Rise

Theresienstadt Tree

Sapling from the Theresienstadt Tree, Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza

“There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts. To read a book and surrender to a story is to keep our very humanity alive.”

—Helen Fagin, from a letter recounting the clandestine school she set up in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began April 19, 1943, on the eve of Passover.

 

From the ghetto,

we rose strengthened by dreams,

 

bolstered and braced by

possibilities,

 

we escaped

through stories of hope

 

and love

 

determined

to rise.

 

We fought

for survival

 

We fought

for our humanity.

 

We fought

to keep magic alive–

 

but remembering always

the ghosts.

This is a quadrille for my dVerse prompt, using the word rise.  The Theresienstadt Tree seemed a good symbol, especially on Earth Day.

Flowers and Bombs, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Forever—is composed of Nows—”

–Emily Dickinson,  Full Poem here. 

“N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near St. Anthony’s Shrine who said he had run inside to help, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.” New York Times, April 21, 2019.

A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies

bombs belie the façade

of Easter calm and Passover why

(is this night different from all other nights?)

 

Rivers of blood

with no miracle to part

falling of ash

unresurrected, fighting stops, starts–

A plague upon both your houses

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Of indecision and more lies

as the First Citizen cries

in confusion,

“No collusion!”

 

His followers cheer

not caring, or unclear

that he would destroy

all that they hold dear,

so they support and worship

their false idol. Rejoice

in the new normal, hate

the latest whipping boy.

 

I cook, wrapping myself

in almonds, dates, and honey.

The house is sunny,

scented with cinnamon

like the cat, who slumbers sun-sided

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Passover Almond Cake

The pink moon rises

we drink the first glass of wine, recline.

We are free, but refugees detained

chained, their children abused–

and we all lose–

Let all who are hungry come

 

We watch movies of

women hiding secrets

sometimes in plain sight

in poetry and stories,

sometimes driving in the night

to obligations, demands

and longing

for uncharted territories.

 

Certain women

holding together

waiting, still in a man’s world.

often unrecognized–

we place

an orange on the Seder plate,

to recognize, no longer erased.

 

We talk,

walk through city streets,

footsteps, heartbeats,

statues and stories,

petrichor replaced

with the scent of blooms

filling the air with their perfume, a trace

lingers in my mind.

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A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies—

all the endless ifs and whys–

and yet, my heart thrills

at the sight of the spring tide

with waves of flowers,

creating bowers

while the robin’s trills—

and we remember

forever is composed of nows.

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Red Bank Battlefield Park, April 2019

 

Day 22, NaPoWriMo  challenges us “to write a poem that engages with another art form.” My Monday musings always engage with the world around me through photos, and often movies or shows we’ve seen–so to an extent–I’ve met the challenge.

We watched the movie Certain Women on Netflix. We watched Becoming Astrid (about Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking and other books) on Amazon Prime, once I figured out how to turn on the subtitles. We saw the new movie, Wild Nights with Emily about Emily Dickinson in the theater. I liked all three movies.

 

 

 

 

Dream Sea, NaPoWriMo

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Odilon Redon, “Flower Clouds,” [Public Domain],Wikipedia

The sky whispers a flowered song

scented with tangerines, honey,

and blue berried-visions.

 

(I feel the taste

of the shimmering mirage,

briny-cool and warm summer peach .)

 

Our mast shivers from

the vibrations, the language

of strutting peacock clouds.

 

The eyes watch

and guide us

in the golden light—

 

as we sail–

timeless and tide-whorled–

on a sea of dreams.

 

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo challenges us to “try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until, NaPoWriMo

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Odilon Redon, “Béatrice,” [Public domain] Wikipedia

She said, “never me,”

a woman who played in purple seas

her hot-honeyed-head

sun-shot, smelling of the wind.

 

She said, “never me,”

as rain recalled

sky-shine on water

and the moon sang a symphony.

 

She whispers, “never me,”

for a thousand springs

of diamond-pink-petaled gardens—

 

and then in shadow light,

crushing the bitter mean-blooded,

she cries, “Why not me?”

 

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Day 20 of NaPoWriMo challenges us to use ordinary speech in a poem. I’ve done that in other poems, so I didn’t feel compelled to follow the prompt. However, the Oracle came through (of course) with a spoken phrase, which I repeated.

And So It Goes, NaPoWriMo

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And so, the moon hums

before the storm comes,

clanging and chasing away the blue,

dimming it with charcoal hues,

electrifying sky to ground—

 

always the way, I’ve found–

bright day gives way to night,

calm voice raised before a fight,

delight to sorrow sometimes flows

erasing joy, and yet, the shadows

flicker, so come song and light.

 

The challenge for Day 19 of NaPoWriMo is to write an abecedarian poem. I’ve done two stanzas—a to e and then a to f. The full pink moon was humming fiercely this morning, but we’re supposed to get thunderstorms later today. It’s very cloudy right now, but the birds are singing!

 

 

 

The Closet, NaPoWriMo

spring cleaning,

of a sort—perhaps–

objects that

beget the

remembrance, past events, some

forgotten, we smile

 

at the old

report cards, boxes

of them and

school projects–

you kept them through all the moves–

holding our childhoods

 

long after

we’d outgrown them, but

there it is–

a lunchbox–

a small book I made for you,

in a school art class,

 

there my first

published book, you stamped

it with your

name, assigned

it to classes, proud father

storing books and dreams,

 

phases of

our lives sharing space

with antiques.

Ming vases

once held living flowers, but

all things turn to dust–

 

we vacuum

the closet, and close

the door, laugh

so much junk!

