B. Franklin and the Kite

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Source: The Youth’s Book on Natural Theology, 1840 

 

First a rumble

grumbling in the night,

then a crack, the light

jagged and brightly-white

zig-zagging, where the kite

with hemp strands and key

conducts electricity–

a sight to see,

but from afar—

 

(check the jar)

 

this experiment of wonder,

science, lighting, and thunder.

 

A  quadrille (a poem of 44 words) for dVerse where De asked us to use the word “crack.” If you don’t know anything about Benjamin Franklin’s experiment, here are the details from the Franklin Institute—it includes a passage from his article in the Pennsylvania Gazette.  He actually electrified the hemp from the charged air, not directly from the lightning, but poetic license. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering

Monday Morning Musings:

“The purpose of theatre is to bring into public that which is kept offstage. . .”

Paula Vogel, The New Yorker, May 12, 2017.

“We have a story we want to tell you . . .About a play. A play that changed my life. Every night we tell this story—but somehow I can never remember the end. … No matter. I can remember how it begins. It all starts with this moment—”

From Paula Vogel, Indecent

 

About that breeze

carrying the scent of flowers

in the rain—

now rust-tinged with blood–

does it haunt you?

Listen–

the sound of ghosts walking

through ashes, whispering, whispering

the sound of pain

the sound of love and desire

carried through time

***

 

We walk

(through, around, over

ghosts)

steps echoing

a city filled

with art and history

there a bridge

named for a poet

(who lived in Camden)

who celebrated history

and nature

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human bodies and love

(he spoke of that

which was not spoken)

indecent, some said

unnamed the fear

of love

is love is love is love is love

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Celebrating Walt Whitman’s 200th with homemade pizza and Auburn Road’s Eidolon wine

 

We walk after

seeing my mother

her body dimmed,

no longer so electric

but still pulsing light

 

generates the warmth

the air, the sky

on a beautiful spring

we eat outside

where souls once gathered

celebrating god and man

and new beginnings

(blinks of time)

 

the ghosts gather

telling the story

over and over

knowing how it begins,

never knowing how it ends

 

the play begins with ashes

that later return

but remember the rain scene

(that rain scene!)

that glorious love

passionate and innocent

that shocked—

indecent they said,

that play, and this play

about it–

this love song to Yiddish theater,

to theater,

to the light within us

to memory

to time

 

so relevant the themes again

immigrants demonized,

and we more polarized

and there is fear

all around

(like ghosts)

 

twelve more dead,

we shake our heads,

go on with life

(with thoughts and prayers)

but the dead stay dead

and the ghosts whisper,

remember. . .

 

Yet, we create

and generate

(our bodies electric)

music,

art, and poetry

channeling muses

and spirits

remembering

(the rain scene)

the scent of rain

the light through the trees

Sylvia Schreiber, Giverny Sketches

and love–

there is love

all around

 

and friendships

that stay true

through births and deaths

generating

regenerating

remembering

this moment

to the next

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always how it begins,

but never how it ends–

the lights go down,

the lights come again,

the ashes fall,

the ghosts whisper,

remember this moment,

remember this

 

It was a busy weekend: another mass shooting, a celebration, visiting my mom, seeing Indecent at the Arden (I love this play), walks, a bridal shower. We also saw Book of Mormon, the Broadway touring company, but I couldn’t fit that in. We’ve seen it before, and it enjoyed seeing it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theories of Clouds and Time

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Caspar David Friedrich, “Drifting Clouds,”[Public Domain], Wikipedia Commons

Once I looked up at the night sky

and watched the clouds flying

 

like time

on feathered wings,

 

I flew along,

eager for what it’d bring,

 

asking why–

finding when

 

happens then

again, and time the thing

 

like clouds

that drifts up, away, sighing.

 

Taking a work break! This is a quadrille for De’s prompt on dVerse using the word “up,” and for my dVerse prompt on theories.

And some music, Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”–from her Clouds album.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connections

Monday Morning Musings:

“In a poem, one line may hide another line,

As at a crossing, one train may hide another train.”

–From Kenneth Koch (1925-2002), “One Train May Hide Another”

Full poem here

“Two girls discover

the secret of life

in a sudden line of

poetry.”

From Denise Levertov (1923-1997), “The Secret”

Full poem here.

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Ask if–

and in the language of cool whispers

she sings,

urging us

to what we want—

to soar

Everything is connected. . .

