The Constant Lullaby

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She hums a tune of dreams and sighs

set in the wind, and full of whys,

of what could be, if only, when

we saw, we knew the truths of skies

 

the beauty there, the now, the then,

the things that come and come again–

the oceans’ roar, the lovers’ cries

that rise and fall, the song of wren

 

that sings of spring and summer blooms

as laughter flies from them to rooms

inside, entwined with windswept song–

those lullabies on silvered plumes

 

Another Rubaiyat for dVerse, where Lillian is hosting Open Link Night. The first line came to me, so I just continued the meter and form.

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.

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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.

 

Me: Here, or There?

“Time isn’t circular. . .It’s like a. . .palimpsest.”

“And memories are sometimes in the future.”

–Kate Atkinson, Life after Life

512px-Nocturne_by_James_Abbott_McNeil,_1870-1877

James Abbott McNeil Whistler, “Nocturne,” Public Domain via Wikipedia Commons

 

Looking back, older but not yet done–

then, there, I see myself a young child.

Did past or future end–or has one just begun–

life stories entwined, or is time unreconciled

 

then? There, I see myself a young child

so, I wonder if my path was fated,

life stories entwined? Or is time unreconciled,

to choices immutable and slated–

 

so, I wonder if my path was fated–

did I always marry my high school sweetheart—

choices immutable and slated?

Or did time and roads lead elsewhere for my counterpart?

 

Did I always marry my high school sweetheart?

Was I always the me I see?

Or did time and roads lead elsewhere for my counterpart?

Could it be there’s another world with–or without–me?

 

Was I always the me I see?

Did past or future end, or has one just begun?

Could it be there’s another world with or without me?

I’m looking back—older–but not yet done.

 

Happy New Year! A pantoum for my prompt today on dVerse.

If all goes as planned, the prompt should be live at 3:00 P.M. (EST). Come join us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beautiful Seen

“For beautiful to happen the beautiful has got to be seen.”

Adam Gwon, “Beautiful” from Ordinary Days

I watch the ripples in the sand,

let the grains flow from my hand,

see them slide into a shimmering sea

to wash ashore on another land.

 

I look at the blades of grass

through them robin hops to pass

then calls to me from a nearby branch–

the sky above, a clear blue glass.

 

The beauty that has to be seen,

blue of sea and sky, and grass so green,

the beauty of the ordinary, looked at again–

remembered sights–or what might have been.

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Gina at dVerse has asked us to write a poem about ordinary things. I thought back to something I wrote a while ago about ripples in sand and the scientific discoveries of Hertha Marks Ayrton, which gave me the opening. But “ordinary things” made me think of the musical Ordinary Days. My younger daughter was in it when she was a senior in college, and I got to hear her sing, “I’ll Be Here”–and tried not to sob and embarrass her. The quotation comes from the last song in the show.

 

 

 

 

Early Morning Moon

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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.

 

 

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.