Joyeux Anniversaire Monsieur William Shakespeare!

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”      – The Tempest Act 4, Scene 1

 

“Lord, what fools these mortals be.”  – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

 

JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE! In honor of the Bard’s birthday, I offer one of his well known and much-loved sonnets. Yet when I read it, or think of its message, for me it is not just about romantic love but the love of family, friends, humanity, and our struggling environment.

 

Sonnet 116: Let me not to the marriage of true minds

 

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove.

O no! It is an ever-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand’ring bark,

Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

Within his bending sickle’s compass come;

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me prov’d,

I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

 

Perhaps you have a favorite, and perhaps there is too much to choose from to eliminate others?

 

Bisous, Léa

In the dark there was Leone

“Can miles truly separate you from friends…if you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?” – Richard Bach

 

“You can shed tears that she is gone, or you can smile because she has lived. You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back, or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left. Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her, or you can be full of the love you shared. You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday, or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday. You can remember her only that she is gone, or you can cherish her memory and let it live on. You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back. Or you can do what she’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”   –   David Harkins

*

In the dark there was Leone

Over and over

I hear of people

Afraid of being

Alone in the dark

It is a fear

I cannot share

As a child

The dark was safer

They were usually asleep

Today

In the dark

I enjoy the company

Of some sweet memories

The rare nugget or gem

Excavated from childhood

An email from a cousin

Tells me that auntie Lee

Died Thursday night

The same cousin who took me

To see Lee a decade ago

After the stroke

Lee didn’t recognize me

But I said goodbye then

Silently through the tears

The lost years could not be restored

Years from now

Lee will still be with me

In the dark and in the sun

Thoughts turn to her

The songs and stories she taught me

Her kindness cannot be erased

Lone sunflower – defiant amongst the weeds

Unfeigned

Unlike those she came from

Flashes of light in the darkness of childhood

*

Bisous

Léa

…To the left

Despite the fact that I first published this here over three years ago, it seems imperative to reblog it now given current events in Virginia and elsewhere. 

“This is the biggest cemetery for Jews, Poles, Roma and Sinti. It must tell us that we have to come back here again and again. We must keep the memory of the worst crime in human history alive for those who were born later.”   –  Horst Koehler, Germany President

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out – Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”    –  Martin Niemöller 

This post is dedicated to the memories of Claire Magnani (who wanted it read but couldn’t hear it anymore), Manya and Meyer Korenblit, Chaim Nagelstein and too many others.

*

…To the left

Naked they cling to each other

Husband and wife parent to child

Lovers embrace

O mother, with infant at your breast

You must be cleansed

To the side of the large stone building

Lay the belongings

Of those who are to be cleansed

You who wear a yellow star

You shall be cleansed

Soldiers rummage through mounds of clothing

Items are catalogued

By the hundreds

They line up for the showers

Men, women, children

With paralyzing fear

They are herded through large doors

A small boy of five

With piercing brown eyes

Clutches his mother’s arm

As the gas permeates the room

Amid the screams

Comes the cry

“Hush mien kindelein hashem is with us”

And they are cleansed

And Germany is cleansed

And the ovens are cleansed

Made ready for those who will follow

Skeletal remnants of men

Must remove the remains

Of their brothers and sisters

Must pry the gold from their mouths

Must fill German coffers

Must kindle the fires with the bones

Of those they love

Germany must be

Cleansed

Purify

Pile another corpse into the ovens

Those hollow cheeks the vacant stares

Fire will purify

Cold grey ashes will not tell

Of what has been done

Thick black smoke fills the nostrils

With deaths stench

And violates the skies of Europe

Rich German soil harbors mass graves

And Germany will not be cleansed

*

NEVER AGAIN!

Bisous,

Léa

Sachant j’appartiens (Knowing I belong)

“Home is not where you live but where they understand you.”

–  Christian Morgenstern

“You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something  that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there.”   –  Casare Pavese

Sachant j’appartiens

Joyeux anniversaire

Yes! Today is the day

Anniversaire

Of my birth

Or re-birth

For those who

Cannot comprehend

When LIVING

Began

Yes. There were

All those decades

In captivity

Ces états fracturée appelé

Amérique

It may work for some

But my internal compass

My north star

Was always Europe

Arriving in France

Pieces became accessible

The puzzle came together

Coming home

Knowing it was home

Before ever arriving

Mon village dans

Le Corbières

Depuis ce premier jour Jeanne prend mon bras,

Guiding my way

The welcome mat

Was waiting

*

Bisous,

Léa

Fight Censorship and thank a Librarian

“We are willing enough to praise freedom when she is tucked away in the past and cannot be a nuisance. In the present, amidst dangers whose outcome we cannot foresee, we get nervous about her, and admit censorship.   –  E.M. Forster

 

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”   –  Henry Louis Gates

 

“Submitting to censorship is to enter the seductive world of ‘The Giver’: the world where there are no bad words and no bad deeds. But it is also the world where choice has been taken away and reality distorted. And that is the most dangerous world of all.”   –  Lois Lowry

DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR AND READ:

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/statementspols/freedomreadstatement

