Venus on the Rocks

La Naissance de Vénus ( The Birth of Venus ), pastel painting by Odilon Redon ( c. 1912 )

Venus on the Rocks

1.
Ask about the drunk goddess–
hair and gown of lathered mist,
no lie—she rose from water
a shimmering, thorned flower, almost eternal.

2.
As the sky sleeps,
the woman wants you
to recall sprays of purple and bitter rust
but the wind moans, I am your mother. Listen.

3.
The sea urged her on,
that is what her friends said,
caught between red-petaled love and shadows below,
she dove. Submerged in a forgotten dream.

4.
The raw rocks have hard milky faces—
but watch—they tell time
in whispered pink, sweet always or never,
siren songs for sailors, symphony in a storm.

5.
Beneath the fiddler’s notes,
you wonder if you understand–
this is moon-language falling like rain,
blood-beauty swimming from the blue, unattainable, but known.

My message from the Oracle. Maybe a cadralor?

Sparkling Imperfection

Odilon Redon, Head of a Woman

Sparkling Imperfection

I make no resolutions—
for now, my house is cluttered,
my clothes are folded,
or sometimes not.

Yes, ought to, thought to–but
no resolution need be made
to love my children as they are,
without conditions or strings,

they fly on their own capable wings.
while I go on, flawed but mostly happy,
plan what could be,
and strive to enjoy what is

the fizz, the pop,
the joy in every day, marked
with mental asterisks, neuron pin-points,
that twinkle–

sprinkled stars
on life’s textured patches,
pieces in a collage,
messy, but glowing,

growing, then slowing
a full-color work-in-progress. A life.

For Punam’s dVerse prompt on resolutions, she asks us to write a poem inspired by 5 pieces of advice. I found it difficult. I don’t make resolutions, so I hope this satisfies the prompt.

Reverie

Monday Morning Musings:

Reverie

There are moments
when time seems to curve,
or is it the light of stars
traveling beyond death?

We watch the rippling reflections
for illumination—to understand the fuzzy in-between

of dream and waking,
the puzzle of

why bees sleep,
and why flowers exist—and the splendid wonder
that they do—

why we question, but never learn,
why we forget to question,
why we forget

how arguments and competition
turn to wars.

Why we think it’s either science or art–
the truth of beauty,
all ye need to know
despite everything—

is ephemeral and lasting,
like spots on a tablecloth, a reminder of what was,
a sign of what may come, the possibility of peace or dystopia

a curve in time, an arc like a rainbow
shimmering in the distance,

hope
with wings outstretched,
gliding,
returning home, a loop in space,
a curve in time.

I used some of Jane’s Random Words.

We caught up on some movies this past week. Pre-pandemic, we would have seen them all in the theater months ago, but we ended up streaming them, which I know is not the same as a big-screen experience.

I wanted to watch Argentina, 1985, but I couldn’t get the subtitles to work properly, and I do not enjoy watching dubbed movies. I’ve never had this problem before.

The Banshees of Inisherin
Tár
Armageddon Time

I liked all of them very much, and they are all excellent movies, but none of them were for me, oh my god, wow! {No Cold War, Dale.] Cate Blanchett is amazing, however, in Tár, which I liked much more after thinking about it. I read that the role was written for her. I think this year I may go for the favorite, “Everything, Everywhere All at Once.” I know that seems weird for me, but it really was a Merril movie.

I read Properties of Thirst by Marianne Wiggins. I loved this book. I found it while looking over the new books at the library. I haven’t read anything else by this author who has won several prizes and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee. She suffered a massive stroke while writing this book, but she recovered enough so that her daughter could help her finish the manuscript. I did have to read several pages to get into it. It is written from different characters’ perspectives with long sections of their thoughts and memories. The book is divided into sections, with each labeled as a different “property of thirst.”

Cold, rainy day comfort food

Home-made pizza for a movie night

Tree of Dreams

Odilon Redong, Woman Sleeping Under a Tree

Tree of Dreams

There is an ancient tree
in a secret garden,
white blossoms like pearls adorn
her arms as she reaches to touch
sun and moon.

Here bangs and booms become bird-trills,
each day beats with a new rhythm
green tendrils climb in harmony
and the air is scented with promise.

Ask if I am here,
and I may answer,
this is a place of dreams
caught between bee-breaths
and the falling of a rose petal,
the last echo of violin, a tremolo
in the night. The place where time
is both a wing-flap and endless flight.

The Oracle made me work for this one. I used tiles from two sets, merged, revised, revised again. . .But I guess she approves—because I found the Redon painting above to go with my poem.

I’m sharing this with dVerse Open Link Night.

For Pavel and Six Million

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For Pavel and Six Million

He saw the last, one butterfly,
a flutter of gold, gone
again
like hope. Here it died, and blue sky
was a tale—once upon,
the end.

Yet still, his soul demanded write–
witness, record despair,
the whys
and soul-sighs, but also brief light
a flash in ash-filled air–
goodbyes.

For dVerse, a very difficult form called the memento. You can read about it here. Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, and I felt I needed to mark it, especially now as authoritarian regimes are rising–and there are people in the US government who support them. There is a famous poem “The Butterfly” written by Pavel Friedman in Terezin. He was a young man born in Prague, January 7, 1921, and murdered in Auschwitz on September 29, 1944.

All my grandparents immigrated to the US from Belarus and Ukraine before WWI. I know my mother’s father had half-sisters in what became the USSR. They survived WWII (he didn’t know till afterwards). They immigrated to Israel in 1990.

