Open the Door to Light

Monday Morning Musings:

 “But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves.”

“It is a thing hundreds of thousands of women have done.”

–Henrik Ibsen, A Doll’s House

“Concrete and barbed wire, concrete and barbed wire
It’s only made of concrete and barbed wire”

–Lucinda Williams, “Concrete and Barbed Wire”

“The instant passed so fast, and when that happens, it goes for good and all you have is a slow lifetime to speculate on revisions. Except time flows one way and drags us with it no matter how hard we paddle upstream.”

–Charles Frazier, Varina

 

We go to a concert on a rainy night

but the lovely old theater is bright

 

with anticipation, as well as light–

the music after twenty years, still right

 

though some songs take on a different meaning

now, when certain leaders are not so much leaning

 

but rather trampling rights to the ground—

but here, we’re more interested in the sound

 

of the music and the stories that she told

of how her life and memories unfold.

The next day we see a play

a sequel of sorts, though not in the way Ibsen would say

 

(if he did) after the door famously slammed.

So, Nora returns—and

 

she’s done well, but it’s complicated

(of course), and if we’re a bit frustrated

 

by the end result, that may be the intent

to think about what the characters underwent

 

as well as life for women then and marriage vows—

it’s hard to escape the political now.

 

I think of all the women of the past

stuck in marriages, hoping to outlast

 

perhaps the drudgery—or pain—

not much choice, forced to remain.

 

We walk and talk about the play

as the sun lowers on the day

Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia

we see weddings amidst the falling, fallen leaves

where trees and sky form photo eaves

and I hope these couples face no final slamming door

except the one we all must face, till then, I hope they adore

 

one another, forever—and more.

 

But time flows on. . .or perhaps it circles from before. . .

 

I dreamt last night of flying through space

and time flowed, at an unmeasured pace

 

past glowing planets, circling round

bubbling with the sound

 

of joy and laughter—

a dream, real then, if not after.

 

The river flows

and no one knows

The Delaware River, seen from West Deptford, NJ. Merril D. Smith

what the future will bring

even as to the past we cling,

 

or sling, snap, swing, sway

what we can, hope for a day

 

when light shines brightly

kissing the air lightly

 

illuminating gold leaves and blue sky

banishing fear, hate, and all the whys

 

of evil—though this day will never arrive

we can still try to make kindness thrive.

 

In the U.S., we have mid-term elections. I’m hoping the party of hate, fear, and lies, gets sent a clear message that the majority do not want that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recall the Light

Recall the light—

 

a thousand summers,

sun and rose petals,

 

and the moon—

with soaring music

 

diamond language,

cool, but blooded,

 

she chants symphonies

of shadowed sleeping seas.

 

Here is life–

still beating

 

through time

crying if. . .

Waterhouse-gather_ye_rosebuds-1909

John William Waterhouse, “Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May,” [Public Domain] Wikipedia

Some cautionary words from the Oracle?

 

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Our Whys

Sunrise, National Park, NJ

 

as rain pounds

the wind moans

 

a language of screams

and shadowed sky,

 

but beneath the blue-black beat

there is a moon singing

 

a dream chant of love—

 

and in time the sun will shine sweetly,

honey-tongued,

 

urging us to life

together through our whys

 

Yesterday, the sunrise was glorious. Today I woke to moaning wind and rain striking the windows. But the Oracle is wise and all-knowing.

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Truth and Lies and In Between

Monday Morning Musings: Truth and Lies and In Between

“a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. . .

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark”

–Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot

“. . .

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon. . .

. . .When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.”

From Maya Angelou, “A Brave and Startling Truth”

You can read and listen to the entire poem here on Brainpickings

 

Here within the pale blue dot

in this place within the speck

 

in this space, wrought

by nature and time, unchecked,

 

the days grow colder

 

the days grow colder,

and the vultures circle

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the lies grow bolder

as the sky turns purple

 

and choppy is the sea

 

to which the choppy river flows–

do you see?

Delaware River from Red Bank Battlefield, NJ

There it goes,

while elsewhere people flee

 

retreat from tyranny

 

retreat, flee, from tyranny

on flimsy ships, in caravans

 

not criminals, but wanting to be free

yet stopped by wall-builders’ bans

 

the bans that echo through history

 

the bans built on lies

about the other we hate

 

their skin color or nose size

perhaps their rising birth rate—

 

rouse the crowd, don’t make them wait

 

no, don’t make them wait,

their blood is pumping now,

 

so never speak the truth out straight,

and if lies are revealed somehow,

 

well, kill it—you know how.

