The Scent of the Past

IMG_4990

Monday Morning Musings:

“We sit down

in the smell of the past

and rise in a light

that is already leaving.”

From Rita Dove, “November for Beginners”

“Wars, plagues, names upon tombs tell us only what happened. But history lies in the cracks between.”

― Sarah Blake, The Guest Book

 

The wind roars, a dragon

blowing in the season

 

overnight the temperature drops

and there’s a reason

 

I’m baking and cooking

easing in

this time of melancholy and light.

 

The leaves glow golden

in the slanted light of dimming days

 

 

and color pops, unrestrained,

blazing, in the rays

0BCFBD42-9909-4827-84CB-FD6AD8655EBC

of setting sun.

IMG_4961

Here come ghosts

and memories, the dead

Day of the Dead at Love Park

William Penn looking down at the Day of the Dead display at Love Park, Philadelphia

 

remembered in joy and sorrow

decorations, graves, a thread

IMG_4950

 

of history, the moments in-between

the things we love, the times we dread

 

the smell of the past,

 

comes back to haunt us–

my mother says, do you smell that

 

when nothing is in the air

and goes on to chat—

 

(I open window and door)

we discuss dogs, a cat

 

and this is where we’re at,

 

now, daughter and I make candles

smelling scents for future burning

but is it also, perhaps,

for a past we’re yearning

 

in scents of autumn and Christmas

as the season is turning

 

we talk and sip our wine.

 

 

Swirl, sniff, taste,

discuss ghosts and dreams,

 

the feelings of houses

our moods, of what seems

 

to be real or not—

(I watch how the light streams

 

then dims.)

Vintage Wine Bar, Philadelphia

Vintage Wine Bar, Philadelphia

The clocks turned back,

but we’re the ones that change,

 

not time. It moves on,

there’s no real exchange

 

hours lost or gained,

yet memories remain, sometimes disarranged

 

but triggered by this or that, perhaps a scent.

 

I dream of cooking beans,

the refrain, they need long simmering

 

add some water the dream people say

and in my mind some glimmering–

 

this is my life and words

with long slow cooking, simmering

 

and sometimes shimmering

 

through the cracks

the scents of cinnamon and spice, autumn

 

the leaves glow and fall

the ghosts often forgotten

 

wander, here and there

as the light dims

 

but returns—in time.

 

Merril’s Movie Club–we watched It on Halloween, as the wind began to howl. We saw Pain and Glory, Almodovar’s latest. Husband and I both liked it–(but liked Parasite more)–you probably know if you like this kind of thing, Banderas as Almodovar remembering his life, perhaps more pain than glory at times. Trailer here.  We also started watching a French series on Netflix, Black Spot (definitely not translated from the French title Zone Blanche) about strange goings on in a French town. We like to keep our viewing international.  😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here and There and Here

Willow at Dock Creek, October 2019

Monday Morning Musings:

“All I know

Is you are there

You are there

And I am here.

–Irene Sankoff and David Heine, “I am Here,” from Come From Away

 

“Suddenly there’s nothing in between me and the sky”

Irene Sankoff and David Heine, “Me and the Sky,” from Come From Away

 

“Think of it as a ghost play; the actor’s older bodies are haunting these thirteen-year-old characters.”

Clare Barron on her play, Dance Nation

 

“Are you here?” my mother asks

as I, involved in some ordinary task

stand just beyond her sight.

 

The boundaries between mist and light

time and dreams, seems porous, slight

and she drifts, and we drift again and again

IMG_4817

Reflections in a rain puddle, Philadelphia

sunshine, then rain

“Here,” says the woman in the book

“Here,” I say, “Look.”

 

The twilight and dawn

the days that falter, end with a song

look at them fly

nothing between them and the sky

and we drink wine, talk of movies and why

they did this or that—it’s a metaphor

I say, and we laugh, remember more

to discuss, remember the time when it was just us

or when we were thirteen–

 

remember how life seemed?

All emotions, and the dreams?

Emotions now more settled, but more stress—

I digress.

Time right now to sit in gardens bright

to catch autumn’s glowing light

5A3FC0B8-FA34-4473-93D9-80DF9DDF2C86

F917B72F-47DB-469D-9F1D-B334A1F0737F

 

rain and sunshine, tears, delight

I was there once, now I’m here in sight–

of what? I’m not certain, but you are here

together we’re here,

and there’s magic in theater–and deer

and nature, magic in each day’s dawning

IMG_4740

watching the sun rise, yawning

as it sets, and the cats that sleep, never fawning

honest with their desire

for food and love, we’re the suppliers

but we get it back, their love doesn’t expire

no ghosts in their bodies, at least that I see

 

they can just be–

and sometimes so can we—

here together,

 

I am here,

you are here,

nothing between us and sky–

in my dreams, we fly.

