Cycles

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” Herman Hesse

 

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Driftwood at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ.©️Merril D. Smith 2020

 

Midnight owl shadows

rodent in sharp talons—

seed drops on damp ground

 

seed becomes tree

roots link to other roots—

earth secrets shared

 

treetop flutters

crow warns of hawk–

black wings cross the sky

 

charcoal clouds

wind whipped waves–

the snap of a branch

 

branch drifts

time and tide-bleached

rests on riverbank

 

green boughs

lean to kiss the water clouds–

whispers, seeds fall

 

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Reflections on Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Frank has asked us to write a haiku sequence for dVerse. I think haiku are really difficult to write. I’m not sure if this works.  I’m also linking this to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt, using the Herman Hesse quote above as a theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen, the Song

 

“Now I will do nothing but listen,

To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.

I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals. . .

From Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself,” Section 26

 

Now I will do nothing but listen—this song

in sunshine sweet,

of mockingbird and robin’s trills

the crow’s caws and hawk’s high screech–

the pulsing life in slapping beats

against the river’s flow

constant,

the trees’ arboreal sighs

(slow and steady)

we breath

together—

I sing the body electric,

we drift, grow, go

connected to, all part of

one, none, molecules ignited,

feel them

flaming

the ash of stars

streaming,

under streetlights and moonbeams–

we dream.

 

Today is the anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth on May 31, 1819. There have been events all year, and many this week, though somehow, I’ve missed them all.

 

 

 

 

Make Way for Goslings

Golden goslings scuttle in a line

mother’s wings point, they align,

hustling to the river.

 

Father hisses at the stranger

–any possible source of danger—

parents are the givers

 

protecting their young

with honks, squawks, or tongue,

till from the river

 

fledglings fly away—

in time, somewhere, someday

 

Lillian is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse. This is a quickly written poem inspired by a walk I took this afternoon at the park by the river. I hope it’s not too treacly, but the baby geese were so cute, and I was fascinated by the family drama. I watched the goose I’m calling the mother shoo the babies towards the river. The father then hissed at one who was off exploring on the sidewalk to get with the others (you can see there are three on the grass, but four in line). The father then hissed at the other goose standing on the sidewalk, as the little ones went under the fence, and their mother then limboed under it, too. The father stood guard until they were all in the water.

 

Things the River Carries: NaPoWriMo

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I think of things the river has carried—

 

Lenape canoes and wooden ships with sails,

spices, barrels, and bails,

the stuff of merchant cargoes.

 

Immigrants and slaves

carried across ocean waves

seeking a safe harbor.

 

Geese and gulls

swimming around the hulls

and among the debris

 

left from centuries–

 

tree branches and stumps

animals that jump

to swim—away

 

never staying,

straying

varying

 

things the river has, is, will be

carrying—

 

dreams of a better life,

perhaps a husband or a wife,

or freedom, almost

 

touching, joining the ghosts

watching from the coast

history and things, strings

 

of visions with wings—

decisions and stings

flowing with the tide

 

hopes, feathers, trees,

flowing from river to sea,

passing like time,

and then away from me

 

For the NaPoWriMo prompt, Day Nine “list of things,” and for guest host, Linda, at dVerse  who asks us to write about prompt water.

 

 

 

 

 

Morning Walk

Morning Walk

Almost born away—

I fly by champagne clouds,

waking poetry

of morning’s moist perfumed breeze.

Angel voices celebrate the universe,

time slows. . .lingers

for one smile

Delaware Rive, Red Bank Battlefield, September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I visited the Oracle yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to post this. She was in rare form though. I feel like she was ready to give me many more.

 

Flowing and Flown: Haibun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four years ago, our older daughter married. I look at photos of that day—her and her wife, my husband and I, our guests—all of us bound by affection for these two women. On their anniversary day, I have lunch with dear friends. They were at the wedding, too. As our children have grown, we’ve now attended many weddings together. We eat, sharing stories and talking in the way old friends who are comfortable with one another do. We were all young when we met, beginning married life, beginning careers. From the restaurant window, I see the Delaware River flowing as it has for centuries, but not without change. It, too, has seen joy and sorrow come and go, and still it flows on.

 

New buds burst open,

butterflies savor sweetness–

spider weaves her web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tuesday Tanka Challenge. Colleen asked us to use synonyms for love and time. I’ve tried to create the overall feeling of each word here.

 

 

 

On Its Banks

“The hardest part is when the river
is too swift and goes underground for days on end”  

~Jim Harrison from Songs of Unreason

 

Here,

heedless of morning light

or evening flight

of geese across

the river runs,

through history

of people who

in transitory transit

camped along its banks

when silver shad streamed,

fished for oysters and pearls

of wisdom

flowing from,

with,

to

the sea.

Rolling river

pushes and pulls

life through seasons

and time

changes

everything.

Turn, turn

around

and underground

the hidden bones

turn, turn

to dust–

ghosts walk

beside the water

dreaming of what was,

waiting for what will be.

 

Delaware River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is for Day 14 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason–poetry inspired by the poetry of Jim Harrison.

Naiad

 

 

 

Her soul’s secret song

shimmers, she shares it gently

leads him, calls to him

from the river, where brave rush,

rave, or walk to inner light

 

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John William Waterhouse, “Naiad” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were lead and share. I’ve also used Secret Keeper’s words for this week: BRAVE | RUSH | RAVE | WALK | INNER

 

 

 

 

Rocks, Rivers, and Stars: NaPoWriMo

 

 

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Delaware River, National Park, NJ 

I stand at the river and watch the small waves break against the rocks, feel the ancient tidal rhythm. Hear its’ call. You dwelled here once, it says. I pick up a stone from the beach, rolling it about in my hand. Its’ hard surface is worn smooth by the water that has kissed it softly, repeatedly over time. Created thousands of years ago by heat, water, and air, this stone has journeyed along the river, till I, born of heat, too, and composed of water and minerals, worn by time, softened by kisses, pick it up.

 

World born in fire,

stellar dust swirls, drifts, and falls,

carried in our genes

speckles of cosmic magic

in my eyes gazing at you

 

This is Day 14 of NaPoWriMo. I’m off prompt today. I’ve written a haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge instead. The prompt words were hard and soft.

 

 

 

 

River to the Stars: #Haibun

 

 

I paddle slowly. The river wanders like my thoughts, meandering, unhurried. The water forms patterns, sparkling ribbons that dance with the breeze’s soft kiss. The breeze smells of earth, water, and of greenery sprouting and blooming, the scent of life and promise. I watch a great egret perform a sun salutation. A turtle on a moving branch floats by, a surfer hanging ten. I see fish swimming just beneath the glimmering surface of the water. Their silver scales catch the light, as they twirl in an aquatic ballet. This river has been my place of dreams, my place for dreaming. I say goodbye.

 

The blue planet fades

soon only a memory

carried in my heart

adrift, sailing through star seas

scarcely feeling the shockwaves

 

I am in a tiny vessel hurtling through the vast universe. I am sad and scared–but filled with wonder. Though I think of Earth, remember the sun-glowed river, it is like a dream. The stars call to me. I’ve awakened, and I listen.

 

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This is my first attempt at a haibun. Colleen Chesebro provides an outstanding explanation of the form, if you are interested.  The prompt words were  earth and water.