The Eternal Endings and Beginnings

Monday Morning Musings:

The Eternal Endings and Beginnings

“In other words,
once there was air,
a bird
could be got.”
–from Lia Purpura, “Beginning”

I.
In dreams
time has no meaning,
our ghosts live again,
disclose the truth of stories.

II.
Invisible birds call
proclaim themselves in
the grey-blanketed world

where there is only them—
and me—but they are
shapeshifters, black dots
that honk as the mother mallard
laughs

then
the blue of jay, the red of cardinals,
spots of color in the monochrome–

is the universe
what we imagine? What comes first?

III.
Cycles and turnings,
sun, moon, earth,
mother and child
reborn
endings become beginnings–

and now, on New Year’s Day,
here, washed clean, sparkling,
it begins. Again.

Helllo, again. This is my first Monday Morning Musings of the New Year. For those who have been away from blogs, I hope you had a good holiday season, and I wish you a very happy and healthy new year. 2022 was quite a year. Friday will be the anniversary of when the US was almost destroyed. I 2022, I had loved one dies, and I also had my first book of poetry, River Winds, published by Nightingale and Sparrow Press.

At the start of this past week, we got together with family. Our older child and their wife were here with us over Christmas and for a few days. We will see more family and friends this week.

We said goodbye to the old year with wine and cheese from Tria and a virtual tasting. It was a fun and educational event with Tria’s wine director, Lauren Harris and Tria’s Cheese Director, Madame Fromage (Tenaya Darlington) who was in Belgium. I liked everything. My husband and I who do not generally like rosé, enjoyed this sparkling one from Italy, and every single cheese was delicious. Really delicious. It was a good night to stay in, as it was foggy, then rainy outside.
But yesterday, New Year’s Day, was sunny and mild.

In my dream early this morning, my children were still children, my mother was around, and so were old pets. It was a past and now. Old and young, dead and alive.

Perhaps I was influenced by what we watched, The Eternal Daughter, a film by Joanna Hogg in which Tilda Swinton plays both mother and daughter. It’s a definite Merril movie that I highly recommend. It’s a mystery with ghostly overtones set in a grand old house in Wales. Merril movie should tell you that it has layers and that it is not an action film.

We also streamed the Lantern Theater’s one-man show version of A Christmas Carol. We had seen it live a few years ago for my birthday. Dickens used to perform it himself, too. Also highly recommended. My husband said, “I could watch that every year.”

Shows: We re-watched the final two episodes of 1899 with our older child and daughter-in-law. We finished Let the Right One In, a Showtime series based on the movies about a vampire girl and her friendship with a boy who needs friends. It’s vampires, but it’s really a show about family, friendship, and what you will do for love. We had started Wednesday, didn’t love, but went back and ended-up enjoying it.

I’m currently reading, The Whalebone Theater: A Novel by Joanna Quinn, and thoroughly enjoying it. I’m also reading some unpublished manuscripts, and poetry that I will review soon.

Small Joys

Monday Morning Musings:

Small Joys

“Seek out each day as many as possible of the small joys, and thriftily save up the larger, more demanding pleasures for holidays and appropriate hours. It is the small joys first of all that are granted us for recreation, for daily relief and disburdenment, not the great ones.”
–Herman Hesse, quoted in The Marginalian

Early Morning October Reflections, Red Bank Battlefield

A mysterious sky forms,
whispers, “be untidy now,”
scatter leaves like hope,
watch them catch the wind
as eagles do, wings-outstretched
straight as the horizon,
to land softly, like feathers,
but to crackle and crunch with satisfaction
as you walk upon them,
sharing them with the earth.

Autumn leaves, Tall Pines

Bird Skies

Now mark how the thunder passes,
and gold pours from the sky
gilding the trees
as the sky-blue jay
shares his opinions of the world,

you and the trees sigh.

October Morning, Red Bank Battlefield

See, how the wine is garnet in your glass,
a drinkable jewel, glimmering in the sun,
the afterlife of grapes, the culmination of sun, harvest,
air, and time. Some things can’t be hurried—

and so, we sit.

The afternoon may be a shaggy dog story,
or it might simply have a dog,
and isn’t that the point,
isn’t that enough

a beautiful autumn day,
loved ones, wines, a dog?

A bridge connecting seasons,
connecting future and past,
joy in this moment,
this moment, now,
whatever comes to pass.

