Life, Art, Time, Place

Monday Morning Musings:

Life, Time, Art, Place

“It’s about how invisible things circulate within a couple.”
–Tony (Tim Roth) in “Bergman Island”

A beautiful spring day in Old City, Philadelphia, Carpenters’ Hall
A colorful doorstep we passed. LGBTQ+ !

Here, the colors are over-the-rainbow bright,
and there are choices to be made with tea—
blueberry jam or orange marmalade?

It’s a dreamworld, but real as any other
while I’m there,
a few pounds of matter
can hold imagined universes–

I walk with ghosts on Fårö
the director a presence there
even after his death,
and invisible things drift
between married couples,
like jellyfish in the ocean,
growing in the midnight sun.

Or–perhaps I am in Ukraine,
the family’s cherry orchard
soon to be auctioned off,
revolutions looming—
conflicts appeased by volleyball,
or perhaps we are the ball
endlessly lobbed over and into,
finding a place just out of bounds.

I could be at a Cape Cod cottage
swimming in the cold pond water
early in the morning,
a lifetime lived over in a day–

time, space, places
existing always or never,

Wisteria on an old wall.

a morning moon that fades in day,

Morning Moon

a bird in flight–to beyond.

Light and shadow, perhaps an orb. What is real? People say ghosts walk here on this former battlefield. . .

The truth and magic of physics
words may hang in the air,
but a bomb must fall,

and we jump once—
and over and over, remembering
a moment passed,

a split-second when everything changes,
or doesn’t.

Early morning, Driftwood beached and floating on the Delaware River.

Movies, Plays, Books, This and That:

I woke up from a dream this morning where I was in this place with such bright colors, like a Technicolor musical.

On Saturday, I participated in “There’s a Poem in this Place: Poets in the Blogosphere.” It was a wonderful experience, and I was honored to be included amongst such brilliant poets. I will share the video when it becomes available. I realized how important place is in the recent things I’ve watched and read. And how, sitting in a house in New Jersey, or in a theater in Philadelphia, we can be transported somewhere else. (Not an original thought, I know, but still . .) And artists, poets, writers of all types, musicians—all continue to create in war zones or in repressive societies, sometimes bearing witness to what is going on around them, and sometime imagining a better or different world.

I celebrated the poetry month event and the end of Passover with wine and pizza, and we watched the movie Bergman Island. It’s a Merril movie, involving a movie within a movie: “Two American filmmakers retreat to Fårö island for the summer and hope to find inspiration where Bergman shot his most celebrated films. As the days pass by, the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur, and the couple is torn apart.” I like it more and more as I think about it. It’ one I’d like to watch again, as I was kind of tired.

We saw The Cherry Orchard at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, a pre-theater walk first, and wine and cheese at Tria afterward. An unusual production with slapstick humor, lines referencing contemporary pop culture, and yes, a volleyball game. A railway flipboard is a character who answers the characters’ questions. I haven’t yet decided if I liked it, but it was certainly interesting. The Russian director, Dmitry Krymov, who came here to direct the play just before the invasion of Ukraine, is now living in exile.

I read The Paper Palace: A Novel by Miranda Cowley Heller that takes place in both one day at a summer beach cottage and also through the course of a woman’s life, exploring love, secrets, and relationships. We’re also watching Picard—Season 2 is much better than Season 1, and there is time travel and Q!

If you’ve read this far: I’ve added a River Ghosts page to my Website with information and links.

Ghost Light

Ghost Light

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

Never forget, we say,
as we do

again,
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.

A Desire for Magic

Monday Morning Musings:

“I don’t want realism. I want magic! . . .I don’t tell the truth, I tell what ought to be truth.”
Blanche , Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire

Foggy winter morning. The river is completely obscured.

