Odysseus Under the Moon: Ghazal

This is my attempt at a Ghazal for dVerse. 

 

Over star-glimmered waves, we journeyed and sailed under the moon.

There we bemoaned our fate, still sailing—railed under the moon.

 

We see the fork-tongued serpent, slither-scaled under the moon,

she, no siren, silver-voiced with hair unveiled under the moon.

 

From the towering giant, one-eyed, we quailed under the moon,

but scurried we, when blinded he was thus curtailed under the moon.

 

On blood-wine seas, the winds caught and prevailed under the moon

And what of the gods, we flattered, yet failed, under the moon?

 

What lands should we conquer? If heroes, we’re hailed, under the moon.

And what tales of those places to you we’d regale under the moon.

 

Do we return to love, or to marriages failed, under the moon?

My own wife, unconsidered, what of her travails under the moon?

 

Too far, too soon, the poet sleeps unassailed under the moon

to the gentle rhythm of the waves, inhales, exhales, under the moon

 

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Carl Gustav Carus [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Immigrants: Quadrille

They journeyed–

sharing quarters with livestock

and worldly goods,

battered and buffeted

by wind and waves,

sailing through salt spray

under sun and shimmering stars,

the ship a speck in the vast sea-space

rocked them

sometimes gently, sometimes furiously,

rocked them into the unknown

 

This is a quadrille for dVerse. The prompt was “rock.”

 

 

 

 

 

Sweetness Restored

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“I know you feel it

The sweetness restored”

From Leonard Cohen, “Leaving the Table”

 

A ship sails across an ocean

crashes, in furious motion,

its treasures sink in the deep

as though asleep

while centuries creep

a chunk of bronze, fragment of the past

did it predict this future, forecast

another ship sailing through a sea of stars

carrying our past to the future

suturing time with invisible stitches?

Beings we will never know

blow forward and back

ghosts drift from stardust

near and far, they must

I think, walk beside us,

(that gust)

whispering in the wind

bringing horror or bringing joy,

bringing completeness

restoring the sweetness

of what has been lost

 

In the year of the dotard

when real is thought fake

(so much at stake)

when false is declared to be true

and people go about life

(without a clue)

when Mother Earth vents her fury on land and sea

and like a banshee

the winds wail and roar

and as the darkness gathers and soars

and millions sit without a light

in the dark, body and souls

between the poles

of north and south

they go without.

When all this takes place

here

in this space

we sit at the table

thankful we are able

with challah and wine

we dine

in honey dip our apple

watch the sun and shadows dapple

the walls,

as evening falls

here in this moment,

here in this place

the sweetness restored

 

We watch a movie about a dancer

a child who dances in the Russian snow

aglow with the joy of moving, doing, being

receiving the best training

(her parents work hard)

and she does, too

through pain of body and soul

is it worth it all?

and she struggles and questions—

technique or feeling?

finding it unappealing

tired of dancing others’ creations

sensations, ideation

she moves in a duet by the water

to find that child again,

form and feeling

to find the sweetness restored

 

My husband and I walk

we talk about the film we’ve seen

watch the street scenes

a pretty window and door

an urban street with more

we see nature’s destruction

turned to art

despite the ignorance and the hate

we humans love

we need to create

art, poetry, and stories

of the fantastic and the real–

we feel–

the family behind us

answering their son’s funny questions

wondering will they be troublemakers

and we are partakers in this bit

strangers meeting on the street

and then we go our separate ways,

stroll a while

but we smile

the family’s moment struck a chord

the sweetness restored.

 

Daughter and I go to a wine festival

the autumn day disguised as summer

We talk and taste wine

and we are feeling fine

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buy bracelets with literary themes

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of hopes and dreams

the sweetness of wine and books

of strangers looks

(okay, perhaps not all)

we people watch as we stand in line

behind the drunk couple

all entwined

the man with his roving hands

the woman who might fall as she stands

our eyes meet

standing there in the heat

no need to say out loud what we are thinking

mother-daughter interlinking thoughts

we talk of teaching

of The Color Purple and Langston Hughes

we talk of friends and we shmooze

if days could be like this

without dotards to lead

without a world full of greed

without hurricanes and earthquakes

without racism and hate—

is it too late?

if we could wrap up and hoard

all the love, the light, make the world bright

would we feel it,

the sweetness restored?