 

You know how journalists die

through censorship—and worse–

 

rehearse your stories, fly your lies

praise the dictators and yes, truthtellers curse—

 

while we hope times will get better, and not worse

 

we watch movies about lies and hate

but also, truth and kindness, the human spirit rising

 

to help others, to banish and negate

the hate, to uncover the lies, without compromising

 

and we come to it

 

remembering history and seeing friends

remembering that someday the cold

 

will grow colder, but that it will end,

and the lies will grow bolder than bold

but we will love and each other hold

 

with care, eat comfort food, drink more wine

cuddle under blankets, dream, it’s fine

 

to remember time was born

in a brilliant cloud

 

from a void, torn

with a bang, how loud

 

if no one heard the birthing horn

or saw the light that’s now allowed

 

to flow and dance throughout all space

within the cracks and every place

 

where darkness lurks and surrounds

with beauty, hope, and grace

 

And so, we come to it,

in this time and place

 

on this pale blue mote, recommit

to seek the light—or at least find a trace.

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Sunset over the bay, Cape May, NJ

 

We streamed two movies this weekend. 22 July about the terrorist attack in Norway. Though certainly a grim subject, we both thought it was done well, without a lot of gratuitous violence. It focuses more on the aftermath, particularly on one survivor and the trial.  We also watched Three Identical Strangers, a documentary about triplets that delves into the moral issues that I won’t go into to, in case you want to be surprised.

About Beauty

Guillermo_Gómez_Gil_-_Salida_de_la_luna

A day all about beauty

she says, we will dream of this and there—

 

blue seas,

rosy light shot through with purple shadows

 

and time urging

let life run like water lives

 

storming, spraying, and drunk

whispering to the moon—

 

and honeyed winds will rock us to sleep

with music of the sky

 

playing if. . .

 

The Magnetic Poetry Oracle really made me work yesterday, but she finally gave me this one.

 

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Morning Walk

Morning Walk

Almost born away—

I fly by champagne clouds,

waking poetry

of morning’s moist perfumed breeze.

Angel voices celebrate the universe,

time slows. . .lingers

for one smile

Delaware Rive, Red Bank Battlefield, September

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I visited the Oracle yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to post this. She was in rare form though. I feel like she was ready to give me many more.

 

Before and Now

Monday Morning Musings:

“It may be the luckiest and purest thing of all to see time sharpen to a single point. To feel the world rise up and shake you hard, insisting that you rise up, too somehow. Some way.”

–Paula McClain, Love and Ruin

“We can never go back to before”

Lynn Ahrens and Steve Flaherty, “Back to Before,” Ragtime

 Once we had two maple trees in front of our house. They provided shade for our house and shelter for wildlife. But they were diseased and had to be cut down. The birds and squirrels have moved on. We will plant daffodils around the stumps, and life will continue, though we can never go back to before.

green leaves turn golden,

sun sings grey skies blue again,

flowers smile hello

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Once people saw tyranny and began to rebel with acts of resistance against their government and king. Time sharpened to a single point for some then. They felt the need to rise up. They launched a revolution that was bloody and horrible, as all wars are, that divided families and friends.

sweethearts say goodbye

leaves sigh and fall from the trees–

red blood on white snow

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Old Pine Street Church Graveyard, Philadelphia

 

But it was also a revolution of words and actions that created a new nation, the first written constitutions, and gave some hope for freedom and equality to all—though that did not come about till after another war and new laws. We harken back to before, but we can never go back.

And why would we want to?

demagogue appeals

blames “The Other” for problems–

false hopes and false words

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Wishing on the wood of the last Liberty Tree.  Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia

Azure skies send us

outdoors to eat–a plus

seated where we gaze

at history and listen

to the foreign phrase

of people who pass by

and wonder why

they’re here, but know

they come and go–

in this city of hope and despair

filled with travelers

and immigrants,

rising like the nation and the sun

on the famous chair.

 

 

We watch a movie,

the wife behind the great man,

though she’s really greater than

he is,

she says she is “a kingmaker,”

but more than that—

this is

a nuanced performance

that show the complexity

of relationships—

which is

the basis of government, too,

and I think of the before

when we had a king

and bid him adieu

and now the one

who longs to be king

daily sings

(so unbirdlike he tweets

never soft and never sweet)

Will we let the kingmakers

let it happen?

Well, as the foot-tapping

musical notes, “history has its

eyes on you.”

It is complex,

and perhaps what we need

is a nuanced performance.

Though the choice seems simple—

do what you need to do.

Do not believe the lies.

Do not support the liars.

Let’s not go back to before

when I did not have a voice,

when women did not have a choice,

when people I love could not love,

when people I admire could not vote—

keep this sinking ship afloat.

I feel time sharpening and shadows gather.

 

 

But ask the star

how it dazzles and

kisses air with joy—

We are prisoners of time,

embrace its rhythm

and smile.

 

Once there were two maple trees, but now they are gone. . .

yet life goes on.

 

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We visited the Museum of the American Revolution. Saw the movie, The Wife. Trailer here.

Here is Marin Mazzie, who died last week, singing, “Back to Before.”

 

Open the Star: Magnetic Poetry

Open the Star

 

A child, a girl, explores,

lingering with the red star.

(Open it.)

It will fool the dark cloud

and no one need live a life

bleeding, dirty, and sad.

But this then—

you must listen to

voices throb in ocean rhythms,

secrets of time and universe make magic.

Go and wake.

Let your heart breeze

with peace.

 

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

A bit of surrealism? A myth from the Oracle?