Fog-clad river flows,
unseen gulls laugh and call, trains
whistle lonesome morning blues,
ghost sounds from a cloud realm,
lull beak-tucked geese in fitful sleep,

and do they dream? In
bird-soul night do they recall
hopes and dreams, or seek magic
in the everyday?
Imagine river-worlds beyond this

clouded grey expanse?
Tomorrow’s sun will erase
the smudges, reveal azure—
there all along–science
of light, magic of perception

how I hear moon-song,
see time rippling like a wave
caught in glass, there a reflection
reveals what could be, or
perhaps what never was. Is this truth–

Merchants Exchange Building, Philadelphia
Carpenters’ Hall, Philadelphia

a poem of rays
that sing in distant domain,
warbled notes of space-time strike
the window, the water,
the river gulls, and streetwise squirrels,

Old City Squirrel, Philadelphia

connecting them all.
Magic and realism both,
the dance of earth, moon, sun, stars
creating life and vision
of colors, all that we can see–

and those beyond our dreams.

Walt Whitman Bridge at Sunset, taken from the car

This is a wayra chain, in case you’re wondering. 😉

We’ve had a week of cold and warm weather, fog and light. The snow has melted, though a little wintry mix fell early this morning, icing sidewalks and coating the cars. We braved the elements and Covid to go to a live theater performance on Saturday afternoon. We saw A Streetcar Named Desire at the Arden Theater in Philadelphia. They checked vaccination cards and IDs, and they required all in the audience to remain masked throughout the performance. It was fun to be out, and the story is moving, even if this was not the best production. We both thought the secondary characters were excellent, and much better than the leads. The man sitting next to my husband couldn’t hear the actors, but for some reason decided to stay for the entire performance.

Today is my daughter’s birthday. She and her now husband were in a wonderful college production of Streetcar—she was Blanche and he was Stanley. Desire struck that Streetcar. When they got married a few years later, the director of the production officiated.

Random Food Photo

Mixed- Berry Crisp for dessert last night

At the Crossroads

Monday Morning Musings:

“Standin at the crossroad babe
eee eee eee, risin sun goin down
I believe to my soul now,
Poor Bob is sinkin down”
–from Robert Johnson, “Cross Road Blues”

Clouds over the river ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Hawk flight in dim light, the trees still green–
summer clings, but autumn slings
a cool grey arm, and shadows fall across it all.

Now, the sun’s a sleepy golden ball

when I hear—something—sing
winged hope soars from that throat—to bring

Waiting for the Sun. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

comfort as the days go by, and dawn rises–
what will come—the future surprises.
The sky is cantaloupe and peach—

the eagles fly, high out of reach

Sunrise over the Delaware River ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

of those below
where time moves fast, then slow
in the beat of heron wings

a fish is gone. Do his fish brethren grieve?
Or do they notice? Do they believe
in monsters from above?

Do they love?

Or feel sorrow? What bargains would you make,
come tomorrow? For the sake
of family or self—for fame or fortune, or for glory?

Bargains with the devil–an age-old story.

But for some, the price they must pay,
to live a night, and into the next day

you stand at the crossroads to survive,
to see that cantaloupe sun arrive

then watch the harvest moon–revived
now humming, full and ripe–and you’re alive
in a world both glorious and banal–

rainfall and rainbows, fireballs

In the neighbor–sunlight, rainbows, and flowers. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

in the night. The moon has heard the call
of dinosaurs and seen the flight of pterodactyls–
and all of nature’s fractals,

patterns repeating, parallels, and lines that intersect
and here, we meet again and again—connect
the dots. We’re at the crossroads,

we rise and fall,
but the moon has seen it all.

We had warm sticky days last week, then the humidity dropped, and it’s starting to look and feel like autumn. Climate change means we will most likely continue to experience extreme weather. Right-wing fanatics are trying to overthrow our democracy, and anti-mask and anti-vax crazies are prolonging the pandemic. We know now that the “dark ages” were not as dark as they used to be portrayed, but it certainly seems like we’re heading into them.

And yet. . .there is still beauty, love, friendship, and people who speak the truth. And cats, food, and wine. Tonight is the September full moon, the Harvest Moon.

The Lantern Theater Company in Philadelphia is beginning this season with two digital plays. We streamed the first one, Me and the Devil, this past weekend. Tickets and information here.
There’s a legend that blues legend Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his extraordinary talent. It made me think about how throughout time, people have had to make bargains with evil in order to survive. In Johnson’s case there’s a mystery, and that he died young, adds to his mystique—he may have been poisoned by a jealous husband, as he was known as quite a ladies’ man.

