Vultures

Vulture near the Delaware River

Vultures

Now, the season of in-between
the summer heat dims, the vultures soar
wind-embraced through clouds to blue–
no evil or good in their birds’ eye view
above the trees, across the shore,
circling death, cleaning the scene.

For dVerse Open Link Night.
I was inspired by Sarah’s elegant response to Punam’s prompt. I decided to write a sestain, as well.
6 lines, ABCCBA

And I saw vultures today. 🙂

The Constancy of Autumn

Monday Morning Musings:

The Constancy of Autumn

“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;”
–from John Keats, “To Autumn”

Sunrise
Sunrise, Delaware River, September

Now the dragons come, sending their fiery breath
Into the cerulean sky, last gasps,
a vibrant show before their long, winter sleep.

Now squirrels skip and scurry
to find and bury their treasure,
eagles soar from shore to shore,

white-feathered heads glowing above the river blue,
where herons and egrets in shallow water wade
still in shadow, then with broad wings wide, glide

to other shoals. While blue jays gather
in raucous meetings throughout the day—
yelling at hawks, asking summer to stay—but

Blue Jay with shade of green

Apples and Honey, both local and delicious

now the apples come—red or golden-green,
the colors of both fall and spring, tart and sweet
as life, well-balanced, though seldom neat.

Now t-shirts are covered by sweaters,
above, azure turns grey, but bright a spray of yellow
in bee-swallowed goldenrod, and violet aster.

Golden rod and aster at dawn.

Now we are in transition, in-between,
summer has ended, winter not yet come
but we remember what has been

the roses of summer and the fruit,
their essence captured in honey and wine–
with time,

the memories and promises,
like late spring’s bird-dawn chatter—
everything connected, everything matters,

the constant of love’s endurance
glowing brilliant as the light
of ancient long-dead stars, so bright,
still guiding us from afar.

Where the light comes through—early morning, Delaware River.

We celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah last night. It makes so much more sense to celebrate the new year in early autumn as summer fades into fall than tacked on to the end of winter holidays on the first of January. Of course, no one has asked me. It was wonderful to celebrate with family, and while we missed not having everyone there, the smaller group meant we could all sit at one table and converse together. We toasted the memory of my aunt Sima, whose recipe for challah cannot be surpassed. It’s the one I always use.

Some photos from last night

Auguries of True Autumn

Autumn scene of cattle drinking from the Saco River, Maine, painted by Albert Bierstadt, ca. 1858.

Auguries of True Autumn

If you listen
from beneath deep-night’s blanket of darkest blue
you’ll hear the moon croon,
the tenderest of lullabies
for the lonely awake in quiet rooms

where she can silver-slide
through window cracks, and guide with wider-glow
the owls and foxes, and the bats–
though soon they’ll go.

If you listen,
you will hear the tree roots slow their growing
as they drop rubies from their crowns,
and bury seeds to sleep till spring, these sounds

just barely perceptible, perhaps sensed in dream-showings
like scenes from a book you’re not sure you’ve read,
but somehow find yourself knowing, this thread
of what will be—you’ll see

in the morning’s leafy rustle
and the geese’ fast honking bustle,
you’ll recognize your dream vision,
whether wanted or unbidden,

that now the leaves are turning scarlet and gold
competing with the dawn,
more than augury, no longer foretold–
autumn is here, summer has gone.

This poem is a collaboration between the Oracle, Derrick Knight, and me. I took the title, minus an article, from one of Derrick’s blog posts.

Enough and More

Odilon Redon, Flower Clouds

Enough and More

Here trees and birds brush-kiss the feathered sky
in blue-on-blue reflections, breathe a sigh.

No pause, no hesitation comes, so wise
trees are, roots down, boughs high, as birds they rise

bright-eyed, wings spread, and yes, I’d fly with you,
outstretched into the blue of sky and through.

And then, we’d float on mirrored sea, our boat
enwrapped in harmony, the world remote.

I’d watch the heron strut, fish-dive, and soar–
yes, this is enough, I’d need nothing more.

