Solstice Dawn

Solstice Dawn

The flutter-song swells,
a hundred robins’ voices needed
to create the glowing sky feast—

watermelon, strawberries, peaches—
the moon takes a delicate nibble
before she hums herself to sleep,

the feathery melodies from before-time
drift through the air, rose-tinted and sweet.

There’s a break in the January 6 Committee Hearings, so I’m posting this quickly. I wrote this on Tuesday for the solstice–it was a beautiful morning– and I shared it with @TopTweetTuesday. I’m sharing it now for dVerse Open Link Night.

Take Care

Take Care

Witch: “Careful the tale you tell.
That is the spell.
Children will listen.”
Finale, Into the Woods, Stephen Sondheim

Like beanstalks, lies sprout overnight
rising high enough to support giants, as the world withers
below

a field of moon-daisies grows,
with seeds cast like spells
to reflect light,

the glimmer-truth of stars,
birdsong carried and bee-buzzed

child-seen before
they learn. Careful,
they listen.

A quadrille for dVerse. The prompt word is spell. My head is full of lies and stories. Some of the same . . . I watched the January 6 Committee hearings today—more revelations about the former president’s lies.
We saw Into the Woods at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia on Saturday. Coincidentally. Bernadette Peters sang “Children Will Listen” last night at the Tony Awards in a segment honoring the late Stephen Sondheim.

No Answers: Prosery

Edward Hopper, “Automat,” 1927

We heard about D-Day, of course, we heard. It was the beginning of the end, though we didn’t know it then—not for certain. We didn’t know if it was permanent. I was cut-off from information like everyone else. In the ensuring months of battle, I faced uncertainty—and fear. And then, finally, I was safe in body, if not in mind. I still didn’t know if I’d been betrayed. What was I supposed to do with that? Finally an end to war, yet amidst the cheering for liberation, there was still devastation and loss. What were we to do with our ghosts? What were we to do with starvation, the many who traded sex with strapping American soldiers for a meal? These are the things they don’t tell us. I went home, but the past is a hunter, stalking us, taking us unaware.

For dVerse Prosery, Lisa has asked us to this line:

“These are the things they don’t tell us.”
– Girl Du Jour, from Notes on Uvalde

She has posted the poem on the prompt page. I’ve used the line to continue my Prosery spy series. Today, June 6, 2022, is the 78th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied forces landed in Normandy, in the invasion that led to the end of the Nazi occupation of France. This year, 98-year-old American veteran Charles Shay said:

“Ukraine is a very sad situation. I feel sorry for the people there and I don’t know why this war had to come, but I think the human beings like to, I think they like to fight. I don’t know,” he said. “In 1944, I landed on these beaches and we thought we’d bring peace to the world. But it’s not possible.”

Their Stories

Their Stories

Vincent van Gogh, Olive Grove

“(There are) many stories which are not on paper, they are written in the bodies and minds of women.”
— Amrita Pritam

Browse the archives, finger-brush ancient tablets
looking for their names—

you may find a few,
the chattel and relicts of men,

repositories of seeds, like the Earth,
their roots in deep-time connection,

they whisper stories–
conquest, war-spoils, love, and loss,
their children, don’t forget.

A double dVerse challenge:
a poem inspired by a line from the work of Punjabi poet Amrita Pritam, and a quadrille (44-word poem ) containing the word “browse.”

Some of you know I’m a historian. I’ve spent a lot of time in archives trying to uncover women’s stories.

Whispers and Wishes (Part 3)

Edvard Munch, Forest in Snow

Whispers and Wishes (Part 3)

And so, we rested, away from the snow,
inside that hut by the fire’s glow,
but stories cannot be chewed with teeth
though they help assuage our terror and grief.

Where is Momma, I whimper, and wipe my eyes,
She’s looking for us, but my sister cries
though she hides her face, I see a tear
and realize she must also fear—

What do we do? Where do we go?
Back to the cold, leave our tracks in the snow?
It’s dark, Little One, let us sleep,
there’s a blizzard out there, the snow’s too deep,

for us to go or soldiers to come.
We’ll melt some ice and savor the crumbs–
wish and pretend we have a feast!
We’ll hear no shots from west or east.

And so, we wished, and then we dozed,
fire banked, door bolted, the windows closed–
but when we woke, there was more fresh bread,
a pitcher of milk, and another rose of red. . .

a golden feather glimmered on the floor.

