Poem Up in Wellington Street Review

Friends' Alms-House. on Walnut St. Philada. -- Erected in 1745. Taken down in 1841. [graphic].

Friends’ Alms-House. on Walnut St. Philada. — Erected in 1745. Taken down in 1841. [graphic]. Library Company of Philadelphia

Thank you to Annabel Mahoney and team for selecting my poem “The Almshouse” for the current issue of the Wellington Street Review. I am so pleased to be included in this issue.You can read the poem here. 

Dance

Monday Morning Musings:

“And may the spirit of this song

May it rise up pure and free

May it be a shield for you

A shield against the enemy”

–Leonard Cohen, “Lover, Lover, Lover”

 

“Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love”

–Leonard Cohen, “Dance Me to the End of Love”

 

My absent daughter

draws the golden peacock

but forgets the fallen feather

can also be a quill

to write the words that dance

upon the page of time,

and from love and grief

and longing

the phrases soar in endless flight–

to bear witness of love and loss

in song to spread the light

***

In this week

of lies and revelation

we go about our lives

without hesitation

because there are deadlines

and care

for those we love

and responsibility

to share—

but oh, the sky,

the clouds

the air

that shimmers

and glimmers

on dew drops

in the morning light

that sight–

BDAA55B7-6795-43E4-BEBA-5845A21C4BF6

and the honk of geese

in victory flight

IMG_4444

and so,

we take a break

forget the cake

I still must bake

 

reflect

upon each passing sight

on this autumn day

the sun is bright

and summer-like

but inside cooler

as the lights dim

and the show begins

the dancers strong

and full of grace

without a trace

of doubt, fluid lines

muscle and bone

move together, alone

upon the stage

they dance

homage to poetic phrase

in each turn or raise

of arm and leg

and yes, I say

it was worth it to pay

though now

I’m even more

behind

IMG_4479

I see love–

coming and going

and isn’t that always the way?

spring to summer and fall

and before long

winter will come

and will we dance then at all?

Yes, I think

we will add layers

to layers

and though our hair

will turn greyer

still we’ll laugh

and dance, press

on

 

my sister-niece says

I love mom’s belly laugh,

and we all agree

a bright spot

in a gloomy sea

that seems endless–

a beacon, a buoy

we embrace,

when she and the world is screwy.

IMG_4494

And though there are fewer

at our holiday table

and we miss those unable

to be with us,

we laugh and talk

and drink our wine

dip apples in honey–

that boy is so funny

the way he loves my challah—

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

we eat the meal

and here’s the deal—

time moves on

but our traditions remain

so, there’s brisket and kugel

for the year to be sweet, not dull–

bright gold of pumpkin soup

and before long, dessert—

 

in and endless loop

the seasons pass

and years dance on

from dusk to dawn

in saraband or waltz

sorrow, love–

with just a bit of schmaltz

 

we say our goodbyes

and sigh

(though the men roll their eyes)

we need that family compound

so we can all come around

whenever need be.

That could be

easier for all of us, you see

 

time will tell

somehow, dwell

on the here and now,

we have each other

and sleepy cats—

there is that.

 

We clean up,

put away each dish

I pause, wish

to dance to the end

of light

as it bends

refracts

and twirls

to begin again.

 

Dream–

the spirit of this song.

IMG_4440

 

Last night was the start of Rosh Hashanah. Wishing all of you a very sweet year!

One of my daughters posted her drawing of a golden peacock from Jewish tradition and a message about what it means to her. You can see her Instagram post here. 

We saw Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal perform Dance Me, “an exclusive creation inspired by the rich and profound work of Montreal-based poet, artist, and songwriter, Leonard Cohen” (from the program notes). You can see some excerpts here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her Heart Kissed Joy

1024px-p_s_krøyer_1899_-_sommeraften_ved_skagens_strand._kunstneren_og_hans_hustru

Peder Severin Krøyer [Public domain] “Summer Evening at Skagen beach, the artist and his wife”

Her heart kissed joy—

as if

she was not born

of hard work

and never would go far–

but sailed on stars

and heard them laugh

 

~in a brilliant champagne sky~

 

over the ocean’s voice

I ask you to linger,

remembering this–

a window in time–

and you smile in the soft night

while we dance through

a universe of always

 

I have so much to do, and I’ve been feeling so stressed, but look what the Oracle gave me today. This puente! I’m feeling better now.

