Day 18, Ekphrastic Challenge 2023

(Inspired by images AB18, BB18, OVO18)

Spring Saudade

Wraiths un-gathered time,
and pools of light formed puddles on city streets
un-waded by human feet. Above, faces behind windows
watched first cherry blossoms then roses bloom,
as nature creeped while families Zoomed.

Daffodils had beckoned with smiles,
and trees waved green arms in benediction
and greeting. The river beguiled
in heron grey and jay-wing blue, the transience
and truth in each turning revealed.

Now spring comes at a slant, as a rippled glass
opening reflects and reflects–
beauty, grief, love, and regret,
the elongated shadows
on budding greens are ghosts,
the birdsong is laughter, reminders of you.

This is my poem for Day 18 of Paul Brookes Poetry Month Ekphrastic Challenge. You can see the art and read the other poems here. I’m also sharing it with dVerse. I’m hosting today, and the prompt is windows. Today is the anniversary of my mom’s death three years ago when the world shut down from COVID. Our cat Mickey had died earlier that same week. My dad also died in the spring many years ago, but both my children were born in February (count backwards). I have complicated feelings about spring!

You can’t tell here, but we’re sitting in front of a large window of her building’s lobby.

65 thoughts on “Day 18, Ekphrastic Challenge 2023

  1. A gorgeous spring saudade, Merril. I especially love the opening lines, the un-gathering and un-wading, and the smiling daffodils in the second stanza.

  2. Faces watching and so much to be seen felt and lived. Nice one Merril.
    Thanks for dropping by my blog.


  3. These anniversaries are so hard. I love the last stanza of your poem, a perfect evocation of saudade. This line is brilliant: “Now spring comes at a slant, as a rippled glass.”

  4. You’ve done a lovely job expressing your understandably “complicated feelings about spring” Merril. Your comment allows for a deeper reading of the poem. “The transience and truth in each turning revealed.” So much more than simply a joyous ode to spring. And again, a powerful last line that brings it all home – to the heart.

    • Thank you very much, Chris. I appreciate your kind words and thoughtful reading.

      It just happened that when I saw the ekphrastic prompt images a few days ago, I realized they’d fit my own prompt.

      • My pleasure Merril. It was also nice to simply go to your space and read a number of your poems together. I would like to do this more with my WP Reader and the poets I really enjoy. In general my tendency is to read what’s been posted (across the board) on any given day. Lately I’ve had less time, so I either miss, and/or often (I hate to say it but), sort of bomb through everyone’s work. The more great poets I discover – the less, I actually get to fully appreciate anyone’s work… Anyway, there’s something here worth working on.

      • Well, I do appreciate it! It’s so hard to keep up with everyone. I don’t respond to a lot of prompts because I know I won’t be able to read all the responses. And there are poets I follow on Twitter too . . .

    • Thank you so much, Christine. ❤️

      There are some who can’t go outside because of illness or disability, and during the lockdown especially.

      Unfortunately, we couldn’t Facetime or Zoom with my mom because she couldn’t see very well.

  5. That’s such a happy photo Merril. Endings are difficult enough, without all the doors and windows being closed between you. Your words convey well the deep mixture of emotions that will always haunt this time. (K)

  6. My heart skipped a beat, a smile spread over my face when I saw the photo of you and your precious Mother. Mother’s Day is always bittersweet for me as I imagine it is for you. The poem you shared is lovely.

  7. I know this beautiful poem did not mean to make me cry, but it did. The intertwining of loss and imagery of Spring was so skillfully done. Oh my goodness, especially in those last three lines. It brought me to tears to imagine this pain I will still face. Thank you for sharing the special photo and especially your heart.
    Sending you the biggest hug.

  8. Losing a grandmother is hard, she seemed always to be there for us. Yes, we tend to become Saudade when those anniversaries come around. I lost a son-in-law and two sisters-in-law in those times, a combination of the COVID and other health situations.
    Mother Nature’s greens are oblivious to our feelings, some animals seem to want to cheer or be sad with us.

  9. Merril, thanks for sharing the personal photo and tender poem. It seems only a window separates us from those who’ve passed on and yet we cannot see through it.

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