I Ask the Birds: Magnetic Poetry

Frants_Bøe_-_Birds_in_the_midnight_sun,_1857

Frants Diderik Bøe, “Birds in the Midnight Sun,” [Public domain]

When you soar—

up through purple mist

 

is there beauty there?

 

Blue shadows lick

the red rocks

 

a lazy sky-spray sings,

 

but rain recalls dreams–

the sweet smell of peaches–

 

and yet the wind cries why

as a symphony, a moan

 

an ache in me sleeps

 

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The Oracle sends me lyrical questions. I hit “Publish” too quickly! Re-publishing this with my screen shot.

 

Dreams and Wishes

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More than cake—

remember magic

lives long. Let

it always

surround you, a breathing cloud,

a dance in kisses

 

and so, this—ask if,

but explore the secret stars

in a universe

time ghost-laughs a fevered breeze

and a heart blushes, flowers

 

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The Oracle knows everything, so she knows it is birthday month at my house. Both daughters and my husband (and mother-in-law) have birthdays in February. When the girls were little, we often had a combined Valentine’s-birthday party. So here is birthday love and wishes in a shadorma tanka combo for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge.  But there will also be a lot of cake and celebrations this month.

Walls, Again and Again

Monday Morning Musings:

From a window I watch the birds flocked together to find food, to feed, fueling before the chilly winter rain begins again, following each other ground to sky and back again. I watch a couple of black birds—starlings perhaps–pecking at an old light fixture hanging below the eaves of my house. We think they don’t think or love or dream. Perhaps they think the same of us?

Species to species,

is there communication?

Walls between us all

 

I watch my cat dreaming and wonder what he sees. I wake from my own dream. It fades to mist. I remember only my sister. Her hair is styled in coils on each side of head—a 1940s hairstyle. She slowly morphs into my grandmother, my mother’s mother–

dream walls dissolving

past, present, future merging

an uncertain message

 

On a chilly day, we see a production of Romeo and Juliet. The cast wears modern street clothes, Mercutio raps. There is a band and a “Greek chorus” of local college students. There are curtains of shimmering golden strands; the actors part and walk through them. They also wheel these golden strand curtains into place to form walls on the otherwise mostly bare stage. There is another wall at the end of the play, where the singer and band sing about love being “a waste” if it is only “a wall to keep the truth away.” Some of the beauty of Shakespeare’s play has been lost, yet we enjoy this imaginative production. We talk as we walk through city streets. Then within walls, where it is warm and dry, we sip some wine, and eat some cheese.

enemies fated,

or find love notwithstanding—

what is in a name?

 

We walk past garden gates and walls to see another play. Ripped from too many headlines—the far too common killings of black people by white law enforcement officers—the play is set in the jury room where the jury is deadlocked. They decide to try to react the circumstances of the case giving all those involved a backstory, which leads to the final, surprising, and powerful conclusion. The play is not perfect and some it is a bit contrived, but it seems designed to help tear down some walls. Every performance has a talk back session. Some people say they like how the characters are made human. No one here is evil, even if we do not agree with their opinions. There are walls of human misunderstanding and conflict in both plays.

conversations help

break down walls of distrust

challenge our notions

And yet—we finish watching the third season of The Man in the High Castle. I am chilled by the vision of smiling youths tearing down monuments and burning the New York Public Library. This is a fictional world, but lately there are too many similarities to the real world. The petulant baby foments hate. We should all be behind a slogan to Make America Better, not to the one he champions that looks back to world where racism, sexism, and homophobia flourished. I see too many posts railing against “illegals,” the ignorance astounds me. And on Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating when Auschwitz was liberated, too many do not believe it happened, while there are some who would like it to happen again. I watch Rent, and I think of the Parkland students singing “Seasons of Love” at the Tony Awards last year.

“It’s time now to sing out,

though the story never ends”

still walls of hate here

Every family has its secrets, its walls. Every family has its tragedies and comedies, a play in several acts. We live out our stories within the walls of homes, schools, workplaces, or in confinement somewhere. My mom rarely ventures outside the walls of her building now because she can’t go out by herself. We drive her to our daughter’s house for brunch. We talk, eat, and watch the dogs play. We laugh. We love. Sometimes that is enough.

Walls can shelter us

from bad weather, and from life

but love helps us grow

The moon hums a lullaby for birds, cats, and me. Walls dissolve, and we share a dream.

 

I guess this is more prose and verse rather than a series of haibun. And also, sorry, WP won’t let me delete the video below.

 

 

 

 

 

Haunted

caspar_david_friedrich_-_blick_aus_dem_fenster_des_künstlers

Caspar David Friedrich

 

A ghost from eternity

haunted me

 

like a laugh

in rhythm with time.

 

And it dazzled,

embraced the night in perfume

 

and celebrated caramel-colored days in dance–

almost always–

 

we could

and did

 

more or less like need,

to heal.

 

Then it said go,

the window is open—

 

but listen for poetry,

it surrounds you.

 

My weekly message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

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And so, You Ask Why?

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Peder Severin Krøyer [Public domain] “Summer Evening at Skagen beach, the artist and his wife”

Through time,

there with us,

 

purple shadows—

and above,

 

the moon,

diamond cool,

 

urging, what?

 

We want beauty and music

(so, we say)

 

Summer sea-sprayed lives

and the smell of storms

 

that blow away—

as life must—

 

but still—

you ask why?

