When the Stars were Bright

When the Stars were Bright

He wooed her when the stars were bright,

she liked the way he smiled at her.

He kissed her first one moonlit night–

she thought, “he is my future.”

 

She liked the way he smiled at her,

not knowing then his smiles would fade.

She thought, “he is my future,”

forgetting daylight darkens to evening shade.

 

Not knowing then his smiles would fade

when hardship came in winter cold,

forgetting daylight darkens to evening shade

and so, her youthful dreams remained untold.

 

When hardship came in winter cold,

he packed a bag and sailed away,

and so, her youthful dreams remained untold

to him, but she was glad he had not stayed.

 

He packed a bag and sailed away.

She remembered the things she had not said

to him, but she was glad he had not stayed,

caressing her belly as she lay on their bed.

 

He kissed her first one moonlit night

(she remembered it so well.)

He wooed her when the stars were bright–

to their babe, that’s all the story she’d tell.

 

Joseph_Noel_Paton_Hesperus

Joseph Noel Paton, “Hesperus, the Evening Star, Sacred to Lovers,” 1857 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is for dVerse. Björn asked us to write a poetic narrative. Jane and Kerfe have me thinking of pantoums.

I wrote this while listening to the Kavanaugh hearings. . .it started out much darker. . .

 

 

 

 

 

The Dance of Space, NaPoWriMo, Day 22

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asks us to “take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens. I chose this one:

The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.

 

Somewhere in space, stars always sing,

and in a distance place, they also dance,

in quadrille or waltz, they sway and swing,

they arrange themselves, but not by chance.

 

And in a distant place, they also dance,

sometimes, a stellar pas de deux–

they arrange themselves, but not by chance–

of course, they do, well, wouldn’t you?

 

Sometimes, a stellar pas de deux

to the carillon of time’s dawn

of course, they do, well, wouldn’t you—

move with joy, before it’s gone?

 

To the carillon of time’s dawn

in quadrille or waltz, they sway and swing,

move with joy before it’s gone—

somewhere in space, stars always sing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“However, what it is really exciting about NGC 1097 is that it is not wandering alone through space. It has two small galaxy companions, which dance “the dance of stars and the dance of space” like the gracious dancer of the famous poem The Dancer by Khalil Gibran.”

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA. Acknowledgement: E. Sturdivant

 

Horizons: NaPoWriMo, Day 5

This pantoum is inspired by a post by Frank of A Frank Angle. I borrowed my first line from him. Thanks, Frank!

 

At the horizon, known and unknown meet,

this liminal space between sky and sea

when the sun dips down, and night not complete

where dreams are unfettered and left to dance free–

 

this liminal space between sky and sea,

in this place, future and past together dwell,

while explorers and dreamers look here with uncertainty,

they still seek this place–and fall under its spell.

 

In this place, future and past together dwell,

some think deep thoughts here, some none at all,

they still seek this place—and fall under its spell

as they watch ships vanish, beyond shouts and call.

 

Can we know what fate foretells here–

when the sun dips down, and night not complete?

Do we fear, question, or wait for what appears?

Certain only, at the horizon, known and unknown meet.

John Frederick Kensett, “Sunset on the Sea,” [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m off prompt for NaPoWriMo.  I’m also linking this to dVerse Open Link Night.

 

Song of Midnight Light

It’s still a bit of vacation week. I was going to take a nap, but I wrote this pantoum instead. This is  for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Prompt. The prompt words are:

Circle/Dream/Time/Arm/Phase

 

From birth to death and round again

through time and space, water and air

seeds to flowers, mice and men

cycles of love and those of despair

 

Through time and space, water and air

the moon journeys through the night

cycles of love and those of despair

she hums the song of midnight light

 

The moon journeys through the night

drifting, shimmering on a star-crossed slope

she hums the song of midnight light

dreamtime messages of floating hope

 

Drifting, shimmering on a star-crossed slope

beyond outstretched arms in shadowed phases

dreamtime messages of floating hope

rising high these prayerful phrases

 

until perhaps we cease to be

seeds to flowers, mice and men

human creatures, such as we

(circling) from birth to death and round again

 

