Secrets and Shadows: Musings and Shadorma

Monday Morning Musings:

“Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.”

James Joyce, Ulysses

“It’s a triumph of art and friendship over time. And it’s also very important, I think, to hang on to the things that mean something to you. And they transcend time.”

–Judy Collins, “Love, Friendship and Music: Stephen Stills and Judy Collins Collaborate on New Album,” All Things Considered with Michele Martin, November 11, 2017

“There is regret, almost remorse,
For Time long past.
‘Tis like a child’s belovèd corse
A father watches, till at last
Beauty is like remembrance, cast
From Time long past.”

–Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Time Long Past”

 

Secret lives

buried deep in walls

or within

chambered hearts,

echoing the beats, flowing,

waiting for release

 

The garage

old, unstable, and so

down it comes

over the years

it’s housed tools and junk,

a chipmunk or two, amidst the rakes

perhaps a snake.

We were told the wall at the back

was bumped out a bit to fit

a Model T–

But honestly, I don’t know,

and it’s all so long ago.

The roof was shingled many times

and covered with leaves, pollen, and snow

beside it children have played,

and a wandering doe has grazed.

The yard is littered

adorned with its pieces–

fragments of a secret life

forlorn in autumn’s fading light,

a building built to last,

but now

shadows cast, from time long past.

 

The weather now has turned much colder

as the year journeys to its end,

no more harkening back, it seems to say

though time winds round again

through falling leaves and winter snow

to springtime bud and summer flowers,

and in the buildings here on city streets

there’s blending of the old and new

where cobblestones meet asphalt streets

and on concrete pavements,

shadows cast, from time long past

We see a musical about phone sex and love

set in the 1990s,

just before

(it opens a door)

the Internet really became a thing

and here a young man and woman

don golden chastity rings,

and vow to remain chaste till wed.

But now with their upcoming marriage,

they realize they do not really know each other.

They learn in song

(Well, it’s a musical, so we go along.)

we all have secrets lives and secret selves–

shadows cast, from time long past

FullSizeRender 251

It’s a funny, enjoyable show

a quirky romantic comedy

if not profound

it covers some familiar ground,

but still we talk of how it’s set

in a changing time.

a time now past

when our children were young.

And as day becomes night,

in autumn’s fading light

We see a bride and groom

and should we assume

they have lives kept private and

shadows cast, from time long past?

IMG_7374

In the car, we listen to NPR

hear an interview with Judy Collins and Stephen Stills,

old lovers, now still friends,

hanging on to important things

and illustrated with their songs

throughout time

things that last,

shadows cast, from time long past.

 

I think of my mom and dad

meeting in time long before technology

of cell phones and Internet

and they connected,

once they were young and in love

then they weren’t either

keeping secrets from each other

yet still, I think the love was always there

and she to him said a final goodbye

the night before he died

shadows cast over time, long past

 

We take my mom to a winery–

“Cross a wine tasting off your bucket list,”

I say.

IMG_7387

Here we can sit at a table

order our selections

of white and red

IMG_7389

IMG_7405

served with cheese and bread

and the atmosphere is convivial,

the conversation, mostly trivial,

but as we move to pizza and more wine,

we’re feeling pretty fine,

we talk of Thanksgiving

and of ancestry

I tell her about my poetry,

she tells me things she remembers–

sitting in her grandfather’s lap

though she doesn’t remember much about him,

and after that he died,

from an injury to his skull,

difficult times from them all

immigrants from another land

speaking a language I don’t understand,

I learned there was a baby brother born

after her mother and her aunts

he died young, seldom spoken of.

In the conversation here

ghosts of ancestors now appear–

shadow cast, of time long past

 

Then to home

the weekend ended,

secrets shared

journeys taken,

sunshine and shadows, blended,

cast in a circle

 

through time and

space our souls wander

sharing love

fearing death

casting shadows of time past

long ago and now

IMG_7401

We saw TouchTones at the Arden Theatre. We went to Auburn Road Vineyard.

