January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 5

This is Day 5 of Paul Brookes’s Special January Ekphrastic Challenge. I misread Kerfe’s title as Beneath Cloud Wings, but that’s what they look like to me. 😀

Beneath Cloud Wings

Some hearts shatter–
their fragile shells swift-scatter
in the wind,

where owl-scoped and scooped,
the bleeding shards
are nested and guarded beneath cloud wings

to be reformed. Then re-hatched,
they flutter and fly,
soaring—knowing they may crash and crack again.

Rising, Setting, Rising

Monday Morning Musings:

Sun rising, moonset
another day to fret

we can’t forget
ever, not yet,

the agitation in the nation–
whatever the frustrations–

instigators and insurrectionists,
racists, and white supremacists,

in armed rebellion to overthrow–
it really happened—and they must go.

They should be tried for their crimes—
spreading lies, hate, violence, and plagues—sad times

for our country, for the world, I cry
for us all, for those who’ve been lost—the wind sighs

with their ghosts. This is not who we are, some say,
yes, it is, but we can find another way.

Some will always be lost to hate,
leave them to their fate. Deflate

what is possible, build from the ashes, anew.
See there—the sun rises–golden beams reflect on blue,

in rosy haze, the geese take wing, then land—
and like them, I hope we can have and stand,

with leaders who try to serve
the many, not themselves only—preserve

out of many, one—come together, the sun rising, just begun.

Sunrise over the Delaware River, Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

I’m sure everyone knows what happened this past Wednesday—insurrectionists, incited by President 45, attempted to overthrow the U.S. government. He, the GOP lawmakers who supported him, and those who engaged in sedition should be arrested, removed from office and jobs, and tried. In addition to hate and sedition, they also most likely spread Covid. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Rising Sun chair. It’s the chair George Washington sat in while presiding over the sessions of the Constitutional convention. James Madison later wrote that Benjamin Franklin said of the chair, “I have often looked at that behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now I… know that it is a rising…sun.” You can see the chair here.

I also thought of how thousands, including me, have marched in peaceful protests.

Merril’s Movie Club: Last night we watched Elizabeth is Missing, which features an outstanding performance by Glenda Jackson. It was shown in the U.S. on Masterpiece. Some may not wish to see it because Jackson portrays a woman with Alzheimer’s. It was somewhat upsetting to me in that it made me think of my mom. At the same time, the movie and her portrayal are so accurate and sympathetic, that I felt myself thinking that’s how it must have been for my mom—except that she was nearly blind and far less mobile than Jackson’s character. The story, however, is about Jackson’s character solving two mysteries. The present-day disappearance of her friend, and the decades-old disappearance of her sister.
We’re about to start Season 2 of Occupied (Netflix). Season 1 of this Norwegian series was excellent and exciting. I also finished Bridgerton (Netflix). I probably don’t have to say anything about that. Binge and swoon. (But if you don’t know anything about it, it’s a period piece and a Shonda Rhimes production. My daughter described it as Jane Austen with sex.)

January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 4

For Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 4, I’ve responded to all three pieces of art.

Reborn

Ominous clouds gather—
shadows obscure the light,

leaving the world
a tangle of black and blue aches

And after the storm,
amidst the chaos,
the rebuilding begins—

we soar joyfully, reborn amongst flowers,
in colors never before seen.

See This Thing Hope

In the broken after,
see this thing—hope

in a vast universe,
find blue peace in perfumed air;
devour the delicious dazzle of color,
the light bubbling through champagne clouds–

listen–

the sky is alive with heart-rhythms,
and the sound of if and when
in the bright song of stars

traveling from afar, journeying to tomorrow.

My message from the magnetic poetry Oracle. She kept giving me messages about the current political situation–and then, suddenly, this one. I saw the beautiful feather above yesterday, and this morning, I saw eagles soaring high up in the sky (too high to get a photo). They flew past the setting moon and rising sun, and such beauty in the quiet morning raised my spirits.

Day 3: January Ekphrastic Challenge

Responding to all of today’s artwork for Paul Brookes’ Challenge, January 9, 2021, Day 3.

Beckoning

After the bang that breaks the silence
of nonexistence, of before all-time–
a closed fist opens, letting out light
in a rush of song; sailing sirens, the stars
attract, beckoning us and what was becomes ever-after,

never looking back,

we seek the end of darkness, beyond horizons
and the silvered-humming of the moon—
finding patterns in vast arrays, finding ourselves there—
made of stars, caught by time–and
timeless.

Day 2: January Ekphrastic Challenge

This is Day 2 of Paul Brooke’s Special January Ekphrastic Challenge. If you click the link, you can see all the art and responses.