Johan_Barthold_Jongkind_-_View_on_Overschie_in_Moonlight_-_Google_Art_Project

Johan Jongkind, “View on Overschie in Moonlight,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

His Smile Was Warm

 

9_they_rose_up_in_the_air

By STEPHEN REID, “The rose up in the air,” from The High Deeds of Finn and Other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland by T.W. Rolleston, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

His smile was warm on that cold day,

brightening a world that had been frozen

as if covered in snow and ice, and turned away

from sun and light, and she felt chosen.

 

Brightening a world that had been frozen,

he sang some lines that he had written

from sun and light, and she felt chosen,

embraced by words, then she was smitten.

 

He sang some lines that he had written,

reflecting the thoughts that she had hidden

embraced by words, then she was smitten,

entranced, enthralled by that once forbidden.

 

And so, what once was is now no more,

as if covered in snow and ice, now turned away

from fear and dread, love roars and soars,

his smile was warm on that cold day.

 

This poem, a pantoum,  is for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge. The prompt words were: reflect/write/speak/smile/warm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moonstruck

 

samuel_palmer_-_kornfeld_im_mondenschein

Samuel Palmer, Kornfeld im Mondenschein,” [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Before the dawn, I saw the moon,

her father nearby, he stood there forthright,

seeking her radiance, no, not immune

to her empyrean charm, her pale, silver light.

 

Her father nearby, he stood there forthright

with pride in the memory, he thought of her birth,

to her empyrean charm, her pale, silver light

flirting with shadows, brightening the earth.

 

With pride in the memory, he thought of her birth

as if in a trance, the twins, moon and sun

flirting with shadows, brightening the earth

timeless and time-bound, till time is done

 

I hear her humming, I hear the song,

seeking her radiance, no, not immune

to magic moonlight, in still-darkness of morn

before the dawn, I saw the moon.

 

A Pantoum for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge.

The prompt words were: Birth/Trance/Pride/Seek/Flirt

When I walked outside this morning to get the newspaper (support the press!), I was struck by the beauty of the bright sliver of moon with Jupiter by her side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun Still Rises in The Sky

sunrise_long_branch_new_jersey

Sanford Robinson Gifford, “Sunrise, Long Branch, New Jersey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Full fathom five they father lies,

Of his bones are coral made,

Those are pearls that were his eyes,

Nothing of him that doth fade,

But doth suffer a sea-change,

Into something rich and strange,

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,

Ding-dong.

Hark! Now I hear them, ding-dong, bell.”

–William Shakespeare, The Tempest

 

The sun still rises in the sky,

though winter comes and spirits darken,

there is no use in asking why,

when the ground quakes and maelstroms harken,

 

though winter comes and spirits darken,

shifts, sea change, life disarranged

when the ground quakes and maelstroms harken,

not something rich, but something strange.

 

Shifts, sea change, life disarranged,

but wait before we toll the bell

not something rich, but something strange

portends of evil, sighs the ponderous knell

 

Yet come brightness and come hope

there is no use in asking why

must gropers grope, the slippery slope

the sun still rises in the sky.

 

 

Selma

the_obamas_and_the_bushes_continue_across_the_bridge

By Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

To the bridge they marched, making the decision

though they knew it was risky, in Selma they marched.

They wanted their rights, after years of derision,

struck with clubs and tear gas, they were bloodied and parched.

 

Though they knew it was risky, in Selma they marched

the judge ruled, in court, saying they could march on

struck with clubs and tear gas, they were bloodied and parched,

soon they walked on to Montgomery from evening to dawn.

 

The judge ruled, in court, saying they could march on,

they’d been delayed in Selma, but they were not broken,

soon they walked on to Montgomery from evening to dawn

their stories now heard, their stories now spoken.

 

There have been lakes of sorrows, and lakes of tears,

they wanted their rights, after years of derision,

but a stand must be taken, despite many fears,

to the bridge they marched, making the decision.

