Infused

Monday Morning Musings:

Infuse

a subtle taste, in this golden glow
find a centering, a time and place to recall
moments of friendship, laughter that falls
with ease, a seizing of the day–

but, oh the moon! She hums, not sweet,
but fiercely, in tune with the season
of upside down and in-between, dispersing
in her way

Moon setting in sunrise glow over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

reflected light. The light!
through gold and green, the illumination of things
not always seen—the molecules that ignite in color
and flame

to arc across the sky. Hello and goodbye.
The magic vanishes too soon—sunrise to starry night—
I follow science, but understand delight
in looking up and all around

I’ve found the sound
of moon-sighs and dawn’s reprise,
the whispers of the river and trees,
the canopy above suffused with hues so bright—

My willow at Dock Creek, Old City Philadelphia

and if the shadows drop, lengthen, and call,
they can’t appear without a gleam–
a radiance diffused or luminosity suffused
from ancient boom and blast and whirls of gas–

our starry nights, our souls delight
we see, seek, carry this light.

Today–a hint of pink, curves and lines.

The sky has been fascinating and gorgeous this week. We got together with some friends this week, and my friend Pat was so excited about her new infusing pitcher.
We also attended our daughter’s talk about Bordeaux wines and Blue Cork Winery’s Bordeaux-style wines and cheese pairing.
We streamed the Lantern Theater’s production of The Plague, a play based on Albert Camus’ novel. It was a well-done and timely production.

We saw an immersive Van Gogh exhibition. I wasn’t certain what to expect because I’ve heard both good and not-so-good reviews. There seem to be several different companies that are touring around the globe with these exhibitions. This one, though originally advertised as being in a secret Philadelphia location, turned out to be in suburb outside the city, less convenient for us. We went on Sunday morning at 9 AM, assuming correctly that there would not be too much traffic on the street or people at the venue. (Proof of vaccination was required and masks had to be worn.) We both liked the show, but we didn’t think it was the most amazing thing ever. We learned some information in the gallery section, but I really was not a fan of the Van Gogh prints that were like backlit canvases. We can see real Van Gogh paintings in Philadelphia. And we’ve stepped inside his bedroom at Grounds for Sculpture. However, I really did like the immersive experience. I particularly loved the crows that seemed to fly through the room, the rain that looked like it was forming puddles at our feet, and the starry night with the boats sailing on the river.

After the exhibition, we drove to Philadelphia and walked for about three hours from Old City to Rittenhouse Square and back, and then over to Washington Square to Tria—where the sun came out, we sat outside, enjoying food, wine, beer, and each other’s company.

Caught by the Moon

Moon setting in sunrise glow over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

Cloud-shrouded, yet still you are there,
melodies slide through air
in moonsong

loud and clear. Without a regret,
we live; never forget
we’re moonstruck

and love-mad, bewitched by the light
of centuries, the sight
of moonglow

river reflected, directed
at you—so, connected,
a moonsoul

dancing in wind’s susurration
without hesitation
in moonjoy.

For dVerse. Grace has asked us to write a Compound Word Verse:
“a poetry form invented by Margaret R. Smith that consists of five 3-line stanzas, for a total of 15 lines. The last line of each stanza ends in a compound word and these compound words share a common stem word which is taken from the title.”
How could I not write about the moon when I took this photo this morning? This is a first draft. 😀

Things That Are Lost

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise Reflections, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Things that are lost—

buttons, keys, a pearl earring
summer leaves, the morning light
that fades as the sun rises to its height.

Sunrise over the Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ

Shadows that follow
then disappear,
like warm-weather fruits—till next year.

A battle, a war,
a way of life from before
when then was now, the shore

of future lay ahead,
the dead were living,
at least in your head.

Autumn puddle and reflections

Memories, a laugh, a song ,
the things you wished once to do
with loved ones you once knew–

husband, father, child, wife,
a beloved pet, a favorite toy—
all the sorrow and the joy,

things that are lost –and sometimes found,

air, love, happiness, roots, connected deep underground.

Sunrise with tree silhouette

October seems a month of both beauty and melancholy. The sun rises later and set earlier, but in-between there’s a beautiful glow. We’ve had fog, rain, amazing sunrises, warm days, cold days, and more and more falling colored leaves.

This week we took a brief trip to Hammonton, NJ to pick up some olive oil and balsamic vinegar I like. I also bought cannoli for myself and our daughter (my husband didn’t want one).


We attended a memorial service for my husband’s uncle in Mt. Holly. We went to the service, talked a bit to family members, but then left without eating, as we were not comfortable sitting in the basement room with a bunch of strangers who may or may not be vaccinated. One of the hymns sung was “Amazing Grace.”

