Day Nine: Ekphrastic Challenge

For Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 9, I’m responding to “Ennui with eye “(KR) and “Ignore the real world forever” (MH).

I’m weary of the grey January sky–
the pewter-plated clouds simmer in gloom
but never warm, despite their chafing, and
their mumbling conversations drone on endlessly,
causing the wind to bite in reply. And I–

I want to ignore the real—this forever-frost that beckons
with a glistening smile, and then attacks with fierce lion claws,
pinking my skin, but

I want color,
bright red blooms and blue horses,
grazing on emerald grass. I want to wake
from a summer dream,
to a robin gathering golden rays into song.

Day 7: Special January Ekphrastic Challenge

For Day, I’ve written two poems for Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge.

I liked all three pieces of art, but I responding to Kerfe Roig’s “Clarity” and Christine O’Connor’s (CO13).

Clarity

Coming home from the ER, I felt
a sense of clarity amidst the exhaustion,
and in the over-awakened midnight hour, an owl hooted
over and over again

calling for love, not warning,
I decided. And for love, we returned to the hospital
as the sun rose over the bridge to light the shadowed city streets.

Unfinished

There are ghosts in the secret garden
drifting through the flowers’ birdwing-flutters,
she senses them, but they are masked, invisible
against the bright blooms, unfinished with this world,
outside of time, inside the walls, they wait.

Ineffable

Monday Morning Musings:

Ineffable,
the word lingers from my dream
almost visible–

how to describe
the dream state,
a word floats in the air—

almost visible,
liminal,
the world of in-between.

Ineffable,
the world today,
inconceivable

that we let it happen—
the naked emperor rules,
the fools see what they want to see

despite fire, plague
the flaming hate
and the ceaseless lies

rekindling the blood libel,
as the full moon hums fiercely
in warning, in horror

we look on,
but also,
ineffable

the beauty
of lunar shimmer
and morning glow

of herons
and deer
and the serenity of the river flowing on

carrying ghosts and memories,
in its currents
time bends, reflecting and refracting

the past merges with the future,
till it, too, is ineffable.

I did wake up today with the work ineffable floating in my head. We didn’t go anywhere this week, but historian Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters from an American email today reminded me of all the events that have happened within the past week—”It was only last Sunday– seven days ago– that the New York Times released information about Trump’s taxes. Since then, we’ve lived through Tuesday’s debate and the wildfire spread of coronavirus through the inner circle of the White House, along with other stories that would have crippled any other administration but that now pass by with hardly a ripple.” My morning walks and talking to loved ones is keeping me sane.

We ordered Chinese food this weekend and watched two Merril movies: I’m Thinking of Ending Things (on Netflix) and A White White Day, an Icelandic movie available to rent on Amazon Prime and other platforms. I liked both of them more than my husband did, but they are both movies I’m still thinking about. The actor who plays the main character in A White White Day is so compelling, and his granddaughter is very cute. I’m Thinking of Ending Things, is a Charlie Kaufman film, so if you’ve seen his other movies, you know this will not be straightforward. There’s also a connection to Fargo, the TV show, not the movie. Jessie Buckley who plays the young woman in the movie, is in the new season, and her co-star, Jesse Plemons, was in an earlier season, as was David Thewlis, who plays his father. We’ve watched the first two episodes of the new season of Fargo, which is set in 1960 Kansas City, and we both like it so far.

I’m hosting dVerse today, so I’ll be back later. 😏

Here’s a another blue river shot for Liz.

Boat Slip, Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Moods

August Sky over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

 

Glowering

clouds reflect my mood,

shadows cast

on river

rolling to the sea, endless

cycles streaming throughout time

 

creating

stormy skies and light

untamed and

magical

the appearance of a deer

like a gift to me,

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like nature

answering a call,

now a need,

now the light.

I walk on, heart more joyful,

the river flows on.

 

A shadorma sequence for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for character and wild. This was inspired by a walk I took yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Poems Up in Black Bough Poetry

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The morning moon hummed fiercely today in the heat. I will be staying inside and taking work breaks to read Issue 2 of Black Bough Poetry, “Lux Aeterna” –Eternal Light. It is filled with tributes to Apollo 11–breathtaking poems and wonderful artwork. Please do take a look.

I am thrilled to have two poems in this issue, “Moon Landing” and “Dark Matter.” Thank you to editor Matthew M C Smith (no relation, though my husband has some Welsh ancestry. . .) for selecting my poems and for editorial suggestions on “Dark Matter.”

These are the grown puppies mentioned in “Moon Landing”–a bit blurred, like a memory.

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Make Way for Goslings

Golden goslings scuttle in a line

mother’s wings point, they align,

hustling to the river.