IMG_4852

 

We actually saw two shows this week: Come From Away and Dance Nation. Come from Away is heartwarming without being cloying. It’s about people doing good. It’s about the town in Newfoundland that takes in flights following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. It’s poignant, but also very funny at times. The staging is wonderful, and we saw it in the beautiful Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Dance Nation is about a competitive dance team of middle school kids, but it’s also a memory play, as we see glimpses of the girls (and one boy’s) older selves. All the actors are adults. It’s laugh out loud funny at times, but it also makes you want to cheer. There’s a wonderful speech on female empowerment.

And for Merril’s Movie Club members—we finally got to the movies and saw Parasite. Yes, of course it has subtitles. It’s Korean. It’s about class and metaphors, and it’s excellent, but you know, it’s a Merril movie. 😉 Here’s the trailer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Passes

 

 

IMG_9280

William Heritage Winery

 

Workday chores set down,

the sun sinks low, birds take wing,

stars soon appear to glimmer and sing

 

songs drifting over gleaming river

and sleepy town

 

to me and you, the sound

of nature, moon hums a chorus–

and so, night passes before us.

 

I’m hosting dVerse today. We’re writing quadrilles, using the word, “set.” Come join us!

 

Remember–We Laughed

Monday Morning Musings

“We spend our lives trying to discern where we end and the rest of the world begins. “

–Maria Popova, Figuring

 

Ask–

as through the mist

a figure appears.

Examine–

real or specter,

as the sun shines

through the fog

What do you see?

***

I ask

what do you remember

of what, when, and who,

 

the memories accrued

over time, false with true

to mix with dreams, old and new.

 

I reflect

on reflections, in the glass

I see time pass

(Remember her laugh.)

 

I watch

the clouds, stormy river view

to dazzling blue

Delaware River from Patco

View of Delaware River from Patco Train

EA5FB5C7-ED30-49A5-B54E-506802672C77

I listen

for the secrets of trees and birds

and all the words

Swallows at Hawk Haven

Aerial show at Hawk Haven, Cape May

that never convey

truth, but hint—in some way

that trip in rhythm, dance, sway

 

delight—

in family and friends

as time twists and bends

 

We celebrate

watch comedians on the stage

turn the page

 

on a new chapter

gather after. . .

and after–

 

who knows?

 

(Remember this

and that–

remember to laugh.)

 

The woman says,

“You look just like your mother,”

and you wonder—

IMG_4158

then another woman says,

“Your daughter looks just like you,”

and you wonder if it’s true,

IMG_2567

or if it’s as when he says blue,

but you see green,

truth not always what it seems–

 

but you laugh

and smile, and drink more wine–

the day is fine

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

though you ponder, wonder

what is in our minds,

it takes all kinds,

 

doesn’t it?

The killers and mad men

who change history, again and again—

 

But there is love, too,

and cats, and smiles

that travel across the miles

IMG_4283

 

You think,

I have few regrets—

as the moon rises and sets

IMG_4364

and the clouds sail away,

fears kept at bay,

love, please stay

 

to rise with the sun—

dawn break, the day begun.

 

We finished Season 2 of Mindhunters on Netflix, which got me thinking about minds. (Anyone else imagining Agent Ford singing “you’ll be back?”) Our son-in-law graduated from nursing school, and our daughter threw him a surprise party at Helium Comedy Club in Philadelphia. Daughter and I went on a bus tour of three wineries in Cape May, NJ: Natali Vineyards, Willow Creek, and Hawk Haven.  I heard Mari Popova read on “Live from Here with Chris Thile.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Us All

Monday Morning Musings:

“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.”

―Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

“Of what is past, or passing, or to come.”