Some readers might be confused about the day from the image, but it fits so perfectly.
A poem in couplets, rhymed, iambic pentameter, for dVerse. I couldn’t quite manage to make all of the couplets closed. This is a revision of a poem that coincidentally, I wrote almost exactly two years ago for another dVerse prompt.

Truth and Myth

Sunrise Clouds

Truth and Myth

Incandescent miniature–
the sun caught in a wave
bobs up and down, drowning, reborn, a small god

ignored by garrulous geese and laughing gulls
who punctuate the sky with white-feather questions–

but the spotted deer, stoops his head at the shore,
glows as he sips the splendor.

I saw “incandescent miniature” in Jane’s Random Words, and this image popped into my head. I’ll have to use more words in another poem. I shared this poem with Top Tweet Tuesday.
I’m hosting dVerse Poetics today, so I’ll be back later!

Still More to Say

Monday Morning Musings:

Still More

“How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”
–William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Sunrise over the Delaware River

I still have more to say about color,
the frequency and hues,
and how we parse the natural world
and what we choose to name–

Would they be the same–
the roses and the stars—
if we didn’t claim them so
What color was the sea? Did the moon

sing a different tune?
What was before blue
of sky and blue jay wing
and what of the unseen,

Blue Jay and Shades of Green

and the in-between.
What does the heron perceive
in the grey of his feathers
or the ultraviolet that they see, like bees,

an Umwelt unlike ours, but like trees
connected and a part—
now think about our hearts
and all the types of love, friendship, fear—

Deer and Turkeys

look at dogs, cats, turkey, deer—
animals that love, have their friends, and run
in play and fear.
So many words, so many shades,

but hate has only one. It never fades,
it’s a black hole,
trapping light within—
and yet and yet and yet

it’s not that simple or set–
light bends and echoes around it
seeking a way, as if to not forget
and we–

have ways to see and be–
we’re hardwired to parse and name
color and light, and to sense the unseen–
Monet’s violet waterlilies somewhere in our genes.

Aster

Again, the Marginalian got me thinking about color and light. I found this short video that I think does such a good job of explaining how we and animals see color. For more on Monet’s eyesight, I found this short article.

We watched another strange Merril movie, Censor. Here’s a review from the Guardian. We both liked it, but it is very strange. I’m still thinking about it though.

We did a lot this weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Friday night out to dinner (outside) with daughter and son-in-law. That was after an amazing launch for Afterfeather also attended by Ricky. I have a poem in this anthology, which is published by Black Bough poetry from poems curated by Briony Collins from Top Tweet Tuesday.

A winery on Saturday late afternoon/evening. And a bridal shower luncheon on Sunday.

William Heritage Winery

Bridal Shower, Special Time With friends

September Says

Mary Hiester Reid, A Garden in September
 

September Says (in memoriam)

it follows, but perhaps it leads—
a season beneath a season,

the after-summer
and before fall tumbles into darkness.

Now shadows dance in spotlights,
and green branches are tipped with gold,

gardens are filled with flowers that know
the secrets of bees–

wisely they shake heads dyed indigo, gold,
and scarlet—it is a bird Eden, a squirrel pantry–

and if the river asks,
you breath in its blue mystery,

taste its layers, as it unfolds time
like a peony, seed to dust again and again.

My poem from the Oracle, who knows everything. She knows how beautiful September is right now in my part of the world. She also must know that yesterday I heard from my cousins that their mother, my aunt (my mother’s sister-in-law) had died the night before. It made me think about how my mom had died in April when the sky was also bright blue, and the spring flowers were blooming. So, this is not exactly a tribute to my aunt—but in her memory, a reflection of sorts on life and death and beauty.

In a Song Never His (Revised)

In a song never his

In the bird world,
in songs not his own,
in squirrel harmonies and
the deep-breathed rhythm of trees,
the long exhale of winter
in dusk’s violet

he thinks how love climbs like vines–
how easily they wither
but drop seeds to sleep under the rustle
of rust-rotted leaf blankets

as seasons pass beneath gnarled roots
fingers pointing down–

and now he above in aged-rasped voice cries,
our earth, our light, how blue!

