Thankful for Every Day

I reach for your hand, my love.
I seem to do that more often as the days age on.
We walk more slowly, notice things more minutely.
Outside our window, that jay,
perched on winter’s shivering branch.
Sky blurs. Sometimes blues to hazy violets.
Sometimes shifting reds to soft shades of orange,
as day slips into night.
There is a truth we cannot deny.
The path ahead
is shorter than the one we’ve tread.
No less glorious, just different.
Each time my hand seeks and finds yours,
there is quiet reassurance.
We are us for another day, another hour,
another moment in time.

Photo taken at our beloved annual sojourn in Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod.

In the Midst of a Blizzard

Snow falls deep. Whiteness blankets outside. In-
side I sit and stare. Contemplate this.
This white scene. My life. Our world.
Looking out, I turn to look inward. Examine my I.
Memories of who I was. Who I am.

George Floyd’s image flashed over and over as
this rich country opened its eyes. Rich?
In what? Inequities. Color continuum laid bare as
I realize I grew up in la la land. My I?
White as far as I could see. White privilege. Need?
I had none. Have none really. So now, am I to . . .
to what? To admit? Because I can no longer just let this be.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for writers around the globe. It’s our last prompt of 2020 as dVerse takes a winter vacation and returns with a haibun prompt on January 4, 2021.

Today Peter from Australia asks us to consider endings and gives several suggestions on how to do that, including writing a Golden Shovel poem. Unfamiliar with the Golden Shovel form? You take one poem or line from a poem and use it to create your own poem. BUT the trick is, each word in the line, in the order they appear in the line, must be the last word in the lines of your poem! I’ve used the line “in this world I am as rich as I need to be” from Mary Oliver’s Winter. So look back at the poem and read only the last word in each line, from top to bottom: “in this world I am as rich as I need to be”.

Photo taken this morning from my window….yes, we are in the midst of a snow storm and by the time the pub opens, we will have at least 12 inches on the ground; perhaps up to 16!

Happy holidays to all my dVerse friends . . . and here’s to a happy and healthy 2021!

Gala for a Centenarian

He sat straight-backed, alert,
surrounded by canes, walkers
tv guides, checkerboard games
and the people that accompany them
in a place like this.

Hands folded, he waited patiently
for the last strands of that age-old song.
Some high pitched warblers sang off pitch,
hunched over the tinny piano
pulled out for occasions like this.

Balloons hovered above his head
as candles dripped life-time moments
onto pastel fondant flowers.
He spied the festive paper plates,
too thin for the thick slab he desired.

And so I asked the centenarian,
what is the secret of your longevity?
Well sonny, I always say,
close your eyes to dream.
Just make sure you open them wide
to watch where you step.

Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Bjorn will host as we go live today from 3 to 5 PM Boston time. Those who post a poem will have the opportunity to read it aloud, if they choose to do so. Come share the fun, connect names with faces and hear the voices of many dVersers!

Monochromatic Beauty

Contemplation, gift of the night.
Moonlight glazes the sea.
Gone are those wild waves of yesterday
when nature caroused to youth’s delight.
Evening’s darkness, a quiet scene
dressed in shades of ebony.
I hear the sea’s symphonic hush as midnight nears.
So many questions come to mind,
most unanswerable by humankind.
Why should not the water
find delight in the floral fragrance
of its own rippled surface?
My scent commingles with the sea’s.
My toes curl, touching her lapping edge.
Her ripples ebb and flow so slowly,
shine in gentle arcs of lunar light.
Mesmerized, I begin to understand.
Yes, time seems shorter now
ending chapters closer,
looming large like tonight’s full moon.
Energy disipated, still beautiful
in this later monochromatic scene.
I’ve come to contemplate the night
and take my leave thanking the sea.
Quietly I begin the walk home,
sensing the rippled surface  I leave behind,
and I smile.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today we are asked to let our imaginations become a springboard to the mystical/sacred and use one of eight fragments from the mystic poets. I’ve chosen “Why should not the water find delight in the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?” (Jnanadev) Photo taken while on our last cruise, well before the age of Covid.

A Christmas Tale

Reading what I have just written, I now believe . . .
A snowflake smudges the next word. Where did that come from? I’m sitting at the kitchen table!

