Storm Be Done–Quadrille

The angry god in petulant fury

raised his triton high—

soon scorched-ash clouds filled the sky,

covering the moon.

The storm raged, the sea roiled,

thunder echoed,

lightning flashed,

till Aurora said “enough, be done!”

And opened a door

to let in the sun.

 

John_Constable_-_Stormy_Sea,_Brighton_-_Google_Art_Project

John Constable, Stormy Sea, Brighton,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a quadrille for dVerse. The prompt was storm.

Yesterday, Kerfe, Jane, and I in a bit of mysterious blog sisterhood and synchronicity all wrote about doors (with a bit of help from Emily Dickinson). I decided to play with the idea some more.

 

 

 

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Naiad

 

 

 

Her soul’s secret song

shimmers, she shares it gently

leads him, calls to him

from the river, where brave rush,

rave, or walk to inner light

 

1024px-Naiad1

John William Waterhouse, “Naiad” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were lead and share. I’ve also used Secret Keeper’s words for this week: BRAVE | RUSH | RAVE | WALK | INNER

 

 

 

 

Time’s Glow: NaPoWriMo

 

We sojourn on between the moons

climbing full and white and bright and clear

but still the dark I feel is near

though here there is more luminous light

where comes the song of ancient sprites

wandering through shade, illuminating sight,

nearby, a diamond girl shimmers and glows,

ensorcelling face, radiant clothes,

her tongue sings music of forest and glen

urging spring and summer, again, again,

and time is endless here and always

with shadows splashed by sun-shining blazes

and roses bloom with sweet perfume

like golden apples of the sun, yet unconsumed

and gleaming, Earth seesaws now between beginning and done,

we’re dreaming, spindrift from slipstream, time’s run

 

1024px-Beatrice-1885

Odilon Redon, Beatrice,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Day 29, WaPoWriMo. The penultimate day.  The prompt was to take a word or phrase from a favorite poem, free associate, and then write a poem. I took some words and phrases from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle and went from there.

I’ve borrowed an image idea–using one that is similar to the one Jane Dougherty used in her dreamy vision–because I thought this golden Beatrice fit the poem. So thanks, Jane. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explorer: NaPoWriMo

Explorer,

what wonders will you see?

As you strike out boldly through the clouds,

spectrometers reading the signs

checking for radio and plasma waves

no dragons in your starry ocean, wine dark,

unmanned, but still the sirens call

(listen)

you sail,

not searching for gold,

not racing for the Northwest Passage,

but pursuing knowledge

taking science, applying it

sharing what you’ve learned—

visions—

(we see them, too)

mileposts and revelations

like life,

weathered,

changed,

scored by the elements,

(floating)

yet I wonder if you’ve heard the music,

of the stars and rings?

Do they chime, do they sing

in contrapuntal melodies,

weaving time and space?

Ancient wisdom there, eternal tides and waves,

(listen)

before you vanish

out of range

(the siren calls)

out of contact

alone,

the explorer

pia20530

“This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 7 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Jan. 18, 2017.” Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

Today is Day 26 of NaPoWriMo.   I misread the prompt, which was to write a poem about some sort of explorer from the future looking at something here on Earth.  I guess mine is the opposite–inspired by today’s Google Doodle.  I’ve also used Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Prompt words: Strike/Score/Race/Take/ Read

Ferocious Angels Sing: NaPoWriMo

Persephone returns, laughs, and the world blooms anew,

yellow-green, pink, and white,

Corn Mother awakens, belly swollen with the seeds of life,

birds sing sweetly as the season turns

till the sky grows dark, crashes, and burns,

the world in flames and children are hungry

 

The song of ferocious angels lingers in the air

 

Unchanging, conflicts and battles

besiege the enemy, starve them in ghettos

enslave them, kill them all

(they are not us,

we are not them)

ancient tactics, mad men and fools with their bully cries,

rape the women, grab the prize

the rivers red with blood

 

The song of ferocious angels lingers in the air

 

And will it change, and do we care?

you can’t eat gold, or oil,

we can’t live on air

(they are us,

we are them,)

brothers and sisters, children of Earth

 

The song of ferocious angels lingers in the air

 

 

 

This is for NaPoWriMo: Day 11, a bop poem.

The form is described on the site this way:

“Like a Shakespearean sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.”

Kerfe had me thinking of “ferocious angels,”   Unfortunately, the rest of the poem is ripped from history and headlines, unless you live in Sean Spicer’s fantasy world.

 

 

 

 

The Golden Egg: Microfiction

varnadragons

 

Journal Entry, 4773

Ambassador Armstrong and I traded stories after dinner. I enjoyed hers about the boy who flew too close to the sun. She admired our language, saying it reminded her of the birdsongs of her planet. In response, I told her this tale:

Eons ago, great, winged creatures inhabited our planet. The Mianthx were massive, lumbering creatures, powerful of body, but dull of mind, and without our grace and beauty. Unlike us, with our shimmering, varigated feathers, they were covered in dull, grey-green scales.

