Spring Dreams

If gods of darkness devour the brilliance of the sun,
and secret sadness lingers long into always—

recall the blush-dance of the vast world waking
to the healing laughter of birdsong
carried on a kiss of blue-sky breath,
and watch the flower-fire dazzle red and pink—

a thousand dreams dreamt, a thousand dreams waiting
for you.

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She knows that my spirits were lifted by seeing signs of spring this week.

Before the Before, and After

Before the before
of star-danced light
and rippling time, before
there was what is now,
what was

wonder

in the after, in the bang and crash
of stellar flare and dust, there was
a time of infinite possibilities–

chance,

our meeting, or fate? All that was before,
leading to it. In the crash and bang of bodies,
we’re born

and give birth to others. And in the after,
the wonder of infinite possibilities,

chances we take, paths to follow, as the light
of the past twinkles on future dreams.

For dVerse, where Peter asks us to think about turns in poetry.

Poem in Nightingale and Sparrow

My daughters playing in the snow many years ago.

My poem, “The Blizzard of ’96” is in the recently published Blizzard issue of Nightingale and Sparrow. Perfect timing! 😀 My thanks to EIC Juliette Sebock. Here’s a link to my poem, but please do read the rest of the issue, which is available online and in print.

When Winter Goes and Spring Arrives

She hums with cool beauty,
her whispered notes a silver stream
where trout-stars swim, or so I dream–

roof-fiddler in sky-blue; red-dawn’s flight
through charcoal-grey, the sight
of honeyed light

as winter goes, and now–
flowers color-pop their petal-heads, stand
to say hello

For Quadrille Monday at dVerse, where De asks us to use some form of the word go in a poem of 44 words.

Caring, Sharing, Flowing, Going

Monday Morning Musings:

A Cold Morning ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Beneath grey sky, the river rushes
with icy determination,

Choppy water at sunrise on the Delaware River, at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

listen, it calls

and the gulls squawk at intruding clans,
then soar in silvered colony at eagle’s wide-winged span

circling, I watch

for signs of color, signs of spring
secrets buried beneath the snow,

waiting, for light

no candles, just cake,
dinner, and wine, hearts entwined

Birthday Cake for my husband

we paint love
and drink poetry

the days still mostly grey–but getting brighter.

Delaware River at sunrise ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

Merril’s Movie/TV Club:
It’s still a pandemic, and we still haven’t gone anywhere. Since we can’t go anywhere right now, we had a Valentines/Birthday paint date for my husband’s birthday. I ordered it from the Clay Studio in Philadelphia. The package contained acrylic paints and brushes, clay candy dishes, Mod podge, chocolate from Shane’s Confectionary, and a scented candle. We supplied the adult beverages. He put his birthday crown on for our Friday night virtual Shabbas.


It was snowing and sleeting on his birthday, but we got Indian food over the weekend and watched the Netflix movie, I Care a Lot. The movie stars Rosamund Pike, who is excellent as the cool and totally amoral professional guardian. The other actors are equally excellent. The movie is chilling and somewhat terrifying in that it depicts how easily elderly or incapacitated people can have their lives and assets controlled by unscrupulous people. I wasn’t sure if I would like the movie, but as despicable as Pike’s character is, it’s hard to look away.
We also watched a Spanish mystery series on Netflix, The Mess you Leave Behind. It’s a stand-alone series with eight episodes. Raquel takes a teaching post in a small town in Galicia where her husband grew up, and everyone knows everyone, and everyone is called by their first name. She soon begins investigating the circumstances of her predecessor’s death. The series skillfully interweaves the two timelines. We liked the series, even though we laughed at how the teachers in this school only seem to teach one class each.

A typical day

A Promise

if after heart-haunted nights, I ask for light,
then so do the blue-shadowed trees, their whispers
a symphony in my head–
spring waking–a rhythmic poem winged
in exuberant crow-dance,
a promised gift,
carried on diamond-sparkled water.

I ask, I listen, I watch, I believe

stars sing, soaring through time,
reborn in bird and berry, bloomed in rose.

My poem from the Oracle. She made me work a bit, so I gave her the Redon painting. We’ve had snow, sleet, ice, and rain this week, and today the wind is gusting–but the sun is shining, and each day it rises a bit earlier and sets a bit later.

Seeing Red

Franz Marc

I’m love, lust, and power,
I’m the rose scenting the bower

with perfumed bloom–
I’m scattered in rooms, laid on tombs,

in garnet spread, the shade with which we toast the dead
the luscious wine, merely one mourning thread,

or sip of seduction. I’m the crimson of celebration—
the color of flags and war decorations.

