Always the Clouds

JMW Turner, “Norham Castle Sunrise

 

 

Always the clouds come, drifting

colored in the hazy shades of ever-after,

yet distant stars glimmer through, sifting

light diffused from ancient gas and matter,

 

colored in the hazy shades of ever-after

time travels on, translucent or opaque

light diffused from ancient gas and matter,

and so, we ache

 

as time travels on. Translucent or opaque,

our thoughts grow dimmer to dark,

and so, we ache—

forgetting glory, gone our spark.

 

Our thoughts grow dimmer to dark

muttering and sputtering of past wrongs,

forgetting glory. Gone the spark

of former days and daisy chains and songs.

 

Muttering and sputtering of past wrongs,

we dream in owl-feathered night

of former days and daisy chains and songs–

then wait for lark-trilled light.

 

We dream in owl-feathered night,

as distant stars glimmer through, sifting

(our thoughts) as we wait for lark-trilled light,

but always the clouds come, drifting.

 

 

This is for Peter’s prompt on dVerse. He’s asked us to think about sound. Kerfe had me thinking of pantoums, and so I revised one that I wrote in April.

A Garden Stroll

Longwood Gardens

Monday Morning Musings:

“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—

Commodore Barry Bridge

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

Longwood Gardens

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.

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, Misty Morning Sunrise ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

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. 😏

If I Ask

Winslow Homer, “Watching the Breakers” 1891

Moonlight’s sea-spray songs
lather, pound, and lick the rocks,
in dream whispers they shape-shift
through purple mist, bear away time-aches,
turning black to blue

~as I watch~

the sky blushes pink–
and is it enough
to wing away the dark-shadowed night?
And if I ask what love is,
will the white-feathered wind answer hope?

Today’s message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Field, Memory, Magic: The Traitors’ Gate

Traitors’ Gate, Andrew Wood, Wikipedia Commons



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.

The Lovers

T.C. Hart, “Storm at Sea”

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.”

Poem in Anti-Heroin Chic

My poem “Sashiko” is in the October issue of Anti-Heroin Chic. You can read it here. My thanks to editors James Diaz and Jenny Robbins. Please do read all the fine poems and stories in the issue.

This poem has a definite creation story. After my mother died in April, a friend, who is a nurse, sent me a card with the art and message below. But she has also experienced personal loss.

Ask Why

Foggy Morning, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

The goddess urges—
dream of luscious ifs,

in storms and shadow-seas
see the mist rise to honeyed sun
singing of time—
recall summer petals as floating light.

A thousand sleeps were–
in bitter after-aches,
cry at the blood moon,
ask why

it shines
while the wind whispers
heart breaths–
love, there, here, always.

It’s Open Link Night at dVerse, where Mish is hosting. I never got to Tuesday’s prompt on the vatic voice, but I consulted the Oracle today, and this is where she led me.

Gogyohka Sequence of Night Sky Dreams

Odilon Redon, Flower Clouds

Moon whispers shimmer
in gossamer dreams
we float star-sprayed with light,
our barque sails to dawn
through blooms of flower clouds

the white mast glides aglow
under golden rays,
and the azure sky is rinsed clean
in the after-morn of summer storms,
the air perfumed with sea salt

and always,
stars and moon voice secret songs
haunting eternity with ghost rhythms
surrounding us with magic,
waking us to if

The Magnetic Poetry Oracle and I collaborated on this sequence for Colleen’s Challenge using the theme “The Night Sky.”

Poem in Ekphrastic Review

Figures in a Landscape, by Bertram Brooker (Canada) 1931

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.