Green and Shadowed

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Monday Morning Musings:

 

“And having, on the other hand,

A flowery, green, bird-singing land.”

–William Henry Davies, “In May”

 

The world grows green and greener

(as many grow mean and meaner),

and baby geese in their downy coats

waddle on the shore, as an older one floats

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down the river, like my dreams

(or so it seems).

Life has changed, and though adorned

in May’s flowery embrace, we’re warned

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of its fragility, shadows with fertility,

reminders that life is fraught, though there may be tranquility–

death comes to all–the lesser and the mighty fall–

and the world turns upside-down, through the wormhole

 

we go into another place,

embrace darkness, or find grace

in doing what is good and right

find the cracks that let in light–

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I looked down a found a bit of magic.

 

and though I see shadows, I walk on

listening for birdsong, watching for dawn.

 

 

I don’t go anywhere anymore, except for walks, where I get a dose of the natural world to counteract the anxiety, fear, and the news of the crazies and the supporters of the horror in the White House. I have to remind of all the good people—my family and friends—and you readers, of course.  I decided to go into the reopened park this morning, but I won’t do that again. There were too many people even at 7:30 AM to make it comfortable for me.  I put on a mask (no one else was wearing one), and then it was difficult to walk quickly and breathe. I left and continued my walk down streets where no one was around, so I could walk without a mask. WP won’t let me upload my masked face photo.

 

No movies this week, we’re binging Star Trek: Discovery.  It’s good to see Star Fleet heroes and people with morals. And I also started watching The Good Fight. I’m reminded how I like all the shows Michelle King and Robert King create: The Good Wife, Brain Dead, Evil—good actors and stories with a touch of quirkiness. Their shows always have wonderful supporting actors, too.

 

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Shadows and reflections.  Thank goodness for this little guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mockingbird, NaPoWriMo 2020, Day 30

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Every year–

I wait for spring

to hear again

the mockingbird sing–

the effort he exerts—

that brings to me such pleasure.

 

Now hear the sound of robins, cardinals, jays,

all of their phrases within his song

so long, and repeated with such power,

calling from above the flowers

as he perches in a tree.

 

See—he struts,

with wings outstretched

he flaunts his stuff—

 

but it’s his voice that floats

above the pink-petaled rain,

he’s sustained

by hope–or desperation–

the sound

goes ‘round and round

through the midnight hours

 

singing with so much might

he summons dawn’s light—

 

and still he sings

into the after.

 

So. . .many of you know I’ve had a rough couple of weeks, and I stopped participating in this year’s NaPoWriMo and other prompts. But, here’s one on-prompt for the last day of NaPoWriMo to write a poem about something that returns. I felt like doing a bit of rhyme.

I’m also linking it to Open Link Night at dVerse, where Kim is hosting and notes “we are listening.”

 

 

 

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Perhaps

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Perhaps the earth can teach us

as when everything seems dead

and later proves to be alive.

 

Now I’ll count up to twelve

and you keep quiet and I will go.”

Pablo Neruda, Keeping Quiet”

 

On the inside, looking out

as the earth comes alive

white-flowered and robin-trilled,

visible joys

invisible hazards

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Tiny Beautiful Things

torment us–

miasma, they once believed,

poisonous vapor,

now we know a virus drifts and sits—

stay far away, wear a mask,

 

and wash your hands—

“Out damned spot! Out—”

we say

in collective panic, guilt,

and a truthful reminder

 

of scientific fact,

facts, a dear commodity

often ignored, as if invisible,

against the gaudy lies,

pink flamingos standing on one leg.

 

But now the world is upside down,

will we value the invisible

in the after

as we never did in the before?

Stop, take a breath–

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Puddle Reflection–the upside down world

 

remember the dreams.

“My mother told me this story,”

I say in mine.

It is not a true story

of my grandmother,

 

but it is a story of women,

of carrying on,

of working and making do,

my inner me reminds me

of this—but also to dream, to smile.

