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.

Sun-Follower

Odilon Redon, “Béatrice”

Who wants to watch the time?
The sun whispers, her hot-petaled head
sweating light. Together we soar into the beyond.
And if I ask about purple storms and darkness,
she only sings of golden rays,
and if I ask about after, she murmurs of the dawn
in rose-colored poetry, trailing a feathered sigh.
She is an ancient wanderer. I follow her through shadows
not remembering
before, only this timeless circling.

The Magnetic Poetry Oracle gave me most of the words right away today. She may have been watching the eclipse this week.

Dew and Time, the Readiness is All

Monday Morning Musings:

“O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!”
(Hamlet, act 1 scene 2)

“If it be now, ’tis not to come: if it be not to come, it will be now: if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all.”
(Hamlet, act 5 scene 2)

Pink Moon and Green Man
come and go, the morning dew light-catches,

snatches, holds within
each drop a world soon gone,

a momentary sparkle, passes on
snuffed, like a candle’s glow by a breath—

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

less or more? We decide, and if we notice
what is around us, or ignore

what is. What is not, what is to be—there, the rub,
prepare in readiness–yet, stop, see,

sniff the air, and what will be
lilacs, iris, rose—grapes to wine—eggs to chick–

flick, and in a blink, the ebb and flow of tides,
reveals what lies below the surface-

uncovered, adrift,
the bones, the rocks, the detritus of stars–

still sparkling.

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

April continued its craziness into May. We enjoyed summer-like weather, visited a local winery (most are now doing flights instead of tastings), then we had cooler weather and wind gusts up to 50-60 mph. We may have thunderstorms today. Meanwhile, there are flowers shooting up and goslings born.

Merril’s Theater Club: We streamed Fat Hamlet, a new play by James Ijames performed by the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. It was filmed on location in Virginia, where cast and crew rehearsed in isolation. One positive thing about streamed productions is that they can be viewed all over the world. It’s a reimagining of Hamlet, black and queered, set somewhere in the southern US with a nuptial barbecue, karaoke, and a dance party—and more comedy than tragedy (well, there is one death). You can read all about it here, including the New York Times review, and get ticket information. We both really enjoyed it.

The Bravery of Being

Monday Morning Musings:

In the staggering power of stars,
there is a balance, to hold within, or
to burst and blow

scattering light across space
and time,

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

and time again, we see the dying glimmers
and again, with time, we find some power

in the gleam within–
we search for ourselves
over generations

blooming again and again–
the seeds, flowering to life,

though some die too soon,
others are cultivated,

sparked by an inner glow,
the DNA of stars, the lessons of ancestral genes—
finding superpowers in the everyday

discovering they are brave—much braver than they suspected.

My Shadow in the Light.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Within and without, power and balance,
Stop for a moment. Now—look–

Do you see the colors in the sky?
Light and beauty, ever-changing,
connected, connecting, everything.

Early Morning Light, Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Merril’s Theater/Movie Club: We streamed How to be Brave, a play by Welsh playwright Siân Owens, a production of the Inis Nua Theater in Philadelphia. I really loved this play and production. It’s a one-woman show about a single-mother, a librarian who likes order, but on this day snaps, steals a bike, and travels around Newport, Wales, and back and forth from the present to her childhood and learns (or re-learns) how to be brave. It’s a story of motherhood and generations, which is also a theme of the movie, Fast Color (Amazon Prime). Set during a time of severe drought somewhere in the U.S., the story is about Ruth, who has been on the run, but goes home to her mother, who has been raising Ruth’s daughter, Lila. We discover that they all have superpowers, but this is not a superpower action movie. It’s a quiet, indie film that is really more about family. We also watched the 2019 French movie, Les Misérables (Amazon Prime)—not based on the Victor Hugo novel. However, it is set in the area where it wrote it. The movie concerns a police officer, new to an anti-crime unit in this multi-cultural area. The movie is tense and exciting as small events escalate. One review called it “a simmering tale of two cities.” The movie won several awards.

We got out for a little while this past week to a local winery. It was cloudy, but then the sun came out as we were ready to leave.

Never, Always Ask

Ask if
the sea still glitters diamond-bright
in the sunshine,

and if
it recalls the whispers of
a thousand stars, the humming of the moon,

the voices of time, a champagne cloud of color
vanishing to form again

never, always

ask why
some don’t know the delicious dazzle
of light’s brilliant kiss,

and can’t feel the universe’s embrace, lingering
in an ocean breeze.

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Fairy Tale or Dream?

She sleeps, wishing her black dress gone,
an elaborate gown to take its place,
her hair honey-spun and shiny, the air
rain-scented in a sky washed clean–


(she can almost recall this life)

deeper in her wandering vision,
it’s purple-shadowed forests, chanting
beasts, repulsive, steaming hot and streaming fire–
red clouds against the blue-black sea–

she wants to wake to a magic kiss,
feel desire, sighs “if only,”
and a thousand ghost voices answer, “in time.”
The moon hums

a spray of silver light soars,
she follows, a bird in flight
over a river, spirits murmur in the dawn-glow,
she breathes, inhales secrets–

all the versions of herself, there.
Awakens, or does she?
The wind whispers, “why wait?”
This, then, the after-when.

