The Autumn Moon

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Lady Fate

No moon sails the sky alone the Weaver sits
creel of silk at hand

Not one to need company she adjusts and readjusts her lengths of silk eternally balancing

Do not come without your incantation Do not come without an offering

Spinning life and beyond measured hanks of silk woven now and in-between

No matter what our ages, we notice the moon traveling the night sky, notice the nightly changes. Many different cultures have stories of the moon, and she is often far more than a chunk of green cheese. This time of year I notice the moon more often, as she sails above the trees as night grows longer. Do you have a special story of a time the moon spoke to you?

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Climate Change & Environment

What is changing or has changed where you live? Here October is warmer than usual, and we haven’t yet had a frost. Not too many years ago, our first frost would happen in early September. We’d cover up tomatoe plants at night to try to keep them going longer. We have a higher water table this year. For the first time the vernal pools have not dried up.

It Is Lonely

Earth tried to be the bright blue light

in the Milky Way galaxy,

but it had become so

difficult to respire,

difficult to keep her

fish alive in oceans,

wearying to preserve forests,

impossible to clean 

rivers and lakes.


She watched chestnut, maple, pine

eagles, bears, whales

all struggle and deplete.

Pipelines filled with gas and oil 

tattooed across her fields, her rivers.

Smoke and smog enclosed

cities all over her girth.

More cars, more lights 

blinked in skyscrapers, more profit

made from the fruits of her body

The land that is her body,

water that is her blood,

air that is her breath,

changed.

It is lonely, she thought, 

dying while no one noticed.

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quince

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Quince Preserves

We were surprised to find this Armenian 

treasure on our first visit to my Irish 

Godfather’s new house in the country,

a world away from our Cambridge street.

Beyond the tumbled stone wall we passed 

into an orchard and entered Eden. It wasn’t 

only the children that gaped with wonder.

The grownups fell silent, too.

How quickly the old country can resurrect

in our hearts. For Dad and Jimmy Sullivan, 

the Irish countryside rose like a captured 

bird who finds an open window.

Gram saw her home in Kharpet rise like an apparition, 

her own grandmother her whole family still safe. Her

Grandfather worked the fields, she carried his lunch to him.

Fragrance of quince on the hillside filled her.

Gram picked three quince from Jimmy Sullivan’s tree. He

gave her more. Jimmy’s own kids were running around 

like banshees. We hadn’t ever had that much space to run 

together—and we didn’t know what do to with it.

The next day she cooked quince, 

working alone, except for me 

watching. Gram  stood over the pot 

to inhaled fragrance as she stirred. 

Simmered quince turned gold. 

Jars of memory preserved. 

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Her Grandmother Laments

Her Grandmother Laments

I would have liked to hear her

call Seanmháthair—

to hear her toddler tongue shape 

that word. Perhaps I would have

fed her porridge some morning,

lifted her to pull an apple from 

the tree by the front steps. We’d go 

into the garden, salute heart’s ease near 

the gate, push our noses into peonies,

then press rose petals onto our tongues.

She would say Seanmháthair

and I would pick her up with

mint and chamomile. We’d go inside

to make tea together, drink from 

Peter Rabbit mugs. She would tell me 

about those fairies she glimpsed from the corner

of her eyes, then mention 

that she’d like to use the bathroom.

We’d rush upstairs just in time.

She would say Seanmháthair.

I would wash her sticky hands and face.

We’d pick up a small storybook,

murmur the words, touch each picture.

We’d climb the stairs for a nap,

peek out the window to say “good rest”

to the birds on the windowsill.

We’d sing a small song together 

to soften the journey to rest.

Seanmháthair, pronounced shan va har, means grandmother in Irish.

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Billy Collins

Billy Collins Takes Me for a Ride

Billy Collins takes me for a ride

I’ve gone  there before many times

it’s an easy ride and I think I know the way

But he makes a turn

takes a detour and then

he drives into a small pond

a pond I’ve never noticed before

I wonder is he trying to kill us—  

amazingly the car floats

He hops out onto the damp soil

and announces that we have arrived

 

Want to visit Billy Collins? Here’s a tube video.

