Children through the ages . . .

Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less.
From Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

These were precious moments ~

holding you upon my shoulder
napping with you upon my chest
holding you to my breast

lifting you back up to walk again
reading together, you sitting on my lap
skipping lessons, hand in hand

sharing hugs on grade school days
combing hair and straightening shirt
and wiping tears as you tumbled.

Now you have growing children
and as their independence grows,
touching them is lessening too for you.

But between you and me
at this stage in our lives,
hello and goodbye hugs
seemingly last a bit longer.

Perhaps because we know
time passing, means less time left
and we treasure more
these moments of staying in touch.

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On the occasion of a 50th college reunion

Go forth to seek old friends.
Rise to the occasion as you step into your past.
Play at remembering faces until a
spark of recognition ignites, and memories
flow as smiles grow.
Crush each other in hugs, abandon inhibitions.
Defy years that added stiff knees, sagging skin and sometimes balding heads.
Love simply that you stand with one another, however changed by time.
Wander campus, so different but somehow still the same.
Shine in celebration of life, fifty years later still here . . .
and here again.

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Victoria is host at today’s dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to consider the world of pop art: think Andy Warhol’s Campbells Tomato Soup Cans. Several suggestions for poems arise from her prompt, including using a product as the subject of a poem. This cereal box resides within our kitchen cupboard so I’ve used its words to begin each line of my poem. And oh yes…..the Class of 1969 at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois was indeed an original and unique one. Photos from this past weekend’s 50th college reunion below. What a wonderful time we had renewing old friendships and taking a walk down the proverbial memory lane!

A Bushy Tale

Oh dear sweet child
and parents too,
listen to what I say
and do as squirrels do.

Spring time they play,
summers they work.
Winter time’s rest
is always the best
because gathered nuts
gifted by trees,
are stored for later
so they won’t freeze.

The lesson to this bushy tale,
my sweet and darling little dear,
is live like the squirrel
and there’s nothing to fear.
Enjoy all the good times
but work hard too.
Talents used wisely
make blessings accrue.

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Amaya is hosting Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. We are to create a child’s nursery rhyme motivated by one of several Franz Kafka (modernist German writer) quotations provided in the challenge, remembering that children like rhythm and rhyme. 

The Kafka quotation that motivates this Bushy Tale is “God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.”       Photo at Pixabay.com

Shadows

When it’s very still
and my soul’s at rest,
I see shadows nearby,
waiting patiently.

An ethereal background
hovers . . .
seemingly through them.
As if a thinning fog.

Shadows of people,
all of them gone.
But here they stand,
their profile or back to me.

My brother, leaning in.
My father with wavy hair.
My mother, skirts lifted,
swaying to music I strain to hear.

Time intrudes and eyes focus,
reality presents itself.
Wedges its way into my mind
until I question what I saw.

But everybody sees shadows
on bright sunlit days.
They dance beside us,
follow, or lead the way.

So who is to say these shadows,
appearing to me when I am alone
are not at least as real
as those we see on sunny days?

Perhaps these shadows also lead me.
Quietly waiting.
Unobtrusively.

I’m hosting Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and folks are invited to post any poem of their choosing. These photos taken this week in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod….and they got me to thinking about shadows.
Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

New Day

Cold nose whiffs coffee
perked over campfire.
Hands warm
round chipped mug.

Leaf canopy dew-drop glistens,
lake shimmers with rising sun.
Fresh morning, new day
breathe it in.

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Wherever you are this morning or next, city or lakeside, campground or home, breath in life and live! Photo from Pixabay.com

 

For Tomorrow

We walked quietly through Hiroshima’s Peace Garden and the Peace Museum, listened closely to the story of Sadako Sasaki. She was two years old when Enola Gay flew over Hiroshima. Although she was outside the perimeter of its immediate target, she was diagnosed with leukemia seven years later.  An after-effect of the bomb’s widespread toxicity. During eight months of hospitalization, she folded 1,000 paper cranes, many made from small labels off her medicines. In Japanese culture, the crane is symbolic of good fortune and longevity. Sadako was nine when she died.

