Life’s Labor

Monday Morning Musings:

“It is summer-gone that I see, it is summer-gone.

The sweet flowers indrying and dying down,

The grasses forgetting their blaze and consenting to brown.”

From Gwendolyn Brooks, “A Sunset in the City” 

 

“Therefore—we do life’s labor—

Though life’s Reward—be done—

With scrupulous exactness—

To hold our Senses—on—”

Emily Dickinson 

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Dawn comes with a song colored in a blush of dusty pink

whispering secrets

I am light

glowing honey gold

through rose-tinged clouds.

I am sound,

the buzzing drone

of a cicada,

the eager chirping of a sparrow

looking for love.

Look–

Listen–

soon come the shadows

black in the moonlight–

soon comes the silence,

save the skittering of night creatures

over dry brown leaves.

***

It is a week of reflection

abjection and affection

 

glowering grey

and love that stays

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true in hue

though the world’s askew.

 

Hurricanes and guns,

the loss daughters and sons

 

to senseless violence

and no defenses

 

do we have for either wind

or fury underpinned

 

by those in power—

but here in a bower

 

a garden of flowers

we sit for hours.

My mother naps

as the sparrow flaps

 

his wings to no avail–

though he chirps and flails

 

the lady sparrow ignores him

as he follows from limb to limb

 

and along the concrete wall

calling, calling to all

 

“I am here,

my beauty, appear!”

 

On this Labor Day weekend

we labor and bend

 

to the inevitable end

of summer and life, we send

 

thoughts outward with the breeze

we tease

 

joy for moments when we can

flowers, family, pets, wine—and

I remember how my mother worked

and didn’t shirk

 

her duty to home or even nation

bucking rivets, no vacation

 

I’m sure, she tells me of a woman there

who stands up for her—the righteous everywhere—

 

when the haters hate

six million dead does not set them straight.

 

Still, she worked all her life

in stores, as mother and wife

 

and after. An aunt worked sewing

and I wonder, not knowing

 

what the factory was like,

and if they ever went on strike,

 

but my mother got to borrow her clothes

and so, it goes

 

she met my father who lives in her dreams–

he lives on in seams

 

stitched with invisible thread

in memories real and false, but we tread

 

lightly because what else can we do–

as we sit under a sky of September blue

 

knowing that autumn is coming,

but the moon will keep humming,

 

and we will labor, love, and play

life beyond us will go on, each day

 

green or barren, this earth

laboring, revolving, giving birth

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to new possibilities, hopes, and fears

in endless cycles over thousands of years.

 

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Today is Labor Day here in the U.S.  The Mormon Temple near where my mom lives has a lovely little garden square that is open to the public.  We enjoyed wine and cheese at Tria, where on Sunday’s they offer specials that they call “Sunday School.”  My mom recently told me that a woman defended her when a man or men uttered anti-Semitic slurs at her–while she was working as a “bucker” for riveters during WWII.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She Sees Home

Ghost of Cassiopeia, NASA

“Powerful gushers of energy from seething stars can sculpt eerie-looking figures with long, flowing veils of gas and dust. One striking example is “the Ghost of Cassiopeia,” officially known as IC 63, located 550 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.” Image Credits: NASA, ESA and STScI; Acknowledgment: H. Arab (University of Strasbourg)

 

She sees home

in the poetry surrounding her,

listens to a laughing ghost

kissing the perfumed sky,

sails it, this smoky magic

dazzled with if.

 

How to make it linger?

Here was born dark–

yet from it

brilliant angels wake,

and smile.

 

My message from the Oracle today.

 

Star Sailors

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They sail the vast night sky

not-men, timeless,

born of stars’ fevered joy.

They explore eternity,

laughing color

 

and poetry

 

flies into her broken heart

bringing if and blushing desire

in words so long secret. . .

 

and ghosts listen,

and smile, remembering this magic

 

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My message from the Oracle–an almost-puente.  She made me work for it.

Open the Window of Time

Ghost of Cassiopeia, NASA

“Powerful gushers of energy from seething stars can sculpt eerie-looking figures with long, flowing veils of gas and dust. One striking example is “the Ghost of Cassiopeia,” officially known as IC 63, located 550 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.” Image Credits: NASA, ESA and STScI; Acknowledgment: H. Arab (University of Strasbourg)

 

Open the window of time. . .

