September Says

Mary Hiester Reid, A Garden in September
 

September Says (in memoriam)

it follows, but perhaps it leads—
a season beneath a season,

the after-summer
and before fall tumbles into darkness.

Now shadows dance in spotlights,
and green branches are tipped with gold,

gardens are filled with flowers that know
the secrets of bees–

wisely they shake heads dyed indigo, gold,
and scarlet—it is a bird Eden, a squirrel pantry–

and if the river asks,
you breath in its blue mystery,

taste its layers, as it unfolds time
like a peony, seed to dust again and again.

My poem from the Oracle, who knows everything. She knows how beautiful September is right now in my part of the world. She also must know that yesterday I heard from my cousins that their mother, my aunt (my mother’s sister-in-law) had died the night before. It made me think about how my mom had died in April when the sky was also bright blue, and the spring flowers were blooming. So, this is not exactly a tribute to my aunt—but in her memory, a reflection of sorts on life and death and beauty.

Fragments

Fragments by Lee Madgwick

Sarah’s ekphrastic prompt at dVerse featured the art of Lee Madgwick. The prompt closed before I got a chance to respond, but here is my poem inspired by this painting. I may write more inspired by the others.

Fragments

Grey-furred clouds sit cat-like
ready to pounce

a breeze strokes the marsh grass—
sighs at the water-whispers,

secret murmurs heard by fish and birds
who swim and fly, here and gone because

time here is as fluid
as the endless river before me

going nowhere or everywhere,
ebbing and flowing concurrently

like conversations at a holiday dinner
where words from the past linger

and mingle with what is spoken
and what is left unsaid,

a barred door
or one open to possibility,

this world of dreams is one universe
of many where stars hum far in the distance.

Now an empty boat waits for me,
I will enter and exit many times

without remembering . . .
until I do.

In a Song Never His (Revised)

In a song never his

In the bird world,
in songs not his own,
in squirrel harmonies and
the deep-breathed rhythm of trees,
the long exhale of winter
in dusk’s violet

he thinks how love climbs like vines–
how easily they wither
but drop seeds to sleep under the rustle
of rust-rotted leaf blankets

as seasons pass beneath gnarled roots
fingers pointing down–

and now he above in aged-rasped voice cries,
our earth, our light, how blue!

Some of you will recognize that this is a revision of my poem from the Oracle, which you can read here. I revised it to make it more imagist for TopTweetTuesday and shared it there. I’m sharing it now with dVerse Open Link Night.

We’ll Make Our Garden Grow: Prosery

We’ll Make Our Garden Grow

“Marie? I thought you were dead. Is it really you?” I ask.

“It is. I was shot and left for dead. Some of the others rescued me, but I couldn’t trust anyone. I ran, changing my identity more often than my clothes.”

She glances at me. “You always did like to make an entrance,” she says, referring to my fall, “but people have noticed your questions. We’ll talk, but quickly. I’m afraid it’s not safe here now for either of us.”

The sweet scent of alyssum drifts through the open window. Marie’s vegetable garden helped all of us stay alive during the war. I remember her saying, “I’d like, too, to plant the sweet alyssum that smells like honey. And peace. I’d scatter peace seeds everywhere if I could.” With her green thumb, peace would have flourished.

Her comment suddenly registers, “Wait—what people?”

This post begins with the last line of my previous prosery post. the continuation of my rambling who-knows-where-it’s-going spy series for dVerse Prosery. The prompt line was:

“I’d like, too, to plant the sweet alyssum that smells like honey and peace.”
From Katherine Riegel, What I would like to Grow in My Garden

Leonard Bernstein conducts “Make Our Garden Grow” from his Candide.

#TheWombwellRainbow #PoeticFormChallenge starts today. It is weekly. I will post the challenge to create a first draft of a poetic form by the following late Sunday. Please email your first draft to me, including an updated short, third person bio and a short prose piece about the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. Except when I’m working at the supermarket I am always ready to help those that get stuck. Already given some folk a headstart by saying the first #prompt is a #SESTINA . I will also blog my progress throughout the week. Hopefully it may help the stumped. Also below please find links to helpful websites.

Paul Brookes is starting a form poetry challenge.

The Wombwell Rainbow

SESTINA

Quick Overview

39 lines

Six six line stanzas

One three line stanza

End words of each stanza are the same, just rearranged. Below is a link that once you have chosen the end words will put them in the correct order for you.

End words are UNRHYMED, unless you wish them to be rhymed.

No stipulation as to line length, but it must be consistent throughout each stanza.

Sestinas are great ti convey CONVERSATION due to the repetition.

My Blog

I have a choice, either pick six random words that will be the end words for all six of the six-line stanzas, or write the first stanza and use the end line words. I chose the latter. Line length may vary but sonnet crazed as I am I chose a ten syllable line for all my lines. The stanzas are UNRHYMED. I dig deep for a subject, don’t analyse…

View original post 208 more words

Saudade

Monday Morning Musings:

Saudade

“For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”
–C.S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory

“If there is any point in using language at all it is that a word is taken to stand for a particular fact or idea and not for other facts or ideas.”
Tom Stoppard, Travesties, Act I (p. 22), Grove Press, Inc. 1975

Light and Shadows, Red Bank Battlefield

What language, what words
can express the golden glow
diffused through trees, the way it swells
between valleys, over hills

Egret, Early Morning, Red Bank Battlefield
Egret and Geese

the pensive blue, the egret white
a reversed silhouette in sapphire light,
the shimmering silver rills on river beach,
colors almost named; flavors almost tasted.