–W.B. Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium”

 

IMG_3675

A breeze drifts from blushing sky,

Robin sings reveille, a new day wakes

carrying time’s perfume,

a scent of days blended over and over

in a soft voice

the woman asks the day

and wonders where time has gone,

but it is still here—

she gazes through a window,

a young woman looks back

***

In these last days of August

as summer goes a-rambling,

and we go scrambling–

 

in this odd uneven time

of thunderstorms and brilliant sun

we see summer almost done

 

when temperatures fall,

as do a few leaves,

but it deceives

 

we’ll have heat rise again,

even as vultures soar

high above the shore

and insects skitter

and crawl–

but that’s not all

IMG_3852

Cicada-eating wasp

Great Horned Caterpillar

Great Horned Caterpillar at Red Bank Battlefield, NJ

 

we see as we walk

in parks and city streets,

hearing the beats

 

of different drums

people, creatures, machines strum

and hum, but come

 

see fountains glittering

with diamond droplets flying

and spirits sighing

Swann Memorial Fountain Glittering in the Sun, Philadelphia

as they dance to the sky

where sun-stippled,

and wind-rippled

 

they form clouds

that cross the far expanse

of blue, and dance

IMG_3982

into the night

and daughters come with smiles

across the miles

 

to visit. We drink wine

on a beautiful day

wishing days like this would stay

Wine Down Summer Wine Festival, Riverwinds, NJ 2019

 

 

and winter never come.

When flowers and bugs will die

and Persephone in darkness sigh

 

for light and mother-love.

But in the now we celebrate–

never too late, to grab a plate

 

to dine and drink

to talk

to walk

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

to give heart-felt wishes

to laughs and kisses

to be happy for all of this

 

And so,

on her 97th birthday I write:

“On this day,

this is what I wish for you–

 

the love in memories,

the love in now.”

 

And for us all

the moon hums a lullaby,

a wish for love and gentle goodbyes.

IMG_4059

I went a bit overboard with photos, but my mom turned 97 this weekend. Since a few weeks ago, we thought she wouldn’t reach this event, it was extra-special. Older daughter came from Massachusetts, and we went to a wine festival, then visited her sister at her new part-time job at Blue Cork Winery. Then yesterday was my mom’s party. For once, the weather cooperated, too–what a beautiful weekend!

Meanders

 

 

The sky is sunny, the sky is grey

thoughts fall like rain within my brain

but fan into a rainbow bright

and dance in dreams later at night.

 

I walk past statues, I see stories,

in shadows and art, love and hearts

rise, fall with martyrs. I hold books,

(sacred) as nymphs slide into brooks

 

rippling pools and startling robins

that rise in song, and before long

my thoughts come ‘round, circle in flight

from darkness swayed to soar in light.

 

Anmol’s prompt on dVerse asks us to walk and observe. Those who follow my blog know that I do this often. There has been a lot on my mind lately–and there has also been a lot of rain– and this poem combines a few walks in Philadelphia and in S. Jersey.

WP seems to be possessed again. I hope the photos show up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ghost Hearts

IMG_2782

Monday Morning Musings:

“My heart is a shadow,

a light and a guide.

Closed or open…

I get to decide.”

From Corinna Luyker, My Heart

“The people you love become ghosts inside of you, and like this you keep them alive.”

–Robert Montgomery   See a photo of his text installation here. 

 

Yet who whispers

in the summer-sweet night,

where the smell of storms lurk?

There beneath the diamond sky

shadows dance

to the music of life

and death

pants just beyond the light

in the wind-spray of time.

***

I walk by the river park

baby geese and vultures

side-by-side, stark

 

reminders of life and death

cycles like after harsh

winter, spring’s soft breath

caresses mind and soul

and somehow—

we want it all,

 

all the magic of water and air

the delight of light—

time to spare

 

to savor the young

remember the laughter

and all the songs sung

 

and the ones unsung

if we could go back—

trip words from tongue,

 

forgiveness, remembrance

lost gestures and moments

rearranged in order, some semblance

 

of what could be

if or when

or what will it be, see

 

how life circles, the mom me

and she the one needing help

and she doesn’t see

 

well at all,

her vision diminished

unsteady, the mighty fall.

 

Once my daughter said to me

“remember when I hiccupped

inside your belly and you laughed?” See—

 

how do you explain these things?

Circles of life and death

and all it brings.

 

We try to stop time for a bit

eat pizza, drink wine

time to talk—and just sit

 

(doing nothing)

We watch a movie of ghosts and art,

a vulnerable woman

she opens her soul, her heart

 

is shadow-filled, she grieves

sees ghosts,

though she’s not sure she believes

 

but to create

one has to be open–

the muse, a mysterious state

 

of being,

perhaps there are spirits

or some other way of seeing

 

(of being)

 

There is a place in my heart

where my father lives

and all my ancestors, too, a part

 

of my what? My essence, my soul,

the me-ness of me

the all-ness of all?

