Yesterday’s Storms

This is how the sky looked in the morning yesterday. It got very dark, then cleared some. Then the really scary round came late in the afternoon.

Yesterday, the weather map was filled with red–
storms, floods, and tornadic activity, the meteorologists said,
as north and south of us, the warnings became real wind reels–

inspiring fear with their acrobatic turns–
and here, the sky darker, we watched the TV screen,
while the heavens grew angry, and the wind yelled at trees.

Our phone alerts went off, and so did theirs–
the women on the screen—who stood, no hair in disarray,
continuing to explain, so patient and with care–I assume–

because we turned them off and left the room.
I wondered then if the basement was a womb or tomb,
as we texted family, and the lights flickered, once, then twice–

but stayed on. That was close, I thought,
and confirmed, a tornado hit nearby, but not
us. Not this time. We returned upstairs

where I made tuna sandwiches for dinner. We watched a show,
and checked on people we know—all OK.

Today, the summer heat is gone, the sky is September blue,
eagles soar over the river, and geese scatter, honking in queues,
as the world turns, the sun burns bright over the rising water.

Hanging in the basement after the tornado warning alert went off.

A quick explanation in hasty verse. Thank you for everyone who checked on me! From about 4 in the afternoon till about 7, we had tornado watches and warnings throughout the Philadelphia area. I don’t normally watch TV news or weather, but conditions were scary. There were tornado sightings north and west of Philadelphia, that moved east, and there were other bands coming from the south from Baltimore, through Delaware, and into New Jersey. Our tornado watch became a warning, but it still seemed kind of far, till it didn’t, and our alerts went off. They went off on the TV meteorologists’ phones, too. We went down to the basement with our devices for about half an hour. We did not have any damage at our house, or any I noticed in my town, except for some branches down. One tornado was close to one of the wineries we go to often. You can see a video here. It’s terrifying! I just looked it up, and we’re about 14 miles away.


There were other tornados near us, too. There has also been flooding. When I walked this morning, it looked like the Delaware had risen enough to leave debris on the sidewalk that the groundskeepers were sweeping up. However, the Schuylkill River crested this morning at 16.35 feet. It hasn’t been that high since 1869. If you don’t know Philadelphia, the Schuylkill River is the river the art museum looks out over, and it runs by 30th Street Station. The major Philadelphia highways are underwater today, and much of the city is flooded. Streams in the area have flooded, too.

Sharing with dVerse Open Link Night.

The Storm, the After

512px-Thomas_Chambers_-_Storm-Tossed_Frigate

Thomas Chambers, “Storm-Tossed Frigate”

 

She sings a storm,

crushing the ship,

 

the sweet delirious blue

of sea moaning a raw lathered beat.

 

And then the moon’s smooth beauty

dresses the sky with light. . .

 

and if licks these rocks

(lazy-tongued) through purple mist

 

Screen Shot 2019-07-20 at 10.24.03 AM

 

I visited the Oracle yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to post. If you’re keeping track–I did a few word shuffles, but “if” showed up right at the beginning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mockingbird Sings

512px-Mocking_Bird_(Audubon)

 

Mockingbird sings,

brings sunshine

in his song,

all his longing

brightly calling

 

swinging my heart along,

 

and through his trills,

he fills the night

with vibrant light–

stilling the storm–

to wing it

softly out of sight.

 

This is for dVerse Open Link Night, where Mish is hosting. For the last two days, we’ve had severe thunderstorm alerts and tornado warnings. Fortunately, we did not get anything too awful here, but it makes me anxious. Last night, after the storms had cleared-out, I opened the bedroom window a bit and heard a mockingbird singing. It made me happy–then I heard it again today. There are things on my mind, and we’re under a severe thunderstorm warning again, but right now, the birds are singing.

 

Cloud Houses of Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“I would build a cloudy House
For my thoughts to live in;
When for earth too fancy-loose
And too low for Heaven!”

–Elizabeth Barrett Browning, “The House of Clouds”

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow

It’s cloud illusions I recall

I really don’t know clouds at all.”

–Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”

 

 

Striking in their billowing shapes, watch them drift, the clouds.

Somehow relaxing, to see them shift, the clouds.

***

 

On a beautiful afternoon in July,

we walk, a blue bed is the sky

for puffy clouds to lay upon

transient, seen, and then they’re gone—

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

like the inhabitants who once held sway

on these cobblestone streets, walked each day–

in daily life and times of strife they lived in these houses

with children, relatives, with their spouses,

Elfreth Alley, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

do their spirits yet walk here under moonlit clouds

shy, hesitant, or fierce and proud?

I must ask my friends who once lived herein

if they ever encountered such ghostly denizens.

 

We watch a movie about a baker of cookies and cakes

who travels under a cloud, with a life that’s fake

but ghosts and memories bring new love–

sort of—

(The pasty looks delicious, but the story hard to convey

without giving too much away.)

 

We eat pizza and drink wine while the weather is fine—

against more green, blue, and white, we sip and dine

taking advantage of this unusual meteorological blip

before the storm clouds roll in and the forecast flips—

Auburn Road Winery,
Salem County, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

which it does, the skies turn grey

the white clouds drift away

and I build cloud houses from my thoughts

turn them away from should and oughts

Raining on the Ben Franklin Bridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

but I dream of houses with stairs to nowhere

or perhaps from here to there,

if only I can find the right paths (or footwear)—

a dream with goals and friends and cats,

and if there’s unfinished business—

well, I can live with that.

