The Laughing Breath of Stars: Magnetic Poetry

2048px-Pleiades_large

Look for magic

on a fire cloud—breezing

 

to embrace the laughing breath of stars–

almost an eternity of rhythm–

 

born if and always

to linger—

 

so, when waked

ghosts go (never sadly)

 

but after-voiced lie healed,

so old and sacred,

 

time-kissed

and remembered–

 

And we will celebrate that which was

and like angels dance

 

over brilliant blushing skies–

a universe at peace

 

This the birthday poem the Oracle gave me.

 

Friday, 2 AM

 Friday, 2 AM

A sound awakens me–

the cat vomiting—

 

I wipe it up from the floor

return to my warm bed

 

cat cuddles against me,

his purrs

 

a calming motor

till they stop—

 

he’s asleep–

I’m not.

 

I listen to the night sounds

through winter-fastened windows—

 

no summer sound of mockingbird

singing through the night,

 

only the buzz of a distant highway

and planes carrying people far away.

 

But I’m content to be here–

my husband turns in his sleep—

 

my cat softly snores,

I close my eyes and dream.

FullSizeRender 623

 

Grace is hosting the final Open Link Night for dVerse this year. dVerse will be on break until January 1, 2019.

The Beautiful Seen

“For beautiful to happen the beautiful has got to be seen.”

Adam Gwon, “Beautiful” from Ordinary Days

I watch the ripples in the sand,

let the grains flow from my hand,

see them slide into a shimmering sea

to wash ashore on another land.

 

I look at the blades of grass

through them robin hops to pass

then calls to me from a nearby branch–

the sky above, a clear blue glass.

 

The beauty that has to be seen,

blue of sea and sky, and grass so green,

the beauty of the ordinary, looked at again–

remembered sights–or what might have been.

IMG_3575

 

Gina at dVerse has asked us to write a poem about ordinary things. I thought back to something I wrote a while ago about ripples in sand and the scientific discoveries of Hertha Marks Ayrton, which gave me the opening. But “ordinary things” made me think of the musical Ordinary Days. My younger daughter was in it when she was a senior in college, and I got to hear her sing, “I’ll Be Here”–and tried not to sob and embarrass her. The quotation comes from the last song in the show.

 

 

 

 

I Watch the Candles Light the Past and Future

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“History is all about ‘what ifs’”

“It was a long time ago now. And it was yesterday.”

Kate Atkinson, Life After Life

“And while we are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago”

From the song, “Hanukkah oh Hanukkah” Traditional

And so, again, we celebrate Hanukkah

as the nights grow longer

FullSizeRender 737

the days grow colder

I make soup, bake bread,

time passes, a thread

connecting me to the past

 

I think of ancestors, steadfast

(I wonder) in determination

 

to leave the past, a cessation

of persecution, a new life.

 

We watch Mrs. Maisel, no longer wife

laugh, but still I think of the past

 

Borscht Belt and women’s rights, she and cast

moving through Paris, the Catskills, New York City

 

with dazzling designs and dialogue so witty

each episode a Hanukkah present,

 

and so it goes, we’re content

to pass the Hanukkah nights

IMG_0671

watching the candles burn bright

then I fry latkes again

with daughter remembering when

we grated, stirred with spoons

 

and listened to these tunes–

the maidel with the ladle—

 

I am happy we’re still able

to be together, to cook

 

to discuss friends, life, a book

and dance, sing, drink some wine,

eat some donuts, the company is fine–

as are the pets–

 

an asset to any set,

with tails wagging

they brighten moods flagging,

hers look for scraps on the floor

 

and bark at any noise at the door,

while mine watch the candles bright

and play with the dreidel in the light.

Generations, birthright, hindsight–

 

generations, frying latkes in the night

hoping for a miracle and promised lands–

 

my hands—

reach forward,

 

toward the unknown, hold present close,

but touch the past.

 

Still life goes on

as we remember days long ago,

 

time moves fast, or it goes so slow,

circling, dashing, we travel, with it flow.

 

Eighth Night of Hanukkah 2018

 

We’re watching Season Two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime). Here’s the Season 2 Trailer. For years my daughters and I have listened to an album, A Child’s Hanukkah by the Jewish Wedding Band. Here’s the first song, which includes the phrase “kiss the maidel with the ladle.”

 

The Sea Sings: Magnetic Poetry

Guillermo_Gómez_Gil_-_Salida_de_la_luna

Guillermo Gómez Gil, “Moonrise” [Public domain] Wikipedia Commons

The sea sings

the music of time

 

recalling

in her shadowed beauty

 

gorgeous life and bitter blue-black

screams of why ripped by purple water.

 

But I sit beneath the light of tiny diamonds

and dream

 

seeing ships go,

and wanting you.

 

The wind licks my skin, whispers

when, if. . .let love in.

 

My weekend message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Screen Shot 2018-12-09 at 6.23.25 AM

 

The Refugees

We ache for our homes in morning light,

we trudge down dim roads, dusty from heat,

there’s sweat and thirst, but worse is the night

thinking of what was–once life was sweet.

