show us the sun–
open the cloud cover,
awaken each new day
It wasn’t difficult to find the path to Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park, although one of the websites I visited noted that the location was chosen not only for its bedrock and elevation, but for its isolation. The top photo shows the obelisk reflection from my original post, but taken from the vantage point of the Needle. And above is the stairway up from the path.
An obelisk had four sides, matching the four cardinal directions, and I photographed it from each one. As you can see, the one day last week of blue skies alternated between cloud cover and clarity. It was quite windy.
This obelisk is one of a pair (the other is in London) made of red granite originally erected in Heliopolis in 1475BC, moved to Alexandra by the Romans in 12BC, and toppled during the reign of Augustus.
It was gifted to the US by the Egyptian government in 1877 for some political purpose–different sources gave different reasons. The transport, by steamship, was paid for by William Henry Vanderbilt, and it took 112 days, a team of 32 horses, and the temporary alteration of the landscape, to move it from the ship to the park.
Obelisks were originally associated with the Benu bird, the Egyptian predecessor of the Phoenix, and the Sun God Ra, representing life, resurrection, and light. They were embellished with hieroglyphics–dedications to Ra and tributes to Pharaohs and their military victories.
Interestingly, they were also used as sundials to tell time.
Here’s a view looking past the obelisk to the museum in the back ground.
The obelisk has been symbolically adopted by Freemasons–in fact the Grand Master of the New York State Masons, Jesse B Anthony, laid the cornerstone in 188l, accompanied by 9000 Masons who marched with him up Fifth Avenue to the park.
And because this is Thursday doors, and Cleopatra’s Needle does not contain a door, here’s one from the Temple of Dendur, inside the Metropolitan Museum. But that requires a whole other post.
Wikipedia has an extensive entry detailing the obelisk’s history.
And you can always find a wide variety of doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
opening new horizons,
The glass doors-and-windows at the back of the Met showed me something last week that I knew was there but did not expect to see reflected back at me. I turned around and there it was–the Obelisk, Cleopatra’s Needle.
This is an actual Egyptian Obelisk from the Temple of the Sun. It was gifted to the United States by Egypt in commemoration of the opening of the Suez Canal in the late 1800s. Why and how it ended up in Central Park behind the museum requires further investigation. I also need to get closer on another visit for more detailed photos.
The fallen leaves make for beautiful patterns, both in the tree shapes and their reflections.
It was a very foggy day. In the photo below, taken on my way to the Museum, you can’t even see that there are buildings beyond the trees.
On the way back, several hours later, the fog had lifted somewhat–bottoms of buildings were now visible–but I was also surprised to see hundreds of geese spread across the empty ball fields. I saw more tufted titmice too.
I have enough photos from the Met now for quite a few more Thursday Door posts. So they will keep showing up every once in awhile. And yes, I did take a photo of the completely decorated tree.
You can always find more doors here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
mirrors hidden behind
glistening gold light—self
the locus that gyres–
gravities of orbiting
become somewhere else
Elisa Ang provided the artistic inspiration, below, for my series of volcano poems appearing this week at Pure Haiku. Serendipitously, the Kick-About recently hosted a prompt based on Turner’s painting of Mt. Vesuvius, for which I made a series of collages and wrote a cadralor of volcano-themed poems titled “In Search of Venus”. And Jane’s Oracle 2 words provided further inspiration for me to write five Badger poems to go with the volcano theme.
Thanks, as always, to Freya Pickard for her continued support of my work.
November walks are windswept,
open to shifting skies–
varying moods of sunlight
exchanged before my eyes–
magic captured by windows,
blues within which scries
earthsong—green gold russet–
reflections of change and reprise
I discovered this back door to the Metropolitan Museum of Art recently–it must be for people who work there–but it was the windows that caught my eye.
The style is quite different from the front, but there is the same care taken with the design. The windows were obviously meant to reflect the park across from them.
Here’s another window a bit further down the path.
