Embrace the Beauty

Ask for bluest sky–
still, the wind will sigh,
fly cold cloud-cover to hover—and yet

the tree will see, embrace
glow-diffused light. A shadow traced
on snow-kissed ground–grace, erased,

hope lost, then found. Seasons entwined,
winter’s signature signed in white-on-green–
beauty seen.

A quadrille for my prompt at dVerse. The prompt word is “embrace.” A quadrille is a dVerse poetry form, a poem in any style of 44-words. If you’d like, come join us. My photos are doing double-duty.

Vision

Monday Morning Musings:

“Best Things dwell out of Sight
The Pearl—the Just—Our Thought.”
--Emily Dickinson

The snow comes, goes
flows in feathered drifts
and shifts to icy pellets, then gifts
us with cold beauty. Shadows

fall long, as the sun lifts his sleepy head
and cloud-haze shuffles, to turn sky blue
and light sparkles on water, colors and hue
of winter wonder—but tread

Sparkling Water Spirit on the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

lightly on the surface ice
atop the snow–and yet the river rolls
with junk and dreams, holding souls
with visions—look twice–

is it ghost or bird?
What lies beneath?
Is it a boat? Does it have teeth?
What are your dreams? What is the word

Melting snow puddle reflection. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

that describes what you see?
What is the world that you feel deep
within? Begin to tell, or keep
it in. What is free? What do you want to be?

There are people with visions,
and people with sight—
not the same thing—they may fight
for light, but make wrong decisions

And yet, even hidden, a pearl will glow.
And who is to say, sight is better than feel?
Maybe we don’t need to heal
what is not broken, but let it be, to go,

to find beauty, falling in the snow.

We’re making up for having no snow at all last year, it seems. We had a lingering snowstorm last early last week, and then another one yesterday–though here just south of Philadelphia, we tend to get rain and sleet, which lowers the snow totals. But, since it’s pandemic, we’re not going anywhere, so it doesn’t matter. I saw the hawk from my kitchen window while washing dishes, and ran outside to try to see it closer. The crows were super-noisy and busy at the river the other day. I baked a cake for younger daughter’s birthday, and we dropped a present, and other things at her house, and we stood outside, masked and in the cold and talked for a little while. Yesterday while it was snowing, I decided to bake a second cake for us.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Merril’s Movie/Theater Club: Along with most everyone, it seems, we watched The Dig (Netflix) this week. We both enjoyed it. It’s about the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo. It’s a lovely movie, with fine performances and beautiful cinematography. The dig becomes quite exciting, even though this is definitely not an action movie. The movie is based on a novel, and both are based on actual events. We also streamed the Lantern Theater Company’s production of Molly Sweeney, a play by Brian Friel. It’s available to stream until Feb. 14. It’s based on an essay by Oliver Sachs, but it’s transposed to Ireland. It’s a moving story of a woman who has been blind since she was a baby, but is content with her world of touch, smell, and sound. She leads a full life, but her husband wants her to have an operation to give her sight. The play is set up as monologues—Molly, her husband Frank, and the doctor who performs the surgery. We both enjoyed the play and the excellent acting done by actors who never move from their positions on the stage. Oh, and we finished Season 5 of The Expanse, and now I want Season 6!

I’m hosting Quadrille Monday on dVerse, so I’ll be back later this afternoon! Hmm. . .I guess I need to write a poem for that soon. 😏

February Snow

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise in January, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

In this winter of confinement
in grey, I look for color and light
of moon and sun, a feathered message

or fairy glow

the still quiet of snow.

I cook and bake,
think how I will celebrate
in future days—
now I huddle and with cat-cuddles
dream, write, read

You can tell this photo is from the summer since I’m not all bundled up in layers of clothing.

and watch the river rushing go
noisy in the quiet falling of the snow.

Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ. The start of the February snowstorm. 2021

So. . .it’s still a pandemic, and I haven’t gone anywhere or done anything special, and there’s nothing much to muse about that’s new. It’s been cold and blustery, so we haven’t even gone for walks somewhere new. Right now, the news here is of the snow. Last year we didn’t have any snow at all, so this snowstorm is a big deal. We had some snow yesterday afternoon and night, and now we’re getting wind and sleet, but we’re supposed to have heavy snow (and wind) this afternoon into tomorrow.

Merril’s Movie/TV/Book Club: We watched the movie Herself (Amazon Prime). My husband and I both enjoyed this movie of an Irish mother who flees an abusive relationship and literally fights to build a home for her daughters and herself. The performances rise above what could be cliché and melodrama (and convenient circumstances); the scenes of domestic violence are handled sensitively. The way the two daughters played together reminded my husband and me of our daughters when they were little girls.
We’re part-way through Season Five of The Expanse (Amazon Prime). It’s a wonderful series. It’s the kind of sci-fi that I like, in that there are real plots and believable characters. It’s a much grittier than the Star Trek world. It’s about colonies and empires, and what happens to Earth’s colonies—Mars and “the belters”—those who have and those who have not. Season one begins with a mystery and a detective, and it goes on from there. It’s a complex show with lots of plot lines that intersect. I highly recommend it.
I’ve read some of Kate Atkinson’s more recent books, so I went back to read Case Histories, the first in her Jackson Brodie series. It’s excellent (though I’m not a fan of Brodie’s sexist comments)—but her writing is just so good, and I love how the cases come together and connect.

