One Shining Moment

Saturday, October 19th, 2013. A beautiful crisp fall day. Our condominium complex drive was cheerfully planted with bright cushion mums. Little did we know in July 1997, when we moved from Iowa to Boston, how important that housing choice and this date would become.

Our condominium high rise building is across the street from side entrances to Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the premiere healthcare facilities in the United States. As some of you already know, on Monday, October 14th, 2013, my husband suffered a six-minute cardiac arrest in front of our building. He was rushed by ambulance to MGH; put into an induced coma on life support. They lowered his body temperature and gave him a paralytic drug to keep him absolutely still, trying to minimize brain damage.

On Tuesday evening, October 15th, his body temperature was slowly raised as he was weaned from the paralytic drug. We were told he may or may not wake up. If he did, it would not be for at least 72 hours and, in all likelihood, he would not be himself. Against all odds, he woke up at 9 PM that night. Wednesday morning October 16th, he was taken off life support, intubation tube removed, and he correctly answered all questions posed to him by a neurologist. On Thursday, October 17th, he was moved to the cardiac step-down unit, out of intensive care. Friday, October 18th, he had a defibrillator implanted. Saturday, October 19th, he was released from the hospital. And in one shining moment, with our son and daughter on either side of him, he walked back home. Back across the street and back into our lives.

dark clouds dissipate –  –
honeysuckle blooms again
bees hum in bright sun

Photo is a bit blurry as I was crying tears of joy when I took it.
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today I’m hosting and asking folks to write about one shining moment in their lives.

. . . and he became a man

One last moment,
I just needed one.

My son,
your wedding so beautiful.
You pledged a lifetime of love
to this wonderful woman at your side
and I watched, tears in my eyes.

My son,
I looked on, so very proud of you.
Your compassion, caring,
your talent, accomplishments.
All things good.

My son,
I knew you must leave
cleave unto your love.
I knew that
and I looked on lovingly.

And when the ceremony was done
suddenly, in that crowded room,
just before the photos began
you came to me
overcome by emotion.

You were in my arms
sobbing
and I flashed back.
Holding infant-you to my chest
comforting, nurturing.

And then you pushed back
asked for a tissue,
turned and walked to your wife.
And just like that,
you became a man.

But you’d given me,
that one last moment.

Day 29 in National Poetry Writing Month. Today Toads asks us to write about something that signaled almost the end. This was an amazing moment in my life….one that I remember distinctly and that my son, to this day, has no recollection of. For me, I am still grateful I had this one last moment with him as my young son. And by the way, he is a very happily married man with his bride/wonderful woman by his side and three delightful children.

A Good Life

The happiness project,
a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.
Plain and simple:
eat, pray, love
embracing earth.

IMG_4741

Day 23 of National Poetry Month: first installment today is written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets.  Bjorn  asks us to explore “found poetry” — and more specifically, Book Spine Poetry.
Look at the books on your shelf, pick some with titles that speak to you and arrange the titles into a poem! We have the choice of “adding some meat to the bones” — as in filling in some of our own words around the titles.

I love the way these 5 books fit together.
Consider it a belated Earth Day poem!

Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Dig out some books and come join us!  

Never to be the same . . .

In 2005, we rented a vacation home on the Big Island. Our back yard included an ocean inlet to Champagne Pond where at low tide, we swam with glorious sea turtles.

Our most amazing adventure was a lava hike, climbing over fields of hardened basalt. Eventually we came upon fissures where hot lava pooled, spit, hissed, bubbled and oozed ever so slowly. Using flashlights on the return walk, lava glowed red-orange in the distance, as if a jack-o-lantern was lit across the horizon. We also hiked across a caldera, over “waves” of Pele’s hair. We found a small delicate fern peeking out of a crevice. Hawaiian breezes deposit plant life in nooks and crannies. Life reappears in the midst of desolation.

Pele’s anger erupted violently in 2018. Kilauea spewed plumes 12,000 to 30,000 feet high. Fissures burst open. Lava flows destroyed over 700 homes. Lagoon House: A Piece of Paradise, the vacation home so many people enjoyed over the years, was entombed in thirty feet of boiling lava, which eventually cooled to impenetrable basalt. As the owner wrote, the coastline is forever changed. I wonder, how long it will be before a single fern, and then a tree, and then a grove of trees take root. Will the memory of Pele’s reckoning disappear? Will humans be enticed to rebuild what was once called Leilani Estates – and is that even possible?

I look at photos
housebound during Covid spring ~
Pele sleeps again

* Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes.