My message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle today.

John Collier, The Sleeping Beauty.

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.

 

 

 

Embrace It

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In shadow dreams,

the moon whispers, honey-voiced,

of wonders and if

love comes like a summer storm

 

embrace it–

 

but bring a cat–

and champagne–

for time circles

haunted by almost and never—

through open windows—look, listen

as the universe laughs

in sparkling light

 

a spray of diamonds on velvet,

beyond reach, but constant.

 

It took some time to get my message from the Oracle today–though she was very clear about the cat and champagne.

 

 

 

 

 

The Unimaginable Magic

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“There are moments that the words don’t reach

There is suffering too terrible to name

You hold your child as tight as you can

And push away the unimaginable. . .

 

There are moments that the words don’t reach

There is a grace too powerful to name. . .

 

It’s quiet uptown”

-Lin Manuel Miranda, “It’s Quiet Uptown,” Hamilton

 

“The atoms that huddled for a cosmic blink around the shadow of a self will return to the seas that made us.

What will survive of us are shoreless seeds and stardust.”

–from Maria Popova, Figuring.

 

 

 No human voices break the silence,

but robins and mockingbirds sing, a woodpecker pecks,

crows caw wise warnings, geese honk greetings

I hear a whoosh above and a shadow flits before me, gone

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my own shadow remains, long-legged, invincible goddess–

if only,

she could push away the unimaginable,

the suffering, the families who will never hear a familiar voice.

She can’t. I can only I look for beauty and share

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the way sunbeams sift through early morning clouds,

the astounding variety of flowers in a multiplicity of hues,

rainbows revealed in sprinkler sprays, the sight of a deer family

the charcoal splendor of thunderclouds, the intense blue of the cloudless sky,

color and light, physics and magic, charm and fury—

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life itself, cycling love and loss,

we never imagine, don’t expect

plagues, freak accidents, revolutions—

we push away these thoughts

because to do otherwise, we could not go on

 

and on, we go,

craving life, survival

seeds of hope sprouting in unlikely conditions

growing, reaching for light,

for grace

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The tenacity of plants. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, July 2020. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

perhaps unimagined,

silence can be comfortable;

it can be lonely, too–

equal and opposite reactions,

we’re pushed and pulled

 

from the womb to ashes and dust

we ebb and flow

like the tides of river and sea

and yet traces of us survive forever

in shoreless seeds and stardust—

 

this is the unimaginable magic of the universe—

that in the sparkle of light on water

the past and future exist together,

holding love, loss

and hope.

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Delaware River

 

Merril’s Movie/Theater Club: We watched the Taiwanese movie A Sun (2019, Netflix). I don’t know if it’s the same in Mandarin, but in English, the title plays on the words sun and son. The movie is about family dysfunction and tragedy; the favored golden son who is working towards entering medical school and the younger son who predictably ends up in juvenile detention. But each member of the family has secrets and depths. After a tragedy, the family dynamics change. Though this movie is perhaps a bit too long, the acting is excellent, and the cinematography is beautiful.

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Whitall House with a tree decorated for the Fourth of July. Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

We celebrated Independence Day, the Fourth of July by watching Hamilton (Disney+). I don’t know if this is available outside the U.S. I subscribed to Disney+  for a month just for this, which was a bit annoying, but I don’t plan to keep it, since there’s not much else I’m interested in on that platform. Still, at $7 and change, it’s worth it. We’d pay more for a movie ticket at a theater. This film is compiled from two performances of the original Broadway cast production, but it includes camera angles that you would never see from sitting in the theater. I’ve discussed Hamilton before. Believe all the hype, it really is a wonderful show, and most likely I’ll watch it again while I can.

The excerpted lyrics above are about after Alexander Hamilton and his wife Eliza’s son Philip is killed in a duel. Alexander and Eliza have been estranged, but in this aftermath of their personal tragedy, they grow close again. Life goes on in the midst of revolutions and tragedies—people fall in love, babies are born, children die. History is never simply about battles and elections.

We ate and drank a glass to freedom (that’s a glass of sangria, banana chocolate chip cake with cream cheese frosting) Ricky was not interested in the first act, but enjoyed the second half. 😏

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Waiting, Watching, Waking

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Odilon Redon, “The Muse on Pegasus”

 

Born in a dazzle of smoke and ice,

time travelers dancing to the rhythms of the universe,

 

their songs hold secrets, a symphony un-tongued,

 

but felt and heard in the wind–

of life, death,

and a longing for love—

 

the music of lust and light,

why, and if only—

 

we turn away, when we should linger,

 

waiting for the storms to end,

and watching for dawn to come,  laughing

waking the morning blooms.

 

My Saturday collaboration with the Poetry Oracle.