Indefinite

Peder Severin Krøyer [Public domain] “Summer Evening at Skagen beach, the artist and his wife”

Ask am I like the moon
you love with wind-urged language
springing from my tongue?
Together, I say we sail
through star-sprayed indigo —

and if
there, time sleeps,
still, we will hear the fiddler
play across seas and dreams, music
carried on blue breezes into a garden–
and home

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. The painting seemed to fit, and she’s fond of it.

These Days

Monday Morning Musings:

“Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.”
–Walt Whitman. “Song of Myself,” Leaves of Grass

Early Morning, Light through the Clouds. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

These are liminal days,
when twilight lingers
as death drifts, in a falling russet leaf,
and bee-buzzed blooms, purple and gold,
wave farewell to cloud-nestled moon
then reach for waking sun–
who timidly, then finds her voice
to sing away the grey.

These days of soft cat-paw-tread
transform, eagle-sharp talons tear away
the foggy gray, leaving crystal blue—

Sunrise over the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and there, white flowers grow, clinging to life
on dead wood–

Early morning Reflections. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and we? Here, in this in-between–
embracing ghosts and color–
looking toward the stars,
remembering they are part of us,
and we of them, all–

Geese at Sunrise ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

see where the light shines through,
then know, this is where the song begins and ends–
re-formed, reprised, again and again.

October is such a transitional time of year here. One day grey, the next so bright. One day cool, then next summer-sticky. The leaves are turning, but we still have flowers. There are still too people getting sick and dying of COVID, and people who still refuse to get vaccinations or wear masks. I know WAY too many people who have pets who have died recently or are dying. My husband’s uncle died on Friday. It was not COVID, and he’s been sick for a long time and also suffering from dementia, so in the case, though still very sad, there’s a sense of relief that he and his family are no longer suffering.

Today began with a before dawn rejection e-mail. I hope that’s not the way the week’s going to go. It put me in a bad mood, but my morning walk raised my spirits, as it usually does.
This week we watched Midnight Mass (Netflix). It’s horror, but not the super-gory type. There’s more talk than action, which doesn’t bother me, and it actually ends on a very Merril-like note. I liked it. We also watched a Danish mystery called The Chestnut Man (Netflix), another “Scandi-noir” show. We both liked it and got caught up in it. I guess kids making chestnut men is a thing in Denmark? It made me look up American chestnut trees. There are streets named Chestnut in almost every town around here, but it seems the millions of American chestnut trees were killed by a blight. One interesting fact I learned is that the blight does not kill the roots, so they still exist below ground, and there are chestnut trees that continue to sprout up and then die.

It was a good week for cooking comfort food.

A Reminder

Ask if the moon sleeps as the sky turns rosy,
and with languid tongue, licks black to blue–
does she recall the after-ache of crashing birth,
and dream the songs of a thousand stars?

Now, watch the cool cat breath rise with arched back
over the river, curling into the morning air—

is this what you seek? Recall the beauty of this day—
clothed in peach, pink, and blue–
the chirp of sparrows, the rush of heron’s wing.

When I opened our back door this morning, there was the moon right in front of me. Then when I walked to the river, it was just so beautiful with the sun rising over the water. The world is full of terrible things and horrible people, but there is also such beauty in it. The Oracle knows and reminds me.

What Else Could I Do?

Morning Moon Over The Delaware River

The moon rose through shadows,
to sing a farewell song
over forests and rocks turning softly pink
in the dawn. And I watched—
what else could I do? Ask
if I am moon-mad to hear the whispers
in the wind. Red-tipped trees sigh
in the breath of ancient cycles,
as time passes like the soft brush of heron’s wing.
The geese in flight call, savor this,
and the river murmurs through light and darkness–
listen.

The Oracle obviously comes with me on my early morning walks. The last few days have been beautiful.

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 Ancient Wanderer

In time’s shadow, I recall the languid summer–
light whispered of love, and if the wind called come,
the moon goddess hummed, why go?
Swim, she said, in these blue waters,
feel the blood-beat beneath your skin,
here far from the ship-crushing waves.
Wait—watch, savor
the sweet unknown.

But Death drooled, raining destruction, and
men with their blood-chants beckoned from afar.

Now in the bitter after of broken dreams, I sigh,
while the fiddler plays yet another tune–
still, the stars sing,
and dawn’s maidens toss gilded rose petals
as I wake,
remembering love’s aches, feeling my skin sun-warmed,
and tasting morning’s honeyed beauty on my tongue.

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. It’s only fitting that a poem from her would have a mythic feel.

Time Keeping

Wildflowers and Driftwood, the Delaware River at West Deptford, NJ. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Monday Morning Musings:

Across the morning sky, all the birds are leaving
How can they know that it’s time to go?
–Sandy Denny, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”

Time is being and being
time, it is all one thing,
the shining, the seeing,
the dark abounding.
–from “Hymn to Time” by Ursula Le Guin

Summer sings on robin trill,
soars on broad-flapped egret’s wing
across the river’s wide expanse,
explodes on thunderclap,
and floats on driftwood
under a laden, leaded sky.

Egret flying above Delaware River

The clocks tick tock, go and stop,
but time ripples, bends, and plops,
to circle through stars and seasons.

Where’s the early promise gone, and why?
The river doesn’t answer, merely flows
with time

in rabbit hops and turkey trots, in smooth deer grace
or hawk’s lazy circling trace across the clouded sky–

the slow descent of morning moon, her song
a sigh, carried high by crow, who never shy,
announces to the world that summer is almost done–
but not quite

Crow and Morning Moon ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

Crow in a Sycamore Tree, ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

whispers the butterfly. I flutter and create a storm,
it circles round, and flowers born—

Hope and Determination. Wildflower among the rocks. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

so, life goes on through seasons fast or plodding,
you remember both tears and laughter—
the sorrow of loss, the joy of what comes after—
memories flavored by love and friendship—savored–
reflections from the past.

