All the Blues

Monday Morning Musings:

A gull seems to play in the river waves. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

Today the gray has strayed, and sunlight deepens–
a color called cold water blue–
unfrosted are the ripples
where gulls and geese sway
and gather on the shifting sand
to sleep and talk and play.

Today there is no fog,
nothing obscured in the grayish gloom,
or hidden in ash-tipped cloud-rooms—
today is clear, the sun is bright

though not with summer heat, or spring’s promise
not even pastel frosted pink—but think
of what today may bring

joy, despair, most anything–
one day, one night, one vote, one
note of kindness can make a change, so

today I’ll take blue
water and sky. And the hour in between
dusk and night, dawn and day,
the color of jays, stones, and glass
robin’s eggs and midnight sky–ask
when the moon sings a silver lullaby
and forms a halo ‘round her face,

what is that place? And can we go?
Perhaps, in dreams. I don’t know,

But today I’ll take the blue of peace
and ripples that go on forever,
one making another, another making one,
lines merging in changing colors, sometimes grey,
but today it’s blue and sun.

I went down a rabbit hole of blue yesterday reading Brainpickings and then following the links .
And then today, the river was blue instead of the gray or tinted-pink it’s been.
I haven’t been anywhere or done anything special in weeks, so I can only muse about this. I am happy that there were no big violent mobs yesterday, though I’m still anxious. I hope all goes well on Wednesday for the inauguration.

I have cooked and baked though.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched One Night in Miami (Amazon Prime). It’s an excellent movie based on a play by Kemp Powers, who adapted it for the screen, and directed by Regina King, in her movie directorial debut. It concerns a meeting in 1964 between Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke and Jim Brown right after Clay won the heavyweight title. The main, crucial moments of the movie take place in Malcolm X’s motel room where the men discuss, argue, explain, and try to make sense of their private-public lives. It feels like a real “room where it happened” historical moment. The movie is fictional, although the meeting did take place. The movie seems particularly timely right now.

Constant Turning of the Light

Monday Morning Musings:

“Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the water of the heart
Push in their tides;”
Dylan Thomas, “Light breaks where no sun shines”

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield early morning. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

Seek the stillness in the storm,
as grey consumes,
delight in light, within cold blue,
find warmer hues

Geese flying toward the light. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

aglow in candle flames;
await the glimpse of golden glimmer;
delight in company–and dinner–
watch the shimmer

of sun on water; and if time
flows, listen for its shadow-wings
that soar and circle back, to bring
song from stars, soul-stirring

heart-burnished flickers. Rejoice in blood-pounding,
and surf-tossed waves; a symphony blend
of love, life, light begin and end,
the past returns, and over again

in the passage of indigo night
to rose-tipped sky
find all is right, in the lullaby
of the moon, the gentle sigh

of wind recalling
earth-yearning, and the constant turning
to find the songs and all the light, burning.

Mid-afternoon sun already low in the sky. William Heritage Winery.

Last Thursday marked the start of Hanukkah. In this pandemic year, we could not be with family, but still we celebrated. I bought my sisters, daughters, and myself a bracelet that says “kvetch.” It seems appropriate.

As we move closer to the winter solstice, the sun sets earlier and earlier, but our weather has been crazy. We’ve had storms and sunshine, and the temperature was in the 60s F yesterday. We met my sister-niece to exchange gifts and walk on Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon. We met younger daughter and her husband at William Heritage Winery for an early birthday celebration. Right now, there’s a steady rain. We’re supposed to get snow on Wednesday.

Wild Magic

Sunrise pink clouds reflected on the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, November2020

I watch purple shadows dance, lingering
with cool kisses in the air
as the sun shines pink-petaled on blue–
listen, sky and water say,
and the music is in my head
as if honeyed light is fiddle and voice,
recalling dreams, and the way the moon sings
through a storm. Remember this, blushing clouds,
the soft secret smiles of the universe, sailing into
after. The wild magic surrounds you. Embrace it.

Today’s message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle–she, of course, sees me walking by the river.

November Clouds

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

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. November Sky. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

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.”

