NaPoWriMo: Moonlight Dance



Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse, On y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse tous en rond

On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there, we all dance there
On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there in a ring

Come dance with me in the moonlight

We’ll dance where the water is wide

Take my hand and cross the bridge

Here by the waterside


We’ll dance where the water is wide

While the stars shine in the darkening sky

Here by the waterside

As rivers of birds take flight


While the stars shine in the darkening sky

I’m still alive for you

As rivers of birds take flight

You can see me, too


I’m still alive for you

As the geese fly at night

You can see me, too

In the quiet shadows, before the light


As the geese fly at night

Away in their honking V

Watch for the quiet shadows, before the light

And then come dance with me


NaPWriMo, Day 30  The final day. It has been fun writing a poem a day this month. Today’s challenge was to write a translation. Instead, I remembered a time when my very stern high school French teacher suddenly sang, “Sur la Pont D’Avignon.  I started thinking of the people centuries ago who might have danced under this medieval bridge (apparently the bridge was too narrow to dance on it) , and I imagined their ghosts dancing in the moonlight. A sort of literal bridge between worlds.

This is a pantoum. The second and fourth line of each stanza become the first and third of the next stanza, with the first line of the poem often serving as the final line.

NaPoWriMo: Friday Night Memories

Dollar hoagies, truthfully not very good,

filled with bologna, the rolls a bit soggy,

but for a time, as much a Friday night ritual as Sabbath candles

and braided loaves.

Friday nights,

we usually met at J.and I.’s house—

because they had a house–

and then children.

We were young, with budgets of newlyweds,

beginning teachers, and graduate students,

just learning to be adults,

we could afford those sandwiches,

but not much more,

well, beer, too, of course,

though I didn’t drink it,

and potato chips.

Friday nights,

sometimes we had pizza,

which I preferred,

and there was a place that sold mussels, too–

C.’s face when she tasted them—

an expression of bemused disgust

documented in a photo somewhere.


Friday nights,

in the summer, we sometimes went for ice cream

from a local stand, a wooden structure

with lines of people in shorts and flip flops,

returning to the house with cups of dripping sweetness,

cream and hot fudge, the taste

blending with the scent of summer blooms, eaten with

the sound of crickets chirping in the yard.

Friday nights, getting together to discuss the week,

we talked the way old friends do,


shedding our pretentious like shoes

to walk barefooted,

talking and laughing,

C. discussed the pregnant teens she worked with,

I told of the latest discoveries from the archives,

eighteenth-century stories of sex–

the stocking warmed and dangled before the fire

by the woman who wanted to excite her older lover?

Yes, C. still laughs about that one.

Friday nights,

we laughed over everything

and we laughed over nothing,

but as the years went on,

and we all had children, jobs, schedules,

it became more difficult to get together,

“the lost years,” a friend calls them.

Now we’ve resumed the friendships that were never truly gone,

just dormant for a while,

like bulbs buried in the ground to emerge as flowers

when the conditions are right.

And yet, I remember those Friday nights vividly,

when we ate dollar hoagies

and we were young.


NaPoWriMo, Day 29. Today’s Challenge: “to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other.”


NaPoWriMo: Footprints By the River


Footprints left in the sand there

The only trace left of her

Her body gone, lies ensnared

Sunken deep, it doesn’t stir


We’ll sail on the river,

We’ll sail far from sight.


Hands around her slender neck

What happened to love always?

Silly fight after their trek

Jealousy was set ablaze.


We’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight.


We’ll sit round the fire at night

On this trip, we’ll laugh and love

We’ll make wishes on stars bright

Side by side, we’ll gaze above


And we’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight


Come with me, he said smiling

we’ll sail on the river wide

she found him so beguiling

She longed to be by his side.


And we’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight


For her, a ring he had bought

She melted, love in the dark

They met at the party, she caught

His eye, rolled at some remark


And we’ll sail on the river

We’ll sail far from sight

We’ll leave footprints here

And we’ll disappear.


NaNoWriMo, Day 28  The challenge was to write a story backwards from the ending to the beginning.

I used the Secret Keepers’s writing prompt 

Words: Trip /Fire/ River/ Eye /Melt

Secret Keeper is still trapped under the Red Screen–I hope the rescue comes soon!






The Long Walk

NOR Måneskinn, ENG Moonlight

Jane Dougherty’s challenge this week was to write a poem using this painting as a prompt and some or all of these words:

winding – moonlight – follow – heavily – path


She stood in the moonlight

sensing his presence behind her

waiting did not bother him

he was patient

as was she

knowing, but not yet ready,

not quite ready to follow him.

He stood still, behind her

a shadow image


not unkind

simply there.

Then it was time.