Worlds Within and Without

Monday Morning Musings:

Trapped. Colonial Garden at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

Trillions of stars, the brilliant dead light
a memory of long-ago pulsations, heartbeats
of the universe,
our own an echo,
a timeless rhythm, with an infinite number
of endings and beginnings.


Cosmic waves and tiny teardrops both ripple
the fabric of space-time, a black hole
where once you stood—
there are more viruses than stars, says the virologist,
trying to predict catastrophe—but what of all the ifs and all the possible impossible timelines?
The chicken not hatched, not carried? The bat that flew in a different direction?
The iron in our blood comes from the stars, unseen sparks
passed through generations, we give it back to earth and sea,
without evolving, or perhaps not quickly enough—


I watch the ancestors of dinosaurs fly into tomorrow,
and in the scent of wine, smell the grapes and flowers of yesterday.

We went out for a bit to a local winery this week. Now that it’s summer, we’’ll be doing that more often.
No movies this week, but we streamed a fascinating play The Catastrophist by Lauren Gunderson. It’s about her husband, virologist Nathan Wolfe, played by William DeMerritt—who is excellent. Gunderson says the play “is a time-twisting, memory-jumping play about family, memory, mortality and viruses.”
Since Dexter is supposed to be back in the fall, we’re watching the entire series now. I’ve seen it, but my husband never did. We’re still on Season 1, but he’s hooked now.
I listened to part of the Ted Radio Hour on NPR, where I heard a scientist describe the importance of both dinosaurs’ lungs helped them to dominate their world, and how birds have very similar lungs. Then a scent historian described recreating historical scents and how important scents and the sense of smell are.

I went INTO a library and browsed for the first time in over a year! I was giddy–so many books!

And a bonus–turkeys

There seemed to be a fight and the exiling of one turkey.

There Might Be Ghosts

Monday Morning Musings:

There might be ghosts in this story–
a tale of family secrets, a haunted house,
nightmares and night terrors

(what if they came for you?)
the spirits, specters, demons, and devils–
a frisson of fear, a shiver and a quiver

as you hear the tale,
it’s not real (you tell yourself)
these things don’t exist

(unless they come for you)
the secret police, the armed agents
to detain, to torture, to turn your life

upside-down, the world we live in now,
where we see the light reflected and wonder how
it is here and there, and wanders

Puddle Reflection, Upside-down World. ©️Merril D. Smith, October 2020

from shore to distant horizon
between what we see
and what we think we see

Autumn refracted and reflected through the mist. Red Bank Battlefield,.©️Merril D. Smith October 2020

in the fog, all is a blur,
sound is distorted, it echoes,
a soft purr of distant cars, the honk of a goose

Heron in the misty ripples of the Delaware River. Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

here birds stop, then soar,
but I stand, rooted like the trees,
in the midst of autumn splendor

(I like to think)
still rising, still growing,
knowing that roots connect underground–

so be it. And healthy cells grow, too,
though the malignant tumors stand out,
they are not the entire body (politic),

Still, I sigh, watch the birds fly,
read the horror tales, feel the feels,
they’re not as scary as what is real–

the ghosts of 215,000, rising, plus,
and thus, what’s to come with the scary clown,
while the Constitution is whittled down

we ache, body and soul,
as the fluff-headed victors sound the death knell
to tell of democracy’s demise—yet the story to tell

is that the moon still hums, the stars still sing,
and scatter the light brightening
all, it radiates, falls

in ripples, like the stone I cast
into the river, watch the ripples pass
flowing on, the present an illusion, it doesn’t last,

past to future, goes, in ridges and waves
like light, with colors we won’t ever see,
an essence remaining, like a ghost of ancestors, or you, or me,

the whispers of earth, the songs of the sea.

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. Autumn Splendor. ©️Merril D. Smith, October 2020

Merril’s Movie/Theater/Book Club:
We watched a live-streamed production this week, STATE VS. NATASHA BENINA, which you probably won’t be able to access, but if you do get a chance, it’s well-worth it. I wondered how a production done live on Zoom would be (the audience was muted, and I turned off my camera, as I didn’t want people to see me in pjs in our living room). The actress was so good, portraying a Russian teen, who was raised in an orphanage, and now is accused of a crime. The audience is judge and jury, and votes at the end, but that serves more as a lead-in to discussion.

