The Bravery of Being

Monday Morning Musings:

In the staggering power of stars,
there is a balance, to hold within, or
to burst and blow

scattering light across space
and time,

Early morning light on the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and time again, we see the dying glimmers
and again, with time, we find some power

in the gleam within–
we search for ourselves
over generations

blooming again and again–
the seeds, flowering to life,

though some die too soon,
others are cultivated,

sparked by an inner glow,
the DNA of stars, the lessons of ancestral genes—
finding superpowers in the everyday

discovering they are brave—much braver than they suspected.

My Shadow in the Light.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Within and without, power and balance,
Stop for a moment. Now—look–

Do you see the colors in the sky?
Light and beauty, ever-changing,
connected, connecting, everything.

Early Morning Light, Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Merril’s Theater/Movie Club: We streamed How to be Brave, a play by Welsh playwright Siân Owens, a production of the Inis Nua Theater in Philadelphia. I really loved this play and production. It’s a one-woman show about a single-mother, a librarian who likes order, but on this day snaps, steals a bike, and travels around Newport, Wales, and back and forth from the present to her childhood and learns (or re-learns) how to be brave. It’s a story of motherhood and generations, which is also a theme of the movie, Fast Color (Amazon Prime). Set during a time of severe drought somewhere in the U.S., the story is about Ruth, who has been on the run, but goes home to her mother, who has been raising Ruth’s daughter, Lila. We discover that they all have superpowers, but this is not a superpower action movie. It’s a quiet, indie film that is really more about family. We also watched the 2019 French movie, Les Misérables (Amazon Prime)—not based on the Victor Hugo novel. However, it is set in the area where it wrote it. The movie concerns a police officer, new to an anti-crime unit in this multi-cultural area. The movie is tense and exciting as small events escalate. One review called it “a simmering tale of two cities.” The movie won several awards.

We got out for a little while this past week to a local winery. It was cloudy, but then the sun came out as we were ready to leave.

The Robin Sang the Light

800px-American_Robin_KSC01pp1005

“Seen on KSC grounds, a robin pauses in a Brazilian pepper tree filled with red berries.” NASA, via Wikipedia Commons, Public domain

 

The robin sang the light

“Get up, come play,” said he,

“away the dream-filled night,

up here, you will be free.”

 

“Get up, come play,” said he,

but the mossy limbs were high.

Up here, you will be free.

No, I cannot fly.

 

But the mossy limbs were high

and shadowed in the dawn.

No, I cannot fly,

I stood upon the lawn.

 

And shadowed in the dawn

was nature sweet and wild,

I stood upon the lawn,

I listened, and I smiled.

 

Was nature sweet and wild?

(Away the dream-filled night!)

I listened, and I smiled–

the robin sang the light.

 

Another pantoum for dVerse. Yes, this is what I’m doing instead of all the work I have to do. Don’t judge me till you try it. 🙂 Gina is hosting this forms challenge. She explains the history and how to write one. Come join us!

This pantoum is a revision of the first pantoum I wrote–for one of Jane Dougherty’s challenges.

 

 

 

Seen and Unseen

 

“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”

–Anthony Doer, All the Light We Cannot See

IMG_1290

Philadelphia Mural Arts

 

Redshifting and blue,

all the colors, hues

we cannot see, and beyond

our comprehension, or will–

yet, don’t they exist still?

And the man, there on his rags,

sleeping on his clothes in bags–

if we walk by him unseeing

does it mean he’s not a being

worthy of a view, a thought

of what once was? Even if

only a trace of has been–wisps

that linger here–the invisible who

are all the colors, all the hues

and so,

as sunset slow shifts to indigo

and all the in-between,

there, find all the light that’s there

find it, unseen and seen.

 

This is for my prompt at dVerse, where we’re exploring the invisible. I was inspired by the quotation I used and also by the mural that I just happened to see on Sunday, after I had written and scheduled the prompt. Isn’t it weird how that works?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

26001004_10212785310982111_5946527034837080530_n

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.

512px-Paolo_Uccello_049

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.