This is Enough

Cloud Reflections on the Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Trees and birds kiss the sky
in blue-on-blue reflection

and today, I’ll sky the world with you
without pause or hesitation.

In mirrored lands we’ll float
on dreams, the clouds our boat

watching the heron squawk, soar–
this is enough, I need nothing more.

Heron flying over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

A quadrille for dVerse, where De has asked us to use the word, sky. I think the rhythm of this one is more soothing than my previous post this morning. I don’t know why I’m stuck on couplets and rhyme though today.

Inconceivable, Unbelievable, and True

Geese in flight over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Monday Morning Musings:

“It’s just that masks are terribly comfortable — I think everyone will be wearing them in the future,”
–Westley in The Princess Bride

Inconceivable and unbelievable
the world has become

plague-filled and fire-flashed
now, ashes fill the sky,

and sudden storms come surging,
while people plead, urging

the powers-that-be to see
what is and to agree

on what is needed. More than hope
and prayers, some care

must be taken if we’re to survive,
herd immunity and hive minds–

we seek solutions from concepts of animals and nature—but
I watch them, charmed,

admiring even the funny walks of birds,
a turkey, like a little dinosaur, and somewhat absurd,

yet most protect their young—and some
mate for life. Perhaps we should look to wildlife

for a portrait of true love. Difficult to see now
in this time of masks and isolation,

the frustration of privation and desolation,
the death of loved ones, the vexation over celebrations

that shouldn’t be, until we’re vaccinated or virus-free–
When will that be?

I sigh and bake, take long walks,
rake my fingers through my greying hair–

there, in front of me, a family of deer,
all clear, I think, as they dart across the street—

leaving me to admire their spirit and grace,
a trace of wonder stays within

to ease the stress of every single day.
I stand by the riverside watch a heron, stay

longer than I planned—but these moments of water and sky
and watching the birds spread wings and fly

it’s something I do, observe the colors of river and sand–
this I understand,

time flows at different speeds and rates,
fast in a dream, slow when we wait,

but either way, we’re specks
in a vast array. Time may be infinite, or

perhaps it loops, swooping future into past
or giving us another chance

Geese and Clouds, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

to seek true love, or defy death with sweetened pill,
better than nevermore, is maybe it will.

A very late MMM because I’m trying to finish some work. And, I’ll be back in just a bit because I’m hosting dVerse today.

Sunrise over the Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ.

This past week was strange, the weather shifting from humid summer to clear autumn. Friday, as you all know, was the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack. It was a gloomy day, but the next day was bright, beautiful, gorgeous, which I will hope is an omen. I’ve been seeing a heron almost every morning at the river at the battlefield park. We watched The Princess Bride on Saturday night in preparation for the livestream reading with much of the original cast that took place last night. It was a fundraiser for Wisconsin Democrats in support of Joe Biden. The livestream drew of 100,000 viewers, and though there were a few technical problems, it was great fun. More importantly, it might help in November. It’s inconceivable how we will survive four more years with the current resident of the White House.

Watching The Princess Bride

I’m linking this to dVerse Open Link night, where Björn was hosting our live stream open mike even.t

Laboring

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise over the Delaware River

We labor, belabor, debate, defend
fend for ourselves, hope for trends

to alter course, reverse, against the wind
we traverse, carrying the past in heart and mind,

find that light is a constant, but time is not—
still we dine and drink some wine

Friday Night, Wine, Challah, Candles

without the rhythm and beats of city streets
reflections found in river, not in town—

I find beauty all around.

It doesn’t change what is, or what may be—
catastrophe, democracy’s fall, more plagues

all this or other. I read horror tales of ghosts
less scary than most of what is real, or almost–the boasts

of the fascist chiefs, the spreading of so many false beliefs
rumors can be deadly, and I think of the imposter priest

who despite his flaws, gets at the truth, and heals
a village. So many maligned, but is there is goodness in us all?

Perhaps. Though it may be hard to tell. Crimes of passion,
crimes of war, crimes of vengeance—so many more—

the people we neglect, the things we regret.
And yet, the moon shines silver in the night,

the sky is blue, the sun is bright. I walk through shadows,
and into light. Watch as birds take sudden flight—soar, unbound—

beauty all around.

Water Lilies, West Deptford Public Library Rain Garden

Today is Labor Day here in the U.S. I took a look at my post from last year. So much has changed. This is a bit of a response to that, I suppose. I kept the format of couplets, though not ending rhymes.