We were going to go out to a winery in the late afternoon yesterday, but the weather was not very nice, so we cancelled. I made a dinner, similar to one we might have had after Philadelphia theater dates, and we watched a filmed play, which is now on Amazon Prime. What the Constitution Means to Me is Heidi Schreck’s award-winning play, and it is excellent. I have heard pieces of it on the radio, as she discussed how she paid for her college education by giving speeches as a teen on the Constitution, but the entire play is really wonderful, as she weaves her personal history, her family’s history of domestic violence, women’s rights, and other issues into the narrative.

We also watched the new version of Rebecca on Netflix. We both enjoyed it. I like Lily James, though she seems rather more attractive and charming than the book character, and Kristin Scott Thomas is very good as Mrs. Danvers. From what I remember, this version does not have the overall menacing, Gothic feel of the Hitchcock movie or the book. I think it’s better to take it as it is, and not compare it to either.

We’re also started watching Borgen on Netflix, a Danish political drama. I like it, though it took a couple of episodes for me to get into it (and to understand the Danish political system).

And I finished The Year of Witching, and I’m almost finished with Home Before Dark. Horror reading—not nearly as scary as reality.

More on Heroes and Hearts

Swirls Over Spruce

Spruce Street, Old City

Monday Morning Musings:

“She preferred imaginary heroes to real ones, because when tired of them, the former could be shut up in the tin kitchen till called for, and the latter were less manageable.”

–Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)”

–e.e.cummings “[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]”

 

 

Ancient voices carried on a breeze

float beneath the moon

in leaf-rustle, they speak

in each footfall, they keep time

and secrets

 

that whirl in dusty motes

gathering in silvery specks,

specters of the past

the echo of their heartbeats

caught in a laugh, a scent, a cry.

 

***

Harriet was a true hero,

but she was a woman, too,

who loved and laughed and cried

and if the playwright has her move through time

is that so odd

 

because we still hear her voice,

don’t we?

She walked down this street or that one, perhaps

here the enslaved reached freedom,

here refugees still hide

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Second Street, Old City Philadelphia (From the Arden Theater) Merril D. Smith 2020

their hearts full

or broken.

I learn my friend’s heart literally broke

the day before Valentine’s Day–

but it is patched, stents installed

 

to let his blood flow.

Another friend has an artificial heart,

but like the Tin Man

she doesn’t need a heart

to love or be loved.

 

I read that the Giant Heart in the Franklin Institute

has been refurbished–

it now has the soundtrack of a real heart

with beats that echo

through time and space

 

like Harriet in the play,

like the memory of my grandfather

popping up from the giant heart’s artificial valves

to show me and my little sister

that it was a safe space

 

a place I carry

a memory of a heart

carried in my heart

his heart and that heart

in my heart, they echo

 

as do the voices of women

leading “lives of quiet desperation”

that the assistant sees in the movie

and what can she do

till enough people speak and the system changes

 

as whistles are blown

and heroes speak the truth

even as rich and petty men besmirch them

retaliating with the power of wealth and position–

tin men without the shadow of a heart.

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But still,

I bake chocolate hearts

for all the hearts I carry inside

and we celebrate love

and heroes–

 

because both

transcend time and space.

E359C1FF-5076-4EDC-9F90-63C3E7125698

 

We saw My General Tubman, a new play by Lorene Cary at the Arden Theatre.

We went to the Wine and Chocolate event at William Heritage Winery.

Merril’s Movie Club: we saw The Assistant, a bleak but excellent movie with an outstanding performance by Julia Garner.

We also finished Counterpart. We really enjoyed the two seasons. It’s on Prime, and apparently Starz cancelled it because they didn’t feel it appealed to female viewers (!).  You know how women don’t enjoy well-developed plots and complex storylines (rolling eyes).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Lives in Our Hearts

Monday Morning Musings:

“That was how evil spoke. It made its own corrupt sense; it swore that the good were evil, and that evil had come to save mankind. It brought up ancient fears and scattered them on the street like pearls. To fight what was wicked, magic and faith were needed. This is what one must turn to when there was no other option.”

–Alice Hoffman, The World That We Knew

“Grey Rock centers on the idea that human curiosity is stronger that gravity. I believe that art, which has no boundaries, can influence dialogue.”