Day 22: National Poetry Writing Month. Toads asks us to choose one of four given quotations to motivate our poem of any form.  I wrote a a haibun.

Photos from June 2005 trip with our children to Hawaii’s Big Island. Our guided lava hike across Kilauea, at the time, the longest continuously active volcano in the world, now seems ridiculously dangerous and foolish – given the horrific occurrence in December 2019 at New Zealand’s White Island.

In the first photo, I’m waving goodbye to the incredibly beautiful back yard at our vacation rental, the night before we returned home. Little did I know that 13+ years later, this scene would be nonexistent.

QUOTATION USED TO MOTIVATE POST:  “A fresh and vigorous weed, always renewed and renewing, it will cut its wondrous way through rubbish and rubble.” William Jay Smith

Oh Brother, Dear

He was nine years older.
His daddy went off to war,
I was the afterthought.

I was the tag-along
the have-to-take-along,
the dawdling one behind.

I delivered his eulogy
unbelievably far too soon.
Mom and dad sat numb.

All these years later
they wait for me again,
resting on a grassy hill.

Not yet, I whisper.
Not yet.

Day 16 of National Poetry Writing Month and today Toads asks us to write about something that stems from the word “remains” — the word itself does not need to be included. This poem is also posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets’ Open Link Night which I host today. Poets may post one poem of their choice, no particular form or prompt. dVerse opens at 3 PM Boston time today.

Covid-19, The Unveiler

Welcome to the After Awards,
bracelet signifiers distributed
and assigned.
Hero. Survivor. Privileged.

Before the Age of Corona
we lived unaware.
Blithely took much for granted.
We thought nothing of what we had
when so many others had nothing.

A home, savings, vacations
books and toys for our kids.
Safe neighborhoods
cupboards chockfull
and mobility.

In donning masks
our eyes began to see.
Privileged were we.
We watched numbers
numbly, then fearfully.

Even the privileged succumbed.

And then came the New Dawn.
BC took on a second meaning,
Before Corona.
And we understood,
after being assigned
our Privileged bracelet.
It was a jewelry of shame.
And yet,
now we actually were,
because we lived.

And we would shed that arrogant air,
and we would share
and we would care
and we would love.

corona-4962578_1920
Day 7 of national poetry month where the challenge is to write a poem every day.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where Bjorn asks us to write a poem about the pandemic, for example, how it might look on the other side. At Toads, we are asked to somehow write about bracelets. Image from Pixabay.com

To all my readers, stay safe. Stay healthy.

Here versus There

Outside my window
another space
another sense of time.

Here, I am nesting
cocooning
mundaning.

I walk slowly
share quiet space,
my spouse smiles at me.

There in that place,
life and death rush through
like katabatic winds.

Patients arrive
fever burned eyes,
gasping, fearful, alone.

Nurses, doctors, attend.
Frenetic patient care,
selfless dedication.

Here. There.
Identical clocks,
hands moving in sync.

But sense of time?
There versus here?
High gear to the extreme.

I live across the street from Massachusetts General Hospital, a major care giver for Covid-19 patients in Boston. Photos taken from our windows. God bless all who are working on the front lines in these challenging times. And may all my readers stay safe and healthy.

Written for day 5, national poetry month. Prompt is given from Imaginary Garden with Toads. We are to write about the intersection of time and space.

Haibun in the midst of these troubling times

It was to be a celebratory long weekend in Washington DC. We would all gather in a large rental house to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary. Our children. Their children. The Circle of Love as we call ourselves. Dinner reservations made. Photographer arranged. So long in the planning. Fifty years in the making.

And then the unthinkable took hold across the globe. It became clear we would not be “eleven total in raucus revelry.” Instead we are sheltering in place in our individual homes. Venturing out for groceries. Taking our own walks on separate unbeaten paths in three different cities, in two different states. We do connect with phone calls and Facetime to insure all are well. We share tales of in-house projects, board games, and home schooling. Love is always heard in our eleven voices  – no matter the distance. And for this we are grateful.

spring time daffodils
untouched by Covid-19
dance closely in sun

IMG_4554Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Kim asks us to use a previous poem we’ve written about ourselves, and from its core, create a haibun: 2 paragraphs of tight prose followed by a haiku with a seasonal mention.
My haibun today is based on my previous poem Solitude and quotes one line from it.

Photo taken on our walk yesterday — keeping “social distance” from others but enjoying the hope spring brings. So many daffodils planted along the banks of the river Charles…so close together. Would that we can all soon embrace our loved ones and walk arm-in-arm again.
To all my readers:  stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive.