Aubade, Serenade

Monday Morning Musings:

Aubade, Serenade

Just past sunrise.

1.

A brush with green,
Earth-spirits, forest soul beckons
absorb the magic, it vanishes quickly
as orange sherbet sky melts
into the blue expanse

Early Morning Magic–she appeared and then disappeared

2.
Lies bait the hook
they swallow eagerly
as they swim to shore,
emerging with myopic eyes
fins turned to fists, grasping at shadows.

3.
Statement of the day,
or afterthought?
Dust off your father’s memory,
what if you saw your parents as children?
Love rekindled. Turn the page, again.

4.
Dreams of motors and motion–
helicopters, airplanes, buses, trains.
Something insidious you fear, but wait
there’s a twist–a cat purrs in your ear,
a snore from the pillow beside you.

5.
Light transported, prismed colors soar
and sing, celestial harmonies,
secrets we’re born knowing, but forget
even stars die,
I breathe their sparkle, hear their song.

As the crow flies

I generated another set of words, different from Jane’s set yesterday, and used them to write a cadralor.


After heat, storms, and humidity, this weekend we got some cool, dry, sunny weather. The January 6 Committee Hearings continue, and their revelations are even more awful than I thought they would be. However, nature has brought magic in the form of deer, eagles, and some beautiful days. We went to Auburn Road Winery for a pre-Father’s Day celebration. I baked my husband his favorite cookies for Father’s Day and gave him a pillow to replace one I ruined.

Merril’s Movie, Theater, TV Club:
We watched Petite Maman, a new movie by French director Céline Sciamma. (Her highly acclaimed Portrait of a Lady on Fire has been in my queue for ages, so I will need to watch it soon.) There’s not much of a story, but it’s a sweet, tender film—just what I needed to see. The title is a clue. I really liked it.

We saw another strange version of The Cherry Orchard, this one called The Orchard. We saw the virtual version. I really loved Mikhail Baryshnikov as Chekhov and Firs. Madame Ranevskaya was also excellent. I liked the virtual opening and closing, and the acting was good, but if I didn’t know the story, I probably would have been lost. Was the robotic arm/camera symbolic? Were there allusions to the current invasion of Ukraine? Perhaps. Here’s one review.

We finished the current episodes of Stranger Things (two more episodes drop on July 1). We both have enjoyed this new season. We started the latest Star Trek, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. It’s a prequel to the original Star Trek, and it follows Capt. Pike and his crew, including intern Uhura.

Brilliant and Broken

Monday Morning Musings:

Brilliant and Broken

Tall Pines State Preserve

Do the stars remember their songs
before they vanish into black?
Perhaps, not voiceless, they are infusions
pulsing light
through a dark heart,

Early Morning Sun over the Delaware River

a broken heart—again–
scabs picked from patched veins
the once aberrant and taboo ooze–
but we detach, too tired
to clear clouded eyes.

Instead, we strew hope and prayers
like seeds cast into a field
without thought or preparation,
waiting for flowers to bloom,
and turn their heads to the sun.

I think of stone soup—each adding. . .something,
some celery perhaps?
Would it satisfy? Hinder the hate?
Like Mother Trees, could we connect, share
and nourish?

Fresh Summer Produce–Cooking, Trying to Heal

But there’s another storm,
the caliginous sky, a rolling dark sea encroaches,
a fast and furious tide, a flash,
and gone—a recess for
the scent of petrichor and honeysuckle to play,

throwing a blanket over me, filling my senses, and
I hold the moment close,
perfect seconds pass—loved ones, sunshine,
wine, and cats, the pre-dawn choir–
Was that gunshot? A shiver down my spine.

Egrets/Heron –a bit of early morning magic chanced upon

Yet I celebrate the brilliant blush,
the wild blue, the bird-voiced morning,
and if I embrace the ghosts
the laugh that travels
through an unopened window—
reflections on the glass, I know
the future does not skirt the past.

A beautiful window on Pine Street, Philadelphia. Reflections, Past, Present, Future.

I generated a random word list yesterday, and I used some of the words in my musings today. I also used a couple stanzas that I cut from my Oracle poem on Saturday.

We had our second booster shots on Tuesday. Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep, and all-day Wednesday I felt tired, but not sleepy—just heavy and off. It suddenly lifted Wednesday night. We had severe weather alerts on Thursday, but we managed to get in a little bit over an hour at the first Vino and Vibes of the summer at William Heritage Winery. Saturday and Sunday were simply gorgeous, perfect days, as far as the weather. There was another mass shooting. This time in Philadelphia, on South Street, an area full of people enjoying a beautiful Saturday night. I know the area. But on Sunday, we went into the city to see a play at the Wilma Theater, Fairview. It’s a play that’s difficult to describe. It begins like a sitcom and turns into something else. As the director, James Ijames writes, it is “ a sitcom that trips on a wrinkle in the rug and tumbles into the uncanny, the sublime, and the truth. .. Jackie’s play asks us all to imagine together what it means to choose a different path. To practice empathy.”

We walked through Philadelphia’s Pride Celebration, and at Tria, we got great seats for a drum show.