His work is done. Sweet Dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sorry about the spacing here. I can’t quite figure out how to fix it.

People still live in the homes of Elfreth’s Alley. You can read about it here.

We saw the Israeli movie The Cakemaker. Trailer here.

We went to Auburn Road Vineyards.

 

 

The Siren Calls

The moon,

gorgeous gown’d

waxes at sea

on a bed of water.

Some say, she will swim,

then soar,

but I smell rain,

my feet rocked,

chanting wants,

honey music

of skin and sweat—

and you heed my moans–

the storm–

so, sleep

in the mists of time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Félix Ziem, “The Call of the Sirens,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

A Saturday morning visit to the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. I’m not sure if I should feel empowered or forewarned.

 

 

A Thousand Storms Fly–Magnetic Poetry

Weekend consultation with the Oracle.

 

A thousand storms fly

through time and sky,

sing the music of mist

and purple light,

cool seas

and pounding beauty

over rocks—asking not to please–

it is and was

life whispering in soaring delirious language

of death and spring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ivan Aivazovsky [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Letter to My Ancestors: Haibun

You who came before me–how I wish I could ask you about your lives. My mom tells me stories, but there is so much she doesn’t know, and now much she has forgotten. Of course, I want to know what it was like to live in what was then Russia, to be a Jew there—the terror of pogroms and the ordinary day-to-day problems you learned to live with, until you no longer could. But I also want to know what did you eat? What did your house look like? What games did you play as a child? How did you feel leaving your homeland, traveling first to England, France, Germany, or Italy before finally reaching Philadelphia or New York? You had so much drive and determination. In my mind, I see the many generations that came before me. I see practical, no-nonsense individuals, and yet, I wonder how many were also full of artistic vision or musical talent. Somewhere lost in time, you, my ancestors, must have journeyed from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and each time you had to learn so many new things. I wonder what else you experienced? I discover my great grandfather had grey eyes. My daughters have grey eyes, too–a gift from the past, a look to the future.

 

Endless storms weathered

again winter turns to spring—

young birds fly from nests

 

I’m combining prompts again—Björn at dVerse asked us to write a poetic letter. I hope this fits.

Colleen asked us to use synonyms for energy and knowledge for her Tanka Tuesday.

We’re also in the midst of a nor’easter with rain, snow, and wind!

I’m also adding this to Frank’s Barely Spring Challenge.

 

In Turbulent Times, Look for Magic

Storms rage,

we vanish from the stage,

fires flash and burn

destruction comes at every turn

(Is it ever thus–

what, oh what, is wrong with us?)

in wind and water rising

in troubles of our own devising,

storms rage

 

But which is more powerful,

love or hate?

Do we build to then negate?

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty”

Does the urn remain

when all is lost to rains

or flames?

When we’re destroyed by fear and greed

and people lost we cannot feed

beauty vanishes from past ages,

and still the storm rages

and rages

 

We hope then,

we long to see

what is and what might be

that magic gently comes

without fanfare, fifes, and drums

in soaring rainbows

in poetry and prose

in all that beguiles

in smiles

or baby’s laughter

(and how we laugh after)

ephemeral and fleeting

but etched upon our hearts,

(still beating)

the humming moon, the singing stars–

forget the wars

remember love,

and cooing of the peaceful dove,

or build the walls

and watch them fall

while the storm rages

and rages–

turn now the pages–

look for the helpers in turbulent times,

search for truth and beauty, magic and rhymes

Rainbow, National Park, NJ

 

A late entry for Tuesday’s dVerse hosted by Paul. He’s asked us to write about magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Storm Music

I’m awakened by the rain hitting the window, the barker for the upcoming show. Step right up, folks! This one’s a dazzler of light and sound. The lightning takes center stage as it illuminates the sky, followed by the chorus of thundering kettle drums. One cat leaps off the bed; the other snuggles closer to my side. My husband sleeps, but I’m held captive, an unwitting, unwilling audience for this production. Do hours pass, or does it just seem that way? The endless percussion, the strobing encores? The fortissimo storm music finally ends, drifting off, pianissimo, until it’s gone. I dream then of shadows and golden light, of distant seas and far off worlds, until at last, the sun rises, waking me again, with a gentle song.

whirling midnight storms

shadows flit through worlds and minds

in dawn’s light, vanish

 

 

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

This Haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge.

The prompt words were shadow and light.

I’m also linking to dVerse, where Gayle is hosting an open link night.

 

 

Poetry in a Storm: Magnetic Poetry

 

 

Storm Clouds Rolling In, National Park, NJ

Above aches

a black storm,

a live delirious show,

the wind heaves sea spray,

and less frantic, sleeps

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 6.27.31 AM

 

Summer blossoms bright

after rain, vivid color

poetry grows wild

like love shining through the night,

rooted here, behold Eden

 

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 9.06.05 PM

Rainbow, National Park, NJ

Yesterday was such a weird day–work, political stuff,  and the world generally. Then late in the day, we watched the storm clouds roll in, followed by a weird golden sky–and a rainbow. I decided to consult the Oracle, who told it like it was, and even gave me a tanka.

 

© Merril D. Smith, 2017