Merril’s Movie, TV, and Whatever Club: We saw the Polish movie, Corpus Christi. It was Poland’s entry this past year for the Academy Awards. We had seen previews for it. I’m not sure if it made it to the theater in Philadelphia before they closed or not. In any case, we both thought it was excellent. Almost like old times, we discussed it over wine and dinner—though our discussion was the next day at a local winery.

Wine and Grilled Cheese at William Heritage Winery.

We watched the French mystery series, Le Chalet with an earworm of a title song—even for those of us who don’t really speak French. It seemed like it was going to be a horror story at the beginning, but it turned out to be similar to an old-fashioned mystery, a Ten Little Indians sort of tale though with two timelines. We both liked it, though it was a bit confusing sorting out the characters for a while. We’re currently watching a Finnish mystery, Deadwind. It’s good, and I think we will become more involved with it as it goes on. There are lots of twists and turns—what seems like a straightforward murder case is not (of course). Both of these are on Netflix.

I just finished reading The Invited by Jennifer McMahon, a ghost story and also a mystery with different timelines and connecting stories. So, you know, a good Merril book. And my favorite podcast Ghost in the Burbs is back. Yay!

Oh, but speaking of favorite podcasts, the delightful Damien Donnelly now has a podcast. So. . . I guess that’s also my favorite (different genres). 😀

Hate, Love, Hate, Love

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Blue Mood with Pegasus clouds racing across the sky. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ ©️ Merril D. Smith 2020

Monday Morning Musings:

“Your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be the roses that grow in the concrete.” –Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

“There’s a saying in Hebrew, ‘No matter how dark the tapestry God weaves for us, there’s always a thread of grace.”—Mary Doria Russell, A Thread of Grace

 

Glowing ships on the aquamarine sea,

Moon and Venus shine their beacons–

 

Farewell night!

The moon smiles a crooked grin,

 

and Venus titters

such fools, these mortals be.

 

***

 

I hate everyone, she says to me.

Well, not you—not my family—

 

and I know what she means, because I feel it, too,

the constant barrage of evil and ignorance,

 

people who refuse to wear masks,

who spread misinformation,

 

and insist they’re not racist while sharing racist posts—

the people, who like black holes, swallow the light,

 

but not all of it.

 

Sigh. Breathe. Walk. Begin again—

 

as each day does–

the sun rises, even if we don’t see it

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shining over the horizon

waking the world

 

again and again,

though some never awaken

 

to see the world around them,

its beauty

 

flowing on a river of hope

reflected over and over

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Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

a dream

of what was and what could be.

 

Some of the things I’ve seen on my morning walks this week:

These mushrooms that look like umbrellas set up for fairies.

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Deer and red-tailed hawks this morning.

 

On Friday nights, we get together virtually with our children and their spouses. We light the Sabbath candles and share the things that we’re grateful for.

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Saturday night homemade pizza and movie night

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Lots of baking

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched The Hate U Give. (Amazon Prime with an additional slight fee, but I believe it’s on other streaming platforms.) We both thought it was a very good movie, and I highly recommend it. It’s based on a YA novel of the same name. It gets very intense, but in a thoughtful, nuanced way. Here’s a review in The New Yorker. We finished Season 3 of Bordertown, which I mentioned last week. I’m happy that apparently Season 4 is in the works.

I’m rereading Mary Doria Russell’s A Thread of Grace, a historical novel set in WWII Italy. She’s an author who does her research, but also tells a good story with captivating characters. Another story that seems timely when read now.

And this–unconditional love.

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More on Secrets

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Ripples and reflections on the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. Driftwood on the beach.  ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

Monday Morning Musings:

“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

–Roald Dahl

 

There’s magic in a flower that suddenly appears

unplanted by a human hand,

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This just appeared one day in our garden one day.

standing alone or scattered

to glow, new stars, comets, meteorites that fall

leaving their imprint for a brief moment

before floating away

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Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ, August 2020 ©️Merril D. Smith

on river currents, secrets of time and ghost whispers drift

on ripples

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A stone toss ripple in the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

endless and infinite–

light that is always there–

 

even if we don’t see it,

like the magic of a flower,

 

the evanescence of a puddle,

a world existing in a moment—

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Puddle Reflection

clouds part and merge again

grey becomes blue becomes grey

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Water Lilies and reflections at rain garden at West Deptford Public Library ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

a mosquito strafes your face, a lone bomber

soon joined by a squadron,

 

the secret out in the open and not pleasant—

but magic moments

 

that you stumble upon,

like a secret path

 

those are wondrous, grace-filled seconds–

blink and you miss the magic,

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Deer Family at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

but it will come again,

perhaps when you least expect it.

