The Bittern: Ekphrastic Poetry Challenge, Day 1

She used to play with friends,
wander with giggle-shouts through houses and yards,
shared classroom papers, projects, and lunches
together they were

no longer. Her small body—
so heart-heavy, slumped. She had loved her grandmother.

Now, she watched as from marsh to garden, a bittern flew.
stared at her with Grandmom’s eyes, and straight-beaked
pointed. Here is the path—she seemed to say–
remember me, remember this.

Alone once more, the girl stood, a tiny bit lighter.

I am participating in an ekphrastic poetry challenge this month hosted by Paul Brookes of Wombwell Rainbow. There are three artists and several poets. For each day we can choose to respond to one, two, or all three of the works. On Paul’s page you can see all of the artwork, and all of the poetry for that day. My thanks to Paul for the challenge, and to all of the artists for their work. This is also my NaPoWriMo poem for today. I’m also linking it to Open Link Night at dVerse, where Lillian is hosting.

Another Year

Spring comes again, another year,
the ghosts stand here,
but still the flowers bloom and rise.

The world is ever broken
and lies are widespread and spoken–
but there is light in the skies,

Sun peeping through the clouds. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

where geese honk and crows call,
they find their mates, and above all,
the songs of robin and mockingbird fly

ever as March winds wail and gust—
ashes to ashes, dust to dust—
the moon hums, so wise

is she, she sees beyond
what has been spawned,
duplicity and disease, the whys

of our existence. Yet hope
comes on those wings, that trope
clichéd, but all the same it cries

the truth—light in flight—
longer days, golden bright
flowers–each day a surprise

in bloom. And now, we vaccinate,
for some, it’s come too late,
and there’s no way to minimize

the loss and despair. Another year,
the ghosts stand here,
but still the flowers bloom and rise.

The wind is gusting this morning! Last year, Passover was at the beginning of April. We did a Zoom Passover with our daughters, and then near the end of Passover on a Monday, our Mickey cat died. The following Saturday, my mom died of Covid. This year, no one really was up for doing a Zoom Passover. I cooked some of the usual foods though, and my husband and I did our own Seder on the second night, as I was recovering from getting my second vaccine on the first night. Our daughters made the matzah covers when they were very little, and I cherish them. There is definitely hope in the air with spring and vaccines. And we are looking forward to getting together with other vaccinated family members soon.

No movies this week, but we’re on the second season of Shtisel (Netflix), and I really am so caught up with this family! I also listened to a radio play—a play we had seen in production at the Arden Theater that was reworked as a radio play, 74 Seconds to Judgement. It was very well done, and I enjoyed hearing it. I also read Klara and the Sun I highly recommend it. The book has been reviewed all over the place.

Too much holiday excitement.

The Whys of After and Before

Why have I never seen the turn of spring to summer,
overnight the moonlight sings sweetly into possible

the cycles—storms to sun,
a daffodil, then a rose.

And if time winds through the shadows, why do I not see
that beneath the ancient after, all the befores–

a language barely spoken, questions asked and lost

like faded blooms. But still, the promise, like a smile, recalled,
in the robin’s song at dawn.

The daffodils are starting to bloom.

It took some work to get a message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle today. I’m taking it easy after my second Covid vaccine yesterday, but the moon was humming early this morning and a robin was singing. Tonight is the start of Passover.

Spring Cycle

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise–almost Spring

On the first day of spring,
I take my shadow for a walk
she doesn’t talk—but the crows do
remembered views, the death and blight–

a year has passed
upside-down and inside-out,
and birdsong comes again, devours the dark
as dawn glows bright from each spring night

Spring Reflection

after winds of winter go,
and summer storms not yet here, she knows,
to go softly on tippy-toes, then stop, perch
till too soon off like a bird in flight

she soars—another year–
but while she’s here—oh!
She flicks colors with her feathered wings
yellow, pink, purple, white—the sight

of all these tiny, bright beautiful things brings
more song and whispered longings—
all things yearn, and we turn, yearn,
learn spring returns, despite

would-be tyrants and corona drops
spread from the unmasked walking brain-dead, threads
of lives unraveled and songs unsung—yet, listen, see–
birds, bees, tender buds in bloom—and the light!

Sunrise, Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? Now spring is back. The crows are once again very busy, the songbirds have started singing before dawn, and the light lasts longer each day. Even the cold mornings now don’t stay cold. There are still ignorant people spreading lies, and new strains of the virus also spreading, but hopefully, more people will be vaccinated before too long. I get my second vaccine later this week.
We started watching Shtisel (Netflix). It’s a family drama about a religious Jewish family in Jerusalem. We’re enjoying it. We’re still on Season 1. The third season is dropping this week.

I made chana masala and garlic naan on Friday night.