Climbing through the Clouds

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Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ May 2020

 

Beneath dark clouds

if climbs, happy and wild,

bright flowers, shining sun-gold

as ancient river breezes rustle with why, which, when–

the seeds of deep time that grow from cold earth, warmed,

following moon song and spring’s light

to blossom here, now

I cast a soul-stone into the blue-grey water,

watch the soft rippling and listen to the wind sigh.

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Wildflowers 

 

The Oracle knows everything, including all about my almost daily morning walk and mourning ritual of throwing a stone into the river as I stop for a moment and think about my mom.

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I Am Not Ready: NaPoWriMo2020, Day 8

 

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I am not ready for anything to happen,

I never am—

 

but I am not a bird or tree

with naked branches covered

now in tender yellow-green, newborn

reaching skyward,

like toddlers wanting to be held—

 

but we stand back,

admire from a distance

the wispy clouds

caught by unseen winds, drifting —

 

I am drifting–

not ready, I’m not, never am,

but look—

that blue, that white, that yellow and green,

dancing on a robin’s song.

 

I am not ready,

anything can happen.

It can, it has, it does–

but look again,

the pink moon rises,

and soon will come the dawn.

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Pink Moon, 2020

The NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 8 is to use a line from a poetry bot. I used a line from the Sylvia Plath Twitter Bot. The line, the first line of my poem, actually comes from her poem “Three Women.” My poem has nothing to do with her poem—I simply used the line.

I apologize for being so behind in reading. So many prompts, and so much poetry–which is a good thing! Tonight is the start of Passover, and we had a family emergency this afternoon (everyone is OK).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Heart of Today

 

Away the bitterness of aching hearts,

the shadowed mist of fears

 

that cycle with brown and blossom

with dreams of honey-gold

 

as you watch the moon glow silver after spring storms

gust with purple fury

 

and grey clouds sail across the indigo night sea

till the sun rises—

 

now you can almost smell the scent of peaches

in her rays, hear the tinkling bell-voices of jonquils

 

sensing if. . .breathing,

beating in the heart of today.

 

Today’s message from the Oracle. The world is very scary now and filled with hate and ignorance, but at least there are spring flowers that rise predictably from bulbs year after year.

 

 

 

In a Dream I Found you

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Odilon Redon, “Béatrice”

“All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.”

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

 

In a dream, I found you

there, not as I knew you,

but aglow,

 

your spirit gilding your face,

and through the mist,

you reached, took my hand,

 

and gazed at me with sea-green eyes

and led me to a sailing raft

and there reclined with me.

 

Then, under blossoming clouds–

scarlet, gold, and sapphire–

we sailed into the infinite,

 

a thousand tomorrows waited.

But I awoke,

my face salty only with tears

 

and longed to sleep

and dream again and again

and forever of you.

 

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Odilon Redon, “Flower Clouds”

 

Lillian has asked us to write a poem about dreams at dVerse today.  I think I probably write about dreams often, but these two paintings popped into my head. Can you have an ekphrastic poem based on two sources?

 

 

Listening, Watching, Hoping

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The world is sad and broken,

clouds of smoke rising

 

and the voices of trees lost.

(Say not forever.)

 

Still I listen for the secret rhythm

of stars and moon

 

and watch the sun rise

brilliant fire in the sky

 

lighting our days,

reminding us of if and when

 

the universe is born and dies,

again and again–

 

and yet, the flowers bloom in spring

(until they don’t)

 

and their perfume rises

in morning’s smile.

 

My collaboration with the magnetic poetry Oracle. She always seems to know what is and what might be.

 

 

Hidden

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Look up!  Vultures just hanging out. Hidden in plain sight.  National Park, NJ.

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“. . .for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

― George Eliot, Middlemarch

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars”

–Walt Whitman, #31 from “Song of Myself”

 

“It may diminish some our dry delight

To wonder if everything we are and do

Lies subject to some little law like that;

Hidden in nature, but not deeply so.”

–from Howard Nemerov, “Figures of Thought”

 

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The sun is hidden behind the clouds,

the images waver through a wet wall,

and the world is dark, dreary, until the charcoal clouds part

through the droplets, a ray of bright hope–

colors arc across the sky,

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and in that magic moment

my spirits lift, not forever, but enough

there, hidden behind the gloom

there is beauty, beneath the sleepy despondency,

there is hope, joy, love.

 

We walk through Old City streets,

bones beneath our feet, hidden

ghosts walk with dry leaf rustle.

We see their reflections

in the end of the year.

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Curtis Center Building, Philadelphia, December 31, 2019.

The year turns, a page reflected

(we reflect)

in the late afternoon sun-glow

as couples take their vows,

beginning a new life

 

We see a movie,

a hidden life,

but reflect upon so many hidden lives

at that time, in this time–

time flows faster

 

towards what?

We travel east,

the sun setting behind us

announcing the year is ending,

a new year about to begin.

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From a Patco train, crossing the Delaware River from Philadelphia to New Jersey. December 31, 2019.

We eat Chinese food,

watch a musical of hidden lives

danced into acceptance

in boots—

kinky boots. Well, why not?

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Why not? And why–

do leaders deny and lie?

foment hate?

The world burns

hidden beneath smoke and rage

 

are flower bulbs,

seeds of hope.

If we destroy the world

perhaps something better will come,

rising over our hidden bones

 

buried, like secrets

of family and history

in tombs sealed and forgotten

someday to be uncovered

to live again

 

perhaps in legend or song.