I’ve begun and ended my musing with Shadorma for my somewhat sporadic participation in Eliot of Along the Interstice’s November Shadorma Challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Suffering for Suffrage

Votes for Women buttons

Collection of pins, Library of Congress

As I walk to the polling place

I think of times not long gone by

Of those not welcomed in this space

Votes for women, I hear ghosts sigh

 

A robin sings from a pine tree,

Above him blue is the summer sky

Cloudless space, bright tranquility

Votes for women, I hear ghosts sigh

 

Yet elsewhere votes do not get cast

Here flowers bloom, no one will die

To have this right, and hold it fast

Votes for women, I hear ghosts sigh

 

Bread and roses, not much to ask,

Yet, jail and death, and people cry

Freedom and rights, take up the task

Votes for women, I hear ghosts sigh

 

Standing on shoulders of giants,

I walk, I vote, I watch birds fly

Free and high, no fear of tyrants

Votes for women, I hear ghosts sigh

 

Votes for Women

Votes for Women, Washington, D.C. March, Library of Congress

 

For a brief time under New Jersey’s Constitution of 1776, anyone, male or female, black or white, could vote, as long as they could meet monetary or property requirements (this was standard for the time). This right was taken away in 1807. (You can read more here. )

The Fifteenth Amendment, ratified in 1870, prohibited the denial of voting rights to citizen’s based on “race, color, or previous condition of servitude,” thus giving formerly enslaved black men the right to vote.

On June 4, 1919, Congress passed the Nineteenth-Amendment to the U.S. Constitution stating “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States on account of sex.” The amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.

Poll taxes and bogus literacy tests (and intimidation) were used to effectively disenfranchise many black voters in the south until the passage of additional laws, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were passed. More recently, some states have passed voter ID laws, which often prevent citizens from voting.

Of course, in many places, men and women are still fighting for the right to vote, or the right to vote without fear of violence.

Here’s Judy Collins singing “Bread and Roses”  . The words originated in a 1911 poem by James Oppenheim, “Hearts starve as well as bodies, give us bread by give us roses.” The women striking in the textile mill of Lawrence, MA, used the slogan, and it became popular again in the 1960s.

 

 

 

 

NaPoWriMo: Seek Not the Golden Apples

nypl.digitalcollections.510d47e4-5f40-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99.001.w

How do I wander? Through crowded city street,

with hazel wand in hand, or sailing roiling seas,

seeking golden apples of the sun, finding defeat,

wondering the gods whose hearts I must appease.

The glimmering girl has vanished, forever in the past

her heartaches muted grief in throes of fitful slumber.

The blossom of youth soon goes, beauty does not last,

time journeys on, carrying our destined number.

Yet I realize that dreams change, they come in many forms,

as starlight reaches us, and its reds shift to blue,

as heroes stay the course through life’s constant storms,

I see rainbows now in the changing hues.

So we’ll float together, our raft on time’s stream,

we’ll love, be together, and share a dream.

 

NaPoWriMo, Day 25  Today’s challenge–to use a line from a poem. I attempted a sonnet here, which was a prompt from a previous day. I used phrases from Yeats’s “The Song of Wandering Aengus.”

You can also listen to it sung here by Judy Collins.

Golden Apples show up in many myths, including one of the tasks given to Hercules.

 

 

 

It Snowed and Snowed: I Can See Russia

Monday Morning Musings:

Another post based on lines taken from other works.

“It snowed and snowed, the whole world over,

Snow swept the world from end to end.

A candle burned on the table;

A candle burned.”

–Boris Pasternak, from “Winter Night,” Doctor Zhivago

 

“When the snow flies and the night falls

There’s a light in the window and a place called home

At the end of the storm.”

Judy Collins, “The Blizzard”*

The snow flies and the night falls

Reminding me of winters past,

Of other seas of white,

The time it snowed

When our girls were young

And school was closed for a week.

