Wonder

Monday Morning Musings:

24:  “Saw a poem float by just beneath the surface, ”  from Jim Harrison, Songs of Unreason

25:  “A violent windstorm the night before the solstice,” from Jim Harrison, Solstice Litany

 

Words ebbed and flowed through my dreams

unanchored by reason, more emotion, it seemed

till thrown a line, anchored, moored a bit by thought

upon awaking, they shimmered briefly, caught

then released, to float beneath the surface—at peace.

 

William Heritage Winery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I saw them again, set sail by the wind

before the solstice, against the clouds, pinned

then caught by a breeze, they flew through the sky

I drank some wine, and wondered how and why

they come and go—and all the things we do not know—

 

why time can move both fast and slow

and when waves tumble, where do they go,

and how love can vanish, or it lasts

from youth to grow through challenges, steadfast

through dreams that ebb and flow,

like the sea, eternal, like the stars’ shimmering glow–

beacons of light in the night, ever thus, saving us.

 

Summer Solstice
William Heritage Winery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit different for my Monday Morning Musings because today is our 40th wedding anniversary.

I’m linking this to Jilly’s Day 24 and Day 25 of her 28 Days of Unreason, poetry inspired by the work of poet Jim Harrison. I will catch up on reading tomorrow.

We saw waves of flowers yesterday, and a couple just beginning married life. Light, shadows, bending time and space.

Waves of Flowers and Love
in Philadelphia

 

 

Hear the Light: Ghazal

“What beauty in this the darkest music
over which you can hear the lightest music of human
behavior, the tender connection between men and galaxies.”

–Jim Harrison from “Warbler,” in Dead Man’s Float

 

When all is dark and without cheer, can you hear the stars sing the light?

In music that glistens–shhh—stop and listen—you’ll hear the stars sing the light.

 

The baby at breast, suckling at rest, gurgles to hear the stars sing the light.

The mother, fraught, pauses in thought, smiles as she hears the stars sing the light.

 

When war brings the music of anger and tears, can you hear the stars sing the light?

When you march to the pipes for conflicts and strife—do you fear to hear the stars sing the light?

 

Tell children separated and lives negated—look up–hear the stars sing the light.

Though your life is horrid and rough, and it’s not enough–yet hear the stars sing the light.

 

From the cracks in the darkness, beyond the hard-hearted, do you hear the stars sing the light?

In delicate streams, when all is as seems, do you dream to hear the stars sing the light?

 

In tender connection, we strive for direction, seeking to hear the stars sing the light.

Thus, Merril-y I strive and away my fears drive–to hear the stars sing the light.

 

 

Yesterday was darkness, so today is light. This ghazal is for Day 7 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason–poems influenced by Jim Harrison’s poetry. Anyone can join in the fun!

 

 

 

 

Sweet Stars of Christmas: Haibun

Monday Morning Musings:

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

On Christmas, I see the past, present, and future appear. Perhaps not as actual ghosts, but as memories, experiences, and wishes. As we decorate Christmas cookies, I think of all the times I did this with our daughters. My husband declares this is the first time he has ever frosted the cookies. Perhaps it’s true. My sugar cookies have stars with five points and stars with six points. They’re all equally sweet and delicious. The Hanukkah candles and the Christmas lights both glow in the winter darkness, symbolizing miracles and bringing hope. This year, I give one daughter Hanukkah presents with a Hello Kitty! Christmas card on Christmas Eve day, when we gather with my niece and her family. In the background, Christmas songs written by Jewish men softly play. We sit around a table in a room decorated for Christmas and discuss ancestors in Belarus and Ukraine, people who never celebrated this holiday.

How did they get here, my niece asks? How did they have the means to leave? When she was a girl, my father’s mother hid in a barn during a pogrom. Somehow, they—some of them–found the means to leave, and to come to a country where they were not persecuted for their religious beliefs and culture. Their ghosts appear briefly and stand around us. Perhaps they would not approve of these goyische celebrations, but I hope they’d sense the love. Here and now we eat and laugh together, even as we miss those no longer with us. We will miss our daughters on Christmas, and I will miss being awakened by hearing them sing “Christmas Time is Here” early in morning. But now on Christmas Eve, my husband and I drink mulled wine and watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and I think yes, it is.

 

ancient stars shimmer,

ghost light of winter’s hope

this scintillation

I’m linking this Monday Morning Musings to Frank Tassone’s Christmas Haiku challenge.

Wishing all of you a joyous holiday season filled with peace, hope, love, and laughter!

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Storm Music

I’m awakened by the rain hitting the window, the barker for the upcoming show. Step right up, folks! This one’s a dazzler of light and sound. The lightning takes center stage as it illuminates the sky, followed by the chorus of thundering kettle drums. One cat leaps off the bed; the other snuggles closer to my side. My husband sleeps, but I’m held captive, an unwitting, unwilling audience for this production. Do hours pass, or does it just seem that way? The endless percussion, the strobing encores? The fortissimo storm music finally ends, drifting off, pianissimo, until it’s gone. I dream then of shadows and golden light, of distant seas and far off worlds, until at last, the sun rises, waking me again, with a gentle song.

whirling midnight storms

shadows flit through worlds and minds

in dawn’s light, vanish

 

 

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

This Haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge.

The prompt words were shadow and light.

I’m also linking to dVerse, where Gayle is hosting an open link night.

 

 

The Maiden and the Dragon

From a tower, a maiden weeps

lost in grief, broken-hearted,

by her hand, a dragon sleeps,

before them both, a land uncharted.