 

My mother visits with my dead father,

she walks an imaginary pet dog

through hallways she cannot walk,

dreamworld connections

beyond time and space,

 

we reach out

in our virtual Shabbos dinner–

again

connecting

and again

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The morning after–my work is done.

 

holding our friends

and loved ones however we can.

The world outside blooms, trees hold wisdom,

and the river still flows,

carrying ghosts and dreams.

 

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The gnarled, wise face of this mulberry tree.

 

I hope all of you and your loved ones are well. Sending virtual hugs to all of you! And cookies. I baked these Hamantaschen yesterday.

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Merril’s Movie Club: we watched three totally different movies this week. All on Prime.

The Handmaiden, a Korean movie (in Korean and Japanese) inspired by Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith, with the setting changed from Victorian London to Korea in the 1930s. It is sumptuous, beautifully filmed, and erotic (NOT a family film) with sly, fun plot twists.

The Invisible Man. This new version with Elisabeth Moss is a fast-paced thriller (not horror). If I had seen it in the theater, I probably would have jumped in my seat more than I did. It is also about domestic abuse, which if you want to get all metaphorical, is often an invisible crime. It costs $20 to rent, but I had that much left on an Amazon gift card—plus we’re not going out to the movies.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco.This was one I had thought about seeing when it was playing in Philadelphia. I would definitely watch this one again, and of the three, my husband and I liked this one the most, and we thought if we had gone out to see it, we would have had a long post-movie discussion over wine for this one. Watching the trailer for this one just now, I wanted to see it again. It is inspired by the main character Jimmie’s real life story.  Perhaps it is a true-to-life fiction about dreams and lies. Nearly the entire cast (including the street corner Greek Chorus) has San Francisco connections. There are weird random bits within this movie that somehow just fit in–I suppose like when you walk through a city and see strange sights and people.

We also watched the Netflix series, Unorthodox, which is inspired by Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir. This is an excellent four-episode series—we watched two episodes each night—in Yiddish, German, and English about a Hasidic woman from Brooklyn who leaves her life and goes to Berlin. Israeli actress, Shira Haas is outstanding as the main character, Esty. Haas had to learn Yiddish for the role.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power: NaPoWriMo, Day 3

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Flowers have a power–

in their beauty they fascinate,

falling in April showers,

almost without weight,

 

ethereal in form,

adrift to winds of fate–

do they weather the storm,

acclimate, accommodate

 

to changing times?

The sun’s rising position

also creates shadowed lines.

The flowers, without ambition,

 

hold some power nonetheless,

ensorcelling spirits lure squirrels and birds,

send ramblers on quixotic quests

with cockeyed verbs and lovesick words.

 

But now, robin and mockingbird know,

from the bowers, small throats mightily sing–

so, away the cold and the snow

and come the irresistible songs of spring.

 

Thus, the power of flowers

though it seems the most fleeting of things

fuels hope and love through hours

to soar high on feathered wings.

 

The prompt for Day 3 of NaPoWriMo asked us to create word banks and to use rhymes and repeat words. I took some words from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle and then went from there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But At Last We Ask: Covid Poetry

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But at last we ask

in dreams,

as days fast-wane–

 

we ask

what we must recall

of sun on rocks,

 

and sprays of petals pink

against an impossible blue–

we ache–asking

 

does the moon hum

of if

or never?

 

We ask without language

for more words;

we ask to start over.

 

The Oracle knows what is going on around us. I decided to also incorporate the “More Words” “Start Over” message at the bottom of the magnetic poetry screen. The photo was taken last April.

While Walking in the Time of Plague and Panic

 

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Beneath the blue

the branches swayed

as soft the breezes blew,

squirrels skittered in the shade,

cardinals twittered,

blue jays scolded,

and robins from treetops tittered–

affably, the day unfolded

in blooming pink and white.

Violet fairy bells danced on the ground

under the golden shimmering light–

all undisturbed by human sound.

And the sun shone if on everything

with the all the hopes of spring.