Some of you will recognize that this is a revision of my poem from the Oracle, which you can read here. I revised it to make it more imagist for TopTweetTuesday and shared it there. I’m sharing it now with dVerse Open Link Night.

Saudade

Monday Morning Musings:

Saudade

“For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never visited.”
–C.S. Lewis, from The Weight of Glory

“If there is any point in using language at all it is that a word is taken to stand for a particular fact or idea and not for other facts or ideas.”
Tom Stoppard, Travesties, Act I (p. 22), Grove Press, Inc. 1975

Light and Shadows, Red Bank Battlefield

What language, what words
can express the golden glow
diffused through trees, the way it swells
between valleys, over hills

Egret, Early Morning, Red Bank Battlefield
Egret and Geese

the pensive blue, the egret white
a reversed silhouette in sapphire light,
the shimmering silver rills on river beach,
colors almost named; flavors almost tasted.

Early morning misty river
Geese in flight, Red Bank Battlefield

Now the crystal sky is smudged with grey,
red flowers bloom and grass grows greener,
drinking deep, as rain seeps to nourish roots below—
last call, last dance, before they sleep—

She’s sad and feeling ignored

the squirrels scurry in the shortening days,
and majesty with wide wings spread
soar in azure above our heads, like thoughts
here, gone, left unexpressed, but

spinning–as our Earth–
water-tilted, wobbles, remaining true to blue–
but what are the words for this time
of seeking beauty in strife and destruction

there’s no deconstruction of this theme,
no truth that dadaism could bring–
but in the apricot dawn and violet dusk
shadows sing

with words we almost know
and sounds we strive to hear.

Sunrise over the Delaware River

Happy Monday! I feel like everything is unsettled right now. It was a strange week, and I’m behind on everything. We had some beautiful, almost fall-like days, and now we’re getting much needed rain—though it’s so sticky and icky feeling that we turned the a/c back on last night.

There was a recent dVerse post that I missed on unusual words, but then I went down a Marginalian rabbit hole and discovered the word “saudade: the vague, constant longing for something or someone beyond the horizon of reality.”

Pine Street , Philadelphia, on a rainy Sunday afternoon


Yesterday, we took a rainy walk in Philadelphia and then saw the Lantern Theater Company’s production of the Tom Stoppard play, Travesties. As with all his plays, it’s a brilliant whirlwind of words, ideas, and styles, including a defense of art. All the actors were excellent—there’s so much fast dialogue, and it’s a long play. I also liked the set and lighting (something I don’t usually notice).

Here’s the synopsis from the theater’s Website:

Zürich, 1917. In Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning comic masterpiece, obscure British diplomat Henry Carr and Dadaist Tristan Tzara are in love with Cecily and Gwendolen, who are both in love with someone named Jack. Carr stages a production of The Importance of Being Earnest with James Joyce, and the action gets heated when Vladimir Lenin bursts onto the scene. Soon everyone in neutral Switzerland is at war over the question, “What does it mean to be an artist and a revolutionary?”

Also, dealing with language, but of a different type, I’m reading the novel True Biz. It’s a coming-of-age novel set mainly in a fictional school for the deaf in Ohio. It’s truly illuminating. It’s making me see things about a culture I didn’t even really know existed. (More so, than I felt in the movie, CODA.)

We finished season 3 of For All Mankind on Apple TV+. Highly recommend it.

In a song never his

Odilon Redon, Orpheus

In a song never his

he seeks peace in the bird world,
in songs not his own,
in squirrel harmonies and
the deep-breathed rhythm of trees,
the long exhale of winter
in dusk’s violet

he thinks how love climbs like vines–
how easily they wither
but drop dream-seeds to sleep under the rustle
of rust-rotted leaf blankets

as seasons pass beneath gnarled roots-
fingers pointing down–

while he above thinks,
our earth, our light, how blue!

Sometimes the Oracle makes you work, and other times, she just says, “here you go.”