I’m the moon cycle of daughters and wife–
I’m the blood of death, the flow of life,

I stream from wounds and birth,
and nourish the earth

with youth blown dead, as poppies yield
to battlefields

still, bright color pops
amid remains, a buzzard-swoop, a rat hip-hop,

with berry-stained fur—
all the kings, politicians, and battles were

for what? Scarlet puddles, decayed remains,
only ghosts born from these labor pains.

I’m the she-wolf’s cry,
and the vampire’s sigh

beyond all understanding–
I am the light of the universe expanding.

A late entry for Mish’s dVerse prompt to “slip out of our human bodies and become nothing but a color.” I would normally pick blue, but decided to go with something different. 😀 I’m also linking it to Open Link Night. It’s a live session, but it’s my husband’s birthday, and we’re going to do a birthday project together instead.

There’s Danger in the Woods

Frederick Golden Short, Spring Sunlight, New Forest

Am I really on my way to Paris? My mind drifts and tumbles like the clouds outside the plane’s window.
I think back—when I met Paul (as he was called then) that first time in the woods. I hadn’t slept much the night before. I couldn’t stop thinking of the bombs and the flames—London burning; my family gone. I wanted the cool peace of the ancient forest that surrounded our training area. I heard his steps and turned quickly. My instructors would have been proud of my instinctual fighting stance.
“I saw you leave,” he said, “I was worried about you.”
I said, “Do you know Yeats? ‘I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head.’”
He smiled, and as I looked into his grey-blue eyes, I knew I was smitten–and I knew it was dangerous.

Back to my Prosery spies, but no Hopper this time. This is for dVerse, where
Kim asks us to use this line from W.B. Yeats’ “Song of Wandering Aengus.”
‘I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head’.

I love this poem, and it is such a well-known line. I first incorporated it directly into the prose, but it just didn’t seem right. So, I hope this is not cheating, but this seemed much better to me. Also, in my head, I always hear this line sung because I knew Judy Collins’ song version before I knew the poem. Kim shares a Christy Moore’s version.

Yet, See, Things I know

Monday Morning Musings:

“I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”
--Sylvia Plath, Mad Girl’s Love Song

Ice Puddle at Red Bank Battlefield, ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

We prepare for winter
with blankets, tea, and books,
candles to light the nooks
of home, as heart, brain
given free rein, see in the shadows,
ghosts, cold, pain,

the fear of what frozen months bring,
the fear of known and unknown things—

we prepare to be together,
we prepare to be apart

our hearts sing, sigh
say goodbye in forlorn wandering
the air waves, weaves strands of grey with light
though it also shoots frozen silver darts–

yet, see

there’s magic still simmering, glimmering
at the surface where sea serpents shed their scaly skin
to dance with water sprites

Waves of water, sand, and air. A sea serpent leave her skin. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and eagles soar from bare-branched trees,
again into light,
over the river, the sky is grey

but the gulls rise, and there are patches of blue–
spring is coming

Clouds

despite the mud-stomped snow,
the geese know time flows

“we’re coming, we’re coming,” they honk and cry,

it’s coming, Spring,
the cardinal couples call,
and the nuthatches laugh,
and the crows gather (not murderous at all)
but aware

that love is in the air.

Valentine’s Welsh Cookies

And if I made you up,
then a wondrous dream it’s been,

there will be more snow, but in birdwing flight
and woodpecker’s drumming

I know spring is coming.

Merril’s Movie Club: So, you know, pandemic. . .we didn’t go anywhere. AND, the GOP senators, except for seven, couldn’t find their spines, or even worse, don’t care to. So. . .I really wanted to see a Merril movie, the kind we would have seen in a Philadelphia theater. I rented one from an NYC arthouse theater instead (filmforum.org). It’s less expensive than going to the movies, but of course, there are more distractions at home, so the experience is not the same. We rented, Preparation to be Together for an Unknown Period of Time, Hungary’s entry for the Academy Awards. It’s a noirish story of a neurosurgeon who after meeting a man at a conference in New Jersey, plans to meet him in a month in the Liberty Bridge at the Pest side in Budapest. He doesn’t show up, and when she tracks him down, he says he doesn’t know her. Thus, begins a story of did she imagine this whole romance? My husband and I both liked the movie a lot—he was still talking about it the next day. It’s not up there with Cold War (sigh), but it’s still a good movie, beautifully filmed. The quote from Sylvia Plath was at the beginning of the movie.

He slept through the movie.