And You, Too, Have Come to This Still Point

November at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

Monday Morning Musings:

“Around me the trees stir in their leaves

and call out, “Stay awhile.”

The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,

“and you too have come

into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled

with light, and to shine.”

–fromMary Oliver “When I Am Among the Trees”

“After the kingfisher’s wing

Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still

At the still point of the turning world.”

T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton”  Four Quartets

 

I walk among the trees

watch the light golden-streaming,

and feel the wind river-breezing

listen to the crows caw and go

then all is still, in the glow,

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Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ.–November

 

though now it’s blanket season

when the wind blows, teasing

the clouds that alternate grey and bright

while I seek some warmth, some light

and find delight in sunrise pink rising high

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I look to the sky

the flocking of birds in flight.

We gather with family

hope there’s no drama

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or not too much.

Some come from lunch

to share our dinner

and so, we talk and laugh,

and most definitely eat (repeat)

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(not forgetting the sweets)

till it is time for them to go–

and you think you know

how life will be

but suddenly, you see

 

all the moments—

the traditional breaking of stuffing bread

under Capt. Janeway’s gaze, her cool head

once again guiding her crew

–and for them so much to do–

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and you, too, so much done,

all the times before—

and after–the squirrels, the sisters and daughters,

the laughter and traditions, the people come and gone—

babies grown, moving on

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we watch a movie of love and longing

of trying to find a better life, men migrating

women left behind, waiting

for escape, for weddings, for revenge—

gritty life and magic realism, avenging

 

ghosts among us

life not ending, but flowing like the sea—

what happens when we cease to be,

does love carry on through time and space?

Is there a still point, full of grace

 

and light, golden

like the emblazoned leaves

shining. . .

beauty to remember when it snows

to recall it will return

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even as the darkness grows

and the world turns, day to night

and all is still–

but beyond the clouds—

stars and moon still burn bright.

 

We celebrated Thanksgiving. Some of my sibling saw my mom that day, and we saw her the next day.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Atlantics on Netflix. This film from Senegal won the Grand Prix at Cannes. It moves from social realism of life in Dakar—forced marriages, laborers who don’t get paid, migration—to a sort of magic realism based on folk tales. I imagine it was a beautiful movie to see on a large screen.We both liked it very much.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moods

August Sky over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

 

Glowering

clouds reflect my mood,

shadows cast

on river

rolling to the sea, endless

cycles streaming throughout time

 

creating

stormy skies and light

untamed and

magical

the appearance of a deer

like a gift to me,

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like nature

answering a call,

now a need,

now the light.

I walk on, heart more joyful,

the river flows on.

 

A shadorma sequence for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for character and wild. This was inspired by a walk I took yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Owl

Vignette with an Owl on a Perch From Baron O.H. von Gemmingen (translator), Milton's Allegro und Penseroso (Mannheim: Schwanischen Buchhandlung, 1782) Ferdinand Kobell, German, 1740 - 1799

Credit: Philadelphia Museum of Art The Muriel and Philip Berman Gift, acquired from the John S. Phillips bequest of 1876 to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, with funds contributed by Muriel and Philip Berman, gifts (by exchange) of Lisa Norris Elkins, Bryant W. Langston, Samuel S. White 3rd and Vera White, with additional funds contributed by John Howard McFadden, Jr., Thomas Skelton Harrison, and the Philip H. and A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation, 1985

 

She glides,

elegant, her

wings whisper feathered hopes,

listen. . .she hoots a warning call,

beware

 

fierce claws

grasping rabbit–

stunning, horrid nature!

Predator and prey in moonlit

death dance.

 

A Crapsey cinquain sequence for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. using synonyms for pretty and ugly.

 

 

 

 

The Tree

High above me, golden streaming

through its leaves unfolded

growing, teeming

with creatures,

big and smaller–leaning

climbing, flying

living, dying

in its greenery gleaming

all the wishes—seeming

there, seeds of the past

rise in the air.

And later,

under lambent moon

dreaming, beaming,

the promise of the future, greening.

 

Poem for dVerse, where Mish is hosting Open Link night.  I took these photos a few days ago in Philadelphia when we were walking around on our wedding anniversary after a very late lunch or very early dinner.

 

 

The Secret Poetry of the Stars

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Angel breath flowers the morning

and soft blush-clouds sail

in dancing rhythm

waking all the ifs–

 

let ghosts fly

in and out of time,

haunting universes of then—

and almost-when

 

I will laugh the secret poetry of stars,

their brilliant blue voices

celebrating eternity

with lingering dazzle-light

 

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From my morning consultation with the Oracle.