***

The days are cold, then warm,

next comes a storm

of snow, ice, rain,

till the sun shines again

as off to Florida he goes

no emergency, everybody knows

is this the beginning or the end—

only time will tell, my friend

 

if the country lives through this mess

this miasma of awfulness

and where will we go from here–

everything connected, but not so clear

 

why birds appear, everywhere

on the water, and in the clouds

I laugh aloud to see them there

and sigh to catch one unaware

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of how his beauty brightens my day

the dreariness, the gloom, held at bay

one tree branch may hide another—

and behind that, some other–

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a bit of beauty, once unseen

now there it is, what does it mean?

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

I wonder–is it something in-between

 

the lines of time, of place

the love that flutters in the space

between two lines—

sometimes it shines

 

in words, in deeds, or touches in time

OK, so, I didn’t make him a Valentine–

but I prepared some fondue

and we enjoyed it—well, wouldn’t you?–

along with the dipping and drinking

wine, and laughing

just enjoying without asking

as stomachs swelling, sinking

 

with all that bread and cheese

(just a bit more, please)

then chocolate to follow–

and if I walk with a bit of a waddle

 

well, more to love,

just give me a shove,

and next day to the gym

I’ll go for me, and not for him

***

We walk through the city

cold, but in sunshine, pretty

we watch a movie about art

and connection, in nature, and the part

 

between humans in ways known and not

perhaps the person you meet, was someone caught

somehow in your life, the whys unknown, and the when

as rain falls, to nourish fields, then evaporates again

 

part of a cycle, through history and time–

love and hate, poverty, wars, crime–

and how we express these things in art,

how do we share our passion and heart?

 

The movie is about art and history,

of the artist, and the mystery

of inspiration and creation,

and of repression and degradation

 

of people by those who are supposed to serve,

but instead they swerve

to serve hate with cool efficiency–

its own mental deficiency

 

as I see it, but not the one they wished to eliminate

with a path that looked so pat and straight

sterilization and cremation,

all to build their master race and nation.

 

And yet, art remains,

strains our brains

unchains with its power

though they censor and glower

 

at artists who speak the truth

and don’t look away, (not just the youth)

or any gender or race, but there is a trace

in all of us, a creative spark, a grace–

 

well, that is what I think about,

perhaps a shout out

to how we’re connected through the ages

In different paths, and through different stages,

but for now—I’ll stop and drink some wine

pretend or find that all is fine,

connect the dots, from below to above

with my musing thoughts to ask if. . .love

 

I wasn’t certain how to begin this Monday musing, so I went to the Oracle, who gave me the opening—which fit so well– of course–and another connection.

 

We saw the movie, Never Look Away. I love that my husband, whose birthday is today, will readily go with me to see a three-hour German movie. (Dale may be the only other person I know who might see it), but we both really liked it. And it honestly did not seem that long. It’s about an artist, Kurt Barnert, based, perhaps loosely, on the life of German artist Gerhard Richter. Barnert grows up during the rise of the Nazis and WWII and then lives in East Germany. When he is a child, his beautiful and beloved aunt Elisabeth tells him to “never look away.” Through her, he is connected to art, history, and to choices— both random and those he makes in his own life. Trailer here.

We also went to a wine and chocolate tasting event at William Heritage Winery. I appear to have really enjoyed that wine. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For My Older Daughter on Her Birthday

Ocean City, NJ

Little girl

gambols by the seaside

 

the saltwater flows,

and she grows

 

wondering who she is,

who she’ll be

 

as onward flows

the sea, she knows

 

kisses, and soaring free

to be

 

herself, and shows

a world images–she knows

 

what dreams can be

 

A quadrille for dVerse, where De is asking us to use the word kiss. Sorry for all the birthday poems, but I wrote a poem for younger daughter’s birthday, so I had to write one for older daughter’s birthday today. I’m struck by how many of her paintings are of soaring figures—both people and sea creatures. You can see some of them here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seen and Unseen

 

“What do we call visible light? We call it color. But the electromagnetic spectrum runs to zero in one direction and infinity in the other, so really, children, mathematically, all of light is invisible.”

–Anthony Doer, All the Light We Cannot See

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Philadelphia Mural Arts

 

Redshifting and blue,

all the colors, hues

we cannot see, and beyond

our comprehension, or will–

yet, don’t they exist still?

And the man, there on his rags,

sleeping on his clothes in bags–

if we walk by him unseeing

does it mean he’s not a being

worthy of a view, a thought

of what once was? Even if

only a trace of has been–wisps

that linger here–the invisible who

are all the colors, all the hues

and so,

as sunset slow shifts to indigo

and all the in-between,

there, find all the light that’s there

find it, unseen and seen.

