Rise

Theresienstadt Tree

Sapling from the Theresienstadt Tree, Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza

“There are times when dreams sustain us more than facts. To read a book and surrender to a story is to keep our very humanity alive.”

—Helen Fagin, from a letter recounting the clandestine school she set up in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began April 19, 1943, on the eve of Passover.

 

From the ghetto,

we rose strengthened by dreams,

 

bolstered and braced by

possibilities,

 

we escaped

through stories of hope

 

and love

 

determined

to rise.

 

We fought

for survival

 

We fought

for our humanity.

 

We fought

to keep magic alive–

 

but remembering always

the ghosts.

This is a quadrille for my dVerse prompt, using the word rise.  The Theresienstadt Tree seemed a good symbol, especially on Earth Day.

Spikes and Shackles

Slave_shackles_(30393496593)

Slave Shackles JvL- from Netherlands [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D Wikipedia Commons

I see the spiked collar and the shackles. These may have been meant for a child, the exhibit label states. They would fit my wrist, I think. Ghosts hover; my heart aches.

mothers’ cries echo

soar across Atlantic sea—

gale winds thrash the sails

 

This is a quadrille for dVerse. De asked us to use the word spike. A quadrille is a poem of 44 words. Mine is in the form of a haibun, though perhaps not totally traditional.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the Riverside–Quadrille for dVerse

I walk by the riverside—

only the steps are steep–

few creatures stir,

do they hide–

perhaps they’re fast asleep.

I wonder what it’d be like

to soar, slither, or leap,

but my shadow and I walk

side by side–

good company, we keep.

img_1243

Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

Enough dark and dismal today–keeping it light for quadrille day at dVerse. Mish has asked us to use the word “steep” in some form in our 44-word poems. I wrote most of this in my head while I was walking.

 

The Owl

Caspar_David_Friedrich_Eule_auf_schmucklosem_Baum_1834

Caspar David Friedrich, “Owl on a Tree,” [Public domain] Wikipedia Commons

Gloaming—a hoot

and then she soars

 

silently, in pursuit

of prey, explores

 

the land–still unspoiled—

glides with serrated wings

 

over territory still unsoiled

by the sighs and zings

 

of manmade things

seeking oil or gold.

 

But tonight–

only silent wings in flight.

 

This is for dVerse where Lillian has asked us to write a quadrille using some form of the word “spoil.” She mentions movies, so I’ll say—and this is not a spoiler—that there is a prospector and an owl in one of the “chapters” in the movie The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. 

 

 

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.

 

Mother_and_Child_(2)

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost and Found

Once upon a glimmer

of desire and hope,

 

the girl

opened a book

 

and she was lost

in the pages,

 

in the story,

she found

 

she was not alone

and there were other

 

worlds, and truth–

it was out there–

 

but also, within her.

 

Cécile_Anker_1886

Albert Anker, “Cécile Anker, 1886” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For dVerse, Lillian has asked us to write a poem beginning with “Once upon a  ____, ” using any word except for the word “time.”

 

 

 

 

Early Morning Moon

FullSizeRender 415

Morning Moon

 

Evening–

and the moon rises

 

without hesitation,

owl and deer greet her

 

without trepidation,

knowing she guides them

 

through the shadowed night

with her glimmered, silvered light.

 

And in the early morning

I see her lowering in the sky—

 

then she softly sighs goodbye.

 

 

A quadrille for dVerse. Kim asked us to use the word early.

I’m up early in the morning, and I love it when I see the moon then.

 

 

Safe Harbors

Now–a church in Philadelphia,

a sanctuary harboring

immigrants—

as medieval churches

once harbored

fugitives.

 

Then–my grandparents,

immigrants escaping

hate, fear, pogroms,

the shtetl, the Pale—

 

traveling—

to faraway ports–

 

chasing the American dream

through the Depression

 

always seeking a safe harbor–beyond

 

Lillian at dVerse has asked us to write a quadrille using the word harbor.

 

 

Consequences from Truths

He is quick,

(slight scruffy boy)

but she is quicker,

grabbing his arm

(so thin),

his hand clutches an apple

from her market stand.

Flutters in her womb–

quickening. Life.

(He could be my son.)

She gives him bread,

more apples . . .

lets him go.

 

1024px-Louise_Moillon_-_Market_Scene_with_a_Pick-pocket_-_WGA16072

Louise Moillon, “Market Scene with a Pick-pocket,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A quadrille for dVerse, where de Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo) has asked us to use the word “quick.”