Nearly every day I find something in the natural world that astounds me with its beauty– a single wildflower, a shy, graceful deer, or a stunning cloudscape over the Delaware River. When I walk, usually early in the morning, I’m often filled with wonder—a sensation of body and mind. This morning, I almost didn’t walk because of the rain and thunder, but it stopped, and I went out to see the most incredible sky.
golden leaves glow against charcoal clouds they dance, fall in nature’s rhythm
This is for Kim’s prompt at dVerse, to write a haibun “about a time when you last watched stars, a storm, the sea, an animal, or something else in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.”
There might be ghosts in this story– a tale of family secrets, a haunted house, nightmares and night terrors
(what if they came for you?) the spirits, specters, demons, and devils– a frisson of fear, a shiver and a quiver
as you hear the tale, it’s not real (you tell yourself) these things don’t exist
(unless they come for you) the secret police, the armed agents to detain, to torture, to turn your life
upside-down, the world we live in now, where we see the light reflected and wonder how it is here and there, and wanders
from shore to distant horizon between what we see and what we think we see
in the fog, all is a blur, sound is distorted, it echoes, a soft purr of distant cars, the honk of a goose
here birds stop, then soar, but I stand, rooted like the trees, in the midst of autumn splendor
(I like to think) still rising, still growing, knowing that roots connect underground–
so be it. And healthy cells grow, too, though the malignant tumors stand out, they are not the entire body (politic),
Still, I sigh, watch the birds fly, read the horror tales, feel the feels, they’re not as scary as what is real–
the ghosts of 215,000, rising, plus, and thus, what’s to come with the scary clown, while the Constitution is whittled down
we ache, body and soul, as the fluff-headed victors sound the death knell to tell of democracy’s demise—yet the story to tell
is that the moon still hums, the stars still sing, and scatter the light brightening all, it radiates, falls
in ripples, like the stone I cast into the river, watch the ripples pass flowing on, the present an illusion, it doesn’t last,
past to future, goes, in ridges and waves like light, with colors we won’t ever see, an essence remaining, like a ghost of ancestors, or you, or me,
the whispers of earth, the songs of the sea.
Merril’s Movie/Theater/Book Club: We watched a live-streamed production this week, STATE VS. NATASHA BENINA, which you probably won’t be able to access, but if you do get a chance, it’s well-worth it. I wondered how a production done live on Zoom would be (the audience was muted, and I turned off my camera, as I didn’t want people to see me in pjs in our living room). The actress was so good, portraying a Russian teen, who was raised in an orphanage, and now is accused of a crime. The audience is judge and jury, and votes at the end, but that serves more as a lead-in to discussion.
We were going to go out to a winery in the late afternoon yesterday, but the weather was not very nice, so we cancelled. I made a dinner, similar to one we might have had after Philadelphia theater dates, and we watched a filmed play, which is now on Amazon Prime. What the Constitution Means to Me is Heidi Schreck’s award-winning play, and it is excellent. I have heard pieces of it on the radio, as she discussed how she paid for her college education by giving speeches as a teen on the Constitution, but the entire play is really wonderful, as she weaves her personal history, her family’s history of domestic violence, women’s rights, and other issues into the narrative.
We also watched the new version of Rebecca on Netflix. We both enjoyed it. I like Lily James, though she seems rather more attractive and charming than the book character, and Kristin Scott Thomas is very good as Mrs. Danvers. From what I remember, this version does not have the overall menacing, Gothic feel of the Hitchcock movie or the book. I think it’s better to take it as it is, and not compare it to either.
We’re also started watching Borgen on Netflix, a Danish political drama. I like it, though it took a couple of episodes for me to get into it (and to understand the Danish political system).
And I finished The Year of Witching, and I’m almost finished with Home Before Dark. Horror reading—not nearly as scary as reality.
Delaware River from Patco train heading to Philadelphia
And is there a lighthouse, with ghostly
glowing and horn blowing, or mostly
Time must sail, too
and we a sometime crew
walk through history
18th Century garden on site of Benjamin Rush’s House, Philadelphia
how can it be otherwise,
the lows and highs
of our own lives, the mystery
of others–we see a groom and bride
and I hope they lovingly glide
into a life of love and joy
A wedding party taking photos at “my willow” at Dock Creek, Old City, Philadelphia
(Pause, we drink coffee and wine
stop for a time—
but time is coy)
and autumn comes cold and dark
but there is beauty, even if it’s stark—
see the moon rise over fields stripped of grain
Moonrise over a South Jersey field, November.
glowing, humming—this autumn sky
and the clouds and time
the time before the rain, snow, the train
of time. The movie train that circles
through the frozen world, almost eternal
but the cost
a cautionary tale
of where we might sail
and is our world already lost?
the remorseful day falls
in fiery ball, unheeding
the world goes on, speeding
and we spellbound.
