River Ghosts – Merril D. Smith

“In memory of my mother, Sylvia L. Schreiber … your laugh still echoes.”

Merril D. Smith’s mother passed away in the early days of Covid, in the days when there was no holding of hands, no kisses, no embraces and a veil of lonely shrouding all hearts.

Nonetheless, Merril does not pour a bucket of inconsolable tears into her poems, but rather flows with a river, a river that has many rocky climbs to solid land and ancient trees reaching over its waters. It is upon this river she reflects.

I was 10 poems into the book. Then, on one of my street art hunts, I came upon this mini-mural. There is a constant flowing of blue, with abstract flowers and leaves. I thought, this is like Merril’s book.

To me the blue ribbon is the river, with all its tributaries. Everything else, each flower and leaf is a poem, an insight, or a ghost washing the shore.

The author uses many styles of poetic writing, to effectively create messages. Combined with familial love & experiences, her knowledge of history and adoring appreciation of nature, this book is a rendering of heart.

Always sincere, never maudlin, Merril’s poems have swept me onto the river of ghosts.

With the author’s permission, I get to include 1 short poem or part of a longer poem, in my review. After much deliberation, I have chosen:

One poem titled – In Memoriam: Their Names is “Inspired by the plague graffiti found on the walls of Cambridgeshire church”. I found the impetus evoking and the poem shivering my eyes.

Click on the ghost pic below and go read a fabulous article about this graffiti from 1515.

I’m sure you are piqued by In Memoriam: Their Names. So, to read this coup de maître, and the rest of Merril’s masterpiece, click on my last ghost offering below. It will take you to her book on Amazon.

OR, if you are boycotting Amazon (like me), you can buy a PDF, Print or Kindle copy from “Nightingale & Sparrow”. Just click on their moniker below, and you will be on its page. (They take PayPal!)

106 thoughts on “River Ghosts – Merril D. Smith

  1. What an amazingly beautiful post, Resa. Your reflection on Meril’s poetry and the mural you chose to accompany the post is a perfect complement. The poem you shared is deeply touching, both personal and relatable. I’m off to Amazon to scoop up the book. Wonderful review. Huge Congrats to Merril.

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful post and lovely review of my book, Resa. I appreciate it so very much.
    I love how you added the beautiful street art, too.
    I’m so pleased that you enjoyed my book, and that you then wanted to share it with others. I feel so honored. Thank you, again, Resa! 💙

    1. Yay!
      You wrote a book to treasure, Merril. I’m sure I’ve read it 3 times now, once slowly…day … by day (okay I cheated and read “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose” out of order. After the first time, I read it all higgledy-piggledy. Still am!
      So happy you like my little review and the art!

    1. Thank you, Janet! It’s been a busy summer. Hopefully it’s going to slow down, and I’ll get back to my regular, irregular blogging routineless. 🤗🙄❦❦

    1. Oh JT! I am so sorry to hear that. It was an awful time.
      They … those in the power said…never again. We will make sure the retirement homes are kept up better, inspected more often.
      Apparently, from news I’ve seen …NOT!
      Again, I’m sorry for your loss. You might get a lot out of “River Ghosts”.

  3. My dear Resa – a brilliant, profound, and creative post that captures the spirit of River Ghosts. Merril, I have enjoyed “River Ghost” over the past months. One of my favourite poems is Dreams and Stars:

    “days turn to night,
    and back again –
    dreams float on
    a barque on a mysterious sea

    – above the starts waltz –

    and we reach up, swallow them –
    then filled with honeyed light
    we whisper in the glimmering tones,
    leap-and fly.”

    1. Thank you, Rebecca!
      I too adore that poem!
      I’d love to hear you recite one of the poems!

      So many wonderful emotions and notions in this book of poetry!

  4. You have a poet’s soul, Resa. A mural makes you you think of Merril Smith ‘ s poem about a river symbol of life .
    You are right poam and mural go well together.
    They are both beautiful
    Love ❤

    1. It is a touching, relevant and magic book of poetry. Even an ogre would love it!
      Hey, I finished AGM Mermaid Shey last night.
      I’ll take a pic in good daylight tomorrow, and send it!

