Flowers and Bombs, NaPoWriMo

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Forever—is composed of Nows—”

–Emily Dickinson,  Full Poem here. 

“N. A. Sumanapala, a shopkeeper near St. Anthony’s Shrine who said he had run inside to help, said: “It was a river of blood. Ash was falling like snow.” New York Times, April 21, 2019.

A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies

bombs belie the façade

of Easter calm and Passover why

(is this night different from all other nights?)

 

Rivers of blood

with no miracle to part

falling of ash

unresurrected, fighting stops, starts–

A plague upon both your houses

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Of indecision and more lies

as the First Citizen cries

in confusion,

“No collusion!”

 

His followers cheer

not caring, or unclear

that he would destroy

all that they hold dear,

so they support and worship

their false idol. Rejoice

in the new normal, hate

the latest whipping boy.

 

I cook, wrapping myself

in almonds, dates, and honey.

The house is sunny,

scented with cinnamon

like the cat, who slumbers sun-sided

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Passover Almond Cake

The pink moon rises

we drink the first glass of wine, recline.

We are free, but refugees detained

chained, their children abused–

and we all lose–

Let all who are hungry come

 

We watch movies of

women hiding secrets

sometimes in plain sight

in poetry and stories,

sometimes driving in the night

to obligations, demands

and longing

for uncharted territories.

 

Certain women

holding together

waiting, still in a man’s world.

often unrecognized–

we place

an orange on the Seder plate,

to recognize, no longer erased.

 

We talk,

walk through city streets,

footsteps, heartbeats,

statues and stories,

petrichor replaced

with the scent of blooms

filling the air with their perfume, a trace

lingers in my mind.

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A week of explosions

flowers, storms, shots, and lies—

all the endless ifs and whys–

and yet, my heart thrills

at the sight of the spring tide

with waves of flowers,

creating bowers

while the robin’s trills—

and we remember

forever is composed of nows.

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Red Bank Battlefield Park, April 2019

 

Day 22, NaPoWriMo  challenges us “to write a poem that engages with another art form.” My Monday musings always engage with the world around me through photos, and often movies or shows we’ve seen–so to an extent–I’ve met the challenge.

We watched the movie Certain Women on Netflix. We watched Becoming Astrid (about Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pippi Longstocking and other books) on Amazon Prime, once I figured out how to turn on the subtitles. We saw the new movie, Wild Nights with Emily about Emily Dickinson in the theater. I liked all three movies.

 

 

 

 

Spring Show: NaPoWriMo

Spring, University of Pennsylvania

Monday Morning Musings:

“Dance is the hidden language of the soul, of the body. And it’s partly the language that we don’t want to show.”

–“Martha Graham Reflects on Her Art and a Life in Dance” (31 March 1985); republished in The New York Times Guide to the Arts of the 20th Century (2002), p. 2734.

“A study in scarlet, eh? Why shouldn’t we use a little art jargon? There’s the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.”

–Arthur Conan Doyles, “A Study in Scarlet”

 

 

From a garden

nature sings

dressed for spring

she puts on a show.

Can we,

do we

should we know

the answers?

They blow to the sky

in pastel petals—

Why?

***

We board the train

(no more rain)

So, notice the patterns

of shadows and light

the people shedding jackets,

the delight

of sunlight on the skin,

the day begins.

 

We walk—

a limited edition

cityscape

in an oeuvre that is vast

at last

feeling spring is here.

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Oh, look at the river view,

and how the artist expresses

something both old and new

Schuylkill River from Walnut Street

See the trees?

A work of impressionist art

Combined with naturalism,

Realism,

And there a bit of abstract expressionism.

A study in pink,

I think.

(Love in the air.)

Notice the light.

in this installation,

and the palette of hues

the vivid blues,

the pink, the white,

yellow added to this site.

Now inside,

the dancers dance

bodies tango

they go

this way,

slide from couple to trio

fusion of moves

cues

(she’s in high heels)

catch, swerve

in gender-fluid dives

into each other,

what divides us–

the sensual steps,

the turns,

we yearn

for what?

