Circling: Different and the Same

Monday Morning Musings:

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

Songs of ancient glowing flow
from stars to river,
the moon hums sweet and slow–

Ospreys Circling the Morning Moon

the language of clouds and light
and shadow-shapes, the drape
of flowered branches, the white-winged flight

Egret. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

of egret, and the honking geese–
all these feathered things—the sight
of nature, calm, at peace.

We dream as the moon sings
wake to talk in bright sunbeams
of family, books, and everything

mostly trivial, perhaps profound–
in hindsight are we any wiser,
than those underground?

We venerate them, heroes and saints—
but none are perfect
and whitewashed history paints

such a lovely story.
Forget the horror, remember
only glory

But reflections from the past—see?
The world circles. We’ve been here before—
Look at the glass, remember that tree.

Reflections in the Windows of the Merchants’ Exchange, Philadelphia
“My” willow at Dock Street, Philadelphia

So much different and yet the same–
our lives, the city—still,
we’re glad we came.

This was a strange week—stormy weather and tornado watch on Thursday. Then the weather was beautiful. For anyone who is keeping track, I finished the history chapter I was writing (Sex in Eighteenth-century Philadelphia) and sent it off to the editors on Saturday. That afternoon, my husband and I walked around Old City Philadelphia for the first time since the pandemic. I bought some spices at the new Penzey’s store, and we went to Tria for wine and cheese, which became dinner. I kept saying walking around the city was strange–different and the same.


Merril’s Movie Club: We watched three movies this week. Cousins (Netflix) a story of three Maori women who are cousins. It’s a story of family being separated and found again. We both liked it, and of course, New Zealand is beautiful. There are similarities to the treatment of indigenous people in the US and Canada. We also watched A Call to Spy, based on the true story of women who were spies in WWII. We both liked this one, too. It’s a story that most people do not know about. My favorite movie of the three was The Fare (2018, free with Amazon Prime), a pretty much unknown low-budget indie film. It looks and has the feel of an old Twilight Zone episode. Harris, the cab driver picks up Penny. There’s an instant connection (these two actors definitely have chemistry), and then she disappears. We discover they’re repeating this loop over and over. But this is not Groundhog Day. To say more would spoil it, but it’s a unique take, and we both really liked it. Derrick will be pleased to know we ordered a ton of Indian food last night, and we’ll be eating leftovers tonight.

Fleeting Impressions

Monday Morning Musings:

“Painted portraits have a life of their own that comes deep in the soul of the painter.”

–Vincent van Gogh, 1885

 

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Angels dance across the sky

kissing the grass with morning dew–

there, a door opens,

there, a door closes

ephemeral as a ghost.

Do you hear the belly laugh

emerging from the silence?

It is wild and warm,

life.

***

Impressions of a week,

moments stored, like snapshots

a truth we seek, we speak

 

of how my mom is weak

our lives tied-up in knots,

and the world is often bleak,

 

but we take a long walk

by fountains and statues,

we talk

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Swann Memorial Fountain, Logan Square, Philadelphia

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“Social Justice” Philadelphia Museum of Art, Association for Public Art

of family, admire brushstrokes and dots

in bathers, poplars, and fields–

impressions formed from all these spots.

I want to be in this scene

I say, and wonder what it’d be like—

I dream. . .

 

but we walk past the sycamore trees,

an urban oasis, cool in the summer heat

from the welcome breeze

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Rodin Museum, Philadelphia

in the garden, a rabbit darts

and bees flit, while birds sing

perhaps all patrons of the arts?

 

The Impressionists would enjoy

the gardens here, I think.

As we walk, I see a little boy

his shirt, says “Just Do It,”

and he looks eager to—

my impressions flit . . .

 

It’s a beautiful July day.

We drink wine, eat cheese,

wanting a moment to stay

 

here, in a bit of peace,

sitting, dreaming, a sidewalk café

(though the texts don’t cease)

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Tria, Washington West, Philadelphia

we drink wine and beer,

eat luscious cheese,

and find some cheer that we’re here.

Then a day with our daughter

(more wine and cheer)

she tells me how her father taught her

and her husband how to fix things.

and we talk of friends and dreams,

and how funny it is, the way life brings

 

us to these moments, and all the feelings—

love and tears, dogs, house, spouse—

the roller-coaster ride that sends us reeling

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and hallucinating. Yet we stop,

read a book, sit here

in a pleasant, tranquil spot. . .

 

Impressions, fleeting

they come together

completing

 

somehow, my life.

Impressions–look, see

forget the moments of strife—

 

there, the lucent moon sails high

her ship glowing

across the sapphire sky.

Morning Moon, June 2019, Merril D. Smith

 

. . .and there are cats.

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