There was Mianthx prophecy that foretold the appearance of a golden egg—from which a great leader would be born. And one day, an ordinary Mianthx produced such an egg and showed it to her mate. The couple was overjoyed. It was their first egg. They shared in its care, keeping it warm in their birth pouches. When the birth-time came, their family members and officials (alerted to the news of the golden egg) gathered around to witness the event. The midwife helped the Mianthx couple with the hatching process, but all fell silent when a small being with soft, downy, multi-colored feathers appeared.

“It’s so strange-looking,” some onlookers whispered, “and what are those odd sounds it’s making?”

However, her parents loved her and called her Dulcka, or “Dear One.” As Dulcka grew older, she became a being of wondrous beauty, with feathers glowing and iridescent in the light. Her appearance was matched by the kindness of her soul, and by her mellifluous voice, like a chorus of flutes—so unlike the raspy voices of those around her. She became beloved by all.

One day the world was threatened by a vast, dark cloud that was starting to block the sun. Without light and heat, all life would perish. Dulcka flew high in the air, higher than any of the Mianthx had ever flown. There she sang to the wind, telling it to blow the cloud away. So powerful was her voice, that the wind obeyed her, and the cloud was dispersed, letting the sun shine down once again on our planet. Dulcka was lauded for her deed and re-named Melasios, or silver-voiced leader.

In time, Melasios mated with one of the Mianthx, and they had a baby, who was born with soft, downy variegated feathers. It is said we are all descended from Melasios.

 

This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge, using the sculpture pictured above. And once again, I’m way over the word count.

This story is a sequel to this story.

 

 

 

Still Life

Monday Morning Musings:

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

–Leonard Bernstein

(For information on this quote. Go here. )

I had meant to write a different post,

One discussing food and family

Something new,

I know,

But then there was Paris

And Beirut,

And death everywhere.

It’s all I could think about.

But life goes on.

And there was art.

A still life by my mom.

A still life by my mom.

My husband and I went to the museum

To see an exhibition on American still life,

And when I said “still life”

To myself

There was the epiphany.

(From the Greek,

Meaning reveal.)

Art does reveal,

Of course.

But it was the words–

Still AND life

That’s what hit me.

Despite the attempts

By terrorists

To massacre

Not only people,

But to destroy

Art, music, culture,

The history, beauty, and wisdom

Of the ages

They have not won.

There is

Still

Life.

Still life the art form

Displays what people value

Or want to present to the world

It can be a reflection of the ordinary

Or the sublime.

Often both.

Raphaelle Peale’s blackberries

Looked so luscious

I wanted to pluck them from the canvas.

A little girl ran to a Calder mobile,

A water lily,

In delight.

The guard and I smiled at each other.

“It is wonderful to see so many children here,”

I said.

And she agreed.

The next generation

Seeing beauty and creativity,

And all sorts of people were there.

A French-speaking family stood

Behind me.

A woman with gray hair

And a ready smile

In a wheelchair

Moved around the exhibition room

As though her chair was a chariot.

A tall man in a blue sweater stooped

To read a label

Supported by his cane.

From American still life,

Audubon’s birds

“Are they dead?”

The girl asked her mother

To Warhol’s Brillo Pads

We traveled to another gallery.

Rubens’ “Prometheus Bound,”

Bound again

And again

For bringing the fire of creativity to humankind.

He suffered perpetual torture

Until freed by Hercules.

His position mirroring

Michelangelo’s risen Christ.

Wrath of the gods

And resurrection.

The triumph of human spirit

And imagination

Rendered over and over.

Humans suffer for art

And for that creative spark.

And art suffers from human destructiveness.

We saw paintings

Retrieved by

The Monuments Men.

Paintings stolen

In another war.

Evil and good,

History and art,

Gods and men.

In another room

A Buddhist monk in saffron robe and black sandals

Admired Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers,”

Another still life

By a tortured soul.

But still,

Life.

We had seen a play the day before.

Equivocation.

That was the title,

Not what we did,

At least not then,

Because after all,

Haven’t we all

Equivocated?

The play was about Shakespeare,

And history,

And truth

And lies

And theater.

In other words,

Life.

The creation of truth

Or legends.

And don’t forget the witches.

Richard III and his hump,

A creation of the playwright,

And Agincourt,

The legend immortalized,

But after all,

The St. Crispin’s Day speech

Is grand and glorious,

We happy few

Going into battle.

Still life

A tableau

A freeze frame

Of a particular moment

In time

On stage,

But in our minds, too,

As we recall

“Where were you when it happened?”

