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.
The Oracle whispers watch for the blue that comes a taste, a tease of cerulean between storms
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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
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,
music the gift of moon and stars— we echo, yet–
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.
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.”
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
the volta of each season, expressed in a grand reveal, or a subtle exposition
unexpected, yet familiar, everything
may change in a flash light to darkness to light— while we dream, whether we remember . . . or not.
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.