Vanishing Point

Peder Severin Krøyer, Summer Evening at Skagen. The Artist’s Wife and Dog by the Shore

Vanishing Point

In summer’s late twilight,
violet waves tumble with mystery,
the clouds are shapeshifters,
now ships, now galloping horses
dipping their heads to graze.

This is the place where wishes dangle
and we are hooked–
lungs for gills, legs for voice–
no way to go back,
promises polished like sea glass
shatter on the rocks.

Five years. We still gaze at the horizon,
still listen for his voice, don’t we, Boy?
A tail wag of hope before we turn, leaving
our footprints. Blink, and they’re gone, too.

A poem for my summer ekphrastic prompt on dVerse. I’ve posted several works of art to choose from. Join us!

No Answers: Prosery

Edward Hopper, “Automat,” 1927

We heard about D-Day, of course, we heard. It was the beginning of the end, though we didn’t know it then—not for certain. We didn’t know if it was permanent. I was cut-off from information like everyone else. In the ensuring months of battle, I faced uncertainty—and fear. And then, finally, I was safe in body, if not in mind. I still didn’t know if I’d been betrayed. What was I supposed to do with that? Finally an end to war, yet amidst the cheering for liberation, there was still devastation and loss. What were we to do with our ghosts? What were we to do with starvation, the many who traded sex with strapping American soldiers for a meal? These are the things they don’t tell us. I went home, but the past is a hunter, stalking us, taking us unaware.

For dVerse Prosery, Lisa has asked us to this line:

“These are the things they don’t tell us.”
– Girl Du Jour, from Notes on Uvalde

She has posted the poem on the prompt page. I’ve used the line to continue my Prosery spy series. Today, June 6, 2022, is the 78th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces landed in Normandy, in the invasion that led to the end of the Nazi occupation of France. This year, 98-year-old American veteran Charles Shay said:

“Ukraine is a very sad situation. I feel sorry for the people there and I don’t know why this war had to come, but I think the human beings like to, I think they like to fight. I don’t know,” he said. “In 1944, I landed on these beaches and we thought we’d bring peace to the world. But it’s not possible.”

Brilliant and Broken

Monday Morning Musings:

Brilliant and Broken

Tall Pines State Preserve

Do the stars remember their songs
before they vanish into black?
Perhaps, not voiceless, they are infusions
pulsing light
through a dark heart,

Early Morning Sun over the Delaware River

a broken heart—again–
scabs picked from patched veins
the once aberrant and taboo ooze–
but we detach, too tired
to clear clouded eyes.

Instead, we strew hope and prayers
like seeds cast into a field
without thought or preparation,
waiting for flowers to bloom,
and turn their heads to the sun.

I think of stone soup—each adding. . .something,
some celery perhaps?
Would it satisfy? Hinder the hate?
Like Mother Trees, could we connect, share
and nourish?

Fresh Summer Produce–Cooking, Trying to Heal

But there’s another storm,
the caliginous sky, a rolling dark sea encroaches,
a fast and furious tide, a flash,
and gone—a recess for
the scent of petrichor and honeysuckle to play,

throwing a blanket over me, filling my senses, and
I hold the moment close,
perfect seconds pass—loved ones, sunshine,
wine, and cats, the pre-dawn choir–
Was that gunshot? A shiver down my spine.

Egrets/Heron –a bit of early morning magic chanced upon

Yet I celebrate the brilliant blush,
the wild blue, the bird-voiced morning,
and if I embrace the ghosts
the laugh that travels
through an unopened window—
reflections on the glass, I know
the future does not skirt the past.

A beautiful window on Pine Street, Philadelphia. Reflections, Past, Present, Future.

I generated a random word list yesterday, and I used some of the words in my musings today. I also used a couple stanzas that I cut from my Oracle poem on Saturday.

