Promises and Dreams

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In the dew-dappled dawn, promises fly,

rising up in murmurations, flowing

into space, tracing patterns in the sky

turning into misty clouds, then throwing

shadows back onto dreams. But then knowing

that the moon rises as the sun sets still

and the earth yet revolves–and will–and will

beyond our mortal lives. So, starlight gleams,

we watch it speckle bright the night—until

it seems, our dreams grow luminous streams.

 

I haven’t been around much lately at dVerse, and I’m sorry for being so behind in reading. I have a lot going on right now. This is my first attempt at a dizain, this month’s poetry form at dVerse.

 

 

 

 

 

Lux Mentis: Prosery

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We sail the night sea in our silvered ark. We’re refugees with lives programmed by machines that tell us when it’s day or night. On the observation deck, I can see the distant light of faraway stars, beckoning but elusive, like dream fragments remembered as you wake. Somewhere out there is our destiny–yet I’m haunted by the memory of sunshine streaming through the trees and the sound of birdsong on a summer day. Sometimes I hear the crash of waves in the constant humming of machinery, and I can almost taste the salt of ocean breezes.

Last night I dreamt I was the moon. I looked down and cried for Earth, gone forever.

 

At dVerse, we’re trying something new: a flash fiction piece of 144 words or less based on a line taken from a poem. We’re calling it prosery. Sarah has offered us this wonderful line, “Last night I dreamt I was the moon” from Alice Oswald’s “Full Moon.”

 

 

 

Dreams of Generations

Monday Morning Musings:

“Time makes room

for going and coming home

and in time’s womb

begins all ending.”

From Ursula K. Le Guinn, “Hymn to Time”

 

“Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears”

–from “Sunrise, Sunset” Jerry Brock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof

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The dream flits,

flutters

spreading its wings

and soars

as the moon whispers

and shadows dance–

circles of light,

circles of darkness,

together, apart

beginnings and endings

all one thing,

in time

timeless.

***

A hot July day

time with a friend

not wanting it to end

 

we drink, eat stay

talking of what was

and what now is, because

 

we’re catching up

he knew us way back when–

the before, and then

The Cool Lights! Revolution House, Philadelphia

we went our own ways

but kept in touch—

and now this lunch

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though life intrudes

as I get texts about my mother

one after another

 

but still we laugh

then part, agree to meet

again soon—sweet

 

are friendships,

fleeting is time,

the clock chimes

 

echoing

through city streets

in buzzing beats

 

between the pauses, I feel

dreams rise from the cobblestones

beneath us buried bones.

***

 

We watch a movie

of fantasy and dreams

and my mom dreams, it seems

 

not certain of what is real

sometimes, but to her

fantasies, we defer.

 

And it is hotter now

some water ice to keep cool

in shaded bower, where statued pools

spray and children play

while others kept in cages

cruelty growing in stages

 

“Lock them up!” “Send them back,”

the ugly crowds chant

as the demagogue rants

 

and I listen to the fiddler play

and Yiddish spoken–

a culture not yet broken

 

entirely, and being revived

though they tried to kill us

six million then—but let’s discuss

 

how hate never goes away

entwined with fear

year after year

 

beneath the surface

like a dream.

Do you hear the scream

 

of those in a nightmare life

who are fleeing?

What are you seeing

 

when children in cages

appear before you?

Ho, hum, it’s nothing new.

 

Japanese, Jews, camps

of them, this and that–

and off them someone gets fat

 

(follow the money)

through history. We watch

a movie–does the cop botch

 

his life,

or is it ordained

as we see it explained

 

backwards through time.

Sci-fi and noir, violence and lust–

was it a story that must,

 

that always ended a certain way?

So many ifs and could-have-beens,

the outs and ins

 

of love and time

dances in circles, intertwine—

sometimes–

 

but the sun rises and sets

through our laughter and tears

and the years

 

circle in seasons

round and round–

light and darkness abound.

 

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We watched two Netflix movies this week. In Sicilian Ghost Story, I liked the way dreams were a key part of the story and the fantasy of it; my husband not so much. We both liked The City of Last Things.  The story is told backwards in time.

