At the Crossroads

Monday Morning Musings:

“Standin at the crossroad babe
eee eee eee, risin sun goin down
I believe to my soul now,
Poor Bob is sinkin down”
–from Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues”

Clouds over the river ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Hawk flight in dim light, the trees still green–
summer clings, but autumn slings
a cool grey arm, and shadows fall across it all.

Now, the sun’s a sleepy golden ball

when I hear—something—sing
winged hope soars from that throat—to bring

Waiting for the Sun. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

comfort as the days go by, and dawn rises–
what will come—the future surprises.
The sky is cantaloupe and peach—

the eagles fly, high out of reach

Sunrise over the Delaware River ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

of those below
where time moves fast, then slow
in the beat of heron wings

a fish is gone. Do his fish brethren grieve?
Or do they notice? Do they believe
in monsters from above?

Do they love?

Or feel sorrow? What bargains would you make,
come tomorrow? For the sake
of family or self—for fame or fortune, or for glory?

Bargains with the devil–an age-old story.

But for some, the price they must pay,
to live a night, and into the next day

you stand at the crossroads to survive,
to see that cantaloupe sun arrive

then watch the harvest moon–revived
now humming, full and ripe–and you’re alive
in a world both glorious and banal–

rainfall and rainbows, fireballs

In the neighbor–sunlight, rainbows, and flowers. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

in the night. The moon has heard the call
of dinosaurs and seen the flight of pterodactyls–
and all of nature’s fractals,

patterns repeating, parallels, and lines that intersect
and here, we meet again and again—connect
the dots. We’re at the crossroads,

we rise and fall,
but the moon has seen it all.

We had warm sticky days last week, then the humidity dropped, and it’s starting to look and feel like autumn. Climate change means we will most likely continue to experience extreme weather. Right-wing fanatics are trying to overthrow our democracy, and anti-mask and anti-vax crazies are prolonging the pandemic. We know now that the “dark ages” were not as dark as they used to be portrayed, but it certainly seems like we’re heading into them.

And yet. . .there is still beauty, love, friendship, and people who speak the truth. And cats, food, and wine. Tonight is the September full moon, the Harvest Moon.

The Lantern Theater Company in Philadelphia is beginning this season with two digital plays. We streamed the first one, Me and the Devil, this past weekend. Tickets and information here.
There’s a legend that blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his extraordinary talent. It made me think about how throughout time, people have had to make bargains with evil in order to survive. In Johnson’s case there’s a mystery, and that he died young, adds to his mystique—he may have been poisoned by a jealous husband, as he was known as quite a ladies’ man.

40 thoughts on “At the Crossroads

  1. My husband and I are HUGE Robert Johnson fans. We have CDs with all of his recorded music.

    The sunrise over the river is particularly beautiful, and your musings are quite thought-provoking. This line really resonated: “and you’re alive
    in a world both glorious and banal–”

    • Oh, that’s so cool, Liz, that I happened to write about Robert Johnson and you and your husband are huge fans. I knew of him, but not that much.
      The play was fun. If you like to stream plays, I think the tickets are still available.

      Thank you for letting me know the lines that stood out and your kind words.

      • I’ve never watched a streamed play. (I didn’t know there was such a thing!) I do like live theatre and that feeling of connection with the actors on the stage.

        You’re welcome!

      • Many theater companies turned to streaming plays this past year. Some are filmed versions of plays they’ve already performed. It’s like watching Great Performance on PBS or something like that. Some theater companies have come up with plays written especially to be viewed digitally. We watched one that was live-streamed. That was different. 😏

      • Interesting. Whenever I’ve seen a filmed version of a play, it doesn’t translate that well to the other medium. I like the idea of plays being written especially to be viewed digitally. I love learning of new avenues of expression to explore!

  2. A wonderful Musings, as per. Love me some blues music and I love how you incorporate what you watched with what you did during your week.
    Beautiful pics, too!

  3. Lovely, Merril. Spotting birds sitting on a wire always remind me of my grandmother. She used to tell me that the birds sit in the direction of an approaching storm. I’m not sure if that was an old West Virginia tale, but I smile when I see them perched. Beautiful photos!

  4. We are always making bargains I think…some forced into it by circumstance, some just based on desire. The world falls deeper into the abyss yet continues to shower us with wonder. We go on. (K)

  5. I love your description of the September sky, and also, the sun, ‘ a sleepy golden ball’. I love the pictures that you paint with words. I will cling to that image…a cantaloupe and peach sky, birds that fly just beyond our reach…we remember their wings, built for endurance, and perhaps, that is the most important thing of all to ponder.

  6. I wonder, do the photos you take inspire your poetry or does your poetry inspire the photos you take? Either way – they go hand in hand beautifully.
    Yes, I could easily sink into believing the Dark Ages are once more at hand. Except for the light I find in every day people, and gorgeous poems found in blogs like yours.

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