Picnics at the Lake, NaPoWriMo

So many picnic dinners at the lake. We are all younger and thinner. I wear my hair in braids; my skin is smooth and summer-brown. Summers seem full of warm promises—and gentle breezes carry magic. A butterfly perches on the flowered center of my purple bathing suit. I watch her in delight, though I can’t understand her whispered secrets. Still, I keep them.

 

Rose petals turn brown,

traces of perfume lingers–

ghosts drift from the past

 

Day 30, the last day of NaPoWriMo! We’re asked to write a minimalist poem–so the haiku here. I’m also linking this to Haibun Monday on dVerse, where Gina has asked us to write about picnics.

 

 

 

 

Remembering the Days, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Remember you are all people and all people

are you.

Remember you are this universe and this

universe is you.”

From Joy Harjo, “Remember”

 

I remember the week,

the was, the hoped for

the what that came before

 

the sun and storms

the way a cloud forms

and blows across the sky

 

while I wonder how and why

it happens again and again

sun rising, moon sets,

 

dreams floating, drifting,

joy, regrets

shifting, sifting

 

through existence

we’re existing,

sometimes resisting. . .

****

Another shooting on the day

we celebrate Passover,

the end

 

(Hate fills a space

what should be sacred,

this place.)

but we toast to new beginnings,

jobs and a new house,

we douse

 

the hate with love

and wine,

and we dine.

It would have been enough

“Dayenu,”

life is rough and tough

 

but we find the light

in candles on the table.

On this special night

 

we sing and laugh

act out our play

imprint photographs

 

and memories of then

and now,

beginnings and when

 

did that happen?

The sister stories

strains, pains

 

(Laughter)

vomiting in cars,

on planes

 

and on my doll

(she says)

we remember it all–

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ancestors, crash, fall

hide from Cossacks

when very small,

 

and there is more,

Dessert!

Not quite gone, no snores

 

though it’s late,

I remember,

bed awaits.

 

The next day

sky sunny, then grey

we walk through

city and cemetery

sun peeks out

we see a play,

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Oedipus, well,

the shepherds

who raise him, yell

 

and drink

they don’t so much

think,

 

or they do,

too late,

the cow moos

 

and there is

inappropriate sex

a family this

 

dysfunctional,

a tragedy with laughs,

desperate, they fall

 

drink too much

evil and nice

the device

 

of plotting might

not quite work,

but it’s interesting,

 

the play,

and we discuss it

before we flit

 

to other topics

as we sit here

eat mussels, drink beer,

and journey home

watch Voyager, where

Capt. Janeway, onscreen, there

 

wants to save her family

a group united not by blood

but fate, and we await

 

ours,

not family, but fate

sometimes wondering, too late–

 

yet always there are cats

and moon,

a daughter’s visit,

gone, too soon,

but I remember–

we are the stars

 

and all our ancestors

through time and space,

traced

 

filled with sorrow

and grace

I remember today

 

and yesterday,

dream of tomorrow.

 

Today is Day 29, the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo. The challenge is “to blend these concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully.” I don’t know if I’ve done that here, but I like this prompt, and I’ll probably return to it.

We celebrated Passover at the end because that’s when most of us could get together. Daughter and Daughter-in-law went with us to see Dionysus Was Such a Nice Man,” a world-premiere play at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. And then we ate mussels at Monk’s Cafe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, To Love, NaPoWriMo

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Well, to love

in that time of year

when spring fancy turns to summer heat

and to love well and sweet

that which is young and sleek,

simmering with fire-passion, consume

the green with new-sprung bloom.

Yet, autumn’s color also bursts

in fiery hues,

and glows diffused

in russet-gold glimmer, behold–

till twilight turns it dark and midnight tolled.

Still, there’s no wrong in loving strong

and right in loving well and loving long.

 

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo asks us “to ‘remix’ a Shakespearean sonnet.” Busy day for me,  so this is a quick fourteen line, non-sonnet, riffing on Sonnet LXXIII.

