Heroes, Truth, and Lies

Monday Morning Musings:

“If we both describe the same thing at the same time, will one of our descriptions be more true than the other?”

–Rajiv Joseph, Describe the Night



The sun rises each day

truth, whether we see it or not

light bending through air

a neon orange ball, perhaps

a tangerine on fire—


does the description change the fact–

a rose by any other name, and all that?

The sun, a fiery ball in our sky,

the horizon, the end of all we can see

of a world that goes on and on


through space and time.

Now a whisper of spring hovers–

a bit of honeyed-light

through dragon-flamed clouds,

but is winter waning



or waiting, gathering strength to roar

with gaping mouth and jagged teeth

sending its icy breath to freeze the world,

my world, turning it white,

the sun then but a hazy memory?


Hazy January sun through trees off of Lincoln Ave, Philadelphia.

Cycles, warm and cold,

sunshine and rain

birth to death,

to birth again

winter fades, spring comes.


The woman in the play foresees war,

her fortunes always predict war,

war is a constant, is it not?

War and peace and war and peace

cycling round like sun and moon.


My mother is almost a century old,

How many wars have there been–and death.

(Some days she longs for her own death.)

She has good days and bad days,

cycles, laughter and tears


My mom watching the “wing bowl” at her assisted living facility.


Her laugh can light up a room.

I will miss that when she’s gone.

her fading away, I won’t miss that.

Once she was a child, a teen,

a vivid, energetic woman–


still, her laugh can light up a room

the way the sun lights up the sky.

Do you see it?

How would you describe it?

A sunrise? A laugh?


The days have been dreary

a slow steel sky, heavy with portent,

or dreams–waiting for spring—

there, a hawk cries from above,

there on the ground a hint of what may come



Magic all around us lies, lies all around us.

The man in the play extols the black Magic Marker,

it erases the past, a new truth can be told–

it is a crime to be alive when the state says you are dead,

perhaps eat this leech soup, and remember, the women say.


Fantasy, myth, truth, lies

this is the world,

and I think we need heroes,

real heroes like Harriet Tubman,

or perhaps the children will lead us now.


But now,

I listen to the moon’s hum, the stars’ songs

reflect on the river’s reflections

I bake and cook

trying to stay cozy in a tilting world

And if it tilts,

how will we describe the sun rising

and setting

cycles that are constant but changeable

even if we don’t notice the change till it’s too late.


Is it too late?

we watch movies and plays

and drink wine

because life goes on

until it doesn’t


but still

but still

light bends and what of time?

Perhaps we may see ourselves

rising again with the sun.


Garden of Delight by David Guinn, Mural Arts of Philadelphia


Merril’s Movie (and Theater) Club: We missed the movie Harriet when it was in the theaters, but it’s streaming now. The word hero is overused, but Harriet Tubman truly was one. The movie is sort of a standard bio-pic, good, but not great–but Cynthia Erivo is wonderful in the role. She seems to channel the spirit of Harriet Tubman. Also, for us, it was fun seeing local Philadelphia/New Jersey places and historical figures, such as William Still. We will be seeing a play about Harriet Tubman later this month.

We saw the play Describe the Night at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia. Both of us totally enjoyed this play that combines myth and reality, historical figures in imaginary situations, and imaginary people in historical situations. One strand is about “Putin’s” rise, but the play goes back and forth in time. It gave us a lot to talk about afterwards. A real “Merril” play. And my husband was still able to see most of the Super Bowl when we got home. 🙂

And lest you think I only watch serious things–we binge-watched the second season of Sex Education on Netflix. 

Sometimes we do not control what we watch.


Who controls the remote?




















33 thoughts on “Heroes, Truth, and Lies

  1. Lovely musings, Merril. I love that your mother’s laugh lights up a room. I’m still recovering from staying up to watch the Super Bowl. I hadn’t planned on watching the entire game, but it turned out to be pretty good. The commercials…not so much. Many left me scratching my head.

  2. Haha, no, we know who does control what you watch! So cute. Beautiful but sad musings. You got me feeling a little weepy this morning. I have my hands on an actual DVD of Harriet BTW (daughter’s a member of Screen Actors Guild and she got a bucketful of DVDs because she is supposed to vote) but not sure when I will watch it. We watched The Joker this weekend, and I have not even started to recover from it.

  3. “Sometimes we do not control what we watch…” I read that line literally (smart cat) and metaphorically. What is our perspective? Is it right? Or just right for us? Is what we watch really what IS, or is what we watch what we want to see, within our own perspective? Ouch, too many questions as I enjoy my vacation/break, but I never break from wondering, and your posts always ask me to search inside for some answer. Or to at least think about it!
    My mom’s smile used to light up a room. She flirted with flair, and even now in her dementia, men are the ones who receive her winks and smiles. From my perspective, she fades into a shadow of what she once was. But who knows where she is when she closes her eyes from her current condition and slides into better dreams?

  4. I’m so glad your mother still has her laugh!
    And yes…where are those heroes? “gone to graveyards, every one”. Or banished from The Palace of Lies at any rate. (K)

  5. Beautiful and thought-provoking musings as always, Merril. I wonder about the heroes, too. I suppose it’s all of us. I have not seen Harriet yet. Have you been to the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park? It’s here, on the Eastern Shore. I’ve been there briefly and want to go back to explore some more. The town of Cambridge has at least one mural dedicated to her.

    • Thank you very much, Robin. No, I haven’t been there. I think I read they were building something about Harriet Tubman in Cape May. Our older daughter went to her house in upstate New York–when they were in that area for a wedding.

  6. Oh, how did I miss this post? These lines: “still, her laugh can light up a room
    the way the sun lights up the sky.” I’ve been wondering about your mom. I wonder too if the capacity to laugh keeps us going a little bit longer. I cannot imagine how you must feel with this long goodbye. I try to imagine, but I know never really get there unless it happens to me and then still, it will be different. Here’s where I would leave a heart emoji but I’m on my desktop and there’s no such thing. Unless this works … ❤

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