Monday Morning Musings:
“He supposed it was always that way with the dead; they slid away before we knew enough to ask them the right questions. All we could do was remember them, as much as we could remember of them, whether it was accurate or not. Walk the same streets that they’d walked; take our turn.”
Emma Donoghue, Akin
January mornings are slow to wake–
the sun lifts his sleepy head
so slowly from his bed
extending his rays over river and sea
while gulls gather on the shore
and I watch sun and gulls
while walking into the day,
the clouds lifting, rolling tides
that flow into tomorrow
carrying echoes of yesterday
I remember yesterday and look to tomorrow
(the present never is, can never be)
no predictions, we don’t know what comes,
only what was and what might be
as the world circles
some remember yesterdays of horror
survivors, tattooed numbers on their arms,
scarred bodies and souls–
they ask us to never forget–
the tides ebb and flow, days turn to night
within neighborhoods and nations
the pretense– we didn’t know what was happening,
the fear and shame of discovery.
But I have been privileged—
my ghosts mostly benign,
though I hear the ghosts of six million call,
and I wonder how we can ever forget
a world of hate
that hasn’t vanished
where people were—are–
trafficked, enslaved, murdered
simply because they exist.
Is there another timeline
where we are not destroying our planet,
where we don’t say a leader is crass,
but I like what he’s doing–
where facts still matter, where the secrets are exposed?
I watch the river
carrying ghosts and memories
out to sea, out of sight
and the birds hover and land
and fly away again
that flitter through my mind,
the trivial and mundane,
the weighty and bizarre,
mixing like water and dust
raining through my brain.
What will evaporate?
What will stay to form a river
words onto a page?
My daughter and I watch the movie
(laughing and wiping tears from our eyes)
and I think of all the movies we’ve watched
sometimes over and over again–
it seems so long ago now
where she played Little Women with her Barbies
giving Amy, the youngest, like her,
superpowers—and a car—
that she teaches Jo to drive
and in the past
both daughters saw the real Amy’s drawings
still on the walls over a hundred years and many wars later
this past, what I remember, my daughters
existing with the past of the old house—both moving on
as we do.
We drink wine
talk of books, travel, life
time slows for awhile,
we laugh enjoying ourselves and each other–
the crescent moon smiles
her secret smile
as we drive home
into our future
remembering the past.
My musings are a bit late today because my editor had a few final queries about my book, and naturally I had to answer them right away. Last week, Adobe Acrobat ate the page proofs I had worked on, and I had to re-do everything.
Merril’s Movie Club: My younger daughter and I finally saw the latest movie version of Little Women. We both loved it, though we wished older daughter was there, too. The casting is perfect, and we both liked the way the story went back and forth in time. We visited Orchard House when our girls were little.
My husband and I finished the Icelandic drama series, Trapped, which we enjoyed very much. There were many secrets and memories in this series, which also touches on political and social issues.
I finished reading Emma Donoghue’s novel, Akin over the weekend. It’s about a man about to turn eighty who suddenly finds himself caring for his grandnephew and taking him to Nice—where he uncovers family secrets from WWII.
We visited Almathea Cellars.
Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day—the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
I thought that was your house where you lived with the children. Thought, nice place.
Today is a day I turn off from what people think and say. If I hear anyone cast the slightest doubt on what went on the camps, if it went on, how many etc etc I get angry enough to do murder. Your reference is beautifully written. Such horror and still there are nazis, still people who say, Hitler was right. We are sick.
Thank you very much, Jane. I don’t remember Orchard House that well, but for some reason I do remember “Amy’s” artwork there.
I’m glad you thought I handled the Holocaust references beautifully. I didn’t want to trivialize it. And I’m with you about the deniers.
It’s so hard and upsetting to listen to some of the downright ugliness and ignorance that’s spouted.
Yes, it is.
Always lovely to read, Merril. I was considering going to see Little Women – ironically, I had watched the Winona Ryder version only a couple of weeks ago (for the first time) – I might still now.
How anyone can deny the Holocaust is just simply beyond me. I’ve seen survivor’s tattoos – there is nothing like that to bring it all to the real. No ifs about this one.
I think you’d really enjoy the movie, Dale.
The girls and I saw the Winona Ryder version–which I also liked, but this newer one more–when it first came out. And then we watched it many times. I think it was our Christmas movie a couple of times.
And yes, I don’t understand Holocaust deniers–and scary that it’s rising again, along with all the fake news, white supremacists, etc.
I wasn’t in love with the saccharine sweetness of the Winona one but felt this newest version looked better. I’ll definitely check it out.
