Cycles

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” Herman Hesse

 

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Driftwood at Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ.©️Merril D. Smith 2020

 

Midnight owl shadows

rodent in sharp talons—

seed drops on damp ground

 

seed becomes tree

roots link to other roots—

earth secrets shared

 

treetop flutters

crow warns of hawk–

black wings cross the sky

 

charcoal clouds

wind whipped waves–

the snap of a branch

 

branch drifts

time and tide-bleached

rests on riverbank

 

green boughs

lean to kiss the water clouds–

whispers, seeds fall

 

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Reflections on Delaware River, West Deptford, NJ ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Frank has asked us to write a haiku sequence for dVerse. I think haiku are really difficult to write. I’m not sure if this works.  I’m also linking this to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt, using the Herman Hesse quote above as a theme.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sound, the Sight, the Magic, the Light

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Monday Morning Musings:

“Can you fly

I heard you can! Can you fly

Like an eagle doin’ your hunting from the sky”

–Joni Mitchell, “That Song about the Midway” Listen Here.

 

“No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.”

–Billy Collins, “Forgetfulness” 

 

In these days of gloom

dimmed dreary days

of November blues

while in the news, the hints of doom

constant, unrelenting–

 

but then comes the sound

and sight

hundreds of birds, in flight

this murmuration, a delight,

their orienting

 

so breathtaking

shaking me, awaking

all the wonder,

this magic, a gift

drifting from the sky

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flying low and high,

they call in their ancient tongue

(we the earthbound

can’t understand)

and then they go–

but birds seem everywhere,

even in the show we watch–

where the crows are what?

Harbingers of fortune or fate?

Or perhaps they come too late

 

for our planet,

pale dot of blue,

so, I delight

in nature’s gifts

and sights

 

the morning sun,

the moon of silver-white

smiling in benediction

even when we forget

it’s there.

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I cook and bake,

as the days in constant gloaming

take their toll, I want to snuggle

not go roaming

through rain-filled streets

 

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Puddle Reflections on a Rainy November Day , Philadelphia Parkway

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Crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia, from Patco Train

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Rainy Day Reflections, Philadelphia

yet, we do what we must

and so, I write poems with my mother

who only thinks of summer coming

her thoughts drifting through time—

like birds in murmuration flight–

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Writing poems with my mother

and her eyesight

diminished, like the day’s light

her memories uncertain

confused, a twilight zone

of fact and fiction

 

but still we make her laugh

and try to remember what was—

hold mental photographs

of before, then walk through the door

to our other life,

 

husband and wife

we drink some wine

and I remember what I can

hold everything that’s fine

within my mind

 

and see the magic of moon and birds

and the old oak tree

glowing in the autumn gloom

remember how

it holds hundreds of memories

 

listen–

hear it murmur, murmur, murmur

as the acorns fall

in the rustling leaves of brown

covering cold ground

 

where secrets lie

waiting, waiting

for the warming sky–

and I dream

(I heard you can)

we fly.

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And If Always Lives

At Red Bank Battlefield, National Park, NJ--Merril D. Smith

When some brilliant star,

breathing time, flies,

no, lingers long

in after-wake of dark, bleeding sky,

it explores eternity

 

and I look up,

smile at it,

and this vast, dazzly universe

laugh, celebrate life,

but listen to

 

for the ghosts about me–

from that tree, see

on a velvet-flowered breeze?

 

Coloring morning with blushing voices

of secret almost-words–

and if always lives

 

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It took some work, but the Oracle always knows.

 

 

Live and Grow

 

Live, grow, through the greys

hope for, golden rays

that give

life some bright displays

and love some pathways

to live

without them and they,

without risk, some day

 

grow tall, through the frays,

tell a tale that sways,

outlives

hate, instead to blaze

in unforeseen ways–

forgives?

Hope for golden rays,

live, grow, through the greys.

 

Grace is hosting Open Link Night at dVerse.  This is another attempt at a lai noveau.

I walked by the Holocaust Memorial in Philadelphia yesterday, and I was happy to see the Theresienstadt Tree has grown since the last time I saw it.

 

 

 

 

 

Sheltered in Branches

Oak tree ringed

now with red-gold leaves

all around,

still they fall,

but the tree recalls the spring

when buds bloom anew—

 

and laughter

rises once again

as children

climb and play–

and ghosts perch there with the birds

sheltered through seasons

 

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Frederic Edwin Church, “The Charter Oak at Hartford,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

I feel like trees are trying to tell me something lately: the Theresienstadt Tree, the Tree of Life synagogue, and the big, old oak tree in my yard.

I’m posting this for Open Link night at dVerse, even though it’s Open Link morning for me.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thunder and Light: Haibun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wake to thunder. Lightning flashes in silver zig zags across the sky, and then the rain comes—first pelting, then plothering, then fading to a fine mist. Branches fall, weighted by their burdens. Flowers smile as they drink. If only summer storms could wash the world clean, ensorcelling all its inhabitants. I sip my coffee and gaze outside, dreaming of today and tomorrow, wondering at hearts that cannot be enchanted.

 

Verdure of summer,

nourished with morning rainfall

finch sings good morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for magic and green.

 

 

What Was Once

“His mind’s all black thickets and blood”   from Songs of Unreason

 

The oak was ancient                            And he stood there nearby, his mind

once sturdy, but now                          all black thickets and blood

sapped of strength                               clogged

bent by the elements                            frail

but still remembering spring              he smiled for what once was

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a cleave poem for Day 23 of Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, inspired by the work of Jim Harrison.

 

 

 

Oak Tree: Tanka

Palm tree swings and sways,

oak does a stately Sarabande–

no hip hop for her,

she watches the squirrels caper,

pass skills through generations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m having a bit of fun. This is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday using synonyms for dignity and success. I’m riffing on Jane’s poem for the same prompt and our comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Gusts and Buds: Haibun

On the day of the nor’easter, I finish reviewing the page proofs of my book. The sun comes out. I ponder new projects, while watching birds perch and peck at the feeder hanging at our kitchen window—finches with their red feather patches demonstrate the feeder’s pecking order. A tufted titmouse, nuthatches, and even a woodpecker fly in for a snack. Robins congregate in the street, discussing the weather and current events before flying up to a tree to chatter at the squirrels. The days grow longer, and despite the wind and snow, the daffodils are rising from the ground. They are not deterred by icy gusts. Momentary setbacks. They know spring is coming. So do I. I simply have to get through the next snowstorm—it’s coming, too.

 

March’s lion roars,

frost-breath lays a filigree—

budding branches bide

 

 

We’re supposed to get another nor’easter tonight into tomorrow with several inches of snow expected.

I was writing this for

Frank’s Haikai Challenge #23—Spring Gust

But then I saw Victoria’s  prompt for Haibun Monday: tree buds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Sighs of Dreams: Haibun

I woke to hear the wind sighing and moaning, the lonely sound of a train whistle at midnight. The house creaked, like a person turning over in bed, trying to get comfortable. The branches of the maple tree tap against the window. I try not to think of Wuthering Heights. I fall back asleep, my bed creaking like the house, as I toss through strange dreams: a woman with a mission, possibly dangerous. She may have been someone I know, in a costume, in disguise. Then there was poetry, lyrical snippets, now forgotten. Perhaps it was all an eerie visit from my muse.

 

Red gold trees ablaze

light flows through sun and shadow

dark-clothed ghosts hover

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This Haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Tuesday. The prompt words were eerie and costume.