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.

Shadows Break for Spring

And in the after of dreams
do you whisper why,
as purple shadows hover,
drift, shift, slide, and sigh?
Death-doused year passes,
robins come again, pinked dawn
sings—hope comes, hands clasped

we embrace, sun’s soft shimmer
attracts gathered gulls,
to hear mockingbird perform–
warbles and chatter.
Cruelty of spring
comes in remembrance–lives lost—
but still—daffodils.

For dVerse, Grace has asked us to write a seguidilla.

“The Seguidilla is:
• stanzaic, written in any number of 2 part septets. (7 lines)
• syllabic, 7-5-7-5 : 5-7-5 per line. There is a slight pause between L4 and L5 suggesting L4 should be end-stopped.
• rhymed by assonance xAxABxB or xAxABAB. x being unrhymed. True rhyme is generally not used.
• composed with a volta or change in thought between L4 and L5.
• sometimes serves as a conclusion for another verse.”

Yesterday was the anniversary of the declaration of the current pandemic. Last April my mom died of Covid, the same week one of our cats died. But I’m feeling hope in the air with vaccinations and spring weather. Yesterday, our first daffodil of the season bloomed. This morning, I heard a mockingbird putting on quite a concert.

Uncertain, Capricious: Shots in the Dark

Monday Morning Musings:

There is still sorrow and dread
assuaged with sweets, and song, and bread
baked fresh; poetry written, and novels read,
Netflix binged, and movies seen,

yet, the days are longer and lighter,
shoots are rising, nature’s colors brighter,
and the crocus petals closed tight and tighter
open in the noonday sun, beside the growing green

geese nibble, pair, and rest
for goslings soon to come, at Spring’s bequest
color blooms–though winter’s winds still test—
March is capricious, betwixt and between

Spring-time. Geese at the Whithall House, Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

unsure of what’s to come, but what is not
in doubt is getting a vaccine, we get the shot.
With a jab, some peace of mind, who would have thought
the joy in scheduling? We’ve been

in a holding pattern for so long, the world in pain,
but now in spring with rising sun and gentle rain,
science promoted, the orange stain
demoted, the Oval Office sanitized, the government wiped clean–

Another Tree Spirit. ©️Merril D. Smith 2021

dreams can rise again. Not yet, but soon,
we may hug and sit together in a room,
immune, though not immortal, we bloom
like spring blossoms, and fighting demons seen

or not. Each step, uncertain,
a shot in the dark, but we draw back the curtain
and let in the light.

Well, it’s still the pandemic, and we still haven’t gone anywhere—except to get vaccines. My husband and I both got our first vaccines on Friday. We were at separate places and received different vaccines. Because the weather is supposed to be springlike later this week, we may venture out to do some outdoor, socially distanced activities. It’s still cold this morning, but the sun is shining.

Merril’s Movie/TV/Book Club: We watched The Vigil (Amazon). It’s set in Brooklyn, and concerns a man who has left the Hassidic world but agrees to be a shomer, a person who watches over a dead body for a night. There he confronts real and psychological demons. It’s a horror movie, but not the mad slasher bloody kind. It’s in Yiddish and English. I thought it was very well done, and one to think about. We watched the first season and started the second season of The Break (Netflix, in French), a mystery series set in Belgium. It starts out like the typical show of this sort—a detective with a troubled past comes to a small town and investigates a murder. However, this one really does develop into something else. I don’t want to spoil it, but he is also must confront some inner demons. I really enjoyed season 1, and I’m eager to see how season 2 will play out. I don’t mention all the things I read, but I just finished Before the Ruins, a debut novel by Victoria Gosling. It’s also sort of a mystery with inner demons; a multi-layered book with a bit of a gothic-tinge. The story is slowly revealed, and it shifts back and forth in time. The writing is beautiful. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I was, I was.

Moon Song Blooms

Morning Moon with Gulls, Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Moon song drifts,
over pink-glowed sea.
Gulls gather
to hear the
tune and circle-dance, catching
currents, sing along

with dawn moon’s
farewell. Remember
me tonight-

her refrain
floats, feather-white, and fleeting,
falls to warming earth

is planted
as sparkling star-gulls
flock to light,
and geese pair,
delight to share longer days,
and moon-song blooms white.

For dVerse Open Link Night where Linda is hosting. This is a shadorma sequence that I’m also linking to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge. I said about the top photo that the gulls in the picture look liked stars, and Colleen called them “star-gulls.” Originally, I was going to share a diatelle I wrote about the Hindenburg, which Linda mentioned on the dVerse prompt. However, I can’t ignore it was a Nazi propaganda ship, and the poem got very dark, and I feel more like celebrating spring today. Our crocuses are starting to bloom!

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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