The Lovers: Yeats Challenge, Day Fifteen

This poem is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats, Day Fifteen.

Today’s quotation:

“You, too, have come where the dim tides are hurled
Upon the wharves of sorrow, and heard ring
The bell that calls us on; the sweet far thing.” —W.B. Yeats

 

And so, he came to where the dim tides flow

here upon the wharves of sorrow, dared to go,

listened now for Charon’s boat, the slapping sound of weathered pole

the echoing cries of distant weary souls.

 

But entered he without a fear, played sweetly then upon his lyre

the music that filled the air was warm with sighs and filled with fire

because here within this shadowed world, his love did dwell

playing sweetly then, he cast a spell.

 

The underworld king, his captured queen looked from their gilded thrones,

agreeing that he should not be left bereft of love, nor kept lonely and alone

for such love and devotion, such tumult of emotion he had displayed

crossing over the ocean of darkness, from lighted world to constant shade.

 

They thus agreed, from the underworld she could go,

but promises he must willingly keep to make it happen so–

she would follow him from this hidden world, behind him there she’d be

not once though could he stop to look or see

 

Once round the cavernous steps went he

believing that there behind him, his love would be,

twice round and then up they went, closer to the world of light

when he, not believing she was there, turned to catch a sight

 

Instantly, from Hades he was then thrust out

for not trusting the gods, for having his doubts,

but Aphrodite prevailed to place the lovers’ souls amidst the stars,

traveling the sky as shimmering silvered cars

where like a bell their love now rings,

in music of the stars, the sweet far thing.

 

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Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, “Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Night-Tide: Yeats Challenge, Day 10

For Jane Dougherty’s A Month with Yeats Challenge, Day 10.

Today’s quotation:

“And he saw how the reeds grew dark
At the coming of night-tide,”

—  W.B. Yeats.

 

From the cottage window

he watches the winds blow,

scurrying and hurrying

for the day to be through

to turn evening’s dusky violet hue

into the starry indigo of night.

 

How she had loved that sight,

the clouds dancing in the air

the wispy bits of angel hair

white against the darkening sky.

And still he cried

remembering how she’d died

drifting away at the coming of night-tide.

 

He’d been there, sitting at her side.

Now weary, burdened with a heavy heart,

wondering what to do or what to start

Then softly he hears her gentle sigh,

and though it waits for no reply,

as the moon hums and the reeds grow dark

he knows she’s there somehow, a spark

in every fox’s bark and singing lark

her spirit roams by house and glen

somewhere, sometime, he’ll see her again.

 

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Edvard Munch, “Starry Night,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Starry Nights: Musing and Shadorma Challenge

Monday Morning Musings:

“This morning I saw the countryside from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,”

–Vincent van Gogh to Theo, Saint-Rémy, France, 1889

“For myself, I declare I don’t know anything about it. But the sight of the stars always makes me dream.”

–Vincent van Gogh, letter to his broth Theo, July 1888

 

It was midday, but we saw stars,

swirling lines

and colored bars

65,000 hand-painted frames

aiming to depict the art and life

the vision, the strife

artistry in different forms–the imagination

to take his art, recreate, use animation

caught us,

and we flowed with the waves of light

through bright days and starry nights.

 

Vincent loved

his brother, Theo.

Wrote letters,

long missives

every day penning his thoughts

on art, love, and life

 

The movie involved a bit of mystery

born not just from art, but from Vincent’s history

of writing these letters to brother Theo

and so

Postman Joseph Roulin

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Sends his son to deliver one

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found after Vincent’s death

Armand travels, meets the people with whom Vincent interacted

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Vincent van Gogh, “Dr. Paul Gachet,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Learns what they felt, and how they reacted

to his art and eccentricities,

some charged, by his electricity,

others repelled,

the story told almost Rashomen-style

different versions of the artist and the man

and we’re left to understand him, as best we can.

