and flutes, a mother’s kiss, a baby’s cry,

the sounds of love, the sounds of creativity.

 

 

So shine on Harvest Moon,

way up in the sky,

Hum your song, do your magic.

Down here, we love and we kill,

We’re angels and demons,

We’re romantics and scientists

We’re human, fallible and strong.

We live in hope.

the_sounds_of_earth_record_cover_-_gpn-2000-001978-1

By NASA/JPL (The Sounds of Earth Record Cover) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

This week my husband and I watched the season finale of Season 4 of Ripper Street, a British show about police detectives in 19th century London in the area of Whitechapel where Jack the Ripper once lurked. This season, the show focused on Jewish characters who had fled Russian pogroms. Some in the neighborhood believed there was a golem attacking people there.

 

Yesterday we saw the movie, Demon (d. Marcin Wrona, 2015), released in U.S. September 2016. You can see a trailer and reviews here.

 

On the radio show, Science Friday this past week, there was a segment on the Golden Record. They are also asking for suggestions from listeners of what they would include in a new golden record.

According to legend, werewolves turn from their human form to wolves at the full moon. “Werewolves of London” is a song by Warren Zevon.

She Waits: Microfiction

12690-649.TIF

Harald Slott-Møller . “Spring”[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Every day, just before twilight, Susie arrives, blond curls adored with flowers, and feet bare, no matter the season. She appears silently and sits by the water. The birds come and go in a noisy chatter, but she doesn’t talk back to them. She sits quietly. This is typical. She was always a pensive child. But folks often remarked that when Susie did smile, her face lit up in such a way that all around her smiled back.

The chirps and trills of the birds, the whir of insects, and the soft lapping of the water create a harmony of nature. There are no human sounds. Long ago, the area was vibrant, alive with fishermen and farmers, artists and craftspeople, lovers and families–and joy. Some say it was disease, a plague that destroyed this world; others say it was the men who came with whips and chains. But does it matter? That life vanished hundreds of years ago. And Susie no longer smiles.

Still, she comes and sits by the water, as though waiting for something. What does Susie’s gaze reveal? Is it hope or warning? Ask the few who have glimpsed her sitting there in the gloaming. Ask, if you can find them.

 

This story is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge using this painting  by Harald Slott-Møller. I pretty much ignored spring and the prompt words.

Cycles and Seasons

august_windfalls_-_geograph-org-uk_-_533902

A cry, she’s born, and then she’s grown,

flown from the nest, and yet, my child

beguiled, I remain, her loving parent,

transparent, apparent to all.

Walls cannot separate, or part,

heart to heart we stand united,

delighted. Yet I’m daughter, too,

whose mother ages. Round and round

bound in time, the seasons go, and

grand is life, though quick it passes.

Grasses turn green, then brown. A sigh,

a cry, she’s born, and then she’s grown.

 

This is a circular poem in response to Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge. The theme was cycles and circles. The prompt was the photo at the top, but perhaps my photos express it better.