Thoughts While Walking a Loop at Red Bank Battlefield Park

They soar,

never stumbling,

effortless in their grace,

a leap into the shadowed world

unknown

 

and yet

familiar, cycles repeated

without striving. Them. Me.

I walk circles

at peace

 

 

This is a mirror cinquain for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for fall and try.

When the Stars were Bright

When the Stars were Bright

He wooed her when the stars were bright,

she liked the way he smiled at her.

He kissed her first one moonlit night–

she thought, “he is my future.”

 

She liked the way he smiled at her,

not knowing then his smiles would fade.

She thought, “he is my future,”

forgetting daylight darkens to evening shade.

 

Not knowing then his smiles would fade

when hardship came in winter cold,

forgetting daylight darkens to evening shade

and so, her youthful dreams remained untold.

 

When hardship came in winter cold,

he packed a bag and sailed away,

and so, her youthful dreams remained untold

to him, but she was glad he had not stayed.

 

He packed a bag and sailed away.

She remembered the things she had not said

to him, but she was glad he had not stayed,

caressing her belly as she lay on their bed.

 

He kissed her first one moonlit night

(she remembered it so well.)

He wooed her when the stars were bright–

to their babe, that’s all the story she’d tell.

 

Joseph_Noel_Paton_Hesperus

Joseph Noel Paton, “Hesperus, the Evening Star, Sacred to Lovers,” 1857 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is for dVerse. Björn asked us to write a poetic narrative. Jane and Kerfe have me thinking of pantoums.

I wrote this while listening to the Kavanaugh hearings. . .it started out much darker. . .

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Harbors

Now–a church in Philadelphia,

a sanctuary harboring

immigrants—

as medieval churches

once harbored

fugitives.

 

Then–my grandparents,

immigrants escaping

hate, fear, pogroms,

the shtetl, the Pale—

 

traveling—

to faraway ports–

 

chasing the American dream

through the Depression

 

always seeking a safe harbor–beyond

 

Lillian at dVerse has asked us to write a quadrille using the word harbor.

 

 

Look Around: Seen and Unseen

Monday Morning Musings:

KERNER: “The particle world is the dream world of the intelligence officer. An electron can be here or there at same moment. You can choose; it can go from here to there without going in between; it can pass through two doors at the same time, or from one door to another by a path which is there for all to see until someone looks, and then the act of looking has made it take a different path. Its movements cannot be anticipated because it has no reasons. It defeats surveillance because when you what it’s doing you can’t be certain where it is, and when you know where it is you can’t be certain what it’s doing. .”

–Tom Stoppard, Hapgood

 

“I cannot tell how Eternity seems. It sweeps around me like a sea. . .”

–Emily Dickinson, from a letter to her cousins, 1882

 

“the future and the maps

Hide something I was waiting for.”

–from Edward Thomas, “When First I Came Here”

 

The seen and the unseen

sleight of hand,

the extemporaneous, the planned

blink, you miss it,

not in shadow, in sun or fluorescent light

missing what is in plain sight,

nature, spies, bumps in the night

 

Look in front of you—there it is.

Raptors in the Park

Rainy Day Sight at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

How far is eternity,

how wide and how deep?

Does it stretch through

cloudy skies

glance and stretch its size

through shadowed ground

and then around

to reach the stars,

(falling, calling)

a metaphysical quasar,

whose ways and days are

hinted at, but unknown.

 

I walk, and there are wonders,

two deer, twins perhaps

(you could almost miss them as you pass,

but there they are, in the grass)

their future mapped

or unknown,

become full-grown,

or decline

or killed by a hunter’s gun—

but now they recline,

unphased, in the waning sun.

Resting in the Park
Red Bank Battlefield
National Park, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We see a play

of Cold War spies,

particle physics underlie

the everyday,

in lines it overlays,

a metaphor of surveillance

and life

assailants and strife—

the personal, the political

watch—it’s critical,

because we don’t always see–

there may be a twin,

or there may not be.

We can’t anticipate

what will come,

life is random—

the way a moth flits,

it darts and hits

this way and that

and you can’t be certain

what it’s doing

is it pursuing

or pursued?

This is how it should be viewed

(the scientist explains)

electrons are like that moth–

then so are our ideas

within our brains

unchained,

they fly,

and we can’t plan

where they’ll go

with the flow–

but, they might stop, sink, fly

no reason, no what, no why—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and on this equinox

we go falling

headlong into the next season

yes, there is reason, it’s time,

but it seems without rhythm or rhyme

one minute it’s warm, the next it’s cool

there seems to be no rule.

So, we move on, walk and talk

about the play we’ve seen

(Look up and around)

 

Victory Apartment Building, Philadelphia

Quince Street, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and

drink with cheer

our wine and beer

 

At Tria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and later the rain

comes again,

but we sleep soundly

to dream—un-profoundly–

while a cat softly snores,

and beyond our locked doors

and behind the clouded sky

the moon hums

to her own rhythm, and why

is unknown–just listen–

eternity in her lullaby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, the Oracle has also seen Hapgood by Tom Stoppard. Of course, she knows everything.

We saw the Lantern Theater production.

 

To dark air

she could ask

dazzle the night.

Though she is fooled in the open

like this—

her heart

always listening,

only here you are–

and over there—

not magic,

but life

Morning Walk

Morning Walk

Almost born away—

I fly by champagne clouds,

waking poetry

of morning’s moist perfumed breeze.

Angel voices celebrate the universe,

time slows. . .lingers

for one smile

Delaware Rive, Red Bank Battlefield, September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I visited the Oracle yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to post this. She was in rare form though. I feel like she was ready to give me many more.

