Australasian Little Penguins

Europeans settle rugged land,
in truth, unsettled. Balance disturbed.
Predators introduced to cure a plight
became the plight.
Land and species suffered
well-meaning mistakes.

One man saw and understood,
wed himself to land and a special mate.
Rejuvenated forest. Fought for,
and won, two marine sanctuaries.
Nesting birds depleted,
retreated to his cove.

Aptly named, Helps worked.
Natural burrows plundered,
extinction threatened,
he transformed bits of wood and rock
into havens above the ground.
Feathered flipper friends prospered.

Mrs. Helps built predator traps,
nourished wounded birds to health.
Children count and document.
Pale blue chicks hatch and grow,
march each year into sea,
return to breed again.

We are privileged visitors,
two among sixteen this day.
Ride rugged roads cross mountain tops,
marvel at miniature ships below.
Hills and seas, aquamarine and greens,
panoramic challenge to peripheral skills.

Sheep scamper as we descend,
his valley tall with forests proud.
We peek into nesting havens,
met by quiet, watched by trusting eyes.
Some sit upon their eggs,
others sit, little ones wedged beside.

And we witness this miracle of life.

Because one man and his wife,
dared to say enough.
Sacrificed wealth as many know it.
live a simple life upon and with the land
guardians to an eco system.
Their love given to generations.

Come take their tour and see their work
and you shall leave with wonder in your heart.
One extended family
in New Zealand’s awesome land.
Protectorates for nature
as it used to be.

On our amazing journey; now in New Zealand. We had the privilege of spending an afternoon at the Pohatu Penguin Sanctuary, located in Flea Bay near Akaroa, NZ. Mr Francis Helps and his wife (and children now; and eventually his grandchildren) do amazing work to protect the land and insure the Australasian Little Blue Penguins continue to survive. They also have 1,000 sheep on their land – have planted and are guardians of native forest. Such an amazing day. Such a dedicated family and a truly meaningful mission. This narrative poem is their story and dedicated to them. These small creatures are now thriving rather than disappearing.

Sydney Haibun

Last night we sailed beneath the promise of a full moon. Standing on our deck above the ship’s wake, black diamond water glistened in lunar sheen. We awakened to a new day, hearts filled with gratitude and love, in Australia. We stand now, feet firmly on the ground, spirits soaring as we gaze together upon Sydney’s iconic bridge and opera house. The journey continues.

full moon graces sea
waves alit with wondrous glow
lunar toast to love

Shared with DVerse. Apologies again to my readers as we continue on this amazing journey: Oct 25 to December 2. Two cruises back-to-back with very little time or ability to connect to the Internet. Thus I cannot read from my dVerse poet friends’ posts. Once back to Boston, shall be in my normal writing AND reading pattern. Hoping you will excuse me.

She Lives

And her spirit shall live within the sea
immortality within its ebb and flow.

Ashes tossed from sandy shore catch wind,
float quietly ‘neath shifting clouds
sink, adhere to anemones
and sail on dolphin fins.
Her smile illuminates in lunar path,
glistens under golden sun.

And generations shall feel her touch
toes stepping, leaping within her waves.

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Bali Haibun

There is a place where one man has made all the difference.

The people’s Bali lies far from glamorized honeymoon Bali. In Banjar Guliang Kangin, three hundred+ villagers survive. Men toil in hot humidity tending rice paddies. Trek barefoot in muck, guiding bovine through shin-high waters as they pull hand-carved rakes, furrowing mud. Others stand in water, backs bent, sticking rice plants in wet soil. Women rise daily at five AM. Walk to village market and buy day’s fresh food supplies as mangy dogs and cocking roosters run underfoot on dirt road. They use firewood to boil rice, cook fresh chicken and vegetables in clay pots. Weave flowers and seed as offerings to Hindi gods three times per day. Balance bundled lunch on heads, walking into fields toward hungry men. Children, who can afford books and uniforms attend free school through tenth grade. Farmers make $7 per week, Their children work in fields and family gardens.

We are among the privileged few taking a cooking class from Chef on this hot Balinese day. He meets us at market and humbly explains vegetable names and uses. Takes us to his village, walks us though rice paddy fields to open air school he built with bamboo poles and thatched roof. Teaches us Balinese cooking and at class end, smiling broadly, serves us foods we’ve prepared. “This is not my school. It is my community’s.” Chef left this village as a young man. Traveled to Australia to learn English and culinary arts. Worked in kitchens, ultimately a Hyatt, saving monies. Two years ago at age fifty, he returned. Built this school.  Established relationships with cruise ship lines and hotels. He buys food and teaches multiple cooking classes every day. His work has literally built a bridge, improved homes, and insures that each village child attends school. As women toil at home and men plant fields, he is feeding a village, dish by dish.

Pale female cardinal
daily builds nest, stick by stick
winds of change blow by

Wonderful day in Bali. So very glad we did this excursion, experiencing Balinese culture and helping this village by working with Chef. Such a humble, giving man.