My eyes bug out in disbelief. A reindeer spotted with snow, stands behind me! I rub my eyes because surely this isn’t real? Then he invites me to climb on his back! Knowing mama and papa are soundly asleep, I scramble up. Out the window we fly, heading due north. My cold fingers clutch his collar, copper bells cold on my palms.

We land on a peanut-brittle paved lane with tall candy cane light poles and elaborate gingerbread houses! I see gummy bears chatting, sitting on gigantic lemon drops. Absolutely agog, I follow an elf to a sugar spun door. The door flings open and I know right then. I will always believe!

I’m hosting Prosery Monday at dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. BUT, on Prosery Monday, we don’t write poetry!

Prosery is defined as a prompter providing one line from a poem, and writers inserting that specific line into a piece of prose, for example flash fiction. The punctuation and capitalization in the line may be changed, but the words and word order must remain intact. AND the prose can be no more than 144 words in length, sans title.

As host today, I’ve chosen the line “Reading what I have just written, I now believe” from Louise Gluck’s poem Afterward. So come join us! Insert this line, using these exact words in this order, into a piece of original prose!

Memories

Black and white television set with tubes
inside blonde console in our little den.
My Lone Ranger lunch box.
Watching Gene Autry at Junie’s house
after playing dress-up with her mother’s things.
Hankies with lace edging, rummage sales,
and pettipants under culottes.
Hooking nylon stockings to suffocating girdles.
Mother dressed for Sunday church
wearing hat and gloves, carrying her pocketbook.
Green Reader’s Guides to Periodical Literature
and card catalogues in oak drawers.
Typing on a portable Smith Corona,
frustrated by holes in paper from erasures.
Skimming small print in thick telephone books.
Hoop skirts under prom dresses
and stretch pants with foot stirrups.
Looking at my grandma and thinking
Wow, she’s seen a lot of changes in her life!
When did I become her?

Seasonal Synesthesia

Heartfelt music, morning to night
December brings joy, no matter the site.
Children scamper ‘cross fields in the Commons,
screaming and laughing in childhood chase.
Away in a Manger’s sweet refrain
fills my head as I slowly saunter on.
Evergreens tall and warm in the sun
nod in sympathy at neighborly oaks,
their skeletal branches shivering in cold.
Oh Tannenbaum wafts through the wind.

Back now inside, I stare at our tree.
Fragile ornaments peek from the top.
Mother’s pink bell of thinnest glass
father’s airplane, with broken tail,
both from their childhood days.
What were they like, way back then?
I wonder as I wonder on this Silent Night.
This season of softness with candlelight,
flickers that shift both time and space
cause memories to flood through my head.

Mom hanging tinsel, strand by strand
and dad’s ruddy cheeks, smoking his pipe.
December’s calendar squares
orderly, rigidly, sit in their rows.
Not for me. They dance in my head.
Musical numbers turned into songs
turned into people and memorable times.
Cold and blustery weather predicted,
warms my soul with harmonious skies.
Oh Come All Ye Faithful to celebrate His birth.
And yes dear Virginia, oh my yes,
I still do truly believe.

Grace hosts dVerse and asks us to “incorporate music in our poem from the persepctive of a synasthete. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic involuntary experiences of a second one.” For me, the month of December brings Christmas carols to mind almost anywhere I go, which triggers family memories.

The “Yes, Virginia” statement at the end refers to “eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon [who] wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.” The responding editorial reassured her. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Photo taken yesterday. These are the two ornaments mentioned in the poem. They were on my parents’ childhood trees and are extremely fragile. Each year, I hold my breath when I unwrap them from tissue paper and place them on the tree; and when I carefully take them down, wrap them and store them for another year.

On this day . . .

This early morning, Thanksgiving day
before the dawn is bright,
I contemplate by candlelight
our family so afar.

Quiet am I now, as memories come and go.
Travel to another state, the table set for many.
Generations past. Grandchildren now grown.
Scenes of happiness and laughter, dancing in my head.

Sun now risen, our day to share begins.
Warmly we embrace, so thankful for each other.
Later we shall sit to sing our family’s table grace.
Only two place settings, two voices raised in song.

Thanksgiving 2020’s essence remains the same,
thankfulness for God’s abundant blessings.
Unique this year, we also have requests.
We pray for more kindness in our troubled world
and healing in these Covid times.

Shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe, and my friends and family, on this Thanksgiving day.