Still More to Say

Monday Morning Musings:

Still More

“How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”
–William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Sunrise over the Delaware River

I still have more to say about color,
the frequency and hues,
and how we parse the natural world
and what we choose to name–

Would they be the same–
the roses and the stars—
if we didn’t claim them so
What color was the sea? Did the moon

sing a different tune?
What was before blue
of sky and blue jay wing
and what of the unseen,

Blue Jay and Shades of Green

and the in-between.
What does the heron perceive
in the grey of his feathers
or the ultraviolet that they see, like bees,

an Umwelt unlike ours, but like trees
connected and a part—
now think about our hearts
and all the types of love, friendship, fear—

Deer and Turkeys

look at dogs, cats, turkey, deer—
animals that love, have their friends, and run
in play and fear.
So many words, so many shades,

but hate has only one. It never fades,
it’s a black hole,
trapping light within—
and yet and yet and yet

it’s not that simple or set–
light bends and echoes around it
seeking a way, as if to not forget
and we–

have ways to see and be–
we’re hardwired to parse and name
color and light, and to sense the unseen–
Monet’s violet waterlilies somewhere in our genes.

Aster

Again, the Marginalian got me thinking about color and light. I found this short video that I think does such a good job of explaining how we and animals see color. For more on Monet’s eyesight, I found this short article.

We watched another strange Merril movie, Censor. Here’s a review from the Guardian. We both liked it, but it is very strange. I’m still thinking about it though.

We did a lot this weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Friday night out to dinner (outside) with daughter and son-in-law. That was after an amazing launch for Afterfeather also attended by Ricky. I have a poem in this anthology, which is published by Black Bough poetry from poems curated by Briony Collins from Top Tweet Tuesday.

A winery on Saturday late afternoon/evening. And a bridal shower luncheon on Sunday.

William Heritage Winery

Bridal Shower, Special Time With friends

Old Friends Meet for the First Time

Claudia, Ken, and I at Valley Green Inn

Old Friends Meet for the First Time

We’ve never met in person before. We’re friends of words and Internet connections. Yet here we are with our spouses—six of us in all—sitting at a table on the porch of Valley Green Inn. And talking like we’ve known each other for years—as I suppose we have.

I wish the weather was better, so that they could see the ducks and geese swimming on Wissahickon Creek, or that we might see horseback riders trotting down Forbidden Drive. We’ve not had rain in weeks, but today we have a downpour. Like a scene from a Fellini movie, a unicyclist pedals past us. We’re sheltered on the wide porch until the wind shifts, forcing us indoors. We drink coffee, our words and laughter rise with the steam, joining other long ago scents and sounds embedded in the old walls.

thunder claps,
flowers look up and laugh
drink in celebration

For dVerse, Haibun Monday. The theme is shelter. I was so excited to meet Ken and Claudia and their spouses last week. The get-together was Ken and his wife’s idea. I’m so grateful they reached out to us. I thought of Valley Green because we often took my mom there for an August birthday brunch.

Last week I baked a chocolate cake in her memory. Here you go, Claudia.

Still Searching

Monday Morning Musings:

“Whatever they turn out to be,
Let there be swarms of them,
Enough for immortality,
Always a star where we can warm ourselves.”
–Rebecca Elson, “Let There Always Be Light (Searching for Dark Matter)”

Foggy Morning at the River

Still Searching

After the wind roars
shedding fractious tears, the moon
hums a lullaby, settles
robins and us, while owl
arises without a sound, as

mothers hide their young,
aware of danger, always
nature gives and takes, balance
and circles, eternal
questions fly without answers, hope

Geese and Goslings

with feathers and claws
waiting to snag some morsel
of truth. Perceiving the stars,
the ghostly past echoes
so we can find light in darkness.

Just past sunrise, Delaware River at West Deptford

Early Morning Light at Red Bank Battlefield in Late May

Now there is friendship
of decades, of children grown,
of new love, births, joy, sorrow.
Understanding conveyed
with a glance, life stories re-told.

