Questions of Shadow and Light

Questions of Shadow and Light

Sun above and below, reflections and shadows on the Delaware River

In this time of shadow and light
crow flies from trees with raucous caw–
there are things I think I saw–

when the world is washed fresh and bright
the grass is showered with sparkling drops,
a rainbow orb shimmers and hops

and robins sing to dawn’s delight,
the stars are gone, the moon will set,
but now she hums, and lingers yet

the truth of sun, moon, stars invite
the ifs and whys of death and life
hereafter lived in peace or strife,

questions of time—the infinite
echoes on stardust in our blood
and bones dissolved in ancient mud.

In this time of shadow and light,
when the world is washed fresh and bright
and robins sing to dawn’s delight,
the truth of sun, moon, stars invite
questions of time—the infinite.

A Constanza for dVerse. The first line of each 3-line stanza forms a poem, which is the final stanza. You can read more about the form here.

Written on the Sand

John Reinhard Weguelin, The Yellow Sands

Written on the Sand

She wrote a letter
on paper made of sand,
erased by surf and weather
origami-folded by tides, her hand

the instrument,
the embodiment of collaged hope,
she was a vision, dream,
perhaps, a trope–

still, you glimpsed her sea-blown hair
saw peace beach-written there.

A quadrille for dVerse (44-word poem). The prompt word is paper.

As Cruel as April

As Cruel as April

Grey Winter growls, Spring dreams of green
when flowers grow, and love birds preen.
Soon rabbits wake, the vixen prowls
then runs and hides, afraid she’s seen
the fearful beast, who’d foul with howls
spring dreams of green–grey Winter growls.

Now what comes next, before green spring
when sparrows fly, and robins sing?
Do wolves bare fangs? Do bears get vexed
by hopes or dreams, by what spring brings,
and seek with blood, destroy, annex
before green spring? Now what comes next?

Before spring comes, the bullets fly.
The people grieve, the winds just sigh
as they drift by soldiers and drums.
Power? Money? Who knows why
the bloodlust soars. The moon just hums–
the bullets fly, before spring comes.

For dVerse, a made-up form called the Sparrowlet. You can read about it here. The name of the form made me think of spring, and I wrote the first stanza yesterday. Then when I heard the news today, I wrote the last stanza. So then, I wrote the middle stanza to connect them. We are living in a very scary time, and so much disinformation is being spread constantly.


When Shadows Scream

Peder Severin Krøyer [Public domain] “Summer Evening at Skagen beach, the artist and his wife”

If beneath the blue and honeyed light,
we dream of love, and watch
milk-lather waves in tumbling play,

then we can recall those dreams
when shadows scream
and mind-aches sway

our thoughts—
there’s evil about
and cold winds blow, my love,

but there! They sweep the sky
of storms, and blanketed against the air,
we wait for sun-dazzled caramel rays

to cast aside the haunted winter-breath
and with summer-warmth overlay.

The Oracle kept giving me “shadow,” today, and it made me think of the Lady of Shallott,
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.”
And aren’t we all?

“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.” John William Waterhouse

Linger–Quadrille

Almost autumn with an Egret. the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Linger here—wait, hereafter–
listen to the gulls call in laughter.
Rest awhile in this in-between
the sky so blue, the trees still green—

soon, the russet-leaves will fall,
and we’ll recall–

memories dim–rose-scent and sun-kissed skin
as icy fingers stroke your chin.

A quadrille for dVerse. Linda has asked us to use the word linger. We’re just about at the autumnal equinox, and the weather seems perfectly balanced. I wish it would linger like this for awhile.

Of Clouds and Sun

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise, Delaware River at West Deptford ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021
Reflecting on the River after the storm, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith

Let me tell you about the clouds, the sun,
the flowers, tall and smiling, the tons
of debris left, the work that must be done.

Reaching ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Now the hawk screeches and broad-wing flies
in concentric circles, as the wind sighs
at summer leaving, but with the prize of bluest skies

Red-Tailed Hawk

September comes, and we are in-between
the muggy green and russet- gold; not yet seen
the frosted crunch, yet geese convene

debating if–or when–to leave.
But I don’t grieve summer’s end, perhaps naïve
I must believe

that it will come again.

And so, I dip my apples, and ponder time,
drink my wine, as the sun sets and moon climbs.
Another year passes, she chimes,

while the stars in constellated chorus sing,
and light scatters from white egret’s wing
in the universe’s laughter, from winter to spring.

Most of you know we had storms, tornados, and flooding in my part of the world last week. Then we got beautiful September weather. We went to Dalton Farms, where they have a sunflower festival going on. Yesterday we went to William Heritage Winery. It was rainy, but we were fine under an umbrella. Part of their weekend sales were going to help Mullica Hill homes and farms damaged in the tornados last week.

Today is Labor Day, and tonight is Rosh Hashanah. I’ve baked some challahs, and we’ll be dipping apples in honey and drinking wine tonight.

Rosh Hashanah Challahs

The Wind Whispers Storms

Clouds over the Delaware River

The wind whispers, storms
over river dreams, the river seems
awake and wild, shimmering—riled
by ancient breath or humming moon.

The wind whispers, storms
too soon the blue, the hue
of water-sky. So high the ospreys fly
through shifting clouds, the rustling loud

as the wind whispers, storms,
through trees, bent but proud.
The squirrels chitter, the deer skitter,
while blue becomes slate grey–

they hide or stay.
The wind whispers storms,
but the sun, bright-rayed
comes out to play.

