Interpolated (Thursday Doors)
The day is empty
like this house—tentative, flat,
merged with the landscape.
Each layer resides
inside its own dimension–
Spinning in circles,
a surface with no inside–
an imprint of thought.
A moment’s whimsy–
not really a door at all–
more like a portal—
A passageway to somewhere
in the middle of between
My final entry to the Thursday Doors May Writing Challenge, a haiku sonnet, uses a photo from Wheat Salt Wine Oil as inspiration. The collage is another one of mine from my youth.
Next week, back to my own doors.
West Side Community Garden (Thursday Doors)
hope is sun-
kissed, nurtured by rain–
of the moon
and stars across the night sky–
light in reflection
hope grows where
ever mother earth
city, country, in-between–
seeds will germinate
to work for
spaces, shared freely by all–
I’ve featured this community garden before on Thursday Doors, but I wanted to revisit and see how spring was coming along. I also wanted to research the history. As you can see, the green and color is beginning to return.
This parcel of land has been a mansion, a dance hall, a church, and was a vacant drug-infested junk-filled lot by the time the 1970s rolled around, as was so much of the Upper West Side at that time. Members of the community cleaned it up and reclaimed it as a garden in the mid 70s. The city owned the land, and awarded a contract to develop it in the 1980s. But the garden and the community were not willing to depart quietly
They incorporated as a non-profit and negotiated with the developers and the city, with the help of the Trust for Public Land, for part of the space to remain a community garden. Sixteen thousand square feet, 1/3 the size of the original garden, was deeded to them officially in 1989. Two thirds of the remaining space is given to flowers, trees, benches and a sunken amphitheater which hosts theatrical and musical performances. The remaining one third is a vegetable and herb garden, with composting drop-off open once a week.
The garden is fully funded by grants and donations, and run entirely by volunteers, and free and open to any and all.
The garden uses the greenhouse at the Cathedral of St John the Divine (a building I’ll have to photograph one of these days…) and donates plants both back to the Cathedral and to other neighborhood gardens.
I was so impressed that they managed to navigate both the city bureaucracy and the power of real estate developers to save this wonderful meditative space. When I lived near 106th Street in the 1970s and 80s there was a community garden on a similarly vagrant lot where the buildings had been demolished at 96th and Broadway, and though the community fought the development, a really awful high rise was built on the entire lot. Interestingly, when I was looking for information about that garden, the only thing I could find was in an article saying what a wonderful building it was. “It was a measure of local stasis that the blockfront at Ninety-sixth Street stood largely vacant, except for a community garden, for fifteen years after the Riveria and Riverside theaters were razed in 1976.”. The garden was wonderful! The building–not. And in the spirit of true 1980s construction, it’s already falling apart.
But West Side Community Garden is still alive and well, thank goodness. You can read a detailed history and see some of the original buildings on the garden’s website, here.
The poem is from my own prompt for W3, to start a poem with the words “hope is…” I’ve written a shadorma chain.
And visit Dan Antion, the host of Thursday Doors, here, to see more doors and add some of your own.
Chestnut -Collared Longspur (Draw a Bird Day)
boundless blue, rimmed by
far horizons–an ocean
of windswept grass—wings
rise above the waves,
singing in constellations
of sky-feathered light
My choka envisions the American prairie as it once was–a diverse grassland ecosystem ideally suited to its variable climate, supporting hundreds of species, including migratory ones like monarchs. Less than one percent of the original prairie remains, its deep rooted grasses and wildflowers–as many as 200 different species per acre–replaced by suburban lawns and huge farms that grow only a few different crops, crops that lack the ability to replenish the soil and protect against drought. You only need to read about the Dust Bowl to see the results of destroying the native ecology.
Species that have mostly disappeared from the American prairie include bison, foxes, ferrets, elk, wolves, pumas, grizzly bears, beavers, prairie dogs, numerous insects, and all kinds of birds–prairie birds have suffered greater population losses than any bird group in North America.
The chestnut-collared longspur, like many prairie birds, eats seeds from native plants, and walks or runs along the ground to flush and capture insects to eat as well. It particularly like grasshoppers. Its name comes from the extra-long hind claws which help to navigate the uneven ground. Longspurs spend the summer in the northern prairies of the United States and Canada, and winter in southwest grasslands in the US and Mexico.
February 2023 Imbolc
ablaze in opposition
to monochrome days
breath held in
the beating heart, veins
roots, marking the season with
and skies expand, meet,
cross between, entwining
elements seeded into
the path shifts–
shadowed and cast out
into a now that transforms,
emerged, as after
One of the recent Kick-About prompts was Christo and Jeanne-Claude. This reminded me of their Gates installation in Central Park in February 2005, and I pulled out some of the photos I had taken then, printed them, and cut them into squares to make grids. I did not think of it at the time, as my daughter and I delighted in following the winding paths, as a ritual experience for the mid-point between winter and spring–yet it felt magical, like a journey into a different world. A transformation of a familiar landscape, a stilling of time.
A gate, like a threshold, is a symbol of crossing between paths of light and darkness. The fabric of the gates was constantly in motion, holding inside them the play of light with water, sky, ground, and bare trees. A fortuitous snowfall added to the magic. I don’t know if Christo and Jeanne-Claude had Imbolc in mind at all when they planned The Gates (they were supposedly inspired by Japanese temple gates), but in both time and place it contained a strong resonance with the return of color and the anticipation of spring.
For earthweal, where Brendan has asked us to think about Imbolc, and how it shows up in our lives.
Cleopatra’s Needle (Thursday Doors)
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.
More Met and Central Park (Thursday Doors)
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.
You can read my fifth poem, which connects with the two above, at Pure Haiku, here. And see the posts and links to the first four haiku in the series at kblog, here.
Thanks, as always, to Freya Pickard for her continued support of my work.
one door many windows (Thursday Doors)
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.
My poem is in the Yeats Poem form for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday #tastetherainbow prompt. It’s also an acrostic using the word November which is Paula Light’s W3 prompt this week.
And you can always find more doors and share your own here at Thursday Doors, hosted by Dan Antion.
Seasonal (Thursday) Doors
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.
My poem is a cadralor with an autumn theme for Sylvia Cognac’s W3 prompt, using words from Jane’s Oracle 2 list for the week.
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–
Lisa, at Tao Talk, reminded me of the troiku form, which I’ve borrowed from her to use also for Colleen’s #TankaTuesday prompt, where the theme is lightning, suggested by Sangeetha.
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.