We had our second booster shots on Tuesday. Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep, and all-day Wednesday I felt tired, but not sleepy—just heavy and off. It suddenly lifted Wednesday night. We had severe weather alerts on Thursday, but we managed to get in a little bit over an hour at the first Vino and Vibes of the summer at William Heritage Winery. Saturday and Sunday were simply gorgeous, perfect days, as far as the weather. There was another mass shooting. This time in Philadelphia, on South Street, an area full of people enjoying a beautiful Saturday night. I know the area. But on Sunday, we went into the city to see a play at the Wilma Theater, Fairview. It’s a play that’s difficult to describe. It begins like a sitcom and turns into something else. As the director, James Ijames writes, it is “ a sitcom that trips on a wrinkle in the rug and tumbles into the uncanny, the sublime, and the truth. .. Jackie’s play asks us all to imagine together what it means to choose a different path. To practice empathy.”

We walked through Philadelphia’s Pride Celebration, and at Tria, we got great seats for a drum show.

Pride Celebration, Philadelphia–from our table at Tria Cafe. Love is Love Is Love.🌈

Just before 4 AM today I heard something—it sounded like gunshots. I didn’t imagine it because the sound woke my cat, too. (Not my husband.) People set off fire crackers, but at that time?

Merril’s TV Club: We watched the new season of Undone. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the first season. Time travel, mental illness—it’s totally unique. We started the new season of the Danish series Borgen, an excellent political drama. This is a return to the series after many years. The first woman prime minister is now the foreign secretary, and the plot concerns the discovery of huge amounts of oil in Greenland. Greenland is still under Danish control, so there is a conflict over climate and environmental concerns and the autonomy and prosperity of the people in Greenland.

A Summer Day, on Repeat (with audio)

A Summer Day, on Repeat

1.
When we were young, yet women,
we danced—almost cool—
the universe smiled and breathed
with champagne breath, effervescent,
a symphony of light-sound.

2.
We go about our days
oblivious to the coming storm.
though the wind moans, and
the sky becomes a blackened chimney—
then a chandelier.

3.
Fish leaps, a sparkle and a splash,
green frog with banjo-string-pluck, jumps–
the mayfly darts away.
The pond tastes of anything
can happen, if only, make a wish.

4.
Tech plays with sinister access,
the world wants you to be hard—
perhaps everything must crash.
You open the program,
hit re-set, complete.

5.
Dream diamonds float amidst the rocks—
tiny ships without a compass or chart,
in the after and before,
as time spins, always
she lives in you.

The Oracle gave me an almost Cadralor. Then we went out for a walk in a nature preserve, and when we got back home, I decided to try to make it a true Cadralor. I think. I’m sharing this with dVerse Open Link Night.

Not a Typical Journey: Curtis Smith Interviews Merril D. Smith

Curtis Smith interviewed me for Small Press Reviews

Small Press Reviews

Merril D. Smith is a historian and poet with a Ph.D. from Temple University in American History. She is the author/editor of many works on history, gender, and sexuality. Her poetry has appeared in Black Bough Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Fevers of the Mind, and others. She one of the hosts of the online dVerse Poets Pub. Her first poetry collection, River Ghosts was published in April 2022 by Nightingale and Sparrow Press. She lives in southern New Jersey near the Delaware River with her husband and cat.

You can find her at merrildsmith.com or on her blog, merrildsmith.wordpress.com. You can find

River Ghosts on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/River-Ghosts-Merril-D-Smith/dp/B09WZ8F9XJ/ref=sr_1_1?crid=H88P7SQGOIVR&keywords=merril+d.+smith&qid=1654011427&sprefix=Merril+D%2Caps%2C64&sr=8-1

or through the publisher, Nightingale & Sparrow: https://nightingaleandsparrow.com/river-ghosts-by-merril-d-smith/

Curtis Smith: Congratulations on River Ghosts. I really enjoyed it. I’m always interested in the journey of a first collection. How did you end up working with Nightingale and Sparrow? How has the process been?

