Riches

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I don’t need a yacht or rings–

or bling—

 

only enough wealth

to pay bills, to manage health,

 

the everyday decisions,

not star-struck visions

 

(think of

Richard Cory, richer than a king. . .)

 

but listen to the mockingbird sing—

riches the world brings

 

This is a quadrille for dVerse, where Kim has asked us to use the word “rich.” For some reason, the poem, “Richard Cory” popped into my mind. You can read it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections: Shadows and Light

Billy Penn Reflecting on Philadelphia--Merril D. Smith, May 2019

Monday Morning Musings:

“But it is only in epic tragedies that gloom is unrelieved. In real life tragedy and comedy are so intermingled that when one is most wretched ridiculous things happen to make one laugh in spite of oneself.”

–Georgette Heyer,  Civil Contract

“Here in the moving shadows

I catch my breath and sing–

My heart is fresh and fearless

And over-brimmed with spring.”
–from Sara Teasdale, “May Night”

 

Here the ghost eyes eternity

looking through a window

from the after

flying through fires of if

laughing at when

they embraced,

in heartbeats

measured time

****

My heart is over-brimmed

as my mother’s eyes fill

and weak are her limbs.

 

Days move from freezing rain

to summer heat

and I reel from pain

 

of seeing her so.

 

But nature and comedy

make me smile and laugh

and provide a remedy

both constant and temporary–

because life is full of

tragedy and joy, the extraordinary

 

and ordinary

of illness, broken cars, and trains delayed

–and the first strawberries

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of the season

the scent alone

a reason

 

to celebrate life

and being here

friends, family, husband, wife—

 

we go through shadows

seek light,

and who knows

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what will be, and if anything will be right

(the world sighs)

but there, the light

 

comes through the trees

and we drink coffee

savor moments, these

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small joys, please–

the walks and shadow shows

pizza, wine, dogs—these

 

simple pleasures bring

to our hearts even in winter

feelings of spring

 

(briefly in my mother’s eyes)

and comedy and tragedy both fly

dancing to the tune

of the moon’s lullaby.

Full Moon over Woodcrest Station

 

Thank you for all the good wishes for my mom. She has improved some from her stroke, and we were able to take her outside yesterday for a little while. We saw our son-in-law perform a stand-up routine at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia, and we saw Manual Cinema’s Ada/Ava at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. This is the second time we’ve seen one of their shows.  They’re hard to describe–but combine shadow puppets, actors, and live music to create something unique. If you get a chance, see them perform. There’s a video on this Kimmel Center link.

 

 

 

And If Always Lives

At Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ--Merril D. Smith

When some brilliant star,

breathing time, flies,

no, lingers long

in after-wake of dark, bleeding sky,

it explores eternity

 

and I look up,

smile at it,

and this vast, dazzly universe

laugh, celebrate life,

but listen to

 

for the ghosts about me–

from that tree, see

on a velvet-flowered breeze?

 

Coloring morning with blushing voices

of secret almost-words–

and if always lives

 

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It took some work, but the Oracle always knows.

 

 

Live and Grow

 

Live, grow, through the greys

hope for, golden rays

that give

life some bright displays

and love some pathways

to live

without them and they,

without risk, some day

 

grow tall, through the frays,

tell a tale that sways,

outlives

hate, instead to blaze

in unforeseen ways–

forgives?

Hope for golden rays,

live, grow, through the greys.

 

Grace is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse.  This is another attempt at a lai noveau.

I walked by the Holocaust Memorial in Philadelphia yesterday, and I was happy to see the Theresienstadt Tree has grown since the last time I saw it.

 

 

 

 

 

Bodies and Souls, Part 2

blue and silver stetoscope

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

And so, we ponder the mysteries

of body and soul, the medical arts,

blood pressure, pulse, the body parts

and histories

 

(labeled with another’s name)

 

We wonder, who is she

who intrudes on the charts

who lubs dubs with my mother’s heart–

the mysterious Susan C.

 

We speculate—

the student who once threw a roll,

or was it she on the grassy knoll?

What is or was her fate?

 

(Did they need to operate?)

 

Let’s Google her, we say.

Is it her, or her, or her?

Which woman there would we prefer?

It doesn’t matter, either way.

 

Why won’t her name disappear?

Is she a Russian spy?