“No exit,” Sartre says

(ideas compressed)

from seeing ourselves

as others do,

and how do we hold on to

me or you?

We wander back

outside where spring

dances, prances, and glides.

An aside–

we converse with Ben

once again.

And the next day,

I’m once again outside

spring fever,

I decide

No cure,

but to immerse myself

once more.

See, there–

we drink some wine

our thoughts aligned

with others

of similar mind

the winery is crowded.

But this April day—

I wish it’d stay.

Then it’s gone—

another painting on the wall

but yet, not banal.

Don’t you adore

the artist’s shading?

Watch how–

there now–

see the bright light of day

slowly fading

to darkness,

come the night.

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Day Eight of NaPoWriMo challenges us “to think about the argot of a particular job or profession, and see how you can incorporate it into a metaphor that governs or drives your poem.”  I used some jargon of the art world.

On Saturday, we saw Union Tanguera + Kate Weare Company, “Sin Salida,” at the Annenberg Center. Here’s a short video from the company.

 

 

 

 

 

A Gift of Flowers and Song: NaPoWriMo

 

A gift of flowers and birdsong

that begins before dawn

and continues long

into the night

 

and sunshine bright,

even on days of grey,

it stays a bit lighter

than say,

a February day.

 

And so, spring brings

a gift

of things to come–

and I? I hear its hum.

 

This walk I take—

by water still, yet awake

it sings

content to be—

a gift I give to me.

 

Today, Day 7 of NaPoWriMo, the prompt is: “to write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

And You Ask Why: NaPoWriMo

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Claude Monet, “Spring in Giverny,” [Public Domain via Wikipedia Commons]

I am moon-drunk

 

and watch to see her

whisper diamond-cool beauty

over here, there. . .

 

and now spring’s honeyed daylight shines

playing in time with the sweet blue sky,

 

aching of if

and the smell of dreams—

 

and you ask why–

though the wind chants

when, never, and after

 

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Day 6! I smiled when I read today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo: “Today, write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world.” My poems are full of ifs, and the Magnetic Poetry Oracle often plays along.

 

 

 

How to Step into Spring: NaPoWriMo

Monday Morning Musings:

“Let the rain kiss you.

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.

Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”

–from Langston Hughes, “April Rain Song”

 

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

—John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn

 

She sings from an ache,

raw winds blow, shake

the bare-branched trees,

and the seas weep

till they are silenced by ice–

but on her daughter’s return

the snow melts,

and the sun burns

brightly, birds flitter and coo

and flowers wake with smiles

–and you?

You, smile, too–because

too soon we bid Spring adieu.

***

In the last days of March,

we walk through woods

find shadows and light

breathe air fresh and bright,

with a hint of chill–still

then comes the rain–again

In the last days of March

birds twitter and tweet

at the mornings sweet

with promise of days fair

then the air turns again

and we learn that spring

is here. . . then there

 

In the last days of March,

we walk down city streets

see a show

and have our treats

of wine, beer, cheese

(yes, a bit more please)

and come home at night

to find daffodils have bloomed

shining golden beacons of light

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In the last days of March,

we make candles

sitting in a room full of scent

invent clever names–

imagine a small burning flame

bringing light,

a small delight,

and we drink wine and talk

then walk

and talk some more

 

of stories and poetry

Langston Hughes, Keats,

Shelley, and Persephone, too.

We talk of teachers we knew

of stories completed in dreams

of how the world seems

sometimes horrid, and

sometimes reborn,

fresh and new.

On the last day of March

it rains—

again—

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we gather to eat—

bagels and cream cheese

my mother is pleased

to be out and about in another place,

but it’s a dog who steals the show—

of course, you know

how it is, and so,

we talk about this and that

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then we go home to feed our cats. . .

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and wake upon a cold April first

(isn’t that the worst?)

