Linger–Quadrille

Almost autumn with an Egret. the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Linger here—wait, hereafter–
listen to the gulls call in laughter.
Rest awhile in this in-between
the sky so blue, the trees still green—

soon, the russet-leaves will fall,
and we’ll recall–

memories dim–rose-scent and sun-kissed skin
as icy fingers stroke your chin.

A quadrille for dVerse. Linda has asked us to use the word linger. We’re just about at the autumnal equinox, and the weather seems perfectly balanced. I wish it would linger like this for awhile.

Looking for Clues

One step forward, round and round,
the labyrinth circles. Go? Or stay
in the in-between? Are answers found
when past finds future? Which is the way?

The labyrinth circles—go or stay?
I’m a shadow figure lost in blues,
when past finds future. Which is the way?
Where should I go? Where are the clues?

I’m a shadow figure lost in blues,
within my mind-forest, I search in dreams–
where should I go? Where are the clues–
nothing here is as it seems—

in the in-between. Are answers found
within my mind-forest? I search in dreams–
but nothing here is as it seems–
just one step forward, round and round.

I’ve revised this pantoum originally written in April for Paul Brooke’s Ekphrastic Challenge inspired by the above artwork by Kerfe Roig and Jane Cornwell. I’m linking this post to dVerse Open Link Night. Live today!

I’ve done a recording, too.

Do We Ever? Prosery

Do we ever truly get over such events? War, death, destruction—the thousands of ways humans hurt each other and the Earth? As Nighthawk I had to be cool and calm. It wasn’t only my life at risk, but the lives of many others, too. I had to be calm when the man with shiny black boots and a cruel face entered the restaurant. I had to keep my face blank when the officious manager met with him, and then declared, “So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.”
Calmly, I smiled at our oppressors, poured drinks, and served food while residents starved. Calmly, I plotted to destroy them–until the night you didn’t show up.

I still have nightmares.

Prosery for Ingrid’s prompt at dVerse, using the line “So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm” from William Blake’s The Chimney Sweeper. This is a continuation of my non-linear spy tale.

The Voyagers

Seascape by Lionel Walden, 1911

The night breathed hope, or was it wrong of me
to think the moon hummed tunes for us alone.
We left, or fled, or magic-led, to see
new worlds across the sea—we’d be unknown.
But will the stars so brightly shine beyond
world’s edge? And will the air smell sweeter there?
And to the sun, will bright-hued birds respond
in raucous song? Or must we not compare,
new worlds to old? So bold we go—somewhere.

This is for dVerse, where Laura has asked us to write a noveline, a poetic form invented by Sarah Rayburn inspired by the Spenserian sonnet. You can find more details about the form and the prompt here.
I may continue this one at another time.

Feeling Groovy

Not old enough to drink or drive—

feeling tongue-and-groovy, we think

we know romance.

Remember your purple-striped bell-bottom pants,

that vest with fringe, you’d wear at school?

My hair was long, we were lean.

I embroidered a peace sign on my jeans.

So cool.

For dVerse Quadrille where De has asked us to use the word groove. Our older child found these grainy yearbook photos of us. I’ll have to look for some better photos.

The Wind Whispers Storms

Clouds over the Delaware River

The wind whispers, storms
over river dreams, the river seems
awake and wild, shimmering—riled
by ancient breath or humming moon.

The wind whispers, storms
too soon the blue, the hue
of water-sky. So high the ospreys fly
through shifting clouds, the rustling loud

as the wind whispers, storms,
through trees, bent but proud.
The squirrels chitter, the deer skitter,
while blue becomes slate grey–

they hide or stay.
The wind whispers storms,
but the sun, bright-rayed
comes out to play.

And the wind whispers,
the storms have gone away.

Ingrid is doing a dVerse prompt on oral poetry. I’m not sure that I did it exactly. I often read my poetry out loud and adjust it. This is not the best recording, but here it is. 😀 I finally figured out how to post it here.

How Would I Tell You?

Early morning light on the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

How would I tell you—
the beauty of the morning sky,
the bird-swept clouds, the hummed goodbye
of moon still high

there, my eyes
reflect the shine. To be or not,
is not my question–here I am, not angsty youth,
but rather longer in the tooth—

how would I explain,
how the colors fill me
with joy and light—
grey or bright, the taste, the sight
tawny gold, rose, and peach, the foamy white
of churning waves?
The winter river’s cool mint blue?
The delight

of it–me and you.

My thoughts—my mind’s eye–
how do I explain? There is no why—
only what is
the beauty of the sky, the light,
the birds in flight

winging, singing
star-breathed dreams, the colored streams
web-woven in my head, released someday to fly
in iridescent blues and greens—peacock-eyed—
around the sun, then seeded in the ground–

how would I tell you any of this–
thoughts, if not profound, yet unbound—the bliss.

This is the kind of stuff that goes through my head, so I guess it can be considered a soliloquy for Victoria’s prompt at dVerse.

Hearts at the River’s Edge

Driftwood, Sunrise on the Delaware River

The earth murmurs ancient heart-songs.
Hear them in root-rush and rock-rhythms
tapped by sea-spray rainbows.
The eagle’s whistle slices the peached-tipped clouds–
life and death balanced. Hand-in-hand, we watch the light glide through
love-grief fault lines, as the ghosts dance at the river’s edge.

A quadrille (a poem of exactly 44 words) for dVerse where De asks us to use the word heart. I could have gone in so many directions!

Clouds: #Prosery

Sun and clouds reflected on the surface of the Delaware River, Feb. 24, 2020

Is it realistic to believe I can think like Nighthawk again? The war is over, and I’m a different person now. I stare at my reflection in the river–it’s me, but these clouds are clearly foreign. Such an exotic clutter against the blue cloth of the sky doesn’t happen anywhere else. I’ve tried to forget the beauty, along with the horror.

But the memory of that day insists on surfacing. That day–when the sun shone in the azure sky dotted with cotton balls, and sunflowers reached up for honeyed streams of golden light. We made love and scraped together some scraps for a meager meal. We thought it a feast, washed down with some local wine we had found in the shed. Oh, Paul! If only we had had more days like that. If only that safe house had truly been safe.

I’m continuing with my story of wartime spies for dVerse, where I’m hosting Prosery today. I should mention that anyone can participate in any dVerse prompt, as long as you can post a link in the Linky. This Thursday will be Open Link Night–live.

The lines I’ve selected for today’s prompt:
“But these clouds are clearly foreign, such an exotic clutter
Against the blue cloth of the sky”
–from “Clouds” by Constance Urdang

Withstanding

Great Blue Heron, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Tsunami waves of misunderstanding
surge from sea and overland,
destruction in their flow,
flotsam when they go.

But beneath blue sky,
the heron stands in pensive pose—
His thoughts? Who knows?
Warm-blooded, hollow-boned, his lungs
an ancient dinosaurs’ shifted gift, far-flung-DNA
stays. Life everlasting.

It’s quadrille Monday at dVerse. Lisa has asked us to use the word stand.