Waking Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“Something nameless
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.”

Edgar Allen Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”

 

My daughter and I talk–

sleep paralysis

she says,

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—

no tears,

just fear,

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—

caught–

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

to die.

 

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.

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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,

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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.

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We saw the Israeli movie Foxtrot. Trailer here.

 

 

 

Love and Glory: Yeats Challenge, Day Fourteen

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.

 

Camille_Clere_Verwundet

Camille Clère (1825-1918) (Düsseldorfer Auktionshaus) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

Different Definitions of Great: Shadorma

This is a shadorma for Eliot of Along the Interstice’s November Shadorma Challenge, using Secret Keeper’s Writing Prompt words:

Star/Deal/Peace/Food/Word

 

Different Definitions of Great

Morning star

sings a song of peace,

the words drift

unheard as

swamp-dwellers make greedy deals,

children go hungry

 

 

 

 

All We Are Saying: Shadorma Challenge

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.

 

I never

celebrate bleeding–

I listen,

see dark smoke

but picture star-dazzled nights

 

and rhythm

in perfume breezes

from flowers’

blush of joy.

Go give up ferocious gods,

let poetry fly.

 

Vast haunted

eternity may

devour them,

this fever,

(Time must sail)

then we this window need use

and bring the word home

From the Remains of the Day

From the remains of the day

the Harvest Moon rises resplendent

Diana, the light-bearer, lingers,

glowing

reapers gather grains

sustaining bodies and souls

embracing,

creating life–

Diana hums,

the tune echoes in a mother’s lullaby

(unaware of wars and strife)

babies sleep in peace

512px-George_Mason_-_The_Harvest_Moon_-_Google_Art_Project

George Hemming Mason, “The Harvest Moon,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Violin: Haibun

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

 

512px-Lorenzo_Lippi_001

Lorenzo Lippi, “Allegorie der Musik” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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!

 

Fools and Oceans

Do we remember poetry and desire, come eternity?

embrace old rhythms of green and lingering life,

a brilliant blush,

a fired heart—

listen to this blue salt ocean, Fool,

the angel said,

magic lies here, there, all about and after

it dances and laughs, surrounding you like perfume–

go breathe peace and heal

 

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Northern_Sea_in_the_Moonlight_by_Caspar_David_Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich, “Northern Sea in the Moonlight,” 1823-1824 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I’m in the midst of crazy writing and editing. The Oracle knew just what to say. I added some punctuation. I hope she doesn’t mind.

Ghost in a City of Ruins: NaPoWriMo

I go through the motions of living, looking for food. We’ve been at war for—I don’t know how long. I don’t remember how The War started. I don’t remember why. I go through the motions, pretend I’m still alive, but I’m hollow and crumbling like the buildings around me. Once I was young and pretty; I loved and was loved. But it does no good to remember. There is only The War now. The bombing starts again, and I run for shelter. The instinct to live is strong. The barrage goes on all night. Boom, thud, crash. Boom, thud, crash, scream. As the sun peeks over the horizon, shyly as if wondering if it should stay, I crawl from my shelter. The bright glow illuminates the destruction of my world. I am a ghost in a city of ruins.

 

In the peace of dawn

rivulets flow, salty tears,

a sea of sorrow

coursing through ruins, blood-red

flowers float amidst rubble

 

I wake. A woman is treating my wounds. She takes my hand and leads me to others. There is food. There is water. I hear a sound, wonder what it is. A child’s giggle. Slowly—I’ve almost forgotten how—slowly, I smile.

 

Hope watered with tears

a seed nurtured with kindness

a hardened heart smiles

 

This is Day 27, NaPoWriMo.   This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were “peace” and “tear.”

I didn’t want this poem to be of any particular time and place, but yesterday, I heard a story on NPR about a woman who is one of the “White Helmets” in Syria.  I also thought of Fred Roger’s oft-repeated line “to look for the helpers.”

 

 

The Angel’s Voice

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

In the dark of winter night

speaks the angel, fierce but sweetly,

singing in a voice commanding,

crying in a voice demanding,

with caramel breath and radiant light,

shimmering and glimmering like the star

shining, pulsing, glowing bright

twinkling, twinkling from afar,

resplendent, lustrous, but not so cheery,

brilliant, dazzling, then her query–

Why do you fight and foster hate?

Why do you listen to lies, then wait

for signs and words and soothing vows?

Don’t you sense that something’s wrong,

that freedom and choice will soon be gone?

The sun will rise on empty space

where earth once was, but now no trace,

so, light the candles and ring the bells

wreathe the doors with evergreen boughs,

but call for love and fight for right,

prevent the waning of the light.

Then she vanishes, darkness returns,

we search for angels, and the candle burns.

 

This is for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge.

 

The prompt words were:

Sense/Fight/Free/Voice/Choose

Happy Holidays!  Wishing all of you light in the darkness and peace, and joy in the new year.