Waves

Monday Morning Musings:

In the morning’s glow the water glimmers,
shimmers pink on blue,
as light slivers through silvered clouds
and geese and gulls skim the surface

Sunrise over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

I walk. Beauty, akin, but not identical,
the days similar, but different in ways
perhaps not profound, but meaningful
(to me) when I see a deer, or rippled sky

and wonder why—
the age-old questions, life, death,
and who am I? We drink some wine,
and watch the clouds–

we laugh aloud—enjoy the moment,
the storms come, and then they pass
and the waves surge, but they don’t last,
the sky is charcoal, then it’s blue.

The wind blows, the leaves fall
in golden puddles mound the ground,
the moon will hum, the sun will shine,
and winter fade in springtime’s bloom.

And you? You’ll be here, and so will I,
watching the tide flow in and outwards fly,
the shore uncovered again. And again.
Perhaps not a circle, but a chain

Geese and Cloud Reflections. Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

linking everything. The waves of light, water,
motion—sky, river, ocean—
dust from the stars, amoebas and trees,
generations of humans, you and me.

The Whitall House and Reflections on the Delaware River. Sunrise. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched the movie, Waves. We had seen previews in the theater, pre-pandemic. The cinematic style—lots of pulsing color and light—probably plays better on a big screen. It took me a little while to get into it, but it’s a movie in two parts. The second part explores the aftermath of a tragedy that occurs in the first part. We both liked it, but it’s one of those movies that I liked more after I thought about it for a while.
We’re also watching Roadkill. In the US, it’s on Masterpiece (PBS). It’s always fun watching Hugh Laurie as a bad guy, and it was fun to see the female Danish prime minister from Borgen in it, too. We’ve watched 3 of the 4 episodes.

Walking by the River, the Morning After

Joe Biden was declared the winner–

across the river, they danced in the streets
and horns honked. Here, it was quiet,
geese sailed serenely; their own squabbles settled
with brief in-your-face trumpeting and posturing—perhaps
not so different, as they fall into formation–and yet,
I watch them take turns leading, caring for each other,
soaring in a victory V, circling. Then
as dawn laughs, and the water blushes,
the horizon, foreshortened, expands,
Philadelphia emerges from the fog, the sky
much bluer than it was.

I missed Peter’s dVerse prompt on Tuesday to write poetry bearing witness to our local neighborhood, so I’m linking to the dVerse Open Link Night, where Linda is hosting.

The Light I see

Monday Morning Musings:

I dream poems
of misty November mornings
and blue rivers tinged with shimmery pink,

Dreamy. Foggy November morning. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

of wine-dark skies, I drink
from half-full glasses filled with hope
and watch opalescent glow breaking bright–

last night, I dreamt of glass-ceilings shattered–
not store-front windows–
of people raised, not battered

in coordinated terror, fleeing sharp shards
of cutting hate, and the coming conflagration to annihilate–
but I dream not of bonfire flash and ashes,

of books and people burned, but autumn peace,
watching the sun sink behind russet leaves,
knowing the flaming eaves are an illusion,

William Heritage Winery

without any confusion, simply beauty,
the way it should be.
And so, my poetry dreams

lucid, drifting through timeless place,
with pellucid water rippling through space and time-
expanding circles

Ripples, a stone tossed into the river on a misty morning. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

that never end, from sand to horizon,
rising whispers to stars and sea, see me–
the light burns through fog to capture shadows and gild the trees.

My shadow caught in a tree.

So, I guess this is really meta, since I really did dream poems last night of misty November mornings and blue rivers.
Today is the anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of crystal), November 9-10, 1938, also called the Night of Broken Glass when Nazis and supporters carried out pogroms on the Jewish population and businesses in Germany and annexed areas. You can read more here.

Probably everyone reading this knows that Joe Biden is now the official president-elect of the US, and Kamala Harris is the first woman, first Black woman, and first Asian woman in the US to become vice-president elect of the US. We listened to them speak on Saturday night, and I was particularly moved by Harris’s speech.

