The Selkie’s Lament: Haibun

In the wild water I thrive. I remember this. When I rise from the cold deep, the waves rock and cradle me. At dawn, the grey northern sea turns to fire. When darkness comes, the moon silvers the water, and I watch the stars twinkle and drift across the sky. I didn’t know how happy I was then, watching the days pass in light and shadow across the ocean. My brothers, sisters, and I danced our sleek bodies amidst the waves, laughing and singing our ancient songs. But I had glimpsed you from afar, and I was curious. When the summer sun lingered long and languid, I swam to the shallows, then walked ashore, my human form dripping dulse and smelling of brine. Love, I thought, but possession I became. And now— my true skin gone–I am marooned here, grounded, the sea forsworn forever more. And yet still it calls to me—come! Oh, my brothers and sisters–do you know my sadness? Do you hear my cries?

 

Tears under moon-glow

fall, drift, mingle with the sea

carried with the tides

 

Guillermo_Gómez_Gil_-_Salida_de_la_luna (1)

Guillermo Gómez Gil, “Moonrise,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s  Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were happy and sad. Sometimes my inner romantic pours out in a brain-tide. 😉

 

 

Another Storm

 

Ancient songs

drifting through space,

invisible

indivisible

immutable

(listen)

above,

just out of reach

but there,

part of the universe

unhurried

unvarying in variation

we—

poor devils—

do you hear?

(listen again)

the storm is coming

when it clears

hear the stars

calling you

 

Another storm quadrille, using Secret Keeper’s words: Above/Ancient/Part/Devil/Poor

I’m wondering if there’s storm coming today in D.C.

 

 

 

 

Storm Be Done–Quadrille

The angry god in petulant fury

raised his triton high—

soon scorched-ash clouds filled the sky,

covering the moon.

The storm raged, the sea roiled,

thunder echoed,

lightning flashed,

till Aurora said “enough, be done!”

And opened a door

to let in the sun.

 

John_Constable_-_Stormy_Sea,_Brighton_-_Google_Art_Project

John Constable, Stormy Sea, Brighton,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a quadrille for dVerse. The prompt was storm.

Yesterday, Kerfe, Jane, and I in a bit of mysterious blog sisterhood and synchronicity all wrote about doors (with a bit of help from Emily Dickinson). I decided to play with the idea some more.

 

 

 

Work and Play

Monday Morning Musings

“Not knowing when the dawn will come

I open every door.”

–Emily Dickinson

In life a secret blossoms

beneath cloud and air

between dusk and dawn–

follow it

about wild river song

here,

but almost there

 

I read facts and statistics

documenting the evils humans do to one another,

then I read about the kindness of strangers

fighting hate and bigotry

helping others with words and gestures–

I spend days reading and writing

of hate and of human resilience

of the darkness that falls

and the light that comes

 

I spend days writing and reading

editing,

documenting evil–

and then I take a break

I write a poem

drink some wine

(bottled poetry)

 

 

and then some more

 

 

hug my husband, daughter, and cats

eat Pakistani food outside on a beautiful June night

 

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I listen to the mockingbird

(sing )

I think about good and evil

and life’s secrets

blossoming like spring flowers

here

I wait for dawn to come

opening every door

till I am almost there

 

The Oracle gave me the opening.

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Almost 30% of women have faced violence from an intimate partner. World Health Organization,

“Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.” RAINN

We drank wine at Heritage Vineyards “Vino and Vibes” and at Sharrott Winery’s Wine and Music Festival. We got take-out from Meera Khana restaurant, and the food was delicious, as always.

 

 

 

 

Survivor: Sun and Moon

I was a carefree child who played in the warmth of the sun. But her glow and mine have dimmed. At night, after he has finished with me, the moon sends her light to comfort me. Cold comfort. Still, she guides me now, lighting a pearlescent path for me, tangled and silver like the scars that trace my body, but leading me to freedom. I’ve killed him, and though he took my innocence, he can no longer hurt me. My past, present, and future merge—who I was and who I will become. I am broken, but not destroyed. One day, I may glow again, like the sun.

 

The moon saw sorrow

her tears, silver waves of hope

to light the darkness

 

"Rising Moon," John Constable, c. 1810

Credit Line: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917 Philadelphia Museum of Art

This haibun is a late entry for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words were past and future. Some of you know I’m working on two reference books on rape. So, this. Now back to work for me!

According to the UN Women web site,  worldwide, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence, most often from an intimate partner.

 

The Mocking of the Mockingbird

 “Just like that tune,

Simple and clear,

I’ve come to hear

New music—

Breaking my heart,

Op’ning a door,

Changing the world!

New music!

I’ll

Hear it forevermore!”

“New Music,” Ragtime

Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens

 

Was the mockingbird mocking me

as he sang so urgently in the tree?

I awakened from a dream

he seemed haunted,

or was it me?

 

taunted by a world in change

everything upside down and rearranged

hearing new music in the air

wondering why it’s everywhere–

 

the sound of marching feet,

syncopated beats, ragged rhythm of the street,

the sound of hate and guns and bombs

oh, merely percussive runs, my darling ones

 

new music, forevermore

the constant hum of waves, their roar

as islands sink beneath the sea

perhaps the mockingbird sings a ragtime rhythm of nevermore

and the world weeps for what’s now in store–

 

yet, as I turn from song back to sleep

and wonder what the day will reap–

both dawn and dusk share radiant color and diffused light

but we must determine which we want, and what is right

if the sun will rise or set hereafter

on the sound of birds and bees and laughter

 

 

 

Another much-needed poetry break. I was awakened by a mockingbird last night and listened to it sing. Then I read the news and listened to a bit of Ragtime in the car this morning (gym break!). So, this is what happened.