  5. A lovely review and much appreciated Resa. I adore Merril’s poetry and writing and consider her unsurpassed in beautiful verse , images and expression. I’m so glad to get a peak into her history as a Temple graduate and admire her intellect. Congratulations Merril on this lovely book. I will be adding it to my stack oflovely writes. ❤️

            1. Aww, still I need to get better. I keep forgetting certain techniques so don’t smear pencil or paint everywhere.
              Now, I’m going to darken the outline of her arm with the hearts. Sunny day tomorrow, so I should be able to get a good shot.

              Okay, working on PBH. Then I think I need a Chainelle head coming out of some black depth of a sea… maybe a black cave. Then the rough up starts! Eeeeee!

  6. Hi Resa, how sad for Merril. I was so lucky that no-one in my family lost anyone to Covid during that horrible time. We nearly lost my dad to a pulmonary embolism because we couldn’t find a cardiologist or get him into hospital, but we didn’t and that’s what stays with you – we didn’t. This mural is intricate and beautiful and I can see how it could make you think of a book of poems with an underlying sadness to them. Thanks for the link to the plague articles. Another sad story.

      1. Yes, odd! I was having an issue commenting on 2 blogs. One went on for weeks. They are okay as of today.
        It was a new WP oddity.
        When I posted my comment, instead of a comment inside the box it said error – fill in the corrects fields. Yet, there were no fields to fill in. Think I’ll check Spam, just in case!

    1. Thank you Debbie! It’s one of the best books of poetry, ever!
      Honestly, I don’t know how to de a proper review, so I just do these mash ups!
      I’m quite happy you like it! 💙💜

        1. Aw, thank you!
          Honestly, I’m in awe of how you and others keep up with your blogs…& twitter… & FB…& ..
          I’m drowning!
          I’m over on my Art Gowns blog right now, preparing a Gowntoons post.
          Thought I’d mention it because my Gravatar pic and url are different, but it’s me.
          Still, during this down time, I’m trying to visit as many of my fave bloggers as possible.
          I have you on my must visit list now. Although, I’ve known you are a staple in the blog community for quite awhile.
          Things were much easier when I had 100 followers, and got 2 comments per post.
          You are fabulous. Make sure you let me know when your podcast goes up.
          I dislike the reader, so don’t always find everything.
          Sending love and hugs,

                1. lol! So, recently I walked by the spot where it used to be. It’s now a grey hulk of an urban ugly.
                  Several years ago, when Honest Ed’s was closed, but not torn down, I walked by while on a street art hunt. Just for the helluvit, I took a bunch of shots.
                  That building, the whole thing with the signs and everything was a work of art compared to what is there now.
                  Anyway, I just did a post on my Art Gowns blog, so I’ll be here awhile. When I go back to GLAM, I want to do a post on Honest Eds.
                  I thought it might be fun to link to a fellow Torontonian’s blog for the event.
                  I thought of you.
                  Anyway, like I say, it won’t be right away. I’m thinking in a few weeks.
                  Maybe you have a memory to share?
                  Anyway, back to Art Gowns ! xxx

                  1. Wow Resa, I know what you mean. I remember when they took Honest Ed’s down and their dzzling lit up logo, it truly felt like an end of an era, just like Maple Leaf Gardens. Sure, I’d love to engage. Let me know more when you’re ready. And btw, what’s the URL to your gown site? xxx

            1. xxx… Looks like I’ll be heading to where Honest Eds was on Tuesday. I’ll take pics of what is there now.
              Then I can work on the post.
              Am I allowed to email you at the address attached to this comment? Pardon if I already asked. xo
              As a fellow Torontonian, I’m looking for a paragraph or 2 about your memories of Honest Eds.
              I’ll link to your blog, and do a nice mention!

  7. I cannot believe I am only getting to this now! (You are not the only one drowning, my friend!)
    This is an absolutely beautiful review/mashup as only you do so wonderfully. Exquisite pairing of mural to Merril’s wonderful book of poetry. I’m going to re-read it tonight before bed 🙂

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