Shadows, Wind, and Clay: Rubaiyat

Monday Morning Musings:

“God, how we get our fingers in each other’s clay. That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of each other.”

–Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Come

“And Guy felt it again—the sense of hostility in the clump of woods east of the house. . .

What chance combination of shadow and sound and his own thoughts had created it?”

Patricia Highsmith, Strangers on a Train


So now, my mother feels her age

and shadows walk on either side

both before and behind, this stage

of life, some accept, others rage.


My own walk, confident, with pride

stepping fast and firmly to ground

with thoughts in clouds and eyes now wide

to watch my mom and match her stride.


This fake spring day, a shy half-smile

timid, like a deer, before it flees

and can’t be seen, but for awhile

we’ll bask in light, as it beguiles


though my mom unaware, she sees

but doesn’t, knows winter is here

leaves dropped and then tossed in the breeze

is age a stage, or a disease?


We go for drinks, daughter’s birthday,

we talk and laugh, I’ve baked a cake

we’ll sit awhile, no lengthy stay

work tomorrow, always the way


I value moments with my child

a beautiful woman, she’s become

with students now that she has styled

wisdom and laughter reconciled


We watch a film set in a war

where women have to hide their hair

and people flee to basements for

there is danger, bomb threats, and more.


Did djinn arrive somewhere upstairs

flying on missiles in the wind?

But look, what is real, what nightmares–

shapes in shadows, sounds on the stairs?



A date day to play with some clay

cold outside, but it’s warm inside,

we turn the wheel, and learn the way

clay becomes bowl–or thrown away.


I say to him look at the moon

as we walk into the light of night,

city to train, and then home soon

for shadow-dreams to lunar tune.


Secret language, a potter’s wheel

spins, shaping it, and us anew

through heartache, and then all we feel

as spring to fall, to age we kneel.

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I’ve attempted something different for my Monday Morning Musings—a Rubaiyat. This is part of the poetry forms series on dVerse.  I’m not sure if this works.


We watched the movie, Under the Shadow, an Iranian movie set during the 1980s in Tehran. I liked it—it’s billed as a horror movie, but there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s on Netflix. Trailer here. We went to the Clay Studio in Philadelphia for a date day. There was wine, beer, food, and instruction. Each person gets to make two pieces (you can actually make more and keep your best two). I’ve never used a potter’s wheel before. We weren’t too good at it, but it was fun. On Tuesday, it was in the 60s F. Today, it’s snowing.




52 thoughts on “Shadows, Wind, and Clay: Rubaiyat

  1. Pingback: This and That | Luanne Castle's Writer Site

  2. You do this so well, I didn’t even notice the form until you mentioned it at the end (which shows how the title went in and out of my mind as well). It suits the way you presented your days as a series of vignettes too. I especially like the one about your mother. (K)

  3. Well, I for one, enjoyed your Rubaiyat!
    How fun to try pottery, as well. Those cakes looked yummy.
    And I thought of you yesterday when I went to see “Edmond” – I don’t know if they will translate it to English but it is the story of Edmond Rostand and how he created “Cyrano de Bergerac” – funny and poetic 😉

  4. I enjoyed your rubaiyat and you kept it going so well, with its theme of clay (going back to the earth). I must admit I prefer your musings in that lovely loose style you have developed with the scattered rhymes and half rhyme, making a chain of thoughts.

  5. You know I’ve starting jotting down the titles of the movies you’ve seen on Netflix 🙂 Lovely poem whatever its form. I see “age as a stage,” not as a disease, but I’m getting older too so I’m biased. That said, there’s the elements of aging that make it feel like a disease, like now when I’m slow to rise from my chair to keep my knees from protesting too much 😉

  6. Your Date Night looks like fun. I think scientists have been asking the same question about age. I wonder if it’s optimism or fear of death that makes them want to lean towards disease rather than a stage of life? I don’t suppose it matters. They haven’t “cured” it yet.

  7. I appreciated your collection of musings, each shedding a little more about you and your life. The form did not feel awkward and I almost forgot about it, reading through your interesting days. I resonated with the second stanza of Tuesday as I now watch my mom suddenly suffer from painful sciatica and other health issues. It’s heartbreaking to see the effects of age on those you love and scary to know that we must face them too.

  8. A joyful journey indeed, and how wonderful that your notebook musings were written this form. I liked /the fake spring day–timid like a deer/.

  9. Hi Merril. I like this journey through your week. I felt welcome and included by your writing in this piece. I really enjoyed the way the change of day walked with different stages in life as represented in your sharings regarding your family. This was like being invited to peek into your personal journal. Very intimate and engaging! Enjoyed it very much!

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