 

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I haven’t had much time to read or write poetry this week, but I didn’t want to miss my weekly consult with the Oracle. Her message seems appropriate for MLK weekend and the Women’s Marches today–and the Super Blood Moon lunar eclipse.

Grey Clouds, White Snow, and Beautiful as You Feel

Monday Morning Musings:

We’re frozen in a shadow world of dreary grey clouds, not even interesting enough to be chiaroscuro, just day after day dismal bleakness. Finally, the sun appears, and though the wind is gusting, and it is cold, I am thrilled to see sunshine. I have a doctor’s appointment, and we decide to make the rest of the day into an afternoon date—lunch and a movie. Before the movie, Green Book, I discover a little pond by the multi-plex parking lot. Beauty in unexpected places.

sun shines one fine day–

cold white clouds on blue surface,

rippled by webbed feet

Pond beside Multiplex, Voorhees, NJ--Merril D. Smith 2019

A friend stops by–just for a moment to drop off a belated birthday gift. The presents are lovely, but it’s the thoughtfulness that I cherish more. We’ve been friends since our college years when our now husbands were roommates. She’s a friend I could call in the middle of the night if I ever had to.

know you’ve got a friend

in January’s dark cold

to bring glimpse of spring

 

We’re watching The Man in the High Castle. In this alternate reality, the United States is split between the Nazis on the East coast and the Japanese on the West. In one episode, a Jewish man (who practices his religion in secret) tells another character to continue to create art, to find beauty so that “they” don’t win. He says Jews have outlived evil before, and they will do it again. I hope he’s right.

creating beauty,

wondering if it’s too late

for seeds to flower

Sylvia Schreiber Painting

One of my mother’s paintings.

Sun and wind, then grey skies again. A Sunday morning snowfall, quiet and beautiful.

there, up on the roof

snow lays a silent white quilt–

inside all are warm

 

We eat mussels and pomme frites at a Belgian bar. Then we walk through the cold city streets, where some holiday decorations remain.

 

small blankets of white

lights twinkle so far away–

city winter night

In the beautiful Academy of Music, we see Beautiful. The show tells the story of Carole King’s life, focusing on her relationship with Gerry Goffin, her husband and writing partner, and their friendly rivalry with songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The show ignores the social and political events going on at the time, though her declaration of independence got a cheer from women in the audience. Still, the songs that carry the show along—and they, of course, are wonderful. The show begins (“So Far Away) and ends with Carole alone on the stage at the piano (“Beautiful”).

light so far away,

you’re beautiful as you feel—

hope in dark of night

 

We go home to dream–of some kind of wonderful.

White Cat on Grey Couch, National Park, NJ

Each of the haiku–and the final line– includes a line from a Carole King song:

“One Fine Day” (Gerry Goffin and Carole King)

“You’ve Got a Friend” (Carole King)

“It’s Too Late “(Carole King)

“Up on the Roof “(Gerry Goffin and Carole King

“So Far Away “(Carole King)

“Beautiful “(Carole King)

“Some Kind of Wonderful” (Gerry Goffin and Carole King)

And here’s a bonus for you from when Carole King was honored at the Kennedy Center.

If you’ve never seen this, then you’re welcome. And if you have, then you know–Aretha Franklin, the Obamas, and Carole King herself–all the feelings!

 

The Beautiful Seen

“For beautiful to happen the beautiful has got to be seen.”

Adam Gwon, “Beautiful” from Ordinary Days

I watch the ripples in the sand,

let the grains flow from my hand,

see them slide into a shimmering sea

to wash ashore on another land.

 

I look at the blades of grass

through them robin hops to pass

then calls to me from a nearby branch–

the sky above, a clear blue glass.

 

The beauty that has to be seen,

blue of sea and sky, and grass so green,

the beauty of the ordinary, looked at again–

remembered sights–or what might have been.

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Gina at dVerse has asked us to write a poem about ordinary things. I thought back to something I wrote a while ago about ripples in sand and the scientific discoveries of Hertha Marks Ayrton, which gave me the opening. But “ordinary things” made me think of the musical Ordinary Days. My younger daughter was in it when she was a senior in college, and I got to hear her sing, “I’ll Be Here”–and tried not to sob and embarrass her. The quotation comes from the last song in the show.

 

 

 

 

The Sea Sings: Magnetic Poetry

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Guillermo Gómez Gil, “Moonrise” [Public domain] Wikipedia Commons

The sea sings

the music of time

 

recalling

in her shadowed beauty

 

gorgeous life and bitter blue-black

screams of why ripped by purple water.

 

But I sit beneath the light of tiny diamonds

and dream

 

seeing ships go,

and wanting you.

 

The wind licks my skin, whispers

when, if. . .let love in.

 

My weekend message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

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Looking at Fire, Exploring the Cold

 

Leaves crunch underfoot,

above red planet rises–

owl hunts unconcerned

 

Thrusters fire, and a ship lands securely in a sandy crater. Passion burned in the heart of the war god; his namesake is rust-hued, barren, and frigid. But–once water flowed here, and perhaps life flourished, too.

 

We look up, wonder

see fiery stars, and ponder–

elsewhere, sun sets blue

 

117989main_image_feature_347_ys_full  Sunset on Mars

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell
On May 19, 2005, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover’s 489th Martian day, or sol.

My poem was inspired by the Mars Insight probe that landed this week. This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday using synonyms for cold and safe.  And for dVerse, where Victoria asked us to write any type of poem using fire.