They played, and I baked

Cookies, and donuts, and bread.

We drank hot chocolate

Ate cinnamon toast

And read books.

It was cold outside, but

It was cozy and warm

Inside,

A place called home.

IMG_3341

The snow flies, and I can see Russia

In my mind. I think of Dr. Zhivago

Trudging, stumbling through the blizzard,

Blanketed in an icy layer of white

Nearly dead

Finding Lara and warmth.

The stunning cinematography of the movie**

Who can forget

The movie images of the country house?

Surfaces a frosty filigree

A beautiful ice palace

And they are happy there

For a brief moment

When time and history freeze

Before the inevitable melting

And the resumption of life.

The death of winter becomes the birth of spring.

The snowy white landscape blooms with yellow and green.

 

The snow flies, and makes me ponder.

I think of my grandfather,

My mother’s father, born in Gomel, Russia,

Now Belarus.

He was traveling west as

Lara was settling into life with Pasha in Yuriatin

And Yuri became Doctor Zhivago,

Just before the war and revolution.

Not that my grandfather was in Moscow,

But he must have experienced the unrest,

Seen the gap between the Pashas and the Tonyas.

 

Did the snow fly during winter nights in Gomel?

Did my grandfather walk through drifts of snow?

I don’t know what his house was like

Or how it was heated.

Was there a big stove?

Did they have a samovar for tea?

Did it seem like it snowed

And snowed the whole world over

When he was a boy?

 

The snow flies, and I think of

When I was a child.

I wanted it to snow,

Longed to have more than a trace

In our Dallas yard.

Then we moved back to Pennsylvania,

And there was snow.

I listened to the radio for school closings,

And went sledding with my boyfriend.

The guys did crazy stunts,

I watched and laughed.

And I married that boy.

 

The snow flies, reminding me of passing hours.

I know nothing of my grandfather’s childhood.

Nothing of his hopes and dreams.

And I cannot ask him now.

Did he play in the snow?

He came to Philadelphia

A young man

Just before the assassination of the Archduke.

Fleeing his homeland only to serve

In the navy of his adopted country

During the time of war and flu,

An epidemic that killed more people

Than did guns or earlier plagues.

He married a daughter, one of seven,

Of another man from Gomel, a butcher.

Would he think it funny that some of

His descendants do not eat meat?

A choice made possible

By his immigration to this country

Of variety and possibilities.

My grandfather worked hard.

I don’t imagine he spent much time

Watching the snow fall.

But after he retired, he learned to dance

And paint.

He walked and swam.

He played with his grandchildren

Whenever he visited from his home

In Miami Beach.

His winter years spent not in winter cold,

But in sun and warmth.

A place of tropical colors,

Of sandy beaches, not snowy fields.

IMG_3330

My grandfather as a young man. The photo is undated, but taken in Philadelphia.

The snow flies and the wind howls.

I’ve cooked and I’ve baked enough

To chase away the chill.

Banished briefly, though not forever.

There’s soup, and bread, and pie.

And we will eat and enjoy.

We’ll sit with blankets and cats

And binge-watch TV.

Tomorrow we may venture out

To see the winter landscape.

But for now

We watch as

The snow flies, and the night falls.

Inside there’s contentment and light,

Color that contrasts with winter’s

Black and white.

A candle burns on a table.

And I am home and warm

At the end of the storm.

 

If it’s snowing, then I’m probably cooking. This is what I made during out weekend blizzard. (After the pre-blizzard cooking.) 🙂

Honoring my Eastern European-Jewish roots with Vegetarian Borscht

IMG_3336

and Black Bread (Smitten Kitchen)

IMG_3327

And my American birthplace with Pumpkin Pie

IMG_3325

*Judy Collins, “The Blizzard”

**Earlier in the month, I had fun discussing the movie, Doctor Zhivago with Scott Parker-Anderson. See his post on the movie here.