 

 

 

Spots of Color Bloomed

Spots of color bloomed,

there in the mist,

pink and red, surrounded by green

with glistening sheen

life burgeoning, not yet entombed

but solidly rooted,

perfectly suited

(like us)

to withstand the rain–

again and again–

but then to greet the sun,

when at last, it comes

drifting down

crowning the day on floating rays

lighting the wings of birds in flight

whisking away the gloom

(the scent of petrichor lingers)

making color, life, and love bloom

 

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My husband planted these yesterday between rain showers. It made me happy when I looked out the window.

For those keeping track,  I needed to take a poetry break.  🙂

Dazzled

Monday Morning Musings:

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant —

Success in Circuit lies

Too bright for our infirm Delight

The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased

With explanation kind

The Truth must dazzle gradually

Or every man be blind —“

–Emily Dickinson

 

 

A brilliant she is born

here, there, in the past, now

she lived, flowered—perhaps

a rose with thorns—

or a pale bud that only blooms unseen,

but the fever, the desire to create

to know

to explore

is not enough,

confined by men,

labeled

(only a woman)

put in a box

(too weak)

on a shelf

(an ornament)

in a cage

(shackled and punished)

Don’t think too hard, they say to her

your insides will be twisted,

you’ll go mad,

but she rises, resists

her voice rings out

and we wake

 

***

We see a new movie about Emily Dickinson

I learn afterward that

before she confined herself to life to Amherst,

to her home, garden, and poetry

she traveled a bit,

to Boston,

and to Philadelphia

walked the streets we’ve walked

I imagine her ghost lingering still

though the streets are paved and surrounded by new buildings,

 

she published only a few poems during her life

though she wrote thousands

she admired the Brontës,

women who had their work published

(though first under pseudonyms )

they loved their homes and families,

neither Emily married

(wives did not have time to write)

 

What was her truth

and what is truth

and does it slant,

or do we slant it?

Are facts facts

or alternate facts,

difficult, didactic, diffused

gradually, dazzlingly, deliciously

revealed?

 

We see a performance of Gypsy

I remember watching the movie on TV

with a bit of a crush on Natalie Wood–

the way girls admire older teenage girls–

we’re entertained

we let them entertain us

and make us smile.

the orchestra sweeps us along with Mama Rose,

the ultimate stage mother,

annoying, unyielding, and yet we feel sorry for her

as she seeks the American dream for her children

during the Great Depression

and watch, listen to the music and words of Laurents, Styne, and Sondheim,

the great American musical

 

 

I think the real Gypsy Rose Lee must have dazzled

but not all at once–

or rather showing only some, not all–

hinting–

so that men would not be blinded,

but rather left with wanting more

as she entertained them and made them smile.

 

After the performance

on this Memorial Day weekend

the sky suddenly clears

slowly,

dazzling gradually

delaying the delectable,

revealing the late spring night of beauty

 

and we sit, eat, drink

 

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and watch the people walk by

listen to their conversations

wonder about their plans

the young woman leaning on the car taking a selfie

the man with his children waiting for their table,

the trio at the table next to us, discussing diets,

a couple strolls by, the woman says,

“But he’s no longer addicted.”
my husband and I agree that’s good,

even if it seems unlikely.

 

I think about Memorial Day

the day to honor and remember the military fallen,

the long weekend celebrated with parades, barbecue grills,

and trips “down the shore”

Isn’t it strange?

though perhaps not,

to celebrate life, instead of death

and isn’t that what they fought for–

so that we could sit and eat with our families in peace

so that all can receive educations, and not just those who can afford private schools

so all will be able to sort fact from fiction

so that all men and women, all genders, all races, and religions

can live in freedom

isn’t that why they fought

so that I can write these words

and you can read them?

my truth,

slanted like the sunglow as evening falls

blinding, dazzling

truth

revealed gradually

coming full circle

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Today is Memorial Day here in the US. I am mindful and thankful for all the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives, even if I have not supported the wars and conflicts in which they fought.

We saw A Quiet Passion and Gypsy. We ate at Cuba Libre.

I dreamt poetry last night, but sadly I will not have much time to write it this week. As some of you know, I am reading, writing, and editing articles on rape, and my manuscript deadline is. . .um, gulp. . .this week. So. . .I may not be so active in Blogland for the next week or so. Then again, I do need to take a break occasionally. 😉

 

 

 

 

Fools and Oceans

Do we remember poetry and desire, come eternity?

embrace old rhythms of green and lingering life,

a brilliant blush,

a fired heart—

listen to this blue salt ocean, Fool,

the angel said,

magic lies here, there, all about and after

it dances and laughs, surrounding you like perfume–

go breathe peace and heal

 

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Northern_Sea_in_the_Moonlight_by_Caspar_David_Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich, “Northern Sea in the Moonlight,” 1823-1824 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m in the midst of crazy writing and editing. The Oracle knew just what to say. I added some punctuation. I hope she doesn’t mind.

The Robin Sings Before the Light

The robin sings before the light

he chirps and cheeps

and it is right

and fit

and fine–

he shares his song,

I make it mine

 

 

I woke up to hear the birds singing about 4:30 this morning, even in the rain, and this poem came to me. We’ve just seen the new movie A Quiet Passion about Emily Dickinson, so perhaps I was channeling her pre-dawn writing. 🙂