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Persian Carpets

Persian Carpet

The carpet seduces like 

an old lover come to visit

I lift a corner and light

shivers blue and silver from the weave

sheep that jumped and spun the 

mountain air near

Shiraz transformed

life remembered deep within the weaving

alive and woven into time

heart opens to the story this gabbeh tells

Hands wove and knotted the telling

then open up to let the story go

 

If your’e interested some history of these handmade carpets check out these websites.

https://zollanvari.com/about

https://www.carpet-wiki.com/persian-rugs/ghashghai/

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September’s Golden Light

The Apple Barn

He lived alone by the old apple barn

after being released from confinement

he was happy except 

in the extreme heat of the early autumn days

when the bees would hoard all of the honey

and dive into the barrels of warm cider he made

like aero-stuntmen from the old days.

He’d cuss and leave them to it

the bees would fall drunk around him

on the sweetness of the cider

He lived alone by the old apple barn

gathering apples where they fell

watching the stars on summer nights

Steering his dreams by moonlight

after being released from confinement

He was happy except 

in the extreme heat of the early autumn days

When memories bobbed up and dived

so many leftover dreams

when he lived alone by the old apple barn

 

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Blueberries

This is the last blueberry poem of the season. We’ve made blueberry pie, waffles, and now the season is passing.

Blueberries

They were heaven—sweet food from the fairy realm

I ate as we picked along the road, into the field where 

three sheep watched us warily

we picked into the woods at the swamp

The first time mum and I picked blueberries I was three

Mum gasped when she stepped into the swamp

then wiped a muddy high heel in the leaves

I laughed at the silliness of wearing heels and skirt

looking back she likely just didn’t take time to change 

when she saw how I took to these berries

The day she died I brought her home made blueberry ice cream

dad said she wasn’t going to want blueberry ice cream any more

he sat at the kitchen table, and she lay alone in the next room.  

I sat with her while breath rattled in and out

slower and harder each time

I pick wild sweet berries and eat bowls of them with thick cream

mix them with lemon and maple syrup for blueberry pie each July 

far from home now in forest edge garden each year

I enter a contest with the birds to see who can harvest the most

And I remember the first time

My mum and me
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Blueberries

IMG_0216

Recently I found several old photographs of my first visits to Glen Echo Lake,  picking berries and swimming.  This is the likely the first time I picked berries for my breakfast. Berries are a theme, like strung pearls, that link my Mom, and me.

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Me picking blueberries for the first time.

IMG_0316.jpeg

Nan

In Cambridge it’s snowing softly, and Nan

sets the table for Sunday supper. She reaches

into the fridge for butter, cold slices of ham,

a jar of pigs feet. We crowd chairs around the

table. I sit on Mum’s lap with a slice of bread, 

butter, ham. Not food I’m used to. Mum and I

are quiet. I wonder who was here for dinner, 

why we only come for leftovers, late in the day.

My older cousin Catherine shows me how to play games 

I don’t know yet, and Nan hands me a rectangular tin 

with two handles. She says for you, a lunchbox

I wonder at it. It’s small, and I have a Roy Roger’s 

lunch box at home. She doesn’t know what I have there,

where I live with my Armenian grandmother, where

we speak another language, where dad whispers to me

in Irish, sings lullabies and tells me stories at bedtime.

I’m not used to having extra anything, and I’m doubtful

of this gift. She offers you can use it to pick blueberries. 

When summer comes we pile into our car, pick up Nan, cousins

Catherine and Kristeen, and Aunt Maureen to pick berries in Stoughton.

We pick wild berries along the dead end road, at the edge 

of Paul’s sheep field, to Glen Echo Lake. We have purple lips

and tongues. Blueberry heaven, and we’re happy here.

Wild blueberries plonk on the bottom of my special tin.IMG_0283.jpegMy Auntie Maureen is holding me on her lap.

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Join us virtually tonight, Friday

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Prospectus Journal will hold an open mic tonight on August 27, this Friday at 7pm EDT

( East Coast US). This is a free Zoom event and everyone is invited to listen.  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/prospectus-end-of-summer-open-mic-tickets-167819126525. Tickets are free, but you still must register to be allowed in.

I’ll be one of the first readers. I hope you can attend. Prospectus: A Literary Offering

Best,

Elaine

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