My poem, “Explorers,” is published as one of the responses to Bertram Brooker’s “Figures in a Landscape.” My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting mine, along with all the other excellent responses. You can read them all here–mine is toward the end.
She is ever young and ancient, too, mistress, mother, destroyer, divine, she births the world, but burrows, then weeps in cold blood darkness, and there she sleeps–
and when she dreams, the flowers bloom on roots, warm-spun from her honeyed hair, and ladybugs skitter, scatter, fly beneath sun-kissed clouds and azure sky.
She is woman, goddess, earth’s true love, diamond-eyed, rose and chocolate-scented breast-achy, she nurses–but then sighs– all that comes, goes, all that lives, yet dies.
An ekphrastic poem for dVerse, where Lillian is hosting and received permission from artist Catrin Welz-Stein to post four images of her work. We are permitted to choose only one of these four images to use as springboard for poetic fancy.
Trees and birds kiss the sky in blue-on-blue reflection
and today, I’ll sky the world with you without pause or hesitation.
In mirrored lands we’ll float on dreams, the clouds our boat
watching the heron squawk, soar– this is enough, I need nothing more.
A quadrille for dVerse, where De has asked us to use the word, sky. I think the rhythm of this one is more soothing than my previous post this morning. I don’t know why I’m stuck on couplets and rhyme though today.
Beat away the aching time in river blues, see serene, sublime
in those rippling rhythms. The tide rolls in, and thus begins another round of what and when and who wins
the life and death struggles, the eagle soars, swoops, a pounce there goes the fish, squirrel, another ounce, but we can’t denounce
an avian predator who wants to eat, but human ones, we must unseat.
I see the lawn-stuck signs of misguided fools who think freedom comes with soundbite slogans–but we’re on the brink
standing on a precipice, tottering, about to fall while they embrace the treacherous, Russians and all–
the lies they think are fine, wish them away, spin, deny in sheep-like flocks they gather, unmasked, I sigh
as I walk, watch the geese honk and fly greeting each other, hello, goodbye
I say, wonder what it’s like to twirl and soar and then, I go home to bake some more,
to dip bread and apples in honey’s sweetness to wish for good to flourish, feeling a completeness
of life with loved ones, though from afar with a world increasingly troubled and bizarre.
Every day more and more, surpassing– we’re saddened by news of a hero’s passing.
More wine, more honey talk of this and that, find something funny—
hold on to love (is love is love is love is love is love) dance when you can, look for beauty above
and all around, fight for justice and truth— remember our heroes, remember Ruth.
We celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah with a Zoom dinner with our daughters and their spouses. I don’t know how to make a small holiday meal, even though there are just two of us here. We heard about the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg when the news flashed on a daughter’s phone.
Merril’s Movie Club: We saw And Then We Danced, which now is free on Amazon Prime. We had seen previews for it before the pandemic hit, and though I enjoyed the movie, it would have been wonderful to see it on a big screen. The film is about Merab, a member of Georgia’s National Dance Ensemble. It’s an art form that is beautiful, but rigid, and steeped in tradition. Merab and a new dancer, Iralki are first rivals, but then attracted to each other. It is dangerous to be gay in Georgia (the country, not the state). The government would not finance the movie, and there were bodyguards on the set. The choreographer remains anonymous. I fear this is what it could be like here. My husband and I both liked the movie very much. The drumming music is great. The subtitles could be better, and they even though I watch subtitled movies all the time, I had to full with the settings.
“It’s just that masks are terribly comfortable — I think everyone will be wearing them in the future,” –Westley in The Princess Bride
Inconceivable and unbelievable the world has become
plague-filled and fire-flashed now, ashes fill the sky,
and sudden storms come surging, while people plead, urging
the powers-that-be to see what is and to agree
on what is needed. More than hope and prayers, some care
must be taken if we’re to survive, herd immunity and hive minds–
we seek solutions from concepts of animals and nature—but I watch them, charmed,
admiring even the funny walks of birds, a turkey, like a little dinosaur, and somewhat absurd,
yet most protect their young—and some mate for life. Perhaps we should look to wildlife
for a portrait of true love. Difficult to see now in this time of masks and isolation,
the frustration of privation and desolation, the death of loved ones, the vexation over celebrations
that shouldn’t be, until we’re vaccinated or virus-free– When will that be?