Pride Celebration, Philadelphia–from our table at Tria Cafe. Love is Love Is Love.🌈

Just before 4 AM today I heard something—it sounded like gunshots. I didn’t imagine it because the sound woke my cat, too. (Not my husband.) People set off fire crackers, but at that time?

Merril’s TV Club: We watched the new season of Undone. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the first season. Time travel, mental illness—it’s totally unique. We started the new season of the Danish series Borgen, an excellent political drama. This is a return to the series after many years. The first woman prime minister is now the foreign secretary, and the plot concerns the discovery of huge amounts of oil in Greenland. Greenland is still under Danish control, so there is a conflict over climate and environmental concerns and the autonomy and prosperity of the people in Greenland.

A Poetry Prompt: Spring, #NaPoWriMo2022

Monday Morning Musings:

A Poetry Prompt: Spring

  1. Gather clouds of every size, shape, and hue—
    to hold your thoughts and feelings, connect the dots
    from grey to blue.
  2. Notice how they hold the light, then let it go—
    now taste the honeyed glow that pours on newborn leaves.
    You need these things.
  3. Inhale the scent of petrichor, sprouting green
    in squelching mud. Believe in spring.
  4. Hear the robin trill, pre-dawn cri de coeur, then listen as
    the mockingbird sings every part–such art!—into your symphonic poem
    pour some woodpecker drumming. The morning moon humming. Crow wisdom, a spoken role flung from river to tree. Include the call and response. Repeat. You’ll see.
  5. You need to add a bit of rhyme with bowers of flowers–
    scatter the petals here and there, a few hours
    spent to sweet-scent words gone sour.
    Season and flavor. Savor.
  6. For the final couplet, fill readers with awe—
    show them bird-winged magic and soaring arches in the sky. Let your words fly.
Spring Rainbow–sudden magic on during an early morning walk.
The magic of ordinary things: an April puddle reflection

I was inspired by today’s NaPoWriMo prompt to write a poem prompt.
I try not to post more than once a day because I know it gets annoying—but sometimes it happens. This is poetry month, and there is a lot going on. I apologize in advance if I clog up your in-box, but I may have some VERY special announcements, too. 😏

Of Things Heard and Seen

Monday Morning Musings:

Morning Beaver Moon Between the Branches, ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

I’m musing about musing,
bemused by my muse, how she drifts
on slivers of silvered streams, and beams
from between leaves, perceives before thought
reaches me, the beauty of golden glow, the gilding
of roofs and trees,

Autumn Glow Reflected in the Delaware River ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and hears the calls of all
the birds in sky and river beach, each a part
of something larger–

in the flutter of a wing, the creation of a storm
or from a tiny wish, greater reveries born,
as time circles round, what was future becomes past,
the russet leaves fall, a pewter blanket shrouds the earth,

but buried deep among the roots, sleeping seeds dream
of brighter and more beautiful things, of blue and green

of fuzzy chicks and spotted fawn,
of dawn chorus, mockingbird, and robin song—

Robin atop the tree dressed for autumn
Autumns leaves soaring over the Delaware River

and now in blanket weather, cat on lap,
with pen to paper, the muse whispers write
of the luminous branches covered in jewels,
and the ripples in the river, the blue reflected from above,
and the way time pauses and stills when surrounded by love–
and I say, yes, it does, and yes,
I will.

Our older child and their wife are here for Thanksgiving. This is the first time we’ve seen them since before the pandemic. ❤️. I’m getting ready for Thanksgiving.

Where There’s a Will

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise

Will you walk with me
through clouded pink–
the light diffused, brushing wings
to make them glow—this sight, the morning rites
of nature bound by the seasons,
the revolutions round the sun, the wax and waning of the moon.

Heron in the dawn clouds
Coy Morning Moon

Where there’s a will, is there a way
to hold these moments close and tight
to heart and brain? Mindfulness or determination
to see and feel and listen—
do you hear
the sound of secret things?

I wonder—do even vultures dream?
They mate for life, finding the perfect husband or wife.
Do they hope for the future—croon
to their young? This I leave you,
this is yours—the sky, the trees–
the scent of death you smell on the breeze. Circle and fly.

Where there’s a will, is there a way
to make the sweetness stay—
away the aches and nightmare shadows! Come tomorrow.
Will you? Won’t you? Seek joy with friends and family,
share food and wine, linger in a moment–
the season of the in-between

Cloud reflections on the Delaware
Sun giving birth

the twilight dawning, the morning of a new day,
a mockingbird is singing, the leaves are falling.
And there’s the moon, she’s calling,
bewitching you, it’s true. But she’s asks, will you,
is there a way? Will you both love
and do what’s right? Will you walk with me? Look! That light.

Morning Mist over the Delaware River

We had brunch with friends over the weekend and signed their wills as witnesses. We enjoyed wine and pizza again at Blue Cork Winery in Williamstown, NJ, where our daughter, who has left teaching, at least for the time being, is now the Wine Development Manager.