Death took her hand,

and they walked together

through the moonlight

down the winding path







NaPoWriMo: Late Day Spring Storm


The thunder comes and the rain patters, a soft tattoo on the window pane,

the world outside, transformed, with  a new and misty countenance,

a watercolor tint with blurred lines,

a fresh new scent emerges through the windows, still slightly opened,

petrichor, the smell of spring rain, as it hits the ground,

wet earth and grass, germinating life, sweet fragrance

(different from the dreary damp decaying smell of winter’s rain)

And then it’s over–

a pastel arch appears in the sky, the iridescent glow bewitching,

a smile among the clouds.

Birds resume their chirping, tweeting, cawing,

whiffling high above in aerial ballets,

the mockingbird dazzles with his repeated aria of love,

Pavarotti in the tree,

None shall sleep

Squirrels and rabbits scurry about, foraging and grazing in the waning light,

the cats emerge from their hiding places, under beds and behind boxes,

ambling through the house in search of food and attention.

All is calm, a velvet blanket enshrouds the world, and we are off to dream.


NaPoWriMo, Day 27  Today’s Challenge: to write poems with very long lines.


NaPoWriMo:Alchemy in Reverse



Alchemists from ancient times

using magic, fledgling science,

attempt to turn base metals into gold,

a noble metal, prized above all,

used for good and used for hate

but sometimes gold must not be found.


Boots marching through the street

Left, right, an echoing beat


Noble gold, Nobel medals

in Copenhagen’s streets the brightness vanishes,

yet goodness shines, the yellow stars do not appear

stars, not of twinkling beauty, but black holes of despair

In Bohr’s lab though, science triumphs over hate.

George de Hevesy and chemistry, transformation with aqua regia–

Nobel metals slowly liquefied, placed up high, inside a flask

though the boots come marching, leaving wreckage in their wake.


Boots marching through the street

Left, right, an echoing beat


And so guns, war, and people dying

death and destruction, and gold in hiding

V-E Day comes not too soon

De Hevesy reverses his steps, no magic rune,

just chemistry. Truth. He sends the gold to be restored.

Nobel medals found again, alchemy reversed, justice scored.


Boots marching through the street

Left, right, an echoing beat


NaPoWriMo, Day 26. The challenge was to write a call and refrain. I wrote a refrain, in a bop poem. I wanted to try this form after I read Jennifer Knoblock’s  bop poem here. I been fascinated by this story of the dissolved Nobel Prize medals for some time.

Danish authorities refused to cooperate with the Nazis, and violence against and deportations of Jews did not take place there until 1943. Even then, many Jews were rescued in a huge operation.  You can read more here.




Passover Dessert Recipes

I had a request for recipes for the desserts I mentioned in the post about our Passover dinner. I’ve provided links to all of the recipes, since I did not create any of them. I also mentioned what I did with each one.


Flourless Chocolate Cake: This is David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot Cake.  I can’t take credit for it at all. It is super easy and delicious. The only thing I do differently is to add 1 Tbsp. espresso powder and 1 tsp. vanilla. I bake it at 325 for 1 hour, but maybe that is my oven.



Coffee Meringues

Coffee Meringues from Amy Kritzer’s What Jew Wanna Eat

I follow her recipe, but add chocolate chips. I used mini-chips this time.  This time I also doubled the recipe. It does take quite a while to beat the egg whites—they must be very stiff. Follow her instructions.



Almond-Lemon Macaroons

Almond-Lemon Macaroons  I used Joan Nathan’s recipe here.

I added the juice from half a lemon, and increased the sugar to 1 cup. You definitely have to refrigerate this for several hours. I rolled the balls in sugar, but I did not add the additional almond on top. I used a mixture of slivered and whole almonds, did not blanch.

I don’t have my younger daughter’s cheesecake or stewed dried fruit recipes. I know she made the cheesecake crust from packaged chocolate almond macaroons, to which she added a bit of butter. She has always liked d-e-s-s-e-r-t.:)




NaPoWriMo: Seek Not the Golden Apples


How do I wander? Through crowded city street,

with hazel wand in hand, or sailing roiling seas,

seeking golden apples of the sun, finding defeat,

wondering the gods whose hearts I must appease.

The glimmering girl has vanished, forever in the past

her heartaches muted grief in throes of fitful slumber.

The blossom of youth soon goes, beauty does not last,

time journeys on, carrying our destined number.

Yet I realize that dreams change, they come in many forms,

as starlight reaches us, and its reds shift to blue,

as heroes stay the course through life’s constant storms,

I see rainbows now in the changing hues.

So we’ll float together, our raft on time’s stream,

we’ll love, be together, and share a dream.


NaPoWriMo, Day 25  Today’s challenge–to use a line from a poem. I attempted a sonnet here, which was a prompt from a previous day. I used phrases from Yeats’s “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”

You can also listen to it sung here by Judy Collins.