Merril’s Movie Club: We streamed three movies this week, all very different, but perhaps sharing a common theme of loss: life, dreams, love, memory. Fever Dream (Netflix) is difficult to describe, as is the novel it’s based on that I read last year. But the title is an indication. I think I liked it more than my husband did. It has a dreamy and slightly unsettling air, with much of it a voice-over between a woman and a boy who is not her son. To give a lot of detail would spoil the movie. There’s a mystery and supernatural elements, and a magical realism feel. We watched The One I Love, a 2014 movie about a couple played by Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss go for a weekend getaway at the suggestion of their therapist (Ted Danson). What looks like a rom com movie slips into the surreal. Again, I won’t give any spoilers, but it was fun, unusual, and gives you something to talk about. Finally, we watched The Black Box, a scifi/horror movie from last year on Amazon. It’s about a father who has lost his memory after an accident. When he undergoes a new treatment, strange things happen. It’s a solid B movie—entertaining and enjoyable.

When, Then, Now

Sunrise over the Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ

When water watches the pink sky,
and time plays with rust and diamonds–
in that moment the honeyed light sings
with gathered breath of stars and beats
an ancient and eternal rhythm.

Ask then—
if dreams drift from above,
to catch in moonglade,
or sparkle like spoondrift–

and you beneath,
embracing the blue ghosts that linger
in the slow smile of dawn.

My poem from the Oracle. She always knows. This is a strange time of year–beautiful and melancholy. We’ve had some spectacular sunrises lately–this one is from today– but we’re supposed to get thunderstorms later today. Last night my sleep was disrupted by some sort of police activity going on–very unusual. We live in a quiet neighborhood. We have a memorial service to attend, as well.

I guess WP is changing things again–the preview button has options now.

Not After, but In-Between

Monday Morning Musings:

Not after, but in-between–
the seasons fold gold into green,
the sun emerges, or stays unseen
between, behind, beyond, but true.

Can we linger here awhile?
Jackets on and off, a smile
at pumpkins and the deer—miles
to go, and much to fear

from demagogues and misinformation—
the destruction of our world and nation.
Yet, we don our masks and leave the station—
a celebration, we’re still here.

We plant flowers and bulbs—is it a trope
to say we’re planting hope?
That we’ll not slide from the slippery slope
because this is not after, but in-between—

still, even after winters of despair,
spring comes, with petrichor in the air
and robins’ song, searching and aware
of being between—here and there.

And we on our pale blue dot
look for light, our shot, our spot, our ifs–or not.

A Cloudy Sunrise

I feel like we really are in this in-between place. The pandemic is not over, and fanatics are still going strong. I’m beginning to feel like we’re in the late 1850s in the US or the 1930s in Germany—but with better technology.

Still–we went to the theater for the first time since the pandemic began. We saw Minor Character: Six Translations of Uncle Vanya at the Same Time, which was truly as the Wilma Theater blurb says: “a joyful and music-filled comedic kaleidoscope. A band of actors come together to perform a warm-hearted yet bittersweet look at love, longing, and the limitations of language.” The Wilma Theater required proof of vaccination, IDs, and masks. We had assigned seats with empty seats left around us, and the theater kept at half capacity. They also updated their HVAC system. So, we felt safe—at least as much as we can in these times. We also took Patco for the first time since the pandemic. It was OK, though some people did not wear masks despite the notices and announcements. Also this weekend, we pretended to be Derrick and Jackie Knight and visited a nursery to buy some plants.

These Days

Monday Morning Musings:

“Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”
–Walt Whitman. “Song of Myself,” Leaves of Grass

Early Morning, Light through the Clouds. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

These are liminal days,
when twilight lingers
as death drifts, in a falling russet leaf,
and bee-buzzed blooms, purple and gold,
wave farewell to cloud-nestled moon
then reach for waking sun–
who timidly, then finds her voice
to sing away the grey.

These days of soft cat-paw-tread
transform, eagle-sharp talons tear away
the foggy gray, leaving crystal blue—

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

and there, white flowers grow, clinging to life
on dead wood–

Early morning Reflections. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and we? Here, in this in-between–
embracing ghosts and color–
looking toward the stars,
remembering they are part of us,
and we of them, all–

Geese at Sunrise ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

see where the light shines through,
then know, this is where the song begins and ends–
re-formed, reprised, again and again.

October is such a transitional time of year here. One day grey, the next so bright. One day cool, then next summer-sticky. The leaves are turning, but we still have flowers. There are still too people getting sick and dying of COVID, and people who still refuse to get vaccinations or wear masks. I know WAY too many people who have pets who have died recently or are dying. My husband’s uncle died on Friday. It was not COVID, and he’s been sick for a long time and also suffering from dementia, so in the case, though still very sad, there’s a sense of relief that he and his family are no longer suffering.