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INSTANT CONTINUING POETRY RELAY FESTIVAL Here!

Join the INSTANT CONTINUING POETRY RELAY FESTIVAL
and lend your voice to worldwide peace!

formidable woman sanctuary

Spirit Thom gives us a push: let’s combine our creative energies and see what happens! Read the thread of poems begun here (his and mine) and post your own response, in the comments below, taking your prompt from the previous poems. Send this link out to your list. Let’s see how far and wide we can send our words. They matter! & they might just make a postive impact for change for the Highest Good.

Photo by Bekky Bekks on Unsplash

BEGINS WHEN YOU RESPOND TO THIS INVITATION(as of Wednesday June 1,2022 CST) Extends when you take responsibility for your poetic communications Grows when you link BY ANY MEDIA POSSIBLE into the growing world of poetic peaceful modes and styles Basically,this initiates a POETIC RELAY-you respond then pass this invite on to any person who might take it further via creating then communicating ways and means in metaphor of their…

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Their Stories

Their Stories

Vincent van Gogh, Olive Grove

“(There are) many stories which are not on paper, they are written in the bodies and minds of women.”
— Amrita Pritam

Browse the archives, finger-brush ancient tablets
looking for their names—

you may find a few,
the chattel and relicts of men,

repositories of seeds, like the Earth,
their roots in deep-time connection,

they whisper stories–
conquest, war-spoils, love, and loss,
their children, don’t forget.

A double dVerse challenge:
a poem inspired by a line from the work of Punjabi poet Amrita Pritam, and a quadrille (44-word poem ) containing the word “browse.”

Some of you know I’m a historian. I’ve spent a lot of time in archives trying to uncover women’s stories.

At the end of May

At the end of May,

moon-breath clouds linger
as sparrows and robins awaken the sun.

Soon the furnace door will open
and the air will steam,

but now, light and shadow play tag,
and the little deer join the game.
A blue jay referees from a high tree branch

where tattered decorations for the war dead cling
like ghosts

on the river, and time tumbles in the waves
while the surface sparkles with memories.

I wrote this early this morning and shared it with @TopTweetTuesday. I can’t seem to get away from River Ghosts!

Lucidity

Monday Morning Musings:

Lucidity

“The idea,” she said, “is that in a dream a person might be able control events. And I thought how much better I’d like it if there were such a thing as lucid living. Much better to control what happens in life than what happens in your dreams.”
–Nina De Gramont, The Christie Affair, p. 53.

“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
–Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”

Early morning light on the river

Sun and Shadow, Early morning

We’re settled in the confluence
of sorrow and remembrance,

another shooting
barely makes the news,
the politicians spin, backpedal,
attempt wheelies to distract–

because there’s no logic,
no reason for children to be killed.

Today we remember the soldiers
who gave their lives—but how much
better if these were ancient
memorials, war a foreign concept.

But none are safe,
no one is immortal.
Plagues, guns, chance, and choice
everything gone in a second.

A small graveyard in Salem County, NJ

I hold my loved ones close,
say I love you,
bake bread and cakes
drink wine, cherish the day, family, and friends,
I cuddle my cat,
smile at puppies, kittens, baby birds–

knowing I can’t control, except in a dream,
but wishing—

in the cycles of sunshine and storms,
the predawn choir and the bats at dusk,
that I could translate and circulate this—
the light, tree memories, crow wisdom,

we’re settled, resigned,
but I will see the beauty

and rage against the dying of the light.

An overgrown yard transformed by morning light.

Today is Memorial Day. Yesterday we went to Auburn Road Vineyard with our daughter, son-in-law, and one of their dogs. It was a gorgeous day to sit outside and enjoy wine and pizza. I’m having leftover pizza for lunch. I’m about three quarters of the way through The Christie Affair, a novel that takes place during Agatha Christie’s famous disappearance, as told by her husband’s mistress. I’m enjoying it very much.