 

An artist for a few years only,

failing at other careers,

art dealer, missionary,

he was a visionary

though his stern parents thought he was a failure,

he painted over 800 paintings in his short career

and it is clear

that he suffered for his art

and gave from his heart

his mother disposed of his work in a crate

finding out–only too late

though she thought he was dim and full of whims

others a genius thought him

 

We walk out into the warm November day

drink coffee

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And look at the colors play

Through city streets and historic sites

And think about Vincent’s short life

 

A few days later

We’re immersed again in art

Using a gift from friends–

sisters of my heart–

we ponder, peruse,

perhaps a snooze,

 

or eat and chat

perhaps a scream

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(imagine that)

I think of light

And creativity

of sun and clouds

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and starry nights

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Ceiling of van Gogh Café

And so, to bed

pillows piled high

from a cat, a gentle sigh

the night here cloudy

perhaps we’ll sleep soundly.

but in our dreams

nothing is as it seems

 

in our dreams

we fly, starry skies

swirl and flow

on light beams

we ride, silver stardust flows

magic of the night

 

Immersed in art

through starry nights and clouded days

seeing magic, creativity,

imagination, a constant, that stays

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We saw the movie Loving Vincent. Trailer here.

We visited Ground for Sculpture. I have many more photos that may appear at some point.

I missed a couple days of Eliot of Along the Interstice’s November Shadorma Challenge,

so I’ve put a couple into this week’s musings.

Swan Prince: Yeats Challenge, Day 4

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge—Day 4

Today’s quotation:

“…till the morning break
And the white hush end all but the loud beat
Of their long wings, the flash of their white feet.” W.B. Yeats

 

Under the bright moon’s glimmering gleam

she went to meet her love.

The world was hushed, so much unseen,

yet the moon hummed above.

 

She hurried forth in shadowed light,

the journey was so far

and then she saw a wondrous sight

under the shining stars.

 

She saw a swan of snowy white

beside a silvered spring.

Somehow, she knew it was all right

to rest there in his wings.

 

His long wings flashed and loudly beat,

her arms around him tight.

It was her love she did here meet

under the moon’s sweet light

 

He took her far till morning broke

in rosy pink and red

though he’d been silent, now he spoke

I feared that you were dead.

 

For it was you, the king desired

so tried to murder me

but before I thus expired

to a swan, she turned me

 

The goddess of love, for to our plight

wept and took pity so

and now, look here in morning light–

my form returns, a human knight,

and we to a new kingdom go.

 

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My Love Returned in Summertime: November Yeats Challenge

Jane Dougherty is doing a NOT-NaNoWriMo challenge. It’s the opposite, in fact–a join in, if you wish, whenever you wish, to write a poem based on a line or snippet from Yeats that she will supply every day in November. You can find today’s Yeats’ Challenge here. This is Day One. The quote is:

“they will ride the North when the ger-eagle flies,

With heavy whitening wings, and a heart fallen cold:” —W. B. Yeats

 

My love returned in summertime

from far beyond the sea

through heathered hills we roamed and climbed

when he returned to me

 

We were together from summer to fall

when he returned from the far off sea

then he was killed by churchyard wall

after he returned to me

 

Another man had sought my favor

while my love was beyond the sea

but from my love I’ve never wavered

and he returned to me

 

And now my heart has fallen cold

like the depths of the deepest sea

he was ever fearless, wild, and bold

and still he returns to me

 

At night, I hear him riding north,

coming homing to me

his spirit gallops on ghostly horse

he’s coming home to me

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Franciszek Żmurko, “In Rapture,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Fire Storms and Honeyed Winds: Magnetic Poetry

I used the same set of words for these two poems. I think the Oracle is upset with the world, as evidenced by her first warning poem. She relented a bit for the second. She also has a unique way of spelling. 😉

1.

What were we watching

as armed thousands screamed,

storming in black-rust seas—

away from beauty?

And after,

ask why

life is not shining,

recall all you wanted

 

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2.

Time-light sings above

together delirious suns play.

You sleep in purple mist,

but smell the summer garden

and honeyed wind.
Here am I–

let your blood beat hot

with mine

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Star Goddess: Shadorma

She reaches

deep inside her heart

tosses sparks–

the full moon

hums to make them dance and play

lovers gaze, embrace

 

Federico_Beltran_Masses_-_Under_the_Stars

This shadorma is for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The prompt words were

REACH | DEEP | SQUARE | FULL| PLAY

I haven’t written a shadorma in forever. I wanted to see if I could write one. Eliot is hosting a November Shadorma challenge that you can read about here.

 

 

 

 

 

Something in the Light

Monday Morning Musings:

“I want to move on

I want to explore the light

I want to know how to get through,

Through to something new,

Something of my own—

Move on. . .

Something in the light,

Something in the sky,

In the grass,

Up behind the trees. . .

Things I hadn’t looked at

Till now. . .”

–From Stephen Sondheim, “Move On,” Sunday in the Park with George

 

There’s something in the light of autumn

the way the sunlight streams low between the changing leaves

leaving summer behind, but somehow looking forward, too,

in a last burst of flame-charged energy till they, their quietus make

and something in the light changes again

producing grey and violet skies

till the earth wakens again in the spring,

moving on.

 

***

A vineyard hayride

to a field of pumpkins and apple trees

I listen to snippets of conversation

The mother talking about the Noah’s Ark movie

“It shows you what it was really like back then.”

So much crazy wrong there, but I restrain myself,

move on to explore the light

look up at the trees

and there below

things I hadn’t looked at till now

things I hadn’t seen before–

the way the sun makes the apples glow

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and the shadows dancing in the breeze

and the music of the yellow jackets buzzing around the fallen fruit.

.

We drink our wine

darker than the apples

or garnets glowing in the light

tasting of sun and earth and promises,

we listen to a musician play classic rock and blues

watch the children and the dogs enjoying the warmth

on this summer-like day in October

but there’s something in the light,

different now in the fall from our summertime visits

we move on through the seasons

and I make applesauce when we get home.

On Sunday, we travel to my sister’s house,

stopping first to pick up my mom

who was confused about the day

and was not ready for us

her vision nearly gone,

her world is shrinking

the light in her eyes dimmer

as she moves on, five years short of a century

I think of all she’s seen–

the memories of people and places that play in her mind

now a bit confused–

I wonder if how we see the world changes it?

Did the Island of La Grande Jatte change because of Seurat

and how he saw the light?

If we could see more colors, more light

would it change anything?

How does one move on after seeing Monet’s water lilies or Van Gogh’s starry night?

Do we ever see these things the same way again?

Painting by Sylvia Schreiber

Enter a caption

 

We meet my sister and her wife’s new dog

my mom says she’s glad they’re keeping this one

they keep  returning them, she says

not true, of course,

but she sees things differently now sometimes,

and I look up to see something in the trees

something in the sky

the light—

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We eat and then take her shopping

the shoe department, a mix of Kafka and Catch 22,

(something in the department store light?)

somehow, we maneuver and decode

before we explode

purchase two pairs of shoes

black and navy

(slightly different in the light)

and move on to bras.

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Imagine now,

five women in a dressing room,

two manipulating my mother,

making jokes as they handle her breasts

inserting them into cups

all of us finally laughing–

and then a fart,

producing bent-over-as-tears-stream-from-your-eyes-laughter

finally, we stop, breathe–

there’s work to be done,

and a timetable–

we get my mother her bras

then back to the house for dessert,

Mandelbrot and brownies,

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because why bother with anything that’s not chocolate?

We sit outside in my sister’s garden

enjoying the sun, enjoying the light

until it’s time to move on.

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From the stars

and to the dawn

in light that reaches us

from billions of years away

we see something there

and something here,

something in the light

moving on

Sweetness Restored

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“I know you feel it

The sweetness restored”

From Leonard Cohen, “Leaving the Table”

 

A ship sails across an ocean

crashes, in furious motion,

its treasures sink in the deep

as though asleep

while centuries creep

a chunk of bronze, fragment of the past

did it predict this future, forecast

another ship sailing through a sea of stars

carrying our past to the future

suturing time with invisible stitches?

Beings we will never know

blow forward and back

ghosts drift from stardust

near and far, they must

I think, walk beside us,

(that gust)

whispering in the wind

bringing horror or bringing joy,

bringing completeness

restoring the sweetness

of what has been lost

 

In the year of the dotard

when real is thought fake

(so much at stake)

when false is declared to be true

and people go about life

(without a clue)

when Mother Earth vents her fury on land and sea

and like a banshee

the winds wail and roar

and as the darkness gathers and soars

and millions sit without a light

in the dark, body and souls

between the poles

of north and south

they go without.

When all this takes place

here

in this space

we sit at the table

thankful we are able

with challah and wine

we dine

in honey dip our apple

watch the sun and shadows dapple

the walls,

as evening falls

here in this moment,

here in this place

the sweetness restored

 

We watch a movie about a dancer

a child who dances in the Russian snow

aglow with the joy of moving, doing, being

receiving the best training

(her parents work hard)

and she does, too

through pain of body and soul

is it worth it all?

and she struggles and questions—

technique or feeling?

finding it unappealing

tired of dancing others’ creations

sensations, ideation

she moves in a duet by the water

to find that child again,

form and feeling

to find the sweetness restored

 

My husband and I walk

we talk about the film we’ve seen

watch the street scenes

a pretty window and door

an urban street with more

we see nature’s destruction

turned to art

despite the ignorance and the hate

we humans love

we need to create

art, poetry, and stories

of the fantastic and the real–

we feel–

the family behind us

answering their son’s funny questions

wondering will they be troublemakers

and we are partakers in this bit

strangers meeting on the street

and then we go our separate ways,

stroll a while

but we smile

the family’s moment struck a chord

the sweetness restored.

 

Daughter and I go to a wine festival

the autumn day disguised as summer

We talk and taste wine

and we are feeling fine

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buy bracelets with literary themes

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of hopes and dreams

the sweetness of wine and books

of strangers looks

(okay, perhaps not all)

we people watch as we stand in line

behind the drunk couple

all entwined

the man with his roving hands

the woman who might fall as she stands

our eyes meet

standing there in the heat

no need to say out loud what we are thinking

mother-daughter interlinking thoughts

we talk of teaching

of The Color Purple and Langston Hughes

we talk of friends and we shmooze

if days could be like this

without dotards to lead

without a world full of greed

without hurricanes and earthquakes

without racism and hate—

is it too late?

if we could wrap up and hoard

all the love, the light, make the world bright

would we feel it,

the sweetness restored?

 

We saw the movie, Polina. Trailer here.

We went to the Heritage Vineyards Wine Festival.

I’m kind of fascinated by the antikythera mechanism.

Here is a beautiful video for Leonard Cohen’s “Leaving the Table.” This song is from his last album, made just before he died.

 

 

 

 

Journey through my Mind: Haibun

A thought, and my brain takes off on a journey. Turns me around, mind-wandering through worlds we cannot see, time, and space, a trace of Chaos theory, the hard problem, history and mythology. I seek connections, new directions.  I wonder about ghosts, hosts, and cat dreams. Streams of thought, or so it seems. In the end, I hope (familiar trope), looking for the good, the light. I wake up happy to see the sleep-bound moon and the growing dawn. Nothing is foregone. My heart sings and wings with the birds.

 

birdsong as night falls

cardinals’ red echoes leaves

summer sighs farewell

 

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This Haibun is for Haibun Monday at dVerse. We’re asked to write “a haibun about why you write the style of poetry you write. Not why you write poetry, but the why of your style.” This is to be followed by a classic Haiku, which must include a season word. We were also asked (an option) to post a photo.