Songs of Always

Odilon Redon, Orpheus (c.1903-1910)

Songs of Always

Black-blown sky to blue–
the music-seer asks
if dreams are the ships we sail at night
on purple-shadowed seas,
and what are the songs the rocks sing?

He has known storms,
and rain like honey,
sweet with the scent of roses,

he has death-wandered,
emerged to witness
a sparkle-symphony above,
now he whispers love-ballads and lullabies,
star-breathed tunes of time-dazzlers, the rhythms of what is and what might be.

My poem from the Oracle, who, of course, knows the myths of many cultures. Readers sometimes wonder if the image or poem came first. In this case, it was a combination. The Oracle gave me words and phrases, black-blown and blue, if dreams, storms, honey, etc. I used “fiddler” in the my first draft, but as I was writing, the poem seemed to be about Orpheus, so I changed it to music-seer.

Garden at Giverny

Claude Monet, The artist’s garden at Giverny (1900)

Garden at Giverny

Tree-strewn, dappled light, a caress
of ancient star-song
rests in pink-

of ancient star-songs–
echoed light

echoed light’s

For Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday Ekphrastic Challenge, I played with the Fibonacci (or Fib) form, reversing it (8, 5, 3,2,1,1) and then repeating patterns, lines, and words. The prompt image is the above painting by Claude Monet.


Odilon Redon, The Boat


A journey–
indigo sheen above salted grey,
fish-tailed dreams scattered
in the shift of corona-glow–
the notched tally swells
as our bellies shrink,

till light-joy seeps
from the sky’s shadow-seams,
shimmering rays petal-open
in kaleidoscopic array, grounded

before us, a tapestry, a perfumed carpet
sways to wind-breathed song.
No longer lost. This garden, home.

For dVerse, where we are asked to use forms of word play.

The Cotillion

The Cotillion

On our blue planet
a-tilt, wobbling, rotating,
and revolving,
sky-shadows shimmy
in the slanted light
of spring—

the moon-pulled tides swell
and undulate,

and above, the blue or red-shifted
stars glimmer, but
nothing ever stands still—

all dancers
in a cosmic cotillion
the never-ending-dance.

A quadrille for dVerse. Mish has given us the prompt word, “shift.”


Monday Morning Musings:

“If you could tag each of the atoms in your body and follow them backward in time, through the air that you breathed during your life, through the food that you ate, back through the geological history of the Earth, through the ancient seas and soil, back to the formation of the Earth out of the solar nebular cloud, and then out into interstellar space, you could trace each of your atoms, those exact atoms, to particular massive stars in the past of our galaxy. At the end of their lifetimes, those stars exploded and spewed out their newly forged atoms into space, later to condense into planets and oceans and plants and your body at this moment.”
–from Alan Light
man, The Transcendent Brain, quoted in The Marginalian


Perhaps I make tenuous connections,
hear the light-sound waves
of an acoustic moon, a push-pull
of tide creation and slowing rotation.

Nothing is constant, one day Earth and Moon
will part, lovers who have drifted too beyond salvation,
but for now, we revolve and spin, see only her bright face,
never her dark side,

and perhaps that is why she sings,
adding her voice to the universe. One voice in an infinite,
ever-changing choir of nebulous nebulae and exploding stars
that have formed us, and to which we return—

but this is a point, maybe the point
in this dashing, flawed, incredible world
where our own star rises and sets, and robins trill–
where I feel both wonder and tranquility
in spring’s transcendent glow, reflected
a thousand times, light finding a way
through space and generations, sky to river and back again.

I used some of Kerfe’s Random Words for my poem.

Today is the first day of spring. Winter has been trying to hang on the last few days with cold winds, despite the sunshine. The temperature was only 29 F when I woke up this morning, but we will warm up to the 50s and have some days of 60+ this week. The days I walked outside, I saw incredible light. Meanwhile the former president is trying to stir up his supporters (and collect money for his legal bills) and the GOP continues to pass or try to pass laws that will harm women and promote ignorance. Thank goodness for daffodils.


Last Tuesday was Pi Day. I don’t bake pies very often, but this apple crumb pie was delicious.

We had sci-fi Saturday with our homemade pizza (the heart-shaped one just came out that way), our Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutter, and an episode of the new Picard and old Next Generation. And more lentil soup as the cold winds howled.

March Aubade

La Naissance de Vénus ( The Birth of Venus ), pastel painting by Odilon Redon ( c. 1912 )

March Aubade

Light like music
the sky sings–
now the fiddler recalls the pink
beneath the crows-wings-clouds,
and you watch the water gleam

far from the madding crowd,
feathers fluff, waves ripple,
nature’s extravagant beauty
in each tiny thing a thousand times,

asking if, but
you watch the moon smile
and settle onto the river like a ship–
now the shadowed rocks turn rosy,
a key change, the morning song rising.

My message from the Oracle. This one came right away.

