All the Voices: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 28

Inspired by KR28 and JL28

Blue of sky
to river flowing
colored light
green growing
tall, bright, with birdsong trilling
day into night

mockingbird
sings. Hawk is screeching
gulls laugh back,
call goodbye
to fly in formation, light-
glimmered wings in flight

paths swirling,
all the sounds whirling—
sky voices,
birds and bees,
stars and moon, owl’s mournful whoooo?
So, you dream of scenes—

blue of sky
and river flowing,
all the birds’
bright knowing,
summer sounds in winter’s dream—
I turn towards you.

A shadorma sequence for Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 28. You can see all the art and read the poems here.

Patterns: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 27

Inspired by KR27 and JC27

Recurring patterns, the leopard’s spots,
my cat’s dark stripes against the grey
the rings on snakes, the turtle’s shell–say

a spider’s web, or a snowflake falling,
the same skills in an artist’s drawings,

but each unique.

Individual thoughts, lives, memories,
we weave together—make a plait,
a history of this, or wait,

use a net to catch and hold,
the good, the bad, the horrid, the bold
lies and truth, untold and told—

and if we never catch that elusive fish,
the legendary—still we wish,

the net cast on the water
to find treasure for our sons and daughters,

and see the sun-caught sparkling blue
alive with light and promise, so, too

an outstretched hand
held out again and again, unplanned

a recurring pattern through generations
woven in and out of hopes and dreams.

Love. Caught? Sought or forgotten.

Not always what it seems–or

sometimes it’s more.

Day 27, just three more days for Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge and poetry month. You can see all the art and read all the poems here. I’ve edited the end of this poem. I’ll be back later because I’m hosting dVerse Poetics today!

The Bravery of Being

Monday Morning Musings:

In the staggering power of stars,
there is a balance, to hold within, or
to burst and blow

scattering light across space
and time,

Early morning light on the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and time again, we see the dying glimmers
and again, with time, we find some power

in the gleam within–
we search for ourselves
over generations

blooming again and again–
the seeds, flowering to life,

though some die too soon,
others are cultivated,

sparked by an inner glow,
the DNA of stars, the lessons of ancestral genes—
finding superpowers in the everyday

discovering they are brave—much braver than they suspected.

My Shadow in the Light.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Within and without, power and balance,
Stop for a moment. Now—look–

Do you see the colors in the sky?
Light and beauty, ever-changing,
connected, connecting, everything.

Early Morning Light, Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Merril’s Theater/Movie Club: We streamed How to be Brave, a play by Welsh playwright Siân Owens, a production of the Inis Nua Theater in Philadelphia. I really loved this play and production. It’s a one-woman show about a single-mother, a librarian who likes order, but on this day snaps, steals a bike, and travels around Newport, Wales, and back and forth from the present to her childhood and learns (or re-learns) how to be brave. It’s a story of motherhood and generations, which is also a theme of the movie, Fast Color (Amazon Prime). Set during a time of severe drought somewhere in the U.S., the story is about Ruth, who has been on the run, but goes home to her mother, who has been raising Ruth’s daughter, Lila. We discover that they all have superpowers, but this is not a superpower action movie. It’s a quiet, indie film that is really more about family. We also watched the 2019 French movie, Les Misérables (Amazon Prime)—not based on the Victor Hugo novel. However, it is set in the area where it wrote it. The movie concerns a police officer, new to an anti-crime unit in this multi-cultural area. The movie is tense and exciting as small events escalate. One review called it “a simmering tale of two cities.” The movie won several awards.

We got out for a little while this past week to a local winery. It was cloudy, but then the sun came out as we were ready to leave.

Never, Always Ask

Ask if
the sea still glitters diamond-bright
in the sunshine,

and if
it recalls the whispers of
a thousand stars, the humming of the moon,

the voices of time, a champagne cloud of color
vanishing to form again

never, always

ask why
some don’t know the delicious dazzle
of light’s brilliant kiss,

and can’t feel the universe’s embrace, lingering
in an ocean breeze.

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Beneath the Surface: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 17

Inspired by John Law, “Back from Shopping” and Kerfe Roig, “Badger”

Sturdy women coated and scarved,
against the cold, damp English day. Tight-clad legs step
clop clop on water-pooled streets. The little one’s hand grasped—
everywhere unseen dangers lurk.

