Shadows, Wind, and Clay: Rubaiyat

Monday Morning Musings:

“God, how we get our fingers in each other’s clay. That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of each other.”

–Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Come

“And Guy felt it again—the sense of hostility in the clump of woods east of the house. . .

What chance combination of shadow and sound and his own thoughts had created it?”

Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train

Tuesday

So now, my mother feels her age

and shadows walk on either side

both before and behind, this stage

of life, some accept, others rage.

 

My own walk, confident, with pride

stepping fast and firmly to ground

with thoughts in clouds and eyes now wide

to watch my mom and match her stride.

 

This fake spring day, a shy half-smile

timid, like a deer, before it flees

and can’t be seen, but for awhile

we’ll bask in light, as it beguiles

 

though my mom unaware, she sees

but doesn’t, knows winter is here

leaves dropped and then tossed in the breeze

is age a stage, or a disease?

Thursday

We go for drinks, daughter’s birthday,

we talk and laugh, I’ve baked a cake

we’ll sit awhile, no lengthy stay

work tomorrow, always the way

 

I value moments with my child

a beautiful woman, she’s become

with students now that she has styled

wisdom and laughter reconciled

Friday

We watch a film set in a war

where women have to hide their hair

and people flee to basements for

there is danger, bomb threats, and more.

 

Did djinn arrive somewhere upstairs

flying on missiles in the wind?

But look, what is real, what nightmares–

shapes in shadows, sounds on the stairs?

 

Saturday

A date day to play with some clay

cold outside, but it’s warm inside,

we turn the wheel, and learn the way

clay becomes bowl–or thrown away.

 

I say to him look at the moon

as we walk into the light of night,

city to train, and then home soon

for shadow-dreams to lunar tune.

 

Secret language, a potter’s wheel

spins, shaping it, and us anew

through heartache, and then all we feel

as spring to fall, to age we kneel.

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I’ve attempted something different for my Monday Morning Musings—a Rubaiyat. This is part of the poetry forms series on dVerse.  I’m not sure if this works.

 

We watched the movie, Under the Shadow, an Iranian movie set during the 1980s in Tehran. I liked it—it’s billed as a horror movie, but there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s on Netflix. Trailer here. We went to the Clay Studio in Philadelphia for a date day. There was wine, beer, food, and instruction. Each person gets to make two pieces (you can actually make more and keep your best two). I’ve never used a potter’s wheel before. We weren’t too good at it, but it was fun. On Tuesday, it was in the 60s F. Today, it’s snowing.

 

 

 

For My Younger Daughter on Her Birthday

Twenty-eight years—

a lifetime—

or just a blink—

 

time passes that way

without regard for what

we think

 

of all the moments,

the tears, the joy,

together, we link

 

them, forming

the totality

I would not rethink

 

through whys

or ifs, to undo

 

that which is

so wondrous–you.

 

A quick birthday poem–posting on dVerse, where Grace is hosting Open Link Night.

 

 

 

 

 

Postscript, in which I continue to procrastinate, avoiding the work I should be doing in order to comment on the mistakes with my previous post

So, first I published my musings without a title

then I forgot to erase my random thoughts–

the scribbles on the metaphorical napkin–

the unpremeditated words,

that come flying from my mind,

aimless, falling like autumn leaves. . .

and now you see that first process

before other ideas came to me—

while I brushed first my teeth

and then my cat’s

(because good dental hygiene is important

but doesn’t require much brain power).

So, I’ll just leave that post up as a monument

to first and second thoughts,

and perhaps a third,

even as I took a breath,

I somehow forgot to breathe.

In today’s Monday Morning Musings there is a gap between “the real post” and the first scribbled thoughts that I forgot to delete. Now you see how I work.  🙂 I did correct the title, but I didn’t scroll down far enough to notice that gibberish. And I also misspelled “breathe.” Also, the WP Gremlins seem to be active today, so who knows what may happen to this post. BEWARE!  NOW, I’m getting back to work. Really. In just a few minutes. . .

Most of Rina Bannerjee’s artwork has very long titles.

 

 

Universal Truths, Some Ice Doesn’t Melt

Monday Morning Musings:

“Poverty made a sound like a wet cough in the shadows of the room.”

–Ray Bradbury  (Referenced here.)

