Horror, Storms, Pass the Wine, and Look for Grace—Monday Morning Musings

Monday Morning Musings:

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

–Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

“(“Do not equate nationalism with patriotism,” Perry warned Juliet. “Nationalism is the first step on the road to Fascism.”)”

–Kate Atkinson, Transcription

A storm comes and roars,

in waves upon the shores

and tears through towns

with rains and winds—the sounds

of climate wars

where there were homes

there’s now a void–

so much destroyed.

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Here we have only some rain and wind

nothing unmoored, nothing unpinned

from where it should be

the only horror we see

comes on TV,

where things go bumping in the night–

though not as scary as reality

yet we wish and keep hope afloat

that we’ll live to see things be all right.

 

Once we had a president who sang “Amazing Grace,”*

now we have one without a trace

of empathy or wisdom,

separating families,

putting them in prisons

behind barbed wire—

and who does he admire?

Dictators!

(and those who feed his ego—

please all of you, just go!)

 

So, as the days get dreary

I try to be cheery,

find color in pumpkins and leaves

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that fall on ground and eaves.

I cook and bake

hope to shake—

if not the world—

then wake a few,

hope and wish,

the good and true

will outlast, outshine

redefine the new.

 

On a chilly day,

we brighten our spirits

with family, a dog, and wine

spend time conversing

about this and that

we chat about birth

(with a bit of mirth)

as my son-in-law is studying

to be a nurse–

(quite a path he’s traversed

to get there)

and we sit as children ask

to pet their cute pup—

until at last the time is up

and we must go

our separate ways—

well, it’s getting too chilly to stay.

 

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Clouds over William Heritage Winery

I wake to morning mist–and sigh

think, today, I’ll take my apples

and bake a pie.

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We’ll eat it as evening

darkens the room

perhaps to brighten

fall’s impending gloom.

The cats will sleep on cushions nearby,

and we will bid the day goodbye.

 

 

*I was reminded of this when I heard Joan Baez on the New Yorker Radio Hour. Here the song is illustrated in a lovely, moving short animated film.

We watched the first episode of Netflix’s sort of adaptation of the Haunting of Hill House.  The original movie terrified me. I thought the first episode of this version (if you can get over that it’s not actually an adaptation of the story) was OK, but not great. But we will watch the next episode.

But we also watched the movie Eighth Grade–which really was wonderful–even though we all know that age has its own horrors.

I’m reading Transcription by Kate Atkinson. It’s wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look Around: Seen and Unseen

Monday Morning Musings:

KERNER: “The particle world is the dream world of the intelligence officer. An electron can be here or there at same moment. You can choose; it can go from here to there without going in between; it can pass through two doors at the same time, or from one door to another by a path which is there for all to see until someone looks, and then the act of looking has made it take a different path. Its movements cannot be anticipated because it has no reasons. It defeats surveillance because when you what it’s doing you can’t be certain where it is, and when you know where it is you can’t be certain what it’s doing. .”

–Tom Stoppard, Hapgood

 

“I cannot tell how Eternity seems. It sweeps around me like a sea. . .”

–Emily Dickinson, from a letter to her cousins, 1882

 

“the future and the maps

Hide something I was waiting for.”

–from Edward Thomas, “When First I Came Here”

 

The seen and the unseen

sleight of hand,

the extemporaneous, the planned

blink, you miss it,

not in shadow, in sun or fluorescent light

missing what is in plain sight,

nature, spies, bumps in the night

 

Look in front of you—there it is.

Raptors in the Park

Rainy Day Sight at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

How far is eternity,

how wide and how deep?

Does it stretch through

cloudy skies

glance and stretch its size

through shadowed ground

and then around

to reach the stars,

(falling, calling)

a metaphysical quasar,

whose ways and days are

hinted at, but unknown.

 

I walk, and there are wonders,

two deer, twins perhaps

(you could almost miss them as you pass,

but there they are, in the grass)

their future mapped

or unknown,

become full-grown,

or decline

or killed by a hunter’s gun—

but now they recline,

unphased, in the waning sun.

Resting in the Park
Red Bank Battlefield
National Park, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We see a play

of Cold War spies,

particle physics underlie

the everyday,

in lines it overlays,

a metaphor of surveillance

and life

assailants and strife—

the personal, the political

watch—it’s critical,

because we don’t always see–

there may be a twin,

or there may not be.

