Birth of the Muse

Irregular Galaxy NGC 4485

“The irregular galaxy NGC 4485 shows all the signs of having been involved in a hit-and-run accident with a bypassing galaxy. Rather than destroying the galaxy, the chance encounter is spawning a new generation of stars, and presumably planets.” Credit: NASA, ESA; acknowledgment: T. Roberts (Durham University, UK), D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts) and the LEGUS Team, R. Tully (University of Hawaii) and R. Chandar (University of Toledo)

 

The universe fires a brilliant cloud

of lingering secrets star-born in blushed night,

 

she wakes there, sailing cool, dark velvet seas

of poetry and picture

 

embracing you in perfumed air—

 

and you let her

fly you on ghost-kissed breezes of never and always

 

dazzling with if,

her almost-remembered eternity

 

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I was going to call this Birth of the Oracle, but I didn’t want to presume or offend her. Some people will be happy that I included the “if,”– I almost left out it out today.  🙂

 

 

 

 

The Color of Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.”

–Edgar Allan Poe, “A Dream Within a Dream”

“Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Burnt Norton” (No. 1, of “Four Quartets”)

 

 

What is the color of eternity?

All the fires of star bursts

and rainbows

in shades of never-seen, a sheen

scented with petriochor

caramel, and wisps of ozone—more–

perhaps a dream.

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Summer Color at Whitall House, National Park, NJ

I am bemused, delighted

by the brilliant colors of the sky sighted

between storms,

the verdant green of almost-summer

and trees that call,

“Look at me now!”

and I’m enthralled,

with leafy boughs

that wave and wow,

Dock Creek, Philadelphia

Dock Creek, Old City, Philadelphia

but time is flowing in syncopated rhythms

with unexpected accents,

changing in split seconds

ascent, descend–dissent–

confused

from waltz to unsquare dance,

and I’m bemused,

how do grey storm clouds change to blue sky,

how does asleep move to wide awake,

so quickly

and we cannot stay still–

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Ominous sky over Ben Franklin Bridge

over the hill

we go–

my mother goes from weak and incoherent

to mobile and lucid overnight

and back again, delight and fright,

I scarcely think of my dead father

on Father’s Day

 

when I see baby fawns,

twins napping in the sun,

their mother gone

somewhere,

Seeing them is nature’s gift to me.

I accept it gratefully.

 

I dream my mother’s apartment

has been turned into a hospital

I wake up annoyed

(Okay, Dr. Freud)

that I was not informed

of how it was transformed.

My mother tells me she has

another apartment upstairs—

it’s much nicer she says.

Perhaps it is, I think. I can’t compare.

I wonder about time,

and is it ever lost or gone?

The past exists in our memories—

like a rhyme

heard long ago–

the child me, my alive father,

my young mother

I think all still exist somewhere

like love

never gone,

but stretching back

like an endless series of mirror reflections

colors into black.

Reflections

 

I watch the baby geese grow,

a new generation shows

walking by the river–

no music like its symphony

whispering of birth and earth,

singing of life, joy and strife,

keening at death in the currents

that flow to the sea

to be

again and again.

I watch past and future

flow and merge

like that river to the sea

dreaming of time,

dreams within dreams.  . .and then

still the sun sets and rises again.

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We haven’t gone to any movies, shows, or events recently—life and work have been a bit crazy–but we did watch Everybody Knows on Netflix (good but not as good as his previous films), and we’ve been enjoying Good Omens on Amazon Prime.  It’s a lot of fun. And here’s Dave Brubeck’s Unsquare Dance. I have no idea why I thought of this today, but you’re welcome. We’ve had some beautiful days, but also a tornado warning on Thursday night, with tornados that touched down in nearby towns, and now stormy weather forecast for the next several days. I hope that’s not a life-metaphor.

 

 

 

 

The Secret Poetry of the Stars

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Angel breath flowers the morning

and soft blush-clouds sail

in dancing rhythm

waking all the ifs–

 

let ghosts fly

in and out of time,

haunting universes of then—

and almost-when

 

I will laugh the secret poetry of stars,

their brilliant blue voices

celebrating eternity

with lingering dazzle-light

 

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From my morning consultation with the Oracle.

In the Garden of If and When-After

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Odilon Redon, Beatrice

 

Her garden lives in ifs,

it is sweet pink whispers

beating away the black.