It is beyond scary that all this hate is rising…
Well, to be fair there’s a bit of saccharine sweetness and moralizing in the book–because that’s what was expected. They play with that a bit though in this movie. There are more overt references to how women were treated then, but it seems believable, rather than anachronistic, if you know anything about Louisa May Alcott.
Full disclosure: I attempted to read the book. Had a cavity before chapter three and could not continue!
I figure one day I’ll return to it. 😉
I shouldn’t laugh at a cavity, but “had a cavity before chapter three” sounded so funny. 😉 It’s a book of its time, but I remember reading it when I was about 10 and crying when Beth died. And younger daughter thought she must have been about 8 when she read it–none of that age-appropriate stuff in our house. Hahaha.
You should indeed laugh! I realise it is of its time and I’ll probably cry, too.
We didn’t read age-appropriate, either!
This is part of he fun of blogging, don’t you think?
Yes, I enjoy these “chats.” OK. I’ll have to explain the entire conversation about age-appropriate with younger daughter to you some time, but for me–I used to “steal” books from all over the house when I was a child, so my older sister’s books, my parents’ books . . .I read everything.
As I do! Hey… I totally get it .. I was reading historical romance by the age of 13. What was my mother thinking allowing me? I think it had frankly broadened our horizons…
. . .and gave us wonderful vocabularies! 🙂 My mom had no idea what I was reading. She really didn’t pay attention. I noticed what my girls were reading, and we discussed books.
Mine did and unfortunately, we never discussed books. I am actually the one who is introducing her to other stuff now…
A friend of mine, with her boys, watch movies of the style you enjoy and they then have discussions about it. I envy that
I’m lucky that my husband likes the strange movies I pick. 🙂
Yes, yes you are!!
Never forget the six million. Thank you for reminding us today.
Also, never forget those families who are incarcerated in camps along the southern borders today – lives in limbo and treated with abuse.
Thank you, Sheila.
Yes, so many times we should never forget–here in the U.S. and in the world. I just couldn’t fit them all into this poem! Thank you for the reminder.
This are beautiful musings, Merril. It was certainly worth the wait. I love the photos of you and your daughter, too.
Thank you very much, Jill. That’s very kind.
My daughter and I had been planning to see Little Women for about a month, but we just couldn’t get together, and then she had suggested visiting this winery after. It was a fun afternoon.
I could tell by the photos, it was a special afternoon, Merril. My mother used to be my movie bud. I miss that. You’re very fortunate. 🙂
I’m sorry, Jill.
There were a few other mother-daughter pairs in the theater.
Usually my husband is my movie buddy–and I’m fortunate that he goes along with all the strange movies I pick (and almost always likes them, too). 🙂
Thanks, Merril. It’s strange, but it’s kind of hard for me to go to a theater without her. Derek and I go once in a blue moon, but he’s not a big movie person. Of course, I have been known on occasion to have him (force) watch a Hallmark movie with me. I tell him it’s so he can brainstorm stories with me. 🙂
Nature mingles beautifully in your descriptions of birds as thoughts flittering and evaporating like rivers. Stunning connections from a deep soul. ❤️
Thank you very much, dear Rose! ❤
Thanks for these musings, Merril, mixing pain and pleasure. Do you ever read back? It’s a great way to record life.
Thank you very much, Sarah.
Do you mean do I ever go back and read my musings? I have recently, and it is fun to see what I wrote about a few years ago.
The waking stanzas are beautiful poetry. The Auschwitz references especially apt. I found myself searching for my late friend’s father in the BBC news programme pictures featuring the death camp from which no sign of him ever emerged.
Thank you, Derrick.
I tried to refer to it without making it trivial. I can imagine many looked for loved ones in such programs. I think it must be even worse not to know for sure what happened. There was a FB group for awhile where an elderly man was searching for his twin brother–both experimented on by Mengele. I don’t think he ever found him.
All my friend had was a photograph of his father.
That is beyond sad.
We’re looking forward to seeing Little Women when it comes here (maybe it has but I rely on Greg to find out). I’m grateful for my nephew who is a high school teacher and who has won awards and fellowships for teaching about the Holocaust. We need more educators like him to help young people remember and keep the deniers from erasing our history. And your poem and photos are so beautiful, they make my heart ache. ❤️
Aww–thank you, Marie!
And thank you to your nephew. My daughter does a Holocaust unit with her 8th graders. NJ requires Holocaust education in the curriculum. Little Women came out at Christmas, so you might want to check the theaters. 😉
I love the quote from Akin. Sounds like a book I should put on my list 🙂
I really enjoyed it. Not a wow, but a quiet pleasure of a book, if you know what I mean.
Yes, I know what you mean. These days I’m less interested in being wowed, more interested in quiet pleasures 🙂
Excellent musings, wow!
Thank you, Resa!