Look up! Vultures just hanging out. Hidden in plain sight. National Park, NJ.
Monday Morning Musings:
“. . .for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
― George Eliot, Middlemarch
“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars”
–Walt Whitman, #31 from “Song of Myself”
“It may diminish some our dry delight
To wonder if everything we are and do
Lies subject to some little law like that;
Hidden in nature, but not deeply so.”
–from Howard Nemerov, “Figures of Thought”
The sun is hidden behind the clouds,
the images waver through a wet wall,
and the world is dark, dreary, until the charcoal clouds part
through the droplets, a ray of bright hope–
colors arc across the sky,
and in that magic moment
my spirits lift, not forever, but enough
there, hidden behind the gloom
there is beauty, beneath the sleepy despondency,
there is hope, joy, love.
We walk through Old City streets,
bones beneath our feet, hidden
ghosts walk with dry leaf rustle.
We see their reflections
in the end of the year.
Curtis Center Building, Philadelphia, December 31, 2019.
The year turns, a page reflected
in the late afternoon sun-glow
as couples take their vows,
beginning a new life
We see a movie,
a hidden life,
but reflect upon so many hidden lives
at that time, in this time–
time flows faster
We travel east,
the sun setting behind us
announcing the year is ending,
a new year about to begin.
From a Patco train, crossing the Delaware River from Philadelphia to New Jersey. December 31, 2019.
We eat Chinese food,
watch a musical of hidden lives
danced into acceptance
kinky boots. Well, why not?
Why not? And why–
do leaders deny and lie?
The world burns
hidden beneath smoke and rage
are flower bulbs,
seeds of hope.
If we destroy the world
perhaps something better will come,
rising over our hidden bones
buried, like secrets
of family and history
in tombs sealed and forgotten
someday to be uncovered
to live again
perhaps in legend or song.
I find a recording of Yiddish songs
hidden in plain sight in my mother’s bookcase.
She is calmed by old, familiar melodies
as we sort and pack her belongings,
much of her past now hidden (treasures)
buried in time, tossed aside in many moves
“I’m reduced to one room,” she says
almost in tears,
saltwater, like the sea
from which we sprang,
the work of the stars,
their light and songs carrying us on
I wish tonight.
Hope buried, sometimes found, like that piece of bread that drops into the fondue pot.
Merril’s Movie Club—So many movies; so little time! We saw A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick’s latest. It was beautiful, like all of his movies—and well, you have to accept and go along with the meandering pace. It is based on a true story, and while I admire someone who sticks up for his convictions– and it is difficult not to see present-day parallels—I also was not certain what his objections actually were. At one point, he says he doesn’t know if Hitler is evil. Um, what? And though he suffers for not signing a paper giving allegiance to Hitler, the war does not really seem to touch the beautiful village in the clouds. I liked how the movie showed all the hard work the women do on their farm, but everyone seems well-fed while the war is going on. Yes, this man stood up for his undefined objections, but places were being bombed, people were sent to concentration camps, and other horrors were going on.
Last night we watched I Lost My Body.It’s a French animated film about a severed hand looking for its body. I know that sounds weird and creepy, but it’s surprisingly moving, as we learn about the young man’s life. I never thought I’d be rooting for a hand.
On New Year’s Eve, we watched a Broadway production of the musical Kinky Boots that I had recorded when PBS’s Great Performances ran a few weeks of Broadway shows in November. It’s great fun, and it was perfect for New Year’s Eve. (If you’re a Passport member you can see it.)
We’re almost finished with a Turkish show on Netflix called, The Gift. We’ve enjoyed it—an artist who draws strange symbols teams up with an archeologist to uncover family secrets and legends from the past.
And finally–a shout out to my cousin, David Lesser! His story, Bodies at Rest, was made into a Chinese movie. I don’t know how it will be distributed, but it’s an action movie, set in a morgue in Hong Kong, and it opened an Asian film festival. Trailer here.