Thoughts on Flying

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Birds on a wire

like thoughts coming together,

 

resting before flight–

 

the pause,

rhythm in a sentence

 

in the secret language of birds,

forming patterns in circles and lines,

 

gliding on wind currents,

soaring into the clouds–

 

and I watch, wondering

 

what it’s like to rise so high

without fear of falling?

 

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Crows in flight at Red Bank Battlefield, July 2020

 

For dVerse,where Laura has asked us to write about flight. I’ve reworked some old poems. . . a work in progress perhaps.

 

 

 

The Universe in Motion

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Comet Hale-Bopp Attribution: Philipp Salzgeber / CC BY-SA 2.0 AT (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/at/deed.en)

Born before our before,

traveling till after our after,

ice and dust of timeless time,

 

the molecules of cosmic gases,

atoms of our world, forever

and after

 

the comet revolves through space

around the sun–our shining star–

our light-filled center, we circle it

 

year after year, through revolutions,

revelations in art, technology, war

to peace and back to war, revolve, resolve

 

to see this ball of light,

the icy comma tail–

it comes and goes

 

and we continue, revolving

electrons within us spin,

looking to connect

 

to something,

We’re attracted, we’re repulsed–

between darkness and light,

 

revolving

revolving

revolving.

 

I’m hosting dVerse Poetics today. The prompt is revolution.Come join us!

We’ll Make Our Garden Grow

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“NASA plans to grow food on future spacecraft and on other planets as a food supplement for astronauts. Fresh food, such as vegetables, provide essential vitamins and nutrients that will help enable sustainable deep space pioneering.” NASA

 

Here, a red moon rides on the humps of the low river hills. It’s always a red moon, always low in the sky. The rivers do flow, but the water is. . .different. There’s no blue sky, fluffy white, cotton ball clouds, or golden, blushing dawn. Perhaps it’s some consolation that we can see a million stars–shimmering, sparkling jewels, in constellations that are becoming familiar to me now. I’ve started to name them—that one that looks like a dog, Dorcas for my old hound. And that one—just above? I’ve named it Peter Rabbit.

I see it from the greenhouse, rising over the salad greens. Slowly, we’re putting down roots. My baby will be born soon. I’ll name her Sylvia for my mom. We will make our garden grow, and perhaps she will plant a forest for this new Eden.

 

 

A bit of flash fiction for Prosery Monday. Lillian has selected two lines from Carl Sandburg’s “Jazz Fantasia.” I chose the line above in italics. My poem has nothing to do with his evocative poem. It’s actually a sort of sequel to an earlier prosery piece I wrote, which you can read here, if you’re so inclined. My mom’s name really was Sylvia, and she didn’t garden, but she loved gardens. For some reason, this song from Leonard Bernstein’s Candide popped into my head while I was writing. It always makes me cry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue

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Portrait in Blue Goose on the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, July 2020 ©️Merril D. Smith

 

Blue where water meets the sky,

beyond the space where spirits fly

to dance upon a snowy crest

of waves, indigo and azure dressed–

and there the seabirds drift, serene,

and there I watch—for past has been—

strangely content to view this blue.

 

A quadrille for dVerse, where Kim asked us to use the word blue. This day started as a blue Monday with a poetry rejection in my in-box, but then I went for a walk in the beautiful morning, which cheered me up. I already wrote my Monday Morning Musings and used the same photo above. BUT–it’s just too perfect not to use again. So, I’m posting twice today, and with the same photo.

A quadrille is a dVerse form of exactly 44 words in any style. I chose to rhyme today.

Wishes

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From the sea, she walks ashore, seal-skin slips

from her body–she stands now unadorned–

shimmering hair unbound and flowing,

dulse-laced and glowing, she whips

it ‘round like armor. Girded thus, the sea foresworn

yet she lingers, soul unsure, not quite captured

by the sunlight, body gleaming, hair sheened by salt-sea blowing,

directed then by lover’s shouts, she turns, enraptured.

