Love, Loss, and Dancing Through It

Monday Morning Musings:

Beat away the aching time
in river blues, see serene, sublime

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

in those rippling rhythms. The tide rolls in, and thus begins
another round of what and when and who wins

the life and death struggles, the eagle soars, swoops, a pounce
there goes the fish, squirrel, another ounce, but we can’t denounce

an avian predator who wants to eat,
but human ones, we must unseat.

I see the lawn-stuck signs of misguided fools who think
freedom comes with soundbite slogans–but we’re on the brink

standing on a precipice, tottering, about to fall
while they embrace the treacherous, Russians and all–

the lies they think are fine, wish them away, spin, deny
in sheep-like flocks they gather, unmasked, I sigh

as I walk, watch the geese honk and fly
greeting each other, hello, goodbye

I say, wonder what it’s like to twirl and soar
and then, I go home to bake some more,

to dip bread and apples in honey’s sweetness
to wish for good to flourish, feeling a completeness

of life with loved ones, though from afar
with a world increasingly troubled and bizarre.

Every day more and more, surpassing–
we’re saddened by news of a hero’s passing.

More wine, more honey
talk of this and that, find something funny—

hold on to love (is love is love is love is love is love)
dance when you can, look for beauty above

and all around, fight for justice and truth—
remember our heroes, remember Ruth.

We celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah with a Zoom dinner with our daughters and their spouses. I don’t know how to make a small holiday meal, even though there are just two of us here. We heard about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg when the news flashed on a daughter’s phone.

Merril’s Movie Club: We saw And Then We Danced, which now is free on Amazon Prime. We had seen previews for it before the pandemic hit, and though I enjoyed the movie, it would have been wonderful to see it on a big screen. The film is about Merab, a member of Georgia’s National Dance Ensemble. It’s an art form that is beautiful, but rigid, and steeped in tradition. Merab and a new dancer, Iralki are first rivals, but then attracted to each other. It is dangerous to be gay in Georgia (the country, not the state). The government would not finance the movie, and there were bodyguards on the set. The choreographer remains anonymous. I fear this is what it could be like here.
My husband and I both liked the movie very much. The drumming music is great. The subtitles could be better, and they even though I watch subtitled movies all the time, I had to full with the settings.

46 thoughts on “Love, Loss, and Dancing Through It

  1. This is strange. I read this poem to a rap rhythm. I’ve always found your poems flowing like rivers, but this one is tough and pointy and beaty. Then I saw what film you’d been watching and wondered if you’d picked up the rhythm of the film.

    • Wow–that’s fascinating. I don’t know. It could be–that and combined with seeing tr–p signs and flags while out walking, which made me angry. (They’re always so big, too–definitely overcompensating.) 😏

      • The mood is getting volatile everywhere. It’s as though we’ve suddenly realised how enormous the world is and we know what’s going on everywhere. Everybody’s business is made public, nations, celebrities, ordinary people. It makes people think they can join in, throw their own bottles, beer cans, etc etc and somebody will notice. It’s scary.

  2. I smiled when I read this line, “I don’t know how to make a small holiday meal, even though there are just two of us here.” I would venture to guess you inherited that from your mother. I can only imagine how delicious your kitchen must smell. Thanks for sharing your stunning photos…love the wild flowers.

  3. I agree with Jane about the sound of this poem. There’s some barely-tamed anger in there. That this beautiful opening photo also is a battlefield bothers me. The gardener and I watched Apocalypse WWI last night. Ugh. I feel scarred from just watching that show.
    Your challah is gorgeous. I just am not motivated to make stuff like this gluten free.

  4. I, too, was struck with the rhythm of this. So different from your usual style! Not that I didn’t love it, of course.
    Sometimes I wonder if this ease of reach through media is a good thing. Maybe if we didn’t have such access, we’d be better able to take care of business in our own country.
    I fear Ruth’s last desire will not be honoured and that grieves me tremendously. That toad in the White House has no respect for anyone or anything.

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  6. Here’s my take on the rhythm-thing: It serves the message and fits the mood and thus enables greater communication of things un-said. Poetry is like that, yes it is.
    Hang in there…I think your Challah is gorgeous –

  7. You got rhythm, Merril 🙂 I, of course, embraced these lines:
    we can’t denounce
    an avian predator who wants to eat,
    but human ones, we must unseat.
    How perfect! We saw the news about RBG and I felt so much fear. It angers me that I can’t simply mourn her death and celebrate her life, but I must anticipate yet another battle. My husband’s comment, “Can we get a break?!” Isn’t that awful, to feel that way about someone’s death when you’d rather honor their memory. Well, we will push on. If she (RBG) could do it (and she definitely didn’t catch a break from cancer), we will too. We will prevail.

  8. Its hard not to be angry at malevolence and ignorance–a bad combination. I fear it is already too late.
    And yet–if we don’t completely destroy the earth along with ourselves, she will renew herself.
    In the meantime we must keep our rituals and threads of hope alive. (K)

  9. Beautiful photos Merril … that challah, my favourite bread looks so delicious. I also picked up a particular or unusual rhythm but very fitting considering everything. What a shock to get the news on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah of RBG’s death – may her memory be a blessing.

  10. This is is another of your poems that felt as if you were inside my head. This week has been especially triggering with depraved disregard of human life on full display. I appreciated the poem’s pivot after the geese photo. It’s a kindness you give us, and I thank you for it.

  11. I noticed the rhythm, too, and thought it fit the mood of these strange times. Thank you for including the geese and other beautiful signs (which are much better than the man-made signs we see around here for that squatter in the White House). It took me a long time to figure out how to do holiday cooking for two. Then again, I didn’t really figure it out. I end up freezing leftovers. 🙂

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