Lovely Bright, The Sight


Monday Morning Musings:

“How clear, how lovely bright,

How beautiful to sight

Those beams of morning play. . .


Ensanquining the skies

How heavily it dies. . .

How hopeless under ground

Falls the remorseful day.”

–from A.E. Houseman, “How Clear, How Lovely Bright”



The line, the flow

the glow

of life, scattering


leaves, the gathering of nuts and seeds

(the sky bleeds)

reflecting the spattering


of wounds, the broken glass

before the gas

and rustlings


of war and wind

the leaves are thinned,

but hear them crunch and crackle


as squirrels scamper and play

in the fading light of autumn day

and the birds fly—geese and grackle—

and hawks and vultures soar

before the train comes, roars

down the tracks


taking me somewhere—

up and down, stairs

we go, into the wind,


the boat sails

and what tales

might it have, of rivers or sea?

Delaware River from Patco train heading to Philadelphia

Delaware River from Patco train heading to Philadelphia

And is there a lighthouse, with ghostly

glowing and horn blowing, or mostly

sunny skies?


Time must sail, too

and we a sometime crew

walk through history


18th Century garden on site of Benjamin Rush’s House, Philadelphia

how can it be otherwise,

the lows and highs

of our own lives, the mystery


of others–we see a groom and bride

and I hope they lovingly glide

into a life of love and joy


A wedding party taking photos at “my willow” at Dock Creek, Old City, Philadelphia

(Pause, we drink coffee and wine

stop for a time—

but time is coy)

and autumn comes cold and dark

but there is beauty, even if it’s stark—

see the moon rise over fields stripped of grain


Moonrise over a South Jersey field, November.

glowing, humming—this autumn sky

and the clouds and time

the time before the rain, snow, the train


of time. The movie train that circles

through the frozen world, almost eternal

but the cost


a cautionary tale

of where we might sail

and is our world already lost?


Crow calls

the remorseful day falls

setting underground


in fiery ball, unheeding

the world goes on, speeding

and we spellbound.


But I don’t celebrate bleeding—

or ferocious gods, the leaders leading

into destruction–


let poetry fly

through vast haunted eternity, die

the war-fever. Find a new function


for our minds and hearts

in words of love, kindness, and arts

that soar with feathered wings–


how clear, how lovely bright

the sight

of what could be, of hope that sings


as the walls tumble down.



This was a week of elections, cat dental surgery, the anniversary of Kristallnaught (November 9, 1938), and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. In the U.S. today is Veteran’s Day. It was formerly Armistice Day, but of course, war has not ended. I respect all who have served and honor all those who have given their lives in serving their country. While someone like Hitler had to be stopped, it would be better if people did not let such people gain power.


For Merril’s Movie Club: We watched Snowpiercer, a 2014 movie we had never seen, but since we recently saw Parasite, and it is an earlier movie by the same director, Bong Joon-ho, we decided to watch it. It’s on Netflix. This one’s in English, and it’s much more of an action movie than I would normally see. Like Parasite, the movie covers the issues of class and climate,and there was definitely much to think about. Overall, we both liked it. There is also fighting and bloody scenes though, so be forewarned. We saw Lighthouse in the theater. It’s also in English. I know, strange, right?  (Don’t worry, we’re still watching Black Spot, so reading subtitles there.).  Great acting, beautiful black and white cinematography. Very strange, surrealistic movie of two lighthouse keepers on an isolated island. Some of the dialogue is taken from Melville and lighthouse keepers’ diaries. It’s somewhat similar in style to his previous movie, The Witch.




47 thoughts on “Lovely Bright, The Sight

  1. Like you, I have trouble with the 11 November. As a commemoration of the ending of WWI, the ending of the killing and the hope of a lasting peace it’s necessary and moving, but since the wars didn’t end its meaning has got blurred and seems somehow to be more of a tribute to the military dead, their ‘sacrifice’ without any allusion to why or how or what went wrong.

    Sailing is so much more relaxing that that train ride. We watched that film a few years ago. Son is a fan. I liked it though it stopped me sleeping afterwards.

    • Yes, you are right about November 11. I happened to walk by a Veteran’s Day parade that was held, not this past weekend, but the weekend before for some reason, and till I realized what it was, the militarism really scared me.
      I’m not a sailor, but watching sailboats is certainly more relaxing. 🙂

      • I know they were all human beings with loved ones, but it seems to me that there’s a difference between the death of a conscripted 16 year old and that of a professional soldier. All the flag waving and military parades are for the latter, not the kids dragged from their mother’s arms or the men with three of four children at home.
        I understand that it’s hard for families to accept that their son/husband/father died not for an ideal but because of a complicated system of alliances, and that they didn’t want to die, after the first flush of enthusiasm they had to be conscripted. They didn’t give their lives, they had their lives stolen from them. It’s something I think every year and it makes me wince every time I hear about the ‘sacrifice’—they were sacrificed, yes, they didn’t have a choice. We should celebrate the stopping of a conflict not the great military machine that makes wars possible.

      • Such a crazy system, too. So many here in the U.S. enlist in order to get college paid for. Son-in-law might never have gone, if it wasn’t paid for, but he also has PTSD from 3 combat tours, and he could easily have been killed. I think he and others like him deserve every benefit they can get, even while thinking the whole system is horrible.

  2. Wonderful poetry, beautiful photos and it’s funny, I was searching for something to watch and a friend suggested “Modern Love” which is surprisingly not too sappy…
    I’ll be looking into your offerings, of course.

  3. “let poetry fly / through vast haunted eternity” Your poetry often makes me feel like I am flying through time and over country 🙂 My husband was fortunate enough to “select” the military branch he preferred when he was drafted. He wasn’t about to let the choice be made for him. He didn’t want to go to Vietnam, was afraid it would be a death sentence so he joined the Navy and was navigation engineer in P3s, surveilling Russian submarines. Still, he had a couple of close calls. He believes in serving his country but he’s protested these subsequent “operations.” I’m proud of him for serving but also for exercising his right to protest when he believes our country is wrong … which sadly it frequently is when it comes to “sacrificing” the lives.

    • Thank you very much, Marie!
      Thank you to your husband for serving. My mom’s father served in WWI–his ticket to citizenship. He did not see action though. My dad’s eyesight was too poor for him to enlist during WWII. Son-in-law is a combat vet Iraq and Afghanistan. He deserves all the benefits he gets from the government, but such a cost our young men and women pay.

  4. So lovely Merril thank you .. no doubt we all have family, friends and loved ones who’ve been snatched by the vagaries of vulgar wars .. I loved the tempo of this … even a slight march to it?

  5. Your willow is so beautiful and I love the ginko leaves (with what looks like a smattering of oak and maple) scattered on the bricks. “Let poetry fly…” Yes, please.

  6. I always dive DEEP into your poetry. I guess because your poetry helps me “go deep” and swim with the watery universe. Time IS coy, isn’t it? So much insight here – I’m back to read it all again. And again.

  7. Merrill! Oh I needed that poem today. Just checking in after a long hiatus – a lot has happened and I am in the middle of remodelling hell at our rental place so I can’t check in as often as I might like…

    No tomcatting chairs – but I’ve a few stray tomcats to feed daily!

    • Hi Shuku Li! Thank you so much for stopping by! My life has been crazy, as well for the past few months. I did write another tomcatting chair poem at one point. . .:) Good luck with the remodeling. That sounds like a lot of work.

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