Journey in Place: Beginning and End

Monday Morning Musings:

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
—Ursula K. LeGuin, The Left Hand of Darkness, 1969. Often misattributed to Hemingway.

 “To light a candle is to cast a shadow.”

–Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea

 “What we call the beginning is often the end
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. . .

Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,
Every poem an epitaph.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”


It’s a stressful week, we burrow in—

hunker down

in restful verbs and tasty nouns,

lighting candles in the night,

casting shadows against the bright

light and darkness


without one, is the other missed?

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I journey in place

keeping pace

(I hope with grace)

flowing, risking with rhyme and meter,

thinking of a double feature–

perhaps tonight–

traveling without moving

wondering if I’m improving

no matter,

if it’s soothing. . .


to stay in my pajamas

listening to public radio,

interviews with Nathan Lane and Laura Marling,

unsnarling the day’s news with Michel Martin–

mostly disheartening–

I make dough and bake pizzas

enough for us and the shadow figures, too—

of course, wouldn’t you?

I mean, if they should they care to join us,

we’d have enough

and so, we dine,

drink some wine

watch a movie of two families, white and black

see, there’s no going back,

when time moves forward

we go onward,

even while people are wandering

out of place

lost in space–

well, you can take the boy from Mississippi,

but what happens when he returns a man?

People don’t understand

the legacy of poverty and hate,

and racists don’t want to debate

truth seen in a black and white–

it’s easier to fight.


So much to consider,

and some of it makes me bitter,

I think about the six million dead,

those who never got a chance, never fled

wonder if my family’s genes were among them—

hemmed in

forced to live in shadows, in nightmares

or rather, left in there

suffering and forced to die

their cries reverberate

(never abate)

we light a candle in their memory


(never forget)

the sorrow of their journeys,

(remember me)

their souls shout out

but what do my words create–


and what good is an epitaph for them or us—

is what time was forever thus?

Perhaps to foist a new beginning,

or to change the end

when life circles round,

we can start again.



Not watching the movie.


Holocaust Remembrance Day was on Saturday, January 27. We watched the movie, Mudbound, on Netflix.






23 thoughts on “Journey in Place: Beginning and End

  1. Powerfully and beautifully done.
    (Your pizza looks absolutely delish! – better ‘n mine 😉 )
    And now, I have a movie to add to my list of “to-watch”
    And adding quotes by the recently departed Ursula K. LeGuin – perfection. She was soo good.

  2. I’ve missed catching your musings but so happy to be back here again. It always brings a wealth to my Monday, that beginning of the week or the end of the last one… who knows. Nathan Lane and Laura Marling, now that’s a conversation I’d like to hear. I think everyone should watch Mudbound and I repeat the comment from above, in starting again, do it right! We are candles blowing out on the breeze, but when we are lighting, what a beauty we can cast, I wish we could appreciate each others light in the moment and not light them for just the memory.

    • Thank you, Damien. It’s great to see you back here! I love your wishes!
      It wasn’t actually a conversation between Nathan Lane and Laura Marling–that would have been fun. It was two separate interviews on one show. Mudbound wasn’t a perfect movie, but I know I’ll think about it for a while.

  3. Wasn’t expecting such serious topics after “hunker down / in restful verbs and tasty nouns”! You got me! I’m very confused by Holocaust Remembrance Day. When did they do a switch? It used to be in April.

    • Thanks, Luanne. (I think.) 🙂
      January 27th is the UN declared International Holocaust Remembrance Day (also the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz). April is Yom Hashoah, which is also a Holocaust Remembrance Day, particularly in Israel. It also commemorates the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

  4. Remembrance Day is very important. It is a good thing that you mentioned this but was surprised to see it on our Advance Auto bulletins posted with other calendar items. It included a paragraph of details of numbers and just in case a young person were reading, the concentration camps and death chambers.
    This “Mudbound” is a movie I still want to see, Merril.
    Your candles and touching words were glowing and giving tribute to those many (many) departed ones.
    I watched with Felicia, “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri” which was violent and poignant. Would I be able to handle my personal grief of the death and brutal rape of my own daughter any better than this woman? I do like to see the films which are up for Academy Awards, as well as the historical ones which are in the foreign language and arts section of library DVD’s.

    • Thank you, Robin.
      I’m glad you got a chance to see “Three Billboards.” We thought it was a good movie–not exactly enjoyable, but well done.
      Mudbound is a Netflix movie, but it may also be out on DVD. If The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (a series) comes out on DVD and becomes available at your library, I think you’d really enjoy it.

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