A Different Oracle?

The storm
is an angry moon band,
the drumming rattles walls
and windows crack in a hurry

to reach the giant bend
of time, the middle
where weights and scales
balance

the glorious and bitter–
it’s a dance we learn
to fall, to rise again, to dream.

This is an experiment. Jane and I (and whoever else) are going to see how similar our poems turn out, using the words she generated and posted here. Also, we may get thunderstorms later.😏

Connected

Buds and blooms, Colonial Garden on a foggy morning

Connected

In a dream, you were asked to follow,
to behold the soft things in the air
and beneath the earth, the seeds, roots—
the ifs of gardens, forests, meadows,
the cycles of darkness and light calling
the ancient songs of stars
echoed by birds, whispered by bees.
You listen, hold the secret close,
this deep-time ache carried in blood and bones,
every speck connected, and you smile.

My poem from the Oracle with special ifs for Derrick. She knew it was foggy this morning, and it seemed the world was full of dreams and secret things. I took this photo today at the park. This is the garden at the entrance to the eighteenth-century Whithall House. It would have been the back of the house then, as the front faced the river.

Questions of Shadow and Light

Questions of Shadow and Light

Sun above and below, reflections and shadows on the Delaware River

In this time of shadow and light
crow flies from trees with raucous caw–
there are things I think I saw–

when the world is washed fresh and bright
the grass is showered with sparkling drops,
a rainbow orb shimmers and hops

and robins sing to dawn’s delight,
the stars are gone, the moon will set,
but now she hums, and lingers yet

the truth of sun, moon, stars invite
the ifs and whys of death and life
hereafter lived in peace or strife,

questions of time—the infinite
echoes on stardust in our blood
and bones dissolved in ancient mud.

In this time of shadow and light,
when the world is washed fresh and bright
and robins sing to dawn’s delight,
the truth of sun, moon, stars invite
questions of time—the infinite.

A Constanza for dVerse. The first line of each 3-line stanza forms a poem, which is the final stanza. You can read more about the form here.

Re-Set

Busy Bees

Re-set

This toddler-tantrum world
needs a nap—

as under a snowy coverlet
bulbs sleep until spring comes

to bloom without fuss or fight–unfathomable,
the beauty that makes us—and bees—swoon

gold-dusted, what are their dreams?
A collective vision, pollen-scented harmony in ultraviolet color?

This is a quadrille for dVerse. The prompt word is sleep.

The Blue Between

Monday Morning Musings:

The Blue Between

Morning fog, afternoon sunshine. The Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

The Oracle whispers watch
for the blue that comes

a taste, a tease
of cerulean between storms

Pine Street on a Rainy afternoon in Old City Philadelphia

Rainy Day Walk in Old City Philadelphia:

that arrive with thunder of boots,
the hard rain of lies, and
lightning bolts of hate.

And I am tired–
so tired–of the would-be despots
who dupe the gullible,
and the culture that declares
black and brown bodies are not
as beautiful as white, and who proclaim all women
must be controlled.

I cannot believe in their petty, jealous gods—
narrow-minded, power-hungry deities created in our image,
not the other way around. I am still waiting for the Star Trek world,
where people fight for goodness, timelines can be rewritten, and Q
is a super-being, not a spreader of wacko conspiracy theories.

Sparkling River

But—
again, the Oracle reminds me to breathe
to listen to the pre-dawn birdsong, the excited chatter of crows,
the sparkle on the river, the scent of petrichor, of honeysuckle, of bread baking
in the oven–
to notice the humming moon and the singing stars,
and that patch of blue
that comes like love—a surprise, a mystery.

Mysteries

We had some blue skies last week, but lots of cloudy days, and we walked around Philadelphia in the rain on Saturday before seeing a play. This afternoon, we may get violent thunderstorms with hail and the possibility of tornados.

We saw School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play by Jocelyn Bioh at the Arden Theatre. It’s a play about—well, mean girls in a boarding school in Ghana in the 1980s. It covers issues of body image and colorism, in a timely, but also funny play. We streamed a very strange movie that we both liked Black Bear with Aubrey Plaza.
And we watched the first two episodes of the British series Ridley Road. It’s on Masterpiece now. It’s about a Jewish woman from Manchester who infiltrates a neo-Nazi group in the 1960s. It explores history that is not very well-known, but it is also timely (and scary to me) that people are so easily duped that they believe the anti-Semitic and racist lies and think the fascism will actually improve their lives. It sounds too much like what it is happening right now. Oh yeah, there was another mass shooting. A young white man with a hate manifesto shot people of color in and around a supermarket in Buffalo, NY.

We had a virtual Shabbat with our children and their spouses (and pets) on Friday night.

Awakened Again

Edward Burne-Jones, Sponsa de Libano (The Bride of Lebanon)

Awakened Again

Listen, see if my tongue speaks the language
you want to hear–
there’s a storm coming, you can feel it in the air–

the blossoms murmur
watch for the blue of after,
this is the secret told
in vine rustles, gentle then wild.

They love each breath,
each river bend—these birds,
these ghosts, carry song from gardens
on dawn winds, the buzz of awakened bees,
falling words
falling worlds
reborn

My message from the Oracle. There’s a lot going on in the world. Good luck to all who are marching and fighting for freedom here, in Ukraine, and throughout the world. I’ve had a busy week and a busy weekend, but I’ve just finished some work, so I will still try to catch up with reading posts over the weekend.