Everyone remembers.

I was in second grade when JFK

Was assassinated.

I was on my way to the gym

When the first plane struck the twin towers.

Moments observed

And never forgotten.

We went to the movies,

My husband and I,

Spotlight

The name of the movie,

A noun and a verb.

A moment revealed

And highlighted.

The power of the press

Uncovering a cover-up

Exposing what had been buried

With the help of many

In the church and government.

What is the opposite

Of wrath of the gods?

The triumph of the human spirit?

Truth

Not equivocation.

Buildings

And photos

Colored in red, blue, and white

In solidarity

Revealing

The human impulse

To do something

In the face of evil

And who says it does no good?

As we are reminded

Time and time again

One person can bring about

Change.

Gandhi said,

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

And

So

In the horror

Of Paris,

Beirut,

The abuse of children,

The censorship of ideas,

The destruction of art,

We mourn,

And

We go about life

Without equivocation

Without hesitation

Revealing truth

Life

Still

But

Not stilled.

Life

Creating

Loving

Being.

More intensely,

More beautifully,

More devotedly

Than ever

Before.

My mom with one of her still life paintings at an exhibit.

My mom with one of her still life paintings at an exhibit.

Further Information:

Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life

The Wrath of the Gods: Masterpieces by Rubens, Michelangelo, and Titian

Equivocation at the Arden Theatre. You can read more about the play here.

Spotlight the film

The Water is Wide, but It Connects Us All

Monday Morning Musings:

“The water understands

Civilization well”

–Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Water”

There’s a spin instructor

At my gym.

She sometimes lifts her water bottle

And says, “community drink.”

When she says that

I picture a group of people

In a smoky old tavern

Passing around a mug of ale.

History brain.

And as soon as I think “history brain,”

Referring to myself

You understand,

I begin to ponder drinking in

Revolutionary Era America.

At the City Tavern

In Philadelphia

The bill for “55 Gentlemans Dinner & Fruit”

In September 1787

Went mainly for alcohol.

Madera, Claret, Porter, and Beer,

And don’t forget the “7 Large Bowels of Punch.”*

George Washington

Had a distillery at Mount Vernon,

The largest one in North America

At that time.

His hogs were fed the slops.

No waste on the farm.

Perhaps his neighbors

Drank to his health

With the whiskey

They bought from him.

Eighteenth-century toasting

At the table could be an ordeal.

With each guest toasting the health

Of everyone there

And on

And on

Till they could toast no more.

But perhaps it was better

Than drinking water in the city.

Dr. Benjamin Rush once

Lauded the murky water

Of an urban well,

Saying that its mineral waters

Could cure a host of conditions

From flatulence to rheumatism.

But it turned out its peculiar scent and taste

Was due to its connection to a privy.

Ooops.

I guess the doctor is not always right.

Well, well.

There’s a scene in A Town Like Alice

Where an Englishwoman

Returns to a village

In Malaya,

A place where she lived and toiled

During the war

After the Japanese took control

And force-marched her with

Other women and children

Over hundreds of miles.

She had money after the war,

An inheritance,

I think,

And so she goes back

To ask the headman of the village

To let the women have a well.

A small thing

But huge to them.

The scene has stayed in my mind

After all these years.

And I think about how in many parts of the world

Women and children are at risk every day

Because they must fetch the water used for

Cooking,

Drinking,

And washing

From miles away.

They can be assaulted

Or kidnapped

Or killed.

And women in some places

Do not have sanitary facilities

During their monthly periods

And so they cannot go to school

Or to work.

Water.

Those of us who have it

Take for granted that we can turn on a spigot

And there it will be.

And I just realized we haven’t seen

The Walking Dead survivors boiling water

To drink

Not that I remember anyway,

I could be wrong.

But then I guess if you’re already

Infected with a zombie virus

It doesn’t matter much

About the water.

Water from faucets,

Wells, springs, and rivers,

The Amazon,

The Nile,

The Thames,

The Tiber,

The Ganges,

And the Delaware

That flows not far

From my door.

The Delaware River from Red Bank Battlefield

The Delaware River from Red Bank Battlefield

All giving rise to cities

And civilizations.

And the oceans–

The magnificence of whales

Killed to supply people with

Oil for lights and corset stays.

The tides call to them

And to us.

I think about my four-year-old daughter

Twirling and jumping on the beach,

Sheer delight at seeing the ocean

For the first time.

Then the day both girls

Were terrified by a storm

That arose suddenly

On that same beach

As if Poseidon himself

Had awakened–

But was not very happy.

Nothing like a grouchy god.

Air and water blended

Into a mist,

The sand whipped us

In tiny, stinging pellets

As the wind howled

And the waves crashed.

And then just as quickly,

All was once again calm.

Water

And life.

