Past and Future, Touched

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”

–Stephen Hawking

she once had

a mortal body

long ago–

or was it?

Unbound by time, she’s unsure

drifting in moonlight. . .


and starlight

and in brightest sun–

it is all

part of her

and she of it. Wandering,

she touches your heart–


you feel it,

a shock, fear–and awe,

but also


for knowledge. Look at the stars–

time and space folding


Embed from Getty Images


This is for dVerse. We were asked to write a shadorma with the prompt “phantom.” I’ve done a series of connecting shadorma stanzas.










Sighing for Spring: Haibun

In between nor’easters, we take a spur-of-the-moment day trip. We look at paintings of people now gone and places that no longer exist except in memories. We see landscapes of lush verdant woods that contrast with western desert landscapes featuring windmills, swimming pools, and ranch hands. Outside the museum, we walk around the patches of snow. Suddenly I notice the glowing forsythia bushes vibrant and defiant, rising from the white blanket at their roots to greet the sun. Though it’s fighting to remain, winter will soon be gone. We only need to wait a bit longer.


Golden yellow sighs,

whispers of a spring time song—

flowers in the snow


Grounds of the Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA


I wrote more about the exhibit we saw at the Michener Museum on Monday. This haibun is for Frank’s haikai challenge, using the kigo, or season word, snow. This is also for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge, where the prompt was to use synonyms for patience and green.

It has been a busy week with work and news. Now it’s time for poetry. Watch out for sharp objects today!  🙂




Icarus 2–Quadrille

He rises–

filled with wonder,

on wax wings he flies

high and higher

closer to the flaming fire

spurred towards the sun

(heart’s desire)

too late, stunned,

aware of his blunder

he cries–

no longer inspired–

“Father, forgive me.”

and falls to the sea


Peter Paul Rubens [Public domain], “Fall of Icarus,” via Wikimedia Commons

This is a Quadrille for dVerse. De “Whimsygizmo” has asked us to use the word “fire.”

Everything is Made of Magic

Monday Morning Musings:

“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”

–Eden Phillpotts (often incorrectly attributed to W.B. Yeats, according to Quote Investigator)

“Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden–in all the places. “

–Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


In dreams I flit through walls,

through time and space

dream worlds,

where things are and are not what they seem

full of wonders taken as ordinary

magical and real


We go on an outing to see an exhibition,

wander through a gallery on Pennsylvania Impressionism

then on to see Magical and Real.

Henriette Wyeth painted family and flowers,

She survived polio that weakened her right arm,

learned to draw with her left hand,

and paint with her right.

She lied about her age to enter the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

before she was sixteen.

A self-portrait hangs on the wall between two paintings

the main men of her life–

N.C.Wyeth, her father, posed before one of his landscapes

her husband, Peter Hurd,

in front of one of his western landscapes–

father, husband

east and west,

conflicts and tensions in her life and art.

Before marriage the couple had separated–

she feared that marriage would be the end of her artistic career,

he assured it would not,

she also feared being separated from her family.

During their separation,

she turned to fantasy

painting ghostly figures,

a dead girl,

and three women picnicking under the moon.

(And the story of how that painting was rediscovered

and restored is a bit of magic, too.)

The couple reunited and married,

and eventually, unexpectedly,

Wyeth found beauty in the stark landscapes of the west

and in the people who lived and worked there

She paints a final portrait of her husband,

before his mind succumbs to Alzheimer’s

he  is still ruggedly handsome, distinguished,

He had painted pilots, western landscapes,

advertisements, magazine covers, and presidential portraits

and was better-known that she was,

as her Chaddsford studio went to her brother Andrew

who became the better known Wyeth.

Yet she may have been more talented than brother or husband,

she was an artist,

magical and real


Over time,

a jail becomes a museum

Michener Museum jail doors looking out to Fonthill Castle


beside it, a public library

Do the ghosts of the inmates wander there,

through galleries where once there were cells?

