Lights and Life: Quadrille Haibun

First Night of Hanukkah, December 2018

Candles burn, in winter darkness, a miracle of light. The ancient hatred is rising again. Six million and more, but we survive. We clink our glasses lightly, saying not, “Cheers,” but “L’chaim.”

twilight comes early

shadows blanket ground and trees—

light glows in windows

 

De, aka Whimsy Gizmo, has asked us to write a quadrille using some form of the word cheer for dVerse.  I’m also linking to Frank’s Haikai Challenge to write a poem that alludes to Advent or Hanukkah.

I know I wrote about Hanukkah yesterday, and there will probably be more—but you know, it lasts for eight nights. Tonight will be the third night of Hanukkah.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turkeys, Squirrels, and Magic in the Air

Monday Morning Musings:

“So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.”

From Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay”

“The sky is already purple; the first few stars have appeared, suddenly, as if someone had thrown a handful of silver across the edge of the world.”

Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth

The leaves strive to stay,

pops of color dot the landscape

brightening the grey

 

but falling, flying, drifting so

as autumn grows colder,

they must go

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Red Bank Battlefield

as does the day

soon the shadows lengthen

silently sliding their way

 

along pavement and ground

above bare branches wave

without a sound.

 

Violet turns midnight blue

and a glimmering filigree of light

dots the sky, like morning dew.

 

Twilight—this magic time

when fairy tales sprout

in the mind—and so I rhyme

 

Once– if tale be told–

my arm up a turkey,

the day frigid cold

 

I shoo away a sniffing cat

look at the bird’s freakishly long neck–

wonder what kind of dinosaur was that?*

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Survival and extinction

I continue the job

I won’t eat it but some

 

will, it’s the family holiday deal

a mixture of traditions and love

along with the holiday meal.

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Our lovely sommelier

And so, we gather together

unmold the cranberry squirrel—to cheers–

bask in weirdness, warmth in the cold weather.

On this night of full beaver moon

we eat, drink, laugh, and talk

though ever present the tune

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of what will be and what was past,

we try to stay in the moment, mindful

that we cannot know what is cast

 

by the auger’s stones

our fate with the stars

unknown, until felt in our bones.

 

We eat leftovers for days–

and drink more wine

walk and sleep in holiday haze,

 

then we sleep and dream

of a million things

forgotten at dawn, the theme

 

who knows? I hear the birds sing

amidst November gloom–

a little winged thing

 

can achieve wonders, I think,

cat on a lap, a book, a cup of tea—

yes, back to food and drink.

 

In sunny weather, we go to see

a Swedish film, not comedy,

a fairy tale, of sorts, it seems to me

 

border can be taken in many ways

as can gender and eye of the beholder

much in the world and nature may amaze

 

a fable may hold truth—

no matter about who or what is told

shy or bold, cultured, or uncouth

 

Magic all around us

in glowing leaves and laughing speech

known and unknown worlds, ever thus–

And so, we talk

drink our coffee and catch our train,

then our shadows take a walk—

and soon we’re home again

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to sleep under the silvered sky,

to dream of wondrous, magic things,

to ask without answers all the whys,

to hear the stars sing and to them fly.

 

Thanksgiving 2018

*I read this article on Thanksgiving.

 

We celebrated Thanksgiving with family (missing older daughter and her wife) and friends. For those who are new, our cranberry squirrel is a beloved family tradition. The unmolding of it is part of the tradition, and this year my sister made a very funny recording of the event. We saw the Swedish movie, Border. Trailer here. As the trailer says, unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It is definitely unusual, but my husband and I liked it. Coincidentally, I’m reading a book that is also a sort of fairy tale but that is set in the area of the world where my ancestors came from. Perhaps more about that in a future post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cold and Burning

Monday Morning Musings:

 “Listen. .

With faint dry sound,

Like steps of passing ghosts,

The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees

And fall.”

Adelaide Crapsey, “November Night”

 

“In the burned house I am eating breakfast.

You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,

yet here I am.”

From Margaret Atwood, “Morning in the Burned House”

 

The sun sleeps

in shadow now

the ground prepares

to slumber, too

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covered in brown

then sprinkled with white

golden-leaved boughs

glowing bright

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in defiant display—

this they say—

remember this day–

we will return

 

when the sun burns

the frost away.

 

So, we stay inside

watch a movie of sly wit and song,

there death seems to come along,

a bit of jokester, it seems

for which we’re never prepared,

still we turn the pages in a book,

hoping for a happy ending

Movie Cat

He is fascinated, watching The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.

And in the night

I dream of petting a sloth

(in a park)

 

then accompanying a pretentious hipster

dressed all in black, dark

like the restaurant where no food is consumed

 

but I outwit him and his friends

and wake laughing at the dream’s end.

 

Score one for the old lady

there’s life here still–

and more to be penned.

 

We venture out to see another film

unfolding tension

(a few jumps in my chair)

 

metaphors and

things that are not there—

 

a tangerine,

perhaps a cat—

 

and there is burning—

of various kinds—

 

and yearning–

what is in their minds?

 

What do they feel,

 

the young woman,

the would-be writer,

and the mystery Gatsby-rich man?

 

What is real?

 

We walk and talk

buy spices

to simmer in the cold,

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then in the chilly day

creeping into shadowed night

savor the warmth of wine

consumed in cozy light

life enjoyed despite what may

transpire, gloom kept at bay

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undesired here and now

and our fate unknown anyhow

 

so, we gather rosebuds—or drink

fruit of the wine, laugh and think

 

but not too long about the future

instead we nurture

 

ourselves and one another

 

cuddle with cats, dream of the moon

enjoy one snowfall, but wait for June

 

still we prepare soon

with family to gather

 

as the seasons turn

burn only candles

 

yet, seek the light

in every room.

