Where do the shadows go?

Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

Where do the shadows go,
when mist obscures the shifted light?
And dreams heart-drift, then flow
owl-feathered into the night.

When mist obscures the shifted light,
watch the sea reflect the clouds, they race
owl-feathered into the night
to another time. In another space,

watch the sea reflect the clouds, they race,
tossing spindrift to the sky—
to another time, in another space,
uniting, or they forever fly,

tossing spindrift to the sky—
and dreams (too), heart-drift then flow
uniting, or they forever fly–
where? Do the shadows (ever) go?

A pantoum for dVerse. Peter has asked us to think about endings for our last prompt of 2020. He tells us “2020 has been an amazing year. Here at Dverse we’ve published nearly 150 prompts, and you, our beloved poets, have written and shared well-over 3000 poems in response.” I will have some time to catch-up on reading before we return on January 4, 2021!

65 thoughts on “Where do the shadows go?

  1. I love pantoum poems and you’ve written a masterful example of the form here, Merril. I like how you’ve played with the punctuation to alter the meaning of the lines, and used enjambment to enhance the flow of the poem. I think the insertion of that final (ever) really brings it home.

  2. Big kudos for a pantoum 👏 (among many golden garden implements) – and isn’t it such a fine form – never proceeding, returning again and again – though different each time – recursive, obsessive, marvellous.

  3. Now you have me wondering about where indeed do the shadows go? Or do they go anywhere, perhaps they’re always there. I love this poem, so perfectly rendered in my favorite form. And that photo! It’s beautiful ❤️

  4. Such clever twist on the refrain: where? Do the shadows (ever) go? Lovely pantoum form Merril. Thank you for being part of our team and our poetry community. Cheers!!

  5. I love pantoums, especially when they are so beautifully written, Merril! The opening question, so pertinent, flits gently through the whole poem. I love the phase ‘dreams heart-drift’ and the lines:
    ‘watch the sea reflect the clouds, they race,
    tossing spindrift to the sky—
    to another time, in another space’.

  6. There are times when the repetition in a pantoum is the focus, and there is this. It flows so smoothly from beginning to end, and though it has the repetition it’s not a distraction.
    And, “Do the shadows (ever) go?” Perhaps they’re a part of what’s to come.

  7. Merril, this is so lovely. Shadows are a frame, a follower, attached to wahtever blocks the light, the mist gives a dissipated shadow to the edges and the lines blocking that light, the sun sweatings, they (n)ever leave us then, dreams, they are another question, occurring in the rounded calvaria, where all light has been dissipated and transposed already by the retina, they are the imprint of the shadows and the light and the mist, and this that I see is there right in there, not where I see it, so my answer is no answer really. I had an Earth Science teacher in 8th grade who asked us, “Where does all the white go when the snow melts?” So we consider these colors, these shadows, these reflections the thing itself, and perhaps they are. Shifting with the light, circling round with the sun or its hiding spaces, I guess we are the thing, at least for a while. This poem is a lovely thing. Thank you for it. 🙂

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