With Shards and Shatters, Magic Comes

Monday Morning Musings:

Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.”

–Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden 

“When you look at a piece of delicately spun glass you think of two things: how beautiful it is and how easily it can be broken.”

–Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie

I dream about time

and death

and mothers mad with a thousand aches

whose cries shatter the skies

like glass

yet never disturb the shadow figures

or the thunder clouds of war and destruction.

The manufacturers of death never go out of business

and the rain only washes the surface blood away


We go searching for magic

in the break between storms

when the sky is blue

May in Old City Philadelphia











and the world around us is green

on what were abandoned lots

filled with trash,

we find magic, human made

from glass and stone,

Philadelphia Magic Gardens



































sparkling, glittering, honed

with skill, passion, artistic vision–

whimsy combined with social justice

and a creative spirit


We walk down South Street

(“Where do all the hippies meet?”)

“You must know where all the bodies are buried,”

says one man to another at a café table.

He agrees he does,

and while I want to know more,

we keep walking, till

a police officer stops us,

on the sidewalk,

not to ask us about bodies,

but instead, to talk up a restaurant,

“They make the best gyros, full of meat.

I eat there all the time.”

Do we look hungry, I wonder?

We thank him,

keep walking,

observing magic all around,

sometimes you just have to look up.

South Street











We wander through shady green–

Hoping these souls are at rest—










and seeing magic all around us,

in the sparrows flitting and chirping in the bushes

and in the flowers glowing in the sunlight.

Christ Church Garden, Philadelphia










In between storms,








when lightning flashes

and rain, first pounds

then tinkles delicately—

like glass chimes–

we look for Earth’s magic


in plants and vegetables,


tasting of sunlight and summer heat










And so, we recall,

that life is luscious still

look through glass darkly

see what is half empty,

half full,

mend the broken shatters

into a thing of beauty.

And on this cloudy day

while people mourn and celebrate

the fragility of life

I will think of magic,

baking a pie that tastes

of sunlight and summer heat

and life, tart and sweet.








Today is Memorial Day in the U.S.

We visited Philadelphia Magic Gardens a few days ago and then walked around Old City.

We went to Joan’s Farm Stand, in Mickleton, NJ.



23 thoughts on “With Shards and Shatters, Magic Comes

  1. Poignant poem, Merril. Made me cry a bit. Then I came to South Street. I remember walking it once (when I was a teenager) looking for all the hippies. All I found were boarded up windows. :-0
    Magic in glass – fragile, delicate, breakable. Just like us.

  2. Your opening metaphor is fantastic, Merril. Tragic, but fantastic.

    I had to laugh at the cop story. I pictured him wearing a sandwich sign as he patrolled the street.

    • Thanks so much, Ken. The Oracle helped me with that first part. 🙂
      The cop was so funny–not that he meant to be–but it was just so random. Like something that would happen on Seinfeld. 🙂

  3. Whoa, Merril! Your husband and you look really good in this picture! The setting suited both of you.
    You could do portrait photography. . . The woman who may be Joan (?) at the farm stand is radiant! It is magical, the glowing face and posters. . .
    Did you offer to send it to her email or phone?
    The strawberries looks so ripe and juicy.
    The brightness in skies, storms passing and beautiful artworks are well described!

    • Thank you, Robin. Some stranger took the photo of us at Philadelphia Magic Gardens after they asked me to take one of them. I was pleased with it, too.
      Joan at the farm stand is the mother of one of the instructors at the gym I go to. I asked her if it was OK to post it–they’re both on Facebook, and I tagged her daughter, so I think she saw the photo. The strawberries were delicious–plain and in the pie I baked.

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