 

We trudge down dim roads, dusty from heat,

we’re tired and sad, shed tears for loss,

thinking of what was–once life was sweet,

we journey on, our old lives we toss.

 

We’re tired and sad, shed tears for loss

we dream of new lives, dreams within dreams.

we journey on, our old lives we toss

overboard goes old, afar hope gleams.

 

We dream of new lives, dreams within dreams–

think in America we’ll be free.

Overboard goes old, afar hope gleams–

land of the free, perhaps, we’ll see.

 

So long the journey, who knows the end?

there’s sweat and thirst, but worse is the night

finding no welcome, finding no friends–

we ache for our homes in morning light.

Моисей_Слепян_Этюд_детей_беженцев_1915-16_гг.

Majsiej Sliapian [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jilly has asked us to write a poem using a repetitive form for dVerse. This is a pantoum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

River Walk

I walk the water path

then climb the concrete stairs

 

to stroll past statues and monuments,

where apple trees once grew,

 

the sturdy plantation house stands on the bluff,

but it’s the river that calls

 

the battle-dead whisper

unseen, but fitful, sighing,

 

the flying hawk shadows me

while geese bask

 

at high-tide

the waves crash

 

and they fly

circling the water,

 

the river,

home.

IMG_0659

Delaware River, Red Bank Battlefield

For dVerse, Amaya has asked us to include a secret ingredient. I’m not sure if this works for the prompt, but this is what the muse gave me in between dreams last night, so I’m going with it.

 

 

 

Lights and Life: Quadrille Haibun

First Night of Hanukkah, December 2018

Candles burn, in winter darkness, a miracle of light. The ancient hatred is rising again. Six million and more, but we survive. We clink our glasses lightly, saying not, “Cheers,” but “L’chaim.”

twilight comes early

shadows blanket ground and trees—

light glows in windows

 

De, aka Whimsy Gizmo, has asked us to write a quadrille using some form of the word cheer for dVerse.  I’m also linking to Frank’s Haikai Challenge to write a poem that alludes to Advent or Hanukkah.

I know I wrote about Hanukkah yesterday, and there will probably be more—but you know, it lasts for eight nights. Tonight will be the third night of Hanukkah.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December Comes with Cold and Light

Monday Morning Musings:

“Thus having prepared their buds

against a sure winter

the wise trees

stand sleeping in the cold.”

–From William Carlos Williams, “Winter Trees”

The first of December is mostly grey,

but not so cold—winter held at bay

 

for a while, but we smile to see the glow–

the sun on remaining leaves of trees slow

Philadelphia Parkway, December 2018

to sleep in winter’s arms,

and we walk to see the city’s charms

 

even in the bleakness of late fall—

almost winter—some magic calls

 

there, Diana shines atop the stairs

gilded anew, she seems aware

Diana, Philadelphia Museum of Art

of her strength, though she charms–

with arrow frozen in her arms

 

goddess of the hunt,

a moment, centered, upfront

 

there, I greet her like a friend

each time I visit, happy to see her send

 

(not the arrow), no never,

but she seems much too clever

 

to harm–such determination in her face–

perhaps she could send us hope and grace

 

we see dolls reflecting the passion

for both play and fashion

 

the bisque baby catches my eye

or the phrase captures my ear, why?

it sounds funny to me,

and so, we wander and see

 

a sibyl and monuments and Eve

through museum and streets, we weave

our way, and see the sights,

some Christmas lights,

 

drink mulled wine

feeling fine—then laugh to see that sign

we walk back and down the hill

where no joggers jog, all is still

IMG_0638

except the duck, who with quack and flap

jumps into the river—a slight slap—

 

against the surface, he swims

the sound, a chorus, a winter hymn

 

before the start of winter rain

with sun gone, shadows come again

 

bringing a misty afternoon twilight,

yes, this is December’s light.

 

Then Hanukkah comes with candle light

to bring us wonder and delight

 

I fry latkes in a pan

listening to a man

IMG_0642

discuss his life

some of the strife

 

escaping the Holocaust

in Kindertransport, crossed

 

to Sweden, his stuffed monkey with him*

the object now brings some joy, an era dimmed

 

by tragedy and time—family reunited

evil not forgotten or righted

 

exactly, but comforting to know

that helpers were there, not so long ago

 

and still, that there are people who did good

and do it still, do what they can, should and could

 

and so, we light the candles on this first night

eat latkes and smile at the sight

IMG_0643

Latkes!

of them burning till the flames die,

watch them belie

 

the darkness of night and soul

as believing in miracles makes us whole

 

more perhaps than what we seem–

the sum of what we hope and dream.

 

First Night of Hanukkah, December 2018

 

Hanukkah seems both more poignant and more important to celebrate this year.

I think I shared this story before from a previous All Things Considered segment, but Michel Martin interviewed Uri and Gert Beliner again last night.

We visited the Philadelphia Museum of Art during the members’ weekend and the Christmas Village.