Playful otters

Who cavort in rivers

And salmon that swim upstream

To spawn.

Fanciful beings who

Live between water and land,

Selkies,

Mermaids,

The Lady of the Lake,

And Nessie, too.

We build bridges over troubled waters.

And we sing in the rain.

We paint water lilies

And glance at reflections,

Illusions

And ripples

Time passing

On the water.

I'm fascinated by reflections on the water. Knight Park

I’m fascinated by reflections on the water.
Knight Park

IMG_2962

We humans spend nine months

In a fluid-filled sac,

Emerging from the womb

To gasp, breathe,

And let out that first cry

Announcing,

“I am here.”

Like our ancestors

Who surfaced from the sea

To build a life on land.

But still,

The water calls.

Spinning thoughts

As I pedal

And the wheels turn.

Connections,

Community,

Though the water is wide.

Raise your glass.

Drink.

IMG_2963

Sources:

* “Entertainment of George Washington at City Tavern, Philadelphia, September 1787

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/citytavern/

Merril D. Smith, The World of the American Revolution: A Daily Life Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2015).

A Town Like Alice (miniseries 1981 with Helen Morse, Bryan Brown, and Gordon Jackson) based on Nevil Shute’s 1950 novel.

There are so many versions of the folk song, “The Water is Wide.” Here is James Taylor singing it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opfEk_Yoksk

Reflections in Time and Space

Monday Morning Musings:

“It is just inevitable. The soul wanders in the dark, until it finds love. And so, wherever our love goes, there we find our soul.”

–Mary Zimmerman, Metamorphoses

And so, once again we’re in the ancient world.

This time, it’s Metamorphoses.

Another theater in Philadelphia,

A rippling pool

Aphrodite

Zeus

Orpheus

And Eurydice

The power of myths,

Stories,

Transformation,

And love.

The power of words

And art

Legends told and retold

For thousands of years

Gods

Who appear powerless

Are not

As long as they’re known.

They still influence us

Through the retelling

Of their tales.

For ninety minutes or so

We’re lost

In the magic of theater.

Carried along on a journey

By the actors

Whose words and movements

In and around that pool

Remind us of the strength of

Long ago myths

And their connection

To us now.

A special treat for subscribers.

A special treat for subscribers.

The next day,

Across the river

And closer to home

We’re watching theater

Of another sort,

Revolutionary War Era soldiers.

It’s a reenactment,

Of course.

The day is brisk,

The leaves starting to turn

Red and gold.

A cannon booms,

A squirrel scurries up a tree

The child in front of me says

“The sound makes my chest hurt.”

But old bones

Shards of vessels

Long shattered

And old cannonballs

Lay in the ground beneath

Our feet

To remind us of lives

Gone.

The bits and pieces tell a tale.

The past buried

And unearthed.

Perhaps ghosts

Still wander here.

****

An hour later

We’re on to a wine festival.

My husband, daughter, and I.

Nectar of the gods.

We taste

And enjoy.

In truth,

We’re a bit buzzed

By the end.

But in vino veritas.

And though the stories

Of women,

The poor,

The servants,

And slaves

Are often forgotten

And left untold

I’m sworn to tell them.

But perhaps not just yet

After all

The wine.

Celebrating with Dionysus,

Clio will have to wait.

****

Across space and time

My mind wanders

Seeking a connecting thread.

From ancient Greeks

To the Quaker woman,

Centuries later who

Nursed the soldiers

Wounded in battle

At her farm.

She was a pacifist.

I imagine her criticizing voice

Grumbling at the soldiers

On both sides of the conflict.

“Is this the way to serve God?

The farmland destroyed

And young men killed,

Maimed,

And scarred.

And yet she tries to heal

Their bodies

Though their souls may

Be lost.

The cruel irony

Of war.

I stand in her garden.

Her house still there

Overlooking the river.

Her secrets long buried

Like the detritus of war

And household scraps.

All who truly

Knew her

Gone, too.

My words now

Scattered into the world

By way of devices

She could not imagine.

Perhaps in hundreds of years

Someone will read them

With some newer device.

Perhaps that person will wonder

About me,

A woman long dead,

Who thought about myths

And the power of love

Who enjoyed wine

And wrote about

Ordinary people

Who though no longer alive

Lived on

In her mind

Like reflections in a mirror

That stretch on

In a never ending line

Through time

And space.

Rippling figures

Words

And myths

Connecting past

And future.

Transformed.

Smoke and illusions-- British soldiers at Red Bank Battlefield

Smoke and illusions–
British soldiers
at Red Bank Battlefield

Here are the places we visited this weekend.

And not to worry, son-in-law was our designated driver to and from the wine festival.

Arden Theatre

Red Bank Battlefield

Autumn Wine Festival at Riverwinds