Falling Stars

Falling Stars

The child presses her face against the window glass,
watches as the sun sinks into the sea
and the first stars appear in the sky.
She makes a wish as one streaks, burns, and falls
vanishing like her neighbors.
(“Poor things,” her mother had said
when she saw their yellow stars.)
She wonders if they will send her a postcard
from wherever they are,
and if she can change her wish–
to see them again,
the doctor with the kind eyes
and his playful daughters with their flowing-wheat hair.

The child, older now,
presses her face against a now-cracked window,
watches the stars in a clear sky,
the bombs silenced,
she hears wind-murmurs
of hope returned and dreams remembered
bittersweet, like chocolate she ate—before.
She sees in streams of starlight
a vision sowed in sparkling silver waves,
and hopes her long-ago wish
will take root and grow.

Starlight Sower by Hai Knafo

I was writing something else, and the memory of painting above just popped into my head. One doesn’t ignore those things. I went looking for it in my posts and found a poem I had written several years ago. I’ve revised it slightly. Today is Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), sundown 27 April to sundown 28 April. The current war in Ukraine and the rise of authoritarian governments everywhere, makes this seem particularly timely. In one of the horrible ironies of this time, Jews, including Holocaust survivors, have fled Ukraine to seek refuge in Berlin.
Sharing this with Open Link Night on dVerse.

Behold Peace There

Marc Chagall, Death

Behold Peace There

Look! There, the blooded death ships sail.
Cry. Recall in dream whispers the mother-roses
once languid, once luscious, now storm-blown
by withering winds—

but sea-gowned blue, the earth revolves,
above, the moon sings,
and the fiddler sprays the night sky
in echoes of the stars,

an exhale—we hear when–
the breath of time
circles with if.

My poem from the Oracle. It’s a collaboration, but the title comes directly from the her.

A Girl on a Swing

A Girl on a Swing

The swing hangs empty,
the girl is gone,
so, too
her buoyant child-laughter
that bubbled and burst
from a spring deep inside her

when she and her sisters
pirouetted in the garden,
as stars danced above, and the moon sang–

but only dirges sound now,
to gun and bomb percussion,
though the empty swing still rocks
till it, too, falls

atop measureless roots
connected in harmony, pulsing with
the rhythm of time,
where someday there will be new trees
new swings, boundless laughter,
and moon lullabies.

“Girl on Swing” “My world under attack” – This artwork I dedicated to the feeling of regrets and sorrow due to the bombing of my country. I had a beautiful world full of happiness before the Russian attacks. They just came and start to demolish everything that I love for no reason. And my mindset has changed. My inner art world became infected by fear and sadness.”

Some of you know I’m doing an ekphrastic challenge this month, but I wanted to participate in this dVerse prompt that shares the artwork of artist “Vika Muse.” You can see other examples on the dVerse prompt page, and you can find Vika Muse on Instagram: @get.muse

Crow Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

Crow Through the Trees, April Morning

Crow Dreams

“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.”
–Langston Hughes, Dreams

Storm-dark clouds turn sunrise pink
daffodils toss their heads and quip,
eagles soar, mockingbirds sing, it’s spring

and bombs explode, mothers cry, lovers part, a child’s song
bursts from the heart
atrocities and carnage—I read of ancient Troy, I read of today–
nothing changes, and the world spins,
another day

of hope and grief, for building nests and
laying eggs, now greenery grows–
the cherry trees bloom—
the petals fall
soft rain
quiet tears,

tiny shoes
placed on a mall.

The crows have been very busy.

I dream of birds, of red-winged blackbirds chirping
against a peacock-blue sky, of
dusky crows on slate-grey rocks, gazing
as the river’s azure ribbon flows—
what does it know?

My dreams are the colors of portend and possibility,
breadcrumb paths from my subconscious
for me to follow and taste.
I toss Cheerios to the crow,
essential elements that dissolve on the tongue
like thoughts, like dreams
I hold them fast, I let them go.

Crow (with twig)

I’ve had a couple dreams about crows lately, and other morning I wrote the last couple stanzas of this poem while I was waking and still in bed. After I wrote it, I thought of the Langston Hughes poem, and then I went back and wrote the beginning of the poem.

Overnight we had a frost advisory, but then on Wednesday and Thursday we’re going to have summer-like weather. That will be the end of the daffodils.

Merril’s Movie, TV, Book Club:
This week we watched Apollo 10 ½ (Netflix). It was enjoyable–a sweetly, nostalgic fantasy for people who grew up in the 1960s.
However, I LOVED The Worst Person in the World. It was Norway’s entry for the Academy Awards, and it is on several best movie of the year for 2021 lists (including Barack Obama’s).
So, it’s a definite Merril movie—if you’re looking for popular, action films, this isn’t it. It was worth seeing simply for Renate Reinsve’s peformance. She was wonderful as Julie, a young woman who is trying to find herself. I’ve seen it described as a sort of anti-rom-com, in that there is romance, but. . .

Also—my first poetry collection, River Ghosts, published by Nightingale and Sparrow Press, is out in the world! I don’t have a copy yet, but you can get yours here. Or available soon here.