 

on a dancing breeze

sail away into night’s ocean

 

there dark angels laugh

and breathe fire-clouds,

 

their slow rhythms linger

in brilliant fevered air

 

coloring eternity with magic

(almost)

 

and haunted,

life flowers—foolish, secret, sacred.

 

You see this only after,

and remembering,

 

ask if.

 

I consulted the Oracle earlier this morning. It’s only a bit after 9 AM, and I feel like so much has already happened today. But it’s all just a blink in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Storm, the After

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Thomas Chambers, “Storm-Tossed Frigate”

 

She sings a storm,

crushing the ship,

 

the sweet delirious blue

of sea moaning a raw lathered beat.

 

And then the moon’s smooth beauty

dresses the sky with light. . .

 

and if licks these rocks

(lazy-tongued) through purple mist

 

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I visited the Oracle yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to post. If you’re keeping track–I did a few word shuffles, but “if” showed up right at the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Poems Up in Black Bough Poetry

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The morning moon hummed fiercely today in the heat. I will be staying inside and taking work breaks to read Issue 2 of Black Bough Poetry, “Lux Aeterna” –Eternal Light. It is filled with tributes to Apollo 11–breathtaking poems and wonderful artwork. Please do take a look.

I am thrilled to have two poems in this issue, “Moon Landing” and “Dark Matter.” Thank you to editor Matthew M C Smith (no relation, though my husband has some Welsh ancestry. . .) for selecting my poems and for editorial suggestions on “Dark Matter.”

These are the grown puppies mentioned in “Moon Landing”–a bit blurred, like a memory.

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Time and the Moon

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In honeyed light

time whispers if. . .

 

Is it about

cool forest beauty

and purple mist,

the music of water and wind?

 

Or is it

the language of sky-shine and

watching through the storms?

 

Aching moon recalls it all,

yet sings.

 

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Somehow “if” and “moon” insisted on making an appearance. On July 20, 1969, astronauts from Apollo 11 walked on the moon. There has been a lot of attention given to the fiftieth anniversary of this event. Perhaps the Oracle is remembering, too.

We Debate the Use of the Term Concentration Camps As People Are Imprisoned and Children Die

 

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Marc Chagall, The Cemetery Gates

 

Bitter-breasted men crush us

driving us on

in a repulsive show

of blood and sweat.

As storm sprays a blackened sky

and wind screams,

“Never again,”

we sing of if

and whisper when.

 

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Even the Oracle is appalled, but she still gave me “if.”

This week protesters in New York, Boston, and elsewhere were singing mir veln zey iberlebn  “We Will Outlive Them.”

 

 

 

 

Waking the Stars

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Breezes born in cloud kisses

explore this night,

 

waking stars to give them voice

to dazzle the universe,

 

smiling with their delicious secrets

of fire-magic and desire–

 

and there, like perfumed words

haunting the morning air with if

 

they flower days to come,

embracing the poetry of life

 

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It’s Saturday and time to consult with the Poetry Oracle. For those who are keeping track, I had to do a couple word refreshers to get “if.” 🙂  I took the photo last night after we left our friends’ house. It had rained while we were inside eating dinner.

Birth of the Muse

Irregular Galaxy NGC 4485

“The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 shows all the signs of having been involved in a hit-and-run accident with a bypassing galaxy. Rather than destroying the galaxy, the chance encounter is spawning a new generation of stars, and presumably planets.” Credit: NASA, ESA; acknowledgment: T. Roberts (Durham University, UK), D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts) and the LEGUS Team, R. Tully (University of Hawaii) and R. Chandar (University of Toledo)

 

The universe fires a brilliant cloud

of lingering secrets star-born in blushed night,

 

she wakes there, sailing cool, dark velvet seas

of poetry and picture

 

embracing you in perfumed air—

 

and you let her

fly you on ghost-kissed breezes of never and always

 

dazzling with if,

her almost-remembered eternity

 

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I was going to call this Birth of the Oracle, but I didn’t want to presume or offend her. Some people will be happy that I included the “if,”– I almost left out it out today.  🙂