Well, I suppose it could be snow,

and so. . .we go forward to the spring

(let the rain kiss you)

and that’s how it’s done, we bring

our past to the future

spring forward, looking back,

we stop, step lightly—

breathe

here, this moment of

yellow flowers, pink blooms

and birdsong–

now, spring looms

and I pause

to listen

to its tune.

 

Today is the first day of April, and the first day of National/Global Poetry Writing Month! Today’s prompt is “how to do something.” I’ve played on it a bit for today’s Monday Morning Musings.

My younger daughter and I went to Wax and Wine in Philadelphia. (It was her belated birthday present.)  And because we’re both nerds, we were actually discussing writing and poetry while drinking wine and eating gorgonzola-fig bruschetta at Vintage Wine Bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NaPoWriMo

 

 

 

 

In Transit

Monday Morning Musings:

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“Ports are places where stories are told.”

Transit (2019)

“Time is being and being
time, it is all one thing,
the shining, the seeing,
the dark abounding.”

–Ursula K. Le Guin, “Hymn to Time.” Full poem and more here.

 

We travel here to there

and back again

full moon shimmers

then grey clouds reign

 

The movie set in a sort of purgatory–

or is it hell?

Well, there they dwell

 

in a timeless space,

1942, or perhaps today,

first Paris, then Marseilles

 

where the man

and all the refugees

flee and plea

 

and then they wait

for updates—human freight

telling their stories—annotate

 

in endless exposition

tales of existential despair

they share, aware

 

 

of soldiers raiding houses

and the whispers of cleansing and camps–

there mark with the official stamps

 

the necessary papers

but another visa always needed

and time passes on, unheeded

 

are the pleas

there’s no direct here to there

false names and identities, stare

 

now at your betrayer

and then betray–

go again, or stay

 

it’s all the same, it seems

the stuff of nightmares and false dreams

of hope

 

of getting out.

And is the story even reliable,

truth seems rather pliable

 

on “The Road to Nowhere”

echoes sigh and ghosts flitter

and titter, while fear litters

 

the air—here

now in this my port city

ghosts also walk, in close proximity

to us, all around,

people who came to escape, in fear,

in tears and sometimes a cheer

 

for whiskey and beer

refugees arriving each year

surviving or dying—the crying

 

of those left behind

and so here my ancestors also arrived

and mostly thrived,

 

but what of the untold tales

and the stories that are told,

of the days of old,

 

perhaps embroidered details

come to sit atop the truth

but lost, the tales of grandparents’ youth

 

I learn, when vision fails,

the brain fills the void with what has been

projecting patterns on the unseen screen

 

My mom says, I see it there

like a bird cage

it covers your face, your hair–

 

a cage without

birds, visions in transit sprout

high–set free to fly

 

So, we eat hamantaschen

and we drink some wine, it’s fine

because tomorrow we may be

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between sun and moon

halfway from here to there–

in transit.

 

In another movie

a woman time-travels

trying to unravel

Homemade pizza and Netflix

timelines to save a boy

and her daughter—her joy

lost if time’s not changed again

 

between storms, or mirage,

stories hidden between and around

suddenly lost, suddenly found

 

like spring when trees and flowers smile

and dance the secret of all breathing

and times stops, but just for a while

a short embrace

of light–a kissing space

to gather pace

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ourselves, geese in V flight

we set off, for the light

or like mockingbirds all night–sing

Geese at Red Bank Battlefield

our stories

in transit,

transitory always,

like shadows and spring

 

Last week was strange and surrealistic, as I’ve noted elsewhere. We saw the movie Transit. Trailer here.  [Dale see] this new movie by Christian Petzold is bold, intriguing, and haunting. I keep thinking about it. One review said something like it’s Casablanca as written by Kafka. So, you know, my kind of movie.  I really liked his previous movies Barbara and Phoenix, too, and the director has said he sees them as a sort of trilogy. I didn’t know until afterward that the movie was based on a novel written in 1944 and set in 1942, but there are no direct references to that time in the movie.

We also saw Mirage, a Spanish movie on Netflix. Trailer here. It was good, with echoes of a Twilight Zone episode in the use of TVs–but you probably shouldn’t watch it during a storm.