 

But rapture does not last, not when the sea sighs and calls

in waves that beckon with infinite ebbs and flows

with subaqueous whispers from afar–

till finally, she must flee the confining walls,

let loose her hair and shed her clothes

to rush upon the sea-kissed sand,

fur-pelt in hand, she makes one wish upon a star,

and embraces the sea, abandons land.

 

For De’s prompt at dVerse on mermaids and selkies. I rewrote a poem I did a while ago for one of Jane’s prompts and added a second stanza. I kept the rhyme scheme, but didn’t quite follow the rest for a san san poem. So, here goes—no minimalism here, this one’s unabashedly romantic.

 

 

 

 

 

Persistence Glows

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After years of archival research, chapters drafted and re-drafted, grad school extensions, and the birth of my first daughter, I finally received my Ph.D. in American History. My husband, father, and toddler daughter watched me receive my degree in a small January ceremony. I was proud of my accomplishment, but I think my father may have been prouder.

 

Seeds drift and flutter,

fields and cracks fill with flowers–

the glow of persistence

 

 

 

 

A Haibun for dVerse, where Lillian asks us to write about one shining moment.  Something I just noticed–my dad never wore ties, but he wore one for this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking back to that room

the door closes

and opens again

the past seen from the future–

 

my attic bedroom

the door at the bottom of the stairs

closed, a barrier in that present

 

to family strife, a sanctuary

in those angst-filled teen years–

         I look back

 

to that room, bright blue wooden floor

with its slanted flower-papered walls and round red rug

         where I sat listening

 

to Joni and Judy and the Jefferson Airplane,

when like Alice, I was small and falling

         in love, dreaming, and wondering about my future

 

a blank page, still to be written

(as it always is)

         in the world beyond that room.

 

I must have one somewhere, but I couldn’t find a photo of that room. You can see a blurry bit of the wallpaper here. I think I must have been in college and home on break. I had those stuffed animals on my bed.

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For dVerse, where Laura asked us to write about rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Reflected World

 

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Tall Pines State Preserve, May 2020

sky and water meld

in evanescent embrace,

and birds swim with the fish

through green branches,

gilded by light above and below

 

A gogyohka Frank’s 5-Line Japanese Poetic Forms dVerse Prompt.

My poem was inspired by the photo above that I took this morning during a walk my husband and I took at a state nature preserve that was formerly a gold course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MTB: 5-Line Japanese Poetic Forms

Sailing Through Time

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Redon, “Barque Mystique”

 

In a dream,

I sailed the night sky,

swallowed the music of the stars,

merged with them, glowing incandescent,

red shifting, drifting through time and beyond–

 

and when I woke,

I took your hand. We opened a door

together, began a new life,

of hopes, fears, love, tears–

ebbing, flowing, drifting through time–and beyond.

 

For  Anmol’s prompt on dVerse, “Portals,”  

I’m using this Redon painting again because it fits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shadows

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Credit: Pixabay

 

Once he was so alive–handsome, vital, and full of laughter. I miss his laugh. It was full of joy, never mean-spirited.

It was the first thing to go.

I didn’t notice at first. Chris was feeling the strain of his work, I thought. My husband was new to the firm. He was told to go to a client’s house for a deposition regarding a property dispute. Later, he said the man was creepy. I didn’t really pay attention to the details. I wish I had.

A month ago, Chris drove out to the property, but he never came home. I dreamt of him that night, and every night since. I know it’s him, even though all I see is his shadow. His shadow shouts. On a nightmare scream, I wake.

But now it’s not a dream. Chris’s shadow is here. Waiting for me.

 

For dVerse’s Prosery prompt, Björn has asked us to incorporate this sentence from Maya Angelou’s “Caged Bird”: “his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream”  

“Your piece of prose can be fiction or autobiographic, but you are only allowed to use 144 words (which means that you need to add maximum137 words that are your own.

You are allowed to capitalize and punctuate the given line, but you are cannot add any text inside the quote.”

So, this line is from Maya Angelou’s poem, but it has nothing to do with the poem’s meaning.