Owl Moon with Audio

Owl Moon by Kerfe Roig

Full and bright, the night alight
with skittering scatters and chitter-chat
of sated rat. The vixen barks to her mate,
and beneath the walls, creatures slither and crawl,
while mice and voles in the shadows hide
as feathered wings outstretched glide–and bide.

And shall I call it owl moon?
A moment in time, perhaps not real—
Imagined flights, unseen sights, but
the planets spin, the stars glow and go
about what they do, and the owl does, too,
with a hoot to the world, he dives,
survives—though it’s fate—not feud,
the hunters and the pursued.

All the questions, unanswered, still are asked—
the moments gone, past to future and to past–

but listen–
the fade of argent song, the hummed goodnight,
as trills and twitters awaken dawn’s light.

This was originally written for Paul Brookes’ Special January Ekphrastic Challenge. Kerfe Roig supplied the beautiful artwork. I’ve added this recording of the poem to go with it, and I’m linking it to dVerse Open Link Night.

Criss-Crossings in Deep Time

Odilon Redon, L’arbre

1.
Cross the forest threshold
covered in squirrel-scattered leaves.
Acorns, chestnuts, cones, and seeds
buried amidst ancient, tangled roots,
resurrected.

2.
Three cats—curled, colored knots
white, tortoiseshell, and grey-striped.
Descendants of tigers, purrs with sharp claws,
gone–save the shadow
pressed against my warmth.

3.

Driftwood, weathered and bleached white,
a venerable creature beached
waiting for the tide.
What stories could it tell of its journeys–
of time and beyond?

4.

Red flowers rise to a rosy sky
Hello, they cry, and wave.
From wooded umbra,
white striped tail rises, too, leaving his scent—
not a perfumed calling card, but a warning.

5.

The clouds grumble,
their secrets burst out and light the sky
Your arm across me in the night, I reach to catch
a glittering fragment before it vanishes—I laugh
and hear an echo from the in-between.

A cadralor for dVerse. I hope I’ve done this correctly. To me, the form seems like a dream, in which you understand it as it goes along, and when you wake you feel something’s been resolved, though you can’t explain how or why. You can read about the form here, but briefly from the journal Gleam:

“the cadralor consists of five short, unrelated, highly-visual stanzas. The fifth stanza acts as the crucible, illuminating the gleaming thread that runs through all the stanzas and bringing them together into a love poem. By “love poem,” we mean that the fifth stanzaic image answers the question: “For what do you yearn?” Please see sample poems and editor statements on the cadralor to get a feel for this new form.”

A Reminder

Ask if the moon sleeps as the sky turns rosy,
and with languid tongue, licks black to blue–
does she recall the after-ache of crashing birth,
and dream the songs of a thousand stars?

Now, watch the cool cat breath rise with arched back
over the river, curling into the morning air—

is this what you seek? Recall the beauty of this day—
clothed in peach, pink, and blue–
the chirp of sparrows, the rush of heron’s wing.

When I opened our back door this morning, there was the moon right in front of me. Then when I walked to the river, it was just so beautiful with the sun rising over the water. The world is full of terrible things and horrible people, but there is also such beauty in it. The Oracle knows and reminds me.

At the Start of the Moment

Monday Morning Musings

“You are here, at the start of a moment,
On the edge of the world.
Where the river meets the sea.”
—“Welcome to the Rock,” from Come From Away

I am here, by the river
the sky is blue—or grey—
cloudy or clear, I am here
at the start of the day

Early Morning on the Delaware River, September.

watching the birds,
remembering the shadows
need the light, and thoughts
need words, to tell how time goes

Geese on the Delaware

Orange sun through the trees–Light and Shadows.

slow, then faster, people gone
before you know to say good-bye.
All the stories left untold,
and new ones born, the river sighs.

There a hawk cries,
There the sun rises, anew—
There a cat finds the light
There you find again the blue

that comes after storms and grey.
We celebrate the holidays—
you are there, and we are here
but we find some ways

to connect and remember.
We toast L’chaim, to life, with wine
and food we commemorate,
and for now, we’re fine

at the start of this moment—
and we soar into the next and the next

without a clue–what’s beyond the blue.

Goose photobombs egret’s big photo shoot.

This week started with Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah—it already seems so far away. We celebrated with our daughter and son-in-law. The next night, we had a Zoom dinner with both children and their spouses. Saturday was September 11. The sky that day was so blue, just as it was twenty years ago. In the afternoon, we went to Blue Cork Winery (where daughter now works) in Williamstown, NJ. It was a gorgeous day to sit outside. We’re going back to summer heat and humidity today.