And the wind whispers,
the storms have gone away.

Ingrid is doing a dVerse prompt on oral poetry. I’m not sure that I did it exactly. I often read my poetry out loud and adjust it. This is not the best recording, but here it is. 😀 I finally figured out how to post it here.

We Sing Their Songs in Flight

Monday Morning Musings:

Egret

Open a window to another universe–
there is always an after
and before

the bang and birth of stars,
the flutter-shift of vibrating strings
across dimensions, the light on stellar wings—

he sings, she laughs
the fever-dreams of future-past-
perfect brings

remembrance, she, and we see-saw
imperfectly and fractured–all
colored by mood and life-swings

in revolutions, the Earth spins,
love, laughter, tears, and fears—it begins
and ends

the stars sing, and we catch their light,
swallow to hold it within, and in our dreams,
or in some after, we sing their songs in flight.

Ospreys Flying over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Today my father would be 102. We’re going to have Chinese food and ice cream for dinner tonight–both of which he loved. My mom’s birthday is later this month, and she would have turned 99. My parents divorced (twice), but in my mom’s final years she believed my dad lived in the same building, and in her final months, she talked about him a lot, always with smiles and giggles. I think she was in love again. Of course, they were my stars.

The first set of photos were taken long before I was born. My brother is about twelve years my senior.

My mom’s first cousin, who was like her sister, turned 95 yesterday. There was a small party for her. My sister, husband, and I stayed masked in the house, but took our masks off outside. We got her a blanket that had a word cloud of English and Yiddish words we chose.

We ate homemade pizza and streamed a play this week: The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington by James Ijames performed as part of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, which looks like a beautiful place to see a play. In the play, Martha Washington is dying, and the enslaved people around her are waiting, as they will be freed when she dies. In her fever dreams she imagines them in various guises, as lawyers, Founding Fathers and Mothers, and King George and Queen Charlotte. The play is funny, sad, witty, and unique. Here’s the NY Times review.

This is When

Monday Morning Musings:

Almost summer solstice. Reflections on the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. June 2021. ©️Merril D. Smith

This is when the world takes wing
in the turning of summer from our spring
when everything becomes lush and greenest green
the grass and leaves

sigh in gentle breeze and rustle in the storms
as cotton ball clouds flower to take new forms
and azure sky turns charcoal-hued
until another day spins by

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

another day older, children fly
out the door calling good-bye—
chicks and goslings grow so fast,
you hold the thoughts to make them last.

I saw this eastern box turtle about to crawl under the park gate. Look at her beautiful markings. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

And so, now the days grow slowly darker,
imperceptible at first, no marker
for the shadows cast, till autumn comes
and winter’s darkness cast

but in shadowed darkness the light never disappears—
despite our worries and our fears,
we make another turn round our glowing star–
do we measure it in miles or hours—the journey how far?

Seasons of love, freedom, and glory,
we celebrate each story
in the turning from spring to summer
when the world, despite everything, yet sings

in robin trill and mockingbird song
all night long, and all night long
the dreams drift from sea to shore,
where in the past our children played

and in some world, I think
perhaps still do.

Sunrise on the Delaware River

Saturday was Juneteenth. President Biden signed the law making it a federal holiday on Thursday. Fourteen Republicans voted against it. I found this post from several years ago by Henry Louis Gates on the history and relevance of Juneteenth.

Yesterday was Father’s Day. My husband Zoomed with older child as they worked on a woodworking project together. He’ll get together with younger child later this week. It was also the summer solstice, and it was a hot, but beautiful day. I got my husband this Father’s Day t-shirt to add to his collection of nerdy shirts, and we tasted two of the three red wines we still had left from my wine-tasting box. It looks like you have to click on some of the photos to see them properly.


Our anniversary is later in the week, and that’s the time of year we used to take our children to Ocean City, NJ for a summer vacation.

The Scent of Peaches

Farm Stand Peaches from Last Summer.

Beneath the blue of wayward sky,
beneath the clouds that wandered by,
like whispered words above the river floated,
just so my cries above the river floated.

Do you remember the day of peaches?
Do you remember the sway of peaches–
their fragrance sweet in the sultry air,
fuzzy-furred and opened inside pink—just there–
the way their juices dripped on our skin and hair—
leaving drops of summer shared—we didn’t care.

Under the peach sun, we laughed and loved.
Under the fruited moon, we moaned, and loved
the summer, loved in the summer, all through the summer,
we loved,
and at the harvest moon, I loved you still, but you were gone

after the summer,
all the peaches were gone,
their sweetness dried and packed away,
and away you stayed.

Now, another year has passed,
another year beneath the sky
beneath the sky, I wonder why—
but I am fine, the past’s gone by

though the scent of peaches still makes me sigh.

Something a bit different from me for dVerse. Laura has asked us to use repetition, specifically, epiphora:

1a. Epiphora (aka Epistrophe or Antistrophe ). The repeat lines should for the most part be consecutive although allowances are made for alternates as well as the use of the repeat word with variance. Employ repetitions with the maxim ‘ too often is too heavy’!

AND those who like an extra challenge might like add in some

1b. Symploce – the combined use of anaphora and epiphora. . .

Fun Fact: Epiphora in medical terms means watery eyes due to excess tear production. So you may like to write a tear-jerker, something sad at least. Its optional!

Also, for Kim’s Tuesday dVerse prompt on fruit.