Christmas, 2021: Still Plagued

Monday Morning Musings:

Christmas, 2021

Winter Solstice

We celebrate in the long dark days—
in the after–recalling what was—
and almost remembering

how we embraced
without care.

But in the lingering kiss of night,
the air whispers secrets,

and dreams float from fiddle strings
taking form–nutcrackers, marzipan castles–
shapeshifters of hope and fear in cold winter days

Nutcracker from the Pennsylvania Ballet

I baked a few cookies.

as the moon hums,
the house fills with the scent of vanilla, cinnamon,
mulled wine, and chocolate,
laughter echoes from beyond to within
and hereafter,

if you wonder–
we’ve always been in-between

shadow and light, spinning as


the colors of time bend
like giant wings, hovering, circling,
and moving on,

reflecting what is, what was, and what might be.

Puddle Reflection, December ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

I never posted my Christmas poem from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. So, I’ve embellished it a bit here. I hope all of you had a joyous holiday season. It’s so very complicated trying to figure out how to get together right now, even when everyone is vaccinated and some of us are boosted. We saw some of my family on Christmas Eve—testing first, staying masked much of the time. Again, doing the same thing, we saw my husband’s family yesterday, but somehow did not take any photos.


My husband and I had our now traditional cheese fondue and mulled wine for our Christmas dinner. For our Christmas brunch, I made us a Dutch baby, and we watched a show I had recorded from PBS of Alan Cumming with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra telling the full tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. The story tells the origins of the Nutcracker and explains what happens to the girl and the nutcracker afterward. You can read more here.

I looked up from writing this morning to find my dining room glowing pink.

We Find the Light Again and Again

Monday Morning Musings:

“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”
Mary Oliver, “When I am Among the Trees”

Sunrise in December

And now—the winter darkness comes,
the sun a sleepy golden cat, who rises on arthritic limbs
to sight the birds on leafless boughs
and make the holly berries gleam,
before he settles back to nap
in grey blankets glimmered-glowed.

The sun already low in the sky at 3:30 in the afternoon. The Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield

And now—we see the nests above,
the treasures hidden by summer’s green,
and birds chitter-chat, and squirrels flitter past
gathering nuts for their cold repast,
while vultures soar, then bide their time
in silent committees in meetings of time

that flows like the river, light to darkness
to light again,
we touch match to candles, watch them burn–
the miracle is, we’ve endured,
we drink and eat and love, let out a sigh, a cry–
the shadows gather—

Early morning geese, Delaware River

December Sunrise

but so does the light. Bird-chased,
we follow after. There, the trees in cinnamon gowns,
and the glitter of snow on evergreen—there, a flame
brightens, while the sleepy cat says goodnight—
knowing he will wake to love,
while in the darkness we toast, “to life!”

Last night was the last night of Hanukkah. We bought another wine tasting kit, and we tasted a white (German Riesling) and a red (Australian Pinot Noir) while watching the candles burn.

The winter solstice approaches, and there is a lot of darkness in the world–and it’s growing. Don’t let it. Don’t let the anti-democratic forces or the anti-science crazies win. Shine the light wherever you can.

The Clouds Fly By

Odilon Redon, “The Muse on Pegasus

And in the after-fever, haunts and haunted linger–

but with a beat, the dream ends,
and above my bed, the moon still sings
of time and love, and endless things—

of winter aches and purple storms,
of thousands dead, and the forlorn

recalling spring, mourn the light–
today there will be no rose-pink dawn amidst the shadow-spray,
only grey.

Yet cloud-fingers point, as if to say
behold the way the diamond-sparkle plays
on the ripples there–those other days.

Your heart cries why, your head knows when
the honeyed glow comes,
you’ll see the beauty once again.

My message from the Magnetic Poetry Oracle. When I looked outside early this morning, I thought, there’s no rosy dawn today. It’s cold and windy, and the sky was full of dark clouds. The Oracle always knows.

Do you recall?

Shadows and reflections on an overcast morning in December. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2020

Come, ask for color—
a fired sky, a dazzle-day,
brilliant blue and champagne-clouded

like kisses of joy
falling–

go fish for them
in the vast sea of the universe,
storm-tumbled

secret voices, lingering
in ghost-whispered rhythms
exploring

all, how, when,

and if roses recall summer–
and if you do.