There’s ice on the river,
but it will melt,

Ice on the Delaware seen from Patco Train
not so some hearts

that stay ever frozen,

 

no warm current flows

there to thaw,

 

the cold. No way

to resuscitate the lifeless

 

zombies

feeding on the living.

 

Yet they proclaim

their love of life

 

when it’s cells

they pretend to care about–

 

but not the ones

into which people are thrown

 

not the children taken

and lost

 

and not their parents–

only the cells that might be,

 

not the violence

that affects them,

 

not the guns or poverty.

Power and money

 

their gods

though they pay lip-service

 

to a deity

twisted to defend

 

their beliefs.

It’s an age-old tale,

 

a universal truth that

the mighty can tumble,

 

but those just getting by

fall over the edge

and into a ravine

often unseen,

 

there to remain,

but it can happen

 

to almost anyone

without influence

 

or connections.

Perhaps—

 

connection

is the key,

 

if only to one

lock

 

of the many–

the librarian

 

who makes the homeless child

feel special,

 

the immigration officer,

who learns that

 

that law and morality

and not always the same thing.

 

We walk through city streets

where murals bring beauty–

 

and truth,

and a museum opens its doors

and galleries

to new works among the old–

social and economic inequality

consumption of people and goods

 

the movement of people and goods

across the globe–

 

a complex interaction

of thought, art, and words.

I amuse myself in imagining

my father and older daughter

 

walking though these rooms–

he, who wrote a dissertation

 

on Charles Willson Peale,

and she, an artist with a passion

 

for justice. What fun they would

have had here.What a discussion

they might have had—

perhaps in some alternative world,

 

but here, we are

and we go to a movie

 

immersed in a world that does exist–

It is fiction, but tells a truth

 

of poverty, chaos

that most of us cannot imagine.

 

Through it a young boy navigates

with defiance, bravery, spirit—and kindness

 

rising above it all

despite the example

 

of his parents, and many

around him blind to what is before them.

 

A story again of immigrants, too,

because this another universal truth

 

that people move and come legally and illegally

to Ethiopia, Lebanon, Iceland, the U.S.

 

to which my grandparents came.

And your ancestors were immigrants too

 

if you look back far enough.

And were they helped by someone?

 

Most likely.

 

We each walk our own paths

with tenuous connections

 

that sometimes mesh

or interact.

Late Afternoon, Washington Square, Philadelphia

 

The meteorologist says

there’s freezing fog today

IMG_1347

but the temperatures will rise,

and the ice will melt

 

But some hearts will stay cold

and some minds will remain frozen

 

screens where the cursor never moves

to write new thoughts.

 

We saw And Breath Normally. It’s on Netflix, trailer here.  It’s a quiet movie (no music, Dale!), but well done, about a immigration officer in Iceland and the African refugee who helps her. Though it’s set in Iceland, it could have taken place in many different nations. And we saw Capernaum (trailer here), which will just rip your insides outs. That little boy AND that toddler, and the horrible parents, and the surroundings. . .yeah, just see it.

We went to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where Rina Bannerjee’s work is on display until March  31. (Free on Sundays during the exhibition). You can see and read more about her work here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My grandmothers, both immigrants

 

 

I amuse myself by imagining my father and my older daughter walking through the gallery discussing his view of the Peales and her views on art and feminism. They would have had so much fun.

Art

 

Resistence spices peel  never imagine without inheritance  I see revealed

Sun disguises well the feather we see while home

 

Stop these storms

 

She sings of summer

While the wind urges elaborate dreams

Heaving enormous fluff

 

When

Her heart healed

He looked long

Letting it be less

Herself

Him

The perfume of need and want

Melting

In embrace

Timeless as the ocean

Exploring the night

 

 

The Old Lovers: Magnetic Poetry

 

Robert_Vonnoh_-_Lingering_Rain,_Moon_and_Eventide

Robert Vonnoh, “Lingering Rain” Public Domain, Wikipedia Commons

Recall, she says,

we watched the moon

 

and time stopped

as shadow mist played

 

above the blue forest.

What was it you wanted?

 

Us?

The sea?

 

A dream of if—

lives on for us, my love,

 

like the smell of spring rain

as sun shines through it.

