The Heart’s Reflections, Weighed

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Geese practicing social distancing on the Delaware River.

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“Neither the spider has planned for the leaf nor the leaf for the spider — and yet there they are, an accidental pendulum propelled by the same forces that cradle the moons of Jupiter in orbit, animated into this ephemeral early-morning splendor by eternal cosmic laws impervious to beauty and indifferent to meaning, yet replete with both to the bewildered human consciousness beholding it.”

–From Maria Popova, Figuring, quoted in Brainpickings

 

“The heart’s reasons

seen clearly,

even the hardest

will carry

its whip-marks and sadness

and must be forgiven.”

–Jane Hirshfield, “The Weighing”

 

 

I dream of the oak tree

its roots tunneling

expanding through darkness

linking to other roots

in connections we never see

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even as I do see—

do you?–

the branches saluting the sun,

the buds opening, sleepy-eyed

to greet the sun

 

and do you gaze, dazzled

to see how bushes, flowers, trees

literally bloom overnight—

do you hear the robin’s scolding–

“Look around you!”

One crow flies,

then another

calling, gathering in a tree,

“Now” they say.

“Now.”

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And I do look–

to the sky

and the ground below.

Which is the reflection, I wonder,

perhaps reality is the upside-down world,

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The World in a Puddle. Photo of a puddle in the parking lot at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ. March 2020.  Merril D. Smith

 

perhaps this is the dream?

Shadow-me drifts

moving with the river currents

fading with sun

and tides

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the ebb and flow

of life–

sun and moon,

stars,

the planets

 

move through our skies.

Once they were gods

now only so in name,

but is their power and beauty decreased,

or only different?

 

[See this photo of Jupiter.]

 

News of my mom comes–

she is isolated,

as if in space–

my dead father comforts her,

and I see the heart weighs,

 

reflects

the upside-down

and the shadows,

feels the ebb and flow

and forgives.

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Another puddle reflection, March 2020 Merril D. Smith

 

Like the rest of the world, we’re at home. We’re on Season 3 now of Babylon Berlin. We had a homemade pizza and movie night. We watched a new movie on Amazon Prime, Blow the Man Down. There’s a definite Coen Brothers vibe, complete with a Greek chorus of sea shanty-singing fishermen.

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Hidden

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Look up!  Vultures just hanging out. Hidden in plain sight.  National Park, NJ.

 

Monday Morning Musings:

“. . .for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”

― George Eliot, Middlemarch

“I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars”

–Walt Whitman, #31 from “Song of Myself”

 

“It may diminish some our dry delight

To wonder if everything we are and do

Lies subject to some little law like that;

Hidden in nature, but not deeply so.”

–from Howard Nemerov, “Figures of Thought”

 

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The sun is hidden behind the clouds,

the images waver through a wet wall,

and the world is dark, dreary, until the charcoal clouds part

through the droplets, a ray of bright hope–

colors arc across the sky,

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and in that magic moment

my spirits lift, not forever, but enough

there, hidden behind the gloom

there is beauty, beneath the sleepy despondency,

there is hope, joy, love.

 

We walk through Old City streets,

bones beneath our feet, hidden

ghosts walk with dry leaf rustle.

We see their reflections

in the end of the year.

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Curtis Center Building, Philadelphia, December 31, 2019.

The year turns, a page reflected

(we reflect)

in the late afternoon sun-glow

as couples take their vows,

beginning a new life

 

We see a movie,

a hidden life,

but reflect upon so many hidden lives

at that time, in this time–

time flows faster

 

towards what?

We travel east,

the sun setting behind us

announcing the year is ending,

a new year about to begin.

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From a Patco train, crossing the Delaware River from Philadelphia to New Jersey. December 31, 2019.

We eat Chinese food,

watch a musical of hidden lives

danced into acceptance

in boots—

kinky boots. Well, why not?

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Why not? And why–

do leaders deny and lie?

foment hate?

The world burns

hidden beneath smoke and rage

 

are flower bulbs,

seeds of hope.

If we destroy the world

perhaps something better will come,

rising over our hidden bones

 

buried, like secrets

of family and history

in tombs sealed and forgotten

someday to be uncovered

to live again

 

perhaps in legend or song.

I find a recording of Yiddish songs

hidden in plain sight in my mother’s bookcase.

She is calmed by old, familiar melodies

as we sort and pack her belongings,

 

much of her past now hidden (treasures)

buried in time, tossed aside in many moves

“I’m reduced to one room,” she says

almost in tears,

saltwater, like the sea

 

from which we sprang,

the work of the stars,

their light and songs carrying us on

Starlight, starbright,

I wish tonight.

 

Hope buried, sometimes found, like that piece of bread that drops into the fondue pot.

Merril’s Movie Club—So many movies; so little time! We saw A Hidden Life, Terrence Malick’s latest. It was beautiful, like all of his movies—and well, you have to accept and go along with the meandering pace. It is based on a true story, and while I admire someone who sticks up for his convictions– and it is difficult not to see present-day parallels—I also was not certain what his objections actually were. At one point, he says he doesn’t know if Hitler is evil. Um, what? And though he suffers for not signing a paper giving allegiance to Hitler, the war does not really seem to touch the beautiful village in the clouds. I liked how the movie showed all the hard work the women do on their farm, but everyone seems well-fed while the war is going on. Yes, this man stood up for his undefined objections, but places were being bombed, people were sent to concentration camps, and other horrors were going on.

Last night we watched I Lost My Body.It’s a French animated film about a severed hand looking for its body. I know that sounds weird and creepy, but it’s surprisingly moving, as we learn about the young man’s life. I never thought I’d be rooting for a hand.

On New Year’s Eve, we watched a Broadway production of the musical Kinky Boots that I had recorded when PBS’s Great Performances ran a few weeks of Broadway shows in November. It’s great fun, and it was perfect for New Year’s Eve. (If you’re a Passport member you can see it.)

We’re almost finished with a Turkish show on Netflix called, The Gift. We’ve enjoyed it—an artist who draws strange symbols teams up with an archeologist to uncover family secrets and legends from the past.

And finally–a shout out to my cousin, David Lesser! His story, Bodies at Rest, was made into a Chinese movie. I don’t know how it will be distributed, but it’s an action movie, set in a morgue in Hong Kong, and it opened an Asian film festival. Trailer here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resting Before Flight: Shadorma Challenge

This is for  the November Shadorma Challenge that Eliot of Along the Interstice is doing. This is Day 18. I am participating sporadically.

 

Birds on a wire

like clouds gathering

for a storm,

or perhaps

like thoughts coming together

resting before flight

 

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I missed the murmuration, but got this quick shot while stopped at a traffic light the other day.

 

Every time I see a bird on a wire, I think of Leonard Cohen’s song. Here’s a live version.