Is it?

Monday Morning Musings:

Early Morning Sun on the Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Is it in my blood
to see the color and the light?
To find delight in dappled ground,
cerulean sky, and honeyed beams
spread all around?

A beautiful spring morning, Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith

To take some of that and this,
and make a dish, a story, art—
to lose my heart in joy, or fear
being apart, and sail
aboard an anxious ship on
shadowed seas, yet sing the songs
of moon and stars?

I wish I could know—
the ones who came before—
when in living with the making do,
was there room for questioning and for beauty, too?

Did they sigh at rippled water, and see within
the upside-down,
and all around, the spirits, shadows, flowers, trees—
the families?

We gather bits of ours—in hummingbird hover
midway between here and there,
under a clouded-feather sky,
ask what if we did, ask what if we didn’t, and wonder why—
but there are no answers, no words for what might have been,
only recalling what was—her laugh, the words she said—
and what is–here, now, us–a thread,

connecting yesterday, today, tomorrow–joys and sorrow,

we wait to see what the future brings, heart-sung, our wishes fly, bird-winged on our sighs.

I consulted the Oracle, and she gave me the phrase, “It is in my blood,” so I went with that. I’ve been thinking of my ancestors lately. In my grandparents’ generation, I know of artists and musicians, but art and music were not considered things one should do as a career. Slowly, we’re emerging from our Covid cocoon. We saw our daughter on Friday, and my sisters yesterday. We forgot to get a picture to mark the occasion, so we’ll have to do it again. The photo of my mom showed-up in my FB memories.

We Wait for Magic

Monday Morning Musings:

Almost always,
magic appears in an unexpected blink
a deer-tail flash, a momentary glimmer, a pop of color
against the grey—

Spring Reflections ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

feathered with goose down, streaked with heron blue and crow black
and there– the gosling gold tumbles amidst spring green.

The sun’s red and golden steeds gallop high, over
the cold, north wind, rippling waves, scattering seeds—

and new life grows. Bud to flowers, acorn to oak—
eggs hatch and children grow. A new harvest, a new vintage–
we toast the departed, throw a stone in river, a rock in a fire—
remember what was, cherish what is now— reflect and

3D Goose Reflection. ©️Merril D. Smith

watch for color in the grey, listen to the wind sigh, and mockingbird sing,
find beauty in each day, and wonder why, some cannot bring
hope or joy, but only want to destroy—still you cling

to thoughts of young who fling away old terms of hate
as seasons pass, we love, lose, die, create, accelerate—
and for nature or fate, we wait.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. We went to Blue Cork Winery in Williamstown, where our daughter works part-time. We enjoyed a Mother’s Day brunch. Unfortunately, it was cold, and then it rained. I wore several layers of clothing. Not the most flattering photos. 😀

Merril’s Movie/Theater Club: We streamed No Child (Arden Theater, Philadelphia). It was a wonderful performance by Taysha Marie Canales, who became all the characters in this play about a teaching drama artist at a school in the Bronx. We also streamed Nomadland, starring Frances McDormand. The movie received several awards this year, including one for McDormand and also director Chloé Zhao. We both enjoyed it very much—it’s a beautifully filmed movie that makes you think about what you have and what others live without, as well as what it’s like to be a “nomad,” the life McDormand’s character adopts, living out of her van as she travels and works. Trailer here.

Shadows Amidst the Spring Light

Shadows wind through the spring green,
recalling winter, they carry the scent of blood
and despair driven by lies, the play of elaborate schemes,
and delirious dreams and desire blown into the after time,

and I ache,
wishing, wondering if I see light,
honeyed rays through verdant trees,
the pink-petaled spray of hope—

full of ever and always,
somewhere my mother is in a garden
or gazing at an azure sea,

she takes her brush,
erases the storms, the grey-clouded earth,
paints bright color on her canvas,

and I wake to birdsong and feathered-wishes
diamond bright in the still dark sky.

The Magnetic Poetry Oracle knows everything. The political situation here in the U.S. is quite troubling; Mother’s Day is tomorrow, and it’s spring. We collaborated on this poem.

