Once

Monday Morning Musings:

“Falling slowly, sing your melody

I’ll sing it loud”

From “Falling Slowly,” Once,

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

Morning Moon

If you look carefully, there’s the morning moon.

chevron rises up

earth cycles, river to land,

the tide ebbs and flows

Geese at Red Bank Battlefield Park, NJ

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–

piano echoes

 

musicians rebound

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

Again. . .

We dine al fresco

wine and pizza in sunshine

a dog rests in joy

Nightfall comes too soon,

moon rises to hum goodnight—

cats slumber and dream

 

Sleeping Cat

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 saw the  musical Once at the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia. It was a performance full of warmth and spirit, wonderfully staged. Here they are rehearsing “Falling Slowly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Colors of the Morning: Haibun

It is dark now when I wake. Fall is coming, though the air is still summer-steamy. The moon winks good morning and good-bye, in a sky that has turned from midnight blue to indigo. I watch as the sun, heralded by streaks of peach-tinged clouds, slowly rises, and the sky fades to bleached denim. A blue jay screams as he tries to land in the kitchen window bird feeder. He swoops and tries again, then heads back to the trees to tell of his adventures. I drink my coffee as the cats take their morning nap. Rosh Hashanah comes early this year. Soon—despite the heat—I’ll be baking loaves of round challah and simmering a pot of golden pumpkin soup for the new year.

 

lush green leaves and grass

harbor blue birds and brown squirrels—

one red-gold leaf falls

 

 

This Haibun is for dVerse, where Mish asked us to write about morning, and also for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. For this 100th challenge, she left the words to us!

Shifting

Shifting

 

Shifting–

green leaves turn brown

and frangible, concede,

never rebelling, rustling

underfoot

 

bees’ buzz

ceases, replaced

by raucous geese in flight

calling themselves home, and we too

abide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This double cinquain is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for change and defy.

This is a Crapsey Cinquain with syllables 2,4,6,8,2.

 

 

 

 

 

Crickets: Darkness and Light: Haibun

The hot weather breaks for a bit. I open a window and hear the crickets chirping, searching for love in the darkness. Do they sense the future? Do they know that the nights will soon grow longer and colder? Autumn with its lengthening shadows always makes me feel wistful and a touch melancholy.

Darkness seems to be growing like a massive thundercloud shadowing the earth, and the shadow creatures are climbing from their murky lairs. Yet after every storm, I search for a rainbow. The light is always there, but we don’t always see it. The crickets chirp, even if we’re not listening. The poet pens a verse, even if no one reads it.

 

opaque skies glower

Harvest moon, hidden, still hums–

vixen cocks her head

 

I saw this story about a rainbow.

This Haibun is for dVerse, where Victoria asked to use cricket (in Japanese Koorogi) as a prompt.

I’m also linking this to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for sad and write.

Wind Sighs of Dreams: Haibun

I woke to hear the wind sighing and moaning, the lonely sound of a train whistle at midnight. The house creaked, like a person turning over in bed, trying to get comfortable. The branches of the maple tree tap against the window. I try not to think of Wuthering Heights. I fall back asleep, my bed creaking like the house, as I toss through strange dreams: a woman with a mission, possibly dangerous. She may have been someone I know, in a costume, in disguise. Then there was poetry, lyrical snippets, now forgotten. Perhaps it was all an eerie visit from my muse.

 

Red gold trees ablaze

light flows through sun and shadow

dark-clothed ghosts hover

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This Haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Tuesday. The prompt words were eerie and costume.

 

 

 

Something in the Light

Monday Morning Musings:

“I want to move on

I want to explore the light

I want to know how to get through,

Through to something new,

Something of my own—

Move on. . .

Something in the light,

Something in the sky,

In the grass,

Up behind the trees. . .

Things I hadn’t looked at

Till now. . .”

–From Stephen Sondheim, “Move On,” Sunday in the Park with George

 

There’s something in the light of autumn

the way the sunlight streams low between the changing leaves

leaving summer behind, but somehow looking forward, too,

in a last burst of flame-charged energy till they, their quietus make

and something in the light changes again

producing grey and violet skies

till the earth wakens again in the spring,

moving on.

 

***

A vineyard hayride

to a field of pumpkins and apple trees

I listen to snippets of conversation

The mother talking about the Noah’s Ark movie

“It shows you what it was really like back then.”

So much crazy wrong there, but I restrain myself,

move on to explore the light

look up at the trees

and there below

things I hadn’t looked at till now

things I hadn’t seen before–

the way the sun makes the apples glow

FullSizeRender 233

and the shadows dancing in the breeze

and the music of the yellow jackets buzzing around the fallen fruit.

.

We drink our wine

darker than the apples

or garnets glowing in the light

tasting of sun and earth and promises,

we listen to a musician play classic rock and blues

watch the children and the dogs enjoying the warmth

on this summer-like day in October

but there’s something in the light,

different now in the fall from our summertime visits

we move on through the seasons

and I make applesauce when we get home.

