Winter Warmth and Winter Light

***I woke up to quite a surprise this morning. My poetry collection, River Ghosts, is Black Bough Poetry’s December Book of the Month. This is such an honor, and I am beyond thrilled! Black Bough, Matthew MC Smith, and his @TopTweetTuesday have done so much for the poetry community and pushed me to become a better poet. Sarah Connor, whose poetry I have admired very much for years, wrote a very perceptive and lovely review. You can read it here. ***

Monday Morning Musings:

Stark Winter Beauty, a parking lot on a December morning

Winter Warmth and Winter Light

“So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.”
–from “The Shortest Day” by Susan Cooper

Dawn comes late and dusk is early,
the sky is grey, the clouds are surly,
the wind deep-sighs, the squirrels all scurry
to gather nuts in a hurry–

brown leaves rustle, and the weak sun gleams
creating jewels on boughs and streams
glittering rubies anointing the dead, nothing seems
as it was—because the dark enfolds light’s beams

and our dreams that change with passing time
of revolving spheres and the bells that chime–
and so, we don bold red and sparkle bright,
we sing and dance, to spite long night.

Soon the shortest day will come—again—
and then, and then—as we wonder if or when
we’ll feel warmth, see light, a crocus rises from the snow

and soon spring breezes in, and winter must go.

We went to a wedding this past weekend. It was the wedding of the daughter of friends of many years. This is the first event we’ve been to since the pandemic. It was fun to dress up and celebrate with our friends.

Review of River Ghosts

Luanne Castle has written the most wonderful review of River Ghosts, my first collection of poetry.

I am overwhelmed–and so thrilled by this thoughtful review. Thank you so much Luanne!


Passover and Poetry

Passover and Poetry

Early Morning Reflections on the River

Monday Morning Musings:

“And when our children tell our story. . .
They’ll tell the story of tonight. . .

Raise a glass to freedom
Something they can never take away”
–Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Raise a Glass to Freedom,” Hamilton

This past week of cooking and cleaning
of family and friendship
of war and words,
of stories and rhyme–

the tides of the river
the flight of a crow
the raising of glasses
the flow of time

We celebrated the launch of River Ghosts at William Heritage Winery

as we walk and talk and sing
the love we bring
to the table

even as we miss absent faces
we find traces

amidst syllables we utter
through the clutter

of the everyday.

What we say in tears and laughter—
flies on heart-wings from here to here-after,

becoming another story—added light–
to all the stories of tonight.

I’m sorry if I’m overwhelming with photos in this post. Friday night was the start of Passover. Our older child is here, and we celebrated “our” book River Ghosts being out in the world. (They designed the stunning cover art.) We had some summer-like days this week and some beautiful spring days. We’ve also had thunderstorms, heavy rain—and this morning, I had to turn the heat back on.

On Passover, we are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus as part of the seder. Let’s just say, we are not traditional. My talented children wrote this year’s Passover play—the best one ever—over glasses of wine Friday night and coffee on Saturday morning. Where do they get this last-minute writing under pressure thing?

My siblings could not be with us on Passover, but it was still wonderful to have my children here and my sister-niece and her family. This was our first Passover together since the pandemic. Today is the two-year anniversary of my mom’s death.

Announcement #1: My poetry book, River Ghosts!

Hello, Everyone

I am SO pleased and excited to announce that my first book of poetry is being published by Nightingale and Sparrow Press! The book, River Ghosts, will be available on April 12! The stunning cover was created by my older child, Jay Smith. You can see more of their work on Instagram.

River Ghosts was compiled a few months after my mom died in the first wave of COVID-19 in April 2020. We could not be with her when she died. However, this poetry collection is about more than death and grieving. Many of the poems were written before this time, and they are about nature, the river, Philadelphia, love. . .and much more.

I walk by the Delaware River often, as regular readers of my blog know. In the months following my mom’s death, almost every morning, I tossed a stone in the water and thought of her—a sort of mourning ritual that I repeated again this morning.

Stone toss. Delaware River