Thursday, July 21, 2016

Laughter's Ink Dreams

Bay of Angels
—Paintings of Angels by Marc Chagall (1887-1985)
—Poems by B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA


It is early by the roses
of the iron gates
in garden plots
families gather
to eat strawberries
hearing the wind by the sea
you step out in faith
that quickly drawing on
a blue painted landscape
of the tide will sustain you
eyeing a friendly dolphin
near the edge of the shore
as you dive and swim
under rays of first light.


Along the Charles
after an hour at church
a child of eleven
hears an angelic song's litany
at St. John the Evangelist
near Harvard Square
bz searches over the river
in early dawn among the canals
for bread crumbs
on the shining rays
of a fairground
with some birds amid philodendron
suddenly hears bacchanals
and a lone sax riff’s sound
relaxes along the greensward grass
and wildflower shore
to his back a sailboat is down
near a kayak full of fraternal
Harvard companions
and Platonic friends who pass
hidden amid the sun-cast canals,
there is one black swan
turning almost in a nostalgic form
by the day's marathon runners
bz writes down salty words
with chalk on the graffiti wall
as a future free-spirit bard
painting over his courtyard hall,
and learns to draw
on carbon copy
a favorite Roualt clown.

 Magic Flute

ON JULY 12th

Leaning over the Atlantic
embracing nature
by a falling rain spiral
and a sleepless sunshine
by a shipwreck
in the home harbor
from a surprised
and capsized kayak
in an exiled mirror
back from lanterns
near the birdsong shade
of the sea's wildness of wind.



Trying to feel
a joyful spark
on Bastille Day
like Jeanne d'Arc
only dying to pray.

 Elijah Touched by an Angel


The secondhand
has caressed an hour
gesturing there is rain
on the way
still on the grass with
a beckoned expression of
one remaining sunflower
though caressed by the earth
on this fecund day.



The last day
for the sky's nourishment
of blue
feeling the elements
of rain showers
along the urban roads
of the city's dust
your hands crossed
isolated from reality
with no absence
of long suffering
in the fragile mirror.

 The Falling Angel, 1947


Because the voice summons me
in my wound of memory
from a millennia of visions
in seeds, dreams, saints, glories
and because my brother and sister
are not to be judged
but already have an epitaph
in this world and another
and because the moonlight hides
in the Evergreen by the Blue Hills
and the birds are wandering
amid the branches under sunshine
because all that I was and am
reporting is in the mangroves
after the rain shower
do not ask me to be silent
at afternoon prayer
or going about a pilgrimage to Sarah
at Hebron in the moonlight
in dusty sandals on our feet
and breaking the glass
at a wedding after the wine
or hearing the sea
from my Cape window
or the image of Chagall's angels
with trembling hands
nailed to a tree
I have already bathed
in the Jordan over the riverbeds
three times seen baptisms
by the midsummer pomegranates
and tasted the fruit of Eden's garden
known of the loins of my Savior
rejoicing in the wood
of the Jezreel Valley
got lost in the desert
found the Jerusalem stones
to be very handwritten on walls
of prayer wheels
expect the seraphim and cherubim
to arrive in early harvest time
in the brick crescendos
from the vessels of trumpets
with motioning lips
yet thirsty for a dig
of a lost map of the holy land
in the carried-off topography
by the open fields
wanting to rise in sunshine
of the ocean sails
reading Whitman
on a banana boat in Jamaica
with Derek Walcott,
taking an escalator
in the Moscow underground
with the Beats.

 The Little Angel (Lithograph)


Since the sign
of silence
signaled immortality
in a spiraling portion
of awesome wisdom
we were caught up
in the freedom of green guitars
on the sailboat vessel
caught between sun showers,
since I do not wake up
without a poem and music
of six strings in my spirit
by the shady purple trellis
dreaming of a changed season
in a foreign language
and am granted to sit
under the juniper on a July dawn
despite the heaviness
of the heat I consume an orange
reading Hart Crane, Frost
and Emily Dickinson
drinking in the singing carols
feeding the wrens on the branches
whose mouths taste
my bread on the waters
as swans wander under waves
along the high tide off-shore
off the Cape,
since I'm under an umbrella
of a hot sun
you provide me with shade
of my kingdom's spirit
knowing the poet's silk
restores the kinsman's wisdom
of bardic ancient mariners
in the island home harbors
of all who are exiled
or coming to the shore
like the faithful birds
of Capistrano wishing
for a respite of bread and water
and cold milk
resting on the virtuosity
as a daughter from Spanish airs
of my Sephardic ancestors
on my grandmother's side
who came to America
as a young bride
eating dates and figs
under the wispy canopy breeze
on white curtain lace
to take a lottery chance
after the long ceremony
as a witness to Jacob's God
to accompany the ancient chants
at rivers of peace and grace
as my laughter's ink dreams
increase colors
upon an afternoon portrait
along the Pyrenees in the snow
with fleeing refugees
of Picasso moving to France
the willing angels ask
only to sit by the carob
near the hyacinth trees
since the sound of silence
explodes in a new world.


Today’s LittleNip:


in chaos
and loss
your country
in censorship
false worship
you crossed
the line too, Nazim
yet we belong
to Turkey
in song
to your cry.


—Medusa, with thanks to B.Z. Niditch for today's sumptuous fare!

For more about Chagall and his angels, see

 Celebrate poetry today by going to one or more readings in
our area: Poetry at the Library at noon; 
Jennifer O'Neill Pickering and Guests at Luna’s at 8pm; 
 and Melissa Goodrum and Timothy Nutter at
Poetry in Davis, also at 8pm. Scroll down to the blue box 
(under the green box at the right) for info about these 
and other upcoming readings in our area—
and note that other events may be added at the last minute.

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.