A place where bodies were imprisoned

becomes a place where minds are freed

to imagine and express themselves,

another man builds a castle filled with tiles,

crazy whimsy?

glorious fantasy?



It all flows together like time and space,

sometimes crashing

birthing stars,

ending worlds

But in this world,

we create magic

in art, music, poetry, literature, theater–

real buildings

filled with magic


Artists come and go,

but their works live on

feelings put on canvas

carved in bronze, marble, plastic, steel

brush strokes that echo–

Can’t you feel the wind?

Hear the child laugh?

Feel the sea and taste the salt in the air?


magical and real


And our shadows

real and magical

stand side by side

us, but not us,

I see flowers blooming in the snow–

time flowing, circling–

everything is made of magic,

magical and real



We went to the Michener Art Museum, in Doylestown, PA.

The exhibition was Magical and Real: Henriette Wyeth and Peter Hurd, A Retrospective.

I took some photos, but then I wasn’t certain I was allowed to, so I’m not posting them.

There are also some photos of the paintings in this article.


Monthly Poetry Contest Winners!

I’m excited and honored to have won this Vita Brevis monthly poetry contest.

Vita Brevis

The results are in! We had fantastic (and wonderfully novel) submissions this time around. It was a tough choice, but here are the winners of our monthly poetry competition.

*On the Next Competition: As of right now, we can’t afford to host competition next month–donations have slowed down over past few weeks. But don’t worry, we’ll get one going soon! Thanks for your patience and support!*

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Robin Searches Here: Tanka

Robin searches here

beneath the snow-covered grass

new life is sprouting

in renewed light seeding hope

replenishing Earth again



This is a tanka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday.  Colleen asked us to write a poem using synonyms for “renew” and “fresh.” I was walking by this window that looks out at our back yard, just as the snowstorm on Wednesday was starting to pick up. This robin by the oak tree caught my eye, and I quickly took a photo through the window.







Love Token

My husband leaves in the snow,

it’s light at first, but then it flows



in thick heavy flakes

without breaks

it covers the ground

like a great white lake,

or. . .perhaps, I think,  like thick frosting on a cake.

And so, I decide to bake him a treat,

his favorite cookies, not too sweet–

a love token from me to him—

not exactly a whim. . .

but ephemeral as tokens go–

not unlike this springtime snow.


Welsh Cookies


Grace asked us to write on love tokens for dVerse. 







Gusts and Buds: Haibun

On the day of the nor’easter, I finish reviewing the page proofs of my book. The sun comes out. I ponder new projects, while watching birds perch and peck at the feeder hanging at our kitchen window—finches with their red feather patches demonstrate the feeder’s pecking order. A tufted titmouse, nuthatches, and even a woodpecker fly in for a snack. Robins congregate in the street, discussing the weather and current events before flying up to a tree to chatter at the squirrels. The days grow longer, and despite the wind and snow, the daffodils are rising from the ground. They are not deterred by icy gusts. Momentary setbacks. They know spring is coming. So do I. I simply have to get through the next snowstorm—it’s coming, too.


March’s lion roars,

frost-breath lays a filigree—

budding branches bide



We’re supposed to get another nor’easter tonight into tomorrow with several inches of snow expected.

I was writing this for

Frank’s Haikai Challenge #23—Spring Gust

But then I saw Victoria’s  prompt for Haibun Monday: tree buds.







Nothing is Fixed

Monday Morning Musings:

“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”

–James Baldwin, Nothing Personal


“they remember that autumn worked

until the barrels were filled with wine

and let the obscure man learn,

in the ceremony of his business,

to remember the earth and his duties,

to propagate the canticle of the fruit.”

–from Pablo Neruda, “Ode to Wine” (Full poem here. )


The moon shines brightly–

full-faced, gleaming,

whispering. . . spring is coming–

she beams, she’s humming

a tune for us to drink by.