 

We saw the movie, Polina. Trailer here.

We went to the Heritage Vineyards Wine Festival.

I’m kind of fascinated by the antikythera mechanism.

Here is a beautiful video for Leonard Cohen’s “Leaving the Table.” This song is from his last album, made just before he died.

 

 

 

 

Safe Harbor: Haibun

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

–from Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

 

Our ship is stalled in the harbor–the weather, customs duties, bribes to officials—who knows why? We live in suspended time in a liminal space—on a ship, but not at sea; people who have left their homes, but who have not found a new one, refugees. I worry about leaving—perhaps it would not be so bad to stay? But it is too late, we are sailing. Weeks seem like months, as my stomach rolls and heaves with the ship, till at last we arrive. We are weary, but grateful for our new home, a small room in the house of distant kin. At night, we walk to the beach to escape the heat of the day. My sister’s face mirrors my own—relief that the journey is over, sadness that we may never see our parents again, and joy that we are safe. We dance on the sand under a moonlit sky.

 

Faults in men, not stars

lighting a sea-crossed journey

freedom has a price–

beckoning with torch raised high,

the beacon separates, too

 

Winslow_Homer_-_Summer_Night_(1890)

 

This is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge.  The prompt words were mirror and harbor. I remember my grandfather telling me about when he was a boy, after he, his mother, and his sister left Kiev, their ship was stuck in Trieste. I don’t know why or how they got there. Trieste was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I mentioned him in a previous post called Feast of the Immigrant. 

And here’s the Hamilton mix tape based on the line from the show, “Immigrants, we get the job done.”

 

 

Five Views of the Sea: NaPoWriMo

 

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Ocean City, NJ

1.

Look closely,

at its sparkling surface

where rainbows dart and dance in the spray,

flowing currents

not green or grey or blue,

but multi-hued,

a thousand variations on the theme of life

 

2.

Beneath the surface,

fish swim, eat, spawn

schools of action, not thought

(or so I think)

their entire universe,

the stars seen through the water

bob up and down

 

3.

The whales sing in whistles and clicks,

a choral group with perfect pitch,

songs of courtship, longing, danger

giant bodies, buoyant in work and play

cooperating, defending,

underwater hearts beat in sea rhythm

 

4.

In small boats, they journey

guided first by the sun and stars,

later by navigational tools,

explorers, fishermen, immigrants

they sailed then,

they sail now,

always and forever,

on the slipstream of time

 

5.

The lovers stand on the shore

holding hands, bodies close

as if to make two, one

gazing at the waves,

each lost in thought,

their dreams mingle, float

drift toward the horizon

 

This is for NaPoWriMo, Day 6. The prompt was to write a poem that explored different views or aspects of something.

Rondelet: Poetry Challenge

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Odilon Redon,  La Voile jaune (The Yellow Sail). Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

 

(1.) The Refugees

 

We ached for home,

starting our journey, looking back

we ached for home

though forced to flee, and forced to roam

in our red boat, we had to tack

the golden sail, the night loomed black

we ached for home

 

(2.) The Female Pirates

 

With sparkling jewels

We set sail upon the ocean

With sparking jewels

We challenged men, we broke the rules,

Made our plans, set them in motion

Women! We caused a commotion

With sparkling jewels

 

These two poems are in response to Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge #37. For this challenge, we were to write a rondelet using the image above, Odilon Redon’s La Voile jaune (The Yellow Sail) and the word “journey.” This is a new form for me. Both of these poems are inspired by the picture, but only the first one uses the word “journey.”  A rondelet is a 7-line poem (septet) with two rhymes and a repeated refrain. The refrain is 4 syllables; the other lines are 8 syllables. AbAabbA