In 1958, people from all over the world, sent chains of 1,000 paper cranes, to the dedication of the Children’s Peace Memorial. It commemorates Sadako and the thousands of innocent children who died as a result of the atomic bomb. We smiled at the beauty, patterns and bright colors of paper cranes on display. We looked upward to the widespread arms of the beautiful statue.

origami springs
paper cranes in my window
blessings soar each day

The crane has come to represent peace and hope and today,is one of the most popular figures created in the art of origami.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Frank asks us to write a “haibun to commemorate Hiroshima…to focus not on despair of nuclear holocaust, but on hope born of rising from the ashes. ”  Photos are from our recent visit to Hiroshima: the colorful display of paper cranes; the beautiful Children’s Peace Memorial Statue; paper crane chains I made that now hang in the window of my study; and a photo of me with Kenji. He was an exchange student from Japan in my senior year of high school, 1965. I had not seen him since then and was so excited to reconnect in Japan. He gave me the beautiful origami paper I used to make the cranes. A very special trip indeed.
Reason for title: On August 6, at 8:16 a.m. Japanese time, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. The city holds a Peace Memorial Ceremony each August 6, to console the victims of the atomic bombs and to pray for the realization of lasting world peace.  Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a wonderful children’s historical novel written by Eleanor Coerr, published in 1977.
Haibun: A Japanese form of poetry that includes 2 or 3 succinct paragraphs of prose followed by a traditional haiku. 

Before you were born . . .

I dreamed of holding stardust in my hands.
Wondering who you were inside of me,
moving softly as my belly expands.
Some being, ethereal? Feathery?
Then you abruptly kicked. Staggeringly.

Doubts, questions, fears, realities unfurled.
How to protect you enough in this world?
Then you, pushing. Pushing until you’re through.
Angry. Squalling. Blotched face. Legs fetal curled.
But once in my arms, my stardust I knew.

Today Frank is hosting dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. We continue to explore the Dizain — a particular form of poetry that includes 10 lines, each with 10 syllables, and a rhyme scheme of ababbccdcd.  There is to be a “turn” in the poem after line 5.  For me, as always with forms, and in particular forms with a set rhyme scheme, it is a struggle to have the meaning of the poem come through without calling attention to the form.  Although folks at dVerse have been working with the Dizain for a bit, this is my first attempt. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come try your hand at a Dizain! Photo is from pixabay.com  

Ah, Sweet Iowa Summer

Kitchen counter line-up:
sealed mason jars
filled with stewed tomatoes,
green beans, chunky apple sauce,
Harvard beets and pickled too.

Freezer shelves of season’s best.
Umpteen zuchinni breads,
apple pies and butter corn.
Blueberries, tagged in bags,
waiting to grace a cold morning’s stack.

Fresh mown grass, delicious scent.
Orange tiger lilies, shasta daisies,
farm cats mewling with swollen teats.
Sheets flap in hot summer breeze,
fireflies dance as sun departs the scene.

My Marengo memories . . .
ah, sweet Iowa summer daze.

Photo from our Iowa garden many years ago! Posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. We lived in Marengo, Iowa from 1970 through 1974 and then Iowa City until 1997. Had amazing gardens! Learned to can and freeze much of our homegrown vegetables and fruits. Somehow, our zucchini plants seemed to explode and we ate zuchinni bread all winter long! Lavonne Heitman’s recipe for freezer butter corn was delectable and oh those bread and butter pickles that took up so much refrigerator space! Our apple trees filled many a frozen aluminum pie tin. Blueberries graced sourdough pancakes on cold winter mornings. One year, I even canned homemade ketchup! Fireflies were always the magical part of Iowa summers – sorely missed in Boston. Ah sweet Iowa memories! Deserving of the title, Heartland!

Reunion 2019

Somewhere above the sun
Mor Mor, Far Far,
Grampa and Gramma Hallberg,
Pat, Jay,
Ina, Wes,
Bertha, Bud,
Florence and Milt
shine bright,
smile so proud,
knowing they live on.
Three generations strong
remember.
Still gather
to laugh, love and care.

“Far Far” is my father’s father in Swedish; “Mor Mor”, my mother’s mother. Photos from this past weekend’s family reunion in the Adirondacks. See previous poem for fun pics!

Quadrille (44 words sans title) with prompt word “sun” written for dVerse.