Passing (Strange) Along the Stage

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,”

–William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act Two, Scene 7

 My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
She swore, in faith ‘twas strange, ‘twas passing strange.”
–William Shakespeare,  Othello, Act One, Scene 3

 

“Because your mother’s love might seem insane
It’s ’cause she really knows everything
Too bad it takes so long to see what you’ve been missing…

(Love like that can’t be measured anyway)
Too bad it takes so long to see what you’ve been missing”

Stew and Heidi Rodewald, “Love Like That,” Passing Strange

 

The weekend is a many-act play

we’re immersed, we stay

(of course),

actors reacting to sudden cues

a little bruised, confused

wondering how to choose–

pratfalls on the shrinking stage,

soliloquy from the acting sage,

we spout our lines and ramble on

waiting for the denouement

 

We pass in and out

both clueless and without a doubt

stage to stage

filled with joy and filled with rage,

youth to adult

then on to elderly and frail

without fail–

we pass along

we pass in song

we pass through sunshine and shadows–

what will stay and what will follow?

It’s all a mystery,

but before too long

we’ve passed (strange) along, and then we’re gone.

 

In the midst of these farcical days

we pause to see an actual play

through city streets with rainbow flags

IMG_7934

swaying, zig zagging past cars and bikes, we go

wondering, but do not know

when last we three sat this way

(Love like that can’t be measured anyway)

IMG_7935

The play is of a young man coming of age,

there on the stage,

the narrator is the older him,

while he, the youth

tries to find life’s truth

fleeing LA,

passing through European cities

leaving before it all become too real

afraid perhaps of what he’ll feel

passing strange

passing as black,

is there any going back?

We all hide behind our chosen masks

going about our daily tasks

art can save us, or can obscure even more

(we hear this in the clever score)

It’s a wonderful play, we say,

and at the end we clap and sway

thankful to have this balm for our crazy days.

IMG_7945

We walk and talk and drink some wine

 

 

discuss the play, and feeling fine

we talk about my mother,

whose own mother, I find, used to sing

but stopped, when embarrassed,

and it’s strange, in passing

to suddenly hear such things, the past trespassing

in the here and now, and at this age–

yes, the world’s a stage

“Too bad it takes so long to see what you’ve been missing”

 

And so, we leave the warmth for frozen streets

the city marching to a different, syncopated beat

IMG_7942

 

 

and we,

well, we’re passing strange

IMG_7943

through our own domains

sometimes the hero, sometimes a supporting role

we see it all

sometimes fall

and fail to reach the unknown goal

(strange)

but journey on

with hope for more laughs than tears

and love to help us with the fears.

we make a wish upon a star

wonder who and where and what we are

then pause. . .

in early morning’s brightening light

the moon gently hums before she fades from sight.

FullSizeRender 313

 

We saw the revival of the award-winning musical play, Passing Strange, book and lyrics by Stew, Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald at the Wilma Theater, and we went to Tria Cafe, Washington West, afterward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Warmth in Winter Storms: Haibun

This is a Haibun for Frank’s Haikai challenge on winter storms. On the day of the snow “bomb cyclone,” we only had a few inches of snow, but it was very cold blustery day. In between phone calls about my mom, I made soup and baked.

 

I bolt the door against the raging winter winds. Outside, the snowflakes soar and drift–lost souls looking for a home. They howl and beat against the windows, but I do not let these winter ghosts in. I turn away, seeking warmth and substance, not frosty ephemera. My siblings and I talk on the phone, connected by invisible cords that close the space between us. Once my mom cared for us, now we care for her. I chop onions and sauté them till they turn golden sweet. I think time is frozen, but I realizes it bends, diverted by laughter and memories. My soul is warmed by love; my body warmed and sustained by soup and bread.

 

Ghosts flitter around

soup pots filled with scented thoughts–

memories linger

FullSizeRender 304

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Candles

Monday Morning Musings:

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”

—Attributed to Anne Frank all over the Internet, but without any source that I can find

 

A single candle

(for miracles)

flickers in the night

IMG_7696

joined by others

till eight in a row

they burn, and then they go

leaving only melted wax behind

and yet, perhaps I find

something, a sense of peace

in watching them increase

and we remember how our daughters

bet on which candle would stand last

one that burned not quite as fast—

lovely memories from the past.

 

 

A single candle

(for wishes)

flickers on a cupcake

IMG_4578 2

baked with love

and so sweet, delivered as surprise treat.

FullSizeRender 289

It’s a strange birthday,

things don’t quite go my way

I lose a filling, and due to the snow

we stay and home, and don’t go

to dinner and a show,

but we eat pizza and drink some wine

and it’s fine, I say,

we’ll do something another day.

