A Universe of Ghosts and Words

Monday Morning Musings:

“The world was filling with ghosts. We were a haunted country in a haunted world.”
–Louise Erdrich, The Sentence

“Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”
–William Shakespeare, from Macbeth (spoken by Macbeth after Lady Macbeth’s death)

Ducks swim through sunrise clouds.

Apparitions slip
between worlds, linger like words–
the spoken and unsaid–each
waiting to be seen, heard,
read and remembered, infinite

combinations, in
every language, past, future
meld in the timeless sea where
yesterday’s twinkling light
haunts and comforts. Does tomorrow

on the horizon
give a straight-lined smile? Or false
the glimmer of hope? Sound and
fury—nothing or all?
Candles burn bright, yet mimic stars.

The light comes again
reverberations, colored
by space-time meandering
carrying messages
in microscopic dust missives.

Early Morning Reflections
Evening Snowfall

Now, winter’s blanket
lays etched with sharp lettering–
yet beneath, cursive tendrils
wait to write new stories
spirits and words hover, beckon

with endless stories,
whole books, unfinished chapters
brief verses, epic sagas,
chronicles and reports.
The universe shouts and whispers.

Sunrise!

I decided to try a wayra again. It forces me to think and choose words in a different way.

We’re bouncing from very cold to warm for January to cold. We had snow last night, but it’s been washed away by the rain, and there’s a wind advisory for later in the day into tomorrow.

It’s soup and blanket weather. I made clam chowder (without bacon) last night, and vegetarian onion soup earlier in the week, served with oven french fries.

Merril’s Movie, Books, TV. . .

I couldn’t quite stay up to finish Louise Erdrich’s new novel, The Sentence, last night, but it’s wonderful—words and books, tribal lore, ghosts, and social commentary.

We watched A Perfect Ending (Amazon Prime), a psychological thriller with Polish actor Tomasz Kot as an architect delayed by a young woman in an airport. It definitely kept me interested till the end. And since I forgot to cancel Apple TV, we also watched The Tragedy of Macbeth, a new adaptation by Joel Coen. Purists may not like the streamlined version, but it’s excellent, filmed in a stark black and white where shadows loom and the Weird Women become birds. The supernatural elements of the play really come through in this version. Denzel Washington plays Macbeth and Frances McDormand is Lady Macbeth. She’s so good.

The book and movies share connections of ghosts, regrets, deaths/murders, and memory.

We’ll be watching the finale of Yellow Jackets tonight, a show that I’ve really enjoyed. (I wasn’t sure I would from the opening scenes.) And I suppose there’s a connection here, too.

Wondering

“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 stands at the precipice ++++++++ wondering
where time and space meet ++++++++ where and why he’ll appear
at that moment, and ++++++++++++++ again–
it seems less a question of physics– ++his blurred shape–
than an opportunity ++++++++++++++ gathering strength
in the vast eternal void +++++++++++ from unbidden hope
to find a crack, a sliver of light +++++ shining in incandescent splendor

Jane Dougherty and David (ben Alexander) got me thinking about writing a cleave poem again. I haven’t written one in a while, and WP certainly does not make them easy to format. We’re getting ready for houseguests and Thanksgiving–something we haven’t done since the pandemic began–so I may not be around too much in the next week.

Ever After, and Again

Odilon Redon, Apparition

If through the storms
you dream, over and over
of blood and ghosts that laugh
from their own universe to yours—
then watch for shadows, but wait for light
shining in morning’s pink-tinged song,
a symphony of color, of life.

It’s been an odd morning after a stormy night, but the Oracle knew what she wanted to say. This poem practically wrote itself.

The Rocky Shore

Winslow Homer, On a Lee Shore

A stone’s toss
from sea to beach,
where stoic women wait,

beseeching gods of stone-face
for their men’s grace.

Storm-tossed waves, deep-sea graves–

a stone’s toss
to stone-cut hearth, the fire dead.

Uncut threads
tie spirit-treads to stony-shore–
stone-cold hearts still yearn for more.

A quadrille for dVerse, where De asks us to use the word stone. I decided to go with the season.

Listen to Heart-songs

–Sylvia Schreiber

Listen to heart-songs–
the breath of eternity,
as ocean-kissed air dances
with brilliant sparkle-light,
and white-cat clouds pounce
with joy
at the blue-blanketed sky, wondering

~if~

ghosts hide in the shadows,
perhaps they linger to tell their secrets–
imprisoned between before and after,
they wind-whisper
in the fever-blush of morning sky,
and silent-laugh in the night—
at your smile from the window.