A Week in May

Monday Morning Musings:

A Week in May

“If war has an opposite, gardens might sometimes be it”
Rebecca Solnit, Orwell’s Roses

“Arise, women!” . . . “Say firmly: ‘We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country, to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.’”
–Julia Ward Howe (quoted in Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, May 7, 2022)

Extreme–
four seasons wander
through a week, and clocks strike
thirteen, people will die

death comes, we say of all
things bright and beautiful
yes, the daffodils gone—but reborn
again in the spring,
reawakened

to minority rule
we must rise, not as flowers, but trees
with ancient wisdom and roots that delve deep to
whisper underground in mycelium connections

Reflections, Park in Collingswood, NJ

to grow
with desire,
yes, like flowers, too, with perseverance,


in freedom and love

the birds sing and soar.
Resist the woman calls
with a strum on her guitar,

Venus in the early morning.

music the gift of moon and stars—
we echo, yet–

Peonies blooming at the Whitall House

now, elaborate
on how peace reigns in the garden,
though they are always full of ghosts—
blooms arise from decay,
and time veers on hidden paths to circle back–

I see my mom backlit by flowers, sitting there
as she did once–and still does
in my dreams. She smiles.

My mom and I–wine glasses in hand!

We’ve had cool weather, warm weather, dry weather, and rainy weather this week. We went from walking in t-shirts to turning the heat back on and bundling up in fleece. Meanwhile, here in the US, the extremists are taking over. They are not conservatives; they are not the party of Lincoln; they are right-wing reactionaries and fanatics who want to set up an authoritarian state.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I thought of how my mother helped the war effort during WWII, as the US fought (eventually) against the fascists. And then later, the progress that was made for human rights in her lifetime–that the fanatics who now control the Republican party are stripping away. Meanwhile, war continues in Ukraine . . .

Stepping down from the soapbox, I did have a lovely Mother’s Day with our daughter and her husband. She put together this beautiful brunch of nibbles and home-made bagels. Our older child and their wife sent a gift and called to say, “I love you.”

We saw Janis Ian in concert this week, her final North American Tour. It was a wonderful concert, and also a beautiful evening, so we took a walk in Collingswood, NJ before the concert. Here’s a link to “Resist.”

I’m hosting dVerse today, so I’ll be back later!

Secrets

Odilon Redon, Orpheus

Secrets

In blue-chorded night, the moon murmurs secrets
so the earth is never lonely

as between friends,
the ancient words fall like petals

to take root
beneath snow blankets and on stony beaches

gulls gather them—dropping them with a laugh—
see the flowers growing amidst the rocks?

Now the storms bury and the mad men trample,
but the seeds are there,

think not only if, but when
the ghost-light of long-dead stars arrives
we feel the ache, hear the promise in infinite.

My poem from the Oracle–and this painting again seemed to fit.

Scattered

Low Tide at Pourville, by Claude Monet

Scattered

never-static particles stream
in space-time light to earth-sea,
crushed shells rise as limestone cliffs,
crumbling

like bones–
dinosaur, fish, and we
fertilize the flowers–
with blood and ash,
the red and white,

of chalk dust
in the sunlight,
sparkling like tiny stars
flying home.

For today’s dVerse, I combined quadrille prompts. Today’s word is “static,” and the previous quadrille that I missed was, “chalk.” A quadrille is a dVerse term for a poem of exactly 44 words.

Dream Words

Monday Morning Musings:

Dream Words

“In the land
of words,
I stand as still
as a tree,
and let the words
rain down on me.”

–Eloise Greenfield, “In the Land of Words”

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars,”
Walt Whitman from #31 From “Song of Myself”

Early Morning Moon

My dream poem begins
Between a sonnet and an ode,
I can’t remember the rest,
it’s vanished in the universe of my mind,
a star to black hole or a comet to return with a blazing tail—
but me without the telescope to see within

this galaxy of thoughts,
my past, the fragments hurled through time,
and filtered through the space debris of memory.

I’m left trying to determine what I meant,
a borderland of form and matter,
formal structure and rhymed connections,
an abab skip to u–
the meter set by moon rise
and the rhythm by dawn choir.

I could sing the praises
of a leaf of grass, the beauty of the vulture’s glide,

the river tides, or
the scent of spring rain rising

Cloudy morning at low tide, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

the volta of each season, expressed
in a grand reveal, or a subtle exposition

Peonies in bloom, Whitall House

unexpected,
yet familiar, everything

may change in a flash
light to darkness to light—
while we dream,
whether we remember . . . or not.

Sometimes I watch him dream

Movies, Books, This and That:

Good morning! A couple of nights ago, I dreamt an entire poem, and “Between a sonnet and an ode” was really the beginning.

April was quite a month of poetry, wasn’t it? Even though we still seem to alternate warm and cold days, the flowers say it’s now May, as do the goslings, and rabbits.

We fortified ourselves with bruschetta and roasted asparagus from a local farm stand to begin watching the final episodes of Ozark (Season 4, part 2). We watched two episodes—it’s intense, but no spoilers!

We had Chinese food and watched a Chinese movie (of course). 😏 Here is one that most likely few of my readers have seen, Gone with the Light. You’re welcome. The plot will sound familiar—there’s a flash of light and some people all over the world vanish. Trust me, that the movie becomes something quite different, a meditation on love. I enjoyed it very much.

I’m reading A Woman of Intelligence by Karin Tanabe.
I just couldn’t quite finish it last night, but I’m really enjoying this novel of a woman who feels trapped in her life as a housewife in 1950s NYC after working as a translator at the newly created UN. One day she agrees to become an FBI informant, also becoming involved in Cold War spying—and feeling more alive than she’s felt in a long time.