Love is a Song: Ghazal

“Love is raw as freshly cut meat,

mean as a beetle on the track of dung”

~ Jim Harrison  from Songs of Unreason

 

It can be painful and raw, sometimes it’s wrong, but love is a song.

It’s sung both in hearts and in brains–if given free rein–because love is a song.

 

It makes lovers dance and full of romance because love is a song.

But what happens when dampened, or gone with dawn, will you still say love is a song?

 

It can make someone evil, cause great upheaval, but love is a song

with notes that can sway, make some go and some stay for the love of love is a song.

 

You can love one child or ten, again and again, because love is a song

that makes mothers sigh when parted, cry broken-hearted, because love is a song.

 

The notes can be doleful and soulful and wonderous and wise because love is a song

that grows and expands without any demands—love is love is love is love is love is a song.

 

Love of country is sung, by those with forked-tongues, because love is a song

to convince some not to think, or to look at the brink, just sing that love is a song.

 

Its music can frighten, can make our hearts tighten, but love is a song

that may protect a few or cause trouble anew, but love is a song.

 

Listen to the stars and moon, listen to the celestial tunes—high above love is a song.

Listen to the birds and bees, listen to the earthly seas, listen long and sing along, love is a song.

 

This ghazal is for Day 20 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, poetry inspired by Jim Harrion’s poetry (and other works).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Someone to Love is the Answer

Monday Morning Musings:

“Then we’ll break the moments. We’ll split them over and over and we’ll have all the time in the world.”

–I.G. Zelazny (On a sign at Grounds for Sculpture)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Make someone happy

Make just one someone happy

Make just one heart the heart you sing to

One smile that cheers you. . .”

–from Jule Styne, “Make Someone Happy”

 

Almost forty years wed

together pretty much

from that ninth-grade dance

(sideways glance)

when you stood whispering to your friend

before approaching to say–

Would you like to go to the dance with me?

Certainly,

we’ve trod on toes

and missed some steps,

I’ll concede,

but mostly we’ve agreed

and danced

knowing where to place hands

there

and there

(hold my heart).

Laurita Inn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inn at Laurita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When did it start–

moving from shuffle to waltz

and tango in the night–

mostly delight–

of course, there’ve been fights,

but then an embrace,

a dance,

not a race,

with time to

pause–

look at art

Grounds for Sculpture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

stroll hand and hand,

understand

the need to

rejuvenate

feel the sun

relive, rewind–

Remember that time?

Lovely, yes–

Let’s have some wine,

Laurita Winery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and dance together,

waltz in a circle,

not in a line,

because the path curves and wanders

Longwood Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

so, we can ponder–

how old is that tree?

Longwood Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and listen to nature

and a voice that soars

Audra McDonald at Longwood Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

here outdoors

Longwood Gardens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

complimenting

the music of the heart

(ready, start)

we continue the dance

you and me

one, two, three–

See?

There we go,

fumbling

gliding

sometimes slipping and sliding

onward the show,

(more years)

more things to know.

 

 

Our 40th wedding anniversary is later this month. Our VERY wonderful daughters gave us an overnight getaway to the Inn at Laurita, where we stayed in the “Shall We Dance?” room. We also had a wine tasting at the Laurita Winery and a massage at the spa. Thank you, thank you, girls!  The next day we visited Grounds for Sculpture. We were fortunate to have absolutely perfect weather. Last night, on Father’s Day, we saw Audra McDonald at Longwood Gardens. She said she was going to sing selections from the great American songbook. Well, I could listen to her sing anything. She said that “Make Someone Happy” serves as a sort of mantra for her. I loved the mashup arrangement of “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” (Rogers and Hammerstein, South Pacific) with “Children Will Listen” (Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods). And she sent us off with the reminder to think of all the wonderful children and to “remember your humanity.”

Here’s Audra McDonald singing “Make Someone Happy.”

 

 

 

 

 

Unfinished 2

I told the poet,

I think

I think

of my dad more now,

of love not really disguised

but not quite recognized,

now the way broken

and the words unspoken.

Those days

trips to places,

open spaces,

drives to historical sites,

we always stopped

to eat,

no outing ever complete

without food,

and those restaurants,

the lingering traces,

scents and memories mined,

and entwined

with all the things

we never said–

too late regret

for what was,

remembered,

perhaps imperfectly.