Wooden Bridge, Tall Pines State Preserve

I used some of Jane’s Random words from Oracle II for my musings today. We are in the peak of autumn splendor now. Cool nights and sunny days (mixed with cloudy rainy ones). We will not have many more days of sitting outside, but we took advantage of the weather on Saturday afternoon to meet our daughter, son-in-law, and their puppy at Amalthea Cellars. Great wine (we had a red blend of merlot and Cabernet Franc.) On Sunday morning, before the rain, we walked at Tall Pines State Preserve.

Amalthea Cellars

Tall Pines State Preserve

Thursday afternoon I had a delightful time doing a podcast and reading some of my poetry, which I will share once it’s up—probably sometime in November. On Friday, I participated in an online Black Bough poetry event for “Sun-Tipped Pillars of Our Hearts,” the Dai Fry Award for Mystical Poetry. Such a beautiful event! My poem was among the long-listed poems included in the volume.

Ricky was dismayed by the dog, and he wants equal time. He should know how much he’s loved.

The Constancy of Autumn

Monday Morning Musings:

The Constancy of Autumn

“Where are the songs of spring? Ay, Where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;”
–from John Keats, “To Autumn”

Sunrise
Sunrise, Delaware River, September

Now the dragons come, sending their fiery breath
Into the cerulean sky, last gasps,
a vibrant show before their long, winter sleep.

Now squirrels skip and scurry
to find and bury their treasure,
eagles soar from shore to shore,

white-feathered heads glowing above the river blue,
where herons and egrets in shallow water wade
still in shadow, then with broad wings wide, glide

to other shoals. While blue jays gather
in raucous meetings throughout the day—
yelling at hawks, asking summer to stay—but

Blue Jay with shade of green

Apples and Honey, both local and delicious

now the apples come—red or golden-green,
the colors of both fall and spring, tart and sweet
as life, well-balanced, though seldom neat.

Now t-shirts are covered by sweaters,
above, azure turns grey, but bright a spray of yellow
in bee-swallowed goldenrod, and violet aster.

Golden rod and aster at dawn.

Now we are in transition, in-between,
summer has ended, winter not yet come
but we remember what has been

the roses of summer and the fruit,
their essence captured in honey and wine–
with time,

the memories and promises,
like late spring’s bird-dawn chatter—
everything connected, everything matters,

the constant of love’s endurance
glowing brilliant as the light
of ancient long-dead stars, so bright,
still guiding us from afar.

Where the light comes through—early morning, Delaware River.

We celebrated the first night of Rosh Hashanah last night. It makes so much more sense to celebrate the new year in early autumn as summer fades into fall than tacked on to the end of winter holidays on the first of January. Of course, no one has asked me. It was wonderful to celebrate with family, and while we missed not having everyone there, the smaller group meant we could all sit at one table and converse together. We toasted the memory of my aunt Sima, whose recipe for challah cannot be surpassed. It’s the one I always use.

Some photos from last night

Truth and Myth

Sunrise Clouds

Truth and Myth

Incandescent miniature–
the sun caught in a wave
bobs up and down, drowning, reborn, a small god

ignored by garrulous geese and laughing gulls
who punctuate the sky with white-feather questions–

but the spotted deer, stoops his head at the shore,
glows as he sips the splendor.

I saw “incandescent miniature” in Jane’s Random Words, and this image popped into my head. I’ll have to use more words in another poem. I shared this poem with Top Tweet Tuesday.
I’m hosting dVerse Poetics today, so I’ll be back later!

Still More to Say

Monday Morning Musings:

Still More

“How do you know but ev’ry Bird that cuts the airy way,
Is an immense world of delight, clos’d by your senses five?”
–William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790)

Sunrise over the Delaware River

I still have more to say about color,
the frequency and hues,
and how we parse the natural world
and what we choose to name–

Would they be the same–
the roses and the stars—
if we didn’t claim them so
What color was the sea? Did the moon

sing a different tune?
What was before blue
of sky and blue jay wing
and what of the unseen,

Blue Jay and Shades of Green

and the in-between.
What does the heron perceive
in the grey of his feathers
or the ultraviolet that they see, like bees,

an Umwelt unlike ours, but like trees
connected and a part—
now think about our hearts
and all the types of love, friendship, fear—

Deer and Turkeys

look at dogs, cats, turkey, deer—
animals that love, have their friends, and run
in play and fear.
So many words, so many shades,

but hate has only one. It never fades,
it’s a black hole,
trapping light within—
and yet and yet and yet

it’s not that simple or set–
light bends and echoes around it
seeking a way, as if to not forget
and we–

have ways to see and be–
we’re hardwired to parse and name
color and light, and to sense the unseen–
Monet’s violet waterlilies somewhere in our genes.