 

Music mists a symphony of the sea,

licking rocks

to soar and spray in the wind,

 

dream shadows play

beneath a honeyed moon,

and the sky smells of summer rain.

 

So, she watches there–

not asking why–

in timeless beauty of when-after,

 

and she sings through rose petal-light,

of blood, life, love, and life.

 

I needed this bit of surrealism. The Oracle always knows. I think this could be where she lives.

Ghost Hearts

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Monday Morning Musings:

“My heart is a shadow,

a light and a guide.

Closed or open…

I get to decide.”

From Corinna Luyker, My Heart

“The people you love become ghosts inside of you, and like this you keep them alive.”

–Robert Montgomery   See a photo of his text installation here. 

 

Yet who whispers

in the summer-sweet night,

where the smell of storms lurk?

There beneath the diamond sky

shadows dance

to the music of life

and death

pants just beyond the light

in the wind-spray of time.

***

I walk by the river park

baby geese and vultures

side-by-side, stark

 

reminders of life and death

cycles like after harsh

winter, spring’s soft breath

caresses mind and soul

and somehow—

we want it all,

 

all the magic of water and air

the delight of light—

time to spare

 

to savor the young

remember the laughter

and all the songs sung

 

and the ones unsung

if we could go back—

trip words from tongue,

 

forgiveness, remembrance

lost gestures and moments

rearranged in order, some semblance

 

of what could be

if or when

or what will it be, see

 

how life circles, the mom me

and she the one needing help

and she doesn’t see

 

well at all,

her vision diminished

unsteady, the mighty fall.

 

Once my daughter said to me

“remember when I hiccupped

inside your belly and you laughed?” See—

 

how do you explain these things?

Circles of life and death

and all it brings.

 

We try to stop time for a bit

eat pizza, drink wine

time to talk—and just sit

 

(doing nothing)

We watch a movie of ghosts and art,

a vulnerable woman

she opens her soul, her heart

 

is shadow-filled, she grieves

sees ghosts,

though she’s not sure she believes

 

but to create

one has to be open–

the muse, a mysterious state

 

of being,

perhaps there are spirits

or some other way of seeing

 

(of being)

 

There is a place in my heart

where my father lives

and all my ancestors, too, a part

 

of my what? My essence, my soul,

the me-ness of me

the all-ness of all?

 

My mother grows old,

but somewhere in time

she is young, in a fold,

 

a pleat, a wrinkled web

where time-space

flows and ebbs,

 

and perhaps ghosts call,

walk in shadowed paths

through my heart, they rise and fall–

 

hear them sigh

as up to the stars

they carry you, me—we fly.

Morning Moon Does Her High Wire Act

Morning Moon Does Her High Wire Aerial Routine

 

We watched the movie, Personal Shopper on Netflix. Kristen Stewart is a personal shopper/medium grieving her dead twin brother–there are ghosts and references to the artist Hilma af Klint. I liked it. Watch it with someone because you will want to discuss it. I may have to watch it again. . .

And here is a bonus, if you haven’t heard this version of Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” translated and sung in Mik Maq. I thought of this last night when I was thinking of birds and ghosts (and not quite dead languages).

 

 

 

 

All the Questions

 

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Odilon Redon, “The Apparition,” [Public Domain] Wikipedia Commons

Could, can, we celebrate–

see the magic of fire-red sky

and perfumed ocean breeze?

 

Would, will, stars dazzle

or haunt the night in if?

 

When is always?

And how did, does,

time go like a soft laugh

from an open window–

 

and all the words breathe who and this

and almost were

 

here

remembering secret voices,

wild ghosts, joy

 

It’s been a strange couple of days, and I was almost afraid to– but I consulted the Oracle. I shouldn’t doubt that she always knows.

 

 

 

 

 

Secrets and Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“The women of our family will come to me in dreams at night”

From Kadya Molodowsky, “Women-Poems”

“The difference between film and memory is that films are always false. But memories mix truth and lies. They appear and vanish before our eyes.”

Bi Gan, Long Day’s Journey into Night (2019)

 

See the shadows

in the purpled light,

listen–

they cry,

once we smelled the rain,

drank in sunshine,

saw beauty in a smile.

Once we wanted—

something, anything,

everything.

Once,

we were

more than whispers

and dreams.

