“After you have exhausted what there is in business, politics, conviviality, love, and so on — have found that none of these finally satisfy, or permanently wear — what remains? Nature remains; to bring out from their torpid recesses, the affinities of a man or woman with the open air, the trees, fields, the changes of seasons — the sun by day and the stars of heaven by night.” –Walt Whitman, quoted in Brainpickings
We used to go away, now we don’t go, we stay where we are, in stasis, mourn what was, embrace what is, forlorn–
but then comes a day, when we go not to stay, but to glory in the glow of autumn, amber light, and honeyed hues
well, wouldn’t you? If given a chance, bears from hibernation spring, if only temporarily– because I fear what winter will bring.
So, we drive over the bridge, as in days before, then masked, and with some hesitation, and trepidation, that gives way to elation—
because we’re seeing something new, a perfect day to stroll through seasonal gardens where flowers still bloom and bees buzz and butterflies flutter, birds chirp, squirrels stutter
in indignation, as we walk through Peirce’s Woods and in the meadow golden-bright to the manmade lake where we reflect in reflected light
on all the beauty we’re fortunate to see a special outing, a few hours to forget hate and plague, and all the vague anxiety
that hovers in the air, for once unaware, we laugh relax, eat, find a retreat–a poetic conceit perhaps, but for a time, we’re OK, and all is fine.
We went to Longwood Gardens, in Kennett Square, PA–about an hour away from our house in south Jersey. (You have to buy tickets in advance for a particular day and time.) We haven’t really gone anywhere, except for a few local wineries, where we can sit outdoors and far apart from others. Before we went, we got our flu shots at our local CVS, and that was the first time I had been inside the store since March. I felt a bit of panic. And at Longwood Gardens, it was strange to be among so many people—though mostly at a safe distance and masked. It was so good to see something different, and we picked a perfect autumn day. Of course, the mood was spoiled a bit because of the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. I turned off NPR for awhile.
I’m linking this to Robin of “Breezes at Dawn”’s Walktober. For those who don’t follow my blog, my usual, almost daily walk, is at Red Bank Battlefield, usually early in the morning. Below see some of the beauty that I experience there. Before the Covid Crisis hit, we went into Philadelphia almost every week, often taking public transportation. I think we last did that in February.
And a PS–Merril’s Movie Club: We watched The Trial of the Chicago 7. It’s on Netflix, and it’s enjoyable and timely. Fans of The West Wing, Sorkin even manages to get in a few walk and talks. 😏
They sail, a slow journey from glory to despair, above them, vacant-eyed heads grin in recognition of what was and what shall be–memories
carried as if by magic through the green English fields where the ghosts wander,
waiting for history to be rewritten in each new reign– queen to traitor, rebel to hero, recusant to saint.
This is a poem for Sarah’s dVerse prompt. She asks us to choose a set of three words from a list that she has posted. The words correspond to a site in London. I chose “field memory magic,” which if I understand correctly corresponds to the Traitors’ Gate at the Tower of London. The three words are part of larger project, which you can read about on the dVerse page.
Her love had sailed to far away on a merchant ship of middling size, she watched from shore through ocean spray and the day turned gloomy with greying skies.
She heard the wind sigh, “beware, beware,” the sun glowed weakly on the rocks, the strands of seaweed looked like hair, and no ships sailed up to the docks.
The news came later of storm and wreck, of her love and others thrown in the waves, though the captain shouted from the deck the sea often gives, but seldom saves
a ransom to the gods below. She wept and cried, “instead take me,” piteously, she was lost to woe, she swore bride she’d be under the sea.
No grave, no grave to put her in for she’s gone to join him, all agree. No mourners there, or other kin but come midnight, there the lovers be.
They walk upon the rocky sand as the stars sparkle like wedding gems, and you might see them hand in hand but the moonlight shines right through them.
An old-style ghostly ballad for Lucy, who is guest-hosting at dVerse. We recently watched a live-streamed Richard Thompson concert, where he did a lot of the old Fairport Convention songs. I borrowed, the repeated word grave (though with opposite meaning) from “Matty Groves.”
Newborn babes swaddled against February cold, my mother with end-of-life chill, carefully wrapped in snowflake dotted red, like a holiday gift. My cat on his cozy throw, dreaming as a crunch of russet leaves blankets the grass.
My poem, “Explorers,” is published as one of the responses to Bertram Brooker’s “Figures in a Landscape.” My thanks to editor Lorette C. Luzajic for selecting mine, along with all the other excellent responses. You can read them all here–mine is toward the end.