If you like epic historical novels, The Women of Chateau Lafayette by Stephanie Dray tells the story of three women in three different time periods. Two are real women, the third is a fictional character—but all with the will to fight for what was right. I knew nothing of Adrienne Lafayette or the Chateau, so I found that very interesting—and also to learn that the Chateau continued to be a place of rights and freedom even during WWII, when it served as hiding place to protect Jewish children.

What Else Could I Do?

Morning Moon Over The Delaware River

The moon rose through shadows,
to sing a farewell song
over forests and rocks turning softly pink
in the dawn. And I watched—
what else could I do? Ask
if I am moon-mad to hear the whispers
in the wind. Red-tipped trees sigh
in the breath of ancient cycles,
as time passes like the soft brush of heron’s wing.
The geese in flight call, savor this,
and the river murmurs through light and darkness–
listen.

The Oracle obviously comes with me on my early morning walks. The last few days have been beautiful.

How Would I Tell You?

Early morning light on the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

How would I tell you—
the beauty of the morning sky,
the bird-swept clouds, the hummed goodbye
of moon still high

there, my eyes
reflect the shine. To be or not,
is not my question–here I am, not angsty youth,
but rather longer in the tooth—

how would I explain,
how the colors fill me
with joy and light—
grey or bright, the taste, the sight
tawny gold, rose, and peach, the foamy white
of churning waves?
The winter river’s cool mint blue?
The delight

of it–me and you.

My thoughts—my mind’s eye–
how do I explain? There is no why—
only what is
the beauty of the sky, the light,
the birds in flight

winging, singing
star-breathed dreams, the colored streams
web-woven in my head, released someday to fly
in iridescent blues and greens—peacock-eyed—
around the sun, then seeded in the ground–

how would I tell you any of this–
thoughts, if not profound, yet unbound—the bliss.

This is the kind of stuff that goes through my head, so I guess it can be considered a soliloquy for Victoria’s prompt at dVerse.

To Every Season

Monday Morning Musings:

“For nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress.”
–Charles Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby

Heron at dawn. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

I remember that spring, the winter of despair,
the flow of river into spring again

and again, the earth blooms,
and birds come and go, soaring into clouds

that move across the sky–
the constancy of sun and moon, the ephemerality of life,

insistent green sprigs emerging from driftwood,
bleached and beached.

Driftwood with new growth.

Each day the same and different,
each sunrise a threshold to the unknown.

Driftwood, Sunrise on the Delaware River

In dreams, my mother asks for chocolate–
she says there’s more for them that wants.

This is how it is—
this is who we who are, full of ifs and when

there is both laughter and the aches
of time and memory–

we are here. Now
I watch the bees,

and I remember too late,
to tell them my secrets and wishes–

but perhaps they already know,
telling their own dreams in buzz waltz,

remembering a day of endless sweet nectar,
and brilliant colors that we cannot see,

yet can imagine, reflected
in a sunrise yet to come.

Sunrise with Cloud Reflections. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. August 2021

This week has been a strange and strangely beautiful week of clouds, rain, and sunshine. I suppose that’s how August is. We’re supposed to get a return of the high heat and humidity. Yesterday, some family members got together at my sister’s house for the first time since the pandemic. It wasn’t everyone, and even though it was right before my mom’s birthday, it wasn’t really a memorial, though we did have a Sunday brunch fish tray, with fruit, and my Mandelbrot and brownies for dessert. For those who don’t know, we used to have lox and other smoked fish with cream cheese and bagels–plus a whole lot more–fairly often when I was growing up. Every so often, my grandfather, my father’s father, would bring the delicatessen food, which also included herring, rye bread, and coffee cake, to my mom’s (even though my parents were divorced). My mom would supply the juice, coffee, boiled red potatoes, and sometimes I’d bake something. Then, it became a special family brunch occasion because it has become very expensive, plus more difficult to get together. Mindful of the Delta strain–even though we’re all vaccinated–we stayed masked indoors, except for when eating—and we tried to stay far apart then. Fortunately, the weather cleared up enough for us to go outside for dessert. My parents were there in spirit and ash.

When we got home, we took a brief walk, and pulling into the driveway were surprised by this.

Literal deer in the headlights.

For When

Egret, the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

I don’t ask the moon for what she cannot give,
enough her silver gleam on fields and streams,
the night-shadowed things
that vanish in dawn’s rose-petal glow.
I know the universe’s music and light
go beyond the who and when,
circling through time’s beginning and its end–
but if I stop to sit–
even when the wind urges me to go—
I’ll watch the clouds
wing across the sky–
egret white and heron grey–
and here, I’ll dream of you.

My poetic collaboration with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Ships of Dreams

River flows to the sea
with chants on feathered winds
that in repeated rhythms sing

of now, or when–and if
in breath–almost held–
you hear the beat of ancient things,

the whispered sighs, like fiddle strings
played softly in the night–ask,

but don’t expect an answer
from moon’s hum or the finned-filled tide,

except in dream-song laughter,
when silver light meets rosy dawn

in rainbow-clouded slide

and beauty
sails on echoes of the osprey’s cry–

a lullaby to earth from sky.

Today’s collaborative poem with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She obviously knows how the river and river birds inspire me, even if she doesn’t have all the words in her tiles.