Message in a Bottle

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I read the news—an Alaska man finds a bottle with a fifty-year-old message inside. The Russian sailor’s note conveys friendly greetings. They drift through Cold War seas, through glasnost and perestroika to shores not yet submerged by the rising seawater of melted glaciers. The man shows the message to his sons.

Past meets the future

carried on time’s tumbling waves

ebbing and flowing

lives tide-lifted and lowered

as moon-silvered sea rolls on

 

This is a Haibun tanka (because sometimes you have to break the rules) for Colleen’s tanka Tuesday photo challenge, using the photo above.

Here is the story that was in the news.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time and Secrets

Monday Morning Musings:

“We trust that time is linear. That it proceeds eternally, uniformly. Into infinity. But the distinction between past, present and future is nothing but an illusion. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are not consecutive, they are connected in a never-ending circle. Everything is connected.”–Dark. Season 1

“Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something was pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden – in all the places.”

― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

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In dawn light

the moon whispers a secret.

It hums in the air—

shimmering–

then floats through the branches,

lifted in a bird song,

dropped with an acorn,

to rise into a tree.

***

I watch the clouds ripple,

waves in a sky-sea set aglow

by morning light,

 

I wonder to what shore they’ll flow,

and if they carry sleepers’ dreams

to come again at night.

 

In a garden,

the bees dance secrets

over flowers bright

with expectation

of their visits

they invite

 

them and us

to sit and watch—

until mosquitoes bite—

 

and we go in

leaving a wedding party

to pose in the sunlight.

 

My mother tells us stories,

and time twists.

not finite

 

at all.

Not secrets,

perhaps hindsight,

 

we all reflect, no?

on our pasts,

and highlight

 

like stars

guiding us

spotlights at night,

 

but in gardens

magic happens.

delight

 

comes from simple pleasures,

wine and stories

statues in cloud-light,

or chickens pecking

squawking in a sherbet sky

magic, delight, sunsetting light.

 

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William Heritage Winery, New Jersey

Then I cook to heal

to taste

to bite

 

a bit of happiness

(and heat)

insight

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to share the love

to procrastinate

to fight

the doldrums

the fear,

and I write

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and walk

on city streets

where time might

 

circle round

cobblestones and skyscrapers

and old sites–

but in the movie

in an ancient land,

personal and political fight

 

old battles

fought again and again

love, lust, secrets ignite

 

a broader struggle

men with guns,

land, and right

 

or wrong,

they fight,

while in moonlight

 

we go our own way

and time flows

and twists, despite

 

our intentions

with secrets unknown

that drift into the light.

Boats on the Delaware River, from Patco train

We are watching the excellent German Netflix show, Dark. Trailer here.  There are a bunch of new movies out. Of course I chose one that most will not have heard of, The Reports on Sarah and Saleem. Trailer here. We both liked it. There is a lot of complexity that is skillfully handled—personal relationships and the political situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Light Behind the Clouds

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The storm rolling in

 

Charcoal clouds

sweep across the sky–

windswept shrouds

covering

summer’s blue, a magic trick

of sun, moon, and stars

 

glimmering

with secrets of time.

Watch streaking

meteor

carrying ancient glitter

scattered on the earth.

 

I’m supposed to be working on my book, but somehow my poetry brain took over, and a poem appeared instead of a chapter. Ooops! This is a shadorma sequence for  Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday–synonyms of light and dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections

Merril D. Smith, 2019, Philadelphia, William Penn and City Hall Reflected

Monday Morning Musings:

“Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me,
Searching my reaches for what she really is.”

–From Sylvia Plath, “Mirror”

“Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you’re just a reflection of him?”

–Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

 

In the window

the world is reflected

prismed into colors bright

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the blue of sky

and clouds of white

refracted sites

 

ripple and sway

changing as you walk

then fading away

 

unlike skyscrapers

that here still stand

monuments to technology

 

in reflections,

magic,

a slight of hand.

 

Now in the puddle

the world is upside down

in shades of beige and grey

Building in a puddle, Philadelphia

diffused light

scattered over slate

and rippling away

 

carried to the river

then onwards

to the sea

 

but here

are windows closed

as eyes asleep

 

and minds imprisoned

in worlds of fancy

and dreams

 

of children

go unheeded

unheard, unseen

 

in cages

they perish

swept away

 

by the latest news

of violence

and thoughts and prayers

 

go out

to remove the games

and images

 

but not the guns

they remain–

see, they’re not to blame

 

and cash

wills out

with slaps on the back

 

for the boys

are boys

who grow to be men

 

and abuse

again

and again.

 

And what do they see

in their reflections?

Do they stop to reflect

 

on the people

they harm?

I read of survivors

 

who try to forgive

when they

can never forget–

 

we must never forget

 

the sights refracted

in sunshine and rain,

and here we sit

 

holding time still

for a moment,

if we could with will

 

in vino veritas,

and truth there is

that there is beauty

 

and light

and days when things

are just right,

moments granted

even when

the world is slanted

 

cock-eyed, the mother

becomes the child,

but when she laughs

 

you wonder what’s real

and see your reflection

there she and you

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and she will never go

to the river again

but here a bird calls–

 

Hear it?