Now the air is washed
the breeze whistles in major
chords, no lonesome blues, only
azure of spring dreams, no
matter that we’re living autumn.

Flora and Fauna, Fog and Sunshine

Bats at dusk

We watch the bats soar
into violet night, flit-
flitter, zipping like a thought,
synaptic connections,
we, a piece of a larger whole. . .

and still searching.

This is a wayra sequence, except for the final two words.
I woke up not feeling well this morning, but I’m fine now. It’s been a strange week. The weather again has been crazy—fog, sunshine, thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and now after summer heat and storms, we’re back to a beautiful spring day. The world continues to move towards authoritarianism. The Republican party here is openly embracing it and actively working to end our democratic system. They’re not even trying to hide it anymore. And their supporters cheer them on. Will they still cheer, I wonder, when they’re still poor and there are no government services to help them, no rules regulating business, health, transportation. . .?

We went to a surprise birthday party, and I’m going to hope no one had COVID, as the numbers are rising again.

We started watching Night Sky, a new series on Amazon Prime. All I needed to hear was Sissy Spacek and J.K. Simmons, and they are excellent, of course. They play a long-time married couple with a secret—buried deep under their old shed is a portal to another world. We’ve watched 3 ½ episodes so far, and I’m intrigued to see what will happen.

Dreams of Generations

Monday Morning Musings:

“Time makes room

for going and coming home

and in time’s womb

begins all ending.”

From Ursula K. Le Guinn, “Hymn to Time”

 

“Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears”

–from “Sunrise, Sunset” Jerry Brock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof

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The dream flits,

flutters

spreading its wings

and soars

as the moon whispers

and shadows dance–

circles of light,

circles of darkness,

together, apart

beginnings and endings

all one thing,

in time

timeless.

***

A hot July day

time with a friend

not wanting it to end

 

we drink, eat stay

talking of what was

and what now is, because

 

we’re catching up

he knew us way back when–

the before, and then

The Cool Lights! Revolution House, Philadelphia

we went our own ways

but kept in touch—

and now this lunch

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though life intrudes

as I get texts about my mother

one after another

 

but still we laugh

then part, agree to meet

again soon—sweet

 

are friendships,

fleeting is time,

the clock chimes

 

echoing

through city streets

in buzzing beats

 

between the pauses, I feel

dreams rise from the cobblestones

beneath us buried bones.

***

 

We watch a movie

of fantasy and dreams

and my mom dreams, it seems

 

not certain of what is real

sometimes, but to her

fantasies, we defer.

 

And it is hotter now

some water ice to keep cool

in shaded bower, where statued pools

spray and children play

while others kept in cages

cruelty growing in stages

 

“Lock them up!” “Send them back,”

the ugly crowds chant

as the demagogue rants

 

and I listen to the fiddler play

and Yiddish spoken–

a culture not yet broken

 

entirely, and being revived

though they tried to kill us

six million then—but let’s discuss

 

how hate never goes away

entwined with fear

year after year

 

beneath the surface

like a dream.

Do you hear the scream

 

of those in a nightmare life

who are fleeing?

What are you seeing

 

when children in cages

appear before you?

Ho, hum, it’s nothing new.

 

Japanese, Jews, camps

of them, this and that–

and off them someone gets fat

 

(follow the money)

through history. We watch

a movie–does the cop botch

 

his life,

or is it ordained

as we see it explained

 

backwards through time.

Sci-fi and noir, violence and lust–

was it a story that must,

 

that always ended a certain way?

So many ifs and could-have-beens,

the outs and ins

 

of love and time

dances in circles, intertwine—

sometimes–

 

but the sun rises and sets

through our laughter and tears

and the years

 

circle in seasons

round and round–

light and darkness abound.

 

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We watched two Netflix movies this week. In Sicilian Ghost Story, I liked the way dreams were a key part of the story and the fantasy of it; my husband not so much. We both liked The City of Last Things.  The story is told backwards in time.