But I don’t celebrate bleeding—
or ferocious gods, the leaders leading
let poetry fly
through vast haunted eternity, die
the war-fever. Find a new function
for our minds and hearts
in words of love, kindness, and arts
that soar with feathered wings–
how clear, how lovely bright
of what could be, of hope that sings
as the walls tumble down.
This was a week of elections, cat dental surgery, the anniversary of Kristallnaught (November 9, 1938), and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. In the U.S. today is Veteran’s Day. It was formerly Armistice Day, but of course, war has not ended. I respect all who have served and honor all those who have given their lives in serving their country. While someone like Hitler had to be stopped, it would be better if people did not let such people gain power.
For Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Snowpiercer, a 2014 movie we had never seen, but since we recently saw Parasite, and it is an earlier movie by the same director, Bong Joon-ho, we decided to watch it. It’s on Netflix. This one’s in English, and it’s much more of an action movie than I would normally see. Like Parasite, the movie covers the issues of class and climate,and there was definitely much to think about. Overall, we both liked it. There is also fighting and bloody scenes though, so be forewarned. We saw Lighthousein the theater. It’s also in English. I know, strange, right? (Don’t worry, we’re still watching Black Spot, so reading subtitles there.). Great acting, beautiful black and white cinematography. Very strange, surrealistic movie of two lighthouse keepers on an isolated island. Some of the dialogue is taken from Melville and lighthouse keepers’ diaries. It’s somewhat similar in style to his previous movie, The Witch.
I’ve been feeling stressed for months—deadlines, caring for my mom, trying to fit everything in, waiting for the next disaster. I take a morning walk in the riverside park before the predicted downpour arrives. There I find a bit of magic, a bit of healing. Life goes on.
leaves fall on a silent world—
time pauses, deer leaps
I’m linking this Haibun to dVerse’s Open Link Night. Lillian asked for some treats. Seeing deer is a treat for me (as long as they’re not in the road).
He is fascinated, watching The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
And in the night
I dream of petting a sloth
(in a park)
then accompanying a pretentious hipster
dressed all in black, dark
like the restaurant where no food is consumed
but I outwit him and his friends
and wake laughing at the dream’s end.
Score one for the old lady
there’s life here still–
and more to be penned.
We venture out to see another film
(a few jumps in my chair)
things that are not there—
perhaps a cat—
and there is burning—
of various kinds—
what is in their minds?
What do they feel,
the young woman,
the would-be writer,
and the mystery Gatsby-rich man?
What is real?
We walk and talk
to simmer in the cold,
then in the chilly day
creeping into shadowed night
Pops of November color in Old City Philadelphia
savor the warmth of wine
consumed in cozy light
life enjoyed despite what may
transpire, gloom kept at bay
undesired here and now
and our fate unknown anyhow
so, we gather rosebuds—or drink
fruit of the wine, laugh and think
but not too long about the future
instead we nurture
ourselves and one another
cuddle with cats, dream of the moon
enjoy one snowfall, but wait for June
still we prepare soon
with family to gather
as the seasons turn
burn only candles
yet, seek the light
in every room.
Applesauce for Thanksgiving
We watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western, Coen Brothers style, in theaters and on Netflix. We also saw Burning, Korean movie, a psychological thriller. We liked both movies very much. Wonderful acting in both of them.
Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Once. . . I woke in darkness. Then the sun rose golden through rose-tinged clouds. The air was cool but clear. The world shifted and tilted. Dreams rose from the misted woods.
morning moon whispered
softly, praise touched red-gold leaves
geese honked overhead
If you look carefully, there’s the morning moon.
chevron rises up
earth cycles, river to land,
the tide ebbs and flows
We take a train into the city. We walk over sun-bright cobblestones, passing tourists who stroll and chat in a variety of languages. We wait on corners as wide city buses try to turn onto narrow streets. We enter a theater. Seats surround a center stage area covered with Oriental rugs. Musicians are playing Irish songs of the past and present. I bop in my seat to “Brown Eyed Girl” and tap my feet to a jig. Last call for the bar. The lights go down, and magic begins.
man meets a woman
music flows, drifts from their souls,
they’re falling slowly
together in tune
Dublin days strummed in rhythm–
music from aisles and walkways
crowd smiles and applauds
We walk and talk. Watch the lowering sun shine through cloud-dappled sky. Red bricks glow. In Washington Square, a young girl whispers her secrets to a tree. Does it answer?
music of nature
city sounds form the chorus
we dine al fresco
Enjoying a pineapple mojito at Cuba Libre
Reflections, Cuba Libre, Philadelphia
Again. . .
We dine al fresco
wine and pizza in sunshine
a dog rests in joy
At Auburn Road Vineyards–where they love dogs!
Nightfall comes too soon,
moon rises to hum goodnight—
cats slumber and dream
Once. . .September was full of rain. The world was full of anger and sorrow and lies. But once, September ended in a perfect weekend of sunny days and cooler nights–falling slowly into October.
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.