We Named the Sky: NaPoWriMo, Day 12

Monday Morning Afternoon Musings:

“The dead don’t go anywhere. They’re all here. Each man is a cemetery. An actual cemetery, in which lie all our grandmothers and grandfathers, the father and mother, the wife, the child. Everyone is here all the time.”
-Isaac Bashevis Singer (quoted in Shtisel), Season3)

Sunrise Cloud Reflections over the Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith

In ancient times, we named the sky—
saw Apollo in his flaming chariot fly
as his sister Diana of the woods and moon
bounded with deer and hound, and soon
the stars were storied, and tunes gloried
creation, emotion, and the cessation of
wind and tides, the slide

of seasons from one to next,
as the gods are first jolly, then are vexed.
But Persephone comes and goes–
snow falls, then flower flows,
and we cry and sigh as people die–
but the seeds remain, though not the same,
each generation evolves, and solves

Spring, Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

new problems, and old ones we revive.
But if we could fly in hyperdrive
to other worlds, or visit holodecks
to greet and meet dear loved ones in an annex
to another world, an alternate timeline,
future, past, present combined—we’d drink wine
with family and heroes, toast the divine

in fantasy. And yet—we recall,
in memories of sight, scent, sound—however small–
within us all the time, sharing space
with those who came before—the interface
of body and mind. Stardust to genes, renamed things
in seasons reborn on hopeful wings
Cycles, seasons, the stories again–real or imaginings?

Clouds and cool weather
Beautiful blue skies, April Morning. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

I’ve combined my Monday Morning Musings with the NaPoWriMo Day 12 prompt: “This prompt challenges you to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction.”


Merril’s Movie/TV Club: We finished Season 3 (most likely the final season) of Shtisel (Netflix). I highly recommend it. My husband and I both got so caught up in this show.
We had Chinese food over the weekend, and so watch two Chinese movies.
Us and Them (Netflix)—a romance of a young man and woman meeting on a train and trying to become successful in Beijing. I liked it, but I’m not sure if I loved it. I think I would have enjoyed it more in the theater. We had some phone calls and other distractions.
Better Days (Amazon Prime rental)—is Hong Kong’s entry for the Academy Awards. It’s about school bullying, and also the high stakes competition/pressure of getting into a good college in China. My husband and I both enjoyed this one more—despite the subject matter of school bullying. There is also a romance. The actress Dongyu Zhou is the female lead in both movies. Watch the end credits for both movies.

Warp and Weft: Ekphrastic Challenge, Day 4, NaPoWriMo

Warp and weft,
life weaves through tides,
sun-sparkled,
moon-bedewed,
blue-waved and bleached white, patterns
form again and go

in dream worlds,
she sees. Star-gathered,
the crows come,
dark to light,
now, never, always—this is
what might be. Time is

an ocean
layered with rippling
currents, not
constant, but
ever-changing. Dark to light,
warp and weft. Again.

A Shadorma chain for Paul Brookes’ Ekphrastic Challenge. You can see all the art and poems here. I don’t have time today to write a poem based on the photos in the site mentioned into today’s NaPoWriMo prompt, but–as in this poem–I often write about liminal spaces.

Ask What They See: NaPoWriMo, Day 3

Marc Chagall, The Blue Fiddler

The moon sighs and sings, a luscious silver spray in blue,
the fiddler plays along, repeating feather trills,
the universe’s secret smiles–

now watch the ghosts dance, bird-winged, eternal–
or almost–

and ask what they see,
and if they dream, or
revel in argent glow,

their hearts recalling when and never, before
shadows and the afterlight of a thousand stars in song.

Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt asks us to create a “Personal Universal Deck,” a card deck of words. I like the idea of creating my own word deck, but today I’m basing my poem on words from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. We have a standing Saturday date to collaborate, and I wouldn’t want to upset her. 😏

Time Has No Edge

Gustav Klimt, “The Kiss”

Time has no edge, no borders fence
its undiscovered frontiers,
the shadowy seas of before merge
into the ocean of after. The currents carry us,
voyagers on a ship of life, knowledge, and memory
as we sail in-between, barely noticing,

the spindrift carried by the wind, drifting,

barely remembering
how a month was forever at five years old, then understanding
that an entire lifetime can be lived in a minute’s dream,
and realizing
that a glance, a smile, a laugh, a kiss can last forever—and beyond,
timeless.