I listened to this Fresh Air episode about the Yiddish version of Fiddler on the Roof. Well worth the listen, if you have the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sun on the Bay–Haibun

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Cape May—a “girls’ weekend” on a summery-spring day. We delight in the warmth, and later watch the sun fire the bay. Overnight, the weather turns and rages, but we laugh and have brunch.

April nor’easter,

tom-catting deck chairs scatter–

inside, fond hearts glow

 

For dVerse, a haibun quadrille. Grace has asked us to use the word sun.

 

 

Sun and Storms, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Presentiment – is that long Shadow – on the Lawn –
Indicative that Suns go down –

The Notice to the startled Grass

That Darkness – is about to pass –“

–Emily Dickinson A brief analysis here.

“Oh, how this spring of love resembleth, The uncertain glory of an April day,

Which now shows all beauty of the Sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away”

–William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I Scene 3

 

Startled? Yes, I’ll say.

Startled awake as the cell phone plays

keening beeps, an alert. I’m dazed

read, “Tornado Warning, Take Shelter.”

 

Did you see them?

The words on the screen?

Not a drill, no they mean

hurry now, no time to grab all the things,

no time for caffeine, keys, or rings

 

I’m roused,

my body tired, but fired

 

I wake my husband, carry phone and one cat

down to the basement, there we sat

on a blanket by the stairs,

litter boxes nearby, but no chairs,

with bare feet, in PJs and tank shirt

waiting, (while the cats pee) but unhurt

 

by the storm. The radio announcer says,

this system’s killed people, he acknowledges

in the south, and I’m glad I heard this after

the all-clear, or my fear would have been greater.

 

(Were my clogged ears, a presentiment

of pressure dropping,

hmmm. . .are they’re popping?)

 

I think the rain is stopping

(at least for now).

and the birds are singing sweet and strong

glorious in their morning songs

telling the world that they are here,

announcing for now that all is clear.

 

***

DBDE1D21-1F91-4897-9800-D827FC99668E

Looking out after the early morning storm

I think of this past week in April

uncertain glory, each day

it seems, from bright to grey

shadows, sun, storms, each give way.

We went with friends into the city

We go on the train

(the forecast rain)

But when we arrived, the sky was bright

and the sun shone with April light

on flowers pink, white, yellow–

and mellow the temperature and breeze

softly stirring trees.

 

We sat outside, drank wine, ate cheese

feeling fine, and at ease,

wanting to hold this moment—please—

but we went

as the sky changed then–

and April rain fell again.

 

In more shadows and light,

we played with puppies, such a sight,

doggy kisses and wrestling moves

hard to resist, and it just proves

the bonds between animals,

the bonds between us and them

Once again

we’re home

more sun, more clouds,

watching movies of zombies and spies,

surprises and lies,

in both we see people pretending to be some other

and we see others seeing what they want to see.

 

And I see presentiment—the long shadow–

but hope the clouds will pass,

we’ll come to our senses

before we suffer the consequences—

But for now, coffee, cats,

and later wine,

to sleep later,

perchance to dream—

of a beginning, not an end,

of love and caring and sharing

hope of this world—to mend.

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Today’s prompt, Day 15, is “to write your own dramatic monologue.”  I’m not sure that I’ve done that, but my Monday Musings are always sort of an internal monologue. . . The best I can do, since I’ve been awake since the tornado alert went off around 3:20 this morning.

Sorry, we haven’t been out to the movies in a few weeks, but we did watch two movies on Netflix. The Angel, trailer here, an Israeli-American film based on a true story of a spy. It was an interesting story,good, but not great.  And we saw Cargo, (trailer here)  an Australian zombie film–but wait, it’s not all that gory. It has a message about family, community, cross-cultural awareness, taking care of the earth, AND it has Martin Freeman.  Again, not the greatest movie ever, but enjoyable, and I liked it.

I also read a spy book, American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. Excellent. Here’s a review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship Blooms–Haibun

We have the restaurant patio to ourselves. Though it’s a hot day, it’s pleasant here in the shade. We’re surrounded by hanging baskets of red, pink, and white flowers that block the outside world. We chair dance to the 80’s music playing in the background. One of my friends says she has few female friends, as she treats us to dinner. She and I tell our friend, who has recently had surgery, how people miss her at the gym. We had her the card that so many people have signed. This has been a bad week for our country, for the world. Not everyone has the luxury to forget the evil around us—because they are experiencing it. We’re fortunate to be able to do so–and I celebrate and cherish this gift of friendship.