The Temple of Dendur is behind these windows on the side.
I took some photos of the (very different) front of the museum, too, but that’s for another time.
And you can always find more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Trees stand graceful in the misty afternoon light–
birds pause as golden leaves detach themselves,
a murmured ripple that whispers low to the ground.
Are we coming or going? The gate stands closed.
Halting, wary, we wait. Push through or withdraw?
Bones rattle—is there time for us to choose?
The web holds us in the middle, between.
Will we weave our forms into the mystery,
cross over, become reflected light?
Earth enfolds us into its primal core.
Cocooned inside the spiraled sleep of serpents
we grow wings, awaiting the return of the sun.
Pumpkins and flower baskets line the stairs–
on the door at the top, a harvest wreath welcomes.
We open and turn with the wheel–step through.
I walked through Central Park to the east side last week–and found all these seasonal doors on East 92nd Street. The details on Number 25 are quite beautiful.
You can always find more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
like a sudden flash,
green turns into fire that falls–
autumn paths open
like a sudden flash–
the retreating past
green turns into fire that falls,
exposing the skeletons
underneath the veil
autumn paths open–
the earth folds into itself–
It does finally feel like autumn here. Not much color yet, but it’s coming. We’ve had a wet day with the remnants of Hurricane Ian, and the building turned on the heat for the first time this morning.
I missed the flow’ring of the weed–
my photo shows instead the seed.
It did return this year indeed
to Riverside Drive.
You may remember that last year I was surprised to find jimson weed growing by a tree planted near 96th Street on Riverside Drive. The Parks Department cleared all the growth around the trees sometime in October (hopefully wearing gloves!) and I wondered if it would return this year. Below are my first sightings, taken in early and mid-August.
I didn’t get back to photo it until the end of August, when I took the above photos. I had missed the flowers! But there was a seed. Below is a flower photo from last year’s plant.
But my last year photos were from September, so maybe it will have a second flowering this year. I’ll try to check on it from time to time.
And here are some other photos from my walk through Riverside Park. That’s New Jersey across the river.
You can read all about jimson weed here.
Restless, this sea–
It has always
Man builds, rebuilds,
makes his own map.
The wind surges,
the waves reclaim–
restless, this sea.
We stayed in the town of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island this year. It was in the news in May when two houses collapsed into the ocean after a storm.
The section where we were staying was primarily year-round residents, so the houses were mostly set back, away from the dunes. But walking up and down the beach we could see many houses practically in the water, or sometimes actually in the water at high tide. While we were there, the aqua house above was fenced off in preparation for its removal. The house next door had already been taken down.
Here’s one being held up by scaffolding.
When we first started going to the Outer Banks, 35 years ago, the houses were small, and built well off the beach. Now the new houses are all huge, with a premium fee for being right by the ocean. But the coast on a barrier island is always in flux, even without the hurricanes that are becoming more frequent.
Part of the island is a protected wildlife refuge, and the shoreline is managed by the National Park Service, but it’s difficult to control the strain caused by the continued private development. Tourism is the main source of tax revenue for the island, so the local government is not willing to put any brakes on it.
Shoring up the dunes with more sand is expensive and temporary. There will always be more storms.
This is low tide–you have to swim through at high tide.
You can see the houses falling into the ocean here:
My poem is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where Yvette Calleiro selected a form that Gwen Plano created, called the 4-11, for us to try.
And, as always, find more doors here with host Dan Antion.
ready to fade away–
the story lost, mislaid
between image and words—falling,
asking to be caught up, calling—
and if it were–
what then?—now here,
now unconfined, a seed
to open, finally freed—
surprise breaks through
in green and blue
After I saw Muri’s hexaduad the other day I wanted to try one. I took a rough poem I wrote recently, and revised it to fit. It’s a pretty flexible form, despite the rhymes.
We’ve had so much rain and so little very hot weather that it’s lush and green here in NYC to begin June.