Early morning misty river
Geese in flight, Red Bank Battlefield

Now the crystal sky is smudged with grey,
red flowers bloom and grass grows greener,
drinking deep, as rain seeps to nourish roots below—
last call, last dance, before they sleep—

She’s sad and feeling ignored

the squirrels scurry in the shortening days,
and majesty with wide wings spread
soar in azure above our heads, like thoughts
here, gone, left unexpressed, but

spinning–as our Earth–
water-tilted, wobbles, remaining true to blue–
but what are the words for this time
of seeking beauty in strife and destruction

there’s no deconstruction of this theme,
no truth that dadaism could bring–
but in the apricot dawn and violet dusk
shadows sing

with words we almost know
and sounds we strive to hear.

Sunrise over the Delaware River

Happy Monday! I feel like everything is unsettled right now. It was a strange week, and I’m behind on everything. We had some beautiful, almost fall-like days, and now we’re getting much needed rain—though it’s so sticky and icky feeling that we turned the a/c back on last night.

There was a recent dVerse post that I missed on unusual words, but then I went down a Marginalian rabbit hole and discovered the word “saudade: the vague, constant longing for something or someone beyond the horizon of reality.”

Pine Street , Philadelphia, on a rainy Sunday afternoon


Yesterday, we took a rainy walk in Philadelphia and then saw the Lantern Theater Company’s production of the Tom Stoppard play, Travesties. As with all his plays, it’s a brilliant whirlwind of words, ideas, and styles, including a defense of art. All the actors were excellent—there’s so much fast dialogue, and it’s a long play. I also liked the set and lighting (something I don’t usually notice).

Here’s the synopsis from the theater’s Website:

Zürich, 1917. In Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning comic masterpiece, obscure British diplomat Henry Carr and Dadaist Tristan Tzara are in love with Cecily and Gwendolen, who are both in love with someone named Jack. Carr stages a production of The Importance of Being Earnest with James Joyce, and the action gets heated when Vladimir Lenin bursts onto the scene. Soon everyone in neutral Switzerland is at war over the question, “What does it mean to be an artist and a revolutionary?”

Also, dealing with language, but of a different type, I’m reading the novel True Biz. It’s a coming-of-age novel set mainly in a fictional school for the deaf in Ohio. It’s truly illuminating. It’s making me see things about a culture I didn’t even really know existed. (More so, than I felt in the movie, CODA.)

We finished season 3 of For All Mankind on Apple TV+. Highly recommend it.

In a song never his

Odilon Redon, Orpheus

In a song never his

he seeks peace in the bird world,
in songs not his own,
in squirrel harmonies and
the deep-breathed rhythm of trees,
the long exhale of winter
in dusk’s violet

he thinks how love climbs like vines–
how easily they wither
but drop dream-seeds to sleep under the rustle
of rust-rotted leaf blankets

as seasons pass beneath gnarled roots-
fingers pointing down–

while he above thinks,
our earth, our light, how blue!

Sometimes the Oracle makes you work, and other times, she just says, “here you go.”

September Rain

Heron at dawn. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

September Rain

Early morning is heron-still,
the grey wing-brushed sky waits
for feathered clouds to part,

or sprinkle diamond drops
around sunflowers’ throats,
who smile and tilt their heads,

offer tiny mirrors to bees,
to see a world worked in threads reflected blue,
invisible to us.

A quadrille for dVerse. We’re getting much-needed rain today.

The Important Things

Monday Morning Musings:

The Important Things

“But the important thing about the sky is that it is always there.”
Margaret Wise Brown, The Important Book

Sun rising over the Delaware River

Under a Van Gogh dawn–

in quiet pockets, that many never see,
deer and turkeys frolic,
have picnics on the beach

Turkeys on the Delaware River Beach, West Deptford, NJ

they are there–
as egret clouds spread their wings
across a river of blue jay blue,
even if unseen

Egret

the sunflowers grow and
the honey flows
as light that begins to fade,
but is captured in a golden stream

and apples into it dipped.
Red and gold replace the green
and hawk-chased squirrels taunt and scream
and gather nuts for future dreams,

these are all important things.

Now, we walk–
a moment fixed in time
the past captured in hearts and minds
not knowing what will be, but lives intertwined

despite shadows before us and behind.

Tall Pines State Preserve

All can be lost in a flash of heron’s wing–
but feathers are strong,
even when tossed
and the phoenix rises again from ash,

these are things swept but kept—
the traces of stars, dinosaurs to birds’ song.

Heron

Last year on Labor Day we celebrated Rosh Hashanah. With the Covid numbers high, we didn’t gather with family, but we had visited a sunflower festival and had the traditional foods. We also went to a winery last Labor Day weekend, as we did this year—except proceeds last year went to help the people and businesses affected by the tornado that had roared through a few days before. This week we live-streamed a Loudon Wainwright III concert from the City Winery in NYC. (We actually watched the replay the next night.) We saw my sister-niece and her husband live at our house, which was so wonderful that I forgot to take photos, and we went to William Heritage Winery on Saturday. On Sunday morning, we walked at Tall Pines State Preserve, which was full of late summer wildflowers.

Don’t Ask the Moon

Odilon Redon, The Boat

Don’t Ask the Moon

Imagine the world without
the cycles of dawn’s kiss planted on a sheet of blue,
and evening’s fish with their scale-scattered glimmer
lighting the indigo sea and shimmering on the river.

I wonder if there was a was–
or color or light–
before what came before such things

as bird and bee-breathed blooms,
a blanket of daffodils laid upon the grass,
and the song of the wind in the trees, or frost flowers’
blossoming clouds of white,

but the moon says, “Don’t ask. Behold! You know.”

I had a hard time focusing on the Oracle this morning–and, well, she and the moon work together. I think this is a new to me Redon, too.