My poem, “Horses,” in Acropolis Journal

I’m pleased and honored to have my poem, “Horses” in Acropolis Journal, Issue 6, “Ancient.”

My thanks to Editor Louise Mather and Guest Readers: Letitia Jiju & Matthew M.C. Smith. My poem is paired with a stunning photograph by Sylvia Santiago. I am fascinated by cave paintings and those who painted them.

Merril D. Smith – Horses

“The day we saw the horses,

like apparitions, pale against the rocks,

time froze. . .”

You can read the rest of the poem, here. But do please check out the rest of the issue, too!

Freefalling: Prosery

Claude Monet, The Cliffs at Etretat


A twig snaps. Is that young backpacker following me?

I turn, but no one is there. I go back to my hotel, noting everything and everyone, like a cat alert and waiting to leap. Trust no one, I think. I mention to the hotel clerk that I’m off to Avignon to visit an aunt. I take a taxi to the train station, then from there, another taxi to the airport. I book a flight to Bonn; using an alias, I book another flight to London to gather more puzzle pieces, hoping for a fit.

On the plane, I think of how I once jumped, freefalling in space, in time. I sit thousands of feet above the sea remembering. How much I thought was true was not. Can one love an enigma? Enigma. Paul. Something he said on the cliffs. What was it?

I’m hosting dVerse today. My prompt is “In space in time I sit thousands of feet above the sea” from May Sarton’s poem,”Meditation in Sunlight”

This is a continuation of my spy series. The first line was the last line in the previous episode, which you can read here.


Monday Morning Musings:


“Straight up through the sky above this road right now,
The galaxies of the Cygnus A cluster
Are colliding with each other in a massive swarm
Of interpenetrating and exploding catastrophes.”

—From, Pattiann Rogers, “Achieving Perspective”

Hoaxes dropped like scat—
watch where you walk—
rabid creatures lurk waiting to infect
the gullible. They wear chips on their shoulders,
bray like donkeys, wait to crush all non-believers.

Toothsome treats
savor them, as if there will be no more
fruit brought from away, cooked and sweetened,
no essence of grapes harvested and fermented.
Then and now intersect. For a moment, it’s everything.

Dirt is what a worm knows—
the feel, the taste, the way wet and dry particles
cling differently–soil, mud, earth—it’s the world.
The robin is a giant who knows sky, trees, ground,
catches the worm, swallows it.

Geese squabble like Jets and Sharks
Turkeys look surprised to cross the road
Is it truly spring because I heard a mockingbird sing?
Crows know the answers
to the questions we never ask.

Here is magic, river-caught sparkle,
blue-sky where branches reach up to catch bird-beats
and wing-brushes—here,
where feathered clouds sweep away haze,
and you and perfect daffodils raises your faces to the light.

I used some of Kerfe’s random words for this cadralor.I should mention, that hopefully if you click on the photos in this post, you’ll see captions.
Spring is definitely on the way, despite this past week’s cooler temperatures. I really did hear a mockingbird putting on a concert a few days ago. I’ve seen some around, but this was the first medley-of-my-greatest-hits concert I’ve heard since last summer.
Oh—just now—birds singing pre-dawn, even as the heat clicking on.

We’re getting rain today, and possible snow tomorrow, though I think that will probably be north or west of us.

We walked at Tall Pines yesterday.

Merril’s Movie/Book Club

We watched the new Luther movie, but really you shouldn’t. (You’re welcome.) So many good actors wasted in a movie that’s mediocre at best. Some movies you like more when you think about them later, not this one.

We also watched Women Talking, which both of us thought was excellent. But you know, it was women talking, so if you only watch action films, it’s not for you. A brilliant ensemble cast with deft direction by Sarah Polley. Although the story is loosely based on events that occurred in an extremist Mennonite colony in Bolivia, in the movie, the place and religion are never named. This gives it a timeless feel—these could be women almost anywhere in any time. The violence is never shown, only some blood, a black eye, and a pregnancy. Women Talking was free on Amazon Prime this past weekend.

I didn’t watch the Oscars, but I was pleased that Everything Everywhere All at Once won best picture, and Michelle Yeoh, best actress. I will watch this one again—and it is sort of an action film, but so much more.

Books: I finished the most recent Louise Penny book, A World of Curiosities. I haven’t read all her books, but this one was on the shelf at the library, so I picked it up. The librarian told me that she didn’t care for this one in the series, which she thought was all over the place. The beginning does jump back in forth in time, but that doesn’t bother me. Penny uses a real-life event that took place in Canada, and one that she covered as a young journalist to argue for anti-gun measures and discuss systemic misogyny. The mistaken identity plot device seems a bit thin here. It’s probably not her best, but I still enjoyed it. It’s the humanity of Gamache and his friends that comes through to me once again.

One last thing. I’m participating in a launch of Our Own Coordinates this Friday (3 PM my time). I’ll be reading my poem, “Sylvia.” You can get a free ticket here.