 

This is a Pantoum for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge.

In a pantoum, the second and fourth lines become the first and third lines of the next stanza, and the poem ends with the first line.

The prompt words were: Broke/Judge/Story/Bridge/Lake

 

The protesters in Selma were marching for civil rights, including the right to vote, as black voters were disenfranchised by various “tests,” poll taxes, and intimidation. State Troopers beat nonviolent protesters as they attempted to cross Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965. The day became known as Bloody Sunday. Edmund Pettus, for whom the bridge was named in 1940, was a Confederate general, a U.S. Senator—and a Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. The Selma to Montgomery march began on Sunday, March 21. The marchers reached Montgomery on Thursday, March 25. I took some poetic license with “evening to dawn.”  President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 on August 6, 1965.

See “The Racist History Behind the Iconic Selma Bridge”

And “Selma-to-Montgomery March

 

 

 

 

Stone of Peace

 

 

I wished upon a stone so blue

I whispered love, return to me

Then I threw it, and it flew

Across the waves, down to the sea

 

I whispered love, return to me

When geese fly south in feathered Vs

Across the waves, down to the sea

Soft winds sigh with my pleas

 

When geese fly south in feathered Vs

Then might war end and cease to be

Soft winds sigh with my pleas

Why can’t we learn how to agree?

 

Then war might end and cease to be

More guns, more hate is not the way

Why can’t we learn how to agree?

Why must we blame them and they?

 

More guns, more hate is not the way

No need for thundering cannons’ rattle

Why must we blame them and they?

In sorrow, I watched you leave for battle

 

On that bright, smooth shore, I stood awhile

Then I threw it, and it flew,

I thought reflected there I saw your smile

As I wished upon a stone so blue

 

This poem is a Pantoum in response to Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge using the photo above and these words: Bright, smooth, shore, blue, reflecting. A Pantoum is a series of quatrains with the second and fourth lines becoming the first and third lines in the next quatrain. The first line of the poem becomes the final line, and the third line of the poem becomes the second line of the final quatrain. First and third lines rhyme, and second and fourth lines rhyme. Got it?  Here is a better description.

 

 

 

 

Eyes and Hearts

Image

Blood and destruction shall be so in use
And dreadful objects so familiar
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter’d with the hands of war;
All pity choked with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar’s spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice
Cry ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war;

–William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1

Breathe deeply in the spring

Let the blossoms drift and fly

Dancing lightly on head and shoulders

As the robin warbles a dawn melody

 

Let the blossoms drift and fly

Glowing pink and gold in the morning sun

As the robin warbles a dawn melody

And darkness falls on dusty streets a world away

 

Glowing pink and gold in the morning sun

Shining on the pilot, duty bound and duty-burdened

And darkness falls on dusty streets, a world away

Where scarlet blooms bespeak the end of life

 

Shining on the pilot, duty bound and duty-burdened

Eyes in the sky, hearts on the ground

Where scarlet blooms bespeak the end of life

And the dogs of war snarl and fight

 

Eyes in the sky, hearts on the ground

Holding on, waiting for the command to fire

And the dogs of war snarl and fight

While little children play

 

Holding on, waiting for the command to fire

The pilot hopes for surcease

While the little children play

And the blossoms of pink and gold, turn red

 

The pilot hopes for surcease

But he listens to the command

And the blossoms of pink and gold, turn red

And a child dances, twirls, and stops

 

Breathe deeply in the spring

The blossoms drift and fly

Cry. Havoc.

A child dances and stops.

 

This is in response to the Secret Keepers prompt using these words:

Drift/Breathe/Light/Hold/Life

I started out thinking about my neighbor’s dogwood tree, but then my mind went to a movie we saw last week, Eye in the Sky The movie stars Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman (his last film), among others. It involved a drone mission and discussions of when moral choices outweigh tactical decisions. I heard Helen Mirren discussing the movie here. 

 

© Merril D. Smith 2016