The Swans: Yeats Challenge, Day 22

I’ve been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving. Wishing all of those who celebrate the holiday a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. Today’s quotation:

 “I wander by the edge
Of this desolate lake
Where wind cries in the sedge:” —W.B. Yeats

 

I wandered by the shadowed lake,

desolate it seemed at first,

till a swan glided there and took

a sip to slake his thirst.

Soon after that, his mate sailed to him,

the two swam side-by-side

a lover’s dance, in evening dim

across the lakeside wide,

but with moonlight the sky turned brighter

together then, they spread their wings and gracefully took flight.

Their feathered bodies seemed larger and whiter

against the blanket of indigo night,

and though I’ve traveled, often far,

this is the memory that comforts me

when hope seems lost to faultless stars

I think of the swans on that moonlit night–and I feel free.

Schwaene_im_Schilf_(C_D_Friedrich)

Caspar David Friedrich, “Swans in the Reeds,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Caspar David Friedrich, “Swans in the Reeds,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Advertisements

From the Ashes: A Month with Yeats, Day Nine

 This is for Jane Dougherty’s November Month with Yeats, Day Nine. The quotation is: 

“Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,

And Usna’s children died.”

—W.B. Yeats

I was also inspired, or perhaps haunted, by this article that I saw last night about a girl’s pendant found at Sobihor.

 

Once she played and laughed upon a hill,

once there were families, hope, delight

before darkness came and all was still

in a nightmare world of constant night

monster-filled with hate and fear

and all that once was cherished and held dear

lost forever, or perhaps entombed

within the ruins, amidst the gloom.

 

Years passed in revolutions round the sun,

and grass sprouted in ashes cooled of fired hate

buried there, searchers found that she was one

in rubble raked beyond the gate

found there, a victim of the slaughter,

someone’s child, once a daughter,

found her broach, inscribed, a sign, a trace

that she existed once, now not entirely erased.

 

But does this finding some closure bring

to those who are left or suffering?

The ashes of the dead once rained like sordid snow

fertilizing now the ground where flowers grow

light’s restored, but mutable

and darkness still falls, indisputable,

hope the feather that softly flies

from wings of knowledge and wistful sighs.

 

 

 

 

 

Shadows: November Shadorma Challenge, 1 and 2

Eliot of Along the Interstice is doing a November Shadorma Challenge.  You can read about it here.

“The Shadorma is a Spanish poetic form made up of a stanza of six lines. (sestet) with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter.”

Here is my Day 1, inspired by a fortune cookie, and Day 2, a bit of fun inspired by the foggy morning.

 

Light shining

through the shadowed world,

glimmering

battling fears

luminous rills, glowing streams

where hope ever grows

 

IMG_7282

 

Misty morn

where night creatures lurk

shadowy

half-seen. Blink

and they will be gone—but no,

watch, they linger still.

 

 

 

 

 

Hope: Quadrille

Is it hopeless to feel hope

in the light of dawn,

or when the moon hums

her gentle song?

In the ash-filled skies

do hopeful spirits fly,

or earth-bound are they buried

in sorrow unvariegated?

Tomorrow will hope soar–

that thing with feathers, evermore?

 

Hellbrunn_Schloss_-_Festsaal_Fresken_Decke_3b

 

This quadrille is for dVerse. The prompt was any form of the word, “hope.”

 

Garden Shadows

Monday Morning Musings:

“’I am half sick of shadows,’ said

The Lady of Shalott”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “The Lady of Shalott”

 

“We’re neither pure, nor wise, nor good

We’ll do the best we know,

We’ll build our house and chop our wood

And make our garden grow. . .

And our garden grow.”

From Leonard Bernstein, “Make Our Garden Grow,” Candide

 

 

All week the sun plays hide and seek

perhaps preparing for the eclipse

my soul also wanders

in and out of shadows

I think about life

blooming in the late summer plants about me

at a make-your-own-terrarium night,

 

 

we each make one,

the open kind—succulents–

though the closed kind would be more interesting to me–

and less so to the cats–

I think,

as we drink wine

and visit with our friends’ daughter who had also showed up

(Surprise!)

I wonder how long our plants will live,

we, who are good at bringing up children and cats,

are not so adept at raising plants,

though the weeds seem to thrive,

still we put them in the sun

(but where there is sun, there are shadows)

and try to make our garden grow

 

As the sun plays in the August sky,

we go to the movies

(shadows turn to light and life upon a screen)

the film is about life and death

and making choices

telling the truth

confronting traditions

rejecting what does not work for you

embracing differences

seeing people as people,

not as members of different groups,

it’s kind of a comedy

and a romance

the comedy of life

the tragedies

funny family dinners

love

and a coma,

existence in a shadow world,

while life goes on about you

 

Afterwards, we sit upstairs

in an open-air part of a restaurant

flowers planted, blooming in boxes outside the railing

and street performers serenade us from below

it’s noisy,

but, hey, summer in the city

a beautiful evening

we watch buses and tourists below us

and pedicycle drinking groups,

laughing and singing

we eat tater tots and pizza

because it’s that kind of night

summertime

and we’re not at war yet,

we walk around

Do these creatures protect the house?

