A Desire for Magic

Monday Morning Musings:

“I don’t want realism. I want magic! . . .I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be truth.”
Blanche , Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Foggy winter morning. The river is completely obscured.

Fog-clad river flows,
unseen gulls laugh and call, trains
whistle lonesome morning blues,
ghost sounds from a cloud realm,
lull beak-tucked geese in fitful sleep,

and do they dream? In
bird-soul night do they recall
hopes and dreams, or seek magic
in the everyday?
Imagine river-worlds beyond this

clouded grey expanse?
Tomorrow’s sun will erase
the smudges, reveal azure—
there all along–science
of light, magic of perception

how I hear moon-song,
see time rippling like a wave
caught in glass, there a reflection
reveals what could be, or
perhaps what never was. Is this truth–

Merchants Exchange Building, Philadelphia
Carpenters’ Hall, Philadelphia

a poem of rays
that sing in distant domain,
warbled notes of space-time strike
the window, the water,
the river gulls, and streetwise squirrels,

Old City Squirrel, Philadelphia

connecting them all.
Magic and realism both,
the dance of earth, moon, sun, stars
creating life and vision
of colors, all that we can see–

and those beyond our dreams.

Walt Whitman Bridge at Sunset, taken from the car

This is a wayra chain, in case you’re wondering. 😉

We’ve had a week of cold and warm weather, fog and light. The snow has melted, though a little wintry mix fell early this morning, icing sidewalks and coating the cars. We braved the elements and Covid to go to a live theater performance on Saturday afternoon. We saw A Streetcar Named Desire at the Arden Theater in Philadelphia. They checked vaccination cards and IDs, and they required all in the audience to remain masked throughout the performance. It was fun to be out, and the story is moving, even if this was not the best production. We both thought the secondary characters were excellent, and much better than the leads. The man sitting next to my husband couldn’t hear the actors, but for some reason decided to stay for the entire performance.

Today is my daughter’s birthday. She and her now husband were in a wonderful college production of Streetcar—she was Blanche and he was Stanley. Desire struck that Streetcar. When they got married a few years later, the director of the production officiated.

Random Food Photo

Mixed- Berry Crisp for dessert last night

A New Home, the Kindness of Strangers

Monday Morning Musings:

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

–Blanche,  A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

“Thank you, Mr. Rochester, for your great kindness. I am strangely glad to get back again to you: and wherever you are is my home—my only home.”

–Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

 

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After he had served his country,

had been a stranger in more than one strange land,

and was home, if not settled,

he joined a community of strangers

who became friends.

Theater brought the couple together,

in A Streetcar Named Desire,

they sparred with words and movement

(a subtext created)

my daughter said “He’s nothing like Stanley,”

reassuring me,

and she,

my practical dreamer, is nothing like Blanche,

the magic of theater,

bringing something of oneself in playing another,

finding empathy for strangers,

a valuable skill, I’d say.

Perhaps a community brought them together,

these two,

so different,

so similar,

they married,

the English teacher bride with her Jane Eyre message,

“Reader, I married him.”

Every year she meets new students,

strangers, whom she will guide.

The groom, studying to become a nurse,

will care for strangers, too.

And through the kindness of strangers,

they now have a house.

Home is where the heart is,

so the old proverb goes,

but it’s certainly pleasant to have four sturdy walls

and a roof—

with skylights.

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Months ago, the process began,

 I saw something online,

I entered to win a house.

Really? we laughed a bit–

because who wins the lottery?

But they did.

The kindness of strangers,

Operation Homefront,

gave this veteran and his wife a rare opportunity,

a home of their own.

 

They waited,

spring turned to summer, fall,

in winter, they finally saw their new home.

a magical day–

after all, we stood without coats in January

when a few days before snow lay on the ground.

the sun was shining,

a gentle breeze lifted and tangle the flag,

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the veteran lifted his bride

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It brought back memories–

when my husband and I bought our house,

I was pregnant with her sister,

our first child,

the house was dirty and needed work before we could move in,

old, musty carpets pulled out, floors refinished, and walls painted,

we relied, not on strangers, but on friends

who helped us with the tasks

(laboring before I labored)

Their house was renovated by strangers,

a little dream house with a yard for their dog,

 

 

sunny windows for their cat,

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a room for friends to stay in,

space to dream,

and a chocolate cake in the refrigerator.

 

We celebrated that night,

pizza and wine,

the servers, astounded by our tale,

thanked him for his service,

we ordered dessert–

it was a celebration,

and yes, that sopapilla cheesecake

(with butter rum sauce)

was delicious.

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It snowed once again,

briefly, white flakes touched the ground and melted,

then the sun returned for moving day,

a long day of packing, moving, unloading trucks and cars–

and doing it again,

family this time, not strangers.

 

We celebrated again

this time with delicious Pakistani food

from a newly discovered restaurant

in their new neighborhood

where the owner, a stranger,

gave them extra naan.

We ate in the kitchen

on paper plates

drank wine from plastic cups,

boxes still to be unpacked,

but they were home,

settled,

and their cat finally came out from hiding to explore,

and settled down in front of the fire.

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That’s the way life goes

days of sun and days of cold,

but they will be snug in their new home,

a dream house,

a house filled with dreams,

with a fire in their fireplace,

from their bed, they’ll watch the moon,

and maybe even hear it hum a lullaby

as the clouds go dancing by,

 

they’ll sleep and dream sweet dreams

and they will be strangely glad

to be home.

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Photo credit: Sheryl C. Smith, 2017

 

Here is a brief news segment about Sheryl and Eric on the day they received the key to their new home.

And an article

Eric and Sheryl received their house through Operation Homefront, Homes on the Homefront

We ate pizza at Holy Tomato

And delicious Pakistani food at Mera Khana