The Responsibility of Flowers

The Responsibility of Flowers

“To be a Flower, is profound
Responsibility —”
–Emily Dickinson,

Bulbs like hidden secrets wake
in yellow, purple, and pink, they celebrate
and wink, just so

the prideful robin sings
a-wing with red-breasted élan
to make Ceres smile
and nod from her abiding place–she knows
mutability is a constant, time fast or slow

circles around, blood-moon nourished,
mothers and daughters
with planted wombs or fallow,
carry on carrying on
waiting for a sprout, a sprig,
a blink of life to flow—they sow–

death reaps.

Now a brave woman curses soldiers with seeds—
never shirking their responsibility,
on your graves sunflowers will thrive and grow!

Dalton Farm sunflowers (Summer 2021)

Tomorrow is the start of poetry month. I’ve signed up for NaPoWriMo, but I will probably not post the poems I write to those prompts because I’m also participating in Paul Brookes’ April Ekphrastic Challenge again, and I will be posting those poems each day.

Today there is an early-bird prompt for NaPoWriMo to use inspiration from Emily Dickinson. I had already used one of the suggested lines recently for a Monday Morning Musings post, so I’ve taken a bit of that post and revised it to share, though still rough, for NaPoWriMo and dVerse Open Link Night.

The Weight of Silence

All has become quiet in Moscow.”
–Count L N Tolstoy, The Cossacks, Sampson Low, Morton, Searle & Rivington, 1878

The air is heavy with silence,
the quiet is a roar of denial–
there is no war

there are no reports
of fallen soldiers and grieving mothers,
only the special operation to protect and save—

do not say otherwise, wiser to say nothing at all.
The air is heavy with silence. That silence is heavy with fear.

For dVerse, where Linda has asked us to write a poem inspired by one of the opening sentences she has supplied. Foreign journalists in Moscow have been forced to leave. Within Russia news is restricted. No talk of war or invasion is allowed. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is called a “special operation.”

When or Ever

John Constable, Stormy Sea, Brighton

When or Ever

My dreams were moon-whispered songs–
if rain came, it touched with gentle fingers
and breathed honey-sweet breath on roses,
their luscious scent awakened with the sun.

But now–
storm winds beat with nightmare wings, and the seas
send lathered purple tongues to lick the rocks,
leaving bitterness to cling to them
like an ache

we feel
death come, an ever-expandable ship
sailing to the after–

and thousands of mothers cry why—
for what, and when
can never ever give you what you want?

My poem from the Oracle. As always, she knows what’s going on.

If I Could

If I Could

If I could, I’d play for you a moon-hummed lullaby,
the sound of rivers and moss green springing,
the tune of bee waltzes on white-bloomed clouds,

and you would hear the poetry of stars,
like flowers drifting from the sky–

not red-raged bursts,
or dolorous willow whispers, the anguished cries
of mourners left behind, and mother’s tears–instead

the wind would carry rose petals, petrichor,
and daffodil laughter, echoing as

each dawn awakened rosy-cheeked
with blue-eyed innocence
and birdsong would soar, never bullets.

I didn’t get a chance to post my poem from the Oracle yesterday, but I’ve revised it, and perhaps it’s more appropriate today on the first day of spring.

Ghost Light

Ghost Light

Every theater has a ghost
often appeased with light, protection
from dangers seen and not

Never forget, we say,
as we do

ghosts flicker-flit or shadow-boom in every theater,
watch the room and mark the spot–

recall how light once sparkled above–
an encircling diamond bracelet
now obscured by a smoky sleeve
and bursts of bright arterial blood.

Every theater has a ghost,
but this one has a multitude.

The final curtain fell
with the beating of Death’s black wings
there is no exit

and no light,
in the darkness, the children cry,
ghosts in this theater of the absurd.

For dVerse Open Link Night. I’ve included my reading of the poem, too.
The ghost light is a theater tradition. Some say it’s to appease the ghosts that all theaters are said to have. Others say it’s for safety reasons—to keep people from falling into the orchestra pit in the dark or tripping over cables. While theaters were closed for Covid, many kept a ghost light on as a promise that they would reopen.

I saw in the news that Russian forces had bombed a theater in Mariupol that was sheltering many children and elderly civilians. According to satellite photos, the building was clearly marked with the word “children” written in Russian. It sounds like the basement kept them safe, but elsewhere, children’s bodies have been found in mass graves.
I am appalled (though unfortunately not surprised) that some people in the US, such as the former president and his true believers, still support Putin and parrot Russian disinformation.

Say How Spring Soars

Marc Chagall, La Guerre

Say how spring soars pink-winged
after the storm,
and moonlight whispers dreams
of if
we could or never did,
we urged the sky, believed the lies

of roses. The forest screams
under clouds of rust,

and we must boil water
there are no more gardens or birds–
here the red-breasted man flies
and then is still

beneath the blue, endless as time
recalling the diamond sparkle above
is long dead, yet seen and heard,
like the fiddle’s aching notes, a reminder
of sorrow and beauty,
when spring sang in pastel notes of joy
and raised green tendrils to embrace the world.

My poem from the magnetic poetry Oracle. Yesterday we had a beautiful spring day. Now it’s raining, and we’re expecting some snow and strong wind gusts. Right now a mockingbird is singing outside my window. And the war in Ukraine continues.🌻 There are many organizations trying to get assistance to Ukraine. Please help, if you can. Here is one list. Here is a link to a book of poetry put together by Annick Yerem available for a donation.