Monday Morning Musings:

“And may the spirit of this song

May it rise up pure and free

May it be a shield for you

A shield against the enemy”

–Leonard Cohen, “Lover, Lover, Lover”


“Dance me to the wedding now, dance me on and on

Dance me very tenderly and dance me very long

We’re both of us beneath our love, we’re both of us above

Dance me to the end of love

Dance me to the end of love”

–Leonard Cohen, “Dance Me to the End of Love”


My absent daughter

draws the golden peacock

but forgets the fallen feather

can also be a quill

to write the words that dance

upon the page of time,

and from love and grief

and longing

the phrases soar in endless flight–

to bear witness of love and loss

in song to spread the light


In this week

of lies and revelation

we go about our lives

without hesitation

because there are deadlines

and care

for those we love

and responsibility

to share—

but oh, the sky,

the clouds

the air

that shimmers

and glimmers

on dew drops

in the morning light

that sight–


and the honk of geese

in victory flight


and so,

we take a break

forget the cake

I still must bake



upon each passing sight

on this autumn day

the sun is bright

and summer-like

but inside cooler

as the lights dim

and the show begins

the dancers strong

and full of grace

without a trace

of doubt, fluid lines

muscle and bone

move together, alone

upon the stage

they dance

homage to poetic phrase

in each turn or raise

of arm and leg

and yes, I say

it was worth it to pay

though now

I’m even more



I see love–

coming and going

and isn’t that always the way?

spring to summer and fall

and before long

winter will come

and will we dance then at all?

Yes, I think

we will add layers

to layers

and though our hair

will turn greyer

still we’ll laugh

and dance, press



my sister-niece says

I love mom’s belly laugh,

and we all agree

a bright spot

in a gloomy sea

that seems endless–

a beacon, a buoy

we embrace,

when she and the world is screwy.


And though there are fewer

at our holiday table

and we miss those unable

to be with us,

we laugh and talk

and drink our wine

dip apples in honey–

that boy is so funny

the way he loves my challah—

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we eat the meal

and here’s the deal—

time moves on

but our traditions remain

so, there’s brisket and kugel

for the year to be sweet, not dull–

bright gold of pumpkin soup

and before long, dessert—


in and endless loop

the seasons pass

and years dance on

from dusk to dawn

in saraband or waltz

sorrow, love–

with just a bit of schmaltz


we say our goodbyes

and sigh

(though the men roll their eyes)

we need that family compound

so we can all come around

whenever need be.

That could be

easier for all of us, you see


time will tell

somehow, dwell

on the here and now,

we have each other

and sleepy cats—

there is that.


We clean up,

put away each dish

I pause, wish

to dance to the end

of light

as it bends


and twirls

to begin again.



the spirit of this song.



Last night was the start of Rosh Hashanah. Wishing all of you a very sweet year!

One of my daughters posted her drawing of a golden peacock from Jewish tradition and a message about what it means to her. You can see her Instagram post here. 

We saw Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal perform Dance Me, “an exclusive creation inspired by the rich and profound work of Montreal-based poet, artist, and songwriter, Leonard Cohen” (from the program notes). You can see some excerpts here.











36 thoughts on “Dance

  1. These rituals are so important to our families and our cultures I think. Sharing a meal always binds us together. Who is not there is also embraced.
    Wonderful art and meditation from your daughter. The symbols and stories evolve with us.
    Leonard Cohen is also a perfect fit for our times and meditations. (K)

  2. This is an absolutely beautiful post, Merril. So full of joy and love.
    And I am beyond happy you were able to see “Dance Me” and enjoyed it.
    Your daughter’s talents are wonderful (drawing and writing)

    • Thank you very much, Dale. I appreciate your kind words for both my work and my daughter’s. And thank you for promoting the performance when you saw them–it probably made me more eager to see them myself. 🙂

  3. Beautifully written. Got me thinking …. isn’t an aspect of life simply an addition of layer upon a layer? … Hmmmm … a toast with some wine! …. Cheers and blessings to the new year!

  4. Wishing you and yours a sweet year with a dance in every season, even under the layers of winter. And the golden peacock is beautiful- daughter got the talents too I see, and the story telling too 🤗😘

  5. It’s Tuesday and I’m musing about your Monday musings. These lines are stuck in my mind: “I see love– \ coming and going \ and isn’t that always the way?” Somehow they capture for me the whole of the poem but I can’t explain why. Your poem also reminds me of the holidays when I was growing up in New York, starting with Thanksgiving, which often was a bigger deal than Christmas (maybe because everyone was so much more focused on food than gift giving ;)). The memories are bittersweet because on the one hand, I miss the family gatherings; on the other, the gatherings I really missed where at my aunt’s home, not my own. After moving to Florida, we tried at different times to wheedle our way into friends’ Thanksgiving dinners but now, for many reasons, it’s just the two of us. By the way, we watched Remember this weekend. Wow. Christopher Plummer … the whole cast … what great acting. Such a (relatively) short film but we’re still talking about it 😉

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment and close reading, Marie! We were walking past that Love sculpture at UPenn, and I said to my husband it was love backwards and forwards, coming and going. I like Thanksgiving, too–also because it’s about food and family, not gifts, and there’s something about the smell of the food with the fall weather. . . You’d be welcome to come here, if you lived in the area. 🙂 I’m so pleased that you watched and enjoyed Remember!

  6. The peacock introduction was like a fairy story! I don’t know this feast but it sounds like a good excuse for eating and drinking with family and close friends. You do this kind of thing so well. I wonder who whispered the word saraband to you? I used it in a poem I posted on twitter on Sunday! Must be an oracular coincidence 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Jane! I learned about the peacock from my daughter’s post. The “feast” was for Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jewish New Year. I will have to remember to look for your Sunday poem. That’s so funny–but not. 😉

      • How is she bearing up with the season changing? She won’t be able to get outside much I expect.
        I might do a search for saraband and see if there was a convention or something 🙂
        I’ll put mine on my blog. Profiting from internet being back 🙂 can’t concentrate on much when I’m here alone.

      • Yesterday was rainy so we couldn’t go outside, but fortunately there were a couple of activities taking place that day in the building, and she was up for going to them. Yes, when it gets cold, I’m not sure what we’ll do, especially on weekends. Oh–I thought you had put yours up. No wonder why I didn’t see it. 🙂 I’ve got a long writing day ahead, but I’ll pop off and on to check on you (since you’re alone). 🙂

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