Secrets and Shadows: Musings and Shadorma

Monday Morning Musings:

“Secrets, silent, stony sit in the dark palaces of both our hearts: secrets weary of their tyranny: tyrants willing to be dethroned.”

James Joyce, Ulysses

“It’s a triumph of art and friendship over time. And it’s also very important, I think, to hang on to the things that mean something to you. And they transcend time.”

–Judy Collins, “Love, Friendship and Music: Stephen Stills and Judy Collins Collaborate on New Album,” All Things Considered with Michele Martin, November 11, 2017

“There is regret, almost remorse,
For Time long past.
‘Tis like a child’s belovèd corse
A father watches, till at last
Beauty is like remembrance, cast
From Time long past.”

–Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Time Long Past”


Secret lives

buried deep in walls

or within

chambered hearts,

echoing the beats, flowing,

waiting for release


The garage

old, unstable, and so

down it comes

over the years

it’s housed tools and junk,

a chipmunk or two, amidst the rakes

perhaps a snake.

We were told the wall at the back

was bumped out a bit to fit

a Model T–

But honestly, I don’t know,

and it’s all so long ago.

The roof was shingled many times

and covered with leaves, pollen, and snow

beside it children have played,

and a wandering doe has grazed.

The yard is littered

adorned with its pieces–

fragments of a secret life

forlorn in autumn’s fading light,

a building built to last,

but now

shadows cast, from time long past.


The weather now has turned much colder

as the year journeys to its end,

no more harkening back, it seems to say

though time winds round again

through falling leaves and winter snow

to springtime bud and summer flowers,

and in the buildings here on city streets

there’s blending of the old and new

where cobblestones meet asphalt streets

and on concrete pavements,

shadows cast, from time long past

We see a musical about phone sex and love

set in the 1990s,

just before

(it opens a door)

the Internet really became a thing

and here a young man and woman

don golden chastity rings,

and vow to remain chaste till wed.

But now with their upcoming marriage,

they realize they do not really know each other.

They learn in song

(Well, it’s a musical, so we go along.)

we all have secrets lives and secret selves–

shadows cast, from time long past

FullSizeRender 251

It’s a funny, enjoyable show

a quirky romantic comedy

if not profound

it covers some familiar ground,

but still we talk of how it’s set

in a changing time.

a time now past

when our children were young.

And as day becomes night,

in autumn’s fading light

We see a bride and groom

and should we assume

they have lives kept private and

shadows cast, from time long past?


In the car, we listen to NPR

hear an interview with Judy Collins and Stephen Stills,

old lovers, now still friends,

hanging on to important things

and illustrated with their songs

throughout time

things that last,

shadows cast, from time long past.


I think of my mom and dad

meeting in time long before technology

of cell phones and Internet

and they connected,

once they were young and in love

then they weren’t either

keeping secrets from each other

yet still, I think the love was always there

and she to him said a final goodbye

the night before he died

shadows cast over time, long past


We take my mom to a winery–

“Cross a wine tasting off your bucket list,”

I say.


Here we can sit at a table

order our selections

of white and red



served with cheese and bread

and the atmosphere is convivial,

the conversation, mostly trivial,

but as we move to pizza and more wine,

we’re feeling pretty fine,

we talk of Thanksgiving

and of ancestry

I tell her about my poetry,

she tells me things she remembers–

sitting in her grandfather’s lap

though she doesn’t remember much about him,

and after that he died,

from an injury to his skull,

difficult times from them all

immigrants from another land

speaking a language I don’t understand,

I learned there was a baby brother born

after her mother and her aunts

he died young, seldom spoken of.

In the conversation here

ghosts of ancestors now appear–

shadow cast, of time long past


Then to home

the weekend ended,

secrets shared

journeys taken,

sunshine and shadows, blended,

cast in a circle


through time and

space our souls wander

sharing love

fearing death

casting shadows of time past

long ago and now


We saw TouchTones at the Arden Theatre. We went to Auburn Road Vineyard.

I’ve begun and ended my musing with Shadorma for my somewhat sporadic participation in Eliot of Along the Interstice’s November Shadorma Challenge.







25 thoughts on “Secrets and Shadows: Musings and Shadorma

  1. Secrets are funny things. So often by keeping them the secret is larger than when it’s let out into the world. That’s something that I grapple with in writing my memoir.

      • Oh, I hope you can! Even little tidbits you think are meaningless might help later on. I am finding some disturbing info, but have to proceed slowly on the blog because it would be overwhelming otherwise–and I have a couple of relatives learning through the blog and don’t want to inundate them with too much emotional stuff at once either.

      • I look forward to reading more. Sadly, my mom is getting more forgetful, and she sometimes confuses things, too. She did say that she thought her mom’s family came from a different section of Gomel. I thought she said “Homel.” I just looked that up, and it’s a variation. But here’s something funny–I asked her if she has ever watched “Finding Your Roots.” She said, “I know my roots!” 🙂

      • Hehe. Well, good for her for knowing her roots! 🙂 Write down whatever she says, even if you think it’s wrong. Keep notes on it all. Ask her often in case she gives different answers each time.

  2. I do think walls have secrets. Not always visible. Like our own secrets I suppose. It’s funny, the person I trust least with the truth is so bad at lying…I mostly know what’s being hidden anyway. It’s those things that reside deep down beyond truth almost that surprise, like a long-lost baby brother.
    Are you going to rebuild the garage? (K)

    • Perceptive, Jane. Always, thankful for the wine. 🙂 It was a nice outing for my mom. It’s hard sometimes to find a place that’s accessible for her, but she’s 95, so I’m always aware there may not be that many more outings. We moved into this house when I was pregnant with her older daughter, so I think we’re both feeling a bit wistful about the garage, even though I didn’t care that much about it (if that makes sense). 🙂

  3. Oh, how I am entranced with your Monday Musings, Merril. They fill me up, bring me joy. Family is so important, especially mom! The Auburn winery looks quite fun and snacks delicious.
    My mother’s sister lived on an Auburn Road up until five years ago when she and my uncle moved to Virginia.
    I look forward to my Thanksgiving times with brothers, sister-in-law, Felicia and mom. 💞 Hope your holidays will be peaceful and special, Merril.

    • What a kind compliment, Robin! Thank you.
      We’ve been to Auburn Road Vineyard before, but not for a “table tasting.” It was great for my mom, since she can’t stand for a tasting–plus we got the food, too!

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