The Heart’s Reflections, Weighed

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Geese practicing social distancing on the Delaware River.

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“Neither the spider has planned for the leaf nor the leaf for the spider — and yet there they are, an accidental pendulum propelled by the same forces that cradle the moons of Jupiter in orbit, animated into this ephemeral early-morning splendor by eternal cosmic laws impervious to beauty and indifferent to meaning, yet replete with both to the bewildered human consciousness beholding it.”

–From Maria Popova, Figuring, quoted in Brainpickings

 

“The heart’s reasons

seen clearly,

even the hardest

will carry

its whip-marks and sadness

and must be forgiven.”

–Jane Hirshfield, “The Weighing”

 

 

I dream of the oak tree

its roots tunneling

expanding through darkness

linking to other roots

in connections we never see

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even as I do see—

do you?–

the branches saluting the sun,

the buds opening, sleepy-eyed

to greet the sun

 

and do you gaze, dazzled

to see how bushes, flowers, trees

literally bloom overnight—

do you hear the robin’s scolding–

“Look around you!”

One crow flies,

then another

calling, gathering in a tree,

“Now” they say.

“Now.”

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And I do look–

to the sky

and the ground below.

Which is the reflection, I wonder,

perhaps reality is the upside-down world,

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The World in a Puddle. Photo of a puddle in the parking lot at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ. March 2020.  Merril D. Smith

 

perhaps this is the dream?

Shadow-me drifts

moving with the river currents

fading with sun

and tides

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the ebb and flow

of life–

sun and moon,

stars,

the planets

 

move through our skies.

Once they were gods

now only so in name,

but is their power and beauty decreased,

or only different?

 

[See this photo of Jupiter.]

 

News of my mom comes–

she is isolated,

as if in space–

my dead father comforts her,

and I see the heart weighs,

 

reflects

the upside-down

and the shadows,

feels the ebb and flow

and forgives.

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Another puddle reflection, March 2020 Merril D. Smith

 

Like the rest of the world, we’re at home. We’re on Season 3 now of Babylon Berlin. We had a homemade pizza and movie night. We watched a new movie on Amazon Prime, Blow the Man Down. There’s a definite Coen Brothers vibe, complete with a Greek chorus of sea shanty-singing fishermen.

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Before the Rain: Tritina Challenge

 

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The sun rises, the horizon a crimson flame–

red sky in morning, tonight comes the rain.

Yet still the robins sing, in tree branches lifting

 

skyward, boughs and birdsong, lifting,

shifting as the sun’s rays flame

the world in gold before the rain.

 

And in these hours, before the rain,

when eyes and voices are lifting,

down below the daffodils burst alive and flame–

 

and robins hop amidst the flame of flowers, lifting, winging, before the rain.

 

This is a tritina for Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge. She asked us to choose three words from a poem by Francis Ledwidge.  I chose flame, rain, and lifting. I might be having a having a hard time concentrating on forms, but I also think this is a difficult form—for me, at least.

 

Surfacing

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Guillermo_Gómez_Gil_-_Salida_de_la_luna

 

I hear gorgeous music

in this sky of purple-pink–

it whispers a symphony of when

and if

 

and after

 

I go,

the sea will still sing

of blue moons

and coming storms

 

screaming in silver spray–

 

while beneath,

shadows swim

in the cool grey water

together, soaring,

 

surfacing

 

to taste the wind

on their tongues

and feel the light of distant stars

shimmering through the mist of time.

 

My Saturday morning collaboration with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. This started as a puente, but then it kept going. Sometimes the Oracle has more to say.

 

Secrets

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Edward Hopper, New York Restaurant

 

“I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended.” Perhaps I wasn’t, not really. Not in those days. I was like the wind blowing in and out of places, and love followed—a gentle breeze or a gale—either way it was here and gone. Until Joe.

We both had worked as codebreakers. All that’s history now, of course, but even now, I can’t give you any details. Enemies remain—secrets, too. I didn’t even notice him at first.

Then one day, I glanced up as he was consulting with a colleague. He looked at me and nodded. I nodded back. Without a word, we had an understanding. Later, we met for coffee…

It’s been thirty years. He brings me coffee every morning. I’m surprised if he doesn’t spill a drop or two. But that will be our little secret.

 

This is my flash fiction “prosery” piece for my prompt today on dVerse. Our pieces cannot be longer than 144 words. Mine is exactly 144 words. The first line comes from a poem by Jane Hirshfield. 

 

 

 

Everyday Miracles

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Monday Morning Musings:

“We forget that nature itself is one vast miracle transcending the reality of night and nothingness. We forget that each one of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.”

–Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time, quoted here.

 

In argent splendor, she rises

full in her monthly course

Worm Moon in a yearly cycle

as winter turns to spring

she hums a song

 

awakening the flowers

pink, yellow, blue, white

and birds soar, black silhouettes

against the feather-clouds

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while beneath, unaware,

puppies run and tumble. I toss

a frisbee in the air

chased and caught–

what rises falls–

 

as we know, but forget,

ignore the signs,

and the moon’s warning–

it will be cockeyed day

of near mishaps

 

still the sun rises and sets

as the earth rotates

and we spin, but don’t fall—not yet—

while we make another revolution

through the year

 

to my sister-niece’s birthday.

While the men create order

from the chaos of the garden

we watch the river less restrained

crashing in waves upon the rocks

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Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

while across the water

large ships sail into port

and out again to the sea

a cycle of commerce—

the river has seen it all, she sighs

 

as we walk and talk

of family and friends

of the history of this place

once full of crops and fish

where men died in battle

 

(Do you shiver, sensing their ghosts

drifting by?)

 

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we reflect on the times

but we eat and drink

celebrate her birthday–

in this time of caution–

with a solo candle for her slice–

 

 

don’t get too close,

the three-quarter moon hums

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn

Ignore her,

the age-old story–

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pestilence and plagues

arrogance and ignorance–

but the flowers bloom again in spring

whether we see them or not

a miracle of nature

 

we forget and remember

trying to tame chaos

as the waves crash

we stop, look—sometimes

holding out a hand, even if it’s dangerous–

 

and the sun

rises again

and again

and again

and again.

 

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Sunrise Salutation

 

It’s been a strange week. Some of you may have seen my previous post, “Tilting.”

Merril’s Movie Club: In this time of social distancing, we haven’t gone out to see any movies recently, but we watched a movie last night, White Lies, New Zealand’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the 2014 Academy Awards. It’s a film that slowly uncovers secrets from the past about identity, colonialism, and women’s roles. It’s in Maori and English. It’s on Amazon Prime.

We’re also watching Babylon Berlin on Netflix. It’s been on  my list for awhile, but we’re just getting to it. Season 3 just dropped. We’ve binged Season 1, which begins in Berlin in 1929, and we’re on Season 2 now. It’s a real Merril show—neo-noir with a complicated storyline, dazzling visuals, and song and dance in every episode. I was a bit confused after the first episode, but now I’m hooked (and so is my husband).

 

 

 

 

Once and for Now

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The only tree on the block in bloom, Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

 

Once the moon hummed

in a dazzling glow

and we who wanted–

and longed for if–

walked through now

listening to our own hearts

beating

 

~in time~

 

death comes

but now

beneath sweet budding branches,

as pink and red blooms burst open,

the music of life

plays a symphony,

luscious and sweet

 

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The Oracle gave me this puente today. It’s been a crazy week. The world still seems to be tilting while we’re holding on. I thought we were in lock down today, but it was a false alarm.

I apologize for the delay in reading posts. I’m going to take the opportunity to get some errands done today while I still can, but I’ll be catching up on reading this weekend.

Tilting

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Photo of the Earth taken from Apollo 8, called Earthrise (1968).

 

I see the morning moon

dream-full of spring songs—

of sap, worms, crows

 

(a murder gathers, cawing)

 

Now she hums fiercely through the clouds,

stirring my senses—

 

my mother’s alive, the call a mistake,

but my tire’s flat

on an earth that tilts, revolving.

 

This a quadrille for dVerse. De has asked us to use some form of the word “stir.” Yesterday, my sister got a call that my mom was “unresponsive.” It turns out the facility called the wrong person, and my mother was fine. However, I pulled out of my driveway and discovered my tire was flat. Fortunately, that didn’t happen when we were driving on the expressway.

Rise and Fall

Monday Morning Musings:

 

Through thousands of timeless changes

she’s slept, awakened, and wondered when, why–

and if—whispering wisdom in the pink petals of dawn—

in the shining silver strands of moonlight–

as the tides rise and fall

and waves tumble, wearing down rocks

and towns crumble,

she sighs at the shadows,

sings a song of healing, knowing

it may not be enough.

***

 

These are things that fall—

snowflakes

raindrops,

cherry blossoms,

my mother, over and over

 

again, the text or call,

she’s bruised, confused

about what happened

yet nearly blind,

she sometimes sees

 

these things that rise—

the volume of a laugh,

the sun and moon

spring flowers

spirits

 

at the sound of bird songs

drifting from dawn-lit trees

in the lengthening days

that sing of hope

and the renewal of life–

 

there the crocuses bloom

glowing in radiant amethyst

now jonquils tinkle their tiny bells

and soon sunny daffodils smile

and say hello, always friendly

robins frolic

as the worm moon lingers,

and the mockingbird sings

an aria of love and longing

from a budding tree branch.

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From the buds

come leaves or flowers

and fruit–

and so, an impromptu late lunch

we drink the fermented fruit

 

when other plans fell through

but the sun is shining

and so, we sip and reflect

and take this time

to laugh and talk

 

and then another evening, we walk

in the city awake in the almost-spring

despite the looming threats

it’s a Saturday night

we listen to the comedian

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and we laugh,

even while she talks of hand-washing

she is funny,

and we needed this

we all need this–

 

my mother sees my dead father,

sometimes they talk

she asks me to see if he’s in the lounge

I don’t see him, I say

maybe he will be here later.

 

The comedian says there is no rainbow bridge,

her dead pets are buried in the ground, gone

but remembered,

perhaps we carry these ghosts within us

do we hear them whisper? I don’t know.

 

These are things that rise and fall and rise again

a baby,

eyelids,

civilizations,

hope–

 

blooming

again and again.

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The only tree on the block in bloom, Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

 

No movies this week, but Paula Poundstone was very funny, and it was a fun night out, and our little date lunch was a wonderful little mid-week break.