Take Three Things, and Dream

Monday Morning Musings:

Take Three Things, and Dream

Take three things: dazzling sunshine,
a heart, the earth–
toss them about
till your questions have answers,
in that place, meet your dreams, they flutter

Crows, Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, Delaware River

some devoured by vultures, or stamped with regret,
others soaring with promise.
What is, what might be
imparted, parted, part

of a larger truth—
the fabulation of life

the blue horses that dash
from beyond, the secret
that magic is all around us

yet, we reinvent ourselves
over and over, creating new
fantasies and fables, feigning triumph
or obedience, accepting hoaxes,
living in the upside-down

Water Lilies, West Deptford Library Rain Garden

West Deptford Library Rain Garden
Upside-Down World. Reflections in a big puddle

Now take three things again:
heart, sunshine, earth,
ask if but not when
simply wonder, wander
in the middle, till you hear laughter
like champagne bubbles
echoing in pink light, remember–
be steadfast, love fiercely—

Well, this past week certainly was something, wasn’t it? Was it only last Tuesday that we celebrated the solstice?

Then came more revelations from the January 6 Committee Hearings, then a bunch of decisions from the highjacked reactionary Supreme Court, including overturning Roe v. Wade. And amid this, nature just doing what it does, moving on. Sun, clouds, flowers, birds, animals. . .life and death, cycles and circles.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary of many decades—and we’ve known each other more than half a century.

We saw a play on our anniversary (rescheduled because of COVID outbreak in the cast), Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine by Lynn Nottage at the Lantern Theater. We both enjoyed it—funny, clever, social satire. We both thought the second act was much better than the first, and it all came together in a perfect ending. After the play we went to Tria and enjoyed a lovely Crémant for our anniversary, then a Shiraz for me and beer for my husband. We had a cheeseboard of yummy Pennsylvania cheeses.

On Sunday, we ate Indian food and drank some French Champagne along with champagne chocolates truffles. We watched a London performance of Anything Goes with Sutton Foster that I had recorded a couple months ago. Ricky the Cat loved it.

And here’s a mural for Resa: Garden of Delight.

And Sutton Foster in Anything Goes.

Brilliant and Broken

Monday Morning Musings:

Brilliant and Broken

Tall Pines State Preserve

Do the stars remember their songs
before they vanish into black?
Perhaps, not voiceless, they are infusions
pulsing light
through a dark heart,

Early Morning Sun over the Delaware River

a broken heart—again–
scabs picked from patched veins
the once aberrant and taboo ooze–
but we detach, too tired
to clear clouded eyes.

Instead, we strew hope and prayers
like seeds cast into a field
without thought or preparation,
waiting for flowers to bloom,
and turn their heads to the sun.

I think of stone soup—each adding. . .something,
some celery perhaps?
Would it satisfy? Hinder the hate?
Like Mother Trees, could we connect, share
and nourish?

Fresh Summer Produce–Cooking, Trying to Heal

But there’s another storm,
the caliginous sky, a rolling dark sea encroaches,
a fast and furious tide, a flash,
and gone—a recess for
the scent of petrichor and honeysuckle to play,

throwing a blanket over me, filling my senses, and
I hold the moment close,
perfect seconds pass—loved ones, sunshine,
wine, and cats, the pre-dawn choir–
Was that gunshot? A shiver down my spine.

Egrets/Heron –a bit of early morning magic chanced upon

Yet I celebrate the brilliant blush,
the wild blue, the bird-voiced morning,
and if I embrace the ghosts
the laugh that travels
through an unopened window—
reflections on the glass, I know
the future does not skirt the past.

A beautiful window on Pine Street, Philadelphia. Reflections, Past, Present, Future.

I generated a random word list yesterday, and I used some of the words in my musings today. I also used a couple stanzas that I cut from my Oracle poem on Saturday.

We had our second booster shots on Tuesday. Tuesday night I couldn’t sleep, and all-day Wednesday I felt tired, but not sleepy—just heavy and off. It suddenly lifted Wednesday night. We had severe weather alerts on Thursday, but we managed to get in a little bit over an hour at the first Vino and Vibes of the summer at William Heritage Winery. Saturday and Sunday were simply gorgeous, perfect days, as far as the weather. There was another mass shooting. This time in Philadelphia, on South Street, an area full of people enjoying a beautiful Saturday night. I know the area. But on Sunday, we went into the city to see a play at the Wilma Theater, Fairview. It’s a play that’s difficult to describe. It begins like a sitcom and turns into something else. As the director, James Ijames writes, it is “ a sitcom that trips on a wrinkle in the rug and tumbles into the uncanny, the sublime, and the truth. .. Jackie’s play asks us all to imagine together what it means to choose a different path. To practice empathy.”

We walked through Philadelphia’s Pride Celebration, and at Tria, we got great seats for a drum show.

Pride Celebration, Philadelphia–from our table at Tria Cafe. Love is Love Is Love.🌈

Just before 4 AM today I heard something—it sounded like gunshots. I didn’t imagine it because the sound woke my cat, too. (Not my husband.) People set off fire crackers, but at that time?

Merril’s TV Club: We watched the new season of Undone. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed the first season. Time travel, mental illness—it’s totally unique. We started the new season of the Danish series Borgen, an excellent political drama. This is a return to the series after many years. The first woman prime minister is now the foreign secretary, and the plot concerns the discovery of huge amounts of oil in Greenland. Greenland is still under Danish control, so there is a conflict over climate and environmental concerns and the autonomy and prosperity of the people in Greenland.

Hearts and Moons

Monday Morning Musings:

Morning Moon, Snow Moon

We wrap our hearts in fleecy blankets,
Valentine red, while the cold Snow Moon
sings her song, in silver notes falling,
falling, falling—

we don’t feel the movement
only the argent pull—magnetic attraction,
the flow of tides and blood
creating life, rising, and falling, falling

in revolutions around the sun,
in tilted rotations, come
the ebb and flow of existence
from star explosion, falling, falling, falling

and gravity caught and kept,
swept aside, buried to thrive,
the fruits of our earth consumed and reborn,
as falling, falling, falling

species die, yet birds survive.
Now the crows are calling
from trees deep-rooted,
but falling, falling, falling

leaves and seeds fly
as squirrels scamper and scold,
waving their tails, yet never
falling, falling, falling

only climbing higher to see
the deep ancient course
of water as it finds its way
the sea, rising, and falling, falling,

now rain and snow on
withered gardens that grow sun-bright–
and bee breath threaded gold
with pollen, falling, falling, falling

on flowers as they dance–
but even our simple eyes
can see the ghosts around us
falling, falling, falling

all around–
their memories
held in mind and heart, released
to join the stars, rising, falling, rising.

Sunrise

February was birthday month for us—children earlier in the month, and my husband and his mother’s this past week. We splurged and did a virtual Valentine wine and cheese tasting with wine and cheese we picked up at Tria in Philadelphia. It was so much fun—all French wine and cheese, except for one Vermont cheese. We saved the crémant to have with Indian food on my husband’s birthday.

This week we finished watching Inventing Anna (Netflix)—which I mentioned last week, and which definitely held our interest—and watched the first two episodes of the new season of Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime).

We wait to see if there will be war abroad and if our democracy will be toppled by right-wing authoritarians. But still, the moon shines, the days are getting longer, birds are beginning to sing, and spring is coming.

Crocus

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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