There will be no jumping now. Come along, her mother says,
and goes on talking about Bess’s too-soon baby, Tom’s gout,
and Will who lost his job—again.

Beneath the surface of their words, stories swim,
fish waiting to be caught,
the meanings elusive, not quite hooked.

The woolen hats and packages move with the women, yellow, red, and green
contrasts with the grey all around.
In the fine drizzle of the fretting sea,
the shops are nearly invisible,
like the badger in their garden, a fog-creature of the night.

The girl wonders if he lives beneath
the surface of the puddles. She jumps, despite her mother’s hand,

and laughs. Then a laugh bursts from her mother’s surprised O mouth.
They continue walking. It’s almost time for tea.

She will save some scraps for the badger. See if he surfaces, like love.

For Paul Brookes’s Ekphrastic Challenge. You can see all the art and read all the poems here.

She Is: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 16

In the spindrift of stars,
she’s felled, stayed by strands
silvered in the night

she circles in cycles of moon phases,
phrases repeat in her mind, bridging seen
and unseen worlds,

the doors that might open—if—
in the tides of sea and blood—there is life
flowering,

in her womb, in the earth,
the repeating petalled patterns,
the roundness of berry and belly,

the strength of limbs, rooted
to the earth, while reaching for the sky,
seeking light

she howls as it fills her. God, human,
something in-between? This is the truth—
she is what she is, and what she has always been.

She circles in cycles. Repeats.
Ever and always. She waits.

For Paul Brooke’s Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 16. I was inspired by all three works. You can read all the poems here.

Magic Comes: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 12

Magic often comes unseen,
in midnight sky, a sparkling flash,
on morning beach, a treasure stash—
a seabird message left for you
in colored stones of ocean hue.

Magic often comes unexpected,
a wish upon a star, synchronicity, chance,
or perhaps more than happenstance—
that needed doggy grin, the outstretched hand—
none of it planned,

nature and nurture, combined, entwined—
reactions or fate? Other realms or in-between,
ensorcellment in the glimmering sheen—
the magic, unexpected, unseen, and seen.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 12. There were only two works of art today, and my poem is inspired by both of them. You see read the other poems here.

Looking for Clues: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 11

One step forward, round and round,
the labyrinth circles—go or stay?
In the in-between, are answers found?
Past finds future. What is the way?

The labyrinth circles—go or stay?
She’s a shadow figure lost in blues,
Past finds future. What is the way?
Where are the clues?

She’s a shadow figure lost in blues
in her mind-forests, she searches dreams–
where are the clues?
Nothing here is as it seems,

in the in-between. Are answers found
in her mind-forests? She searches dreams–
but nothing here is as it seems–
just one step forward, round and round.

For Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. I decided to change it up a bit, so I wrote a pantoum this time to reflect the circles of Kerfe’s work. I revised it a bit from the one posted on Paul’s site–but these are all rough drafts. I couldn’t quite work in John Law’s work for this one. You can see all the art and read all the poems here.

May Queen, NaPoWriMo, Day 10

She sleeps in a thousand blues
of forest-shadowed whispers, waiting
for the world to wake, now in-between–

and in her dreams, she listens
for sky voices, the laugh of stars and birds remembering
the rhythm of days, tiny rose-tips, yet unseen

but when, not if, they come again
dressed in honeyed gowns of golden light, lingering–
she’ll wake to take her place, sweet May Queen–

with each embrace, she color-spaces
a trace of perfume recalls her paces,
and soft poetry where she has been, always and forever green.

I haven’t done too many NaPoWriMo prompts this month because I’m writing for an Ekphrastic Challenge, and there are only so many poems I can write each day! But, I always visit the the Magnetic Poetry Oracle on Saturdays, and today she gave me this sort of folk tale poem.

The Seals: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 9

Sleek pelts silvered in moon-spray,
brown eyes see only each other, in this monochrome world
the slivered crescent’s too high, and the twinkling birds
too far away,
though their lullabies soothe
the midnight sea. There are only whispers, the susurration of the wind, the dreams of fish
that arc above the surface,
nocturnal mutterings—no danger tonight,

they touch nose to nose, then swiftly, fin-footed,
in graceful pas de deux, they dance beneath the waves.

For Day 9 of Paul Brookes Ekphrastic Challenge. You can see all the art and read all the poems here.