***

It’s a week—again—

of sunshine and rain,

of baby geese

and peace

that hasn’t come.

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We remember

six million dead

and others who’ve fled

brutality, in fear,

and it’s clear

the world’s still full of fear

and some things never change.

 

A Jane’s walk

on archeology

and history—

mysteries solved

(sometimes)

by digging underground.

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They talk of science,

and physical evidence

and the sense

we make of them–

fragments unearthed.

But I hear the whispers of ghosts

how many bones

rest there beneath the cobblestones?

In the privies, are relics of meals,

crockery—and it feels

astonishing to resurrect their world

But I wonder about their dreams

and what they hoped for,

and it seems,

I hear them say,

once I walked here,

listen, I’m near.

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We walk through parks

and alleyways

where a horse is led

(his time for bed?)

There a man dressed as

Thomas Jefferson,

I say,

let’s see Franklin Court again.

Weddings, bride and groom–

the air perfumed

by rain and flowers,

there, skulls remind us

of limited hours—

so, we’ll enjoy ours

while we can.

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Enter a caption

We watch movies of secrets

and dreams,

people who lie in court

and to their spouses,

try to thwart

the system,

afraid to say what really was.

 

A prosecutor’s search–

he wants Nazis tried

and justice applied,

but he’s got his own secret life,

living apart from his wife,

and there are bad men

(some renowned)

who want to take him down.

 

We watch a film of beauty

and mystery–

noir turns to a dream

and we’re not sure what we’ve seen,

but like it all the same,

movies, transitory, like a flame,

but the thoughts about it remain,

and so we wander and ponder

 

as life goes on,

I bake and cook,

and read a book,

drink some wine,

hope things will be fine–

even as I read racist posts

in disbelief

of the ignorance

of supporters of the Twitter chief.

Still, there I see the baby geese,

and listen to the birds sing,

while I wonder

what the future will bring,

I pet my cats–

wish I could be content as that.

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In my dreams,

the women of my family

come to me,

mixing truth and lies

in memories, time flies

and what was, still is,

and what wasn’t–might be,

 

as the ghosts murmur,

we’re here,

we wait,

we watch,

like the trees,

as time twists, turns,

and disappears.

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I’ve been lax in giving you movie suggestions. 🙂 We saw three movies this weekend, two on Netflix, and one in a theater, a multi-cultural mix. I liked all of them. On Netflix, we watched, A Separation, a 2011 Iranian movie and  The People vs. Fritz Bauer, a 2016 German movie.  In the theater, we saw the Chinese movie, Long Day’s Journey into Night.   It’s really impossible to describe what this movie is about, but it’s like being in a dream. Definitely see it in a theater. The theater where we saw it does not have 3D, but even so, it was extraordinary. I’d like to see it again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, To Love, NaPoWriMo

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Well, to love

in that time of year

when spring fancy turns to summer heat

and to love well and sweet

that which is young and sleek,

simmering with fire-passion, consume

the green with new-sprung bloom.

Yet, autumn’s color also bursts

in fiery hues,

and glows diffused

in russet-gold glimmer, behold–

till twilight turns it dark and midnight tolled.

Still, there’s no wrong in loving strong

and right in loving well and loving long.

 

Day 27 of NaPoWriMo asks us “to ‘remix’ a Shakespearean sonnet.” Busy day for me,  so this is a quick fourteen line, non-sonnet, riffing on Sonnet LXXIII.

 

Things the River Carries: NaPoWriMo

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I think of things the river has carried—

 

Lenape canoes and wooden ships with sails,

spices, barrels, and bails,

the stuff of merchant cargoes.

 

Immigrants and slaves

carried across ocean waves

seeking a safe harbor.

 

Geese and gulls

swimming around the hulls

and among the debris

 

left from centuries–

 

tree branches and stumps

animals that jump

to swim—away

 

never staying,

straying

varying

 

things the river has, is, will be

carrying—

 

dreams of a better life,

perhaps a husband or a wife,

or freedom, almost

 

touching, joining the ghosts

watching from the coast

history and things, strings

 

of visions with wings—

decisions and stings

flowing with the tide

 

hopes, feathers, trees,

flowing from river to sea,

passing like time,

and then away from me

 

For the NaPoWriMo prompt, Day Nine “list of things,” and for guest host, Linda, at dVerse  who asks us to write about prompt water.