Singaporean Haibun

There is a point in our emotional being when one crosses over to another place, even if for only a moment in time. Such was my experience last week. We happened to visit a Buddhist temple at their time of worship. Golds and deep reds dazzled my eyes as carved wooden panels, candles, supplicants and monks came into my sight line. Peripheral vision seemed to disappear. Chanting and soft rhythmic bells calmed in this mystical place. I found myself kneeling, head bowed, hands folded, sensing an other-worldness of supreme thanksgiving for life. For those few moments, I was in an inward place, so deep inside myself. Very hard to explain in words. . . and then it was time to leave. I walked out into sunlight, to talk and live, in the now and here again world I normally occupy. 

mountains disappear
clouds bridge to earth as fine mist
then lift in sun’s light

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Posted from Singapore for dVerse where Grace asks us to write a haibun incorporating the word “bridge.” JUST A WARNING to dVerse readers: I am traveling for 40 days. We board our ship Monday and will be at sea for two days (no internet) and then in Bali – internet questionable. This means although I may be able to write and have someone at dVerse link in for a prompt, many times I will not be able to reply to comments or read and reply to others’ poems. It is not at all because I am  ignoring your poems. So–do take that into consideration on any of my future posts — except for the last five days in Sydney. I will totally understand if folks choose not to read my posts during this time. I also am operating with an iPad instead of my computer and can’t figure out how to highlight a word and link it to a URL or to make it italics – excuse the all caps. PS: Singapore has been glorious!  

Orchid Garden Wonder

Singaporean national treasure,
color profusion midst verdant green.

Spider orchid spins tendrils
from delicate parasol top.
Lemon veined apricot petals.
Two-toned purple-whites.
Violet spattered faces
with sweet white noses.
Beauties preen in mirrored path.

Come ye visitors, cross land and sea.
This orchid splendor shall mesmerize thee.

Photos taken yesterday at Singapore’s Botanical Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in their National Orchid Gardem section. Singapore is one of the leading orchid exporters in the world. On a personal note, asking my readers to bear with me. Using an iPad while traveling — not as adept at posting with it.

Champagne Pond on the Big Island

First time in another world,
a magical low-tide place.

Barrier reef, bared each day,
encloses wandering sea turtles.

Alone at dawn, I smile as rounded gentle heads
break the surface, breathe, and disappear.

Stepping gingerly from dividing ledge
I ease myself into cool waters.

Push off, arms spread wide in wonder
head down with snorkel gear.

I float. Watching. Waiting . . .
in this absolutely quiet place.

Magnificent beings glide by,
slow motion ballet of graceful power.

Heads and legs, speckled green-browns,
protrude from massive solid backs.

Finning wide of me, angling below me
as if I am not there, yet I am. Mesmerized.

Occasionally one peers at me,
our eyes lock and I gasp within my soul.

I am afloat, savoring stillness,
experiencing a mystical time.

Kelly hosts Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and asks us to write a narrative poem about a “first.”  Photos: the “back yard” of a rental house we stayed at three times in Hawaii, the Big Island. Out of the way, it has its own “pool” of tropical fish, the body of water at the bottom of this photo.  Dug by the owners, it has a wire mesh grate that allows the ocean in and out but keeps the amazing tropical fish they’ve stocked it with, within the pool. Snorkeling there was amazing too. I’m standing greeting the dawn…and the next body of water you see is what’s called Champagne Pond which snakes back, for quite some distance on the left, out of sight. You barely see the pile of rocks/barrier, exposed at low tide, separating the pond from the ocean proper. Two small photos, I took with a cheap, throw-away underwater camera. Large one is a postcard. We’ve not been back for many years but it is a “first” I shall never forget.

Quadrille Times Three

she-devil                                                     lived recklessly
among subhuman rats                           star on knees, alley squatter
throwing die, rolling kraps                   spark of luck in fingertips
collecting just desserts                          stressed, on edge
come on baby, deliver                             reviled by all who play her game

debutante of junkies, she’s lost it all.

stop-sign-1444975

Read three ways, always using the “debutante” line as the final line: 1. poem on left; 2. poem on right; 3. from left to right, all the way across as one poem.  Also uses semordnilap: one word, when spelled backwards makes a different word:  devil is lived; rats is star; kraps is spark; desserts is stressed; and deliver is reviled. Any way you read it, it is a Quadrille (44 words – no more, no less) that includes the word “spark” as asked for in today’s prompt at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. De is opening the pub at 3 pm – come on over and write with us — or just imbibe the words of others!
Photo Credit: Michal Zacharzewski

Dementia Drowned

Today is brewing, steeping.
Clouds blur within my head.
Grass pricks feet like shards
or linoleum with eyes.
They’re supposed to be on faces.
And that song, Tiny Bubble, goes with a ukulele.

It’s yesterday again, or Tuesday tomorrow.
I shall pad to the upstairs water closet.
Run ocean waves until steam rises like fog
and drains clog with long dulcimer hairs.
I will slip under the sea
to become an anemone.

No one can miss me.
Because i have not been here
for a long long time.

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