Spinach-Mashed Potato and Cheese Hamantaschen



For time passes, the seasons fly,

with wine, on this holiday of topsy-turvy fun

the uncertainty of life, a king could kill his wife

another could save her people

the sometimes-thin line between good and evil,

the need to look for joy when we can

(age-old questions of when things began)

generations come and go,

a brilliant moon becomes clouded with snow

nothing is fixed or forever,

the light comes and goes,

and time flows


Between glowing moon and the nor’easter

we visit my mom, bring food and wine, hear stories from her

of grandparents and cousins, people from the past,

and though none of us lasts

we live on through records and tales

some though are lost, absent, adrift

but still we try to make sense, sifting

through the flotsam of time and dreams

(sometimes nothing is as it seems)

and my mother laughs as we sit and talk

not able to see much of what’s about her

but seeing in her mind, the things that were

as the light comes and goes

and time flows

(like the wine)

nothing is fixed or forever


The beaming moon is shaded by clouds

covering the stars like shrouds–

on this day, the sun stays away

as frosted gusts wail and blow

and back to winter we’re forced to go

the birds retreat, sheltering in bending trees,

and the world around us sighs in deep freeze

the house creaks and branches fall

(my husband will later haul them all)

then the clouds will part, the sun will rise

and spring winds blow over melted snow

good and bad are always mixed

because nothing is forever or fixed


We hear about wine-making–

the canticle of the fruit

the cultivation of vine, and at the root

the importance of the grapes,

how the workers traipse

tasting and picking,

Mother Nature can’t be rushed,

work to be done before grapes are crushed

though time is ticking, through the sorting and picking

we hear the story over time, sipping and tasting wine

about the couple who moves from city to farm

(he speaks well, with warmth and charm)

Scott, Co-owner of Auburn Road Vineyards


praising the winemaker, his wife,

who is instrumental in the success of this life,

science and intuition, mixed with a bit of luck,

requiring the cleaning from vats of the muck

we also learn, the importance of the bottling truck.

and so, we taste, and drink, and savor

enjoying wine and pizza (a new flavor!)

Ravello Wood-Fired Pizza, operates within the winery


knowing that nothing is fixed to remain forever the same

the moon glows and sets, the sun rises and flames

in the morning we see clouds like waves on the sea

I hear the robin sing, waiting to see what is—

and what will be.


We did a “wine tour” at Auburn Road Vineyards in Salem County, NJ. Reservations are required.

Also–I absolutely loved The Shape of Water, which one best picture last night at the Academy Awards, and last week I wrote about A Fantastic Woman, which won Best Foreign Film. I also liked that one very much.









Letter to My Ancestors: Haibun

You who came before me–how I wish I could ask you about your lives. My mom tells me stories, but there is so much she doesn’t know, and now much she has forgotten. Of course, I want to know what it was like to live in what was then Russia, to be a Jew there—the terror of pogroms and the ordinary day-to-day problems you learned to live with, until you no longer could. But I also want to know what did you eat? What did your house look like? What games did you play as a child? How did you feel leaving your homeland, traveling first to England, France, Germany, or Italy before finally reaching Philadelphia or New York? You had so much drive and determination. In my mind, I see the many generations that came before me. I see practical, no-nonsense individuals, and yet, I wonder how many were also full of artistic vision or musical talent. Somewhere lost in time, you, my ancestors, must have journeyed from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and each time you had to learn so many new things. I wonder what else you experienced? I discover my great grandfather had grey eyes. My daughters have grey eyes, too–a gift from the past, a look to the future.


Endless storms weathered

again winter turns to spring—

young birds fly from nests


I’m combining prompts again—Björn at dVerse asked us to write a poetic letter. I hope this fits.

Colleen asked us to use synonyms for energy and knowledge for her Tanka Tuesday.

We’re also in the midst of a nor’easter with rain, snow, and wind!

I’m also adding this to Frank’s Barely Spring Challenge.