Haibun for August

Schooldays, schooldays, good old golden rule days . . . familiar words from a song my mother sang to me as she tucked me into bed. Generations later, I sang these words at bedtime to our young children, and then again to their children.

As a septuagenarian, I’ve been entrenched in schooldays from when I went to kindergarten until I rejuvenated (never say retired) in December 2012. Schooldays were part of my life as a student, a parent of school-aged children, a teacher, and finally as a university administrator. Whether we lived in rural Iowa, or a city, August always signaled summer’s end. More importantly for me, it was the harbinger of schooldays to come. Depending on my age, it could mean cutting up brown paper grocery sacks to make textbook covers; or shopping for new crayons, knee socks for my uniform, #2 yellow pencils, new Bic pens and notebooks, or a new sweater set. Later it signaled filling out a new lesson plan book, or noting upcoming meetings in a day planner. At seventy-five, back-to-school ads on television bring back memories of August days gone by.

sweetcorn season done
seed corn soon to fill silos
school bells ring again

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sanaa is hosting and asks us to write about what August means to us. We can use any poetic form we choose. I decided to write a haibun.

Haibun: a poetic form that includes one or two succint paragraphs of prose followed by a haiku. The prose cannot be fiction. The haiku must include a seasonal reference.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Reflections on a Family Visit

Like young colts
galloping through wildflowered fields,
all legs in a blur.
These teenage grandchildren rush in
laughing, talking,
a whirlwind of energy.
Fast hugs for me,
quick words of endearment
and they’re out the door.

I sit down, coffee cup in hand,
and chuckle at what just was.
I marvel, smiling,
at what is to come and what will be.
The world is theirs to explore,
to grapple with, to improve,
to endure.
But for now,
let them gallop in the wildflowered fields.

Posted for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. AND we are LIVE today from 3 to 4 PM Boston time. Read below how to join us!

EXCITING NEWS FOR dVERSE! Mr. Samuel Peralta announced the selection of dVerse Anthology, Chiaroscuro, for inclusion in the LunarCodex Polaris time capsule going to the moon in 2023! It’s true! Not a hoax! Chiaroscuro will be on the moon — I have six poems in the anthology! I’m going to be on the moon! Go to lunarcodex.com to learn more. At the Menu on the right click on MORE….scroll down and you’ll come to an image of Chiaroscuro! Mr. Peralta is interviewed on YouTube about the technology. Google “We”re flying to the moon samuel Peralta” you’ll find it. It’s rather lengthy, but very interesting to read about the technology!

What is OLN LIVE?
Go to https://dversepoets.com at 3 PM or shortly thereafter. There will be a link right at the top of the page…Click on it and it will take you to the dVerse pub! You’ll meet many of the dVersers who post here weekly, and some who just come when the spirit moves them (or the prompt does!). Each attendee has the opportunity to read one poem aloud as others listen and appreciate. Alternatively, if you are not comfortable reading for the group, simply join us and listen in! The more the merrier!

I hope to see you at the pub today!!! https://dversepoets.com at 3 PM Boston time or shortly thereafter. We’ll be live until 4 PM.

I was lucky . . .

The summers of my privileged youth were filled with riding bicycles with my best friend, June; drinking from the garden hose; drawing hopscotch grids with colored chalk; climbing Mrs. Jester’s apple trees; running through sprinklers in the back yard; and fishing off the Lake Michigan pier with my dad. Once every summer, my mom bought a box of popsicles and doled them out to me and my friends. Everyone else fought over the red ones. I always had the yellow ones to myself. I guess nobody else liked banana.

hot city summer
steam hovers over pavement
tempers flare, guns pop



Frank is hosting haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today he asks us to consider summer. Photos from my childhood, in the early 1950s. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

Haibun: one or two paragraphs of succinct prose, usually biographical in nature, followed by a haiku that amplifies the theme, but does not duplicate the prose.

Life as an Hourglass

My life is like a fragile hourglass
sand grains drop through.
Some moments I savor
slip past me before
I can taste them.
Other times
lag behind
move so
slowly
I can
not
stand
it and so
I open my
mouth and
scream aloud.
I want to control
each and every grain
of my life, especially now
in our winter season when the
path ahead is far shorter than the
glorious one we’ve been blessed to share.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, DAY 28. Today the prompt is to  write a concrete poem, in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. Also shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today it’s OLN: Open LInk Night where we can share any one poem of our choosing.

Spring Time on Butrick Street

Rain drops glisten daffodil petals.
Forsythia blooms in Mrs. Jester’s yard.
Buttery yarn disappears from hank,
chain-stitched and double-crocheted
by arthritic fingers on blue-veined hands.
Children with yellow chalk-smudged cheeks
squat on sidewalk squares.
Round smiling sun in place,
they draw happy flowers below.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 18 and dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe: both prompts coincide nicely in this poem.

It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse. The word to put in our poem of exactly 44 words (sans title) is “chalk” and the pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.