We can’t anticipate

what will come,

life is random—

the way a moth flits,

it darts and hits

this way and that

and you can’t be certain

what it’s doing

is it pursuing

or pursued?

This is how it should be viewed

(the scientist explains)

electrons are like that moth–

then so are our ideas

within our brains

unchained,

they fly,

and we can’t plan

where they’ll go

with the flow–

but, they might stop, sink, fly

no reason, no what, no why—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and on this equinox

we go falling

headlong into the next season

yes, there is reason, it’s time,

but it seems without rhythm or rhyme

one minute it’s warm, the next it’s cool

there seems to be no rule.

So, we move on, walk and talk

about the play we’ve seen

(Look up and around)

 

Victory Apartment Building, Philadelphia

Quince Street, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and

drink with cheer

our wine and beer

 

At Tria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and later the rain

comes again,

but we sleep soundly

to dream—un-profoundly–

while a cat softly snores,

and beyond our locked doors

and behind the clouded sky

the moon hums

to her own rhythm, and why

is unknown–just listen–

eternity in her lullaby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apparently, the Oracle has also seen Hapgood by Tom Stoppard. Of course, she knows everything.

We saw the Lantern Theater production.

 

To dark air

she could ask

dazzle the night.

Though she is fooled in the open

like this—

her heart

always listening,

only here you are–

and over there—

not magic,

but life

Blue and All the Colors, Earth: Quadrille

There is a silver spring

where golden fishes dwell

between the banks of sweet brown earth.

There, wondrous scarlet finches sing

in warbling notes, as if you to tell

(with constant mirth)

“Both skies and horses can be blue.”

You decide, dream-world, or true?

 

Franz Marc, “Large Blue Horses,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quadrille for dVerse. Kim asked us to use the word, “earth.”

In my mind, a perfect world would include blue horses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blue Pony Dreams

Enchanting dawn slips

silently past the night,

and with her rosy lips

scatters her light

as she kisses the world awake.

Then—I ache

remembering my dreams

of blue ponies by incandescent streams.

I’ve seen them as I danced among the stars,

but in the light of day,

their world seems much too far away–

and yet–

I know, if never truly seen, still the ponies are there. . .

prancing, shining with blueish sheen, somewhere.

 

Franz Marc, “Blue Horses,”(Public Domain) Wikipedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is for dVerse, where Jilly asked us to write about “unseen.” Last week, Jane Dougherty reminded me about the blue horses. She knows they’re real, too.

 

 

 

 

Silence Comes on Morning Fog

Silence comes on morning fog

shrouding life in grey and white

drifting in, an epilogue

to what has come before, at night,

the starry skies and canorous moon

hidden behind the shadowy clouds–

but listen–silence sings a tune

sometimes soft, sometimes loud,

in the susurration of wind and rain,

in the scurrying from dusk till dawn,

in hearts that beat again and again

there’s never silence till we’re gone.

Caspar David Friedrich, “Sea Beach in the Fog, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dwight, guesting hosting the dVerse poet’s bar, has asked us to write about silence.

 

 

Waves, NaPoWriMo, Day 26

The waves roar and break upon the sand–

so grand,

the spindrift whipping up to the clouds,

so loud,

the joy of faces blush-pinked,

and salt-speckled

with sea-kissed freckles.

We sink into the mucky-wet, cool puddles,

a jellyfish drifts beachward and back out to sea—

free to be.

A dancing sprite, cartwheels across the sand,

her wonderland,

gritty-warm underfoot,

holding the sun’s heat within,

let it in,

it radiates back in golden-glimmers,

like love, it shimmers.

Gulls chortle as they fly overhead,

diving down to grab some bread,

or perhaps some fries,

(those Boardwalk fries),

the scent of tar and ketchup mix

with suntan lotion,

the constant motion

of summer treats and seaside tricks,

a perfect beach day—

I want to stay,

watch and dream, as the ocean,

blue-green-gray,

and capped with white,

swirls and twirls,

(as it has)

from dawn of time to darkest night.

Cape May, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt: “we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.”

