Fair and Foul and Fair

Monday Morning Musings:

“So fair and foul a day I have not seen.”

–William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

–William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5

“A library is infinity under a roof.”

—Gail Carson Levine


I lust for language–

a thousand symphonies play in my head

like light on water, ripples tripling

the glowing


sending words, like spindrift into the sky

never lies,

but truth amplified.

I see the storms of summer spring

and hear the mockingbird sing

in night and day

he stays–

wanting love and standing guard

his tiny body working hard.

I feel

(ever present)

the ghosts around me sighing

and do they fear

from year to year

what was and what will be?

The circling of time

and life beating

(so fleeting),

but renewed again and again.


We walk through galleries

and by the river

(life giver)










flowing through a city that has grown

built with wood, and bricks, and stone,

a nation conceived, and ideas flown

(now people find them on their phones).

But still—here they are gathered

scattered on grass

biking, running,

or rowing, sun-glimmered,

forward and back








like time

(the Muse says)–

they’re in their prime


in this clime

the moment frozen in a thought

or captured in a rhyme

but before long

they will be gone.


Museums and libraries

I celebrate–

spread my books out on a table

enabling those who pass to see them better

West Deptford Public Library Book Festival











to read the letters and titles

though mine don’t sell

people stop by to wish me well

and support the work I do—

telling the truth

when some others seldom do.


We go out later to drink some wine

and dine in the open air

Sharrott Winery, Hammonton, NJ
















the day turns fair, then foul, then fair

where birds flutter and fly

and children cry

with delight

running in fields in the fading light.


We see the Scottish play









on a cooler day–

then again it moves from foul to fair

threatening skies to a more spring-like air.

But inside this grand library

Free Library of Philadelphia















something wicked this way comes

though there are only two witches instead of three

(something in this version that bothered me).

Yet the acting is good, and the Macbeths

both powerful and vulnerable

to fate

that they help to make.

As the drum beats. and the swords fly

time in the theater passes by,

and tales from another age verify

the universals truths of humankind

(though this production streamlined),

all the tomorrows,

and the yesterdays,

the sound and the fury,

our vision often blurry

during our brief stay—

and yet we find a way

with stories and art

to share our hearts.


Once we had leaders who valued art

and learning,

understood the yearning to know

truth and beauty.

It is our duty

then to spread such ideas,

no matter what he says

and they believe

the false faces and words

that constantly deceive.

Yes, the storm is coming

and let it blow

away the discordant tunes

and the starless nights

for bright humming moons

and radiant light.


Sister Cities Fountain





26 thoughts on “Fair and Foul and Fair

  1. This is almost like a continuation of the magnet poem from yesterday, but a bit discordant and askew, like the weather and there only being two witches. What a lovely show your books make! And congratulations on having the nerve to sit with them 🙂

    • Thank you, Jane. How observant you are! The Oracle gave me the opening. 🙂
      I really was bothered by only two witches, but I guess with everyone playing multiple roles already in a condensed version of the play, they just couldn’t fit the third one in.
      And thank you about the books. I didn’t expect to sell many, as they’re expensive and not light reading, but I was disappointed not sell even one this time.

  2. Ah, the words of Shakespeare! And you riff on them so well.
    I’ve manned booths when nothing sold…it’s good experience I guess. I’m impressed by all your books! And bravo to telling the truth in them.
    The river and bridge photo is really magical. (K)

    • Thank you very much, Kerfe. I was pleased with that photo, too. 🙂
      They’re academic books, so I didn’t expect to sell many, but I was hoping to sell one or two.

  3. After I did a double-take and reread the beginning to make sure you weren’t actually lusting for LUGGAGE, things picked up and made a lot more sense. 🙂 The Book Festival sounds like so much fun, though I wish you would have made more sales. ❤

  4. I hope the storm does “blow away the discordant tunes.” You and your books look so good together. I’m sorry you didn’t sell at least one.

  5. This was so magnificent Merril thank you – full of depth of meaning. The highs and the lows so beautifully juxtaposed … and the photographs are a treat too. I too am sorry you sold not even one … thank you also for sharing that experience with us. I hope to be more ‘present’ from now on … been AWOL for a while.

    • Thank you so much, Susan.
      It is hard to keep up with everyone–and especially in April when people are doing various challenges. I appreciate you popping in and reading whenever you do!
      Yes, my books are more academic and expensive. I didn’t expect to sell many–one would have been nice. 🙂 I think one woman would have bought one, if I took credit.

  6. I may come back to read this but my first impressions were mainly how week you write, putting pieces of days together into a beautiful tapestry of words, Merril.
    The photographs are luminous and lovely. So sorry about your book sales. Your professional books, along with the cooking and 17th century history book all are so attractive and filled with knowledge. I admire this body of work thus far.
    I hope someday to read a poetry book by you, Merril. You have plenty of your original, lovely photos to illustrate them, too.
    The winery would be a fine place to unwind. 🍷🍷🥂

    • Thank you for the lovely comment and the kind words about my writing. I’m hoping someday to publish a book a poetry.
      We really like the wine at this winery, which is near where my younger daughter lives.

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