 

Summer evening comes–

breezes brush blossoms with joy,

blooms of laughter fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday—using synonyms for the words give and receive.

 

 

By the Sea We Gather, NaPoWriMo, Day 16

Monday Morning Musings:

“My soul is full of longing
for the secret of the sea,
and the heart of the great ocean
sends a thrilling pulse through me.”

–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Secret of the Sea”

“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”

–L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

 

By the sea, we gather, we four

full of longing to share our secrets–

no special sequences–

but in the way of friends

they flow like waves, rolling to the shore

tumbling, one after another

silvery shadows and thrilling pulses

visions of things almost seen

things that are and things that might be

 

We embrace and sit in this lovely space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

this place in which my friend has found welcome shelter

a temporary place for body, if not heart,

a house between homes,

a loan

where she and her husband have lived

between and around unexpected circumstances—

well, life is chances,

no smooth sailing on this ocean–

sometimes we turn about

sometimes we tack into the wind

begin again,

navigate through a choppy sea

till we are free

to sail calmly and be

 

So, we

sit in this interim home

where we can hear the water play

(come this way, stay)

and seagulls laugh as they fly about

black-tipped white wings sing in the sky

with the sun glowing warm and high

and the wind sighs from sea and land

spindrift covers windows, cars, my hand. . .

 

is held out to my friends

we gently hold each other’s hearts

apart too often to know the everyday annoyances

of ailing mothers and troubled kids,

roosted egos, wandering ids–

we talk of husbands and silly cats,

all of the this and all of the that

and move from living room to kitchen

pitch in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(though it is all prepared)

take our chairs

and over quiche

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we relax some more, release

and feel a bit at peace. . .

 

to venture out to see some history of place and space

a concrete ship, a lighthouse, a bunker, the beach,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

where we walk a bit and feel

the sand beneath our feet–

in this moment, life is sweet,

away from troubles and toxic tweets,

this faux-summer day

holds us in its sway

I am mesmerized by the tumbling waves

the ocean takes, the ocean saves,

(à bientôt, inside, I say)

as we turn and walk away

 

back to the not-vacation house

where my friend offers us food and drink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and we sink

into a relaxed state,

where troubles abate,

as we talk and drift

(eyes open, close, open again)

the golden sun beats down through window panes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and slowly in a ball of fire, sinks

extinguished in the sea

 

we see it after we’ve walked

(ten miles one friend exclaims)

heading for a restaurant, but too long a wait,

no debate

and none of us that hungry anyway

no need to stay

so over pizza we watch Letterman, Seinfeld, and Obama

wishing we could get rid of the current nightmare, drama

and farce, in every moment, tweets and cheats–

the outside world, outside this place–

but even here the temperature drops

and the sun hides the next day, stops

her summer-teasing ways,

and in the morning, we watch branches sway

and the tom-catting chairs dance and prance

out on the deck

and the windows are specked

with salt and rain

we hear the sea

calling. . .

but let it be

 

to breakfast or brunch

(perhaps call it lunch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and linger around the table,

unable,

unwilling to part

our lives and thoughts

tumbled like my friend’s sea glass

smoothed and polished by laughter and tears,

friends together,

friends apart

friends in joy, in troubles,

friends for years

we’ve shared our secrets here by the sea

now it’s back to reality,

(we sigh)

we must do this again

spend

time together,

let’s do this, friends–

time flows and bends,

(an arc)

and ripples like the sea

and on it our friendship sails

(an ark)

so, we’ll journey together, and then—

well, we’ll see.

 

 

 

I’m off prompt for Day 16, NaPoWriMo.

