Dad, You’re in my Haibun

What is a venial sin? What is the Immaculate Conception? What are the Ten Commandments? What are the seven mortal sins?

As a young child, I had to memorize answers to Catholic Catechism questions before I could make my first holy communion. One of the greatest benefits I gained from my early Catholic education was the ability to memorize. I spouted off those answers quickly and matter-of-factly as my father patiently sat in his big green fake-leather chair, asking the questions. He never went to church – except for mother’s day, Christmas and Easter. Yet he sat patiently, testing me on my catechism questions.

I remember my father as undemonstrative. I don’t remember being hugged or hearing him say, “I love you.” But I understood years later. He showed his love in different ways. For example, listening to me spout off doctrine he didn’t believe. The one answer I parroted, but could never ever understand, and never dared to ask a nun or priest about, was the one that basically told me my father would go to hell because he didn’t believe. No way. He had the patience of Job. He was a good man. And he was my dad.

huge white pelican
rules of gravity be damned –
soars in autumn skies

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The White Pelicans migrate every fall to Florida. With a 9′ wingspan, they are one of the largest birds in North America. And they soar.
Amaya hosts dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to considerthe 7 deadly sins, and/or the 7 virtues. We may consider our relationship to them — or how they affected us at some point in our lives. I’ve written a haibun: 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose (must be true), followed by a traditional haiku.
Missing my dad….

Bud’s Daughter

I have
a morning mirror routine.
Mine for sandman’s deposits.
Eyes clear, smile appears.

There it is,
thick wavy hair.
Left side front
waving, brow-over.

Morning mirror bud,
dad’s reflection waves.
Cascading silver,
my inheritance.

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where it’s Poetics Tuesday. Kim hosts and challenges us to write a poem in the first person about a body part we’ve inherited. Yep, that’s me and my waves. My dad, affectionately called Bud by his friends and relatives, had a full head of hair – beautifully silver and always wavy, till the day he died. I miss him.
PS:  did you read that last line aloud? It’s all about hair.
Also posted as off-prompt for Napowrimo Day 24.

 

Mother’s Junk Drawer

Teeth-gnawed yellow #2 pencil stubs.
One Avon Coral Pink lipstick.
Rosary missing crucifix.
Emery board. Eleven rubber bands.
Antique roller skate key.
Three packs Juicy Fruit gum,
never opened.
One white Sunday glove.
Thirty-two S&H green stamps.
A gathering of . . . what?

Green-Stamps

Written for dVerse where I’m hosting Quadrille Monday, asking folks to write an exactly 44 word poem (sans title) that includes the word, or a form of the word, gather.  Junk drawers: quite a gathering place. Do you have one?

Enigma, Mother Dear

There once was a woman named Helen Cecile
married and happy, her life surreal.
Many an escapade made us laugh,
silliness multiplied gaffe by gaffe.

I remember a day we spent at the zoo
where she created quite the to-do.
On the visitor’s side of the animal’s moat
she suddenly blanched and cleared her throat.
Shaking she stood near the pacing jaguars
knee red and swollen, stuck between bars.
Zookeepers rushed to embarrassing scene,
saving the day, they applied vaseline.

Seeking calm and less to-do
we headed to the petting zoo.
She laughed out loud patting the goats
who gathered round her petticoats.
Closing time near, she strolled through the gate,
stopped short and turned, sensing less weight.
Waving at us, with her once-flowered purse
she swore at the goats. You are perverse!
Her purse, you see, was now quite bald
they’d nudged and ate, till it was mauled.

My mother’s name was Helen Cecile,
life with her was surely surreal.
In between faults lie love and gaffes
missing-her-tears, softened by laughs.

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I’m behind here….written for day 17 of Napowrimo: Prompt was to write about a family anecdote. Need to catch up with days 18, 19 and today, 20.  More to come.

Red Ibis

Red ibis frozen in time
blur-stopped wings
millisecond before flight
haphazard photographical luck.

What if
I could bring back
one precious moment
from my life’s entirety?

All would be as it is now
except for a room-sized box
where the moment lives
exactly as it was

and I can step in and out
and in and out
of the box
back into that moment.