My Grandmothers

My Grandmothers

They left shtetl and city,
crossed an ocean,
one as a child, one as a teen,
I know them only from stories—
she witnessed a pogrom,
she later eloped. The bed her spiteful mother-in-law
gave her and my grandfather gave way
on their wedding night. From their passion,
I like to think.
She taught my mother how to cook
“American food.”
She died from a then inoperable brain tumor.

She had five sisters, like Tevye’s daughters,
without the matchmaker. Or cow. They all sewed,
a skill not passed along to my mother or me.
She had a beautiful voice,
and more than one miscarriage.
She died in car crash. Seatbelts her legacy.

I carry these tidbits
like notes scrawled on scraps of paper,
tucked into a pocket and found later
when looking for something else.

But I have only one memory,
one short clip played on a loop,
generations of curly-haired women, my baby sister
and me–
a bathroom mirror in a Philadelphia apartment
reflecting their—our—images.
Me taking it in. This is what we do—talk, laugh, love.
I remember.

This is for Sarah’s dVerse prompt on grandmothers. The prompt got me thinking–a first draft.

Winter Blues

Claude Monet, Floating Ice at Bennecourt

Winter Blues

This landscape sings the blues, tones
absorbed, scattered
in meadows of frost flowers–

but in the staunch fragility of ice, shattered
fragments form prisms
for unexpected rainbows arcs
that sparkle

diamond-sharp,
like the features of the Winter Queen,
beauty without heart, frozen and deadly.

A quadrille for dVerse. The link is still open, if you want to join in the poetry fun. The prompt word is ice.

A Week in January

Monday Morning Musings:

A Week in January

Some days begin grey and turn greyer,
there are mouse droppings in your pantry,
the rodents have partied while your cat sleeps,
the rain like a purple sweater, soft,
and you want to sleep, too.

Another day, the sun tries
to open its eyes,
as the wind whispers, try again—
and flaps rainbow wings. Look.

Another day, in this endless week,
the sky is the blue of cornflowers and hyacinths,
the river sparkles,
shadows dance and play
as a squirrel pipes a melody–

It’s all connected, the trees’
murmuring roots and the river’s answer,
the geese that rise
and the wind that sighs,

bang the drum, cross the bridge,
awaken and inform—
as the sun bestows majesty
ringing puddles in gold
take ideas from cloistered recesses–

It’s a heartbreaking spell
it’s a wishing well
it’s the dock at goodbye
and those left, asking why,

and you can’t explain,
but it comes again—
fear, regret—love,
beauty,
a day in January. A week.

I used some of the random words I generated. It’s been another strange week within years full of strangeness. Lots of grey rainy days with a few patches of blue. No ice or snow—that may come later this week. The GOP is still awful, and I pity anyone trying to teach or learn in Florida. Our children and their spouses—are sick. Older child and their wife have COVID. We have not seen any of them recently, but parents worry. Our refrigerator was terminally ill, and we got a new one last week. Then a couple of days ago, I heard some rustling, and we discovered mouse droppings in a large cabinet under the kitchen counter. A lot. It was a major cleanup. I think perhaps the bird feeder attached to the kitchen window may have lured them with its scattered seeds on the ground. So, though I’ve been enjoying seeing the variety of birds there, I think we should not fill this feeder again.

We’ve caught up on British mysteries this week, sort of comfort shows, not bleak mysteries.
Annika, which we started in October, so re-watched the first episode again and finished the series. My husband was put off by Nicola Walker’s breaking the fourth wall when he first saw it. But this time, we both enjoyed the show. Nicola Walker can do anything. I had listened to the original radio/podcast version of the show, too, which is also voiced by Walker.

Miss Scarlett and the Duke (Season 3)—it’s a light-weight mystery series, but fun, with good acting. I’m surprised how caught up my husband got in it.

We started the latest season of All Creatures Great and Small. It’s another “comfort series,” but it’s hard not to love it. It’s based on the books about a rural veterinarian in Yorkshire in the1930s. The books are also good, and so was the series done several decades ago.

Then we started something totally different, The Devil’s Hour (on Amazon). It’s about a woman who wakes every single day at 3:33 A.M. after a strange dream. This show should come with lots of trigger warnings. It’s unsettling, but we were both intrigued and want to see what happens. We have eclectic tastes. 😏

Warm and colorful food for cold, grey days.

Between Beats

Between Beats

Time’s ship sails—
a gorgeous lie

of shifting light and horizons,
but you might ask the wind how it blows

or why? Does the moon stop the storm
when it appears? Behold

the circling of seconds, the remembering
of before becomes after,

in the fast cry of spring—
if could be

the music that soars
above

us. Life-murmuring
in the dark beneath.

My early-morning poem from the Oracle. I used the “new” tiles, which are now located below the original tiles. I guess I haven’t use them for a while. The words seemed somewhat different, and she gave me some interesting phrases, but as usual, this is a collaboration between us. I’m stating that because I saw a post that seemed to equate using words generated online with AI generated-poems. I take some of the words and phrases and write my own poem–the same as using any other word prompt! And even if I took every word from the tiles, I’d still be arranging them into my own poem.

“Letter from My Mom” (with a reading)

I’m sharing this poem again, this time with a reading and photo. I’m linking it to dVerse’s Open Link Night Live.

Thank you to editor James Diaz for publishing another of my poems in Anti-Heroin Chic. This one, “Letter from My Mom,” is especially important to me. Not too long ago, a cousin who we have not seen in decades discovered a letter my mom had written to her long ago. She sent a photo of it to my sister. My mother was not a letter writer, and to read her words written when she still thought clearly–and when she also could see well enough to write–this was such a special gift. You can read my poem here.