 

just a bit

because there’s work to be done

and an early day tomorrow

the shadows deepen

 

FullSizeRender 179

The sun dances through clouds

casting shadows large and small

on the eighth, Barbara Cook and Glen Campbell both die

glorious soprano and beautiful tenor

perhaps they sing duets in some other world

(do gardens grow there?)

the next day is the anniversary of my father’s birth

he would have been ninety-eight this week

and I think of my mother,

who will soon turn ninety-five

the seasons turning, sun and shadows

Auburn Road Vineyard

The sun comes and goes

hiding

seeking

gone for a woman in Charlottesville

gone for her family

gone for people killed in mosques and churches

gone for women taken as spoils of war

call evil by its name

the darkness of the soul

never brightened by the sun

hidden beneath shadows

 

I watch the sun rise and set

watch the shadows lengthen

as summer turns to fall

I hold on

seeking light

IMG_6513

giving it to the terrarium plants

because they are still holding on, too

despite all odds

we’ve made our gardens grow

 

I wrote about my father here.

We went to Plant Nite at Auburn Road Vineyards.

We saw The Big Sick, official trailer here. We ate at Revolution House.

You can hear Barbara Cook in “Make Our Garden Grow” the original Broadway cast recording of Candide.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name the Evil

In the movie,

this would be the point where the starship arrives

changing the course of events

saving us from ourselves,

saving Earth, saving humankind

 

Our movie runs in a continuous loop,

conflict after conflict,

guns, bombs, and hate,

attacking the other

we watch it unfold,

let it happen,

forgetting that people who are ignorant, hungry, afraid

listen to the demagogues,

we wait for the starship to arrive

for the hero to appear,

but this is an interactive experience

the storyline only continues

if we change it,

write the words,

name the evil,

expose it,

lead the hope,

feed the starving

heal the sick

teach the words of love,

look for the helpers,

become one and gather others

become the heroes

before it’s too late

 

 

 

 

 

Falling Stars

The child presses her face against the window glass

watching as the sun sinks into the sea

and the first stars appear in the sky.

She makes a wish as one streaks, burns, and falls

vanishing like her neighbors.

(“Poor things,” her mother had said

seeing their yellow stars.)

She wonders if they will send her a postcard

from wherever they are,

and if she can change her wish–

to see them again,

the doctor with the kind eyes

and his daughters with their long, silver hair

who had played with her.

 

The child, older now, presses her face against the window glass

and watches the stars in the sky

the bombs silenced,

she hears a song murmured by the wind

singing to her of hope and dreams,

bittersweet, like chocolate she remembers,

she sees streams of starlight

sowing dreams in sparkling silver waves,

thinks of her long-ago wish

and knows—somehow– it will come true.

Starlight_sower_(1)_by_artist_HAI_KNAFO_2011_inspired_by_Or_Zaruaa

Star Sower by Hai Knafo, Wikipedia Commons

 

This is for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Prompt.  The prompt words were:

| APPEAR | PRESS | POOR | CARD | FALL |

 

Summer Storm: Haibun

From a dream world I’m summoned back, awakened by a boom and a crash. A flash of light illuminates the room through the window shades. My cat rises, ears up, but he remains by my side. Seeking comfort or giving it? Lovely petrichor drifts in through the windows left open from the summer day. Then boom, crash, flash, and the rain comes down in a rushing torrent, like a waterfall from the sky. I listen to it, feeling like the world below me might flood, and my bed become a ship that sails me, not into dreams, but into a murky river. I lie there in the dark, counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” each time the thunder roars. Finally, it is over, and I sleep, dreaming of oceans and sandy beaches. I wake to the mockingbird’s song, and a day that is washed clean. Hope sparkles in the morning sun.

 

Spirits rage at night

crash and bang till washed away

in wonder, joy reigns

 

Nikolay_Dubovskoy_Raduga

Nikolay Nikanorovich Dubovskoy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is late entry for for dVerse. 

I guess it’s a summer memory now, since it happened a couple of days ago. 🙂

 

Survivor: Sun and Moon

I was a carefree child who played in the warmth of the sun. But her glow and mine have dimmed. At night, after he has finished with me, the moon sends her light to comfort me. Cold comfort. Still, she guides me now, lighting a pearlescent path for me, tangled and silver like the scars that trace my body, but leading me to freedom. I’ve killed him, and though he took my innocence, he can no longer hurt me. My past, present, and future merge—who I was and who I will become. I am broken, but not destroyed. One day, I may glow again, like the sun.

 

The moon saw sorrow

her tears, silver waves of hope

to light the darkness

 

"Rising Moon," John Constable, c. 1810

Credit Line: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917 Philadelphia Museum of Art

This haibun is a late entry for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words were past and future. Some of you know I’m working on two reference books on rape. So, this. Now back to work for me!

According to the UN Women web site,  worldwide, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence, most often from an intimate partner.