What about Dreams?

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise Clouds–a new day

What About Dreams?

I’ve written of the river ghosts,
but what about the dreams

that drift, twinkling like stars
beyond reach—as far as

the eagle that soars so high,
blink, and she’s gone–yet seen–

Bald Eagle flying over the river

or the shy deer with quivering ears
who disappears—

but some dreams are like herons
still and waiting to pounce,

A heron at Red Bank Battlefield, and two heron photos by Doug at Pittman Golf Club.

remembered with a sigh, a shudder,
or a smile,

some–you want them to stay awhile.

History slogs, then leaps,
slings arrows of love and hate.

Light and Shadow at Red Bank Battlefield

We are cool—then hot,
here, then not. But

in a world where bees may think and feel,
and trees whisper deep underground,

why is it strange to believe that stars sing,
or that dreams might come true?

It’s been very hot and humid. We didn’t go anywhere this week, but we did celebrate Shabbos virtually with our children and their spouses.

Shabbat Shalom!

I had access from Focus Features for a free streaming of Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris. It’s what I think of as a “comfy” film. You know that there will be some upsets, but somehow it will all work out in the end. It’s sort of a fairy tale. The acting is excellent and the film looks beautiful. The Dior gowns, of course, are gorgeous. I thought later that though the dream to go to Paris to buy a Dior gown is not something I can relate to, most people have dreamt of doing something, so in that way, her seeking the gown is a sort of symbol and the movie a quest. It’s not deep, but it’s charming. A definite feel-good movie.

We also went to our video backlog and watched another play. This one was Pipeline on Live from Lincoln Center. It was excellent—both the play itself and the performance. The poem “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks is referenced several times in the play. I found this wonderful video about Brooks and the poem by Manual Cinema on the Poetry Foundation site. We’ve seen Manual Cinema performances live twice, and their shows are wonderful.

And if you missed it, there was an amazing discovery at Red Bank Battlefield, the park where I walk nearly every day, that I wrote about here.

Reflections: Shadows and Light

Billy Penn Reflecting on Philadelphia--Merril D. Smith, May 2019

Monday Morning Musings:

“But it is only in epic tragedies that gloom is unrelieved. In real life tragedy and comedy are so intermingled that when one is most wretched ridiculous things happen to make one laugh in spite of oneself.”

–Georgette Heyer,  Civil Contract

“Here in the moving shadows

I catch my breath and sing–

My heart is fresh and fearless

And over-brimmed with spring.”
–from Sara Teasdale, “May Night”

 

Here the ghost eyes eternity

looking through a window

from the after

flying through fires of if

laughing at when

they embraced,

in heartbeats

measured time

****

My heart is over-brimmed

as my mother’s eyes fill

and weak are her limbs.

 

Days move from freezing rain

to summer heat

and I reel from pain

 

of seeing her so.

 

But nature and comedy

make me smile and laugh

and provide a remedy

both constant and temporary–

because life is full of

tragedy and joy, the extraordinary

 

and ordinary

of illness, broken cars, and trains delayed

–and the first strawberries

IMG_2675

of the season

the scent alone

a reason

 

to celebrate life

and being here

friends, family, husband, wife—

 

we go through shadows

seek light,

and who knows

IMG_2667

what will be, and if anything will be right

(the world sighs)

but there, the light

 

comes through the trees

and we drink coffee

savor moments, these

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small joys, please–

the walks and shadow shows

pizza, wine, dogs—these

 

simple pleasures bring

to our hearts even in winter

feelings of spring

 

(briefly in my mother’s eyes)

and comedy and tragedy both fly

dancing to the tune

of the moon’s lullaby.

Full Moon over Woodcrest Station

 

Thank you for all the good wishes for my mom. She has improved some from her stroke, and we were able to take her outside yesterday for a little while. We saw our son-in-law perform a stand-up routine at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia, and we saw Manual Cinema’s Ada/Ava at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. This is the second time we’ve seen one of their shows.  They’re hard to describe–but combine shadow puppets, actors, and live music to create something unique. If you get a chance, see them perform. There’s a video on this Kimmel Center link.

 

 

 

Art and Shadows

Monday Morning Musings:

“Sweet and faraway voice flowing for me.

Sweet and faraway voice tasted by me.

Faraway and sweet voice, muffled softly.”

–Federico García Lorca (1898-1936) excerpt from “The Poet Speaks to His Beloved on the Telephone,” translated by Francisco Aragón    Full poem here.

 

We entered the installation area as the sun was setting

screens at one end of the room,

in the middle—more screens, projectors, tables,

words on the wall

Gypsy music played from the speakers—

and the telephone rang

I answered it.

the poet recited a poem in English, then in Spanish.

and then it rang again.

we wandered, looked through drawers of the nightstands,

a grasshopper,

poems,

flowers,

a butterfly

tangible traces of the poet’s words, his existence.

The performance still an hour away,

we went into the exhibition—

Picasso: The Great War, Experimentation and Change

We saw cubist works and neoclassical,

side-by-side, as the artist

produced both styles within the same years

contradictory, bemusing critics and friends.

French nationalists condemned cubism

calling it degenerate, associating it with Germany,

spelling it “Kubism,”

though clearly French in origin.

Picasso never commented on the Great War,

though cubism, he acknowledged,

influenced

the camouflage on trucks and ships,

a strange marriage of art and war.

Denouncing art, artists, of all sorts

nations, politicians, war-mongers do this

in every war

repress freedom of speech and expression

slap on the label of nationalism

and suppress, censor

lay waste to all that does not fit

the narrow parameters and forms

of those

who are in control.

Germany destroys the work of degenerative artists

in the the next war,

destroys the artists, too.

Tyrants know the power of words, the power of art,

and music–

music is played at the concentration camps, you know,

dance me to the end of love

 

We slowly stroll back to the installation

the performance begins,

a ringing telephone

the poet runs to answer it,

then disappears,

shadow puppets blend with figures

on a screen

words

spoken

seen

a fish travels across the white surface

taking us on a journey,

Spain, New York

water, a boat, an iguana with a pipe

writing

surreal images

words of love

lush, sensual

space and time

have no boundaries,

the telephone rings

the poet imprisoned

he speaks no more

shot, silenced

but not forever

because art lives on,

art shadows our world

or perhaps it is our shadow world,

the dreams we live inside.

 

After the performance, we’re invited to look at and play with the puppets and talk to the actors, puppeteers, and musicians.

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We were at the Barnes Museum

We saw My Soul’s Shadow created and performed by Manual Cinema,

a Chicago-based company.  The performance was part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts 2016 (PIFA), and sponsored by the Kimmel Center.