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.

Advance Review: Archery in the UK

I’m very pleased to share my advance review of Archery in the UK: New Lyrical Ballads and Other Poems by Nick Reeves and Ingrid Wilson. You can find more information at Ingrid’s site: Experiments in Fiction.

Archery in the UK: New Lyrical Ballads and Other Poems by Nick Reeves and Ingrid Wilson (EIF Publishing, 2023)

Reviewed by Merril D. Smith

The initial goal of the full-length poetry collection that became Archery in the UK: New Lyrical Ballads and Other Poems by Nick Reeves and Ingrid Wilson (EIF Publishing, 2023) was “to write a contemporary homage to Lyrical Ballads.” However, as the opening statement notes: “the poems had their own ideas, and told our story.”  And what a story it is! Readers of this collection will find themselves immersed in courtship and partings, despair and joy. The poems explore nature, art, and music, traverse the countryside and towns of England, and a lover’s body. It is birdcalls and bedclothes.

            Arrows and archery form a motif throughout the book with nods to ancient warfare and history, Cupid, and as we’re told in an aside in “The Archer’s Postcard,” “Saint Nicholas (‘ . . .archers and repentant thieves’)”.  Some pages even carry an arrow symbol (a lovely touch), as if to direct the reader onwards.

            There are many lyrical poems, contemporary versions of the Romantics, beloved by Wilson, “Winter Love,” for example. There are also poems in other forms and styles, such as the short imagist lines of “Beach of Dubious Pleasures.” All contribute to the overarching narrative, a love story. As readers we are privileged to experience their “secret sonneteering, music of two poets after dark” (“Two Poets in the Park.)

            Archery in the UK is a true delight. It is a joy to read. We journey with these lovers, feel their sorrow and happiness—and witness the growth of their love. We experience both fairy tale moments and harsh realities. Ultimately, we experience,

“Their hearts, their art: two arcs across the sky

 inscribed within this book of poetry.

–“The Wintered Queen”

You can read “The Wintered Queen” here.

Ingrid is reading some of the poems from the collection on her blog. Here’s “A Thimble of Poetry.”

Prosery: The Pink Rose

It’s not Marie.

This young man was twice her size, a walking geometry problem composed of long parallel lines and spare angles. Well-worn hiking boots encased his large feet, and a dusty pack perched on his back.

Flight or fight? I wondered, as he approached.

“Excuse me,” he said. His French carried an American accent. “Does this old place have a name?”

Perhaps he was what he seemed, a backpacker seeing France. “I don’t know,” I said, while staring at his backpack.

“Everyone comments on the rose,” he laughed. “It looks like the one embroidered on my blanket when I was found as a baby. It’s the shade of first dawn, a promise. I want to hope everything I do is stitched with its color.”

I smiled politely, but a warning bell clamored in my brain.
The pink rose had been our network’s symbol.

For dVerse Prosery. I’m continuing my series, beginning again with the last line of the previous episode. The prompt line is “Everything I do is stitched with its color” by
W.S. Merwin.
from his poem “Separation.” Lisa has chosen such a beautiful line.

Frosted fields with Van Gogh sun

But still, the Light

Monday Morning Musings:

But still, the Light

“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”
–from Martin Luther King, Jr., Final Speech: “I’ve been to the mountaintop”

In bleak January,
the unclothed trees shiver,
and the sun has cast herself
into the ice,
but still, she rises.

Sun reflected in icy stream

The fields are rimed with frost,
and all paths seem slippery,
a time for caution, not over-confidence,
yet, through shadows,
some rise–

Frosted fields with Van Gogh sun

Shadow across painted road crossing lines

there’s a crossroad, a moment
when the tipping point comes
and a heart so engraved by
the acid of hate implodes–
or heals–scared with gold,

kintsugi hearts, with their own beauty
like winter landscapes—
and you watch as the geese soar up
past the morning moon, working together
to find the blue

Three geese in flight

that you saw in dreams,
that you see now,
and you think of ancient dead stars,
ghost-broadcasting faint photons,
not infinite, but as close as we can imagine,

the luminous beacons of time,
guiding us, appearing like heroes
that glow with incandescent fire,
not eternal, but with voices that continue
to transmit, like pulsars, blinking, spinning.

tilting toward tomorrow.

Geese and gulls, low tide at Delaware River

I used some of Jane’s Random Words for the poem. And yes, Jane, more stars. They slipped in while I was writing, and I couldn’t ignore their twinkling, or Dr. King.

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I’m not a big fan of holidays such as this where people pay lip-service to someone while ignoring what he or she stood for the rest of the year. (Example, anyone lauding MLK who also seeks to suppress voting access.) However, I was moved by Heather Cox Richardson’s letter today on heroes.

Between the weather and work, I didn’t go anywhere this week, except to get a shingles vaccine. My husband and I both went. We know how to have an exciting date.😏 I got a few walks in though.

It was a good week for soup and bread.