 

 

 

Surrealistic Spring

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Yesterday morning, the almost full moon set in a glowing, misty haze. Birds chattered and scolded me just before dawn, the day of the vernal equinox. Today, I bring some of the Purim Hamantaschen I baked to my mom. Philadelphia is a smeary charcoal drawing—damp and dreary. The day seems surreal. My mom is seeing birdcages. As we leave, a sad clown, tall and silent, walks out of the lobby of her building. We listen to news of mourning in New Zealand on the car radio. But when we get home, I see the first daffodils blooming, bright beacons in the gloom.

 

shimmery moon hums

songs float between here and there,

mockingbird echoes

 

I wanted to post a poem yesterday for World Poetry Day, but it was just one of those days where I was running around, and then dealing with family issues. . . This haibun is for Frank’s Haikai Challenge, March Equinox.

AND Colleen’s Weekly Tanka Tuesday Challenge using synonyms for Spring and Sing.

AND for dVerse, where Kim is hosting Open Link Night (which was last night).

 

 

 

 

Harbingers of Hope and Fear

Monday Morning Musings:

“They look like what you aren’t expecting. What you aren’t paying attention to.”

Neil Gaiman, “Click-clack the Rattlebag”

“Between those happenings that prefigure it
And those that happen in its anamnesis
Occurs the Event, but that no human wit
Can recognize until all happening ceases.”

–W.H. Auden, Epigraph in his Homage to Clio

 

I wanted to write about spring,

about flowers and birdsong–

petrichor–

the things before

the sky turned grey

and people were killed

as they prayed

(they were prey).

 

Here I see the crocuses bloom,

sunlight pours into the rooms

through windows opened wide.

(How do we stem the tide,

the hate and fear

that appears

year after year

after year?)

 

He says there’s no big threat

as he foments and abets,

time before and time after

disasters loom

say the forecasters

tornados and floods

in the heartland

(land of hearts—

What is the sound of them breaking?)

 

My heart beats

some no longer do–

the ones who aren’t you

reading these words

that fly across the page,

free to sing,

uncaged birds

of nouns, adjectives, and verbs

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of action

and reaction

What should we do?

What can we say

to drive the hate away?

Verbs: endure, resist, speak out, sway

push against the rising tide

the climate’s changing

(too many dead).

 

And is it wrong to drink some wine?

celebrate life

while there’s time?

To laugh at a chicken amidst the vines–

more verbs: to love, to dance, to find romance?

If we don’t do these things

then don’t fear and hate win–

making us grovel and dour

unable to see or smell the budding flowers?

 

And so, we listen to music

“Making the best of a bad situation,”

he sings

we laugh

we tap our feet with the beat

of guitar strumming,

the music remains in my head

humming–

though fear

still floats through the air,

between the happenings

the imaginings

and the paying attention

through the misdirection–

sometimes they look like what

you’re not expecting–

you might misconstrue.

But beware,

sometimes they do.

 

Yet—when I open my door

at the start of day

wondering if I’ve lost my way–

my soul rises and soars

to hear the predawn choir sing

returning to nest again

in budding trees,

I seize this moment

make it mine,

the joy it brings–

harbinger–

now, I write about spring.

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We saw Tom Rush at the World Café in Philadelphia last night. His concerts are always a treat. This concert was my husband’s birthday present.

***The WP Gremlins were enjoying themselves last Monday. Some people told me they never got a notification about my post that day. Here it is, if you didn’t see it and you’re interested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Madness: Haibun

Small white crocuses push through the soil, seeking the light. Soon, they’re covered in snow. Here, now, this bipolar month swings between seasons, sometimes in a day. But March gusts will turn to gentle April breezes. Soft showers will carry the scent of flowers, and the trill of birdsong will float through windows opened to the light. I see the beauty of the snow-dusted trees, but I long for spring.

Another year turns,

tender greens peep through soft white–

dreams roll in on clouds

 

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This is for my March Madness prompt on dVerse.

I’m also linking  this to Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge on light snow.