 

Listen

512px-SN1994D--Super Nova

Hubble Space Telescope-Image of Supernova 1994D (SN1994D) in galaxy NGC 4526 (SN 1994D is the bright spot on the lower left). NASA/ESA, The Hubble Key Project Team and The High-Z Supernova Search Team

 

Twinkle, bang—a star explodes, sending its dust into space. We’re made of that dust, ephemeral and eternal. Everything connected, nothing ever truly extinct. Listen—

stars shimmer and sing

treble and bass symphony,

bestowing beauty

in bright notes of stellar light

tumbling into space

 

At dVerse, Linda has asked us to use the word “extinction” (or some form of the word) in a quadrille, a poem of 44 words. The extra challenge is not to discuss climate change.

This is a haibun tanka quadrille. Maybe a haibun tanka is not a thing, but oh well. I’ve also used synonyms for fall and give for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. I was joking with someone about stars “singing,” but here’s an article about the sounds they make.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember

Monday Morning Musings:

“It is the onion, memory,

that makes me cry.”

From Craig Raine, “The Onion”

 

“Music, when soft voices die,

Vibrates in the memory—”

–Percy Bysshe Shelley, from “Music When Soft Voices Die (To. ..)

IMG_4404

the universe born

from a fire dance

with a bang, barging forth,

endless now, eternal,

remembering the almost

and the always

rounding in long, liquid circles

creating time,

but timeless,

yet there it is–

the secret poetry,

of the dawning day,

hints of light in the darkness.

***

Leaves turn scarlet and gold

against the azure blue, so bold

 

 

but as the air turns crisp and cold

and the leaves fall, uncontrolled

 

we remember

IMG_4192

the bright green of trees and grass,

the calls of birds, the way they dance

 

into the slanted light of autumn

 

remember

 

the scent of stew and bread

and the blankets piled upon the bed—

and yet, still I see

the bee

1DCCC42D-1FE0-4435-B3A2-4E9A1909C630

moving from flower to flower

knowing his hours

 

are limited

but uninhibited

 

he flies

and tries–

 

does he remember?

 

(What are the dreams of a bee?)

 

I see the spotted lantern fly,

remember to crush it, say good-bye

 

dead bug, though I feel some remorse

he’s only doing his job, of course–

 

but once, did he remember the air

and sunlight, feel despair?

 

The man in the movie forgets the facts

of his life, he acts

 

on some written instructions,

and we make assumptions

 

connect the dots,

but sometimes, blank spots

 

are filled in with what wasn’t there–

my mom fills these holes in the air

 

with dreams, believes

things that never happened, perceives

 

a different time-line, a reality

of what never was and never will be

 

and so, it goes, we see,

 

and will we remember this

autumn coming, in starts and fits

 

but summer stays, and we sit outside

hide (a bit)

 

from truth, well, who’s to decide

what is right, and what we abide?

 

We smile, drink wine

enjoy the sun, and life is fine

mostly, though we remember

 

autumn comes, and pages turn,

emotions churn, we yearn

 

for things that never were, perhaps

or for our world not to collapse,

City Hall Reflected in a puddle, Merril D. Smith, Philadelphia 2019

City Hall Reflected in a Puddle, Philadelphia

we walk

reflect on the past, talk

of life and a book

and we look

 

observe, that time moves on

and circles back

 

and light comes, sometimes at a slant

or through the cracks,

 

I remember that.

 

We haven’t had a chance to get to the movies (sigh, maybe when this book is done)– but Dale, we did see a good one on Netflix. Remember. Trailer here.  It’s from 2015, but I don’t remember it in the theaters. It’s much better than the synopsis sounds: a man with dementia follows the written instructions of a fellow nursing home resident to hunt down the man who killed their families at Auschwitz. Well, the director is Atom Egoyan, and it stars Christopher Plummer. Certainly not upbeat, but very well-done, a quiet sort of thriller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rising Storm

512px-Ernst_Ferdinand_Oehme_-_Mondnacht_auf_dem_Golf_von_Salerno

 

Sea screams a storm

of purple winds blowing wild

cool salty spray

 

rising

 

as we rose up together–

and after, in luscious light

the moon whispers, “if” . . .