Responding to Der Tod ist ein Dandy auf einem Pferd Marcel Herms


And CO 8 by Christine O’Connor

Death Blooms

Death wanders and hovers–
in plagues, pounces; with demagogues
and flag-waving fools, dives. He prances
through porticos, and capers in life’s collage—
see there, the dark spaces among the blooms?

Some toss fireworks,
others lay flowers–
the dead stay dead.

I’m linking this to the dVerse Open Link night, too.

January Ekphrastic Challenge, January 7

Paul Brookes of the Wombwell Rainbow is hosting a special January ekphrastic challenge. Today is Day 1. Thank you, Paul.

My poem today responds to Kerfe Roig’s image, “Acquainted with the night close.” I realize it’s probably not a crow in the painting.

Kerfe Roig, “Acquainted with the night close”

Night Seer

Crow soars through the brume, the leaden sky
awash with whirling dreams, spindrift from the sea of night,
and shiny-bright, he gathers them.

No trickster, he, but seer
of what might be in time with chance, he caws
a warning, laughs in love—there’s so much to be done—

in the rustling of ancient winds, he breathes
a break in darkness, drops omens in oceans
and hopes on moonbeams,

watches the stars. His eyes reflect their gleam.

12 – 20 – Featured Haiku Writer

I don’t think I ever shared this haiku. Thanks again, Freya.

purehaiku

shore slides beneath sea

lovers in flirtatious dance–

timeless, rhythmic waves

© Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril D. Smith is currently working on two reference books about rape–and a book of poetry.

Here is the fifth haiku from our Featured Haiku Writer. The first line of this haiku struck me from the first reading. I love the way Merril develops the image throughout the poem

This haiku is part of our ARTURINA theme!

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Planting and Blooming: Haibun

The sun rises every day, but each dawn is unique, a doorway to a new room waiting to be furnished, or a tilled field ready for planting.

When I became a mother for the first time, it was all new to me—the birth, bringing our daughter home on a cold February day to our recently purchased house, and then learning to take care of an infant. Breastfeeding was easy; trying to figure out how to unfold the heavy baby carriage and get it and her out the door and down the steps was not. But—the second time I became a mother, it was new again. There were similarities–it was another cold February day, but the labor was different, and I was different. Caring for a toddler and a baby at the same time was also a new experience. Like each day, each birth is both similar and singular, as is every child.

Frost-laced ground
incubates hopes and dreams–
daffodils rise

This is a haibun for dVerse, where Lillian has asked us to write about a something we’ve experienced that’s new. We first planted daffodils when I was pregnant with our older daughter, and this year, we planted more because it seemed like something hopeful for the spring. (By we, I mean I ordered them, and my husband planted them. Teamwork. 😏 )

Book of Days

Monday Morning Musings:

The first sunrise of the year. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

The last moon of 2020 reflected in the river. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

The days blend together—
mere words on a page, turned,
the end of one chapter, becomes the start of the next
without pause, the action, or lack thereof continues

one walk becomes another,
but still full of wonder, and sometimes surprise—
the truth in beauty, and I the Sylvan historian–

if I ask why on a dreary morning,
a voice within says look, listen—
the sky wakes with a slow, secret smile. . .

and it does.

This first Monday in January is grey and dreary. I haven’t gone anywhere or done much of anything in the past week. I keep forgetting what day it is. New Year’s Day felt like a Sunday. On New Year’s Eve, we did a Zoom meeting/dinner with dear friends. We ate Chinese food, as we’ve done for decades on New Year’s Eve, and we opened a bottle of champagne, too. I got a somewhat ominous fortune. I made a spicy black-eyed pea stew on a round loaf of bread for New Year’s Day, thinking the year needs all the help possible.

We’ve been catching up on shows. The Good Lord Bird, based on James McBride’s novel, is excellent—funny, sad, and timely. Ethan Hawke as abolitionist John Brown is wonderful, and equally good is Joshua Caleb Johnson as Henry “Onion” Shackelford, a young man who Brown thinks is a girl. Both my husband and I thought the show was good—acting, music, and the Fargo-like sly humor—but we weren’t really caught up in it until about half-way through, when suddenly we were. We also watched a French mystery, Frozen Dead (Netflix) (hoping there’s a second season), and started Occupied (Netflix), a Norwegian thriller set in the near future. The first few episodes are quite exciting.

I’ve read a few novels in the last couple of weeks: Kris Waldherr, The Lost History of Dreams; Cat Winters, The Uninvited; David Gillham, Annelies: A Novel, and I’m currently reading Susan Ella MacNeal’s The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent (Maggie Hope, Book 4–I think I’ve read one and three). I’ve been able to get all of these through our county library’s contactless pickup system. I also have a bunch of books on my Kindle for just in case. 😏