I listened to this Fresh Air episode about the Yiddish version of Fiddler on the Roof. Well worth the listen, if you have the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Color of Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.”

–Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” (No. 1, of “Four Quartets”)

 

 

What is the color of eternity?

All the fires of star bursts

and rainbows

in shades of never-seen, a sheen

scented with petriochor

caramel, and wisps of ozone—more–

perhaps a dream.

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Summer Color at Whitall House, National Park, NJ

I am bemused, delighted

by the brilliant colors of the sky sighted

between storms,

the verdant green of almost-summer

and trees that call,

“Look at me now!”

and I’m enthralled,

with leafy boughs

that wave and wow,

Dock Creek, Philadelphia

Dock Creek, Old City, Philadelphia

but time is flowing in syncopated rhythms

with unexpected accents,

changing in split seconds

ascent, descend–dissent–

confused

from waltz to unsquare dance,

and I’m bemused,

how do grey storm clouds change to blue sky,

how does asleep move to wide awake,

so quickly

and we cannot stay still–

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Ominous sky over Ben Franklin Bridge

over the hill

we go–

my mother goes from weak and incoherent

to mobile and lucid overnight

and back again, delight and fright,

I scarcely think of my dead father

on Father’s Day

 

when I see baby fawns,

twins napping in the sun,

their mother gone

somewhere,

Seeing them is nature’s gift to me.

I accept it gratefully.

 

I dream my mother’s apartment

has been turned into a hospital

I wake up annoyed

(Okay, Dr. Freud)

that I was not informed

of how it was transformed.

My mother tells me she has

another apartment upstairs—

it’s much nicer she says.

Perhaps it is, I think. I can’t compare.

I wonder about time,

and is it ever lost or gone?

The past exists in our memories—

like a rhyme

heard long ago–

the child me, my alive father,

my young mother

I think all still exist somewhere

like love

never gone,

but stretching back

like an endless series of mirror reflections

colors into black.

Reflections

 

I watch the baby geese grow,

a new generation shows

walking by the river–

no music like its symphony

whispering of birth and earth,

singing of life, joy and strife,

keening at death in the currents

that flow to the sea

to be

again and again.

I watch past and future

flow and merge

like that river to the sea

dreaming of time,

dreams within dreams.  . .and then

still the sun sets and rises again.

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We haven’t gone to any movies, shows, or events recently—life and work have been a bit crazy–but we did watch Everybody Knows on Netflix (good but not as good as his previous films), and we’ve been enjoying Good Omens on Amazon Prime.  It’s a lot of fun. And here’s Dave Brubeck’s Unsquare Dance. I have no idea why I thought of this today, but you’re welcome. We’ve had some beautiful days, but also a tornado warning on Thursday night, with tornados that touched down in nearby towns, and now stormy weather forecast for the next several days. I hope that’s not a life-metaphor.

 

 

 

 

In Flight

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Vulture in flight. Red Bank Battlefield, May 24, 2019.

 

Sometimes we dream of birds, in flight, in flight,

they soar far past the sun, in flight, in flight.

 

Follow hawk or geese—the height, the height–

there see towering clouds, in flight, in flight.

 

What if they were we, soaring out of sight, the sight–

your wing brushes my breast, in flight in flight.

 

We fly past stars and moon, the light, the light!

Our spirits dance at night, in flight, in flight.

 

We’re drunk on moonbeams, a rite, a rite

of dream-world gods, in flight, in flight.

 

Do you question this? Not quite, not quite?

Night visions with stars, in flight, in flight?

 

But I, writer of dreams, I write, I write

and dream of birds, in flight, in flight.

 

I took a poetry break from my writing on sexual harassment (because really, I need a break). This is a ghazal for dVerse.  It’s a bit different from others I’ve written. For my “signature couplet” I’ve used writer. My birth last name is Schreiber, which means scribe or writer. I took my first line “sometimes we dream of birds” from Sarah Connor’s Eventide story/novel/epic. Thanks, Sarah!

 

 

 

 

 

Bodies and Souls

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When we were both younger.

Monday Morning Musings:

“Here is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:

I heard it in the air of one night when I listened

To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angry in the darkness.”

