For Kenji

‘Tis legendary
not ordinary,
‘cross sea.
Firm friendship, nary
time’s adversary.
To be
older, not wary.
Smiles luminary,
esprit.

Inspired by my recent visit in Yokohama with Kenji Kojima. Photos of Kenji and I in our 1965 senior high school album. And a new photo of us taken together last week in Yokohama, Japan.

Kenji was an AFS exchange student from Japan during our 1965 senior year at Waukegan Township High School in Illinois. We had not seen each other since 1965! The years didn’t matter. The distance didn’t matter. The friendship held true and we enjoyed two wonderful hours together reminiscing, talking about our families and grandchildren. What an absolute privilege to see him again.

Poetry form is the Lai: 9 lines with the following syllabic and rhyming restrictions:

Line 1: 5 syllables, rhyme word a
Line 2: 5 syllables, rhymes with a
Line 3: 2 syllables, rhyme word b
Line 4: 5 syllables, rhymes with a
Line 5: 5 syllables, rhymes with a
Line 6: 2 syllables, rhymes with b
Line 7: 5 syllables, rhymes with a
Line 8: 5 syllables, rhymes with a
Line 9: 2 syllables, rhymes with b

Lost in Time

Gold pocket watch clasped shut
sits unnoticed.
Dust dims its luster,
unseen though visible
on antique store shelf.

Faded smiling visage
carefully snipped
by someone’s loving hands,
nestles inside the old time piece.
Exactly fits within its rim.

Opposite those softly staring eyes,
wire hands mark five till twelve.
No sound. No movement.
Dead in time past.
Someone’s treasure cast aside.

Posted for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today I am hosting Open Link Night. Folks can post any one poem of their choice: no particular topic, prompt, form or length. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

Haibun to Savor

I’ve often contemplated the difference between solitude and loneliness.

Five years ago, my husband was struck down by a six-minute cardiac arrest. For forty-eight hours, we did not know if he would come back to us. Although surrounded by medical staff and family, it was the loneliest time I’ve ever faced. It was frightening to think about life without him. Being alone in loneliness is a fate I wish on no one.

Solitude, on the other hand, is something to savor. In my definition, one is not lonely in solitude, even if one is alone. I’ve stood in the middle of Iowa country fields, feeling the wind on my face, arms outstretched, and felt solitude. A personal sense of wonder at being one with the earth. I also believe solitude can be experienced in partnership. Standing in awe with my husband, looking at our newborn. Feeling a sense of miracle, engulfed in love. It was only us in that moment – there was no one else was in the world – just us. For me, there is a profound sense of positive energy within the word solitude. I’ve experienced a myriad of moments in my life, shared in partnernership, in solitude. And some by myself. Thankfully, there have been very few experiences of abject loneliness.

doe stands in awe, her
sole prints in new fallen snow –
field mouse cowers cold

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First and foremost, let me assure everyone. My husband and I will joyfully celebrate our 49th anniversary on February 7th! All is well and we are thankful for every day.

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Kim asks us to write about solitude. A haibun is two to three paragraphs of prose (must be true) followed by a traditional haiku (5-7-5 syllables; must include a seasonal reference and prefarably be about nature). Image from Pixabay.com

Harbinger

A gift unwanted, disdained,
sat untouched.
Please. Pleaze. Pulllleeeze.
Pleas for lessons.
When you can reach the pedals
we said again and again.

And then . . . young fingers
explored the keys.
Eager feet
moved left then right.
Fingers began to dance
and feet to pump.

Hymns at church
rang out loud,
ten year old dwarfed
by massive pipe organ.
Appendages in synch
matched broad grin on face.

Thank you dad.
Your gift, unwanted once,
became our daughter’s future.
If only you could see her now.

Sarah hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write about a harbinger…..a sign of something to come.  This posts tells a true story. When my parents retired, they basically sold all their worldy goods and traveled the states in a motor home. My dad gave us his very small Lawrys organ and gave my brother a beautiful antique school clock he’d refinished. For years, I was furious that I was stuck with this musical instrument that no one could play and my brother got this fabulous clock!  And then our daughter started to beg for lessons. The rest is history….as you’ll see by this one minute video! 

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At an early organ competition. Love the knee socks!

The Old Farmstead

It struck with a howling fury. High winds. Snow so thick it obscured the view outside the kitchen window. Tool shed. Abandoned teetering barn. Rusted ancient Deere. All swallowed in a swirling mass of white.

