The Book

The Book

“To Mark Let the poetic sound of moons and stars invade your night thoughts to give you sweet dreams always for in your dreams lies the happiness you truly want. hope you enjoy the book Michelle”
–Message written on the flyleaf of a book

I saw the book–
its dustcover the azure
of the Mediterranean—
beckoning as the clear water did us,
and amid packing—
books, your books, your things–
I opened it, and remembered
how we were, lithe in the limpid blue,
then later reading this book, a gift,
you as bright as Keats’ star,
aware your blaze would soon be extinguished.

I rose with creaking knees
from the sea of boxes,
set the tear-dampened book
aside to keep, sensing your presence
like a nightlight in the next room
leaving a glow under the door,
and I thought I heard you say,
sweet dreams always, my love, goodbye.

For dVerse, Laura has chosen five inscriptions from the Book of Inscription Project. She’s asked us to write a poem based on one of them.

Take Three Things, and Dream

Monday Morning Musings:

Take Three Things, and Dream

Take three things: dazzling sunshine,
a heart, the earth–
toss them about
till your questions have answers,
in that place, meet your dreams, they flutter

Crows, Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, Delaware River

some devoured by vultures, or stamped with regret,
others soaring with promise.
What is, what might be
imparted, parted, part

of a larger truth—
the fabulation of life

the blue horses that dash
from beyond, the secret
that magic is all around us

yet, we reinvent ourselves
over and over, creating new
fantasies and fables, feigning triumph
or obedience, accepting hoaxes,
living in the upside-down

Water Lilies, West Deptford Library Rain Garden

West Deptford Library Rain Garden
Upside-Down World. Reflections in a big puddle

Now take three things again:
heart, sunshine, earth,
ask if but not when
simply wonder, wander
in the middle, till you hear laughter
like champagne bubbles
echoing in pink light, remember–
be steadfast, love fiercely—

Well, this past week certainly was something, wasn’t it? Was it only last Tuesday that we celebrated the solstice?

Then came more revelations from the January 6 Committee Hearings, then a bunch of decisions from the highjacked reactionary Supreme Court, including overturning Roe v. Wade. And amid this, nature just doing what it does, moving on. Sun, clouds, flowers, birds, animals. . .life and death, cycles and circles.

We celebrated our wedding anniversary of many decades—and we’ve known each other more than half a century.

We saw a play on our anniversary (rescheduled because of COVID outbreak in the cast), Fabulation, or the Re-education of Undine by Lynn Nottage at the Lantern Theater. We both enjoyed it—funny, clever, social satire. We both thought the second act was much better than the first, and it all came together in a perfect ending. After the play we went to Tria and enjoyed a lovely Crémant for our anniversary, then a Shiraz for me and beer for my husband. We had a cheeseboard of yummy Pennsylvania cheeses.

On Sunday, we ate Indian food and drank some French Champagne along with champagne chocolates truffles. We watched a London performance of Anything Goes with Sutton Foster that I had recorded a couple months ago. Ricky the Cat loved it.

And here’s a mural for Resa: Garden of Delight.

And Sutton Foster in Anything Goes.

The Recollection of Dreams

Odilon Redon, Orpheus

The Recollection of Dreams

In the picture,
when the music dream-splashes color
and light,
like sea waves against rocks—
we hear storms and whispers
in the red and blue,
feel heartache and love–

and if you must see the sorrow,
also recall the luscious scent of rose gardens
the taste of honey on your lips, a kiss.

My poem from the Oracle. The tile said fiddle, but the image of this Redon painting was in my head, not Chagall.

Hearts at the River’s Edge

Driftwood, Sunrise on the Delaware River

The earth murmurs ancient heart-songs.
Hear them in root-rush and rock-rhythms
tapped by sea-spray rainbows.
The eagle’s whistle slices the peached-tipped clouds–
life and death balanced. Hand-in-hand, we watch the light glide through
love-grief fault lines, as the ghosts dance at the river’s edge.

A quadrille (a poem of exactly 44 words) for dVerse where De asks us to use the word heart. I could have gone in so many directions!

Enduring Dreams

Reflections. The Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith, 2021

How does the Earth begin its spin each day?
With constancy it turns to seek the light
of sun, then sister stars dance in their way
sparkling the darkling, glimmering the night.
And with these sights, so constant and so true,
the physics of space, the motions that trace
the course of years, our course, being with you
through sorrow, more joy, a smile on your face,
even as lines delve deeper, gray grows hair,
the trees once green are dusted with the snow,
fledglings feather-wing themselves in the air
catching the currents, soaring through wind-blow—
and I watch the river glow as it flows
reflecting dreams, life, us, endures and goes.

My attempt at a Shakespearean sonnet for Ingrid’s EIF Sonnet Sunday for Valentine’s Day. I don’t quite have the meter right, but it’s a first draft and written at 6 AM. Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Together

Ilya Repin, “What Freedom!”

