Monday Morning Musings:

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.”

–T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

In the last week of the year, in the dark of December, we gather with family. We eat and eat some more. We drink and drink some more. We exchange gifts. We laugh at our goofiness, and we laugh to keep from crying. Laugh for joy, laugh to keep the ghosts at bay.

winter dark lingers

pale sun hides behind grey clouds–

winter birds still sing



There are endless lists—the best movies of the year, the best books, and the famous people who have died. This has been a year of horror for many, and a year of fear for my country. Guns, fires, protests, children abused and dying–and those nonstop tweets. We bury our heads in pillows, blanket our thoughts to pretend this is not happening. I listen to ghost stories because they are less frightening than thinking about what could really happen in this world.

ghosts replay stories

winter always, never spring–

still, sapling sprouts, grows

IMG_0300 2

Theresienstadt Tree


The rain comes again and again. Finally, we walk in sunshine. We walk through city streets decorated for Christmas. We see a movie about Vincent Van Gogh, a tortured soul who created beauty with a ferocious passion. His impressions have lasted longer than he did. He taught us how to see the starry night, to see all the shades of yellow in a sunflower, to see the light and color.

red and green doors call

holiday cheer to neighbors–

winter warmed with smiles

Tonight, we’ll gather with our friends. The friends of decades–from before we had children, and they had grandchildren. We’ll eat Chinese food, and find our fortunes in a cookie. We’ll wish each other Happy New Year, though we will all most likely be in bed long before the bells peal, the ball drops, and the fireworks light up the sky. My impression of the old year—tortured souls and broken lives, missing pieces, like van Gogh’s ear. Yet, there is still beauty. Like van Gogh, we need to find light, and paint it quickly with our souls before it fades away. Remember it in our hearts. My heart swells as the dawn rises on a new day, a new year—awaiting new words.


old words tucked away,

come new year in harmony–

bird on snowy branch

bravely sings in hope of love

soon cherry blossoms will fall


Greeting Dawn    Merril D. Smith 2018


Wishing all hearts filled with joy and peace in the new year.

I’m linking this to Frank’s Haikai Challenge for the New Year prompt. We saw the movie, At Eternity’s Gate. Trailer here.  Husband and I agreed it was not a great movie. I think the parts were greater than the sum, but William Dafoe is wonderful as van Gogh, and van Gogh and his brother Theo’s relationship is depicted with great tenderness.








40 thoughts on “Impressions

  1. A lovely Monday, coinciding with the last day of the year post!
    I wish for you and yours a most wonderful 2019, Merril. More joys, more movies, more plays and books and more shares (coz, yanno, we do benefit from your lovely shares!)

  2. “I listen to ghost stories because they are less frightening than thinking about what could really happen in this world.” Well, now I know why I keep listening to scary stories and thrillers. Somehow, as often as what happens in those stories are, the events pale compared to what is happening in our own country and because of our country. Sigh. But I take comfort here: “Like van Gogh, we need to find light, and paint it quickly with our souls before it fades away.” Happy New Year, Merril, to you and yours!

  3. The sweets (and especially the pie) look delicious.
    I still want to see the Van Gogh movie, but I think we missed the window at the art cinema near here. I’ll just have to watch for it on demand.

  4. Always great to spend time with family – even our elders who might forget who we are after we leave them. (Such is short term memory loss for some.)

    We had some celebrations here, but mostly were quiet for the new year. We did get to watch a movie out, and to old movies, “The Pit and The Pendulum” and the Sherlock (an old version) of the “The Seven Percent Solution”

    I’m actually putting Van Gogh’s ‘Starry, Starry Night’ puzzle together. And I love your Punny T. Surely you have heard that P U is two thirds of a PUN? 😀

    Best to you and yours in this the New Year 🙂

  5. Pingback: #Haikai Happenings #68 (1/5/19): first raven/crow (cry)(hatsugarasu) #haiku #senryu #haibun #tanka #haiga #renga – Frank J. Tassone

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