Over thousand sleeps of
honeyed purple, the smell
crushed from gardens
beneath the moon,
her hair let fast,
she sings a dream–
light is love soaring through time
whispering in sea spray?
Like a ghost,
a man already dead–
of knowing others bled
and he was complicit
in acts morally,
if not legally,
Would he be called enabler,
The victors tell the story,
when truth is denied,
then histories lie.
But his eyes betrayed–
me too, they said,
to what he was thinking–
that he was lost, sinking
lower and lower,
flowing out with the tide
he tried to divert the course
perhaps too late.
And now he only watches
wondering how and why he was chosen.
Like his ancestors there
against the plaster
on the wall—
in the famed paint of dead masters.
For dVerse, Amaya asked us to take two quotes from different sources and use one for the first sentence on a poem, and the other for the last sentence. I used Munich, a new novel by Robert Harris, which is about the Munich Agreement of 1938. Despite knowing the outcome, it was still a bit of a thriller. I also used a phrase from Maya Angelou’s, “California Prodigal.”
“In the shadows, at the back of the study Hartmann watched it all without seeing, his long face blank and ashy with exhaustion—like a ghost, though Legat, like a man already dead.”
–Robert Harris, Munich, Knopf: New York, 2018, p. 251
“Under the gaze of his exquisite
Sires, frozen in the famed paint
Of dead masters. Audacious
Sunlight cast defiance
At their feet.”
Maya Angelou, “California Prodigal
daffodils pay bright homage,
echoing the sun,
the golden rays breed passion,
love and hate rise up
white buds burst open,
spring no longer a maiden
swells with fruitfulness
till her petals wilt and fall
covering the blood-soaked ground.
Hums us into sleep,
Withdraws, and leaves us in
A place that seems
Always vaguely familiar.”
–Mark Strand, “Dreams”
“All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.”
My daughter and I talk–
waking to plunge into the terror again
not being able to move, or scream
in the terror of the dream.
And I think of the young people caught in a school
and those elsewhere—the whirlpool,
the vortex of contradictions,
fight or flight,
rehearsing what to do if caught,
a nightmare over and over again
until some finally scream, “Enough! Be seen!”
we need to flee the terror of this dream.
I was child,
practicing the duck and cover drills
ridiculous, tilting at windmills,
but I remember being terrified,
petrified that my parents would not come for me
before whatever we had to flee–
a world ending with both bangs and whimpers—
and no way to wake
from the terror of the dream.
And so, how can anyone say these young people are tools,
they have seen the violence in their schools,
they have been forced to practice,
to dance with fear,
to hold it near,
and should their dreams die
before they’ve had a chance to fly?
We see a movie
about grief and guilt
from wars, built
stronger, lasting, flowing through generations,
the absurdity of life–
the solitary camel ambling to the checkpoint gate–
the soldier who dances the foxtrot with his gun
fun arising from boredom with surrealism fused-fate
that keeps us dancing and returning to the same spot—
as if in a dream.
And though the movie is set in Israel
where “the fallen” fall so often
that those who bring the news are prepared
to deal with the grieving and the scared–
they come with drugs and instructions,
attuned to this production,
the result of the war machine,
the resulting grief and tears it brings–
still what happens there,
could happen anywhere
where there is war
and where dreams are launched
with guns and bombs
prayed over with psalms,
and where they fall from the sky
We walk and talk
the day is still cool,
but the seasons are cycling
through the year—
and spring is near.
We see a wedding, groom and bride
attendants by their sides.
Though the fear is in abeyance here
the nightmare lasts,
we must lift our voices to put it past.
to see the light,
to see the sun,
the hopeful dreams, caught and spun,
Can we celebrate our fate,
move towards love, not to hate,
unparalyzed, with dreams awake,
wear hope like a perfume?
We arrive home–
to find some daffodils have bloomed.
We saw the Israeli movie Foxtrot. Trailer here.
This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. Today’s quotation is:
“That you, in the dim coming times,
May know how my heart went with them
After the red-rose-bordered hem.” —W.B. Yeats
As a boy he saw them there,
she in white, with flowers in her hair,
he a soldier, a handsome young man,
he saw them thus, and so it began.
He held this image through his life,
he’d go to war, and have a wife,
who’d say farewell in sunlight gold
and they’d continue, till they were old.
He never saw the bloodstained shirt,
the man lying wounded in the dirt,
the woman who traded her white for black,
on lifelong dreams she turned her back.
The boy envisioned a life of glory,
King and country, the same old story,
but finally there with gun in hand,
at last he came to understand.
This is a shadorma for Eliot of Along the Interstice’s November Shadorma Challenge, using Secret Keeper’s Writing Prompt words:
Different Definitions of Great
sings a song of peace,
the words drift
swamp-dwellers make greedy deals,
children go hungry
I’ve missed a few days of Eliot of Along the Interstice’s November Shadorma Challenge.
(So many challenges, so little time!) 🙂
To make up for it, the Oracle gave me a few stanzas. I only noticed after I started typing out the poem that she had inserted an extra verse, and since I don’t want to cross her, I put it in parentheses. You can see that I was running out of space on the screen.
Today is Veterans Day in the U.S.
see dark smoke
but picture star-dazzled nights
in perfume breezes
blush of joy.
Go give up ferocious gods,
let poetry fly.
(Time must sail)
then we this window need use
and bring the word home
From the remains of the day
the Harvest Moon rises resplendent
Diana, the light-bearer, lingers,
reapers gather grains
sustaining bodies and souls
the tune echoes in a mother’s lullaby
(unaware of wars and strife)
babies sleep in peace
This is a quadrille for the dVerse Open Link Night. I’ve paid tribute (tried to) to both the Harvest Moon and Kazuo Ishiguro, who won this year’s Nobel Prize in literature, announced yesterday.
A child’s tear,
a parent’s fear
not vampires and ghosts
the shadows in the night,
(not out of sight)
urging hate, urging war—
I fear the real,
the evil here
but look for love,
and beauty in the sun above
This is a quadrille for Dverse. The prompt word is fear.
I awaken in a clean bed, my curls still soap-and-water-damp, but no longer tangled with tears and sweat. Kind people have taken me in–giving me a home and a violin to replace the one Papa gave me years ago. The one the soldiers smashed. It is old, this violin, and as I cradle it under my chin, I wonder what secrets it carries beneath its varnished surface, what tunes lie buried within the fine wood. I look out the window to see the stars, fairy lights that twinkle and beckon in the dark. I quietly hum an old folk tune, the motif of the piece I’m writing, blending old and new–a continuous and repeated theme, as in life, a melody of sorrow and hope. And now, from my window, I see the dawn– pink, orange, and red wings feather-brushed across the sky above the golden sun. The day is bright with magic and possibility. I am ready to greet it.
The strings laugh and cry,
sing music of many souls
through light and dark clouds
life twinkles brightly, then blinks
to fly through space, dance through time
This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words were fairy and magic. She is celebrated fairies and the summer solstice this weekend. Go visit her!