For dVerse, where Lisa has asked us to write a poem about edges or fringes. Work in progress. 😀

Before the Before, and After

Before the before
of star-danced light
and rippling time, before
there was what is now,
what was

wonder

in the after, in the bang and crash
of stellar flare and dust, there was
a time of infinite possibilities–

chance,

our meeting, or fate? All that was before,
leading to it. In the crash and bang of bodies,
we’re born

and give birth to others. And in the after,
the wonder of infinite possibilities,

chances we take, paths to follow, as the light
of the past twinkles on future dreams.

For dVerse, where Peter asks us to think about turns in poetry.

Enduring Dreams

Reflections. The Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

How does the Earth begin its spin each day?
With constancy it turns to seek the light
of sun, then sister stars dance in their way
sparkling the darkling, glimmering the night.
And with these sights, so constant and so true,
the physics of space, the motions that trace
the course of years, our course, being with you
through sorrow, more joy, a smile on your face,
even as lines delve deeper, gray grows hair,
the trees once green are dusted with the snow,
fledglings feather-wing themselves in the air
catching the currents, soaring through wind-blow—
and I watch the river glow as it flows
reflecting dreams, life, us, endures and goes.

My attempt at a Shakespearean sonnet for Ingrid’s EIF Sonnet Sunday for Valentine’s Day. I don’t quite have the meter right, but it’s a first draft and written at 6 AM. Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Beginnings and Endings

“As if we could hear music inside the words”
–Gail Newman, “Trust”

I hear, but cannot stop the chirp of time,
it travels in waves with the flap of wings,

and in flowing light it sings,
celestial harmonies pulsing in shimmers–

even caged, it chitters and cheeps,
dives and circles, soars and sweeps
past to future, a never-ending story

of bangs and fury, prismed glory
that curves and repeats—again and again

I become my mother and my daughters, all the before and ever-after,
my words are carried on a glittering song,
the essence of my universe, music and laughter.

This is for dVerse, where on Tuesday, Laura asked us to “begin at the end” by using one of the final lines she supplied to influence our own poem. She asks us to think about our own ending lines. Today, Peter asks us to consider our beginning lines.

Ever since I read this article about a Blackfoot woman who translated astrophysics terms into the Blackfoot language, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about chirping stars.

Breath In, Blue Fire

Breath in—blue fire,
the universe’s secrets, the champagne clouds,
the blush born in ferocious fever-dances,
the aching beauty of after
the light-singing stars.

What was so is still
the moon whispers, listen and recall
the ghost rhythms of time–

and if,
the breeze explores,
it urges the sky toward spring
through the black beneath the storm,

where sea-ships, dream-carriers,
sail under a spray of diamonds
toward tomorrow.

Happy day after Christmas! Here’s my message from the Oracle. She made me work for this one.

In Blue Sea Whispers

Jay Hall Connaway, Public Domain, Wikipedia


But do you still ache for dreams
crushed by purple-shadowed storms?
Fever-hearted, you watch the diamond glitters
of sun-licked rocks,

~and after, you breathe, cooled,~

smelling all the ifs in blue sea whispers,
you drink it in–
yet even so, the wind asks why
time both haunts and heals.

Another sensory sort of poem. This time it’s my Saturday message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle.

Early Morning

Heron, Early Morning on the Delaware at Red Bank Battlefield, October. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

Love lives a thousand times,
a dazzle of moon music; star sighs
through lightless sky and blood dreams

~the wind whispers, and the river murmurs
yes~

and if we listen–
under deep cover, the earth remembers,
blooms over and over again.

My message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. She knows the world, the seasons, and all about deep time.