 

I Smell the Salt in Seaside Breeze, NaPoWriMo

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I smell the salt in seaside breeze

watch it toss the sun-sweetened flowers

and taste the nectar with droning bees

 

feel how it caresses my face and knees

with kisses, the promises of lazy hours

with books beneath shade of dancing trees.

 

On porches, we recline, so at ease–

a temporary haven, even if not ours–

imagining the taste of nectar, the droning bees

 

An evening walk, some ice cream, please!

wishing if and only we had the powers–

to stop a moment, to smell the salty, seaside breeze.

 

If we could a moment freeze,

would we box it up, using super-powers

to hold fast summer’s nectar-taste and droning bees?

 

For long ago summer vacations, the time of these–

ocean, sun, daughters’ laughter, and showers–

relaxing in the salt-scent of a seaside breeze,

of dreams, tasting the nectar with droning bees.

 

For Day 25 of NaPoWriMo the challenge is “to write a poem that

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
  • Includes a rhetorical question, (like Keats’ “where are the songs of spring?”)”

The dVerse poetry form this past month has been the villanelle, so here’s one more before it closes. Sarah’s template on the prompt page is most helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ballad of Orpheus and Eurydice, NaPoWriMo

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Odilon Redon, “Orpheus,”

 

“It has been said that the myth is a public dream, dreams are private myths.”

–Mary Zimmermann, Metamorphoses

 

Busking, I play my guitar

mostly by day,

sometimes under the stars

(their music lovelier than ours).

My songs are stunning, striking riffs,

god-blessed, my parents’ gift

to shift a mood–

when I sing my songs

the birds and trees dance along,

while men and women weep

and want to sweep

away the night,

keeping love alight.

 

And so, on this I survived

till my own love came to me.

In my joy, my music soared

as if on Pegasus-winged chords–

and I dreamt all manner of lovely things.

We married, and then one day

she journeyed far by urban subway,

vanishing deep underground

where she would not be found.

 

I wandered for days and night

in corridors

far below the banks and stores,

strumming the strings while I walked

until a fellow said, “Come, we’ll talk.”

He said a bloke as talented as me

shouldn’t be without his love, his muse–

but, well, let’s see what she’ll choose.

 

On the appointed day,

I stood beneath the street

(where she had agreed to meet).

She told me that with me

she had been in love,

but she was tired—sick of

living on song and air,

really it wasn’t fair,

it was no life–

she was dying as my wife.

So, she went down the stairs–

found work with City Transportation–

for her, a cause for celebration.

 

“Now, I’ve made my declaration. Go,” she said.

“Don’t look back, pretend I’m dead.”

 

You, of course, know the tale

I looked, I failed my darling wife

who’s disappeared behind a veil

of mystery and confusing trails.

I still hope that she’ll return.

Till then, I yearn,

I ride the subway cars,

looking for her, undeterred,

I find her face among the stars,

go out to sing about our story,

(now the most popular

in my repertory).

Then people sigh and cry

while I strum and sing,

and wonder why.

 

The prompt for Day 24 of NaPoWriMo is write a poem inspired by a reference book. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says Orpheus had “superhuman musical skills.” He was said to be the son of the Muse Calliope (poetry) and Apollo, who also had musical skills, and who gave him his first lyre. His “singing and playing were so beautiful that animals and even trees and rocks moved about him in dance.”

On dVerse, Anmol has asked us to reimagine a myth. I really wanted to use this painting that I saw on Jane Dougherty’s post the other day.

 

 

 

 

Little Deer, NaPoWriMo

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Franz Marc, Red Deer

I see you, Little Deer, in the pre-dawn gloaming as you graze on my neighbor’s grass. I watch you, afraid to breathe, knowing that magic can vanish in a blink. But did I move? You raise your head, sniff, and dart down the block, bleating, bleating, bleating for your mother. A chance encounter–you probably will not remember it, but I won’t forget you. I walk inside, as the sun peeps over the horizon.