Seeking to flee

our parents

and love—

the things as children

we never see

but now–

so much of them

(unfinished)

in me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This goes with my Unfinished from a few days ago. Robert Okaji’s “Empty Cup,” got me started.  I realize it also fits Jilly’s Day 16 (yesterday’s) quotation for her 28 Days of Unreason, poetry inspired by Jim Harrison’s poetry.

 

“You can’t write the clear biography
of the aches and pains inside your skull”

~ Harrison from Skull /  Songs of Unreason

 

 

 

The World Awakens Anew

“I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow

by I don’t know what

–Jim Harrison, “Tomorrow,” In Search of Small Gods

 

Every day the world awakens anew. I wake to the sound of birdsong–twitters, chirps, the laugh of the woodpecker. I laugh, too. It’s a beautiful June morning. I drink coffee while a cat purrs on my lap. I stand in sunshine, and later I smell petrichor rising from the damp grass as the world—or my little part of it—is washed clean. I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow by what I don’t know—more people who appreciate the earth, who believe in truth and value what is good.  Our cups can never be too full. There is always room in this world for more beauty, more love.

 

peonies open,

a fleeting gift of beauty

given to the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m catching up on prompts! This Haibun is for Jilly’s Day 9 of 28 Days of Unreason, inspired by the poetry of Jim Harrison. I’m also linking to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for care and share. Frank’s Haikai challenge this week the 2018 FIFA World Cup. I have zero interest in sports, and I know nothing about the FIFA world cup. So, totally cheating here, but I did get world and cup into this, along with a nod to last week’s prompt on peonies, which I missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Break in the Rain

Monday Morning Musings:

It seems to rain from moon to sun

rain over and over, never done

and then a break, till it thunders

again and again.

I feel lethargic and dull

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and it’s hard to mull

over this or that—

the people who insist the world is flat,

or guns don’t kill, people do,

except there are more dead kids shot through,

and it seems we will never cease

with hate and violence, the human disease.

 

But in the midst of death we see the love—

yes, pomp and circumstance, uniforms and gloves,

the fascinators, and the meters-long train

(and the sun-filled day with no hint of rain).

It’s storybook fantasy, mixed with Stand By Me,

gospel choir amid the history and pageantry,

but these two appear so much in love,

and if it helps, gets us thinking of

better things, well, I can take a break

in the coverage of hate, it’s not a mistake

to celebrate love, or a wedding day—

a bit of color amidst the world’s gloomy grey.

 

Still–spring insists on being seen

and here, the world is turning green,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

though I don winter clothes because it’s turned cold

and we go through rain, to visit

friends of old.

We eat Chinese food, laugh, talk over the meal

how we can’t understand the hypocrisy of those who feel

the man in the White House is okay

when they were upset at bare arms and a tan suit,

birthers and ape images, just try to dispute

there’s no racism there,

some very fine people on both sides–but I’d beware.

 

The next day, the clouds break and the temperatures soar,

everyone wants to get out of doors,

I see a hawk atop a weathervane,

Hawk atop a weathervane at Carpenter’s Hall, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

perhaps she’s trying to ascertain

the state of this territory, her domain,

which no doubt is full of tasty things

grown and born in rain and light of spring.

We walk city streets, where life beats

A flirty car

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in harmony and patterns, under the blue sky

and birds sing and fly,

and there is so much green and flowers in bloom

filling the air with their perfume,

May in Old City Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and it is a relief from gloom and rain,

though I know people are in pain

and children are dead, and women are raped

and the world is shaped

by guns, disease, and violence

and we must break the silence—

but for today, just let me feel the sun and say

nothing but “see the hawk there”

and smell the roses over there.

We see a movie about motherhood and coping

with a newborn and others and life,

sometimes mom’s need an extra wife

or helping hands and people to truly see

beyond the façade, the hyperbole

of motherhood’s joys to the cries and sleepless nights

the clutter and exhaustion—along with the delights.

We drink coffee, walk and talk some more

then it’s home to feed the cats, take care of chores.

At Customs Coffee House, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the night, my mind wanders and roams

far from home

(Macbeth has murdered sleep)

But in my dreams, I hear the chirps and cheeps,

As the mockingbird sings through the night

and we are fine, it’s all right,

 

the dawn comes with bird choir and radiant light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw the movie Tully, which we both thought was excellent, but I don’t want to give anything away. I’ve seen it described as a comedy. At least not in the modern sense.

I’m reading Jo Nesbrø’s take on Macbeth, set in a Glasgow-like city in the 1970s.

Sorry about the weird formatting and gaps. WP gremlins are still hanging about.