I find a recording of Yiddish songs

hidden in plain sight in my mother’s bookcase.

She is calmed by old, familiar melodies

as we sort and pack her belongings,

 

much of her past now hidden (treasures)

buried in time, tossed aside in many moves

“I’m reduced to one room,” she says

almost in tears,

saltwater, like the sea

 

from which we sprang,

the work of the stars,

their light and songs carrying us on

Starlight, starbright,

I wish tonight.

 

Hope buried, sometimes found, like that piece of bread that drops into the fondue pot.

Merril’s Movie Club—So many movies; so little time! We saw A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick’s latest. It was beautiful, like all of his movies—and well, you have to accept and go along with the meandering pace. It is based on a true story, and while I admire someone who sticks up for his convictions– and it is difficult not to see present-day parallels—I also was not certain what his objections actually were. At one point, he says he doesn’t know if Hitler is evil. Um, what? And though he suffers for not signing a paper giving allegiance to Hitler, the war does not really seem to touch the beautiful village in the clouds. I liked how the movie showed all the hard work the women do on their farm, but everyone seems well-fed while the war is going on. Yes, this man stood up for his undefined objections, but places were being bombed, people were sent to concentration camps, and other horrors were going on.

Last night we watched I Lost My Body.It’s a French animated film about a severed hand looking for its body. I know that sounds weird and creepy, but it’s surprisingly moving, as we learn about the young man’s life. I never thought I’d be rooting for a hand.

On New Year’s Eve, we watched a Broadway production of the musical Kinky Boots that I had recorded when PBS’s Great Performances ran a few weeks of Broadway shows in November. It’s great fun, and it was perfect for New Year’s Eve. (If you’re a Passport member you can see it.)

We’re almost finished with a Turkish show on Netflix called, The Gift. We’ve enjoyed it—an artist who draws strange symbols teams up with an archeologist to uncover family secrets and legends from the past.

And finally–a shout out to my cousin, David Lesser! His story, Bodies at Rest, was made into a Chinese movie. I don’t know how it will be distributed, but it’s an action movie, set in a morgue in Hong Kong, and it opened an Asian film festival. Trailer here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Storm, the Moon Rises

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“Every time I sing this song, I hope it’s the last time.”

–Lisa Petersen and Denis O’Hare, An Iliad

 

After the storm, the moon rises

humming fiercely in the winter sky.

Do you hear her music—

urging, warning, comforting?

Cold, but bright, shimmering

ever-present

reflecting all our ifs

back to us,

and in shadows and dreams,

we sometimes understand.

 

***

It is the season of joy and sorrow

of unexpected gifts

and the kindness of strangers

of carols and bells

and hypocritical politicians

 

It is the season of rain and snow

of a full moon setting as the sun rises

of comfort food and warm clothing—and cats–

of a flock of turkeys that suddenly appear

and disappear

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like my mother’s thoughts and memories

delusions and dreams

shadows of things that were

or might have been

things that never were or will be.

 

It is the season of my birth

perhaps a miracle of a sort,

considering the gap of years

between my older sister and myself?

A rapprochement between my parents

 

carrying on to the birth of my younger sister

two years later?

I guess I’ll never know,

and does it matter?

I am here.

 

And so, we celebrate

a weekend with food and wine—

we watch Mrs. Maisel.

We walk in the city

decorated with Christmas lights

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We are reminded of things that were

of things that might be

We are reminded, too, that there is more

in the world

than what we can see

 

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Though The Poet is doomed perhaps

to sing her song of war

over and over and over again–

“Do you see?” she asks us.

We do.

 

We see the rage, the endless killing

over what?

A woman?  A piece of land?

We hear the lies.

We see the man rallying his base–

 

evil, madness, pestilence–

Marley’s chains rattle and clank.

The spirits appear

over and over again . . .

 

and yet . . .magic exists all around us

in birdsong, the moon, the stars,

a baby’s laugh,

a deer appearing in the woods,

sunrise, sunset–

 

Do you see?

Look.

Listen.

Sing the songs of joy and peace–

dream.

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I had a wonderful birthday weekend. We watched several episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ate Thai Curry Mussels at Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, saw a wonderful one-man performance of A Christmas Carol (Lantern Theater Company), saw a performance of An Iliad, (Arden Theater Company), a mostly one-woman show (along with a musician), a glass of wine at Pinot Boutique in Old City. Followed by Chinese food, more Mrs. Maisel, and my own flourless chocolate cake (The Oracle told me to eat cake!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is Always Magic: A Birthday Poem for Myself

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Breathe away sad rhythms,

wake to morning joy—

go celebrate life’s dazzling color

 

(eat cake)

 

Listen to the poetry of the stars kissing the night sky

and remember to embrace the lingering blue

as the clouds dance in brilliant-red fire–

 

explore time’s window and the universe’s ifs

but live your heart—

there is always magic

 

(the ghosts of your ancestors smile).

 

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The Oracle gave me this poem for my birthday.  I forgot to take a screen shot of the final version of the tiles, and we collaborated a bit, but she did tell me to eat cake.

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Beat Blackness Away

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Beat blackness away,

and dream

of cool lakes and gardens—

the scent of peaches

lives here

where sun honeys skin and rocks.

What if the storm still screams?

The sea sprays blue whispers,

and the moon sings through shadows

with silvered light-music

recalling all the whys of love.

 

From my Saturday visit with the magnetic Poetry Oracle. I forgot to take a screen shot of the tiles. It’s been one of those days already, and it’s not even noon.