Why? Why? Why

is her name so clear, so near

 

to erasing it—persevere, we will.

There! All set.

No. Sigh. Not yet.

 

(Do you think she’ll pay the bill.)

 

I don’t want to go into details or give the woman’s full name, but there was another woman’s name associated with some of my mom’s medical records, and we could not get rid of it. But we got a little silly with wondering who she was. If interested, you can read my more serious post here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bodies and Souls

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When we were both younger.

Monday Morning Musings:

“Here is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:

I heard it in the air of one night when I listened

To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angry in the darkness.”

–Carl Sandburg, from “Poems done on a Late Night Car”

 

“And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

From, Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”

 

Beneath the beauty–

pink, red, yellow-petaled–

nectar flows,

pollen-dusted bees

hover, their buzz

a soothing lullaby–

the sound of if, is, was,

and will be

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What will be?

From my mother’s body,

I came,

my earliest memory, her

(she was beautiful)

shushing me,

telling me not to wake my sister

 

My sister and I played,

sang the songs of Broadway

and our lives,

nonsense words became family slang

over the dinner table—

the sound of family dinners,

and playing the dictionary game.

 

From my body,

my daughters came.

Sisters, they played,

sang songs of Broadway

and their lives

nonsense words became family slang

over the dinner table—

the sound of family dinners,

and playing Scattergories.

 

They look alike,

(but they don’t)

anyone can tell they’re sisters,

the way they talk and gesture–

we look alike

(but we don’t)

anyone can tell I’m their mother,

it’s in the blood,

our souls

from bodies, the blood of

grey and green-eyed ancestors

generations stretching far back

to first hearts beating

and blood flowing

women, men,

loving, hating,

beautiful and ugly bodies

crawling, walking–

in the cold May rain

we go to see my mom

no longer young

with body failing

and mind not as sharp

(not as it was, not as she was)

but heart beating

and blood flowing,

we make her laugh

she’s in the hospital

(first docile, now demanding)

it’s the anniversary of my dad’s death

hearts beating

and hearts not beating

once my father raged,

against the dying of the light

till he raged, no more,

 

body and soul both gone.

I don’t believe in ghosts

and spirits

(But I do.)

There are things in the air

we can’t see, can’t hear

the songs of stars and bees,

the humming of the moon.

 

Can two people share the same dream?

The woman asks in the movie—

because it happens to her and a man,

It happened to me, once long ago,

to my daughter and me

a dream forgotten now– except

“someone played a flute,”

we both say, when I mention it—

years later.

 

Things unexplainable,

things I hear in the air,

that I wish we had more of,

I remember singing to my babies

My mom’s cousin says,

“people remember

the songs they heard

when they were children.”

Perhaps there are things

in the air–

If we stop and listen,

the sound of stars and bees,

the humming of the moon.

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day, here in the U.S. My mom has been in the hospital for the past several days. My father died on May 11, 1998. I remember going to the hospital on Mother’s Day, for what would be his last night.

My husband and I watched a Hungarian movie, On Bodies and Souls on Netflix. In it, a man and a woman share the same dream every night. (Warning: there are scenes at the beginning in a meat-packing plant, but keep watching past that.) It also features a beautiful Laura Marling song.

 

 

All the Questions

 

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Odilon Redon, “The Apparition,” [Public Domain] Wikipedia Commons

Could, can, we celebrate–

see the magic of fire-red sky

and perfumed ocean breeze?

 

Would, will, stars dazzle

or haunt the night in if?

 

When is always?

And how did, does,

time go like a soft laugh

from an open window–

 

and all the words breathe who and this

and almost were

 

here

remembering secret voices,

wild ghosts, joy

 

It’s been a strange couple of days, and I was almost afraid to– but I consulted the Oracle. I shouldn’t doubt that she always knows.

 

 

 

 

 

Theories of Clouds and Time

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Caspar David Friedrich, “Drifting Clouds,”[Public Domain], Wikipedia Commons

Once I looked up at the night sky

and watched the clouds flying

 

like time

on feathered wings,

 

I flew along,

eager for what it’d bring,

 

asking why–

finding when

 

happens then

again, and time the thing

 

like clouds

that drifts up, away, sighing.

 

Taking a work break! This is a quadrille for De’s prompt on dVerse using the word “up,” and for my dVerse prompt on theories.

And some music, Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”–from her Clouds album.