On Sunday, we travel to my sister’s house,

stopping first to pick up my mom

who was confused about the day

and was not ready for us

her vision nearly gone,

her world is shrinking

the light in her eyes dimmer

as she moves on, five years short of a century

I think of all she’s seen–

the memories of people and places that play in her mind

now a bit confused–

I wonder if how we see the world changes it?

Did the Island of La Grande Jatte change because of Seurat

and how he saw the light?

If we could see more colors, more light

would it change anything?

How does one move on after seeing Monet’s water lilies or Van Gogh’s starry night?

Do we ever see these things the same way again?

Painting by Sylvia Schreiber

Enter a caption

 

We meet my sister and her wife’s new dog

my mom says she’s glad they’re keeping this one

they keep  returning them, she says

not true, of course,

but she sees things differently now sometimes,

and I look up to see something in the trees

something in the sky

the light—

IMG_7224

We eat and then take her shopping

the shoe department, a mix of Kafka and Catch 22,

(something in the department store light?)

somehow, we maneuver and decode

before we explode

purchase two pairs of shoes

black and navy

(slightly different in the light)

and move on to bras.

IMG_7226

Imagine now,

five women in a dressing room,

two manipulating my mother,

making jokes as they handle her breasts

inserting them into cups

all of us finally laughing–

and then a fart,

producing bent-over-as-tears-stream-from-your-eyes-laughter

finally, we stop, breathe–

there’s work to be done,

and a timetable–

we get my mother her bras

then back to the house for dessert,

Mandelbrot and brownies,

IMG_7218

because why bother with anything that’s not chocolate?

We sit outside in my sister’s garden

enjoying the sun, enjoying the light

until it’s time to move on.

IMG_7223

From the stars

and to the dawn

in light that reaches us

from billions of years away

we see something there

and something here,

something in the light

moving on

Books and Dreams

“There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away”

–Emily Dickinson

 

Books and Dreams. Merril D. Smith, © 2017

On this October day, when the sun still holds sway

over winter’s dark dominion,

and light and shadow play

over golden leaves and feathered pinion

the pages of my book glow, too,

(or at least that’s my opinion)

as if the magic’s drifting through.

I’ll travel off into space

or to an unknown archipelago,

I’ll fly, gallop, or pace–

in prose today to Moscow–

there I’ll linger, dream, and smile

and perhaps stay there for awhile

on this October day

with a book, carried away.

 

I had posted the photo with the Dickinson quote on Instagram, but here’s the poem to go with it. This is for dVerse, Open Link Night.

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming Shapes in the Mist: Haibun

I am dreaming. I traipse across the moors in Brontë country. It’s almost Halloween, and back home I’ll soon be carving jagged smiles on pumpkin faces. As I walk, the sun sinks lower in the sky, deepening the grass’s golden glow. Shadows walk with me, till they are obscured by the darkness. Night lays a black shroud over the naked trees and heathered knolls, covering them completely. A fine misty rain obscures my vision even more. It kisses me all over, lightly like a playful lover, until I am weakened and drenched. I stand, uncertain where to go or how to find my way home. At the sound of a ghostly screech, I jump, then laugh a bit at my fright. It’s just a barn owl. There’s nothing here to frighten you, I tell myself–until cold fingers wrap themselves around my wrist. I try to call out, but no sound emerges from my throat. I try to wake, but I cannot. I am dreaming I tell myself as the bony fingers pull me down to the cold, damp ground.

 

Shapes in the darkness

nightmares come in autumn’s mist

Jack’s crooked mouth laughs

 

George_Lambert_-_Moorland_Landscape_with_Rainstorm_(1751)

George Lambert, “Moorland Landscape with Rainstorm,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been told a true Haibun is supposed to be based on a real experience, but I decided to have a bit of seasonal fun with this. I suppose it is flash fiction with a haiku, but I’m calling it a Haibun. This is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were mist and shape.

 

 

Journey through my Mind: Haibun

A thought, and my brain takes off on a journey. Turns me around, mind-wandering through worlds we cannot see, time, and space, a trace of Chaos theory, the hard problem, history and mythology. I seek connections, new directions.  I wonder about ghosts, hosts, and cat dreams. Streams of thought, or so it seems. In the end, I hope (familiar trope), looking for the good, the light. I wake up happy to see the sleep-bound moon and the growing dawn. Nothing is foregone. My heart sings and wings with the birds.

 

birdsong as night falls

cardinals’ red echoes leaves

summer sighs farewell

 

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This Haibun is for Haibun Monday at dVerse. We’re asked to write “a haibun about why you write the style of poetry you write. Not why you write poetry, but the why of your style.” This is to be followed by a classic Haiku, which must include a season word. We were also asked (an option) to post a photo.