*

Fight Censorship and thank a Librarian

It’s banned books week

And if a book hasn’t

Made it on that list

I’m not sure it is

Worth my time

Reading

*

It’s banned books week

If you care about

Making your own

Choices

If there is a book

You like that

Has made the list

Speak out

*

It’s banned books week

Somewhere there is a

Librarian who has stuck

Her neck out

For your right to

Read what you choose

They are the hero’s of

The hour

*

It’s banned books week

Celebrate

Read a book

From the list

Read the statement

Freedom to Read 1953

Celebrate

Then go to the independent

Book store and buy

Banned books

*

Bisous,

Léa

Nothing like Paris

“In France we have a saying, “Joie de vivre,’ which actually doesn’t exist in the English language. It means looking at your life as something that is to be taken with great pleasure and enjoy it.”   –  Mireille Guiliano

“When I was a child and they burned me out of my home, I was frightened and I ran away. Eventually I ran far away. It was to a place called France. Many of you have been there, and many have not. But I must tell you, ladies and gentlemen, in that country I never feared. It was like a fairyland place.”   –  Josephine Baker

***

Nothing like Paris

There is nothing

Like Paris

But the explosion

Red on purple

On gold

Sunsets along

The bastide

Of Saint Malo

*

Nothing is

Like Paris

Save the winding

River

Tower Bridge

de Cahors

le diable

Watches us

*

There is nothing

Like Paris

Unless you visit

Narbonne

Soak up the sun

Near Place de ville

Reach out and

Touch or

Walk upon

Via Domita

*

Nothing is like

Paris

Yet

Collioure’s jewels

Dazzled Cézanne,

Picasso, and now me

Precious stone colors

Hover at the foot

Of the Pyrenees

*

Nothing is like

Paris

Each of

France’s treasures

Priceless jewels

And must be

Explored, discovered

Its riches

Precious

As you find them

Leave the guidebook

Then you must

Open your eyes,

Your mind and your

Heart

Your reward to find

La belle

France

*

Bisous,

Léa

still

“Touch has memory.”   –  John Keats

 

“So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other, without being conquered or having conquered, so that neither is bleak or glutted or has the bad feeling of being used or misused.”   –  Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

 

“Who taught you to write in blood on my back? Who taught you to use your hands as branding irons? You have scored your name into my shoulders, referenced me with your mark. The pads of your fingers have become printing blocks, you tap a message on to my skin, tap meaning into my body. Your morse code interferes with my heartbeat. I had a steady heart before I met you, I relied upon it, it had seen active service and grown strong. Now you alter its pace with your own rhythm, you play upon me, drumming me taut.”  

Jeanette Winterson,  Written on the Body

 

 

still

*

i lie in your

arms

watching you sleep

not wanting to wake

you

yet this appetite

this hunger

for more

you

grows

with each breath

you take

*

still

i want to touch

you

to

rèpondez à plusieurs

reprises

to the cool

then searing

brand you leave

on my flesh

inside

a chorus of

cells

echo the mantra

you, you, you

jusque-là

i remain

under your spell

*

bisous,

léa

Hero: Women’s History Month

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”   –  Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

...
Back row: Shirley, Beverly, Dale, Barbara, Donna – Front row: Iris with mother, Irene

Hero: Women’s History Month

– 

Too young

To be a wife

Too young

To have six

Children

Too young

To be a widow

During a

Depression

That rocked

A nation

Dust-bowl days

Too young

But she did it

Anyway

Working two

Or three jobs

Even the oldest

Child, quite young

Early morning

Milk run

Driving a cart

About town

The youngest bundled-up

Along for the ride

Taking in laundry

Yet always made

Time for games and lessons

Much later, when I was born

Offering to mother me

Nighttime work

Running the projector

Rex Theatre on Court Street

Sweeping up popcorn

After the show

Weekends scraping gum

Off the bottom of seats

Renting out an empty room

For hunters

In season

Always a sparkle

In those bright blue eyes

The first to welcome you

Hugs and kisses

Never rationed, regardless

Of what might be

In short supply

Great riches

Packed within

Diminutive form

Irene

Dear great-aunt

Despite their efforts

That I should never know you

We were found

With only a few years

Before your death

101 years young

Your arms reached out

Without conditions

Nor question

Giving my heart

At last, a home

And the mother

I never had

Bisous,

Léa

Cours français

“No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.” – Bertrand Russell

Cours français

Serge

Serge’s eyes twinkle

As he drills us

Conjugating

Je donne

Tu donne

Il donne

Nous donnons

And on

He gives

We receive

His love of teaching

His love of Country

Of words

Bisous,

Léa

I hear you soaring

“What is buried in the past of one generation falls to the next to claim.”

– Susan Griffin

 

I hear you soaring

I know why

The caged bird sings

I know her songs

Her voice

Clear, pure, painfully true

She sings of things

Nice girls don’t talk about

She tells family secrets

Her eyes shine brightly

A beacon for other birds

She exposes herself

Her cage gilded and ornate

Sits by a large picture window

Her heart heavy

Her wings ache

To fully expand

And fly free

The people who put food

In her cage each day

Say they are protecting her

From the animals,

Elements and the hunter’s gun

They kill her

Softly

Her songs more urgent

They bring others

To show her off

This prized possession

They cannot possess

Her Song

She has flown over

White capped mountains

And wave tossed ships at sea

She wept as she flew lowly

Across the killing fields

And sang sweetly

Names of the unknown

As she soared over rainbows

And as she rested on the oak branch

Their net brought her down

Trapped in a cage

For the people to gawk at

For purchase

To own

You can cage the songbird

You cannot own her

Her song is free

I know why

The caged bird

Sings

Bisous,

Léa