Today began with a before dawn rejection e-mail. I hope that’s not the way the week’s going to go. It put me in a bad mood, but my morning walk raised my spirits, as it usually does.
This week we watched Midnight Mass (Netflix). It’s horror, but not the super-gory type. There’s more talk than action, which doesn’t bother me, and it actually ends on a very Merril-like note. I liked it. We also watched a Danish mystery called The Chestnut Man (Netflix), another “Scandi-noir” show. We both liked it and got caught up in it. I guess kids making chestnut men is a thing in Denmark? It made me look up American chestnut trees. There are streets named Chestnut in almost every town around here, but it seems the millions of American chestnut trees were killed by a blight. One interesting fact I learned is that the blight does not kill the roots, so they still exist below ground, and there are chestnut trees that continue to sprout up and then die.

It was a good week for cooking comfort food.

A Reminder

Ask if the moon sleeps as the sky turns rosy,
and with languid tongue, licks black to blue–
does she recall the after-ache of crashing birth,
and dream the songs of a thousand stars?

Now, watch the cool cat breath rise with arched back
over the river, curling into the morning air—

is this what you seek? Recall the beauty of this day—
clothed in peach, pink, and blue–
the chirp of sparrows, the rush of heron’s wing.

When I opened our back door this morning, there was the moon right in front of me. Then when I walked to the river, it was just so beautiful with the sun rising over the water. The world is full of terrible things and horrible people, but there is also such beauty in it. The Oracle knows and reminds me.

Where There’s a Will

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise

Will you walk with me
through clouded pink–
the light diffused, brushing wings
to make them glow—this sight, the morning rites
of nature bound by the seasons,
the revolutions round the sun, the wax and waning of the moon.

Heron in the dawn clouds
Coy Morning Moon

Where there’s a will, is there a way
to hold these moments close and tight
to heart and brain? Mindfulness or determination
to see and feel and listen—
do you hear
the sound of secret things?

I wonder—do even vultures dream?
They mate for life, finding the perfect husband or wife.
Do they hope for the future—croon
to their young? This I leave you,
this is yours—the sky, the trees–
the scent of death you smell on the breeze. Circle and fly.

Where there’s a will, is there a way
to make the sweetness stay—
away the aches and nightmare shadows! Come tomorrow.
Will you? Won’t you? Seek joy with friends and family,
share food and wine, linger in a moment–
the season of the in-between

Cloud reflections on the Delaware
Sun giving birth

the twilight dawning, the morning of a new day,
a mockingbird is singing, the leaves are falling.
And there’s the moon, she’s calling,
bewitching you, it’s true. But she’s asks, will you,
is there a way? Will you both love
and do what’s right? Will you walk with me? Look! That light.

Morning Mist over the Delaware River

We had brunch with friends over the weekend and signed their wills as witnesses. We enjoyed wine and pizza again at Blue Cork Winery in Williamstown, NJ, where our daughter, who has left teaching, at least for the time being, is now the Wine Development Manager.


If you like epic historical novels, The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray tells the story of three women in three different time periods. Two are real women, the third is a fictional character—but all with the will to fight for what was right. I knew nothing of Adrienne Lafayette or the Chateau, so I found that very interesting—and also to learn that the Chateau continued to be a place of rights and freedom even during WWII, when it served as hiding place to protect Jewish children.

What Else Could I Do?

Morning Moon Over The Delaware River

The moon rose through shadows,
to sing a farewell song
over forests and rocks turning softly pink
in the dawn. And I watched—
what else could I do? Ask
if I am moon-mad to hear the whispers
in the wind. Red-tipped trees sigh
in the breath of ancient cycles,
as time passes like the soft brush of heron’s wing.
The geese in flight call, savor this,
and the river murmurs through light and darkness–
listen.

The Oracle obviously comes with me on my early morning walks. The last few days have been beautiful.

Cranberries and Blue

Clouds and Blue Sky, First Day of Autumn at Red Bank Battlefield

And now, the sky is clearest blue,
gone summer’s haze, the color true
where eagles, herons, geese fly through

into tomorrow. Now the air
is crisp—soon crisper—and see there
the leaves are turning gold? Prepare
as now’s the time for harvests, too.

Grapes for wine, apples for the pies
and sauce, tossed in a pot—time flies—
between sun and moon, lows and highs.
Taste the tart and bittersweet, chew,

swallow, wallowed grief–holidays
she’ll never see. Cranberries stay
on my mind, and Thanksgiving Day
with the blue-squirrel mold—it’s hard to

say, the family tradition—
how she held it, the condition
of it unsure—no prediction
what cranberries will do. And you

cry, but it’s not the fruit. Life goes
on. Leaves turn, and the river flows
with secrets and ghosts undisclosed—
cranberries sauced, but you are blue.

Our precious squirrel mold for Thanksgiving cranberry sauce

This is Zéjel for Grace’s Meet the Bar prompt on dVerse, and also for Mish’s fruit prompt on Tuesday. I was thinking about Thanksgiving and our family’s cranberry squirrel the other day. We haven’t all been together since before my mom died.