Universal Truths, Some Ice Doesn’t Melt

Monday Morning Musings:

“Poverty made a sound like a wet cough in the shadows of the room.”

–Ray Bradbury  (Referenced here.)

There’s ice on the river,
but it will melt,

Ice on the Delaware seen from Patco Train
not so some hearts

that stay ever frozen,


no warm current flows

there to thaw,


the cold. No way

to resuscitate the lifeless



feeding on the living.


Yet they proclaim

their love of life


when it’s cells

they pretend to care about–


but not the ones

into which people are thrown


not the children taken

and lost


and not their parents–

only the cells that might be,


not the violence

that affects them,


not the guns or poverty.

Power and money


their gods

though they pay lip-service


to a deity

twisted to defend


their beliefs.

It’s an age-old tale,


a universal truth that

the mighty can tumble,


but those just getting by

fall over the edge

and into a ravine

often unseen,


there to remain,

but it can happen


to almost anyone

without influence


or connections.




is the key,


if only to one



of the many–

the librarian


who makes the homeless child

feel special,


the immigration officer,

who learns that


that law and morality

and not always the same thing.


We walk through city streets

where murals bring beauty–


and truth,

and a museum opens its doors

and galleries

to new works among the old–

social and economic inequality

consumption of people and goods


the movement of people and goods

across the globe–


a complex interaction

of thought, art, and words.

I amuse myself in imagining

my father and older daughter


walking though these rooms–

he, who wrote a dissertation


on Charles Willson Peale,

and she, an artist with a passion


for justice. What fun they would

have had here.What a discussion

they might have had—

perhaps in some alternative world,


but here, we are

and we go to a movie


immersed in a world that does exist–

It is fiction, but tells a truth


of poverty, chaos

that most of us cannot imagine.


Through it a young boy navigates

with defiance, bravery, spirit—and kindness


rising above it all

despite the example


of his parents, and many

around him blind to what is before them.


A story again of immigrants, too,

because this another universal truth


that people move and come legally and illegally

to Ethiopia, Lebanon, Iceland, the U.S.


to which my grandparents came.

And your ancestors were immigrants too


if you look back far enough.

And were they helped by someone?


Most likely.


We each walk our own paths

with tenuous connections


that sometimes mesh

or interact.

Late Afternoon, Washington Square, Philadelphia


The meteorologist says

there’s freezing fog today


but the temperatures will rise,

and the ice will melt


But some hearts will stay cold

and some minds will remain frozen


screens where the cursor never moves

to write new thoughts.


We saw And Breath Normally. It’s on Netflix, trailer here.  It’s a quiet movie (no music, Dale!), but well done, about a immigration officer in Iceland and the African refugee who helps her. Though it’s set in Iceland, it could have taken place in many different nations. And we saw Capernaum (trailer here), which will just rip your insides outs. That little boy AND that toddler, and the horrible parents, and the surroundings. . .yeah, just see it.

We went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where Rina Bannerjee’s work is on display until March  31. (Free on Sundays during the exhibition). You can see and read more about her work here.































My grandmothers, both immigrants



I amuse myself by imagining my father and my older daughter walking through the gallery discussing his view of the Peales and her views on art and feminism. They would have had so much fun.



Resistence spices peel  never imagine without inheritance  I see revealed

Sun disguises well the feather we see while home


Stop these storms


She sings of summer

While the wind urges elaborate dreams

Heaving enormous fluff



Her heart healed

He looked long

Letting it be less



The perfume of need and want


In embrace

Timeless as the ocean

Exploring the night



28 thoughts on “Universal Truths, Some Ice Doesn’t Melt

  1. All you can do is keep saying it. The ice is a tremendous metaphor, especially contrasted with the warmth of your family evocations.

    Btw I’m wondering if I’m seeing the post plus a sketch of a post. There’s a gap at the end of the first ‘musing’ then pieces with gaps for images that aren’t there.

    • Thank you very much, Jane. I’m glad you thought the metaphor was effective.
      Hmmm. . .Oh. . .I think there are REAL musings at the bottom. Hahahahaha. I guess it’s going to be one of “those” days! I posted this first by mistake without a title. Then corrected and re-posted, but I guess I didn’t scroll down to erase the random thoughts I had. Maybe I should just leave them–the poetic process? 🙂

  2. I always anticipate your Monday Morning Musings, wondering what you will be suggesting (for me) this week 😉

    You know “Capernaum” is on my list but I haven’t gone out to see it yet. And thankfully, my Netflix also has “And Breathe Normally” (you’re missing your ‘e’ 😉 )

    Like Jane, I wondered about the huge blank space between the two sections of your post – intentional?

    Wonderful musings, Merril.

    • For some reason, your comment isn’t showing up on the side where I usually see them. I don’t know what’s up with this post! Are you seeing a huge blank space somewhere besides after I wrote the paragraphs about the movies I saw, or just those weird random words I forgot to delete? 🙂 And the misspelling. Geeze! Despite all that, I’m glad you liked the post.

  3. Pingback: Postscript, in which I continue to procrastinate, avoiding the work I should be doing in order to comment on the mistakes with my previous post – Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

  4. Love the art and your imagining about your father and daughter! All very inspirational. My immigrant ancestors were mainly helped by family. So helped the first one to arrive from each branch? I don’t know.

    • Thank you, Luanne. I really did imagine that about my dad and daughter. I told my husband in one of the galleries. 🙂
      Even before the immigrants you know about, there were others who had to have immigrated from somewhere.

  5. My mother’s ancestors came from Ireland via Canada. My dad’s mom came from Bavaria with her family when she was 16 (well, I don’t know if they came all at once or in stages). This here: “But some hearts will stay cold / and some minds will remain frozen” Yes, yes, and let’s hope we can show them the door in 2020 … if not sooner.

  6. We do well to remember that we’re all mostly immigrants in one way or the other for one reason or the other, always in motion, sometimes backwards sometimes forwards, sometimes mis-stepping as the weather seems to in her capricious way. May our hearts never harden or become like ice or if they do as can happen, that we allow the warm rays of the sun to thaw our hearts – Thanks Merril ..

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