Aster

Again, the Marginalian got me thinking about color and light. I found this short video that I think does such a good job of explaining how we and animals see color. For more on Monet’s eyesight, I found this short article.

We watched another strange Merril movie, Censor. Here’s a review from the Guardian. We both liked it, but it is very strange. I’m still thinking about it though.

We did a lot this weekend and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Friday night out to dinner (outside) with daughter and son-in-law. That was after an amazing launch for Afterfeather also attended by Ricky. I have a poem in this anthology, which is published by Black Bough poetry from poems curated by Briony Collins from Top Tweet Tuesday.

A winery on Saturday late afternoon/evening. And a bridal shower luncheon on Sunday.

William Heritage Winery

Bridal Shower, Special Time With friends

September Rain

Heron at dawn. Delaware River at Red Bank Battlefield.

September Rain

Early morning is heron-still,
the grey wing-brushed sky waits
for feathered clouds to part,

or sprinkle diamond drops
around sunflowers’ throats,
who smile and tilt their heads,

offer tiny mirrors to bees,
to see a world worked in threads reflected blue,
invisible to us.

A quadrille for dVerse. We’re getting much-needed rain today.

The Important Things

Monday Morning Musings:

The Important Things

“But the important thing about the sky is that it is always there.”
Margaret Wise Brown, The Important Book

Sun rising over the Delaware River

Under a Van Gogh dawn–

in quiet pockets, that many never see,
deer and turkeys frolic,
have picnics on the beach

Turkeys on the Delaware River Beach, West Deptford, NJ

they are there–
as egret clouds spread their wings
across a river of blue jay blue,
even if unseen

Egret

the sunflowers grow and
the honey flows
as light that begins to fade,
but is captured in a golden stream

and apples into it dipped.
Red and gold replace the green
and hawk-chased squirrels taunt and scream
and gather nuts for future dreams,

these are all important things.

Now, we walk–
a moment fixed in time
the past captured in hearts and minds
not knowing what will be, but lives intertwined

despite shadows before us and behind.

Tall Pines State Preserve

All can be lost in a flash of heron’s wing–
but feathers are strong,
even when tossed
and the phoenix rises again from ash,

these are things swept but kept—
the traces of stars, dinosaurs to birds’ song.

Heron

Last year on Labor Day we celebrated Rosh Hashanah. With the Covid numbers high, we didn’t gather with family, but we had visited a sunflower festival and had the traditional foods. We also went to a winery last Labor Day weekend, as we did this year—except proceeds last year went to help the people and businesses affected by the tornado that had roared through a few days before. This week we live-streamed a Loudon Wainwright III concert from the City Winery in NYC. (We actually watched the replay the next night.) We saw my sister-niece and her husband live at our house, which was so wonderful that I forgot to take photos, and we went to William Heritage Winery on Saturday. On Sunday morning, we walked at Tall Pines State Preserve, which was full of late summer wildflowers.

Don’t Ask the Moon

Odilon Redon, The Boat

Don’t Ask the Moon

Imagine the world without
the cycles of dawn’s kiss planted on a sheet of blue,
and evening’s fish with their scale-scattered glimmer
lighting the indigo sea and shimmering on the river.

I wonder if there was a was–
or color or light–
before what came before such things

as bird and bee-breathed blooms,
a blanket of daffodils laid upon the grass,
and the song of the wind in the trees, or frost flowers’
blossoming clouds of white,

but the moon says, “Don’t ask. Behold! You know.”

I had a hard time focusing on the Oracle this morning–and, well, she and the moon work together. I think this is a new to me Redon, too.

What is this without that?

Monday Morning Musings:

Sunrise over the Delaware River

What is this without that?

