Cold and Burning

Monday Morning Musings:

 “Listen. .

With faint dry sound,

Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees

And fall.”

Adelaide Crapsey, “November Night”


“In the burned house I am eating breakfast.

You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,

yet here I am.”

From Margaret Atwood, “Morning in the Burned House”


The sun sleeps

in shadow now

the ground prepares

to slumber, too


covered in brown

then sprinkled with white

golden-leaved boughs

glowing bright


in defiant display—

this they say—

remember this day–

we will return


when the sun burns

the frost away.


So, we stay inside

watch a movie of sly wit and song,

there death seems to come along,

a bit of jokester, it seems

for which we’re never prepared,

still we turn the pages in a book,

hoping for a happy ending

Movie Cat

He is fascinated, watching The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

And in the night

I dream of petting a sloth

(in a park)


then accompanying a pretentious hipster

dressed all in black, dark

like the restaurant where no food is consumed


but I outwit him and his friends

and wake laughing at the dream’s end.


Score one for the old lady

there’s life here still–

and more to be penned.


We venture out to see another film

unfolding tension

(a few jumps in my chair)


metaphors and

things that are not there—


a tangerine,

perhaps a cat—


and there is burning—

of various kinds—


and yearning–

what is in their minds?


What do they feel,


the young woman,

the would-be writer,

and the mystery Gatsby-rich man?


What is real?


We walk and talk

buy spices

to simmer in the cold,

FullSizeRender 695

then in the chilly day

creeping into shadowed night

savor the warmth of wine

consumed in cozy light

life enjoyed despite what may

transpire, gloom kept at bay


undesired here and now

and our fate unknown anyhow


so, we gather rosebuds—or drink

fruit of the wine, laugh and think


but not too long about the future

instead we nurture


ourselves and one another


cuddle with cats, dream of the moon

enjoy one snowfall, but wait for June


still we prepare soon

with family to gather


as the seasons turn

burn only candles


yet, seek the light

in every room.


We watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western, Coen Brothers style, in theaters and on Netflix. We also saw Burning, Korean movie, a psychological thriller. We liked both movies very much. Wonderful acting in both of them.


32 thoughts on “Cold and Burning

  1. I appreciate the literary allusions and the lovely photo of you and the fruit of the vine in a chalice: so, we gather rosebuds—or drink the fruit of the vine in a chalice. No wonder you earn prizes for your poetry, Merril. I love being carried along on a lyrical musing.

  2. I love these poems where it feels like I’m along with you, walking, watching movies, enjoying the cold, then the warmth. I used to live in upstate New York (about 45 minutes NE of Albany). I miss the seasons, sometimes wish I could live there again. What did you think of The Ballad of Buster Scruggs? We watched it this weekend, actually over two nights. We wondered if Tarantino directed the first story, not sure if we would watch the rest but I’m glad we did.

    • That is such a kind comment. Thank you, Marie!
      I like the change of seasons, even if I don’t actually like it being very cold, or hot. 🙂 I liked The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and so did my husband. I think it’s one of the better Coen Brothers movie. I’m not a Tarantino fan. I heard the Coen brothers on Fresh Air today. They discussed this movie, and then Hail Caesar (which I thought had some good bits, but overall not one of their best).

  3. Fantastical poem, Merril! I especially loved how your cats drifted in and out of your musings. 😻 Cheers to enchanting poetry and delicious apple sauce… cute pic of you, as well, looking so happy with your glass of wine. 🤗🍷

    • Thank you so much, Rose. I’m home most of the time with the cats nearby. 🙂
      But one reference was to the movie, where the woman may or may not have had a cat.
      I was happy with my glass of wine. 🙂

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