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.

Once More

Once more, we tilt, revolve again toward light–
winter gone, the robins sing to welcome spring
as dark days pass, earth’s hues ignite

swifter than the bullets’ hate-filled flight,
blue jays and red cardinals soar bright-winged,
once more, we tilt, revolve again toward light.

Now in daffodil glow, the poets write
of love and fate, and April’s state—that sting
as dark days pass. Earth’s hues ignite,

but the moon hums to fade their sight
and around us all the constellations ring–
once more, we tilt, revolve again toward light.

With shots in arms, we find delight
in friends and bowers, and nature’s might.
As dark days pass, Earth’s hues ignite–

not in bombs, or gunshot fight, but flowers bright.
Against despair and doom, to hope we cling
once more. Now tilt, revolve again toward light.
Watch! Dark days pass, and Earth’s hues ignite.

For dVerse, where Peter asks us to write poems that circle in some way. I was determined to write a villanelle, since I haven’t written one for a long time. I used Sarah’s template when she hosted the villanelle form for dVerse.

Spring Cycle

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise–almost Spring

On the first day of spring,
I take my shadow for a walk
she doesn’t talk—but the crows do
remembered views, the death and blight–

a year has passed
upside-down and inside-out,
and birdsong comes again, devours the dark
as dawn glows bright from each spring night

Spring Reflection

after winds of winter go,
and summer storms not yet here, she knows,
to go softly on tippy-toes, then stop, perch
till too soon off like a bird in flight

she soars—another year–
but while she’s here—oh!
She flicks colors with her feathered wings
yellow, pink, purple, white—the sight

of all these tiny, bright beautiful things brings
more song and whispered longings—
all things yearn, and we turn, yearn,
learn spring returns, despite

would-be tyrants and corona drops
spread from the unmasked walking brain-dead, threads
of lives unraveled and songs unsung—yet, listen, see–
birds, bees, tender buds in bloom—and the light!

Sunrise, Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? Now spring is back. The crows are once again very busy, the songbirds have started singing before dawn, and the light lasts longer each day. Even the cold mornings now don’t stay cold. There are still ignorant people spreading lies, and new strains of the virus also spreading, but hopefully, more people will be vaccinated before too long. I get my second vaccine later this week.
We started watching Shtisel (Netflix). It’s a family drama about a religious Jewish family in Jerusalem. We’re enjoying it. We’re still on Season 1. The third season is dropping this week.

I made chana masala and garlic naan on Friday night.

Spring Meditation

Ask, as if the still water answers
with blue-blown ripples, and
a tiny thousand lights sing of spring.

What is the question dancing out and in
from shadowed wings,
on the feathered limbs of just-greening trees?

Or this? How life comes
and ends, in whispered sounds
and pastel hues—

ducks quack and geese honk,
the buds of daffodils bob swan-like on sprouting stems–

you recall all the questions never asked
or answered–

she lived a long life,
her laugh mixed with bright blooms,
summer dreams in a garden

red and pink. Past and future are
heart-haunted, but sweet
like birdsong in honeyed glow.

Now, you embrace the after—
the flowering dawn and the caramel glow–and
the secret smile of the morning

calls to you, not why,
but always.

I collaborated with the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She’s feeling philosophical on this first morning of spring, and I’m still asking questions.

The Art of Spring

Pussy Willows at Grounds for Sculpture ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Monday Morning Musings:

We walk under an azure sky, a dream
of golden glow and light-sprayed air
where color blooms,

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

drifts in the air, swinging, winging
on elegant peacock wings, it slides to the ground
and bobbing, red hen-headed says

look at me,
and we do and see

we are sun-drinking, blinking in the spring light
uncorked, afloat, soaking in warmth and wine, awakened

to the possibilities of time, and aware of the artlessness
of nature’s art. Nothing can compare—

and there is no way to counterfeit a spring day. But words
can remind me to recall the mockingbird’s song, the dazzling shimmer
of sunlight on blue water, and the way we laughed,

Shimmers and swirls. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

and how I drank deeply love and laughter, the color of garnets, glowing
in the setting sun.

William Heritage Winery

Today it is cold and windy, but last week, we had some perfect, beautiful spring days. Spring is definitely capricious. It’s still the pandemic, but we actually got out to some new venues, while remaining safe and socially distant. We sat outside at William Heritage Vineyards, where the chickens were walking about and looking for handouts. We visited Grounds for Sculpture on the most beautiful day.

Merril’s Movie/Theater/TV Club: We watched the Lantern Theater’s production of The Craftsman. This is an excellent play by Bruce Graham and a well-done production. (We saw it in the theater, too.) You can still buy tickets to stream it. It’s based on the true story of Han van Meegeren, who was prosecuted in the Netherlands for selling art to Nazis, particularly Vermeers. It turns out the van Meegeren painted the works himself. The play has a lot to say about art, art criticism, the law, and collaboration with enemies. We also finished the Belgian mystery The Break (Netflix), which we both enjoyed.

Waiting

A thousand wonder-worries cloud the night—but

play in shadows and in light,
soar in time, moon-drunk, star-dazzled,
as wind whispers to water, flow, live–

and if you dream, recall
the luscious, languid sighs
of pink-petaled branches after the storm,
and the cool-blue smell of sky and air—

waiting

in honeyed sunglow,
watching the diamond spray
of spring rain on ripening buds,

waiting,

for the moment to embrace
color, to heal the world.

My poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She knows spring is on its way.