 

. . .and we dream

 

I got a bit over 1,500 words written for my book, so I’m taking a quick poetry break before I get back to work. (Slow going when you’re researching at the same time.)  The Oracle knows what’s going on.

Something Happened Here

 

IMG_4309

Red Bank Battlefield,  National Park, NJ

He watches from this place. Where—he’s not certain, and he drifts and wanders, but never far from this spot. Something happened here, he thinks.

He doesn’t know how long he’s been here, or what was before. He notices others like him here. They nod to each other, sharing a bond. . .of some sort.

What is that sound? Oh yes, that’s called music. He thinks it’s something he used to like. I rememberyes, I used to. . . sing.

He watches as people gather. A woman dressed in black wipes her face. A small boy stands next to her holding a flag.

Something happened here, he thinks again.

And as the leaves blow and whisper in the breeze, he remembers—these memories were left here with the trees. The woman’s eyes open wide as he gently kisses her, and then disappears forever.

 

This is my prosery piece for my dVerse prompt, using the line “These memories were left here with the trees” from the poem “How to Write a Poem in a Time of War” by Jo Harjo.  When I walk in the park, sometimes I think memories whisper from the trees.

 

 

 

 

Remember–We Laughed

Monday Morning Musings

“We spend our lives trying to discern where we end and the rest of the world begins. “

–Maria Popova, Figuring

 

Ask–

as through the mist

a figure appears.

Examine–

real or specter,

as the sun shines

through the fog

What do you see?

***

I ask

what do you remember

of what, when, and who,

 

the memories accrued

over time, false with true

to mix with dreams, old and new.

 

I reflect

on reflections, in the glass

I see time pass

(Remember her laugh.)

 

I watch

the clouds, stormy river view

to dazzling blue

Delaware River from Patco

View of Delaware River from Patco Train

EA5FB5C7-ED30-49A5-B54E-506802672C77

I listen

for the secrets of trees and birds

and all the words

Swallows at Hawk Haven

Aerial show at Hawk Haven, Cape May

that never convey

truth, but hint—in some way

that trip in rhythm, dance, sway

 

delight—

in family and friends

as time twists and bends

 

We celebrate

watch comedians on the stage

turn the page

 

on a new chapter

gather after. . .

and after–

 

who knows?

 

(Remember this

and that–

remember to laugh.)

 

The woman says,

“You look just like your mother,”

and you wonder—

IMG_4158

then another woman says,

“Your daughter looks just like you,”

and you wonder if it’s true,

IMG_2567

or if it’s as when he says blue,

but you see green,

truth not always what it seems–

 

but you laugh

and smile, and drink more wine–

the day is fine

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

though you ponder, wonder

what is in our minds,

it takes all kinds,

 

doesn’t it?

The killers and mad men

who change history, again and again—

 

But there is love, too,

and cats, and smiles

that travel across the miles

IMG_4283

 

You think,

I have few regrets—

as the moon rises and sets

IMG_4364

and the clouds sail away,

fears kept at bay,

love, please stay

 

to rise with the sun—

dawn break, the day begun.

 

We finished Season 2 of Mindhunters on Netflix, which got me thinking about minds. (Anyone else imagining Agent Ford singing “you’ll be back?”) Our son-in-law graduated from nursing school, and our daughter threw him a surprise party at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia. Daughter and I went on a bus tour of three wineries in Cape May, NJ: Natali Vineyards, Willow Creek, and Hawk Haven.  I heard Mari Popova read on “Live from Here with Chris Thile.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From that Sky

EA5FB5C7-ED30-49A5-B54E-506802672C77

 

From that sky

we sail into tomorrow,

remembering the spray

of cloud breath

on dazzle blue,

and the laughing stars of after

 

~the waking fire of the universe~

 

comes, ghosts from eternity

dance through the vast darkness of time

to linger in my heart,

and I look and listen to the angel-voiced day

breezing with poetry–

bringing the magic of if

 

Screen Shot 2019-09-14 at 8.50.05 AM

Another struggle with the Oracle to get this puente–another collaborative venture.  I think she knows my brain right now is scattered in a million different directions.