Listen and wonder

what does it see?

 

There its reflection

in the water

it looks at me.

 

Delaware River, Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

Moon Rising

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Pure

water,

the essence

of life, tumbling

down, cascading to

stillness, a pellucid

pool mirrors the sky above.

Clouds ripple in the lake and sky,

and bird shadows soar, black against white–

their calls echo, echo, echo, echo

until the sound fades into the gloaming

and fireflies dance about the shore.

Then come the night sounds and creatures

that fly, swim, flitter, twitter

with anticipation.

She is here, rising

from the water,

luminous,

glowing

moon.

 

A double etheree for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge.

 

 

Open the Window of Time

Ghost of Cassiopeia, NASA

“Powerful gushers of energy from seething stars can sculpt eerie-looking figures with long, flowing veils of gas and dust. One striking example is “the Ghost of Cassiopeia,” officially known as IC 63, located 550 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.” Image Credits: NASA, ESA and STScI; Acknowledgment: H. Arab (University of Strasbourg)

 

Open the window of time. . .

 

on a dancing breeze

sail away into night’s ocean

 

there dark angels laugh

and breathe fire-clouds,

 

their slow rhythms linger

in brilliant fevered air

 

coloring eternity with magic

(almost)

 

and haunted,

life flowers—foolish, secret, sacred.

 

You see this only after,

and remembering,

 

ask if.

 

I consulted the Oracle earlier this morning. It’s only a bit after 9 AM, and I feel like so much has already happened today. But it’s all just a blink in time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreams of Generations

Monday Morning Musings:

“Time makes room

for going and coming home

and in time’s womb

begins all ending.”

From Ursula K. Le Guinn, “Hymn to Time”

 

“Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset

Swiftly fly the years

One season following another

Laden with happiness and tears”

–from “Sunrise, Sunset” Jerry Brock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler on the Roof

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The dream flits,

flutters

spreading its wings

and soars

as the moon whispers

and shadows dance–

circles of light,

circles of darkness,

together, apart

beginnings and endings

all one thing,

in time

timeless.

***

A hot July day

time with a friend

not wanting it to end

 

we drink, eat stay

talking of what was

and what now is, because

 

we’re catching up

he knew us way back when–

the before, and then

The Cool Lights! Revolution House, Philadelphia

we went our own ways

but kept in touch—

and now this lunch

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though life intrudes

as I get texts about my mother

one after another

 

but still we laugh

then part, agree to meet

again soon—sweet

 

are friendships,

fleeting is time,

the clock chimes

 

echoing

through city streets

in buzzing beats

 

between the pauses, I feel

dreams rise from the cobblestones

beneath us buried bones.

***

 

We watch a movie

of fantasy and dreams

and my mom dreams, it seems

 

not certain of what is real

sometimes, but to her

fantasies, we defer.

 

And it is hotter now

some water ice to keep cool

in shaded bower, where statued pools

spray and children play

while others kept in cages

cruelty growing in stages

 

“Lock them up!” “Send them back,”

the ugly crowds chant

as the demagogue rants

 

and I listen to the fiddler play

and Yiddish spoken–

a culture not yet broken

 

entirely, and being revived

though they tried to kill us

six million then—but let’s discuss

 

how hate never goes away

entwined with fear

year after year

 

beneath the surface

like a dream.

Do you hear the scream

 

of those in a nightmare life

who are fleeing?

What are you seeing

 

when children in cages

appear before you?

Ho, hum, it’s nothing new.

 

Japanese, Jews, camps

of them, this and that–

and off them someone gets fat

 

(follow the money)

through history. We watch

a movie–does the cop botch

 

his life,

or is it ordained

as we see it explained

 

backwards through time.

Sci-fi and noir, violence and lust–

was it a story that must,

 

that always ended a certain way?

So many ifs and could-have-beens,

the outs and ins

 

of love and time

dances in circles, intertwine—

sometimes–

 

but the sun rises and sets

through our laughter and tears

and the years

 

circle in seasons

round and round–

light and darkness abound.

 

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We watched two Netflix movies this week. In Sicilian Ghost Story, I liked the way dreams were a key part of the story and the fantasy of it; my husband not so much. We both liked The City of Last Things.  The story is told backwards in time.

I listened to this Fresh Air episode about the Yiddish version of Fiddler on the Roof. Well worth the listen, if you have the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Storm, the After

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Thomas Chambers, “Storm-Tossed Frigate”

 

She sings a storm,

crushing the ship,

 

the sweet delirious blue

of sea moaning a raw lathered beat.

 

And then the moon’s smooth beauty

dresses the sky with light. . .

 

and if licks these rocks

(lazy-tongued) through purple mist

 

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I visited the Oracle yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to post. If you’re keeping track–I did a few word shuffles, but “if” showed up right at the beginning.