If how we need the sea is an ache,
then why? The wanting to return to a dream,
recalling water in diamond sprays on purple rocks and salted air,
flying starward to eternity—this is the before and after,
light and shadow, rhythm and music of the vast then and now,
a wild blue breeze. We surrender to time, wake to a universe of poetry,
together scream through the storm, our honeyed laughter soars, lingering.

This is an ekphrastic message from the Oracle. As I was writing, I got the image of this painting in my head. She’s obviously a fan, and a bit of romantic–at least today.

All My Senses

Sun through the fog. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield. ©️Merril D. Smith 2020

All my senses come alive

in the beauty of tree-glow, cinnamon and gold
seep into my skin, neuron-sparked,

I taste the pastel river blues, mint and citrus,
drink the night’s indigo, red wine, vanilla-scented and wood-smoke

hazing the humming moon–
and I dream

of morning sky tasting of peaches and ripe berries
bursting with sweetness.

With trembling fingers, I touch rainbow-lettered you
but love is white light, composed of every color,

holding stars songs of yesterday and tomorrow.

For dVerse, where Grace asked us to write a poem on synesthesia, specifically grapheme color synesthesia, so I hope I got it right.

If I Dream

If I beat away the shadows,
will the moon’s music drift
in a shining spray of silver
to dazzle-dance in haunting rhythms
till the sun wakes—then

if I rise,
languid as a summer day,
will the murky mist shift
to reveal an azure sky, where geese wing
above in raucous celebration of life?

If I ask moon, sun, geese,
will they tell me the secrets
of why and when and nevermore—
of how time is a dream, and how dreamtime flutters
and flits, like leaves in the wind?

If I dream of you,
of laughter flowering,
dropping seeds in my heart
do you grow and bloom–
to live forever?

It took me all day today to visit and get my message from the poetry Oracle. I took the photo this morning. It’s a beautiful day here.

Looking at Yesterday, Seeing Tomorrow

Monday Morning Musings:

“Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly fly the years,
One season following another,
Laiden with happiness and tears.”

–from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, “Sunrise, Sunset,” Fiddler on the Roof (1964)

After thousands of sunrises and sunsets

the years fly quickly,

faster now, summer turns to autumn,

spring tears fall and shoots appear–

winter snow glitters on our heads.

 

Once I was a turtle,

slowly walking across a road

I hid my head from others

though I showed off my lovely carapace,

then you took me from my shell

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and brought me into the world of people.

I showed you the world of books and art,

introduced you to exotic turtle food

and we played and burrowed deep,

into our blanket nest.

 

Our children were fawns

long-legged, shy, and fey,

until their camouflaging spots faded,

and then they sang the songs of birds

and gathered the wisdom of owls

 

tossing words, pitching music, and beaming light

into the world–

sometimes it was reflected back

in all the colors of the universe,

bringing love.

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And now?

The water calls to me in rivers, streams, and oceans,

I sometimes carry the heavy weight of my shell,

but you share the burden,

and when I look at my reflection,

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I see worlds beyond worlds–

the absurdity of the upside-down,

the glowing rays of a double sun

the promise of all the ifs,

and the hope in infinite possibilities stretching to forever.

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I do not look to yesterday but walk into the future.

 

We celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary a few days ago, but we’ve known each other since ninth grade. To celebrate, we went to Ocean City, NJ and walked on the beach for a couple of hours in the morning, avoiding people as best we could. Then later we went on our first real outing since March. We went to a winery for our anniversary dinner, where we sat outside physically distanced from the other patrons, and after a brief thunderstorm, we enjoyed wine, pizza, and gelato. I think we were both a bit giddy to be out. I put my mask back on whenever our masked server came to the table.

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Merril’s Movie Club: Back to more obscure Merril films. Both are on Netflix. We watched See You Yesterday, which we both really liked. All of the acting is excellent, especially the two engaging leads who portray brilliant Black teens hoping to get scholarships to good universities—a future. But this is very much a Black Lives Matter film, and they attempt to change the past. Playing on the theme, Michael J. Fox has a cameo appearance.

We also watched Bulbul, an Indian horror film—though it’s not a jump out of your seat horror. It’s more of a dark fable with beautiful cinematography.  It deals with a child bride and her life as an adult in her husband’s household, where her best friend is her brother-in-law. There is a tale of a demon/goddess who lives in the trees and swoops down to attack men at night. The story is retold throughout the movie. We both liked it, though I think I liked it more than my husband did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sailing Through Time

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Redon, “Barque Mystique”

 

In a dream,

I sailed the night sky,

swallowed the music of the stars,

merged with them, glowing incandescent,

red shifting, drifting through time and beyond–

 

and when I woke,

I took your hand. We opened a door

together, began a new life,

of hopes, fears, love, tears–

ebbing, flowing, drifting through time–and beyond.

 

For  Anmol’s prompt on dVerse, “Portals,”  

I’m using this Redon painting again because it fits.