 

This is for my prompt at dVerse, where we’re exploring the invisible. I was inspired by the quotation I used and also by the mural that I just happened to see on Sunday, after I had written and scheduled the prompt. Isn’t it weird how that works?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Time of Rain: Magnetic Poetry

vincent_willem_van_gogh,_dutch_-_rain_-_google_art_project

Vincent van Gogh, “Wheat field in Rain” [Public Domain]via Wikipedia Commons

After the rain

licks pink from the sky

 

and shadowed mist

cries a raw symphony of aching sighs,

 

you trudge to–

or from—

 

wanting. . .

whispering. . .

 

“There the sun rose in honeyed music,

sang of life when”

 

So our dreams together

recall time

 

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My message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She’s knows it’s raining here—again.

Me: Here, or There?

“Time isn’t circular. . .It’s like a. . .palimpsest.”

“And memories are sometimes in the future.”

–Kate Atkinson, Life after Life

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James Abbott McNeil Whistler, “Nocturne,” Public Domain via Wikipedia Commons

 

Looking back, older but not yet done–

then, there, I see myself a young child.

Did past or future end–or has one just begun–

life stories entwined, or is time unreconciled

 

then? There, I see myself a young child

so, I wonder if my path was fated,

life stories entwined? Or is time unreconciled,

to choices immutable and slated–

 

so, I wonder if my path was fated–

did I always marry my high school sweetheart—

choices immutable and slated?

Or did time and roads lead elsewhere for my counterpart?

 

Did I always marry my high school sweetheart?

Was I always the me I see?

Or did time and roads lead elsewhere for my counterpart?

Could it be there’s another world with–or without–me?

 

Was I always the me I see?

Did past or future end, or has one just begun?

Could it be there’s another world with or without me?

I’m looking back—older–but not yet done.

 

Happy New Year! A pantoum for my prompt today on dVerse.

If all goes as planned, the prompt should be live at 3:00 P.M. (EST). Come join us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressions

Monday Morning Musings:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

In the last week of the year, in the dark of December, we gather with family. We eat and eat some more. We drink and drink some more. We exchange gifts. We laugh at our goofiness, and we laugh to keep from crying. Laugh for joy, laugh to keep the ghosts at bay.

winter dark lingers

pale sun hides behind grey clouds–

winter birds still sing

 

 

There are endless lists—the best movies of the year, the best books, and the famous people who have died. This has been a year of horror for many, and a year of fear for my country. Guns, fires, protests, children abused and dying–and those nonstop tweets. We bury our heads in pillows, blanket our thoughts to pretend this is not happening. I listen to ghost stories because they are less frightening than thinking about what could really happen in this world.

ghosts replay stories

winter always, never spring–

still, sapling sprouts, grows

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Theresienstadt Tree

 

The rain comes again and again. Finally, we walk in sunshine. We walk through city streets decorated for Christmas. We see a movie about Vincent Van Gogh, a tortured soul who created beauty with a ferocious passion. His impressions have lasted longer than he did. He taught us how to see the starry night, to see all the shades of yellow in a sunflower, to see the light and color.

red and green doors call

holiday cheer to neighbors–

winter warmed with smiles

Tonight, we’ll gather with our friends. The friends of decades–from before we had children, and they had grandchildren. We’ll eat Chinese food, and find our fortunes in a cookie. We’ll wish each other Happy New Year, though we will all most likely be in bed long before the bells peal, the ball drops, and the fireworks light up the sky. My impression of the old year—tortured souls and broken lives, missing pieces, like van Gogh’s ear. Yet, there is still beauty. Like van Gogh, we need to find light, and paint it quickly with our souls before it fades away. Remember it in our hearts. My heart swells as the dawn rises on a new day, a new year—awaiting new words.

 

old words tucked away,

come new year in harmony–

bird on snowy branch

bravely sings in hope of love

soon cherry blossoms will fall

 

Greeting Dawn    Merril D. Smith 2018

 

Wishing all hearts filled with joy and peace in the new year.

I’m linking this to Frank’s Haikai Challenge for the New Year prompt. We saw the movie, At Eternity’s Gate. Trailer here.  Husband and I agreed it was not a great movie. I think the parts were greater than the sum, but William Dafoe is wonderful as van Gogh, and van Gogh and his brother Theo’s relationship is depicted with great tenderness.