The Sound, the Sight, the Magic, the Light


Monday Morning Musings:

“Can you fly

I heard you can! Can you fly

Like an eagle doin’ your hunting from the sky”

–Joni Mitchell, “That Song about the Midway” Listen Here.


“No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted

out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.”

–Billy Collins, “Forgetfulness” 


In these days of gloom

dimmed dreary days

of November blues

while in the news, the hints of doom

constant, unrelenting–


but then comes the sound

and sight

hundreds of birds, in flight

this murmuration, a delight,

their orienting


so breathtaking

shaking me, awaking

all the wonder,

this magic, a gift

drifting from the sky


flying low and high,

they call in their ancient tongue

(we the earthbound

can’t understand)

and then they go–

but birds seem everywhere,

even in the show we watch–

where the crows are what?

Harbingers of fortune or fate?

Or perhaps they come too late


for our planet,

pale dot of blue,

so, I delight

in nature’s gifts

and sights


the morning sun,

the moon of silver-white

smiling in benediction

even when we forget

it’s there.


I cook and bake,

as the days in constant gloaming

take their toll, I want to snuggle

not go roaming

through rain-filled streets



Puddle Reflections on a Rainy November Day , Philadelphia Parkway


Crossing the Ben Franklin Bridge into Philadelphia, from Patco Train


Rainy Day Reflections, Philadelphia

yet, we do what we must

and so, I write poems with my mother

who only thinks of summer coming

her thoughts drifting through time—

like birds in murmuration flight–


Writing poems with my mother

and her eyesight

diminished, like the day’s light

her memories uncertain

confused, a twilight zone

of fact and fiction


but still we make her laugh

and try to remember what was—

hold mental photographs

of before, then walk through the door

to our other life,


husband and wife

we drink some wine

and I remember what I can

hold everything that’s fine

within my mind


and see the magic of moon and birds

and the old oak tree

glowing in the autumn gloom

remember how

it holds hundreds of memories



hear it murmur, murmur, murmur

as the acorns fall

in the rustling leaves of brown

covering cold ground


where secrets lie

waiting, waiting

for the warming sky–

and I dream

(I heard you can)

we fly.








40 thoughts on “The Sound, the Sight, the Magic, the Light

    • The way you are able to transform a day into a poem is uncanny and beautiful. I particularly savor how your brain /heart finds certain patterns of rhymes — “so breathtaking…shaking me, awaking” — to describe your thoughts/feelings/experiences/observations. I also enjoyed the Joni Mitchell song, which led me into the associative land of YouTube, where even MORE videos by and about Joni began popping up after “The Song About The Midway.” THANK YOU.

      • Thank you so much, Will! I appreciate your lovely comment, and I’m happy I sent you off to a Joni world. Her voice sounds so young here. I also really like Bonnie Raitt’s version of the song.

  1. What a great piece! I love the musings and wonderings of life and the past, present, and future. Aging parents present a unique challenge. I love this stanza…
    but still we make her laugh
    and try to remember what was—
    hold mental photographs
    of before, then walk through the door
    to our other life,

  2. The lines mentioning your mother resonated with me. Beautiful musing, Merril. You know I love birds, but the black birds…and that many, sometimes scare me. I suppose I watched The Birds one too many times. 😉

    • Thank you, Jill. You know, in that one photo, they look scary, and of course I thought of The Birds, but in reality it was so awe-inspiring.
      BTW, did you ever read the Daphne du Maurier story The Birds is based on? Much different in tone–but probably scarier in a way because there’s none of the campiness of the movie.

  3. I too love the mirror photo. And the talk of grackles made me think of my beach grackles.
    I saw a murder of crows last week, but it was out my window. They always inspire awe, but to be in the midst of one…
    Poetry was something my mother responded to even when she could no longer communicate. Thanks for reminding me. (K)

    • I like listening to the crows.
      I’m pleased my musings brought back a memory for you. My mom had fun with the poetry writing–something different. She can’t see well enough to do crafts or play games. I also played her the latest Randy Rainbow video. 😉

  4. You and I can appreciate all the birds mean to us. My daughter otoh would think these birds Hitchcockian. So strange to me. Your baking is always insurance against the gloom!

  5. Oh, what a sight those birds are! I’ve watched The Birds many times but I’ve never had a fear of birds attacking me, only wonder. (Although,I have seen mockingbirds attack people and cats that get too close to their nests.) This here: “we do what we must” … rings so true. We do what we must but at least some of that “must” is comforting and creative like baking and writing poetry with your mother. I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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