Grey Clouds, White Snow, and Beautiful as You Feel

Monday Morning Musings:

We’re frozen in a shadow world of dreary grey clouds, not even interesting enough to be chiaroscuro, just day after day dismal bleakness. Finally, the sun appears, and though the wind is gusting, and it is cold, I am thrilled to see sunshine. I have a doctor’s appointment, and we decide to make the rest of the day into an afternoon date—lunch and a movie. Before the movie, Green Book, I discover a little pond by the multi-plex parking lot. Beauty in unexpected places.

sun shines one fine day–

cold white clouds on blue surface,

rippled by webbed feet

Pond beside Multiplex, Voorhees, NJ--Merril D. Smith 2019

A friend stops by–just for a moment to drop off a belated birthday gift. The presents are lovely, but it’s the thoughtfulness that I cherish more. We’ve been friends since our college years when our now husbands were roommates. She’s a friend I could call in the middle of the night if I ever had to.

know you’ve got a friend

in January’s dark cold

to bring glimpse of spring

 

We’re watching The Man in the High Castle. In this alternate reality, the United States is split between the Nazis on the East coast and the Japanese on the West. In one episode, a Jewish man (who practices his religion in secret) tells another character to continue to create art, to find beauty so that “they” don’t win. He says Jews have outlived evil before, and they will do it again. I hope he’s right.

creating beauty,

wondering if it’s too late

for seeds to flower

Sylvia Schreiber Painting

One of my mother’s paintings.

Sun and wind, then grey skies again. A Sunday morning snowfall, quiet and beautiful.

there, up on the roof

snow lays a silent white quilt–

inside all are warm

 

We eat mussels and pomme frites at a Belgian bar. Then we walk through the cold city streets, where some holiday decorations remain.

 

small blankets of white

lights twinkle so far away–

city winter night

In the beautiful Academy of Music, we see Beautiful. The show tells the story of Carole King’s life, focusing on her relationship with Gerry Goffin, her husband and writing partner, and their friendly rivalry with songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The show ignores the social and political events going on at the time, though her declaration of independence got a cheer from women in the audience. Still, the songs that carry the show along—and they, of course, are wonderful. The show begins (“So Far Away) and ends with Carole alone on the stage at the piano (“Beautiful”).

light so far away,

you’re beautiful as you feel—

hope in dark of night

 

We go home to dream–of some kind of wonderful.

White Cat on Grey Couch, National Park, NJ

Each of the haiku–and the final line– includes a line from a Carole King song:

“One Fine Day” (Gerry Goffin and Carole King)

“You’ve Got a Friend” (Carole King)

“It’s Too Late “(Carole King)

“Up on the Roof “(Gerry Goffin and Carole King

“So Far Away “(Carole King)

“Beautiful “(Carole King)

“Some Kind of Wonderful” (Gerry Goffin and Carole King)

And here’s a bonus for you from when Carole King was honored at the Kennedy Center.

If you’ve never seen this, then you’re welcome. And if you have, then you know–Aretha Franklin, the Obamas, and Carole King herself–all the feelings!

 

Whispered Chants and Purple Seas

gudmund_stenersen_-_fra_svolvær

Whispered chants, when

must it all go?

 

So, with a moan,

she soars through shadows

 

as the moon sings of time

in blooded beats

 

and

if

 

she asks—aching—

is it never yet?

 

A thousand whys—

but still she dreams

 

of wind-sprayed skin

and purple seas

 

screen shot 2019-01-11 at 7.14.44 am

This is for Open Link Night at dVerse, where Grace is hosting. I don’t usually consult The Magnetic Poetry Oracle until Saturday, but it’s been a strange week anyway, and then I saw the report about the oceans are warming up faster than has been anticipated.  Well, the Oracle knows everything.  A bit of surrealism here perhaps—it seems fitting.

