She flies among the stars

burning with incandescent fire,

unbound by time or space.

She is and was and will be always–

made of what—of blazing rays,

of tomorrows and todays?

You may see her in the night–

perhaps. . . that streak of light.



Embed from Getty Images



This is a quadrille for dVerse. Victoria asked us to use the word burn.




Stories Beneath the Surface

Monday Morning Musings:

“I could be

In someone else’s story

In someone else’s life

And he could be in mine. . .”

–Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus, Tim Rice, “Someone Else’s Story,” from the musical Chess

“People’s personalities, like buildings, have various facades, some pleasant to view, some not.”

-François, Duc De La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680) Moral Maxims and Reflections, no. 292


On a sunny day–

spring in February thinking of May–

we stroll through sun and shadows

façades that hint of love inside

I wonder if it is—

and who they are–

wonder about their stories

(someone else’s story)


All of the stories that have been lived

as the centuries turn

eighteenth to nineteenth and on

through changing façades–

those that remain–

past and present merge

modernized, expanded, reformed–

like this church–

where beneath the surface

lie the remains of those

who once lived and breathed here

Old Pine Church looking toward St. Peter’s Philadelphia


their breaths becoming part of the ecosystem

their steps leaving footprints,

sometimes larger in death than they were in life.

Other people’s lives,

Someone else’s story


When they lived,

did they wear their hearts openly—

like the cutouts on the door,

or did they keep their feelings buried

deep inside

behind a façade of smiling respectability?

I wonder how many had secret lives

yearnings that they could never admit?

Complex creatures

we divide ourselves

closing doors—saying this is not allowed

we must not live that story,

but times change

and churches, too,

and love is love is love


In the quiet here, there is not silence.

Do their ghosts walk by my side here?

that sound

the wind,

or their sighs

telling me their stories?

In the unquietness of this place,

filled with hundreds of stories

of birth, love, sorrow, and death

a living child with his mother screams in delight

and runs over the graves. . .

what happens at night behind the gates?


We wander back to the movie theater to see

someone else’s story—

there up on the screen

A Fantastic Woman

and she is

what does it matter that she was born a man

(we all have our façades)

but she was loved

and still is by her sister and friends

and a dog–

who doesn’t care about societal labels–

some do not treat this woman well

they threaten and humiliate her

but life and her story go on

because she is a fantastic woman


And after –

we talk and walk

to where fire recently destroyed part of a block

nineteenth-century buildings

one will have to be demolished

all but it’s first floor cast iron façade–


Third and Chestnut, Philadelphia February 2018


the stories of these places–

the people who lived there now displaced–

and while we stand there

gazing at the devastation,

I get a text from a friend,

find out about her son’s illness—

the dangers of the invisible world

within our bodies

beneath the surface,

we don’t always see or know what is there–

(thankfully, it seems he will be okay)

and though this is someone else’s story

they are my friends,

so it becomes part of my story, too.


The next day, it turns cold again–

February’s story–

we turn the heat back on

eat homemade pizza, drink some wine,

huddle under blankets,

watch Netflix–and our cats—

we text our daughters,

sending virtual hugs–

behind the walls of our house

this is our story,

and I don’t want someone else’s life.


A Fantastic Woman stars the fantastic Daniela Vega,  a trans woman (who also sings in the movie). The movie was made in Chile, and it is nominated for best foreign film. I keep thinking about it. See the trailer here.

The architecture of the fire-damaged buildings is described here.











Barely Spring–Haibun

The weather seems more unpredictable than usual–open windows one day and heat on the next. I wake listening to rain. It is dark and dreary. Then I hear the birds begin to greet the day. Each morning, the sun rises a bit earlier and sets a bit later. I know we could still have a blizzard, but hope is in the air, rising with the crocuses. Spring is coming.

February sun

hides light under grey covers—

yet mockingbird sings


Watching for birds in the rain.


This is for Frank’s latest Haikai Challenge.

She Calls the Sea: Magnetic Poetry

I dream—

a singing woman

on a ship–

she shines with diamonds and sea spray

(luscious goddess)

she moans and water soars–

a storm smell winds languidly

over and about,

music of sun, rain, sky

recalling life–

the thousand springs


I didn’t consult the Oracle last week, but she didn’t mind. She seems to know I had a bit of an ocean theme going on this week, and she gave me this one.

Spring Blooms: Tanka

In February, spring comes temporarily to New Jersey, and we rejoice to see yellow and purple crocuses open to the light. In Florida, families bury their dead, while youthful hearts, watered with blood, swell and join together to cry out against the darkness.


Rising above ground

bulbs thrust tendrils to surface,

seeking warmth and light


we gather, remembering

seeds of kindness, blooms of love


This is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. Colleen asked us to use synonyms for breakthrough and movement.  I don’t know if a Haibun can include a tanka instead of a haiku. So this is either a Haibun or a tanka with a poetic introduction. Maybe someone can let me know. 🙂

I’m also linking this to Open Link Night at dVerse.