Though I understand wanting

to hoard memories

 

 

Today, Day 18 of NaPoWriMo, we’re challenged to write an elegy “one in which the abstraction of sadness is communicated not through abstract words, but physical detail.”  This is written in a series of shadorma stanzas. I couldn’t get this poem started until I remembered my sisters and I cleaning out the big storage closet in my dad’s last apartment. He died over twenty years ago in May.

I’m also linking this to Open Link Night at dVerse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The In-Between, NaPoWriMo

Whitall House, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ  Merril D. Smith 2019

I’ve wandered here

two hundred years, or more?

Long ago I lay wounded—

becalmed for seconds?

Hours? Days?

Other men, babble-tongued

around me,

the same red blood

flowing from us all.

 

I thought—

what did I think?

An adventure? A duty?

I’d return to marry my sweetheart.

I had one once.

 

The living don’t see me

as I drift past–

though once a child stared

bowl-eyed in my direction.

The vixen cocks her ears

and shields her pups

when I pass,

while the crow calls a greeting.

 

There are others here,

more ancient that I,

they seem a part of earth

and trees–

but I cry silent tears

as the owl hoots,

rising moon-driven.

 

Day 17, NaPoWriMo asks us “to write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view.”  The park in my town was the location of the Battle of Red Bank on October 22, 1777. I’m not certain I believe in ghosts, but I also don’t not believe. If anyplace is haunted, it would be a battlefield, I think. If you want more info, I found this article by the historian who now oversees the house and park.

 

 

Moon Spirits, NaPoWriMo

Johann_Georg_Haeselich_-_Holsteinischer_See,_Mondschein_(1847)

Johann Georg Haeselich (1806-1894)
Holstein Sea – Moonlight

 

In the dawning of owl-light

when the bell-voiced flowers

croon goodnight,

and the tide-looped river

mirror-shines still-bright—

the spirits gather, awakened

by the silver feathered light.

 

Moon-blown they dance

tickled by her rays (the sight!)

to make a vagary,

and convened in delight,

to ring with dark-vowelled voices

singing peace upon the night.

 

Day 16 of NaPoWriMo is to write a list poem. It seems like I’ve done a few lists already, so I’m following the dVerse prompt today instead. Laura asks us to write a poem “using at least FOUR of the hyphenated compound words” from the list of words taken from the works of Dylan Thomas. I’ve done this and added some of my own.

Additionally, in a tweet, Dale Rogerson (who blogs at A Dalectable Life) challenged me to use the word “vagaries.” I used the singular form, vagary, discovering that an old meaning of “to make a vagary,” was to make a wandering journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun and Storms, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Presentiment – is that long Shadow – on the Lawn –
Indicative that Suns go down –

The Notice to the startled Grass

That Darkness – is about to pass –“

–Emily Dickinson A brief analysis here.

“Oh, how this spring of love resembleth, The uncertain glory of an April day,

Which now shows all beauty of the Sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away”

–William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I Scene 3

 

Startled? Yes, I’ll say.

Startled awake as the cell phone plays

keening beeps, an alert. I’m dazed

read, “Tornado Warning, Take Shelter.”

 

Did you see them?

The words on the screen?

Not a drill, no they mean

hurry now, no time to grab all the things,

no time for caffeine, keys, or rings

 

I’m roused,

my body tired, but fired

 

I wake my husband, carry phone and one cat

down to the basement, there we sat

on a blanket by the stairs,

litter boxes nearby, but no chairs,

with bare feet, in PJs and tank shirt

waiting, (while the cats pee) but unhurt

 

by the storm. The radio announcer says,

this system’s killed people, he acknowledges

in the south, and I’m glad I heard this after

the all-clear, or my fear would have been greater.

 

(Were my clogged ears, a presentiment

of pressure dropping,

hmmm. . .are they’re popping?)

 

I think the rain is stopping

(at least for now).

and the birds are singing sweet and strong

glorious in their morning songs

telling the world that they are here,

announcing for now that all is clear.

 

***

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Looking out after the early morning storm

I think of this past week in April

uncertain glory, each day

it seems, from bright to grey

shadows, sun, storms, each give way.

We went with friends into the city

We go on the train

(the forecast rain)

But when we arrived, the sky was bright

and the sun shone with April light

on flowers pink, white, yellow–

and mellow the temperature and breeze

softly stirring trees.

 

We sat outside, drank wine, ate cheese

feeling fine, and at ease,

wanting to hold this moment—please—

but we went

as the sky changed then–

and April rain fell again.

 

In more shadows and light,

we played with puppies, such a sight,

doggy kisses and wrestling moves

hard to resist, and it just proves

the bonds between animals,

the bonds between us and them

Once again

we’re home

more sun, more clouds,

watching movies of zombies and spies,

surprises and lies,

in both we see people pretending to be some other

and we see others seeing what they want to see.

 

And I see presentiment—the long shadow–

but hope the clouds will pass,

we’ll come to our senses

before we suffer the consequences—

But for now, coffee, cats,

and later wine,

to sleep later,

perchance to dream—

of a beginning, not an end,

of love and caring and sharing

hope of this world—to mend.

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Today’s prompt, Day 15, is “to write your own dramatic monologue.”  I’m not sure that I’ve done that, but my Monday Musings are always sort of an internal monologue. . . The best I can do, since I’ve been awake since the tornado alert went off around 3:20 this morning.

Sorry, we haven’t been out to the movies in a few weeks, but we did watch two movies on Netflix. The Angel, trailer here, an Israeli-American film based on a true story of a spy. It was an interesting story,good, but not great.  And we saw Cargo, (trailer here)  an Australian zombie film–but wait, it’s not all that gory. It has a message about family, community, cross-cultural awareness, taking care of the earth, AND it has Martin Freeman.  Again, not the greatest movie ever, but enjoyable, and I liked it.

I also read a spy book, American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. Excellent. Here’s a review.