Savor and touch
live it again and again
inside the box
whenever I want,

only one box.
What would be
my red ibis
frozen in time?

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Photo taken at Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, BAMZ. Posted for Napowrimo Day 7. Prompt is to think of different roles we occupy, different parts of ourselves and then write a poem where two conflicting “selves” have a discussion. Here, the realist talks with the dreamer.

Deeply, Simply, Be

Do simplicity.
Eyes closed, gaze within
picture sun and feel its warmth.
Searching deeper . . .
deeper still . . .
seek the ocean’s glistening path.
Breathe in . . .
and now sigh out . . .
bask in rest within your mind.
Permit the balm, accept its calm.
Slowly begin to open . . .
eyes . . . heart. . . soul.
You are a gift within the gift,
God’s new day.

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Napowrimo Day 6: Pay particular attention to line breaks, pauses, space. A poem a day until its May. April is national poetry writing month.
Photo is Easter morning’s dawn from our deck in St. George, Bermuda. We return to Boston today.

Faith Haibun

At times of crisis, injury; imminent danger for a child, loved one or close friend, many of us slip into “bargaining” or pleading mode. Please God, if you let her avoid this, I will . . . ; or Please God, let him make it through this and I will never . . .

This moment was different as I listened to the doctor. He may or may not wake up. If he does, he most likely will not be the same.
I looked at the doctor and demanded, What do you mean, he won’t be the same?
His heart stopped for six minutes so his brain . . .
I loudly interrupted, NO!
I wouldn’t listen. I didn’t hear the beeping machines or see the tubes. I just stared intently at his face, past the intubation tube. Held his cold limp hand and firmly said, He is here. He will return to us. I know it.
It was a statement of fact for me. A moment of faith.

snow covered cold ground
challenging spring to surface
crocus pushed to bloom

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It’s haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Mish asks us to write about faith. A haibun is two or three succinct paragraphs of prose that must be true, followed by a seasonal haiku. This post also works for Day 2’s prompt for  NaPoWriMo where we’re asked to use “voice” in our post. Prose is in the first/personal voice. Haiku is from the third voice, looking on rather than being in.
I’ve written about this topic before…it’s been five years and those days are indelibly imprinted on my psyche.  We continue to be thankful for every day. 

Love Letter, Long Overdue

Strewn on the floor
stacked on a spindle,
my teenage love affairs.
Sometimes lying on my bed,
smile plastered on my face.
Sometimes gliding slowly,
watching in the mirror,
arms hugging waist.
Paul Anka, Johnny Mathis,
Harry Belafonte,
and Fabian too.
That plop-down sound.
Then needle stuck in groove,
spun round and round.
Forty-five RPM respite
from teenage angst.
Black vinyl disks,
I adored thee.

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NaPoWriMo starts tomorrow — April is National Poetry Month. The challenge is to write a poem every day. We begin a day early with an early-bird prompt to write a love letter.

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Needed
super heroes
the twenty-four-seven variety.
Requires
kindness, empathy,
a listening ear,
open heart and mind.
Willingness to wear another’s shoes.
Must self-identify with humanity
not gender, race,
ethnicity, education,
or place of origin.
We need you,
now.

I’m hosting dVerse today and asking folks to think about the words “super hero” and “super power(s)” and write a poem that is somehow related to or motivated by those words. The words themselves may or may not be in the poem. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come on over to read some super posts!

Scheherazade

Across the page my pen does fly
If, not, why
A pathway straight to and from my . . .
He, she, I
. . . Brain

I tell my story, tell again
First, next, then
Revise and edit with my pen
House, place, den
Me
Scheherazade
Storyteller

Written by Stella Hallberg, my granddaughter, who will soon be 11. She and I trade poetry prompts each month. She decided we would start the year with the same word, scheherazade. This is her poem….as she wrote it. No edits by me. It fits beautifully with Bjorn’s prompt for today at dVerse. He asks us to recognize the importance of silence in poetry. Silence can be illustrated with various punctuation, including the ellipsis . . . which Stella uses in her poem. Stella explained to me “The syllable pattern is something I might have made up. I did 8, 3, 8, 3, 1 twice, but at the end I added 5, 4. Do you like it?”  Yes, Stella, I do! 🙂