 

She needs to rally and raise her voice,

to be a leader, to trump the hate

with love and light, it is her choice

she hopes that now it’s not too late.

 

Across a field, she sees them gather

the dragon rises, ready then with fire to slay

“Steady, she says, “let them blather,”

“let’s try to provide an alternative today.”

 

And so, as the haters hate some more

they sing together the dragon song

of beauty, kindness, not of war,

and the haters know that they are wrong

 

to judge a dragon by how he appears,

the maiden spins light, it opens a door

(slowly their minds are shifting gears)

as through the door goes hate and fears,

and life resumes, much better than before.

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If only. . .

This is for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Prompt.

The prompt words were: Dragon/Provide/Heart/Field/Hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams Beyond the Moon

In the darkness and the gloom,

spirits loom,

speaking, seeking

those with natures bright

who dance and sing,

embrace the light

and watch the birds in morning flight

I watch them, too–

wings soaring, sweeping through the blue

beyond the clouds like sailing ships

until they vanish from my view

in flowing streams

on trips of dreams,

far beyond the moon

 

Air-Brueghel_the_Elder-MBA_Lyon_A77-IMG_0408

Jan Brueghel the Elder, “Air,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m feeling the need for a bit of magic.

 

Stardust and Wonder

Monday Morning Musings:

Embed from Getty Images

 

“The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.”

–Carl Sagan, Cosmos

“The eyes of her who passed to glory, while below turned to the starry heavens; her own discoveries of the comets and her share in the immortal labours of her Brother William Herschel, bear witness of this to later ages.”

–from the epitaph of Caroline Herschel

Stars

they’re born

they die

they wander

we wonder

at their wandering

they glow

they grow

then burst

and go

dark

stars

 

Young stars

burn a brilliant blue

we see their light

turned red

millions of years later

redshift

colors changing

shifting

drifting

through time and space

 

Stargazer

William Herschel

discovered Uranus

and the fairy moons

Titania and Oberon,

moons of Saturn,

Enceladus and Mimas,

glowing lanterns

beacons in the sky

he catalogued nebulae

and star clusters,

4,000 or more—

in case you’re keeping score

of his accomplishments,

he built telescopes,

including one 40-feet-long

at the time, the largest

an unwieldy,

but undeniably powerful tool.

William studied light, too,

colors and prisms

not just red or blue

hues invisible

the light we cannot see

infrared

beyond human sight

but not imagination.

 

Caroline,

his sister,

helped him

by his side

writing

cataloging

organizing his work,

a devoted assistant

only slightly over four feet tall

her growth stunted

from childhood diseases

in stature small

but mighty in intellect, will,

and all,

she also star-gazed

appraised

the objects above

discovering comets

and nebulae, too.

through persistence

covering distance

with her eye.

Denied an education

because of her gender

transcender,

she nevertheless excelled

at seeing the night sky

and finding what was up there high

above if we but stop

and look at the light

acolyte

of truth

streaking a path

through the darkness

 

Dependent on her brother

no husband, no children

of her own

perhaps she chose

that life alone

when a husband could take

everything

body, belongings, soul

what if he had not understood

the attraction of the stars

their power

over her

over us all?

So–not totally dependent–

in fact, independent,

a feme sole,

earning a small stipend for her work,

a perk

from the English monarchy

but nevertheless significant,

she was a star

though a woman

she traveled far

receiving a gold medal

from astronomical societies

with quiet ease

she’s made an honorary member, too,

there were other honors–

more than a few–

for her stellar work

(So to speak)

she hit her stride

by the time she died

at age 97.

 

Caroline and William

in a time

when science was bringing the light

of knowledge

chasing away the darkness

of ignorance

new ideas orbiting

creating revolutions

in science

in governments

A thirst for knowledge

testing and reasoning

not full-proof

much unknown

but a start

cooperation between scientists

all over the world.

transnational

transatlantic

science

twinkling orbs

the brightness of enlightened minds

building bridges

of friendship and knowledge

If only nations followed

 

William was a musician

a composer, too.

Caroline sang professionally

she sang his works in public

drifting notes and motes

patterns of waves

heard and seen

brightening the senses

stirring the soul

in different ways,

sight and sound

stirring us all.

 

(A memory–

my boyfriend and I

gazing at the night sky

brilliant stars

Kutztown, PA

on a summer night

the Big Dipper

the North Star

the night winds fly

clouds sail

in a celestial gale

an amazing sight

this starlit night

I still feel the wonder.

We were young

our blood coursing

light-speed

with the heavens

star-gazing

star-struck

but not star-crossed.

Reader,

I married him.

After all.)

 

Past and future

collide

we see the light

of the past

colored anew

redshifted

by memory.

 

And now we hear the stars

Their music,

songs unheard

by William

or Caroline.

Could they imagine

we’d listen

for the echoes of

the distant stars

beyond our sight

color-shifted

shape-drifted

wandering stars?

Artificial light

obscures the night

making the twinkling

and glimmers

hard to see

but me?

I know they’re there.

After all,

we are made

of the stars,

star-stuff

stardust

and wonder.

 

It seems fitting to write about Caroline Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848) since tomorrow, March 8, is International Women’s Day, and March is Women’s History Month in the United States. She was so more than an assistant to her brother William Herschel (15 November 1738- 25 August 1822). They both lived through political and scientific revolutions, and they both made important discoveries.

I was inspired by Carrie Brown’s novel, The Stargazer’s Sister, about Caroline and William Herschel.  Though it omits, changes, and invents several key events and people, it is beautifully written, and seems true to Caroline’s spirit. I was also influenced by several articles, among them these about redshift and radio astronomy.