 

Soul Dance

My soul aches and almost breaks

the news of guns, the murderous fun–

what does it take

to awaken them

the ones who kill

the ones who rape?

 

In dreams at night, my soul flies light

across the seas, across the sky–

What does it take

to keep awake

for hopes to soar

for dreams to roar?

 

A flower blooms, the morning sky,

my soul enchanted, I might cry–

there is love and beauty—and so why?

what does it take

for them to awake

before we’re gone, before too late?

 

So, dance me Soul

from here to there

from sun to moon

to stellar tunes–

and as I prance,

maybe they’ll dance

and then—perhaps–we’ll have a chance.

 

National Park, NJ
March 21, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is for dVerse. Paul asked us to write “a soulful poem, a soul gazing haibun, a soul-filled sonnet. . .”

It is also World Poetry Day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catch a Star

This was inspired by a poem Jane posted and our comments.

 

In the darkness, catch the stars

keep them, hold them, in a jar

with memories of long ago. . .

then on the nights when thoughts are bleakest,

let one go and watch it seek its

dream-mist companions of the light–

watch them floating, soaring high—

to the rhythm of your heartbeats, fly

on intangible wings to empyrean heights

follow fly, and do not stop or wonder why,

but in the darkness, grasp the jar

catch, hold fast, a glimmering star.

 

Anything But Black

ESO’s various observatory sites in Chile — Paranal, La Silla, Chajnantor — boast enviably low levels of light pollution. However, the skies overhead are rarely pitch-black! As shown in this image of Paranal Observatory, the skies regularly display a myriad of colours and astronomical sights, from the plane of the Milky Way shining brightly overhead to the orange-hued speck of Mars (left), the starry constellations of Scorpius and Orion, and the magenta splash of the Carina Nebula (upper middle). Despite the remote location there are also occasional signs of human activity, for example the sequence of lamps seen in the centre of the frame. These faint lights illuminate the route from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) where this image was taken. Due to the highly sensitive camera this photograph also showcases a mysterious phenomenon called airglow. The night sky is ablaze with deep red and eerie green hues, caused by the faint glow of Earth’s atmosphere. Because of airglow, no observatory site on Earth could ever be absolutely, completely dark — although ESO’s do come pretty close. This image was taken by talented astronomer and photographer Yuri Beletsky, a member of the 2016 ESO Fulldome Expedition team. This team visited Chile to gather spectacular images for use in the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre.

 

 

Grace in the Moon

This is for the dVerse prompt, “Grace.” Things were off for my New Year’s Eve and New Year’s, but I was struck by the brilliant moon. I felt there was a message there, if only I could hear it.

 

The moon hums with a fierce light

glowing

throwing

pale white heat

we do not hear or feel it,

the insistent beat

on rural roads or city streets,

though she hums aloud

we’re lost in darkness

lost, frozen, under this

tenebrous cloud

 

but if we stop,

listen for a space

(pause)

here in this unknown place

look upon a well-loved face

find here, see, a bit of grace

in love constant, shining like the moon

like her humming tune,

hear the whisper in the wind,

hope is coming, listen, soon

 

 

Distant Diamonds

Diamonds rain on distant worlds

through far-flung light, they’re hurled

as if in a dream, or time-stopped scheme

she sees this sight, this bright delight

sparkling glimmers in the night,

amongst them beings with feathered, icy arms

who dazzle with their unearthly charms

murmuring as they her enwound

twirling her so up is down, and all around

the sound surrounds–

the voices of the planets and stars,

and quasars hum and pulse in song,

and she wants to sing along

bewitched by time and space

but then it’s gone, this now elusive place–

yet when she hears the rain at night

she remembers the bewitching sounds, the transcendent light,

the sight of diamonds sparkling from the sky

and remembers that once she reached and she could fly

 

PIA21891_SaturnRings

“This image of Saturn’s rings was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth.”

 

I’m linking this to dVerse’s Open Link. Björn invites us with the holiday spirit in mind and the winter solstice soon to come. I brought sparkly space diamonds to the party. dVerse is taking a two-week holiday break.

Yesterday was my birthday. It snowed and things didn’t quite go right, but I read that it might rain diamonds on planets such as Saturn, Jupiter, and  Neptune, and I thought how beautiful that must be.