Poem in Black Bough Poetry, Winter Edition

My poem, “Origami Winter” has been published in Black Bough Poetry’s special Christmas/ Winter issue of micropoems. I’m pleased and honored to be among the fine poets in this issue. Thank you to Matthew M.C. Smith and the guest reader team. Grab a hot beverage of your choice, snuggle under a blanket, light some candles or sit before a fireplace, if you have one, and enjoy this issue!

I want to thank my sister for giving me the inspiration for the closing lines. 🙂  Love you!

Tradition, or How a Squirrel Came to Define our Thanksgiving

Many people are curious about the squirrel mold we use for our cranberry sauce. This is a post that I wrote about it–I guess when I first began my blog. For the very first time, my mom won’t be with us at the table this Thanksgiving.

Yesterday and today: Merril's historical musings

In the opening monologue of Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye, the Jewish milkman with five daughters who lives in a Russian shetl called Anatevka, says, “You may ask, how did this tradition start? I’ll tell you. I don’t know. But it’s a tradition.” I suspect most people seldom think about how for every tradition there had to have been a first time it took place—before it was a tradition.  Most of us never consider how a tradition started.  There are many different types of traditions. There are all encompassing cultural and religions traditions, destructive traditions that label particular groups or people as inferior and deny them rights, and there are fun cultural traditions. Groups of friends and families also have their traditions.

In my family, the cranberry sauce squirrel is one of our most cherished traditions. Every Thanksgiving the squirrel makes his appearance on our table . . .except for…

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Shades of Blue

I seldom reblog, but really, this is worth it. All the feelings!

Exploring Colour

Blue is commonly associated with sadness yet I’ve noticed that many bloggers will respond to a photo of beautiful blue flowers by enthusiastically proclaiming that blue is their favourite colour!

Here is a stunning watercolour painting of blue irises recently posted on her blog by Jodi McKinney and used here with Jodi’s permission. Aren’t they beautiful? And note the first three lines of her post quoted below…

jodi_blue-irises-watercolor Blue Irises Watercolor 11×14

Watercolor Blues.

I had the watercolor “blues” this past weekend.

Not the sad blues, but the HAPPY French Ultramarine and Cerulean and Cobalt Teal blues with a punch of Crimson and Quinacridone Gold for more fun!

From:   Watercolor Blues   by Jodi McKinney of   The Creative Life In Between


“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.” – Robert Frost

Quote shared with me by Ellen (“Gem”) in comments on a blog-post.

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This is my second poem in Pure Haiku’s Emergence theme. Thank you, Freya!

purehaiku

sleek and seal-bodied

she ponders life on the land

swims from sea, then stands

© Merril D. Smith 2019

Merril D. Smith emerges from time-traveling to find herself still in the kitchen, coffee at hand, cat on lap, and a poem sometimes written. Find out more at her blog, Yesterday and Today.

This haiku is part of our Emergence theme.

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the language of trees.

This is so cool– a tree alphabet. I’m sharing this from Beth’s site.

I didn't have my glasses on....

NYC Parks Are Using a Designer’s ‘Tree Font’ to Plant Secret Messages with Real TreesNew York City Tree Font Alphabet by Katie Holten

Inspired by the nature around her, artist Katie Holten recently developed the New York City Tree Alphabet. Each letter is represented by an illustration of a different type of tree found in NYC. The letter A, for example is depicted as an ash tree, and the letter O is illustrated as an oak.

Holten is one of the first creatives to become an NYC Parks artist-in-residence, where she was asked to explore “the intersection of art, urban ecology, sustainability, nature, and design.” Holten’s resulting NYC Trees font is now available as a free download to anyone who wants to write secret messages in tree code. Not only that, but the NYC Parks Department plans to actually plant some of the messages as real trees in parks and other public spaces.

“Being an artist-in-residence with…

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Freya of Pure Haiku selected this haiku of mine for her “Emergence” theme.

purehaiku

crocus blooms in snow

golden cheer in winter gloom

smile breaks on stern face

© Merril D. Smith 2019

Merril D. Smith emerges from time-traveling to find herself still in the kitchen, coffee at hand, cat on lap, and a poem sometimes written. Find out more at her blog, Yesterday and Today.