 

 

Grey January Blues

January—the new year begins with day after day of grey skies and rain. I sit in a medical center. The light here is muted, the voices are hushed, except for those on the TV set, which no one is watching. I wait for a fax to arrive so that I can have a test done. Like Godot, the fax never appears. After three hours of waiting, I reschedule the test for another day. I walk outside to find it’s now sleeting. I travel home, only a few miles, but it’s another world, one of warmth and light. The cats greet me. My husband naps in front of the TV.  I defrost some homemade soup for dinner for us and drink a glass of wine. It is dark now, but somehow the world seems brighter.

unrelenting clouds,

sun and moon sheathed in cold grey–

wind sighs lonesome blues

Onion Soup

Warmth for body and soul

This Haibun is for Haibun Monday at dVerse, where Kim asks us to write about January. This was my afternoon yesterday. Thank goodness I had a good book to read. In case anyone was worried, I was simply getting a routine test to check my bone density.

 

 

Trusting Love

Monday Morning Musings:

“Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.”

–James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

“If you trusted love this far, don’t panic now.”

–James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

 

In January dreariness, we sit in quiet reflection

still sated from treats of weeks before–

sweet confections—we turn in new directions

for the new year, wondering what for,

 

when the past seems ever with us

old hates reemerge, relished too much by some—

though we hope they’re few—so, we discuss

among our friends, from where does it come–

 

the evil of the past and then the current day?

Why do people flock to listen to the lies?

Though, true, some try hard to find a way

to shine the light before truth dies

img_0936

We all value real news.

 

we watch an Italian film, a fairy tale of sorts

with a man too good, timeless perhaps

as evil recurs, so too, goodness retorts

and yet, while we countdown till the collapse

 

Pizza Night!

Homemade pizza and wine–perfect to go with an Italian movie.

 

of the earth and all we love—

I have to have hope

in seeing the sun and moon above

and beauty in the ordinary, the scope

 

both small and wide, a cat,

the sky, grey clouds parting for sun to set–

and so, we chat, of this and that

of family and life, avoiding the threat—

img_0988

Happy to see some sunshine from my window after a rainy day.

not ready to face it yet–

so, we stroll through city streets

reminded again that truth doesn’t set

but tries again, and sometimes unseats

Philadelphia Murals

those who try to usurp power

and crush the weak or different-skinned,

but those who wield control from mansion or tower

lose it eventually, to vanish in the wind

 

like the one we walk in today

blowing clouds past the sun,

and with its light, some shadows play

upon the streets and walls, till done.

Shadows and Light, January in Philadelphia

Shadows and light.

We watch a movie, where love is strong

despite injustice based on racist thought–

centuries old–though it doesn’t belong,

still we’re caught, fraught, some brought

 

to realize indifference is just as wrong

even while hoping love will find a way

to stay, despite the panic, and headstrong

it can be, still love trumps hate, any day

 

so, it stays. And we walk and talk

as winter sun lowers in the sky

and in the park, the cry of a hawk

the chatter of squirrels, as we pass by

img_0999

then down to the train, and so we go–

home to where we’re blanketed and warm

where there is food and lights aglow,

a shelter in life’s storm.

 

Will love be enough?

We’ll try not to panic now–

there will be rougher stuff

and to time we’ll bow—

 

and yet

and yet

we’re here together now.

img_0982

 

We watched Happy as Lazzaro (on Netflix). Trailer here. It’s a sort of fairy tale, or perhaps an allegory. It’s a beautiful film—one to think about. We also saw If Beale Street Could Talk, based on James Baldwin’s novel. I wasn’t as mesmerized by this as the director’s Moonlight, which simply stunned me, but it was still very good, and all of the actors were excellent. So, Dale–here are two more for you! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Echoes

512px-vincent_van_gogh_-_wheatfield_with_crows_-_google_art_project

Vincent van Gogh, “Wheatfield with Crows,” [Public Domain] Wikipedia Commons

crow calls, beckoning,

rosy-robed sun arises,

new day awakens

with murdered conversation,

echoes in black-winged flutter

 

I’m still waiting for the sun to rise. This tanka is for Frank’s Hakai challenge (crow) and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday.  And another van Gogh–because you can feel the movement and hear the echoes in this one.