Today’s message from the Oracle with a photo from this morning. It’s unseasonably warm, but it was damp and foggy earlier this morning.

After the Longest Night

After the longest night–

float a barque
on moonbeam seas, sail
past stars, glean
ghost-light of
yesterday, interlace dreams
with glimmered visions–

prophetic
muse! Sing aloud the
birth of sun
from shadow-
world–light candles, flicker-flames
to recall your hopes

barque-breezing,
caught in spindrift. Soar
moon-bound, star
searching, un-
barred, braided with sparkling dreams
to glide heart-sworn home.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, so this is a December-flavored shadorma sequence of light and hope for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge using synonyms for Kerfe Roig’s words, mingle and drift. I’m also linking this to dVerse Open Link Night, where Björn is hosting a live event.

Snowflakes and Time

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“Every snowflake has an infinite beauty which is enhanced by knowledge that the investigator will, in all probability, never find another exactly like it.”

Wilson Bentley

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Beneath a frantic cry

a need for love

is carried on the wind

over a thousand summers

through winter storms of snow and ice,

the moon hums

***

There is no present the man says,

only past and future,

no division between beach and sea,

only water and sand

both existing together.

 

“In physics there’s no arrow of time.”

In a place beyond our beyond

the past might be the future,

perhaps time existed

before our universe.

 

My toddler daughter once asked

“Do you remember when I was in your belly

and I hiccupped and that made you laugh?”

A conversation that she no longer remembers,

but that I still do—

 

that moment in time

frozen—no–

like a movie in my mind—

the improbable (could she have remembered?),

the reality

 

of mothers and daughters

over and over through time

we’ve moved my mother to a new facility–

she is exhausted,

she is exhausting.

It is an exhausting week.

Time seems to work differently,

dragging, then suddenly gone.

The world is wind and clouds

I am housebound–

by work

not trapped–

but constrained by deadlines

and circumstances

and January grey.

 

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The snowstorm-that-isn’t comes

and goes–

nevertheless, I cook and bake–

comfort food, candles, and wine

while we watch the trapped Icelandic town

caught by weather and geography,

old grievances and new politics.

The world is weary everywhere

trapped by hate,

mired in ignorance.

 

My daughter says there’s a good musician here,

if you’re not doing anything today?

We’re not

and we go

listen to music, drink some wine–

 

It’s an afternoon out

but inside—away from the wind—

a moment in time, different,

as each snowflake, and ephemeral

but carrying its unique beauty in our memories

 

through time

(whatever that may be).

 

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It’s been a strange week with moving mom and cleaning out her old apartment. While driving, we listened to an episode of the Ted Radio Hour, Episode “Shifting Time,” first broadcast in 2015.

We’re watching an Icelandic mystery series called Trapped. We’re almost finished with the first season, and we’re enjoying it.

Endings to Beginnings to Endings

 

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This may be my mother’s last move. We fold old years into new boxes; rearrange the past to fit the present. But somewhere, in some bit of time-space, the what was, still is. I stare at a painting on her wall. There’s a small red figure among the winter birch trees. Have I never noticed it before, or have I forgotten? It has always been there. I see it now.

 

Silvered bare branches

in moonlight they dream of spring–

leaves fall, new buds bloom

 

A Haibun for dVerse, where Björn has asked us to write about a beginning.

 

 

 

 

Wandering

Lesser_Ury_London_im_Nebel_1926

Lesser Ury, London in Fog, 1926

 

You wander, winter spirits,

in air dusk-dark,

blooms now covered by brown wind-rustle

as I walk, listening to the river

carrying secrets

 

~and poetry of if and why~

 

flows in cycles with the moon–

our world, a song rooted in hope

burning bright,

following stars to the dawn,

rising in birdsong of spring

 

Yesterday was dreary—it looked like twilight all day long, and this morning it’s foggy, and I can’t get myself to do much of anything. I used the nature set from the Oracle this time, and we collaborated on this Puente.

 

In the Darkness of the Year

 

 

Moonglow and star shimmer

light the travelers on their way.

 

Candlelight in windows flicker

a signal, a sign—

 

here we hold darkness at bay

 

for minutes, hours, days

as lovers embrace and sway,

 

finding freedom–a miracle

some might say

 

light comes to stay.

 

 

I’m so totally procrastinating today, so why not write another poem? Here’s a quadrille for dVerse,where Lillian is hosting. She asks us to use the word glow.