Love Is . . .

Just twenty months apart, they grew up together. Whispered secrets through a grate between their bedroom walls. Shared stories at supper time. Shared chores on family camping vacations. One tent for the four of us. Four small blue canvas chairs always set up by the campfire site. We sat together talking. Sometimes stared at stars and moon; watched ember sparks glow. They always slept soundly when the lantern was doused, even in their teenage years. Cocooned in sleeping bags.

Years later, they live six-hundred miles apart. Raising their families. Busy with life. Those starry nights are part of who they are. Like deep and long roots sustaining the stately oak, those special times inform how they define family. I wonder if in their dreams, they sleep with the moon shared between them still. Far apart, but always akin.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, Merril is hosting and asks us to include the line “In their dreams, they sleep with the moon” in a story or memoir (some type of prose; cannot be poetry). The line is from Mary Oliver’s Death at Wild River.

To Everything There is a Season

City folk turned country dwellers
we weathered through the seasons.
First-time home-owners on thirty acres,
we rented out our fields.
Watched corn and wheat planted,
then flourish in hot Iowa sun.

Harvest seasons came and went.
Like shapeshifters,
acres changed their landscaped views.
Plant, tend, reap, rest.
We marked off years waiting,
hoping for a blooming of our own.

And then, pregnant with expectation
we watched my belly grow,
just as the wheat and corn grew tall.
Similar to mother earth that year,
we gave birth, finding sustenance
in the fruits of our labor.

And then one bright September day
we brought our daughter home.
Stood blinking from the sun’s glare
holding her up amidst the fields,
thankful for new life
in this, our season of joy.  

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets across the globe. Today, Rose is guest hosting and titles her prompt “Waiting on Wheat” – asking us to somehow write about wheat within our poem. Photos are from our homestead in Iowa, in 1974. Yep – that’s me with our daughter on the day I came home from the hospital. In those days, it was common to stay in the hospital for 5 days! Even after a normal birth. My how times have changed! The title for the poem comes from Ecclesiastes in the Bible and was also turned into a wonderful song written by Pete Seeger, first recorded in 1959.

A Child’s Wish Updated

Would that we all could be
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod,
sailing and bobbing along
on beautiful misty seas.

Snuggled together in our boat
lullaby waves softly lulling,
drifting slowly under the stars
off to the shores of Neverland.

Never the hatred,
never the strife.
Never the sadness
never the Covid-19.

Yes, I’ll be Wynken and you be Blynken,
both with our lids shut tight.
Smile with me and together shall we
nod off to the shores of Neverland.

IMG_5366

Sarah is hosting Tuesday Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write about boats. For me, the first thing that came to mind was the poem Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. My mother often read it to me when I was very young….always just before bedtime. The poem was written by American writer and poet, Eugene Field and first published on March 9, 1889.  Photo illustration is from the actual book my mother read to me from, Volume One, Poems of Early Childhood, in Childcraft in Fourteen Volumes, published by the Quarrie Corporation, Chicago, in 1947. I’ve obviously also taken liberty with Peter Pan’s Neverland! 

Always with us . . .

are the sun,
the moon, the sky
and the stars.

Sometimes harder to see
are filaments of joy.
They always hover near.

If we open our hearts
look up, look about,
we will find them.

As this morning dawns
and hope rises,
let us seek at least one.

Let us live today
with the incandescence of joy.

sunrise-182302_1920

Previously posted and then shared on OLN at dVerse where Mish is hosting today.
Photo: dawn in Provincetown, 2019.

Catharsis 1906

Ship of dreamers
homeland left behind.
We cross vast seas,
anxiety churned by pitching waves.

Land nears.
Hope rekindled,
we stand tall,
crane to see her torch.

Hands clasped, excitement peaks.
Grinning widely we circle round,
dance exuberantly
as she comes into view.

We are joyful Swedes,
ready to begin anew.

IMG_4866

Brian Miller, founder of dVerse, helps us celebrate the pub’s 8th anniversary today by providing the prompt. He wants us to capture a moment in our poem, reminding us that moments come with a context. The happenings before and after the moment. Today I write motivated by a Hallberg family photo, taken in 1906, at the moment Hjalmer Hallberg and friends saw the Statue of Liberty, when coming to this country from Sweden. I write in the first person, trying to imagine this moment.

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