On the Fringe

Monday Morning Musings:

“The fringed curtains of thine eye advance, And say what thou seest yond.”

–William Shakespeare, The Tempest

“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through fabric of illusion.”

–Ansel Adams, Ansel Adams: An Autobiography

Once a star devoured a universe

long haunted by dark clouds

then breathed to wake a new one


~with laughing kisses~


we awoke

though we hadn’t known we slept

or how close we’d been to the edge


~of time, an illusion~


that we cherished then

but now the blue horses prance

and caramel breezes drift from the sea


~carrying past and future~


through the window of time

and beyond. Remembering

what we forget, carrying our dreams.


Twenty-nine dead in thirteen hours

the headlines say, we

offer thoughts and prayers, and flowers


of blood bloom on streets and malls.

How tragic, we say

and go about our day


and the death bell tolls

again, and again

and we wonder when


it all will end.

When will we wake

and find a way to send


away the men who profit from hate–

who stoke the fear—

and say what people want to hear,


the lies that trip from poisoned tongues

and damage life, and old and young–

the fringe chorus becomes the loudest sung.

A macrocosm of death surrounds me,

but sheltered in my smaller world

I want to see, to flee, to be


What? I’m not sure,

though there is some allure

to buried heads when all around


is death and dying.

And we laughing, sighing, and crying

as my mother weakens


speaking clearly, or not–

each day different, caught

adrift, she smiles, sleeps


but keeps

on going. Through shallowing deeps

of ocean-mind


that flows in and out,

sweeping the beach to turn about

and leave treasures on the sand.


But fleeing this land

we visit friends,

who offer helping hands


and open hearts

to listen, as we talk

and we eat, then walk


on a summer night,

there’s music and friendship–

sometimes things are right,

sometimes there is light

in the darkness–

the stars twinkle diamond-bright


against the sapphire sea,

and the sun rises, and I see

promise in a day.


We go on our way

to the fringe

and back, we see a play–

OK, perhaps we see six–

(One even had magic tricks)

in this blueberry town,

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we walk up and down

the streets, find food to eat,

and clap from our seats


for actors and singers

and our smiles linger

from some.


We avoid the tempest

from our seats inside,

on stories sail and ride.

But it’s fringe,

some need a tinge

more polish, perhaps.


We’ll see what happens

next year–

if, when, we’re here–


as time laps,

racing to the edge

of eternity, with no pledge


of what will be,

there on the fringe

of eternity.


On Saturday and Sunday we went to the New Jersey Fringe Festival in Hammonton, NJ, “The Blueberry Capital of the World.”

































35 thoughts on “On the Fringe

  1. “though there is some allure / to buried heads when all around / is death and dying.” I definitely felt like burying my head this weekend. More than fear is the sense of helplessness. For years, we’ve been asking “how many more must die” before Congress (or rather, Senate Republicans) take action. Often I feel they are biding their time as each of us collapses under the weight of so much violence, buries our heads to deafen the screams and blind us to the pain. Any action they take now (and action they must take) will still be too little and too late.
    And for you, there’s the added layer of your mom. I imagine it might be difficult to feel much joy in your weekend events, but you have to find the good in the world and embrace it. You–we–need that.

  2. Usually your musings seem to me to follow a thread of thought, eddying around a theme. This one is more like a collage, starting with that gorgeous puente of dreams, then your underlying thoughts surface, the state of the world, your mother, and the everyday pleasures that keep your mind fixed on the here and now, for you. Lovely and thoughtful work.

  3. I’m having major WP issues this morning. I was finally able to see your slideshow of wonderful photos. I don’t know how you embed that into your posts. I like it. Prayers for your sweet mother, Merril.

  4. You did a sensitive weaving of musings and your Fringe theme. Glad you found solace with friends, loving husband, plays and music, Merril.
    I was awake when this Dayton, Ohio tragedy news event happened at one am. I cried, my youngest daughter once attended and graduated from University of Dayton. This area is a historical, “gentrified” district. His sister was killed by the shooter. No participation (for me) in social media from wee Sat. hours until today. The families in Walmart lives changed by hate. . . If only the 9 minutes President Trump speech could be believed and put finally into action!

    • Thank you, Robin.
      I didn’t hear about either shooting this weekend until hours after because I wasn’t checking the news while we were at the Fringe Festival. Somehow it makes it seem worse, or something when you’re familiar with the area. I have no faith in anything dt says.

  5. I didn’t want to send a personal message on your texts, but my heart is saddened by hearing of your mother’s weakening and being closer to the edge of darkness. I believe your family’s strong love and friends’ lights​ will help ease this transition. . . My hope would be: May it be possible for healing, Merril. . . ✨🤗

  6. A most thoughtful and wonderfully woven poem, Merril.
    I can’t wrap my head around these tragedies that happen over and over. Why the US refuses to look at other countries’ dealings of situations like these and being inspired to do the same is beyond me. Of course that Association is way too powerful. As long as it remains in power, no matter who is at the top will be powerless.
    We have a Fringe Fest in Montreal too – a month or so ago. One year I shall actually attend…

    • Thank you so much, Dale. I appreciate your kind words. I wasn’t sure where I was going to go with this today. 🙂
      Yes, the NRA is very powerful, and it shouldn’t be, nor should politicians be beholden to it.
      There is a bigger Fringe Festival in Philadelphia–it goes on for a few weeks and in venues all over the city. We may go to some. This NJ one is fun because it’s small, and all the venues are within a few blocks.

      • Funny how that works… 🙂
        They are way too powerful.
        Oooh… how fun to have someone to drag with you to the Fringe 😉 I have a friend of mine who goes with his wife every year. I don’t know how many they see but it is amazing.

      • For the Philadelphia one, we may see a couple plays, but this year especially, we can’t go to many. One of the contributors to the book I’m working on performed her play at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer.

  7. There’s a trance-like quality to this, Merril – or perhaps it is just its effect on me. Pointless deaths before time and a loved mother coming to the end of hers – ‘on the fringe of eternity’.

  8. SO many thought-provoking thoughts and suggestions and feelings here. First, sorry that your mom weakens. My hope for her (as for my mom) is that they see the fringe of infinity as they grow closer to it. That they feel the security of joy and love within. The fringe is a beautiful allusion to the veil of what we don’t understand – of the unseen, right in front of us.
    But the fringe of those who hate is close at hand. May we all not hide under a fringe of distaste, but stand up to what’s right. And fight for what just makes sense in this time of violence that is senseless.

    • Thank you very much, Pam for your kind words, understanding, and hopes for the future. We’re pretty sure my mom is dying, but it could be days, weeks, or months.
      And I’m scared for our country. It seems those who were once on the fringe are given prominence now.

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