Listen, the Song

 

“Now I will do nothing but listen,

To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.

I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals. . .

From Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” Section 26

 

Now I will do nothing but listen—this song

in sunshine sweet,

of mockingbird and robin’s trills

the crow’s caws and hawk’s high screech–

the pulsing life in slapping beats

against the river’s flow

constant,

the trees’ arboreal sighs

(slow and steady)

we breath

together—

I sing the body electric,

we drift, grow, go

connected to, all part of

one, none, molecules ignited,

feel them

flaming

the ash of stars

streaming,

under streetlights and moonbeams–

we dream.

 

Today is the anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth on May 31, 1819. There have been events all year, and many this week, though somehow, I’ve missed them all.

 

 

 

 

The Language of a Thousand Loves

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Above, Moon sings

of honeyed times

 

her music rose-gowned

in sweet summer winds

 

sifting shadows

over the sea.

 

And we watch—

asking why of water-pounded rocks

 

as the sun

drives mist away–

 

there still sleeping –

 

the language of

a thousand loves with you.

 

I’m not quite sure I understand what the Oracle is saying, but I like the poem she gave me.

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Our Whys

Sunrise, National Park, NJ

 

as rain pounds

the wind moans

 

a language of screams

and shadowed sky,

 

but beneath the blue-black beat

there is a moon singing

 

a dream chant of love—

 

and in time the sun will shine sweetly,

honey-tongued,

 

urging us to life

together through our whys

 

Yesterday, the sunrise was glorious. Today I woke to moaning wind and rain striking the windows. But the Oracle is wise and all-knowing.

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Circles, Cycles, and Loops: Monday Morning Musings

Monday Morning Musings:

In the movie

the men go back

to where they were boys

 

in a cult, a camp

where birds fly strangely

as they tramp

 

through the woods

and things are the same,

or perhaps they’re not,

 

fraught with pain

answers to questions

gained, or unknowable–

 

lives lived in loops,

moving in phases like

the moon—

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Morning Moon

or moons–

one, two, three–

watch and see.

 

Circles and cycles

nature, each life,

day following night

 

light of summer

dimming in fall

all the seasons

 

and the years

painted over,

scraped away

 

traces left, secrets

uncovered in time,

pentimento of Earth.

 

Once giant creatures

roamed here

a shallow sea

Delaware River from Red Bank Battlefield

leaving traces in the sand

a mosasaur

and ancient clams,

 

but now the geese fly

from humming moon

to dawn’s fog-scumbled river

the little deer grows older,

has children of her own

the cycle continues–

 

and we cycle through the city

once a place of forests and rivers

where indigenous people hunted,

 

fished, and gathered,

following the seasons

migrating with the wildlife

 

until newcomers came

with diseases, death to old

and a new nation created

 

And now—

another cycle,

we wait to see if all

 

will fall,

calendars and lies

those willing to abide

 

with corruption

and destruction of truth

when all could gain.

 

And so, we pedal

endlessly in a loop

looking for a break

 

finding joy

with loved ones

food and drink

hoping we haven’t

reached the brink

 

But that we can circle

back,

begin again–

 

this time

better.

 

As summer blossoms fade

and autumn’s golden leaves fall,

we’ll soon brace for winter’s chill

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Part of the scarecrow display outside of the West Deptford Public Library

and wait

for the promise of spring

awakening again.

Dock Creek, Philadelphia Merril D. Smith 2018

Dock Creek with Carpenter’s Hall in the background.

 

We watch the movie The Endless on Netflix. Trailer here.  It’s a quirky, indie film. We liked it–lots to talk about afterwards.

And we went on a Big Red Pedal Tour in Philadelphia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If a Deer Runs in a Forest

It’s just past sunrise when I see him. I wonder why he’s there alone, the little deer. I wonder if he’s one of the twins, I saw lying in the grass a day or two before. His light brown coat blends into the woods so well that I almost missed him. We both stopped walking. His ears twitch, and I see him sniffing the air. I take one step, and he takes one step. Finally—though I want to stay– I walk on, as quietly as I can. I feel like I’m disturbing his peace, though the sight of him has made my day. Later, when I see a group of deer resting together, I wonder if he’s there amongst them, with his family and friends. I wonder if they missed him when he was off on his own, and if they are all happy to be together again.

 

fawn loses his spots,

russet leaves fall to the ground–

time passes unheard

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This is for dVerse’s Haibun Monday, where qbit/Randall is the guest pub tender. He asks us to write about one member or element of a group. So, I guess that little deer made a big impression on me. I’m also linking to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where it’s open prompt words or “poet’s choice.”