 

Everything a bit off this week,

small victories tinged with apprehension

tension over what might come, or be

a tax bill to help the rich–

oh, if only I could flip a switch

to eradicate ignorance and greed

wish on candles and stars that people would read

would help those in need

and instead of hindering, would keep freed

thought and scientific inquiry.

 

The CDC, an agency, supposed to be science-based

is not supposed to use the word

it’s not to the taste

of the current administration

who would like to see a nation

without education based on facts

but the monster simply reacts

without nuance or tact, but snaps,

just twitter taps and taps and taps

 

We fry latkes

IMG_9407

and when we’re through

IMG_7721

we eat them–and donuts, too

IMG_7731

because it’s a holiday of oil and sweets

and it’s a treat to share them with love

we eat the food and laugh and talk of–

oh this and that–

we watch their dog and see their cat

climb in search of treasure—food!

Yes, we’re in a holiday mood

as candles flicker and lights glow

FullSizeRender 290

but soon it’s time to go.

 

I spend the next day working

(cats around me lurking)

I have too much work to do

I sit at my computer

in a bit of stupor

but as night falls

we light the candles

and watch the shadows on the walls

from the flickering glow

I think of miracles past

(wonder if our country will last)

but let those thoughts slide

subside for a more festive mood

as we eat our Chinese food

and watch the Christmas shows

I might doze. . .

 

 

In the morning, before the dawn

I yawn and look up at the sky

and know that hope like a feather flies

and though the clouds block the stars

I know exactly where they are

I close my eyes and make a wish

I hope it flies and travels far.

FullSizeRender 293

 

 

 

Hope Soars and Sings: Yeats Challenge, Day 30

This is for the final day of Jane’s wonderful A Month with Yeats Poetry Challenge. It has been glorious. Thank you, Jane! I wanted to end the month on a hopeful note–a bit different from my last couple.

I’m also linking this to the dVerse Open Link Night. 

 Today’s quotation from Yeats:

 “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,” —W.B. Yeats

 

In my dream, I soar with the gulls

adding my laughter to their own,

as I fly higher and higher away from home,

riding the waves of the infinite sea

floating weightless, drifting far, content to be

just there, a speck, a spot within the shimmer

lightly gliding amongst stellar glimmer

as the stars sing their songs and the moon hums along.

Then dropping slow, I wake at peace upon my bed,

(bits of stardust still glint softly on my head),

at home with you, now earthbound me,

and I rejoice to hear a sound, the robin’s voice

greeting the rosy sun, the light of day now just begun

hope sings and floats with feathered wings

and rises strong at dawn from the maple tree.

 

 

 

 

For My Daughters: Shadorma, Yeats Challenge, Day 27

I’ve combined prompts again–a Shadorma for Eliot’s November Shadorma Challenge and Jane’s A Month with Yeats Poetry Challenge, Day Twenty-Seven for both.

Today’s quotation:

“Once more the storm is howling, and half hid

Under this cradle-hood and coverlid

My child sleeps on.”—W.B. Yeats

 

 

I watch her

sleep, tiny body

breathes softly

in and out,

time focused

only on the here and now,

her dreams without words

 

 

did her soul

travel from the stars

I wonder,

discover

love grows exponentially

in lullabies sung

  

 

 

 

 

Sea Freedom: Shadorma and Yeats Challenge, Day 26

I’m combining prompts again for Eliot’s November Shadorma Challenge and Jane’s Month with Yeats. Here is today’s quotation:

“I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!”–W.B. Yeats

 

In a dream–

we flew like birds,

laughing gulls

soaring high,

or stood amidst the sea foam,

time and physics paused

 

1024px-Ilya_Repin-What_freedom!

Ilya Repin. “What Freedom!” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

The Stranger’s Tale: Yeats Challenge, Day 25

 This is for Jane’s  A Month with Yeats, Day Twenty-Five.

Today’s quotation is from the “Song of Wandering Aengus.”  Judy Collins sings a lovely version of this poem.

 “And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.”—W.B. Yeats

 

I met a man who told me tales

of wand’ring long on lonesome trails

through silvered groves of hazel wood

and seeing trout from where he stood

on the banks of a laughing stream

and how he fell into a dream.

He was old when he told me this,

of how he dreamt he had been kissed,

of how he’d never settled down

from fighting battles for the crown

of how he missed his darling’s lips

as he was gone upon his ships,

and how she chose another man

changing the life he thought he planned.

Now I am old, remember this,

the stranger’s tale of his lost kiss,

but when I dream, I dream of you

of wishes cast on waters blue

spindrift in the prismed light

flying high in the starlit night

I think of the man, his lesson taught–

thankful my wishes granted in love long sought

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Jean-Baptiste-Camille_Corot_-_Orphée

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