Stream of Reflections ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021


This and That:
We’ve had a particularly muggy summer—high dewpoints and humidity (as I write, the dewpoint is 73 and the humidity is 93%). Our air conditioner has been running nearly continuously for the past month. We have another chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. However, we are not facing a hurricane. My thoughts are with friends in New Orleans.

On Tuesday, we went to Valley Green Inn by the Wissahickon Creek. It was my mom’s birthday, and we used to take her mom there for her birthday, until she couldn’t manage it. It was a very hot day, but quite pleasant eating on the porch shaded by the woods. Then we took a walk on Forbidden Drive. On our drive to Valley Green we listened to an interview on the radio with a man who held the marvelous job title of Curator of Timekeeping. He’s written a history of clocks.

Yesterday, we went to a wine festival (Wine Down the Summer at Riverwinds). We’ve attended it in previous years, though it was not held last summer because of the pandemic. We did not do any tastings, as we were not certain about weather or crowds and didn’t want to purchase expensive tickets we wouldn’t use, but we bought wine, brought food, and so, we spent the afternoon with dear friends eating (a lot), sipping wine, talking, and listening to the band. It was a lovely afternoon.

Some of my friends might enjoy Jennifer Ryan’s The Kitchen Front, a novel about a cooking competition sponsored by a BBC radio program during WWII. Like her other books, which I also enjoyed, it’s a sort of cozy historical novel. I really liked it—feel-good, but not sappy.

“A charming tale that will satiate a lot of different tastes: historical fiction lovers, cooking competition fans, anyone who revels in girl-power lit. . . . . This story had me so hooked, I literally couldn’t put it down to cook.”—NPR

Most of you know we watch and enjoy some pretty quirky shows and movies with subtitles, if you do, too, you might enjoy Post Mortem, a new Norwegian dramedy on Netflix. It was fun–only 6 episodes, but hopefully a second season is in the works.


And the new Netflix show The Chair with Sandra Oh is also lot of fun—we watched it in two nights.
You can tell I have eclectic tastes: we’re still watching Dexter, and I’m also re-watching Downton Abbey on Netflix (Mary and Matthew engaged again, swoon).

To Every Season

Monday Morning Musings:

“For nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”
–Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

Heron at dawn. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

I remember that spring, the winter of despair,
the flow of river into spring again

and again, the earth blooms,
and birds come and go, soaring into clouds

that move across the sky–
the constancy of sun and moon, the ephemerality of life,

insistent green sprigs emerging from driftwood,
bleached and beached.

Driftwood with new growth.

Each day the same and different,
each sunrise a threshold to the unknown.

Driftwood, Sunrise on the Delaware River

In dreams, my mother asks for chocolate–
she says there’s more for them that wants.

This is how it is—
this is who we who are, full of ifs and when

there is both laughter and the aches
of time and memory–

we are here. Now
I watch the bees,

and I remember too late,
to tell them my secrets and wishes–

but perhaps they already know,
telling their own dreams in buzz waltz,

remembering a day of endless sweet nectar,
and brilliant colors that we cannot see,

yet can imagine, reflected
in a sunrise yet to come.

Sunrise with Cloud Reflections. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. August 2021

This week has been a strange and strangely beautiful week of clouds, rain, and sunshine. I suppose that’s how August is. We’re supposed to get a return of the high heat and humidity. Yesterday, some family members got together at my sister’s house for the first time since the pandemic. It wasn’t everyone, and even though it was right before my mom’s birthday, it wasn’t really a memorial, though we did have a Sunday brunch fish tray, with fruit, and my Mandelbrot and brownies for dessert. For those who don’t know, we used to have lox and other smoked fish with cream cheese and bagels–plus a whole lot more–fairly often when I was growing up. Every so often, my grandfather, my father’s father, would bring the delicatessen food, which also included herring, rye bread, and coffee cake, to my mom’s (even though my parents were divorced). My mom would supply the juice, coffee, boiled red potatoes, and sometimes I’d bake something. Then, it became a special family brunch occasion because it has become very expensive, plus more difficult to get together. Mindful of the Delta strain–even though we’re all vaccinated–we stayed masked indoors, except for when eating—and we tried to stay far apart then. Fortunately, the weather cleared up enough for us to go outside for dessert. My parents were there in spirit and ash.

When we got home, we took a brief walk, and pulling into the driveway were surprised by this.

Literal deer in the headlights.

In Harmony

Peder Severin Krøyer [Public domain] “Summer Evening at Skagen beach, the artist and his wife”

If I listen, lonely
in the long blanket of night—
the moon sings, murmuring secrets,
gathered deep in tree roots
to flow through green tendrils,
and flowering pink–
recalled by birds, and bee-danced along paths,
to the wind-rustled sea.
There, in after-breaths, the world walks on soft blue,
in harmony sky and water, for a moment,
sublime.

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Moon Secrets

The sea whispers ,not of a thousand deaths
but dreams it aches to recall,
time and star-shine–

covered by a cloud-blanket, it murmurs
again and again,
as fleets of diamond ships
sail across and into tomorrow.

And if I sleep,
perhaps I feel a petal-spray
of moon-breathed secrets
before dawn comes, berry-bright,
to banish them–

yet seeded within, they might yet bloom.

I was disconcerted by the change in the Magnetic Poetry Oracle’s site. There are different categories now for the tiles, and the format has also changed. Nevertheless, she came through (of course). I’ve been having vivid lucid dreams recently. It seems like they are trying to tell me important things that I can’t quite recall when I wake, but I think the ideas are there, just below the surface.