I was looking at old posts this afternoon, and I discovered I had shared parts 1 and 2 of this poem with dVerse, so I decided to write a part 3 for Open Link Night. Scared children are on my mind, and I suppose I wish for them a happily ever after.

Mysteries

Crow— nest building

Mysteries

The robins have been singing for hours
when the crows awaken with raucous chatter
shattering the morning peace with treetop banter
leaves shake, and branches quake, a squirrel squawks back,

but the crows continue to squabble–about mundane chores,
the everyday–yet keeping watch for hawks and eagles,
daring to yell at them, too. They strut across the grass, kings
and queens, then launch with elongated wings outspread,

to look for food or treasures. Finding some or finding none,
never mind, not nevermore, they cry with knowledge of the past,
millions of years of wisdom.
Listen.

Listen to the crows. Black feathers shake as they exhort,
not a murder, but a plan. Fate, justice, the circle of time?
They know what is known. And the mysteries beyond
what we can see—what could, what might be.

For dVerse, where Ingrid has asked us to write about corvids. Most of you probably know I love crows. I was watching a crow couple at the park this morning. They were arguing in a tree, and they seemed like an old married couple. This is a first draft, written quickly.😏

Questions of Shadow and Light

Questions of Shadow and Light

Sun above and below, reflections and shadows on the Delaware River

In this time of shadow and light
crow flies from trees with raucous caw–
there are things I think I saw–

when the world is washed fresh and bright
the grass is showered with sparkling drops,
a rainbow orb shimmers and hops

and robins sing to dawn’s delight,
the stars are gone, the moon will set,
but now she hums, and lingers yet

the truth of sun, moon, stars invite
the ifs and whys of death and life
hereafter lived in peace or strife,

questions of time—the infinite
echoes on stardust in our blood
and bones dissolved in ancient mud.

In this time of shadow and light,
when the world is washed fresh and bright
and robins sing to dawn’s delight,
the truth of sun, moon, stars invite
questions of time—the infinite.

A Constanza for dVerse. The first line of each 3-line stanza forms a poem, which is the final stanza. You can read more about the form here.

Re-Set

Busy Bees

Re-set

This toddler-tantrum world
needs a nap—

as under a snowy coverlet
bulbs sleep until spring comes

to bloom without fuss or fight–unfathomable,
the beauty that makes us—and bees—swoon

gold-dusted, what are their dreams?
A collective vision, pollen-scented harmony in ultraviolet color?

This is a quadrille for dVerse. The prompt word is sleep.

All the Haunted Mays: Prosery

Winslow Homer, On the Hill

All the Haunted Mays

I’m coming.

Despite my brave words, I don’t feel like a hawk. I’m a hummingbird flying backwards into the past. Remember that one perfect May Day when we forgot the war, the occupation, and our unending nightmare world? We shared a baguette that was almost edible and a semi-drinkable bottle of wine, as we pretended the safe house was ours. I wasn’t Nighthawk then either. We were simply Julia and Paul in love–or so I wanted to believe.

I can’t change the past, but I must discover the truth to live in the present. I will find you. I must find you and talk to you face-to-face. For how can I be sure? I shall see again the world on the first of May, or I’ll perish in the attempt. I refuse to be haunted by ghosts any longer. I choose the living.

This is another installment of my non-linear spy tale. Here is a link to the previous one. I’m hosting Prosery on dVerse today. The prompt line to be included within a prose piece is

“For how can I be sure
I shall see again
The world on the first of May”
From “May Day” by Sara Teasdale

A Breath

Winslow Homer, Moonlight, Wood Island

A Breath

Listen—
moon-wreathed
the sky balanced between
night-hymn and dawn chorus, a breath
exhaled

a breath
and then one more
as wine-dark sea froths pale
and gull-laughter sounds from the shore
again

now watch
and see the world
around you breathe and stop
when baby chick is eagle-plucked
and gone

choices
are made–eagle,
chick, child, a soldier’s gun
loaded, aimed, then stopped with a cry,
a sigh

a breath,
a pause in time,
the world re-balances–
land, sea, sun, moon, stars join in song—
listen.

A cinq cinquain–five verses of five for the fifth day of the fifth month-for Laura’s prompt at dVerse. But I’ve also repeated the first line as the last, as in a crown cinquain.