 

We watched The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a Western, Coen Brothers style, in theaters and on Netflix. We also saw Burning, Korean movie, a psychological thriller. We liked both movies very much. Wonderful acting in both of them.

 

The Brilliant Blush, and the Stars

Sunrise, National Park, NJ

The brilliant blush—

fire dancing and

 

the sky warms,

Ghost remembers this—

 

morning and joy

here awakened

 

in champagne clouds

breathing ocean air

 

I was like you—

so young–

 

haunted and not—

the sad slow whens–

 

but sail on

looking at the stars

 

embracing eternity,

almost

I had to get a message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle before really getting started with my day.  But you can see that sometimes I do it in stages.  🙂

 

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Celebration

Monday Morning Musings:

“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

–Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice

 

Once a woman had a fourth child, my younger sister, my friend. Once she turned sixty and decided to throw a party with dancing and drag queens, with dinner, drinks, and dessert. The room sparkled with anticipation. It radiated love. What felt cold at first, grew warm with love winging high and bodies dancing, prancing, and trying to fly. We paid tribute to my sister, and we remembered that despite all the horrible things in the world, love and friendship are things to be cherished and celebrated.

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My sister with Lady E

 

Summer turns to fall

leaves of many colors dance

birds trill, tweet, and soar

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My Girls

We left full and glowing, and after many twists and turns found our way home.

 

Sleep

to dream of the moon

singing languidly above

 

and recall the language

of purple gardens—

stilled—yet not—

 

the smell a crushing ache

as time flies by

sweet with ifs–

 

And so, we sing.

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The Oracle gave me that last part.

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November 11

I wake to see Venus gleaming as the sky lightens from indigo to azure. The goddess of love beckons and beseeches, but the war god always wins.

 

Morning star rises

heralds the poppy-red dawn–

November morning

 

Senseless wars go on,

honoring in fall parades

stars blaze, flash, and die

 

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Vincent van Gogh, Poppy Field, [Public Domain] Wikipedia

This is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday–Poet’s Choice of Words, and Frank’s Haikai challenge using the prompt, “Armistice.”

 

 

Children

Anders_Zorn_-_Dandelions

Anders Zorn, “Dandelions,” [Public Domain] Wikipedia

The laughter of stars in the sky,

the turbulent seas asking why,

the dandelion’s whispered kisses

in the air that drift and sail by

to plant themselves here or there–

again and again somewhere–

as the sun smiles and clouds weep

time creeps with a sigh

life continues and wends–

more beginnings and more ends.

This poem is for dVerse. Björn asked us to use metaphor. I hope this meets the bar.

 

 

 

 

Under Winking Stars

 

Under winking stars

deer walk through the silent streets,

 

an owl hoots as she wings by

the raccoons having a party,

with fireflies pulsing their disco lights.

 

The moon is a smile in the sky,

she hums a lullaby

for families inside—now sleep.

 

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Ida Waugh, 1881, [Public Domain in U.S], Wikipedia

This is a quadrille for dVerse. De Jackson (aka Whimsy Gizmo) has asked us to use some form of the word wink. I don’t think we’re going to see stars or moon tonight in NJ, but I hope we can go to sleep with some good news.

 

 

 

 

 

Open the Door to Light

Monday Morning Musings:

 “But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.”

“It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.”

–Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House

“Concrete and barbed wire, concrete and barbed wire
It’s only made of concrete and barbed wire”

–Lucinda Williams, “Concrete and Barbed Wire”

“The instant passed so fast, and when that happens, it goes for good and all you have is a slow lifetime to speculate on revisions. Except time flows one way and drags us with it no matter how hard we paddle upstream.”

–Charles Frazier, Varina

 

We go to a concert on a rainy night

but the lovely old theater is bright

 

with anticipation, as well as light–

the music after twenty years, still right

 

though some songs take on a different meaning

now, when certain leaders are not so much leaning

 

but rather trampling rights to the ground—

but here, we’re more interested in the sound

 

of the music and the stories that she told

of how her life and memories unfold.

The next day we see a play

a sequel of sorts, though not in the way Ibsen would say

 

(if he did) after the door famously slammed.

So, Nora returns—and

 

she’s done well, but it’s complicated

(of course), and if we’re a bit frustrated

 

by the end result, that may be the intent

to think about what the characters underwent

 

as well as life for women then and marriage vows—

it’s hard to escape the political now.

 

I think of all the women of the past

stuck in marriages, hoping to outlast

 

perhaps the drudgery—or pain—

not much choice, forced to remain.

 

We walk and talk about the play

as the sun lowers on the day

Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia

we see weddings amidst the falling, fallen leaves

where trees and sky form photo eaves

and I hope these couples face no final slamming door

except the one we all must face, till then, I hope they adore

 

one another, forever—and more.

 

But time flows on. . .or perhaps it circles from before. . .

 

I dreamt last night of flying through space

and time flowed, at an unmeasured pace

 

past glowing planets, circling round

bubbling with the sound

 

of joy and laughter—

a dream, real then, if not after.

 

The river flows

and no one knows

The Delaware River, seen from West Deptford, NJ. Merril D. Smith

what the future will bring

even as to the past we cling,

 

or sling, snap, swing, sway

what we can, hope for a day

 

when light shines brightly

kissing the air lightly

 

illuminating gold leaves and blue sky

banishing fear, hate, and all the whys

 

of evil—though this day will never arrive

we can still try to make kindness thrive.

 

In the U.S., we have mid-term elections. I’m hoping the party of hate, fear, and lies, gets sent a clear message that the majority do not want that.