Cinnamon and Snow: Haibun

 

Valerius_De_Saedeleer_-_Winter_landscape

It snowed, and the earth was devoid of color. The wind howled and shook the house, knocking to get in. Robins, sparrows, tufted titmice, and cardinals huddled in their nests. Wise squirrels had gathered acorns from the old oak tree, but now they, too, sought shelter. The roads were unplowed, and the schools were closed for days. I baked an endless supply of cookies, bread, cakes, and donuts. My comfort for the storm. The house was scented with cinnamon and love.

 

frosted white-veiled world

sighs drifting from cloud-draped moon–

from home warmth beckons

 

It’s midsummer, so to be contrary I thought I’d write about a blizzard. When my children were young—perhaps in kindergarten and third grade—there was a blizzard that left two feet of snow, and more in the drifts. I know that some of you live in areas that have more snow, but I think it wasn’t only the amount, but the intensity of the storm and the drifting afterwards. It might have been this one. 

 

 

 

 

Spring is Buried–Haibun

Spring is buried now

tender buds sway in the wind—

sun hides behind clouds

Today, the vernal equinox, snow dances lightly in the air, turning to large, white flakes that cover the grass and cars. Soon, sleet pounds against the windows. The wind blows in angry gusts—winter rages at having to let spring back into the world.  I think of how tomorrow children will wake to a silent world of white. They will happily build snowmen and make snow angels, while the daffodils and tulips wait for the sun to return, and for the snow to melt to nourish their roots.

Soon, I think, soon. . .

 

Persephone comes

skipping from the underworld—

the light lingers now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This haibun is for Frank’s haikai challenge. He asks us to write about the spring equinox. This is also for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge, using synonyms for joy and fury.

We may get a foot of snow tomorrow.

 

 

Sighing for Spring: Haibun

In between nor’easters, we take a spur-of-the-moment day trip. We look at paintings of people now gone and places that no longer exist except in memories. We see landscapes of lush verdant woods that contrast with western desert landscapes featuring windmills, swimming pools, and ranch hands. Outside the museum, we walk around the patches of snow. Suddenly I notice the glowing forsythia bushes vibrant and defiant, rising from the white blanket at their roots to greet the sun. Though it’s fighting to remain, winter will soon be gone. We only need to wait a bit longer.

 

Golden yellow sighs,

whispers of a spring time song—

flowers in the snow

 

Grounds of the Mercer Museum, Doylestown, PA

 

I wrote more about the exhibit we saw at the Michener Museum on Monday. This haibun is for Frank’s haikai challenge, using the kigo, or season word, snow. This is also for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Challenge, where the prompt was to use synonyms for patience and green.

It has been a busy week with work and news. Now it’s time for poetry. Watch out for sharp objects today!  🙂

 

 

 

Robin Searches Here: Tanka

Robin searches here

beneath the snow-covered grass

new life is sprouting

in renewed light seeding hope

replenishing Earth again

 

 

This is a tanka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday.  Colleen asked us to write a poem using synonyms for “renew” and “fresh.” I was walking by this window that looks out at our back yard, just as the snowstorm on Wednesday was starting to pick up. This robin by the oak tree caught my eye, and I quickly took a photo through the window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Token

My husband leaves in the snow,

it’s light at first, but then it flows

falling,

squalling

in thick heavy flakes

without breaks

it covers the ground

like a great white lake,

or. . .perhaps, I think,  like thick frosting on a cake.

And so, I decide to bake him a treat,

his favorite cookies, not too sweet–

a love token from me to him—

not exactly a whim. . .

but ephemeral as tokens go–

not unlike this springtime snow.

 

Welsh Cookies

 

Grace asked us to write on love tokens for dVerse. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gusts and Buds: Haibun

On the day of the nor’easter, I finish reviewing the page proofs of my book. The sun comes out. I ponder new projects, while watching birds perch and peck at the feeder hanging at our kitchen window—finches with their red feather patches demonstrate the feeder’s pecking order. A tufted titmouse, nuthatches, and even a woodpecker fly in for a snack. Robins congregate in the street, discussing the weather and current events before flying up to a tree to chatter at the squirrels. The days grow longer, and despite the wind and snow, the daffodils are rising from the ground. They are not deterred by icy gusts. Momentary setbacks. They know spring is coming. So do I. I simply have to get through the next snowstorm—it’s coming, too.

 

March’s lion roars,

frost-breath lays a filigree—

budding branches bide

 

 

We’re supposed to get another nor’easter tonight into tomorrow with several inches of snow expected.

I was writing this for

Frank’s Haikai Challenge #23—Spring Gust

But then I saw Victoria’s  prompt for Haibun Monday: tree buds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Birthday Roses: Haibun

A memory. His birthday falls over the long Presidents Day weekend. We wander through greenhouses where orchids and roses bloom, scenting the air with summer perfume. We stroll about the gardens without jackets, enjoying the taste of spring. The next day it snows.

 

February moon

hovers with uncertainty–

mist turns to snowflakes

 

This year, the morning sun gleams on the bare and budding branches. Birds flock, seeking sustenance, as the skies grow cloudy, and in the evening white flakes drift down to cover the emerging green sprouts. We wrap ourselves in blankets, eat birthday cake, and laugh.

 

Hands together grasp

wine and roses, youth and age

following the heart

 

At Longwood Gardens, February 2011.

Sunny Day; snow at night. February 17-18, 2018.

 

I’ve combined challenges for this Haibun: Frank’s hazy moon challenge from last week, his current rose/Presidents’ Day challenge, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge.   The words we’re supposed to use synonyms for are character and affection. I don’t know if it’s correct to use both a haiku and senryu in one piece, but I did.