 

Grounded, but Ready to Soar

We lie on our backs on the wide green expanse between dorms. Soon we’ll be starting classes here–a future scary, uncertain, and suffused with what ifs. We’re filled with the ardor and fire of youth. But in this moment, we’re still and content, bodies grounded, yet spirits soaring as we watch the feathered clouds fly across the late summer sky. They’re blown by a wild wind miles above us. My boyfriend points out some constellations–the Big Dipper, Orion. I make a wish and send it sailing into the night.

River of heaven,

flowing light in ink-blue sea

carries dreams onward

Embed from Getty Images

 

This Haibun is for Frank’s Haikai challenge, using Milky Way (amanogawa), which he notes is an early autumn kigo. He says “the literal translation of amanogawa is ‘river of heaven.’”

And for Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for vigor and energy.

And for dVerse’s Open Link night, where Mish is hosting.

 

 

 

 

Publishing Poetry is like Arranging a Marriage – Make it a Happy One

Some words from Brian Geiger, editor of Vita Brevis, on finding true love–or at least a good match–for your poems.

Vita Brevis

Captureby Brian Geiger

If you’re here, you may have read this (or something like it, elsewhere):

We appreciate your submission. However, we’ve decided that your work isn’t a good fit for Vita Brevis, and we won’t be publishing it. But don’t be dissuaded–very few of our poets have been published on their first try! Read over some of our work, make sure your submission meets our exact guidelines, and then choose a new batch that you deem relevant. We make these decisions based on theme- and style-based criteria, so don’t take it personally! Thanks so much for your contribution! We hope to hear from you again.

We’re rooting for you,
The Vita Brevis Team

That’s a rejection email. Chances are, your first submission to Vita Brevis earned you one of these. If that’s the case, you’re in a pool of about 75%. Or maybe I only accepted one poem of the five you sent in for…

View original post 1,140 more words

Flying and Falling

Three distinct rings–                          love, hope, faith

we watch, suspend our fears               in the future

as clowns cavort and lions roar.         will it be enough

Some walk a tightrope                        as the world tilts and whirls

waiting for applause,                           we want joy and laughter

but some hang in mid-air                    hoping there’s a safety net

still waiting to be caught                     knowing we may plummet

 

1024px-Edgar_Degas,_Miss_La_La_at_the_Cirque_Fernando,_1879

Edgar Degas, “Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sarah is hosting dVerse tonight, and she has asked us to write a poem about the circus. I am not really a circus fan, but to make up for that, I wrote this cleave poem, which is three poems in one. And then I found this Degas painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before and Now

Monday Morning Musings:

“It may be the luckiest and purest thing of all to see time sharpen to a single point. To feel the world rise up and shake you hard, insisting that you rise up, too somehow. Some way.”

–Paula McClain, Love and Ruin

“We can never go back to before”

Lynn Ahrens and Steve Flaherty, “Back to Before,” Ragtime

 Once we had two maple trees in front of our house. They provided shade for our house and shelter for wildlife. But they were diseased and had to be cut down. The birds and squirrels have moved on. We will plant daffodils around the stumps, and life will continue, though we can never go back to before.

green leaves turn golden,

sun sings grey skies blue again,

flowers smile hello

IMG_9216 2

Once people saw tyranny and began to rebel with acts of resistance against their government and king. Time sharpened to a single point for some then. They felt the need to rise up. They launched a revolution that was bloody and horrible, as all wars are, that divided families and friends.

sweethearts say goodbye

leaves sigh and fall from the trees–

red blood on white snow

IMG_9923

Old Pine Street Church Graveyard, Philadelphia

 

But it was also a revolution of words and actions that created a new nation, the first written constitutions, and gave some hope for freedom and equality to all—though that did not come about till after another war and new laws. We harken back to before, but we can never go back.

And why would we want to?

demagogue appeals

blames “The Other” for problems–

false hopes and false words

IMG_9886

Wishing on the wood of the last Liberty Tree.  Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

Azure skies send us

outdoors to eat–a plus

seated where we gaze

at history and listen

to the foreign phrase

of people who pass by

and wonder why

they’re here, but know

they come and go–

in this city of hope and despair

filled with travelers

and immigrants,

rising like the nation and the sun

on the famous chair.

 

 

We watch a movie,

the wife behind the great man,

though she’s really greater than

he is,

she says she is “a kingmaker,”

but more than that—

this is

a nuanced performance

that show the complexity

of relationships—

which is

the basis of government, too,

and I think of the before

when we had a king

and bid him adieu

and now the one

who longs to be king

daily sings

(so unbirdlike he tweets

never soft and never sweet)

Will we let the kingmakers

let it happen?

Well, as the foot-tapping

musical notes, “history has its

eyes on you.”

It is complex,

and perhaps what we need

is a nuanced performance.

Though the choice seems simple—

do what you need to do.

Do not believe the lies.

Do not support the liars.

Let’s not go back to before

when I did not have a voice,

when women did not have a choice,

when people I love could not love,

when people I admire could not vote—

keep this sinking ship afloat.

I feel time sharpening and shadows gather.

 

 

But ask the star

how it dazzles and

kisses air with joy—

We are prisoners of time,

embrace its rhythm

and smile.

 

Once there were two maple trees, but now they are gone. . .

yet life goes on.

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 7.43.52 PM

We visited the Museum of the American Revolution. Saw the movie, The Wife. Trailer here.

Here is Marin Mazzie, who died last week, singing, “Back to Before.”