Last night we watched Come From Away (Apple TV+). I have a couple months of Apple TV free, but Apple does not make it easy to watch on a not-smart TV. This is a filmed version of a live stage production of the musical—filmed recently in a newly opened theater before a masked audience. Although I did not feel it quite so much as when we saw it live in a theater, it is still a wonderful play based on the true events of 9/11—when 38 planes were diverted to the Newfoundland town of Gander. It is heartwarming without being treacly, and it shows people at their best. The play was also performed live on Saturday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

If you’ve seen the show, I just found this article, and it made me happy.

Songs of Earth and Moon

Far away, storms eat winds and send them swirling–
but here, now, the sky is gowned in midnight blue
and a peach moon shines over sleeping gardens.
The fiddler plays a soft lullaby
recalling dreams of aching beauty–
and if I don’t understand them all,
I recognize the song of whisperings seas,
and the beat of heron wings, the language of seasons,
of hope and despair, and I smile at the dawning light.

Heron, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

The Magnetic Poetry Oracle gave me a poem today that I think goes with Ingrid Wilson’s publication, The Anthropocene Hymnal. It’s available now. Read her post here for information. All money earned from it goes to the World Wildlife Fund.
I have one poem in the volume, and the beautiful cover is by Kerfe Roig.

The July full moon is called the Buck Moon, but I think it should be a peach moon. I was hoping to see it early this morning, but it was already too low in the sky. I did see Jupiter though–and
I saw this heron today and wondered if it was “my” heron from last summer.

Glancing Back

Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, The Muse History, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Coy Clio,
with half-smile and backward glance,
her stance unsecured–
she balances time and chance.
Reflected in the glass,
her image wavers, not quite straight,
always moving, she knocks down Fate.
She leaves her scent in dusty tombs,
and book-filled rooms, and there within
a musty cell, a faded ledger in a bin.
There are cries from eras long forgotten,
she sighs through silk and ships of cotton,
whispers through graveyards and dockets, ill-gotten
gains and weathered remains of centuries, unexplained.
Ask her for enlightenment, not for glory,
still she replies there are many untold stories–
look at the monuments, partly erased, salted
and wind-kissed, the lines spaced
unevenly in past’s embrace.
And here, a doll, a letter, a locket
that falls from a red-splattered pocket—
love and connections, a mystery,
blood-drenched fields, the history.

This is in response to Ingrid’s dVerse prompt this week to write a poem invoking a muse. Some of you know I have a history book chapter that I need to finish writing (like now), so perhaps a poem about Clio, the muse of history will help. I’m posting this for today’s dVerse Live Open Link Night.

Juke Joint Quadrille

Mural on the wall of the Victory Grill, a longtime “juke joint” on 11th Street in East Austin, a neighborhood of Austin, Texas. The Lyda Hill Texas Collection of Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith’s America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.


Juke-joint jive—
blues rite in purpled night
as bodies sway, in freedom
from the toil of day—

listen to the guitar play
the riff, a midnight train’s goodbye
sigh away the years of strife–
hard-fought life, forgotten

as moon shines
from a mason jar.

We are celebrating dVerse’s Tenth Anniversary. Our special guest host, Brian Miller, has asked us to write a quadrille using the word juke, a word I’m sure I’ve never used in a poem before. I found this mural on Wikimedia Commons. You’re welcome, Resa. 😏

The Universe in Motion

512px-Comet-Hale-Bopp-29-03-1997_hires_adj

Comet Hale-Bopp Attribution: Philipp Salzgeber / CC BY-SA 2.0 AT (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/at/deed.en)

Born before our before,

traveling till after our after,

ice and dust of timeless time,

 

the molecules of cosmic gases,

atoms of our world, forever

and after

 

the comet revolves through space

around the sun–our shining star–

our light-filled center, we circle it

 

year after year, through revolutions,

revelations in art, technology, war

to peace and back to war, revolve, resolve

 

to see this ball of light,

the icy comma tail–

it comes and goes

 

and we continue, revolving

electrons within us spin,

looking to connect

 

to something,

We’re attracted, we’re repulsed–

between darkness and light,

 

revolving

revolving

revolving.

 

I’m hosting dVerse Poetics today. The prompt is revolution.Come join us!