“Color itself is a degree of darkness.”
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Theory of Colors

“For this we go out dark nights, searching
For the dimmest stars,
For signs of unseen things:”
–from Rebecca Elson, Let There Always Be Light (Searching for Dark Matter)

The paradox of worlds and sky
every breath an unconscious
mechanical, chemical feat
we don’t consider, just do

as bees do, too
and the butterflies that flutter by
and the fish that surface from the blue
as if to say

look at the beauty of this day,
then gulp and swim away
from heron, eagle, and osprey
the descendants of dinosaurs

Sunrise Heron

their genes in feathered splendor soar
from prehistoric to modern—this,
the paradox of seeing the unseen
the shadows in the morning light

the glittering trace of dead stars at night,
and when there were no words for blue,
somehow, we found them through
green when we needed to

not perception, but expression, the view
of what we see. How do we know
the bee does not perceive beauty, as well
as utility in the flower, or the doe
appreciate the hours when the sun sets or rises–

we think only we are wise,
but the paradox of larger brains–
I can write about blue and time,
and force a rhyme,

appreciate the sublime,
but I cannot run without a sound
or find true north on a midnight flight
or love unconditionally like dog—or cat—
we have all this, but we have lost so much of that.

Whitall House and Colonial Garden, Red Bank Battlefield

It’s been a busy week. We had a special lunch with poet friends last Monday, which I’ll write about in a separate post. We had various appointments and outings, work, and then I finally made it to a book club meeting, run by my daughter at Blue Cork Winery. I had read The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner several months ago–a book that I thought looked interesting when I saw it at the library, so I was happy to re-read it for this meeting. Here’s a review from NPR.

Book Club at Blue Cork

Merril’s Movie Club: I’ve been slacking on the movie recommendations. 😏 We still have not been in a movie theater, but perhaps someday soon. . . Here are two strange Merril movies. Neptune Frost (2021) is a movie that our older child and their wife saw in the theater recently. I think I can safely say that if you watch it, it will be the strangest movie you’ve ever seen. My husband and I both liked it, and we’d like to see it again. Here is the description from Rotten Tomatoes: “In an otherworldly e-waste camp made of recycled computer parts, a subversive hacking collective attempts a takeover of the authoritarian regime exploiting the region’s natural resources–and its people. When an intersex runaway (Neptune, played by both Elvis Ngabo and Cheryl Isheja) and an escaped coltan miner (Matalusa, played by Kaya Free) find each other through cosmic forces, their connection sparks glitches within the greater divine circuitry. With hypnotic visuals and original songs composed by musician and co-director Saul Williams, this celestial cyber-musical offers a radically bold vision of power, exploitation, and love.” I rented it from Amazon, but it’s available on other platforms.

We also watched Thelma, “a 2017 Norwegian supernatural thriller drama film directed by Joachim Trier,” whose more recent “Worst Person in the World” film we enjoyed earlier this year. We also both liked Thelma. It has some unexpected moments, and it makes you think.

I have more to say about shadows and light

Monday Morning Musings:

Reflections on the river. Red Bank Battlefield

I have more to say about shadows and light and . . .

age-old questions. The chicken or the egg?
The egg, of course. But before that?

Look! A little rainbow in the clouds.

How about light?
It was there before stars, scientists say,
as they inquire and test,
while I’m left—simply pondering

the quantum strings and shades of black-and-white.
How to describe such ancient light
in that time before? Then move on–

have you considered our volcanic existence,
how we erupted from the sea
from stellar grit to ammonite then pinniped? In a blink,
or a flutter

of butterfly’s wing—the randomness, the chaos,
dust to mud,
a hurricane—

where does summer hide when winter’s cold winds blow?

My thoughts are far from towering, I confess,
reflections on riddles, the stuff of dreams—foretell and forget–

a leap into the unknown, but sweep away the cobwebs,
what is left?
Nothing dashing, impressive—more like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole.

But really, where do the fawn’s spots go? How long can a heron stand
so quiet and still?

Sit awhile in on the hill. Do you see?
The way it glows. The way the shadows caress its curves? Do you feel how
the breeze kisses your cheek so tenderly like a mother?

Listen as the river sings the song of what is and what might be.

Now the geese float atop cotton ball clouds in the mirrored blue, sailing
on light, through shadows, into tomorrow—

the place of questions, dreams, and shadows.
But for shadows to exist, there must also be light,
and so again, we begin.

Sunrise over the Delaware River, August

I’m posting early today with something a bit different. I actually wrote most of this yesterday, and I used Jane’s Random Words

We had beautiful weather for the past week. Today it’s very humid with some rain and possible thunderstorms. It feels icky (a precise scientific term) outside right now.

We went to Vino and Vibes at William Heritage Winery with friends on Thursday night. It was a beautiful evening—perfect weather and company (and wine). We’re watching the second season of For all Mankind.