Unusual formatting due to WP gremlins and a cat sitting on my keyboard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.napowrimo.net/day-sixteen-5/

A Dream Whispers, NaPoWriMo, Day 14

For my friends

A dream whispers over my head,

a chant,

it is time–

with friends,

smell roses and cool water spray,

let sweet shadows ache

as sun lives through summer storms—

we do and have and will

love the beauty of these days

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve, 2016
We are linked, heading into 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off prompt for NaPoWriMo because I have a busy weekend with friends. The Oracle knows!

 

Rising

Monday Morning Musings:

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

From Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise”

Full poem here.

I.

I rise before the sun,

a woman’s work is never done,

or so the saying goes–

but often yet denied a place

debased, erased

from education, business, science, and the arts

kept apart, or not allowed to start

never mind, we’ve given birth to the human race

created beauty and gone to space,

although harassed and worse,

some want progress gained to be reversed

(believing in mythical pasts and Eve’s curse)

but we move onward, oppose coercion

and being brutalized and minimized–

we advertise and mobilize–

trying not to polarize–

OK, perhaps a bit we moralize

but feeling like we’re pressurized

we rise

again, we rise

 

I march (again)

with a friend

she was my daughters’ teacher

(way back when)

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and we talk and cheer

reaching for something dear—

hope, instead of fear—

this is not a fight only for straight, white women,

rights are for all regardless of skin tone or orientation in

who they love

(is love is love is love is love)

yet why do some believe that to have what they desire

means others’ dreams should then expire?

They’d build a bonfire of the vanities

produce dark cavities,

gaping holes in knowledge—truth and beauty gone—insanities—

while the Doomsday Clock shows we more than ever jeopardize

life as we know it

(afraid to admit this)

we reach for the prize

rising still

again, we rise. . .

 

and from the crowd celebrating Womanhood

I wander north–as I said I would

to celebrate two women and art on a smaller scale

because loves trumps hate, and it prevails

 

II.

 

I learned my mom wanted a career in fashion design,

or so she says now, perhaps then she was resigned,

as she went to secretarial school, learning typing and shorthand.

but then war came, with its demands

she willingly bucked the rivets and worked in shifts

then married, raised children—but art uplifts

and it was there for her, when she had time

perhaps no longer in her prime

days, to months, to years, the lows and highs

her parents, my father, her brother died

though weakened,

yet still she’d rise

 

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Her cousin, like a sister, began a Yiddish club

a language almost gone, but rising up

through songs they sing and memories

of parents or grandparents’ spoken tongue

(curses uttered, lullabies sung)

I ask about the story I heard

that my grandmother had a lovely voice

and that she was often the choice

at family gatherings

asked to sing with Abraham Hankins, the artist cousin, famous

(shameless, we name him thus)

she says he studied music first, but his voice was almost done

(because of mustard gas during WWI)

she says–

he learned to paint in the hospital—“art therapy isn’t new”

but an online biography reports the opposite is true

born in Gomel, then sent to Philadelphia to live with his cousins

(I know he lived with my mom’s family, but there were dozens)

talented, he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,

then enlisted and wounded

the experts concluded

singing would expand his lungs, damaged from the war’s ravages

it turned out that he excelled in this field, too,

studied in Paris, this is true,

but though music called in tenor voice,

ultimately, he made a choice–

following when his heart said, “art.”

My cousin tells me about his studio

with many windows, but little else

and of the patron who, well-pleased

sent him frozen vegetables–beans, corn, and peas—

along with a freezer to store them in

vegetables at least to eat

not a starving artist, painting in the street

I am impressed by the work, cousins and mother’s

as well as those of many others

I love color, but I can’t draw—

no talent there at all–

maybe it skipped on to my daughter,

as her poster art I’ve carried twice to help me energize

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Rising through the shadows

as we gather to rise

when again, we rise

 

While the art show reception is going on,

my husband puts together with care

for my mother, a new armchair,

kindly doing his share

for the woman who gave his wife life

so she can more easily rise–

it’s more difficult for her now

but she finds a way somehow

to paint and laugh and still to rise

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as women have done throughout the ages

with baby steps, on platforms, and in stages

to rise

again

to rise