A late message from the Oracle today. We’ve had blue sky and sparkling water the last couple of days. As I was getting ready to post this, I looked up and saw this painting of my mom’s. It doesn’t have a title or date that I know of, but it seemed to fit.

Day 7: Special January Ekphrastic Challenge

For Day, I’ve written two poems for Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge.

I liked all three pieces of art, but I responding to Kerfe Roig’s “Clarity” and Christine O’Connor’s (CO13).

Clarity

Coming home from the ER, I felt
a sense of clarity amidst the exhaustion,
and in the over-awakened midnight hour, an owl hooted
over and over again

calling for love, not warning,
I decided. And for love, we returned to the hospital
as the sun rose over the bridge to light the shadowed city streets.

Unfinished

There are ghosts in the secret garden
drifting through the flowers’ birdwing-flutters,
she senses them, but they are masked, invisible
against the bright blooms, unfinished with this world,
outside of time, inside the walls, they wait.

Gogyohka for River Ghosts

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Abandoned garden–

ghosts in dusty grass

sit still in the long ago,

a gull’s laugh breaks the silence. . .

echoes

 

echoes

over the river,

through the thin spaces

of cloud-light whispers,

spring-scented rain falls

 

For Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday. I think these poems stand alone, but they can also be read together. I wrote the first one to go with the photo, but then then I had more to say.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Ghost Connections

Monday Morning Musings:

“Why lay yourself on the torturer’s rack

of the past and future?

The mind that tries to shape tomorrow beyond

its capacities will find no rest?

–Rumi from “That Lives in Us” 

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.”

–Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

 

The moon sails through time

over and over

through the purple sky.

We sit in the dark

and watch it

together

in a universe of only

and always

dazzled

to wake from dreams . . .

feeling the ghosts

in the breezes,

lingering.

***

On the day of the storm

the sun blazed,

and animals were dazed

 

by the glare as his chariot rose

higher and higher.

But the gods conspired

 

and sent the wind

and rain to shower

the flowers, but taking our power

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The storm rolling in

away for a day.

So, we sat in the twilight,

then read by flashlight

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Making the best of the situation when the power went out.

 

and fortunately,

the air had cooled—

but we weren’t fooled,

 

we knew

it was only a temporary stay

from heat and humidity, but hey,

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Carpenter’s Hall all a-flower

we’ll enjoy it while we can

walk in the city, eat ice cream–

talk and dream.

In the movie we see

the family lies

Is it wise?

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Who knows?

Done to be kind

though they’re in a bind

 

about how

to carry out the hoax.

There are tears and jokes–

 

a crowd-pleasing film

of cultural clashes

and flashes

 

of tenderness

in family gatherings and meals–

and the deals

 

we make

as we scatter

world-weary, what matters

 

still are our connections,

the invisible ties,

the love and lies,

 

that bind

generating power and loss,

crisscrossing

 

synaptic bursts

through wires and minds

creating dreams and incredible finds.

 

But the loss

when there’s a faulty connection

the hesitation and misdirection.

 

In my mom’s mind

dream and reality blur—

sometimes–and I’m not sure

 

how it works at all.

Past, present, future circle round

intertwine–wiring unsound?

 

Perhaps. Or do ghosts come to visit?

That shadow almost seen?

What is it? Where has it been?

 

I don’t know tomorrow

I can’t shape the past

or make fine weather last.

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A beautiful summer night at William Heritage Winery, New Jersey

 

but I enjoy the moment

of summer fruits, the flavors

bursting, bits of sunshine savored

before the next storm. . .

and sometimes magic just appears.

 

We got free tickets to a preview of The Farewell. Trailer here. We enjoyed it very much, and it seems like the rest of the audience did, too. Lulu Wang also told the story of the movie—her real life story on an episode of This American Life

We’re watching a series on Netflix now called Typewriter. It’s marketed as a sort of Indian Stranger Things, mainly because it involves four kids. They’re middle school age. It’s not very scary (yet), but I’m enjoying it. Trailer here.

I also heard a recent episode of This American Life about a young woman held as a prisoner by her biological parents in Pakistan. She only had one book to read—that she kept hidden—and read over and over again hundreds of times.  It was Little Women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.