I climbed the well-worn steps, carpet long since removed as a tripping hazard. Climbed into what we’d called their sleigh bed. Oak veneer now peeling. Loneliness was my only companion. Empty rooms down the hall. Memories jostling in my head: childhood tasks in overalls; mom and dad, steaming mugs of coffee in hand, engrossed in quiet whispered conversation about next year’s crop, Jimmy’s ever-growing feet, the upcoming school board meeting. Sleep finally came, in the midst of stuffed, sealed packing boxes.

I woke to a still, darkened house and padded my way down the familiar but different hallway. No giggles or doors slamming. Bare walls waiting for a new owner’s decorative touch. Melancholy seeped into my body. How did time take over my life so completely? Gloss over so many years so quickly, that my visits here shortened in length, but lengthened in days and months and sometimes years between? How could I not notice their slower steps? The peeling paint. The hired hand plowing the fields.

The kitchen window was partially covered by frost on the inside. Like an etching on fine glass. Dawn slowly revealed familiar rolling hills, glistening white in winter’s cold. Snow drifts obscured the woodpile while a small portion of the drive, somehow windswept in last night’s gale, revealed gravel and bits of dried leaves. Nature gifted the land with uneven blessings, just as life did us.

My coffee began to percolate in mom’s old stainless steel pot, plugged into the wall next to the small curved hook where her potholders used to hang. I’d leave this house in a few hours. Say my final goodbyes to what once was . . . birthday celebrations; the bright yellow school bus lumbering down our dirt road; mom gathering sheets from the line outside; dad coming in from the fields.

Looking out that glazed window, my eyes suddenly focused on a spot of crimson red in the blanket of snow. Two cardinals sat beneath the old wooden birdfeeder, long since bereft of seed. They sat patiently, as if belonging to the scene. Bright living color in the midst of all that visual cold. Just as I began to notice the aroma of fresh brewed coffee, their wings began to spread, elongating their shapes. And they rose together, disappearing into streaks of sun now blinding my eyes. Snow glare. The new day was here.

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Written with memories of winters in Iowa. Prose fiction . . . but I imagine many folks face the leaving of their old farmsteads as generations pass, land is bought up and farms become more “corporate.” Photo is of a country home we rented in Iowa; either the old Folkman or Voitman house….down the road from the Bean’s farmstead. They were very special years for us…..over forty years ago.

In the midst . . .

of headline news
frenetic must-dos, should-dos,
buy-this-sales and shopping bustle.
Before the dawn of daily busyness,
Christmas shimmers and gleams.

Candles glimmer,
tiny white lights shine.
Treasured ornaments hold memories –
children grown, loved ones passed,
moments shared.

There is a serenity to the season,
if only we pause to savor.

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A blessed Christmas season to all.  The pink reindeer ornament is actually one of the pieces that hung on my children’s mobile, over their crib when they were infants. They are now in their 40s and both have a wooden animal from the mobile on their own Christmas tree. The pink bell, just barely showing at the top of the final photo, was on my mother’s girlhood tree. 

Raise a Glass . . .

Drawn to a metaphoric life-style
she sparkled and effervesced
through a bubblicious youth,
toast of the town.
Aged now,
she sits beside her Christmas tree,
mulls over memories.
Clutches sachets of anisee seed,
crushed cinammon sticks,
ground cloves and citrus peel.
Low heat radiates
as embers die nearby.

 

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Amaya hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to think about secret ingredients…be they in a recipe or a poem. “Think subtle but noticeable.”

Raise a Glass talks about life in metaphors….from the champagne-like effervescence of youth; to the earthy sweetness of old life, like a mulled wine, commonly known in Scandinavia as GLØGG and in Germany as GLUHWEIN/glow wine.

Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

Wish Goddess

Wish Granter,
goddess of ages.
Utopia, her realm.

. . . if I could travel in time
. . . bring him back
make me young again . . .
. . . let her be well

Wish upon wish upon wish
year upon year upon year,
until she finally understood.

Hour glass, her tool of destiny.
Sand granules within,
moments in time.
What was, what is,
what may be.

Today, a crack in time.
Crystal orb wrought asunder,
sand grains burst forth.
Wish halos given light,
scattered among the stars.
All wishes granted.
From days gone by,
today’s dreams
and yours tomorrow.
Present eternally.

Wish Granter,
goddess of ages,
finally at rest.
Need erased for all time.
Alpha and omega.
finis

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Amaya hosts Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today she asks us to consider the idea of utopia. Image from pixabay.com