Grey Changes with the Tides–Haibun

We’re driving to the shore. Charcoal clouds drift and grow, and the day grows darker. All the rough lines and divisions between sea and sky are feather-brushed into one scene of blended grey. We circle the blocks, looking for a place to park, then sit in the car, listening to thunder, and watching the rain fall in silver sheets around us, filling the air with the scent of petrichor. The steady stream of water becomes drops that tip-tap-taper off, and the dark clouds blow away, leaving a blue sky with an egg yolk yellow sun. We walk to the beach. The sea is calmer now, but I hear it call–it is ever changing and never mute.


waved-claimed sandcastles

spindrift in endless cycles

blown by summer storms

Ocean City, NJ


This is for dVerse, Haibun Monday, where Björn asked us to write about grey.

I’ve also used this week’s words from Secret Keeper:  Calm/rough/storm /ease /mute

Ghosts and Questions

Monday Morning Musings:

“Some questions remain long after their owners have died. Lingering like ghosts. Looking for the answers they never found in life.”

–Michael Frayn, Copenhagen

 Bohr: “A curious sort of diary memory is.”

Heisenberg: “You open the pages, and all the neat headings and tidy jottings dissolve around you.”

Bohr: “You step through the pages into the months and days themselves.”

Margrethe: “The past becomes the present inside your head.”

—Michael Frayn, Copenhagen


We go to bed with snow on the ground and wake to spring. We step through the door, and into the day.


Winter’s ghostly forms

banished by the golden light—

one bloom has opened

We walk down city streets. Here, as we approach Chinatown, sound travels faster than sight, if not light.

We hear the drums and firecrackers, long before we see the lion. We step into the crowd. The lion dance, a centuries-old tradition. The noise of the firecrackers, the constant beating of the drum, and the lion itself will scare away evil spirits. Perhaps the ancestors smile.


Lion’s head and tail

sweeps away year’s bad fortune

brings longevity


We stop for coffee, and walk and talk, passing nineteenth-century buildings that co-exist with their newer neighbors. I feel the ghosts around us.


We step into the theater. We step into time and space. We are in Copenhagen. No, we are sharing the memories of these three: German physicist Werner Heisenberg, his Danish mentor Niels Bohr, and Bohr’s wife, Margrethe with whom he shares everything. We are in some sort of limbo.


They are ghosts, perhaps–

well, no longer living–

in this place,

this space

where they try to remember

what was said

and by whom,

recreating a meeting

when Heisenberg, who worked in Nazi Germany

visited Bohrs in occupied Denmark.

Late September, Copenhagen, 1941.


We learn about quantum mechanics,

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle,

Bohr’s Complimentary,

nuclear fission,

calculations made and not made,

the Jewish scientists who flee the Nazis,

taking their knowledge to England and the U.S.

(those who are not murdered.

The characters move around the stage,

like electrons,

but who is the nucleus?

That depends on who is telling the story.

Are we each the center of our universe?

But then why can’t we see what others see?

Going through several “drafts” trying to remember

realizing that every moment becomes the past,

looking for answers

to questions that they never asked when they were alive.


It is a play about science.

It is a play about morality.

It is a play that asks what is truth?

It is a play that I wish the abomination in the White House

could actually understand.


Like Bohrs and Heisenberg, we step outside,

walk and talk,

try to make some sense of the play,

if not the world around us–


We drink wine and beer—

celebrate my husband’s birthday—

We discuss the play

We laugh.

We’ve been together a long time.

Sometimes our memories are different.

“I’m afraid you’re wrong, dear.”

“The seasons, they go round and round”

But are we captives of time,

or did we create it?


Winter turns to spring,

time travels with light and sound

Do ghosts know the answers?


Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Maybe they reframe their stories.

living them over,

trying to find the right questions to ask,

but as for us,

we live now–

seeing the beauty in a single bloom,

even as it becomes the past,

and our diaries pages jumble and fade,

it lives on in our memories—somewhere—

perhaps twisting and turning like a Lion Dance–

in time and space.


I played around with this, and I suppose it is a sort of Merril Musings Extended Haibun. 🙂  We saw the Lantern Theater Company’s production of Copenhagen. I highly recommend it, but since it was the last performance, you won’t be able to see it.





February Birthday Roses: Haibun

A memory. His birthday falls over the long Presidents Day weekend. We wander through greenhouses where orchids and roses bloom, scenting the air with summer perfume. We stroll about the gardens without jackets, enjoying the taste of spring. The next day it snows.


February moon

hovers with uncertainty–

mist turns to snowflakes


This year, the morning sun gleams on the bare and budding branches. Birds flock, seeking sustenance, as the skies grow cloudy, and in the evening white flakes drift down to cover the emerging green sprouts. We wrap ourselves in blankets, eat birthday cake, and laugh.


Hands together grasp

wine and roses, youth and age

following the heart


At Longwood Gardens, February 2011.

Sunny Day; snow at night. February 17-18, 2018.


I’ve combined challenges for this Haibun: Frank’s hazy moon challenge from last week, his current rose/Presidents’ Day challenge, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge.   The words we’re supposed to use synonyms for are character and affection. I don’t know if it’s correct to use both a haiku and senryu in one piece, but I did.