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 7.56.48 AM

From today’s visit to the Oracle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sojourner

SojournerTruth_1850_OliveGilbert

Portrait of Sojourner Truth. From: Olive Gilbert. Narrative of Sojourner Truth: A Northern slave, Emancipated from Bodily Servitude by the State of New York, in 1828. Boston: Printed for the author, 1850. Artist unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

She

labored

one of many

enslaved humans.

“Ain’t I a woman?”

she asked later, challenging

stagnant thoughts about gender

as well as race, believing she

deserved the same rights as any man.

Infused with holy spirit, awakened,

she sojourned, orating and proclaiming.

She had been beaten and abused, but

she escaped, then helped others flee.

Change soars like a bird in flight,

falls like an autumn leaf.

Yet once a woman

stood tall, speaking

of justice,

telling

truth.

 

Today’s Google Doodle, by Philadelphia-based artist Loveis Wise, honors Sojourner Truth (1797-1883).

This is a double etheree for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for work and slow.

 

Harbinger

 

The rose once technicolor bright

now sepia-toned, left, an oversight

to blend into the background.

 

And she, nearly devoid of color

doesn’t see it, everything now duller,

except when in her dreams.

 

Her frail body, a slight bump beneath

the blankets, but her mind unleashed

flits between sleep and waking–

 

she sees a vision of their summer home

the cottage colored sand and sea foam

and brightened by its rose garden,

 

and always scented by the sea.

But here and now, she

hears the ocean, waves lapping,

 

slapping the rhythm of the tide,

calling her—to slide

into her memories–

 

or no, a harbinger it seems

of what is next, not dreams.

Her sun is setting,

 

and now the room glows

a well-loved voice she knew and knows

says, “Come, Love. I’ve been waiting.

 

Sarah at dVerse has been pondering the word “harbinger,” and asks us to do the same in a poem. Lately my poems want to be stories, and my stories want to be poems. Perhaps this is a harbinger of something yet unknown (to me).  🙂

 

 

 

By the Riverside–Quadrille for dVerse

I walk by the riverside—

only the steps are steep–

few creatures stir,

do they hide–

perhaps they’re fast asleep.

I wonder what it’d be like

to soar, slither, or leap,

but my shadow and I walk

side by side–

good company, we keep.

img_1243

Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

Enough dark and dismal today–keeping it light for quadrille day at dVerse. Mish has asked us to use the word “steep” in some form in our 44-word poems. I wrote most of this in my head while I was walking.

 

A Dream, A Kiss: The Stranger’s Tale

I met a man who told me tales of wand’ring

long on lonesome trails of silvered hazel wood,

where by a stream he dreamed, and his pond’ring

 

the ships he sailed, and battles fought as he could.

Then how his dream seemed more real than all of this—

of his darling’s kiss, how missed, and what he should

 

have done. Now old, I think of his dreamed kiss,

his plans altered and rued. I instead stayed,

cast wishes on waters true, finding bliss

 

with you, I thank that man, his lesson taught,

grateful my hopes granted in love long sought.

 

Another sonnet for dVerse, this time in Terza Rima, with thoughts, too, of enjambment, per Jilly’s post. I’m still reading the sonnets, and I’m so impressed with the philosophical questioning. I seem only to be able to write these narrative type sonnets. This started out as a poem based on a Yeats challenge, Jane Dougherty did a while ago. If you want to read that version, it’s here. So indirectly, this is inspired by Yeats. Feel free to comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Spy

dò_-_susana_y_los_viejos_20180922

“Luis Fernández García, “Susanna and the Elders,” [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

 

She shed her old life the day the soldiers came,

sloughed like a snakeskin. Perhaps

traces remain to be found someday

in a dusty archive, a notation in a book,

but she has grown, now

metamorphosed,

each day she wears a new persona—

school girl, maid, shy lover—

they think she’s eager to accept

their upright soldiers, ramparts breached

they thrust to claim her,

but she’s eager only for information–

spilled words that she can pass along, not their seeds

she does not want planted.

So, she listens, and they disregard her—

seeing only body, not mind.

She shed her old life when the soldiers came—

she lives in shadows,

hoping for a new life, a new skin

that need not be shredded and shed.

 

 

This is for Lillian’s “shed” prompt on dVerse,