 

For Frank’s prompt on dVerse—a final couplet. I went for a walk today. It was beautiful, and bit eerie with no one else about. I also consulted the Oracle for some tips on how to get started on this non-sonnet

 

 

 

Magic

 

I know the science of sun and rain

that wakes the world to spring–

 

brings a languorous glow,

that rings the day

 

and stays,

till the moon

 

hums it away.

 

But I believe in magic–

overnight blooms

 

and birds winging, singing

through morning dew.

 

 

A quadrille for dVerse, where Linda has asked us to use the word “magic.”

(A quadrille, besides being a dance, is a dVerse form. It’s a poem of 44 words—any type.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before the Rain: Tritina Challenge

 

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The sun rises, the horizon a crimson flame–

red sky in morning, tonight comes the rain.

Yet still the robins sing, in tree branches lifting

 

skyward, boughs and birdsong, lifting,

shifting as the sun’s rays flame

the world in gold before the rain.

 

And in these hours, before the rain,

when eyes and voices are lifting,

down below the daffodils burst alive and flame–

 

and robins hop amidst the flame of flowers, lifting, winging, before the rain.

 

This is a tritina for Jane Dougherty’s Poetry Challenge. She asked us to choose three words from a poem by Francis Ledwidge.  I chose flame, rain, and lifting. I might be having a having a hard time concentrating on forms, but I also think this is a difficult form—for me, at least.

 

Everyday Miracles

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Monday Morning Musings:

“We forget that nature itself is one vast miracle transcending the reality of night and nothingness. We forget that each one of us in his personal life repeats that miracle.”

–Loren Eiseley, The Firmament of Time, quoted here.

 

In argent splendor, she rises

full in her monthly course

Worm Moon in a yearly cycle

as winter turns to spring

she hums a song

 

awakening the flowers

pink, yellow, blue, white

and birds soar, black silhouettes

against the feather-clouds

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while beneath, unaware,

puppies run and tumble. I toss

a frisbee in the air

chased and caught–

what rises falls–

 

as we know, but forget,

ignore the signs,

and the moon’s warning–

it will be cockeyed day

of near mishaps

 

still the sun rises and sets

as the earth rotates

and we spin, but don’t fall—not yet—

while we make another revolution

through the year

 

to my sister-niece’s birthday.

While the men create order

from the chaos of the garden

we watch the river less restrained

crashing in waves upon the rocks

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Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ

 

while across the water

large ships sail into port

and out again to the sea

a cycle of commerce—

the river has seen it all, she sighs

 

as we walk and talk

of family and friends

of the history of this place

once full of crops and fish

where men died in battle

 

(Do you shiver, sensing their ghosts

drifting by?)

 

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we reflect on the times

but we eat and drink

celebrate her birthday–

in this time of caution–

with a solo candle for her slice–

 

 

don’t get too close,

the three-quarter moon hums

Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn

Ignore her,

the age-old story–

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pestilence and plagues

arrogance and ignorance–

but the flowers bloom again in spring

whether we see them or not

a miracle of nature

 

we forget and remember

trying to tame chaos

as the waves crash

we stop, look—sometimes

holding out a hand, even if it’s dangerous–

 

and the sun

rises again

and again

and again

and again.

 

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Sunrise Salutation

 

It’s been a strange week. Some of you may have seen my previous post, “Tilting.”

Merril’s Movie Club: In this time of social distancing, we haven’t gone out to see any movies recently, but we watched a movie last night, White Lies, New Zealand’s entry for Best Foreign Film at the 2014 Academy Awards. It’s a film that slowly uncovers secrets from the past about identity, colonialism, and women’s roles. It’s in Maori and English. It’s on Amazon Prime.

We’re also watching Babylon Berlin on Netflix. It’s been on  my list for awhile, but we’re just getting to it. Season 3 just dropped. We’ve binged Season 1, which begins in Berlin in 1929, and we’re on Season 2 now. It’s a real Merril show—neo-noir with a complicated storyline, dazzling visuals, and song and dance in every episode. I was a bit confused after the first episode, but now I’m hooked (and so is my husband).