A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Merril D. Smith

I am interviewed here on David L O’nan’s Fevers of the Mind Blog. Thank you very much, David!

Fevers of the Mind

with Merril D. Smith

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Merril: I began writing stories when I was a child. I remember giving my dad a handmade book (a school art project) with a story I had written about little creatures called Troubles. After that I did a little bit of very bad writing in high school, and then I started writing non-fiction as an adult, beginning with my doctoral dissertation in American history, which became my first book, Breaking the Bonds. I didn’t really turn to poetry until my children were grown and out of the house. I began a WordPress blog, which gradually became a mostly poetry blog. I think I was seeking a creative outlet without realizing it right away, and then, suddenly, I felt almost overtaken by the poetry muse. https://merrildsmith.wordpress.com/

My parents were both great readers, and our house was always filled…

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May Queen, NaPoWriMo, Day 10

She sleeps in a thousand blues
of forest-shadowed whispers, waiting
for the world to wake, now in-between–

and in her dreams, she listens
for sky voices, the laugh of stars and birds remembering
the rhythm of days, tiny rose-tips, yet unseen

but when, not if, they come again
dressed in honeyed gowns of golden light, lingering–
she’ll wake to take her place, sweet May Queen–

with each embrace, she color-spaces
a trace of perfume recalls her paces,
and soft poetry where she has been, always and forever green.

I haven’t done too many NaPoWriMo prompts this month because I’m writing for an Ekphrastic Challenge, and there are only so many poems I can write each day! But, I always visit the the Magnetic Poetry Oracle on Saturdays, and today she gave me this sort of folk tale poem.

3 poems from Merril D. Smith in Fevers of the Mind Poetry Press Presents the Poets of 2020

My poems published in Fevers of the Mind, Poets of 2020. Thank you so much to EIC, David L O’Nan!

Fevers of the Mind

Thanksgiving, the Year of Covid-19

We passed the dish of memory,
transferring without hand-touching the squirrel-shaped mold–
its ceramic a bit care-worn, appearing empty,
though we knew it was full of recollections and dreams,
tart and sweet, like the cranberry sauce that once filled it,
and would do so again. Now these thoughts of past Thanksgivings,
filled it, dripping over to fall in tears.
It won’t be the same, we say, and do you remember?
Her laugh, our laughs together–
not together this year

Here and Hereafter

From misted dreams, the clouds blow back black
as sky-ships spray incandescent shimmer,
and with whispered wonder
sing, bring, ring-in the pink-rosed day.
This after disaster, hereafter and if–
the moon comes blue, and hums a riff
for the sad sea, and those you see, in-between drifts
of shadow and shine, the haunted souls
of those who played with diamond cool, embracing now

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Light a Candle

Today, January 27, is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. I’m reposting this poem from a few years ago.

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

“It happened, therefore it can happen again: this is the core of what we have to say. It can happen, and it can happen everywhere.”

–Primo Levi, The Drowned and the Saved

Light a candle

six million, if you can,

resplendent glow,

for those who say they didn’t know,

for those who didn’t, do not see

what once was, what could be,

who overlooked the ash-filled air,

who still ignore the pleading cries

and do not hear the ghostly sighs

that float over the walls of hate,

now, don’t hesitate–

light a candle

for those who suffered

and had no buffer

from the fear,

no one to wipe away a tear,

who died because you didn’t see.


By Takkk (Own work), via Wikipedia, Holocaust Memorial Center, Memorial Wall of Victims – Budapest, Hungary

For International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January 2017. The anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by Soviet…

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12 – 20 – Featured Haiku Writer

I don’t think I ever shared this haiku. Thanks again, Freya.


shore slides beneath sea

lovers in flirtatious dance–

timeless, rhythmic waves

© Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril D. Smith is currently working on two reference books about rape–and a book of poetry.

Here is the fifth haiku from our Featured Haiku Writer. The first line of this haiku struck me from the first reading. I love the way Merril develops the image throughout the poem

This haiku is part of our ARTURINA theme!

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12 – 18 – Featured Haiku Writer

My fourth featured haiku on Pure Haiku. Thank you very much, Freya!


moon hums to oak tree

ancient song, a lullaby–

love grows from your roots

© Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril D. Smith listens to the moon hum and the stars sing, and sometimes she writes about it.

Here is the fourth haiku from our Featured Haiku Writer. This haiku made me think of the Chorus Trees that sing in harmony on Arturina. They are also a safe haven for the small animals that are hunted by the predators …

This haiku is part of our ARTURINA theme!

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Where do the shadows go?

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Where do the shadows go,
when mist obscures the shifted light?
And dreams heart-drift, then flow
owl-feathered into the night.

When mist obscures the shifted light,
watch the sea reflect the clouds, they race
owl-feathered into the night
to another time. In another space,

watch the sea reflect the clouds, they race,
tossing spindrift to the sky—
to another time, in another space,
uniting, or they forever fly,

tossing spindrift to the sky—
and dreams (too), heart-drift then flow
uniting, or they forever fly–
where? Do the shadows (ever) go?

A pantoum for dVerse. Peter has asked us to think about endings for our last prompt of 2020. He tells us “2020 has been an amazing year. Here at Dverse we’ve published nearly 150 prompts, and you, our beloved poets, have written and shared well-over 3000 poems in response.” I will have some time to catch-up on reading before we return on January 4, 2021!

Writers Who Bake: Merril D. Smith

Charlotte is doing a fun series on writers who bake. I’m on today’s post with two cookie recipes.


Mandelbrot Cookies

I’m sharing two cookie recipes because in our house they’re called “Mommy Cookies” and “Daddy Cookies.” The first is my mandelbrot cookies. They are my favorite cookies, which is why they’re called Mommy Cookies. They’re like biscotti with dark chocolate chips and cinnamon and sugar. This recipe came from a cousin, and then I refined it. I used to bring them to archivists when I was working on my dissertation.

The other cookies are Welsh Cookies, which are cooked on a griddle or fry pan like pancakes. I’ve discovered my cast iron fry pan works great. The recipe came from my husband’s grandmother, though I’ve changed it to butter–the recipe originallyused lard and margarine.

Mandelbrot (aka “Mommy Cookies”)

3 ¾ cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 cup oil

2 tsp. baking powder

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla and a little bit of almond extract (maybe about ¼ tsp?)

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Eat the Storms – A Merry Little Christmas Podcast Episode 15

A perfect holiday podcast of poetry and music!

eat the Storms

Podcast available on Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Anchor, Breaker, PocketCast, Podbean and many more platforms

This episode aired on 12th December 2020 and it was A Merry Little Christmas Episode featuring poetry, short story and festive song. Below are the links to all the Elves and Fairies and Santa’s helpers who joined me to make this final episode of Season 1 Eat the Storms so special. See you all mid January for Season 2…

Matthew M C Smith is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MatthewMCSmith and he is the creator of Black Bough Poetry https://www.blackboughpoetry.com/

Lynn Valentine is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/dizzylynn and will have her debut Scots Language Pamphlet coming from Hedgehog Poetry Press in 2021 and her full Poetry Collection coming from Cinnamon Press in 2020

Merril D Smith is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/merril_mds and can be found on WordPress at https://merrildsmith.com/

Nigel Kent is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/kent_nj…

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