 

My mother grows old,

but somewhere in time

she is young, in a fold,

 

a pleat, a wrinkled web

where time-space

flows and ebbs,

 

and perhaps ghosts call,

walk in shadowed paths

through my heart, they rise and fall–

 

hear them sigh

as up to the stars

they carry you, me—we fly.

Morning Moon Does Her High Wire Act

Morning Moon Does Her High Wire Aerial Routine

 

We watched the movie, Personal Shopper on Netflix. Kristen Stewart is a personal shopper/medium grieving her dead twin brother–there are ghosts and references to the artist Hilma af Klint. I liked it. Watch it with someone because you will want to discuss it. I may have to watch it again. . .

And here is a bonus, if you haven’t heard this version of Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” translated and sung in Mik Maq. I thought of this last night when I was thinking of birds and ghosts (and not quite dead languages).

 

 

 

 

Sun and Storms, NaPoWriMo

IMG_2207

Monday Morning Musings:

“Presentiment – is that long Shadow – on the Lawn –
Indicative that Suns go down –

The Notice to the startled Grass

That Darkness – is about to pass –“

–Emily Dickinson A brief analysis here.

“Oh, how this spring of love resembleth, The uncertain glory of an April day,

Which now shows all beauty of the Sun, And by and by a cloud takes all away”

–William Shakespeare, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act I Scene 3

 

Startled? Yes, I’ll say.

Startled awake as the cell phone plays

keening beeps, an alert. I’m dazed

read, “Tornado Warning, Take Shelter.”

 

Did you see them?

The words on the screen?

Not a drill, no they mean

hurry now, no time to grab all the things,

no time for caffeine, keys, or rings

 

I’m roused,

my body tired, but fired

 

I wake my husband, carry phone and one cat

down to the basement, there we sat

on a blanket by the stairs,

litter boxes nearby, but no chairs,

with bare feet, in PJs and tank shirt

waiting, (while the cats pee) but unhurt

 

by the storm. The radio announcer says,

this system’s killed people, he acknowledges

in the south, and I’m glad I heard this after

the all-clear, or my fear would have been greater.

 

(Were my clogged ears, a presentiment

of pressure dropping,

hmmm. . .are they’re popping?)

 

I think the rain is stopping

(at least for now).

and the birds are singing sweet and strong

glorious in their morning songs

telling the world that they are here,

announcing for now that all is clear.

 

***

DBDE1D21-1F91-4897-9800-D827FC99668E

Looking out after the early morning storm

I think of this past week in April

uncertain glory, each day

it seems, from bright to grey

shadows, sun, storms, each give way.

We went with friends into the city

We go on the train

(the forecast rain)

But when we arrived, the sky was bright

and the sun shone with April light

on flowers pink, white, yellow–

and mellow the temperature and breeze

softly stirring trees.

 

We sat outside, drank wine, ate cheese

feeling fine, and at ease,

wanting to hold this moment—please—

but we went

as the sky changed then–

and April rain fell again.

 

In more shadows and light,

we played with puppies, such a sight,

doggy kisses and wrestling moves

hard to resist, and it just proves

the bonds between animals,

the bonds between us and them

Once again

we’re home

more sun, more clouds,

watching movies of zombies and spies,

surprises and lies,

in both we see people pretending to be some other

and we see others seeing what they want to see.

 

And I see presentiment—the long shadow–

but hope the clouds will pass,

we’ll come to our senses

before we suffer the consequences—

But for now, coffee, cats,

and later wine,

to sleep later,

perchance to dream—

of a beginning, not an end,

of love and caring and sharing

hope of this world—to mend.

IMG_2219

 

Today’s prompt, Day 15, is “to write your own dramatic monologue.”  I’m not sure that I’ve done that, but my Monday Musings are always sort of an internal monologue. . . The best I can do, since I’ve been awake since the tornado alert went off around 3:20 this morning.

Sorry, we haven’t been out to the movies in a few weeks, but we did watch two movies on Netflix. The Angel, trailer here, an Israeli-American film based on a true story of a spy. It was an interesting story,good, but not great.  And we saw Cargo, (trailer here)  an Australian zombie film–but wait, it’s not all that gory. It has a message about family, community, cross-cultural awareness, taking care of the earth, AND it has Martin Freeman.  Again, not the greatest movie ever, but enjoyable, and I liked it.

I also read a spy book, American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson. Excellent. Here’s a review.