Playwright and Director of Grey Rock, Amir Nizar Zuabi

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I am here

in the space between–

sunrise to my front

and moonset to my back,

in between past and future

IMG_6193

I sit

holding the moment

in my thoughts,

where it remains

though the earth continues

 

its revolutions round the sun,

turning on its axis.

We gaze at the moon

with longing,

a part of us

 

that rock

I see rising silver

then gold–

not grey

like the sodden clouds

D2C61D70-2CB1-4FF1-BF1E-B74CC5343D18

Taken from the Commodore Barry Bridge

 

blown away by the wind.

Windswept our dreams fly

free–

we all have the right to dream

the Palestinian man in the play

 

dreams of building a rocket,

sending it to the moon.

He loves his daughter,

he loved his wife,

and love is magic

 

the people in the novel find,

though evil is real,

it is all around them–

the Angel of Death is kept busy

but love has its own power.

 

And so,

we talk as we walk

through city streets

reflecting the past

as we think about our future.

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Pennsylvania Hospital in a window reflection.

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Spring by David Guinn Philadelphia Mural Arts 13th and Pine

 

There is beauty,

there is magic,

all around us–

are we blind or too afraid

to see it,

IMG_6192

Finding signs of spring

hear it call

in the trill of birdsong

the tumbling crash of waves

the humming of the moon

and the music of the stars

 

floating down to us.

Listen–

it shimmers

and echoes in our hearts,

beating

 

free–

a dream flying

into orbit,

a thing of magic and beauty—

and here around us.

 

I fear we’re in scary times, but we can’t lose hope or the ability to dream.

It’s the start of birthday month here with more to come.

 

We saw the play Grey Rock by Amir Nizar Zuabi and a Palestinian cast performing in English. It was commissioned and produced by the Remote Theater Project. It was also part of Philadelphia Theater Week. We both really enjoyed the play, which was funny, tender, and moving.

I read Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew. It is magical realism mixed with Jewish folklore and history. It is set during the Holocaust, and it involves the bond of mothers and daughters. There is a female golem and birds. A heron also figures prominently in the story. As you might suspect, I absolutely loved it.

No movies this week, but we watched Season 1 of Counterpart on Prime. J.K. Simmons is wonderful, and he gets to play two characters, in this spy thriller that involves parallel worlds.

 

Heroes, Truth, and Lies

Monday Morning Musings:

“If we both describe the same thing at the same time, will one of our descriptions be more true than the other?”

–Rajiv Joseph, Describe the Night

IMG_6130

 

The sun rises each day

truth, whether we see it or not

light bending through air

a neon orange ball, perhaps

a tangerine on fire—

 

does the description change the fact–

a rose by any other name, and all that?

The sun, a fiery ball in our sky,

the horizon, the end of all we can see

of a world that goes on and on

 

through space and time.

Now a whisper of spring hovers–

a bit of honeyed-light

through dragon-flamed clouds,

but is winter waning

IMG_5169

 

or waiting, gathering strength to roar

with gaping mouth and jagged teeth

sending its icy breath to freeze the world,

my world, turning it white,

the sun then but a hazy memory?

IMG_6108

Hazy January sun through trees off of Lincoln Ave, Philadelphia.

Cycles, warm and cold,

sunshine and rain

birth to death,

to birth again

winter fades, spring comes.

 

The woman in the play foresees war,

her fortunes always predict war,

war is a constant, is it not?

War and peace and war and peace

cycling round like sun and moon.

 

My mother is almost a century old,

How many wars have there been–and death.

(Some days she longs for her own death.)

She has good days and bad days,

cycles, laughter and tears

IMG_6107

My mom watching the “wing bowl” at her assisted living facility.

 

Her laugh can light up a room.

I will miss that when she’s gone.

her fading away, I won’t miss that.

Once she was a child, a teen,

a vivid, energetic woman–

 

still, her laugh can light up a room

the way the sun lights up the sky.

Do you see it?

How would you describe it?

A sunrise? A laugh?

 

The days have been dreary

a slow steel sky, heavy with portent,

or dreams–waiting for spring—

there, a hawk cries from above,

there on the ground a hint of what may come

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Magic all around us lies, lies all around us.

