Life’s Design

It seems to me, there is a map to our lives. Imagine that we can draw it on a grid. Each cell is a day. Cells filled in with bright colors are to-dos and pay-attention-tos. Some neon need-tos are so intense they cause a glare. Blank cells appear in chunks. Free days. Times to play, cogitate, and just be.

My early years were chock full of free days. But ultimately, they almost disappeared. The grid became so colorful, it was blinding. Full of responsibilities, accountability. Children to raise. Professional ladder to climb. Even in those few empty cells, vacation days, I found myself calling in to the office; answering emails. The job tinted even the blank chunks on my grid.

Now in rejuvenatement, never say retirement, filling in the grid is largely my choice. And as I look at it, I suddenly begin to understand, the map of my life is not all my own doing. The socioeconomic term “privilege” comes to mind. Circumstances of birth, ethnicity, geographical location – all have affected my life and enabled me to come to this point where the grid is much easier on the eyes. And in these days of Covid-19, I understand even more, how blessed I have been.

for the lucky ones
summer yields bountiful crops –
others slowly starve

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Kim asks us to respond, in some way, to the image above, “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, created by Piet Mondrian, displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Haibun: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose followed by a haiku that includes reference to a season.

24 thoughts on “Life’s Design

  1. Nancy Jahnke May 25, 2020 / 1:10 pm

    Lill, You certainly found a creative way to react to assigned image! I was intrigued , drawn into your description of life’s responsibilities (although not as lofty as yours). Well done! Happy Memorial Day! Love, Man🇺🇸

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 25, 2020 / 3:26 pm

      Oh my dear Nancy! Your work with children as a teacher and mentor is among the most important work one can do!!!!
      Glad you enjoyed the post. It was a challenging prompt! 🙂


  2. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 25, 2020 / 3:23 pm

    even when working I find it easier to cope when working and living from home… somehow I see our suburban world as a small village… everything closer, and so much more white days to fill.


  3. kim881 May 25, 2020 / 3:29 pm

    I love your perspective on the image, Lill, that you see it as a map to our lives, a bit like my Filofax – yes, I still have one, which I’m very attached to and buy refills every year. I have different coloured highlighters, too. I like the way you drew me into your life map with a grid so colorful it was blinding. But I agree about rejuvenatement and filling in the grid being your choice.I have become acclimatised to isolation and not sure how I’ll feel when I’m allowed out again. The haiku summarises it all perfectly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian May 25, 2020 / 3:38 pm

      Thank you, Kim. I’m VERY glad I didn’t listen to the podcast first. Because, of COURSE that’s how I see it now….or from Bjorn’s view as well!
      I was taken by the idea of it being a grid….and by those large white spaces. 🙂
      Thanks for hosting and for a fascinating prompt!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beverly Crawford May 25, 2020 / 4:45 pm

    Your interpretation of the image is interesting, and it makes perfect sense!


  5. Glenn A. Buttkus May 25, 2020 / 4:52 pm

    Wow, your view of a grid coincides with the subway map many of us have seen. Much of life can be reduced to math, in this case geometry, reminding me of Klee. I adore your analogy to a life map, and your haiku is sterling.


  6. Gillena Cox May 25, 2020 / 6:17 pm

    this is just fabulous, luv the way colour and charting intertwined with your haibun and the Piet

    Happy Monday



  7. Frank Hubeny May 25, 2020 / 6:45 pm

    Now that you mention it that painting does look like a to-do list.


  8. rothpoetry May 25, 2020 / 6:48 pm

    It is really sad to see so many people out of work! We are getting a taste of what third world countries go through every day. Your post says it all. We are the lucky ones and will likely enjoy a great summer!


  9. memadtwo May 25, 2020 / 8:49 pm

    A wonderful meditation on living, and the haiku really punctuates it. (K)


  10. Christine Bolton May 25, 2020 / 9:24 pm

    This is a wonderful take on the piece Lillian. We do seem to pigeon-hole things in our lives so that the memory is captured or we can remember what we are supposed to be doing! Like entering things on a calendar. 🙂💕


  11. Ali Grimshaw May 25, 2020 / 11:26 pm

    The map of our lives changes over time. You captured that with your poem. I liked that you added another dimension with this line, “the map of my life is not all my own doing.” This was a great read.


  12. lynn__ May 26, 2020 / 6:34 am

    Rejuvenatement sounds appealing…with those abundant white spaces to fill. A thought-provoking, haibun, Lill.


  13. areadingwriter May 26, 2020 / 7:22 am

    the cell being a day in a life is such a creative way of looking at it. i love the realisations at the end and the leaking gratefulness. the truth in your apt haiku rings true, Lill. profound.


  14. Carol J Forrester May 26, 2020 / 12:46 pm

    That haiku is so beautifully sad. Wonderfully crafted.
    I love your comparison between the artwork and life. Your description of your working life really resonated, perhaps because I’m working from home at the moment and have had to have a rejig of things because I felt like work was starting to consume the space I set aside for my writing. Balance is always important, and I’m glad to hear you’re filling your time as you see fit these days and enjoying it to the best of your ability.


  15. calmkate May 26, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    wow really love the depth of this one Lillian … we each have differing life grids dependent on our circumstances! Lovely haiku


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