Moon croons farewell

as dawn whispers promises

fawn sprints after them

 

Day 23 of NaPoWriMo challenges us to write about an animal. I decided not to write about cats or birds because I always write about them, and I remembered this little deer I saw one morning a few years ago. But I guess I’m predictable because I discovered that exactly three years ago, on April 23, 2016, I wrote a poem for NaPoWriMo about a different deer in a different neighbor’s yard, but I mentioned this one. Here’s the link. It has a slide show, too.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Flowers and Bombs, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Forever—is composed of Nows—”

–Emily Dickinson,  Full Poem here. 

“N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near St. Anthony’s Shrine who said he had run inside to help, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.” New York Times, April 21, 2019.

A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies

bombs belie the façade

of Easter calm and Passover why

(is this night different from all other nights?)

 

Rivers of blood

with no miracle to part

falling of ash

unresurrected, fighting stops, starts–

A plague upon both your houses

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Of indecision and more lies

as the First Citizen cries

in confusion,

“No collusion!”

 

His followers cheer

not caring, or unclear

that he would destroy

all that they hold dear,

so they support and worship

their false idol. Rejoice

in the new normal, hate

the latest whipping boy.

 

I cook, wrapping myself

in almonds, dates, and honey.

The house is sunny,

scented with cinnamon

like the cat, who slumbers sun-sided

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Passover Almond Cake

The pink moon rises

we drink the first glass of wine, recline.

We are free, but refugees detained

chained, their children abused–

and we all lose–

Let all who are hungry come

 

We watch movies of

women hiding secrets

sometimes in plain sight

in poetry and stories,

sometimes driving in the night

to obligations, demands

and longing

for uncharted territories.

 

Certain women

holding together

waiting, still in a man’s world.

often unrecognized–

we place

an orange on the Seder plate,

to recognize, no longer erased.

 

We talk,

walk through city streets,

footsteps, heartbeats,

statues and stories,

petrichor replaced

with the scent of blooms

filling the air with their perfume, a trace

lingers in my mind.

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A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies—

all the endless ifs and whys–

and yet, my heart thrills

at the sight of the spring tide

with waves of flowers,

creating bowers

while the robin’s trills—

and we remember

forever is composed of nows.

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Red Bank Battlefield Park, April 2019

 

Day 22, NaPoWriMo  challenges us “to write a poem that engages with another art form.” My Monday musings always engage with the world around me through photos, and often movies or shows we’ve seen–so to an extent–I’ve met the challenge.

We watched the movie Certain Women on Netflix. We watched Becoming Astrid (about Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking and other books) on Amazon Prime, once I figured out how to turn on the subtitles. We saw the new movie, Wild Nights with Emily about Emily Dickinson in the theater. I liked all three movies.

 

 

 

 

Dream Sea, NaPoWriMo

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Odilon Redon, “Flower Clouds,” [Public Domain],Wikipedia

The sky whispers a flowered song

scented with tangerines, honey,

and blue berried-visions.

 

(I feel the taste

of the shimmering mirage,

briny-cool and warm summer peach .)

 

Our mast shivers from

the vibrations, the language

of strutting peacock clouds.

 

The eyes watch

and guide us

in the golden light—

 

as we sail–

timeless and tide-whorled–

on a sea of dreams.

 

Day 21 of NaPoWriMo challenges us to “try to play around with writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but which engages all the senses and involves dream-logic.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until, NaPoWriMo

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Odilon Redon, “Béatrice,” [Public domain] Wikipedia

She said, “never me,”

a woman who played in purple seas

her hot-honeyed-head

sun-shot, smelling of the wind.

 

She said, “never me,”

as rain recalled

sky-shine on water

and the moon sang a symphony.

 

She whispers, “never me,”

for a thousand springs

of diamond-pink-petaled gardens—

 

and then in shadow light,

crushing the bitter mean-blooded,

she cries, “Why not me?”

 

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Day 20 of NaPoWriMo challenges us to use ordinary speech in a poem. I’ve done that in other poems, so I didn’t feel compelled to follow the prompt. However, the Oracle came through (of course) with a spoken phrase, which I repeated.