Merril’s Movie Club: Prior to the listening to the speeches, we watched the movie, Sometimes Always Never, a sweet, quirky little movie starring Bill Nighy as a father searching for his lost son who vanished during a Scrabble game years before. There is a lot about Scrabble and words in the film. We both enjoyed it, but definitely not for the action, blockbuster crowd. It’s on Amazon.

We have had unseasonably warm days, and we managed to get reservations for outdoor wineries twice this week, William Heritage Winery, and the Auburn Road Winery Wine Garden at Hill Creek Farms. I’m afraid we may go into lockdowns soon, and even if we don’t, I won’t be sitting indoors, so I thought we’d enjoy it while we can.

Watching, Waiting

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, November. ©️ Merril D. Smith, 2020

Ask am I crushed?
Ugly tongues and the elaborate-haired fiddler screech,
while the dead cry in a thousand aching hearts

~but dream shadows sing in blue, waking~

I watching the light whispering if
to pink-shimmered water,
recalling how time flows, after moon to sun

The Oracle always knows. Just as I was about to post this, news came that Joe Biden will be our next president! YES!

Serenity

In shadowed mood, I river-walk
see heron in the gloaming-light,
and deer that shyly peer, then sprint
in white-flashed flight to rock-strewn beach.

Is this happiness, or calm release
of anger stored, of finding peace
in the susurrous wind sighs–
a promise, hope’s rise.

Lillian has asked us to use the word happy–or some form of it–in a quadrille for dVerse. It usually makes me feel better when I take a walk, and especially if I see “my” heron or some deer.

Blue Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

A luscious dream shines blue
sun-diamonds of if

Blue is the sea, river, and sky
that flows beyond what we can see
but never ending, flowing, going
round again,

Finally a sunny day! Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

the light bends, refracting and reflecting
shapes, colors, moods—blue hues—
clear and bright, or misty-infused
with pink and grey, a foggy day

Light across the Delaware River on a foggy morning at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

or mind, we say. Sometimes reality blurs,
dims with age, or fever-dreamed perceptions
and neurons misdirecting proprioception,
the mind filled with misconception,

flies. And yet, when we dream,
fantasy and reality blur, the dead come alive,
the alive are dead–
I see blue, but dream red

A photo from last year, Day of the Dead display in Philadelphia. ©️Merril D. Smith 2019

when my grandfather visits me
from some other realm, sitting at a table
well, he was a man who loved to eat—
but now, we’re waiting for a play

My grandfather, my father’s father

but I say, I can’t stay
and race off in a panic, and up, across the stage
almost colliding with a male actor, to whom I apologize,
waking soon after, without words, wise, or otherwise

from my grandfather. I wonder still after weeks,
why was he in my dream? His family had to flee, asylum seekers
from a repressive regime. He knew about hate, but also love,
eloping when he was young, seeing ninety plus winters and sun,

announcing his presence with the scent of a cigar—
I haven’t thought of him in a long time, why did he come
to me that night? Against the vivid red of anxiety curtains,
he was calm, unperturbed, in a grey suit,

slipping a message into my dream chute
that this is just a moment, not final–
the vivid reds and gold, turn brown,
but the moon hums a song of cycling hues

with beauty all around. Blue moon tonight,
then her circle grows smaller—
but still there, just beyond our view
directing tides through monthly cycles.

Black waters of night
turn grey, then blue in morning light
and though we know they’re there,
the ghosts shimmer in the air—just out of view.

Heron in flight. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

Over the past few days, every time I visit the Oracle, she gives me dreams and blue. The message above was from today. So, I went with it. We’ve had days and days of clouds and rain. The sun finally came out on Saturday, but then we had pouring rain yesterday. It’s sunny today, but it’s cold with gusty winds.
We managed to find a time to get together with daughter and son-in-law—sitting well apart outside on their deck. We ate Thai food–and got some puppy time (and then it rained again).

Merril’s Movie Club: On Halloween night, we ate pizza with my homemade pumpkin pie for dessert and watched His House (Netflix), a thoughtful horror movie about South Sudanese refugees in London, who are (literally) haunted by ghosts of their past as they try to adjust to living in a new place and culture. There were several scenes that made me jump, but it’s the kind of horror movie that I like because it makes you think–and of course, it’s timely.