 

 

 

 

 

We Laughed Till We Cried: Haibun

My sisters and I help my mother try on new clothes on Mother’s Day. She has trouble getting up and sitting down, and she can no longer see very well. All of us, including my mom, laugh so hard at the maneuvering and manipulation of her body parts in and out of sleeves that we cry. Our tears fall lightly like the spring rain dampening this day. Our giggles create a euphonious sound, a rainbow of multi-colored tones that arc across the small room. I tuck this moment into the folder in my mind labeled “Mom Memories.”

 

fledglings cry for food

spring to summer, then they fly–

stormy skies soon clear

Carroll Sargent Tyson, Jr.
Kingfisher
From the portfolio Twenty Birds of Mt. Desert Island
Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xenia Tran who is the guest host for Haibun Monday at dVerse asks us to write about compassion or self-sacrifice without using the words.

I’m also linking to Frank’s Haikai challenge, Spring Rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Past, Future, and When

Monday Morning Musings:

“Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton,”

You can hear him read the poem here. 

“Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.”

–Justice Hugo Black, New York Times Company v. United States (1971)

 

“Wouldn’t it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true and we could live in them?”

–Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

 

The present passes, becomes the past

the future now, and now is then.

We ask how did this happen and when?

Too fast for us to learn,

to slow for us to train

the grasping hands

the lizard brains?

 

In May 1933, they burned the books–

but that was there and then

now here, and again,

a leader tried to censor the news

suppress the press

(What are the choices? Choose.)

“I am not a crook,” he said

before he fled

his seat of power

(looking ever more dour)

But that was then

and it is now,

though there are echoes of before

(his followers ignore)

hate and fear

always in the air

like war’s harsh glare—

sow discord, let others bleed,

while those in the lead, feed their greed.

 

Bright days turn to stormy nights

we gather inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and hold our fears at bay

waiting for a stay

from thunder and lightning flashes–

the zigs and zags across the sky–

but in the morning,

the birds still sing and fly

this is the present,

the past, the future whys

converge,

the past, present, future merge

as it’s beginning to do within my mother’s head

confusing the threads of history and time

sometimes—no reason, no rhyme—

but just the way it is

a bridge to what is, or could be

if only we can see—

somehow—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrate Mother’s Day

a made-up holiday

from what was a protest against war

to one of flowers and treats—

for some, for us, it can also be sweet—

Flourless Chocolate Cake and Cannoli Dip

and we’ve done all this before,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but still—

my mother has a great laugh—

and it would not be so bad

if that became her epitaph–

gathering with love around a table

as long as we are able

is wonderful and something we need.

No, that is not greed

to desire love and peace.

Perhaps I sometimes long for castles in the air

wish that was here or something there,

want the best for my own little women

as my mother wished for hers

and her mother for her children

in the past, which is now, which was then—

I wonder when?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the Ifs, NaPoWriMo, Day 28

My Dearest. I can’t tell you where I’m going, nor when I’ll return. Here—is it pretty? you asked. Perhaps if we were on holiday together. If we could sit at leisure, smell the flowers, and drink the local wine. . . Well, that’s in the past, all the ifs–now the dogs of war yap and bark only for blood, and we must feed them. In the dirty days and unbearable nights, I think of you. In the unceasing gloom, the dismal war rooms, the crowded trains, the stinking rain—and the mud! God, the mud! I long for the touch of your gentle hand and remember your kisses. I long for clean linen and light–and for the sight of you. My darling, I carry your words against, hold them within my heart. Love always, Your Johann.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

English translation: “Labeled postcard from Miss Nördingen to her fiancé John Ostermeir,” first Army Corps, 1st Division, Second Army Regiment. C. 1914-1918.  Wikimedia Commons

 

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge: “to draft a prose poem in the form/style of a postcard.”

 

 

Waves Again (and Again), NaPoWriMo, Day 27

No flask, no wine, no book of verse, this night

We reach for stars and moon, seek gleams of light

Hear the silver streams from the humming moon

Time and rhythms flow, in eternal rites

 

Upon the sand, waves pitch and break and roar

While spindrift flicks in salted breeze to shore

And you with me, now standing hand in hand

Watching the sea, waiting for dreams, and more.

 

Ilya Repin, “What Freedom”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m off prompt for today’s NaPoWriMo challenge. I took bits of yesterday’s NaPoWriMo poem and tribute line from Omar Khayyam’s famous verse for this attempt at a Rubaiyat for Frank Hubeny’s challenge on dVerse.