The Birth of Venus

Odilon Redon, Birth of Venus

If, bare-breasted, moon-blooded,
I bloom
above the blue sea, in diamond-sprayed splendor,

then ask—why

I am woman-formed
of raw winds and whispered light,
green-gowned and peach-scented—
but as a day here and away–

I am time-stilled
beyond recalling fiddle beats
from the shadows,
where a thousand ruins stand,
sun-petal-swept and silent.

I am all—
most eternal, champagne cool,
velvet fire,
seeing, embracing secrets,
the delicious brilliance of star breath,
dancing in darkness.

My May Day poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. As usual, even though I thought this poem would go one way, she sent me somewhere else.

The Bravery of Being

Monday Morning Musings:

In the staggering power of stars,
there is a balance, to hold within, or
to burst and blow

scattering light across space
and time,

Early morning light on the Delaware River. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and time again, we see the dying glimmers
and again, with time, we find some power

in the gleam within–
we search for ourselves
over generations

blooming again and again–
the seeds, flowering to life,

though some die too soon,
others are cultivated,

sparked by an inner glow,
the DNA of stars, the lessons of ancestral genes—
finding superpowers in the everyday

discovering they are brave—much braver than they suspected.

My Shadow in the Light.©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Within and without, power and balance,
Stop for a moment. Now—look–

Do you see the colors in the sky?
Light and beauty, ever-changing,
connected, connecting, everything.

Early Morning Light, Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Merril’s Theater/Movie Club: We streamed How to be Brave, a play by Welsh playwright Siân Owens, a production of the Inis Nua Theater in Philadelphia. I really loved this play and production. It’s a one-woman show about a single-mother, a librarian who likes order, but on this day snaps, steals a bike, and travels around Newport, Wales, and back and forth from the present to her childhood and learns (or re-learns) how to be brave. It’s a story of motherhood and generations, which is also a theme of the movie, Fast Color (Amazon Prime). Set during a time of severe drought somewhere in the U.S., the story is about Ruth, who has been on the run, but goes home to her mother, who has been raising Ruth’s daughter, Lila. We discover that they all have superpowers, but this is not a superpower action movie. It’s a quiet, indie film that is really more about family. We also watched the 2019 French movie, Les Misérables (Amazon Prime)—not based on the Victor Hugo novel. However, it is set in the area where it wrote it. The movie concerns a police officer, new to an anti-crime unit in this multi-cultural area. The movie is tense and exciting as small events escalate. One review called it “a simmering tale of two cities.” The movie won several awards.

We got out for a little while this past week to a local winery. It was cloudy, but then the sun came out as we were ready to leave.

Everything: NaPoWriMo, Day 8

Crow flying over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

Listen, as
Crow caws your future—
winter goes,
spring appears,
cycles repeat forever,
light to dark to light

from before
time, it resonates–
the afterlight
of star-birds
flapping their bright-feathered wings,
and traveling on.

Ghost glimmers
spot the sky. Humming
with the moon,
the sea sighs,
everything connected. Now,
listen again. See?

A Shadorma chain for NaPoWriMo, Day 8 inspired by my walk this morning. The crows have been so active, and right now a mockingbird is putting on quite a concert from a nearby tree. It’s a good time of year to look around and listen. Since I’m writing a daily poem for the Ekphrastic challenge, and I’m behind on all my work, I’m mostly not writing for the prompts this year. But, I do love the shadorma form. 😏

Wine and Stories

Monday Morning Afternoon Musings:

Passover a few years ago. Lots of wine–and sparkling wine?

With stories,
we entertain, ascertain, explain the past,
another glass of wine drained, slow or fast–

is it enough? We remember
to forget

how seasons turn, grey to green,
but loved ones gone, remain unseen

like ghosts
white blossoms drift
leaving trails . . .we follow.

It’s poetry month, and I’m having a hard time getting anything else done between all the poetry writing and reading. So, I’m making my usual Monday Morning Musings very short and combining it with the dVerse quadrille prompt, where Linda asks us to write about wine.

Passover ended yesterday. I celebrated with pasta, garlic bread, and wine. During a traditional Passover Seder (Seder means order), we tell the story of the Exodus and during the course of the night drink four glasses of wine. My family, when we’re together, does a very untraditional Seder, and we drink maybe one, two. . . maybe more. I’m looking forward to seeing them someday soon.

Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Quo Vadis, Aida? It’s Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Oscar entry, and it’s a harrowing and heartbreaking, but also an excellent and nuanced movie. It chronicles the failure of the UN peacekeeping forces and the mass genocide by Serbian army in Srebrenica, as seen through the eyes of UN interpreter. The director said she had been waiting for someone to tell this difficult story, but she finally did so herself, and she does so without relying on showing tons of blood and gore. It’s available to rent on Amazon. We also watched Mank (Netflix). We both enjoyed it. It tells a fictional story of 1930s-1940s Hollywood, and the making of Citizen Kane, centered on Herman J. Mankiewicz, the writer, played by Gary Oldman. I thought Amanda Seyfried as Marion Davies was particularly good.

Orbiting: Ekphrastic Challenge,Day 5

Inspired by KR5 “Orbiting,” and JL5 “Green Man”

Spinning, spinning, spinning—
circles, cycles, ends, beginning—
mortality underpinning
hopes, goals, decisions

to power pose with practiced smile,
and walk her steps and run a mile,
to dial back time, and stay a while
her fear of dying.

But, turning, turning, turning
the Moon still glows, the sun’s still burning,
And see? The green man, he’s returning
to bloom the ground with flowers ‘round

where once all seemed cold and dying,
awakened seeds from dreams untying,
raise their tendrils trying, trying–
seeking warmth and air.

Now the robin sings it clear–
another orbit, another year.

This is for Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. This one was a difficult one for me. The poem is based on the two pieces of art above. To see all the art and poems, visit Wombwell Rainbow. This is also my NaPoWriMo poem, since I know I will not have time to get to the prompt today. So many poems, so little time! 😀

Another Year

Spring comes again, another year,
the ghosts stand here,
but still the flowers bloom and rise.

The world is ever broken
and lies are widespread and spoken–
but there is light in the skies,

Sun peeping through the clouds. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

where geese honk and crows call,
they find their mates, and above all,
the songs of robin and mockingbird fly

ever as March winds wail and gust—
ashes to ashes, dust to dust—
the moon hums, so wise

is she, she sees beyond
what has been spawned,
duplicity and disease, the whys

of our existence. Yet hope
comes on those wings, that trope
clichéd, but all the same it cries

the truth—light in flight—
longer days, golden bright
flowers–each day a surprise

in bloom. And now, we vaccinate,
for some, it’s come too late,
and there’s no way to minimize

the loss and despair. Another year,
the ghosts stand here,
but still the flowers bloom and rise.

The wind is gusting this morning! Last year, Passover was at the beginning of April. We did a Zoom Passover with our daughters, and then near the end of Passover on a Monday, our Mickey cat died. The following Saturday, my mom died of Covid. This year, no one really was up for doing a Zoom Passover. I cooked some of the usual foods though, and my husband and I did our own Seder on the second night, as I was recovering from getting my second vaccine on the first night. Our daughters made the matzah covers when they were very little, and I cherish them. There is definitely hope in the air with spring and vaccines. And we are looking forward to getting together with other vaccinated family members soon.

No movies this week, but we’re on the second season of Shtisel (Netflix), and I really am so caught up with this family! I also listened to a radio play—a play we had seen in production at the Arden Theater that was reworked as a radio play, 74 Seconds to Judgement. It was very well done, and I enjoyed hearing it. I also read Klara and the Sun I highly recommend it. The book has been reviewed all over the place.

Too much holiday excitement.

The Whys of After and Before

Why have I never seen the turn of spring to summer,
overnight the moonlight sings sweetly into possible

the cycles—storms to sun,
a daffodil, then a rose.

And if time winds through the shadows, why do I not see
that beneath the ancient after, all the befores–

a language barely spoken, questions asked and lost

like faded blooms. But still, the promise, like a smile, recalled,
in the robin’s song at dawn.

The daffodils are starting to bloom.

It took some work to get a message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle today. I’m taking it easy after my second Covid vaccine yesterday, but the moon was humming early this morning and a robin was singing. Tonight is the start of Passover.