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.  🙂

 

 

 

 

The Secret Poetry of the Stars

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Angel breath flowers the morning

and soft blush-clouds sail

in dancing rhythm

waking all the ifs–

 

let ghosts fly

in and out of time,

haunting universes of then—

and almost-when

 

I will laugh the secret poetry of stars,

their brilliant blue voices

celebrating eternity

with lingering dazzle-light

 

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From my morning consultation with the Oracle.

The Show Goes On

Monday Morning Musings:

“Life is a theatre set in which there are but few practicable entrances.”

― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”

― Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

 “Some birds sing when the sun is bright/my praise is not for them/but the one who sings in the dead of night/I raise my cup to him.” (“I Raise My Cup”).

–Anaïs Mitchell, Hadestown

Linger here,

in the never-always

remembering

one thing,

two,

three–

remembering

only this,

who, if not when,

the sunshine dazzling,

as laughter

the bluest sky,

and dreams rising

to dance in the clouds.

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***

Long days

in the approach of summer solstice

long weeks of dread

and anticipation,

of entrances and exits,

of missed cues

and dropped lines.

 

We cherish intermissions

to drink wine in the golden glow

sunsets all the backdrop needed

a show in itself

A Girl and Her Puppy, William Heritage Winery

as the show goes on

as daughters comfort me,

and I try to comfort my mother,

life circles around and around

and around and around–

We talk of pets

and medicine and Pride,

and love is love is love is love is love–

walls come up,

walls are torn down,

sometimes Mother is wrong,

sometimes Mother is right. . .

 

The mockingbird sings

in the dead of night,

a solo turn

in nature’s theater,

I raise my glass to him,

the show goes on.

 

 

It has been a long week. My mom is out of rehab and back in her apartment, but she needs a lot of care. There have been visits, and endless phone calls, texts, and emails. We had glorious weather this past weekend–cool nights, sunshine-filled days. It’s raining today.

We haven’t been to the movies lately, but I take my Merril’s movie club seriously, so I can recommend  I Am Mother on Netflix.  My husband and I both liked it, and it kept me interested after a long, exhausting day with my mom. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where Mother, a robot, is raising her human Daughter. I watched the Tony awards last night. (To be honest, I watched most of it, but I couldn’t stay awake to the end.) Hadestown—which looks like such a Merril play—won best musical and seven other awards. Here’s the Broadway trailer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Garden of If and When-After

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Odilon Redon, Beatrice

 

Her garden lives in ifs,

it is sweet pink whispers

beating away the black.

 

Music mists a symphony of the sea,

licking rocks

to soar and spray in the wind,

 

dream shadows play

beneath a honeyed moon,

and the sky smells of summer rain.

 

So, she watches there–

not asking why–

in timeless beauty of when-after,

 

and she sings through rose petal-light,

of blood, life, love, and life.

 

I needed this bit of surrealism. The Oracle always knows. I think this could be where she lives.

Listen, the Song

 

“Now I will do nothing but listen,

To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.

I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals. . .

From Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” Section 26

 

Now I will do nothing but listen—this song

in sunshine sweet,

of mockingbird and robin’s trills

the crow’s caws and hawk’s high screech–

the pulsing life in slapping beats

against the river’s flow

constant,

the trees’ arboreal sighs

(slow and steady)

we breath

together—

I sing the body electric,

we drift, grow, go

connected to, all part of

one, none, molecules ignited,

feel them

flaming

the ash of stars

streaming,

under streetlights and moonbeams–

we dream.

 

Today is the anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth on May 31, 1819. There have been events all year, and many this week, though somehow, I’ve missed them all.

 

 

 

 

And If Always Lives

At Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ--Merril D. Smith

When some brilliant star,

breathing time, flies,

no, lingers long

in after-wake of dark, bleeding sky,

it explores eternity

 

and I look up,

smile at it,

and this vast, dazzly universe

laugh, celebrate life,

but listen to

 

for the ghosts about me–

from that tree, see

on a velvet-flowered breeze?

 

Coloring morning with blushing voices

of secret almost-words–

and if always lives

 

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It took some work, but the Oracle always knows.

 

 

Bodies and Souls

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When we were both younger.

Monday Morning Musings:

“Here is a thing my heart wishes the world had more of:

I heard it in the air of one night when I listened

To a mother singing softly to a child restless and angry in the darkness.”

–Carl Sandburg, from “Poems done on a Late Night Car”

 

“And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

From, Dylan Thomas, “Do not go gentle into that good night”

 

Beneath the beauty–

pink, red, yellow-petaled–

nectar flows,

pollen-dusted bees

hover, their buzz

a soothing lullaby–

the sound of if, is, was,

and will be

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What will be?

From my mother’s body,

I came,

my earliest memory, her

(she was beautiful)

shushing me,

telling me not to wake my sister

 

My sister and I played,

sang the songs of Broadway

and our lives,

nonsense words became family slang

over the dinner table—

the sound of family dinners,

and playing the dictionary game.

 

From my body,

my daughters came.

Sisters, they played,

sang songs of Broadway

and their lives

nonsense words became family slang

over the dinner table—

the sound of family dinners,

and playing Scattergories.

 

They look alike,

(but they don’t)

anyone can tell they’re sisters,

the way they talk and gesture–

we look alike

(but we don’t)

anyone can tell I’m their mother,

it’s in the blood,

our souls

from bodies, the blood of

grey and green-eyed ancestors

generations stretching far back

to first hearts beating

and blood flowing

women, men,

loving, hating,

beautiful and ugly bodies

crawling, walking–

in the cold May rain

we go to see my mom

no longer young

with body failing

and mind not as sharp

(not as it was, not as she was)

but heart beating

and blood flowing,

we make her laugh

she’s in the hospital

(first docile, now demanding)

it’s the anniversary of my dad’s death

hearts beating

and hearts not beating

once my father raged,

against the dying of the light

till he raged, no more,

 

body and soul both gone.

I don’t believe in ghosts

and spirits

(But I do.)

There are things in the air

we can’t see, can’t hear

the songs of stars and bees,

the humming of the moon.

 

Can two people share the same dream?

The woman asks in the movie—

because it happens to her and a man,

It happened to me, once long ago,

to my daughter and me

a dream forgotten now– except

“someone played a flute,”

we both say, when I mention it—

years later.

 

Things unexplainable,

things I hear in the air,

that I wish we had more of,

I remember singing to my babies

My mom’s cousin says,

“people remember

the songs they heard

when they were children.”

Perhaps there are things

in the air–

If we stop and listen,

the sound of stars and bees,

the humming of the moon.

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Yesterday was Mother’s Day, here in the U.S. My mom has been in the hospital for the past several days. My father died on May 11, 1998. I remember going to the hospital on Mother’s Day, for what would be his last night.

My husband and I watched a Hungarian movie, On Bodies and Souls on Netflix. In it, a man and a woman share the same dream every night. (Warning: there are scenes at the beginning in a meat-packing plant, but keep watching past that.) It also features a beautiful Laura Marling song.

 

 

All the Questions

 

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Odilon Redon, “The Apparition,” [Public Domain] Wikipedia Commons

Could, can, we celebrate–

see the magic of fire-red sky

and perfumed ocean breeze?

 

Would, will, stars dazzle

or haunt the night in if?

 

When is always?

And how did, does,

time go like a soft laugh

from an open window–

 

and all the words breathe who and this

and almost were

 

here

remembering secret voices,

wild ghosts, joy

 

It’s been a strange couple of days, and I was almost afraid to– but I consulted the Oracle. I shouldn’t doubt that she always knows.