We finished Season 2 of the wonderful spy series Slow Horses on Apple TV. Imagine if George Smiley and his circle were mostly inept, but sometimes stumbled into something that they solved. Then we watched Black Bird, also good but disturbing, as it involves a serial killer. The disturbing part comes with the serial killer’s recounting things that viewers do not see, but can imagine. Excellent performances.

On Saturday night we watched Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix), which was thoroughly enjoyable. I think this one is better than the first. Since it seemed like “a popcorn movie,” I made some! And we ate it with a finger-food dinner.

Dream Ocean

Odilon Redon, Ophelia Among the Flowers

Dream Ocean

Time is an ocean, and we
small fish or sailing ships,
a gull in flight from waves to quay,

in dreams, I am all three.

Through walls I coast
where my dead parents–
look remarkably well, almost

as they were, not ghosts,
but shimmering,

and there my children, both young and older,
and dead pets now alive and by my side–
I am every version of myself—sometimes bolder–

in the multiverse of my mind, I find
sea glass treasures, polished by time
returned to me by dream-sea, ephemeral, sublime.

For dVerse, where Ingrid has asked us to write about dreams or visions.

Featured Poet on Honesty Poetry

I am honored and very pleased to have two poems featured on Samantha Terrell’s Honesty Poetry Site. Samantha has invented a contrapuntal poetry form called trinitas. She has published two of my poems written in this format, and written in response to her call. The theme was “unity.” I find the form challenging, but also fun to write. Thank you very much, Samantha! You can read the poems here.

Geese

Once Upon a Time

Edvard Munch, The Storm

Once Upon a Time

Shadows crept,
then grew bolder
dreams were born,
then grew older,

blood boiled,
passion ebbed
now spiders dangle
from silvered webs

in dusty corners
where mice skitter
through this-and-that—
history’s litter.

Those were the days,
they once said,
the toasts of ghosts,
our dead.

A quadrille for dVerse. The prompt word is bold.

Suspended

Monday Morning Musings:

Suspended

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”
–Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“We hope. We despair. We hope. We despair. This is what governs us. We have a bipolar system.”
Maira Kalman, And the Pursuit of Happiness

Clouds upon clouds—
an enigma wrapped in mystery,
we follow the clues
but find more questions.

What I mean to say,
is that I—we—are suspended
halfway to here or there

uncertain if we are rising or falling,
like astronauts in zero G
seeking up

or down, confused. The moon floats on the water,
unconcerned geese swim over it, but

another whale is beached, I read,
and I wonder if it, too, was lost,
coordinates off, communications broken–

and now the birds, first indicators.
Perhaps it was always about the birds—
the devilish bones and death rattles of dinosaurs
in their past, they soared into the future,
the evolution of unfurled feathers flapping,
vagabonds of time, soaring

out of the fog, I hear geese honk,
a blue jay squawks–not yet,
a gull laughs.
I walk on. Hoping.

I used some of Jane’s Random Words for this poem.

It already seems a long time since the start of the year. We saw more family members last Monday for brunch, and then met dear friends on Wednesday for a lovely lunch at a Chinese/Japanese restaurant. The temperature was in the 60s that day. Such weird weather—warm, foggy, and then more wintry temperatures over the weekend.

A strange week all around, including the spectacle in our House of Representatives, where it took Kevin McCarthy 15 votes and countless concessions to the right-wing extremists to become Speaker. What a contrast between the mess of the GOP and the unanimous vote by the Democrats for minority leader Hakeem Jeffries. He is quite an orator (Google his name and Alphabet speech if you missed it).

We watched several different types of mysteries this week—so there is a theme here.

Three Pines (Amazon Prime), series inspired by Louise Penny’s books. I’ve read some of the books in her wonderful series, but my husband hasn’t. We both enjoyed the TV series very much. I think Alfred Molina did a great job in portraying Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. This TV series focused on how indigenous people have been treated in Canada. It is darker than the novels, and the magic and warmth of Three Pines itself is not there the way it is in the books, but it is still an excellent series.

The Pale Blue Eye (Netflix) is a solid B movie. It’s a murder mystery with twists set in the winter of 1830 at West Point. Cadet Edgar Allan Poe helps the investigator brought in to solve the mystery of who killed a cadet. It was a good Friday night movie.

Decision to Leave (in theaters and rental) is South Korea’s entry for the 2022 Academy Awards. We both really liked this one, though probably I did more. I’m still thinking about it. It is a twisty tale of murder and romantic obsession with the noirish theme of the male police detective who falls for the beautiful female suspect. Both wonderfully acted. The cinematography/editing is brilliant with the camera giving viewers different points of view and lingering on certain shots.

I’ve recently read and enjoyed two novels:
Joanna Quinn, The Whalebone Theater
Kate Quinn, The Diamond Eye

I don’t know if these two authors are related, but there was a throwaway line in The Whalebone Theater that alluded to the main character in The Diamond Eye, a Russian woman who became a sniper in WWII.