The man in the play extols the black Magic Marker,

it erases the past, a new truth can be told–

it is a crime to be alive when the state says you are dead,

perhaps eat this leech soup, and remember, the women say.

 

Fantasy, myth, truth, lies

this is the world,

and I think we need heroes,

real heroes like Harriet Tubman,

or perhaps the children will lead us now.

 

But now,

I listen to the moon’s hum, the stars’ songs

reflect on the river’s reflections

I bake and cook

trying to stay cozy in a tilting world

And if it tilts,

how will we describe the sun rising

and setting

cycles that are constant but changeable

even if we don’t notice the change till it’s too late.

 

Is it too late?

we watch movies and plays

and drink wine

because life goes on

until it doesn’t

 

but still

but still

light bends and what of time?

Perhaps we may see ourselves

rising again with the sun.

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Garden of Delight by David Guinn, Mural Arts of Philadelphia

 

Merril’s Movie (and Theater) Club: We missed the movie Harriet when it was in the theaters, but it’s streaming now. The word hero is overused, but Harriet Tubman truly was one. The movie is sort of a standard bio-pic, good, but not great–but Cynthia Erivo is wonderful in the role. She seems to channel the spirit of Harriet Tubman. Also, for us, it was fun seeing local Philadelphia/New Jersey places and historical figures, such as William Still. We will be seeing a play about Harriet Tubman later this month.

We saw the play Describe the Night at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. Both of us totally enjoyed this play that combines myth and reality, historical figures in imaginary situations, and imaginary people in historical situations. One strand is about “Putin’s” rise, but the play goes back and forth in time. It gave us a lot to talk about afterwards. A real “Merril” play. And my husband was still able to see most of the Super Bowl when we got home. 🙂

And lest you think I only watch serious things–we binge-watched the second season of Sex Education on Netflix. 

Sometimes we do not control what we watch.

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Who controls the remote?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Storm, the Moon Rises

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”

–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

“Every time I sing this song, I hope it’s the last time.”

–Lisa Petersen and Denis O’Hare, An Iliad

 

After the storm, the moon rises

humming fiercely in the winter sky.

Do you hear her music—

urging, warning, comforting?

Cold, but bright, shimmering

ever-present

reflecting all our ifs

back to us,

and in shadows and dreams,

we sometimes understand.

 

***

It is the season of joy and sorrow

of unexpected gifts

and the kindness of strangers

of carols and bells

and hypocritical politicians

 

It is the season of rain and snow

of a full moon setting as the sun rises

of comfort food and warm clothing—and cats–

of a flock of turkeys that suddenly appear

and disappear

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like my mother’s thoughts and memories

delusions and dreams

shadows of things that were

or might have been

things that never were or will be.

 

It is the season of my birth

perhaps a miracle of a sort,

considering the gap of years

between my older sister and myself?

A rapprochement between my parents

 

carrying on to the birth of my younger sister

two years later?

I guess I’ll never know,

and does it matter?

I am here.

 

And so, we celebrate

a weekend with food and wine—

we watch Mrs. Maisel.

We walk in the city

decorated with Christmas lights

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We are reminded of things that were

of things that might be

We are reminded, too, that there is more

in the world

than what we can see

 

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Though The Poet is doomed perhaps

to sing her song of war

over and over and over again–

“Do you see?” she asks us.

We do.

 

We see the rage, the endless killing

over what?

A woman?  A piece of land?

We hear the lies.

We see the man rallying his base–

 

evil, madness, pestilence–

Marley’s chains rattle and clank.

The spirits appear

over and over again . . .

 

and yet . . .magic exists all around us

in birdsong, the moon, the stars,

a baby’s laugh,

a deer appearing in the woods,

sunrise, sunset–

 

Do you see?

Look.

Listen.

Sing the songs of joy and peace–

dream.

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I had a wonderful birthday weekend. We watched several episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, ate Thai Curry Mussels at Monk’s Cafe in Philadelphia, saw a wonderful one-man performance of A Christmas Carol (Lantern Theater Company), saw a performance of An Iliad, (Arden Theater Company), a mostly one-woman show (along with a musician), a glass of wine at Pinot Boutique in Old City. Followed by Chinese food, more Mrs. Maisel, and my own flourless chocolate cake (The Oracle told me to eat cake!)