–Carl Sandburg, from “Poems done on a Late Night Car”

 

“And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

From, Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”

 

Beneath the beauty–

pink, red, yellow-petaled–

nectar flows,

pollen-dusted bees

hover, their buzz

a soothing lullaby–

the sound of if, is, was,

and will be

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What will be?

From my mother’s body,

I came,

my earliest memory, her

(she was beautiful)

shushing me,

telling me not to wake my sister

 

My sister and I played,

sang the songs of Broadway

and our lives,

nonsense words became family slang

over the dinner table—

the sound of family dinners,

and playing the dictionary game.

 

From my body,

my daughters came.

Sisters, they played,

sang songs of Broadway

and their lives

nonsense words became family slang

over the dinner table—

the sound of family dinners,

and playing Scattergories.

 

They look alike,

(but they don’t)

anyone can tell they’re sisters,

the way they talk and gesture–

we look alike

(but we don’t)

anyone can tell I’m their mother,

it’s in the blood,

our souls

from bodies, the blood of

grey and green-eyed ancestors

generations stretching far back

to first hearts beating

and blood flowing

women, men,

loving, hating,

beautiful and ugly bodies

crawling, walking–

in the cold May rain

we go to see my mom

no longer young

with body failing

and mind not as sharp

(not as it was, not as she was)

but heart beating

and blood flowing,

we make her laugh

she’s in the hospital

(first docile, now demanding)

it’s the anniversary of my dad’s death

hearts beating

and hearts not beating

once my father raged,

against the dying of the light

till he raged, no more,

 

body and soul both gone.

I don’t believe in ghosts

and spirits

(But I do.)

There are things in the air

we can’t see, can’t hear

the songs of stars and bees,

the humming of the moon.

 

Can two people share the same dream?

The woman asks in the movie—

because it happens to her and a man,

It happened to me, once long ago,

to my daughter and me

a dream forgotten now– except

“someone played a flute,”

we both say, when I mention it—

years later.

 

Things unexplainable,

things I hear in the air,

that I wish we had more of,

I remember singing to my babies

My mom’s cousin says,

“people remember

the songs they heard

when they were children.”

Perhaps there are things

in the air–

If we stop and listen,

the sound of stars and bees,

the humming of the moon.

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day, here in the U.S. My mom has been in the hospital for the past several days. My father died on May 11, 1998. I remember going to the hospital on Mother’s Day, for what would be his last night.

My husband and I watched a Hungarian movie, On Bodies and Souls on Netflix. In it, a man and a woman share the same dream every night. (Warning: there are scenes at the beginning in a meat-packing plant, but keep watching past that.) It also features a beautiful Laura Marling song.

 

 

Recall the Dreams

 

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Recall when we

watched the moon, a peach

rising—and

crying for

us? The sad music of dreams

and a thousand whys—

 

we want to

run after her and

ask of death,

of whispers,

ugly shadows, yet let it

go, to sleep, aching.

 

The Oracle, of course, knows everything, including the most recent example of human depravity. This is a double shadorma for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge, using synonyms for lead and follow

But here’s something else, a bit lighter. I’ve had this song in my head all week because of these prompt words–Carole King, Where You Lead.

The Constant Lullaby

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She hums a tune of dreams and sighs

set in the wind, and full of whys,

of what could be, if only, when

we saw, we knew the truths of skies

 

the beauty there, the now, the then,

the things that come and come again–

the oceans’ roar, the lovers’ cries

that rise and fall, the song of wren

 

that sings of spring and summer blooms

as laughter flies from them to rooms

inside, entwined with windswept song–

those lullabies on silvered plumes

 

Another Rubaiyat for dVerse, where Lillian is hosting Open Link Night. The first line came to me, so I just continued the meter and form.

I Ask the Birds: Magnetic Poetry

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Frants Diderik Bøe, “Birds in the Midnight Sun,” [Public domain]

When you soar—

up through purple mist

 

is there beauty there?

 

Blue shadows lick

the red rocks

 

a lazy sky-spray sings,

 

but rain recalls dreams–

the sweet smell of peaches–

 

and yet the wind cries why

as a symphony, a moan

 

an ache in me sleeps

 

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The Oracle sends me lyrical questions. I hit “Publish” too quickly! Re-publishing this with my screen shot.