 

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Merril’s Movie Club: We watched the movie Dear Ex (Netflix). It’s a 2018 Taiwanese movie, a domestic comedy-drama about a young man whose deceased father left his insurance benefits to his male lover. I’d give it 3 stars. It was sweet and poignant, once you get to the backstory that explains more about the characters and the secrets they kept or didn’t know about. My dad would have been 101 yesterday. I’m sure he had some secrets that we’ll never know. He did love Chinese food though, so it seems appropriate that we ate it on his birthday eve.

We’re on Season Three of Bordertown. It’s also on Netflix. My husband and I are both really enjoying this show, and we will miss these characters once we’ve finished it. There are the usual gruesome murders and cases (but the show is good at not showing the gore or graphic violence), but we come to really care about Kari Sorjonen and his family and colleagues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Ever and After

 

ferocious eternity, a blush away

in a brilliant cloud—

 

listening for home,

I soar in search of time,

 

and if

I find, hear

 

the cosmos

in full-flowered rhapsody,

 

it is always a world

with dream language

 

like glass

and ocean, light-filled

 

ascending

with a thousand laughing wings

 

(wake, listen)

 

to heal the tiny tears

of the universe

 

in the ever

and the after

 

where magic lingers,

a ghost in the night.

 

It’s Saturday, and so, I consulted the Oracle. She gave me this poem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listening, Watching, Hoping

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The world is sad and broken,

clouds of smoke rising

 

and the voices of trees lost.

(Say not forever.)

 

Still I listen for the secret rhythm

of stars and moon

 

and watch the sun rise

brilliant fire in the sky

 

lighting our days,

reminding us of if and when

 

the universe is born and dies,

again and again–

 

and yet, the flowers bloom in spring

(until they don’t)

 

and their perfume rises

in morning’s smile.

 

My collaboration with the magnetic poetry Oracle. She always seems to know what is and what might be.

 

 

I Watch the Candles Light the Past and Future

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“History is all about ‘what ifs’”

“It was a long time ago now. And it was yesterday.”

Kate Atkinson, Life After Life

“And while we are playing
The candles are burning low
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago
One for each night, they shed a sweet light
To remind us of days long ago”

From the song, “Hanukkah oh Hanukkah” Traditional

And so, again, we celebrate Hanukkah

as the nights grow longer

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the days grow colder

I make soup, bake bread,

time passes, a thread

connecting me to the past

 

I think of ancestors, steadfast

(I wonder) in determination

 

to leave the past, a cessation

of persecution, a new life.

 

We watch Mrs. Maisel, no longer wife

laugh, but still I think of the past

 

Borscht Belt and women’s rights, she and cast

moving through Paris, the Catskills, New York City

 

with dazzling designs and dialogue so witty

each episode a Hanukkah present,

 

and so it goes, we’re content

to pass the Hanukkah nights

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watching the candles burn bright

then I fry latkes again

with daughter remembering when

we grated, stirred with spoons

 

and listened to these tunes–

the maidel with the ladle—

 

I am happy we’re still able

to be together, to cook

 

to discuss friends, life, a book

and dance, sing, drink some wine,

eat some donuts, the company is fine–

as are the pets–

 

an asset to any set,

with tails wagging

they brighten moods flagging,

hers look for scraps on the floor

 

and bark at any noise at the door,

while mine watch the candles bright

and play with the dreidel in the light.

Generations, birthright, hindsight–

 

generations, frying latkes in the night

hoping for a miracle and promised lands–

 

my hands—

reach forward,

 

toward the unknown, hold present close,

but touch the past.

 

Still life goes on

as we remember days long ago,

 

time moves fast, or it goes so slow,

circling, dashing, we travel, with it flow.

 

Eighth Night of Hanukkah 2018

 

We’re watching Season Two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime). Here’s the Season 2 Trailer. For years my daughters and I have listened to an album, A Child’s Hanukkah by the Jewish Wedding Band. Here’s the first song, which includes the phrase “kiss the maidel with the ladle.”