 

Father hisses at the stranger

–any possible source of danger—

parents are the givers

 

protecting their young

with honks, squawks, or tongue,

till from the river

 

fledglings fly away—

in time, somewhere, someday

 

Lillian is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse. This is a quickly written poem inspired by a walk I took this afternoon at the park by the river. I hope it’s not too treacly, but the baby geese were so cute, and I was fascinated by the family drama. I watched the goose I’m calling the mother shoo the babies towards the river. The father then hissed at one who was off exploring on the sidewalk to get with the others (you can see there are three on the grass, but four in line). The father then hissed at the other goose standing on the sidewalk, as the little ones went under the fence, and their mother then limboed under it, too. The father stood guard until they were all in the water.

 

Flowers and Bombs, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Forever—is composed of Nows—”

–Emily Dickinson,  Full Poem here. 

“N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near St. Anthony’s Shrine who said he had run inside to help, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.” New York Times, April 21, 2019.

A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies

bombs belie the façade

of Easter calm and Passover why

(is this night different from all other nights?)

 

Rivers of blood

with no miracle to part

falling of ash

unresurrected, fighting stops, starts–

A plague upon both your houses

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Of indecision and more lies

as the First Citizen cries

in confusion,

“No collusion!”

 

His followers cheer

not caring, or unclear

that he would destroy

all that they hold dear,

so they support and worship

their false idol. Rejoice

in the new normal, hate

the latest whipping boy.

 

I cook, wrapping myself

in almonds, dates, and honey.

The house is sunny,

scented with cinnamon

like the cat, who slumbers sun-sided

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Passover Almond Cake

The pink moon rises

we drink the first glass of wine, recline.

We are free, but refugees detained

chained, their children abused–

and we all lose–

Let all who are hungry come

 

We watch movies of

women hiding secrets

sometimes in plain sight

in poetry and stories,

sometimes driving in the night

to obligations, demands

and longing

for uncharted territories.

 

Certain women

holding together

waiting, still in a man’s world.

often unrecognized–

we place

an orange on the Seder plate,

to recognize, no longer erased.

 

We talk,

walk through city streets,

footsteps, heartbeats,

statues and stories,

petrichor replaced

with the scent of blooms

filling the air with their perfume, a trace

lingers in my mind.

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A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies—

all the endless ifs and whys–

and yet, my heart thrills

at the sight of the spring tide

with waves of flowers,

creating bowers

while the robin’s trills—

and we remember

forever is composed of nows.

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Red Bank Battlefield Park, April 2019

 

Day 22, NaPoWriMo  challenges us “to write a poem that engages with another art form.” My Monday musings always engage with the world around me through photos, and often movies or shows we’ve seen–so to an extent–I’ve met the challenge.

We watched the movie Certain Women on Netflix. We watched Becoming Astrid (about Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking and other books) on Amazon Prime, once I figured out how to turn on the subtitles. We saw the new movie, Wild Nights with Emily about Emily Dickinson in the theater. I liked all three movies.

 

 

 

 

Two Poems in Wellington Street Review

I’m so thrilled to have two poems up in the first issue of Wellington Street Review. It is “a new quarterly journal specialising in creative responses to the past. ” This entire issue looks fabulous.  I appreciate the editorial kindness and dedication of those involved with this publication–so wonderful to work with them–and I thank them for publishing my poems The Pogrom and In Memoriam: Their Names .

Surrealistic Spring

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Yesterday morning, the almost full moon set in a glowing, misty haze. Birds chattered and scolded me just before dawn, the day of the vernal equinox. Today, I bring some of the Purim Hamantaschen I baked to my mom. Philadelphia is a smeary charcoal drawing—damp and dreary. The day seems surreal. My mom is seeing birdcages. As we leave, a sad clown, tall and silent, walks out of the lobby of her building. We listen to news of mourning in New Zealand on the car radio. But when we get home, I see the first daffodils blooming, bright beacons in the gloom.

 

shimmery moon hums

songs float between here and there,

mockingbird echoes

 

I wanted to post a poem yesterday for World Poetry Day, but it was just one of those days where I was running around, and then dealing with family issues. . . This haibun is for Frank’s Haikai Challenge, March Equinox.

AND Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Challenge using synonyms for Spring and Sing.

AND for dVerse, where Kim is hosting Open Link Night (which was last night).

 

 

 

 

Horizon–Pantoum

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John Frederick Kensett, Sunset on the Sea,” Wikipedia Commons

 

At the horizon, known and unknown meet,

this liminal space between sky and sea

when the sun dips down, and night not complete

where dreams are unleashed and left to dance free–

 

this liminal space between sky and sea,

in this place, past and future meld and dwell,

where dreams are unleashed and left to dance free

we hover here, and fall under its spell.

 

In this place, past and future meld and dwell,

dreams sigh spindrift over the sand. Enthralled,

we hover here, and fall under its spell

as tall ships vanish, beyond shouts and call.

 

What might fate foretell here–our joys and fears

when the sun dips down, and night not complete?

Do we seek, question, wait for what appears

at the horizon? Known and unknown meet.

 

 

Gina is hosting the next dVerse form, the Pantoum.  Her post explains the history and mechanics of the form.

This a re-working of one I wrote about a year ago. This poem was inspired by a post by Frank of A Frank Angle. I borrowed my first line from him. Thanks, Frank!  🙂