In the Time of Rain: Magnetic Poetry

vincent_willem_van_gogh,_dutch_-_rain_-_google_art_project

Vincent van Gogh, “Wheat field in Rain” [Public Domain]via Wikipedia Commons

After the rain

licks pink from the sky

 

and shadowed mist

cries a raw symphony of aching sighs,

 

you trudge to–

or from—

 

wanting. . .

whispering. . .

 

“There the sun rose in honeyed music,

sang of life when”

 

So our dreams together

recall time

 

screen shot 2019-01-05 at 8.37.56 am

My message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She’s knows it’s raining here—again.

List of 50 Poetic Forms for Poets by Robert Lee Brewer via Writer’s Digest

Some of my poet friends may be interested in seeing this list.

Trish Hopkinson

writersdigest2This list of poetic forms compiled by Robert Lee Brewer of Writer’s Digest includes links to each of his articles for each of the forms. Each article includes the requirements of the form, as well as examples, other related links, and definitions when needed. I also like Brewer’s suggestion that “It might even make a good year-long challenge to write one form each week of the year.” Check out his complete list below.

Click here for the List of 50 Poetic Forms for Poets

Writer’s Digest provides a plethora of writing resources, including some specifically for poets. Specifically, check out:

You can register for their site for free to have full access to all the content, including free downloads of writing guides, a free newsletter, tons of online content, writing forums, and more.


If you like this post…

View original post 30 more words

The Visitation–Sonnet

When misty twilight shifts to midnight black

then I fear to hear her mournful sighing

outside the window, cries of “bring me back”–

whispers first, but then intensifying.

 

Who is this spirit whose cries so haunt me?

What darkness of the soul fights through the night,

flutters about a flame as if to plea,

fleeing as dawn awakes, sheds rosy light,

 

wondrous–I see but her ghostly image

in her darkling visitations to me,

confusing, the purpose of the scrimmage

of our spirits, hers dead, but not set free.

 

Still, now I know when next she comes again

the light will fade for me–not why, but when.

 

For dVerse, where Björn has asked us to write a sonnet. I find sonnets very difficult to write. This one follows the Shakespearean rhyme scheme, and I hope the meter, too, but with an added twist of gothic sensibility.

 

 

 

Contributors Wanted for Reference Book on Sexual Harassment

Contributors Wanted

I still need contributors for this book. Authors do not have to be academics, however, the essay should be well-written and appropriate for a reference book. The book is focused on the US, but I would consider comparisons between the US and other places. I would love to have include essays from people of all genders or those who are gender-fluid, all races, and sexual orientation. As well as experiences of sexual harassment, essays can be by people who work with sexual harassment programs–such as in HR situations or academic settings. Essays can also be by activists who are working to fight sexual harassment. I would love to have a wide variety of contributors, since this is a reference book that will be read by students and the general public. Please feel free to circulate this information!

Sexual Harassment: A Reference Handbook, by Merril D. Smith. This reference book is part of ABC-CLIO’s Contemporary World Issues Series. The book is aimed at high school and undergraduate students, as well as the general public.  One chapter will include essays by people who have experienced sexual harassment, or who are activists, organizers, etc. The essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, including any references and contributor bio. They should be personal, rather than academic in style, but they still must be appropriate for a reference book and for the target audience (no profanity). Essays can address controversy and/or take a stand or a definite opinion. They should not be recaps of history. Pseudonyms may be used for publication, although legal name is required for the contract. Contributors will receive a small honorarium and e-book access.

Contact me at merrildsmith@gmail.com. Please put Sexual Harassment Book in the subject line.