Repeated History

Marc Chagall, Death

Repeated History

In this place,
the mothers speak a bitter, blooded language,
their whispers of why carry through forests
and over mountains to the cool blue seas
they can only picture

but imagine following clouds
in sublime harmony, as if the air breathed

at night they listen for the moon’s song
as she recalls light–

it is there
somewhere in time,
above, beneath, around, floating like
the fiddler’s tune, leading them to sanctuary
in a bright bird-dawn.

The Oracle’s Original set gave me words of doom and violence (but also the moon, fiddle, and light), while the nature set, gave me words of peaceful beauty. Both sets gave me “if.” I thought of Ukraine as I began writing, but also what is going on all over the world as authoritarian rule is growing, and how such things have happened over and over again.

33 thoughts on “Repeated History

  1. That first stanza cuts like a knife. I think my message is tangent to yours–the same sentiment, but without that violent start. Chagall crystalizes things so well in his work. (K)

  2. Marc Chagall’s work is so evocative and pairs well with your poetry of grief, sorrow, and a tinge of hope.

    I can’t believe that my American friend with close ties to Ukraine is returning to that country again in just over a week. Maybe she is hoping for a “bright bird-dawn,” which seems remote to me right now.

  3. This is a perfect pairing of art to poem. I repeat the comments on that first paragraph. It has to cut. They cannot live in constant fear and anger. If becomes such a strong word of hope.
    Beautifully done.

  4. The Oracle is like a magic carpet, taking you all over the world, all over times and all through the hearts of humankind.
    Merril, the news from Ukraine is not good, even as its First Lady visits the USA.
    Why are there so many men (usually… I can’t think of any female dictators – Eva Peron was a wanna be) who want to RULE the world? What about GUIDING humanity?
    Anyway, this poem exudes hope. The fiddler is like a different kind of pied piper. He guides us to “a bright bird-dawn”.

    • Thank you, Resa, I’m glad you found some hope in my words.
      Yes, it’s been mostly men because they’ve mostly been the ones in control, though there are plenty of women who have supported them, so eagerly, and some because it’s the only way they could survive or could protect their children.

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