This haiku is part of our Emergence theme.

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By the Riverside–Quadrille for dVerse

I walk by the riverside—

only the steps are steep–

few creatures stir,

do they hide–

perhaps they’re fast asleep.

I wonder what it’d be like

to soar, slither, or leap,

but my shadow and I walk

side by side–

good company, we keep.

img_1243

Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

Enough dark and dismal today–keeping it light for quadrille day at dVerse. Mish has asked us to use the word “steep” in some form in our 44-word poems. I wrote most of this in my head while I was walking.

 

Walls, Again and Again

Monday Morning Musings:

From a window I watch the birds flocked together to find food, to feed, fueling before the chilly winter rain begins again, following each other ground to sky and back again. I watch a couple of black birds—starlings perhaps–pecking at an old light fixture hanging below the eaves of my house. We think they don’t think or love or dream. Perhaps they think the same of us?

Species to species,

is there communication?

Walls between us all

 

I watch my cat dreaming and wonder what he sees. I wake from my own dream. It fades to mist. I remember only my sister. Her hair is styled in coils on each side of head—a 1940s hairstyle. She slowly morphs into my grandmother, my mother’s mother–

dream walls dissolving

past, present, future merging

an uncertain message

 

On a chilly day, we see a production of Romeo and Juliet. The cast wears modern street clothes, Mercutio raps. There is a band and a “Greek chorus” of local college students. There are curtains of shimmering golden strands; the actors part and walk through them. They also wheel these golden strand curtains into place to form walls on the otherwise mostly bare stage. There is another wall at the end of the play, where the singer and band sing about love being “a waste” if it is only “a wall to keep the truth away.” Some of the beauty of Shakespeare’s play has been lost, yet we enjoy this imaginative production. We talk as we walk through city streets. Then within walls, where it is warm and dry, we sip some wine, and eat some cheese.

enemies fated,

or find love notwithstanding—

what is in a name?

 

We walk past garden gates and walls to see another play. Ripped from too many headlines—the far too common killings of black people by white law enforcement officers—the play is set in the jury room where the jury is deadlocked. They decide to try to react the circumstances of the case giving all those involved a backstory, which leads to the final, surprising, and powerful conclusion. The play is not perfect and some it is a bit contrived, but it seems designed to help tear down some walls. Every performance has a talk back session. Some people say they like how the characters are made human. No one here is evil, even if we do not agree with their opinions. There are walls of human misunderstanding and conflict in both plays.

conversations help

break down walls of distrust

challenge our notions

And yet—we finish watching the third season of The Man in the High Castle. I am chilled by the vision of smiling youths tearing down monuments and burning the New York Public Library. This is a fictional world, but lately there are too many similarities to the real world. The petulant baby foments hate. We should all be behind a slogan to Make America Better, not to the one he champions that looks back to world where racism, sexism, and homophobia flourished. I see too many posts railing against “illegals,” the ignorance astounds me. And on Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating when Auschwitz was liberated, too many do not believe it happened, while there are some who would like it to happen again. I watch Rent, and I think of the Parkland students singing “Seasons of Love” at the Tony Awards last year.

“It’s time now to sing out,

though the story never ends”

still walls of hate here

Every family has its secrets, its walls. Every family has its tragedies and comedies, a play in several acts. We live out our stories within the walls of homes, schools, workplaces, or in confinement somewhere. My mom rarely ventures outside the walls of her building now because she can’t go out by herself. We drive her to our daughter’s house for brunch. We talk, eat, and watch the dogs play. We laugh. We love. Sometimes that is enough.

Walls can shelter us

from bad weather, and from life

but love helps us grow

The moon hums a lullaby for birds, cats, and me. Walls dissolve, and we share a dream.

 

I guess this is more prose and verse rather than a series of haibun. And also, sorry, WP won’t let me delete the video below.