I sigh and bake, take long walks, rake my fingers through my greying hair–
there, in front of me, a family of deer, all clear, I think, as they dart across the street—
leaving me to admire their spirit and grace, a trace of wonder stays within
to ease the stress of every single day. I stand by the riverside watch a heron, stay
longer than I planned—but these moments of water and sky and watching the birds spread wings and fly
it’s something I do, observe the colors of river and sand– this I understand,
time flows at different speeds and rates, fast in a dream, slow when we wait,
but either way, we’re specks in a vast array. Time may be infinite, or
perhaps it loops, swooping future into past or giving us another chance
to seek true love, or defy death with sweetened pill, better than nevermore, is maybe it will.
A very late MMM because I’m trying to finish some work. And, I’ll be back in just a bit because I’m hosting dVerse today.
This past week was strange, the weather shifting from humid summer to clear autumn. Friday, as you all know, was the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. It was a gloomy day, but the next day was bright, beautiful, gorgeous, which I will hope is an omen. I’ve been seeing a heron almost every morning at the river at the battlefield park. We watched The Princess Bride on Saturday night in preparation for the livestream reading with much of the original cast that took place last night. It was a fundraiser for Wisconsin Democrats in support of Joe Biden. The livestream drew of 100,000 viewers, and though there were a few technical problems, it was great fun. More importantly, it might help in November. It’s inconceivable how we will survive four more years with the current resident of the White House.
In early America, neighbors eavesdropped from other rooms, behind the shed, from a bed.
Now, the surveillance is also electronic from devices, lovers (or friends platonic), scammers and crooks hear what you say— the powers-that-be, also may—
hear all. Who knows where conversations go?
Kim is hosting dVerse, and she has asked us to use the word eavesdrop in a quadrille. My dissertation/first book was on marital discord in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century Pennsylvania. Court papers and divorce depositions often included the testimony of neighbors or people living in or visiting the household. And yes, sometimes listening to a sexual encounter while lying in the same bed.
We labor, belabor, debate, defend fend for ourselves, hope for trends
to alter course, reverse, against the wind we traverse, carrying the past in heart and mind,
find that light is a constant, but time is not— still we dine and drink some wine
without the rhythm and beats of city streets reflections found in river, not in town—
I find beauty all around.
It doesn’t change what is, or what may be— catastrophe, democracy’s fall, more plagues
all this or other. I read horror tales of ghosts less scary than most of what is real, or almost–the boasts
of the fascist chiefs, the spreading of so many false beliefs rumors can be deadly, and I think of the imposter priest
who despite his flaws, gets at the truth, and heals a village. So many maligned, but is there is goodness in us all?
Perhaps. Though it may be hard to tell. Crimes of passion, crimes of war, crimes of vengeance—so many more—
the people we neglect, the things we regret. And yet, the moon shines silver in the night,
the sky is blue, the sun is bright. I walk through shadows, and into light. Watch as birds take sudden flight—soar, unbound—
beauty all around.
Today is Labor Day here in the U.S. I took a look at my post from last year. So much has changed. This is a bit of a response to that, I suppose. I kept the format of couplets, though not ending rhymes.
Merril’s Movie, TV, and Whatever Club: We saw the Polish movie, Corpus Christi. It was Poland’s entry this past year for the Academy Awards. We had seen previews for it. I’m not sure if it made it to the theater in Philadelphia before they closed or not. In any case, we both thought it was excellent. Almost like old times, we discussed it over wine and dinner—though our discussion was the next day at a local winery.
We watched the French mystery series, Le Chalet with an earworm of a title song—even for those of us who don’t really speak French. It seemed like it was going to be a horror story at the beginning, but it turned out to be similar to an old-fashioned mystery, a Ten Little Indians sort of tale though with two timelines. We both liked it, though it was a bit confusing sorting out the characters for a while. We’re currently watching a Finnish mystery, Deadwind. It’s good, and I think we will become more involved with it as it goes on. There are lots of twists and turns—what seems like a straightforward murder case is not (of course). Both of these are on Netflix.
I just finished reading The Invited by Jennifer McMahon, a ghost story and also a mystery with different timelines and connecting stories. So, you know, a good Merril book. And my favorite podcast Ghost in the Burbs is back. Yay!
Oh, but speaking of favorite podcasts, the delightful Damien Donnelly now has a podcast. So. . . I guess that’s also my favorite (different genres). 😀