Golden Apples show up in many myths, including one of the tasks given to Hercules.




A Holiday Dinner

Monday Morning Musings:

I often wonder what I would do to survive, to escape

it’s the story of Passover, after all.

the story of a group of enslaved people who escape

(with the help of a few miracles)

and of people all over the world in the past and present.

My grandparents left a repressive land,

pogroms and restrictions,

coming here where they could prosper

they met and married.

Both sets of grandparents—love matches.

They worked hard through the Great Depression

and WWII

making certain that their children were educated.

Some people don’t want to think about

slavery in this country.

They want to visit historic sites

without a reminder that slave labor kept the homes and farms running.

But we can acknowledge the achievements

and the faults of historic figures.

I listen to Annette Gordon-Reed and

Peter S. Onuf discuss Jefferson’s complicated

moral geography—

people and situations are seldom simple

black or white–

and still the world has slavery,

people forced to work with little sleep or food,

beaten if they disobey,

women kept as sex slaves,

a young woman, now a college student here,

who escaped from the

Boko Haram:

“And I say to one of my friends that I’m going to jump out of the truck. I would rather die and my parents will see my body and bury it than to go with the Boko Haram.”

I wonder if I would have had the courage to jump from a truck and run.

I read Those Who Save Us, a novel by Jenna Blum,

and I wonder—

what I would do in war time to survive?

It’s easy to judge others.

And so on Passover,

I think about slavery and escape,

of generations of people celebrating this story with words and foods,

celebrating in basements,

in wealthy homes,

in concentration camps,

We sit around the table(s)—reading from our homemade “Haggadah,”

going through some of the Seder steps, mixed with family lore,

“the spirit of roast beef.”

We read our parts in our Passover play,

and laugh,

this year, the play includes “Pharaoh Trump,

and rap songs.

We eat the food that I spent days cooking–

chicken soup, vegetable broth, knaidlach made the way my mom taught me

with separated eggs,

no recipe of course,

done by feel,

done with love,

but they are light. No sinkers here!

Matzo balls that float,

and don’t land with a heavy thud in your stomach.

Gefilte fish with horseradish

to clear away those spring allergy symptoms

Oh—that’s not what it symbolizes?

We eat my sister’s charoset,

the mixture of fruit and nuts that symbolizes the mortar or mud used to make the bricks in

the Exodus story.

The meat eaters consume brisket and turkey breast with delight.

Those who don’t eat meat, enjoy the roasted sweet potatoes and salad of spring greens.

Many glasses of wine. No Manischewitz!

For dessert, flourless chocolate cake,


And my daughter’s cheesecake, made with a crust of chocolate almond macaroons.


And coffee meringues with chocolate chips

And lemon-almond macaroons

My daughter, believing she is addressing a lack in my education,

brings Fireball whiskey for me to do my first shot ever-

It’s a group activity—with dancing.


I really do dance in my kitchen.


I realize suddenly that this is the first holiday in years

where all of my siblings

are here together,

and both of my daughters with their spouses.

My mom is still here, too.

I feel love.

I feel content.

OK. I feel a bit tired

by the time it ends.

But happiness, too.

And love.


Recipes for the Flourless Chocolate Cake (to which I add 1 Tbsp. espresso powder and 1 tsp. vanilla, and bake for one hour at 325 degrees) and the recipe for the coffee meringues were in this post from last year.

NaPoWriMo: Oh, Deer

“No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas in incarnadine, making the green one red.”

Macbeth, Act II, Scene 2

“Pardon, old father, my mistaking eyes, / That have been so bedazzled with the sun / That everything I look on seemeth green.”

The Taming of the Shrew, IV.v.56-58

“But we are old, and on our quick’st decrees

Th’ inaudible, and noiseless foot of time

Steals, ere we can effect them.”

All’s Well That Ends Well, Act V, Scene 3

“Be patient, for the world is broad and wide.”

Romeo and Juliet


Bedazzled by the sunlight,

or fear,

hearing sounds inaudible to human ears,

he stood still, unmoving, rooted to the place

like the great oaks around him, and

confused by the barricade before him.

Suddenly the power, the desire,

the need–

springing from a source deep within–

he leaped,

heedful of the multitudinous possibilities before him,

recognizing that he could go anywhere,

but knowing that the world is broad and wide,

he might want to be patient

and find his mother before exploring again.


NaNoWriMo, Day 24  Mix “fancy” and every day words. Since yesterday, April 23rd, was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death, I’ve used some words he invented or popularized.

Yesterday morning, while getting ready to slice the Passover brisket for dinner that night, I looked out my kitchen window to see this deer in my neighbor’s yard. It reminded me of another time when I saw a baby deer and heard him bleating and looking around for his mom.

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