The NAPOWRIMO prompt is to “write a poem that provides five answers to the same question – without ever specifically identifying the question that is being answered.” The question I’ve answered is “What are yellow things you might see in the spring? My answers are daffodils, forsythia, yarn, chalk-smudged cheeks, and the sun. Photo is from Pixabay.com

** I grew up in Waukegan, Illinois. The house I lived in from the time I was two until I went into third grade was at 144 South Butrick Street. Mrs. Jester was our elderly next door neighbor.

Zoey

This twelve-week old puppy
melts my heart,
tickles my funny bone
and tests my aging knees.

On the floor to tug and pull
then up to retrieve that bouncing ball.
It rolled to a place unknown to you,
where only I can stretch and reach.

Then on the floor to redirect.
Chew this toy, or this one here.
No . . . no . . .
not that shoe.

Then up again to attach your leash,
and out the door to poop and pee.
Then on the floor to toss and fetch,
then up again for kibbles and treats.

Then squatting down I attach your leash
and out the door we go to pee.
Not now you say, then tug to run
to greet the robins and have some fun.

And when it’s time for you to nap
tired out from all that serious play,
you circle twice and then curl up
to sleep and dream inside your crate.

And I, my friend, so tired too,
need no circles to find the couch.
I sleep, one ear half-alert
until I hear you stir and bark.

Then we start all over again.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 17. Today the prompt is to “think about dogs and then use them as a springboard into wherever they take you.Photo is of our new grandpuppy, Zoey!

The Dandelions of Ukraine

She paints a different scene
different from the devastation of war.
One of deep meaning to her people.

Far from crimson-orange flames,
bomb bursting flares in night skies,
blood-stained rubble covered streets.

She paints a girl with auburn hair
back to us, looking out at sunburst sky
in the midst of dandelion fields.

Beautiful broadleaf perennial weed,
dandelions bloom brightly yellow,
steep in teas and make fine wine.

Notoriously challenging to remove,
ten-inch-long taproots deep in soil
tenaciously hold their place in earth.

Sunflowers may be the national flower,
but this upstart weed personifies her people.
Strength, perseverance, and beauty,
just as she painted, the dandelion field.

Written for Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Mish is hosting and gives us an inspiring, beautiful and timely prompt, acquainting us with Ukrainian artist, Vika Muse. We are to select one of her remarkable paintings and be inspired by it. As Mish writes: “During this unfathomable yet very real situation in her homeland, let us bask in the light of her artistry and be a reflection of light with our words.”

The work of Vika Muse can be found on Instagram at @get.muse and is featured on the website http://www.inprnt.com (just do a search on this site for Vika Muse and all her artwork will come up). I selected her piece, The Dandelion Field.

dVerse pub opens at 3 PM Boston time, featuring this prompt.

Haiku to ponder

The second half of joy is shorter than the first.
Emily Dickinson

everyday a gift
wildflowers along the road –
snow falls silently

Written for the NAPOWRIMO prompt given the day before National Poetry Writing Month begins. We are to respond to one of Emily Dickinson’s lines of poetry. Several are provided or we may choose our own.

Also will appear at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today is OLN: Open Link Night. Ingrid is hosting and we may post any one poem of our choosing. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.

NAPOWRIMO begins officially tomorrow. April is National Poetry Writing Month and the challenge is to write a poem every day of the month.

Photo is from our trip to Ireland a number of years ago.

Renewal

During the season of cherry blossoms, after more than fifty years of being separated by more than six-thousand miles, we met again. This gentle man, Kenji, who I knew only for one year, all those years ago. So many changes in the world since last we’d seen each other. Kenji was a foreign exchange student from Japan, during our senior year at my Illinois high school. And now I was a visitor in his home country. There for a few days to experience his beautiful culture. In his hometown of Tokyo for one day. How would it be to see him again?

We sat in a small restaurant over a pot of fresh brewed tea. Shared news about our lives, careers and family. Reminisced too. And somehow, the years melted away and friendship bloomed again.

cold brings frost, stunts growth
trees remain rooted in earth –
blossoms come again

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Frank asks us to consider cherry blossoms. A haibun combines prose and haiku.
Photo is from our cruise to China, South Korea and Japan in 2019. Such a wonderful reunion with Kenji Kojima! And how appropriate that our friendship bloomed once again exactly during cherry blossom season in Japan.

The Mysteries of Time

Time slips away, disappears.
Those years of youth,
ours and theirs.

I had a firm grasp on reality.
Even so, the mundane simmered,
repetition melded, numbed time.

Infinitesimal changes crept in,
unnoticed until too late.
What was, was gone.

Those everyday moments . . .
in hindsight I know
were anything but mundane.

Sweet viscous memories
fragments, rarely continuous,
slip and slide in my mind.

I sit, smiling gently,
my head in the past
then force myself into the now.

Pen in hand,
I write as time moves on
faster than my script.

My gait slower, skin thinner
eye sight cloudier,
but joy nurtures me.

Each day is still a gift
for one constant reason.
You are still beside me.