Bereavement

Evil incarnate soared that day
then plunged metal-searing hot,
into the hearts of thousands.
We reeled through dust laden,
tear and shock stained weeks –
searching, then praying
for departed souls.

Six-thousand-two-hundred-
and-four days have passed.
For many, all colored
by loss tinctured dawns.

nine-eleven-3134134_1920

It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets….and coincidentally, the 17th anniversary of 9-11. Amaya is hosting and asks us to go “on a loop.”  Return to a poem we wrote/posted on a previous September 11th and take a word or phrase from that poem to create a new one. We were in our beloved Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, on September 11th, 2016 — as we are today. I posted a poem then, Cape Cod Lure, that included the phrase “tinctured dawns” which is used again in this 9-11 commemorative poem. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

Immigrants

Our ancestors. Our families.
They sailed through rough seas.
They worked hard, dreamed big.
We are us because of them.
Their identities may fade but
Their determination remains apparent.
Pictured and posed in family albums,
They live on in sepia tones.

 

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. It’s Meet The Bar Thursday (MTB) and Frank hosts, asking us to write a Reverse Poem. Read it top to bottom. Read it bottom to top. Line by line. It makes sense both ways. Quite challenging! 

Photos:
Left:  Hjalmer Siegfried Hallberg, born in Sweden, 1884. Arrived Ellis Island, NY at age 22, in 1906. My husband’s grandfather.
Right: Adam Gruenwald, born 1857 in Germany. Arrived in U.S. in 1880. Grandfather to my father. 

And here it is in reverse, including the same punctuation at the end of each line.

Immigrants

They live on in sepia tones.
Pictured and posed in family albums,
Their determination remains apparent.
Their identities may fade but
We are us because of them.
They worked hard, dreamed big.
They sailed through rough seas.
Our ancestors. Our families.

Marengo Years

How did a city girl end up a high school English teacher in rural Iowa? From graduating in a class of eight-hundred-fifty, quick-stepping to Pomp and Circumstances so the procession wouldn’t last an hour; to senior class sponsor of thirty-two, holding students back until the prior one was all the way down the aisle and seated – so the band could play the entire song.

Town square on Main Street. No traffic lights. Elementary school kids on decorated trikes and bicycles in the high school homecoming parade. Future Farmers of America, 4-H, and drama club. Six-on-six girls’ basketball and a superintendent who sometimes wore bibber overalls. Houses with unlocked doors and party-line telephones.  Church cookbooks and pot-lucks. Friendly people always willing to share, listen, and lend a helping hand. My second time in high-school. More special than the first.

ten foot drifts that year
folks hunkered down waiting for plows –
farm cats warm in barns

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. It’s Tuesday Poetics and Amaya is hosting, asking us to remember our school days. Photo: Our rented farm house in rural Marengo, Iowa.

What is that? And where has it gone?

Mr. Rogers . . .
putting on his sweater.
Not Angry Birds.

Pen Pals . . .

Waiting . . .
for book three,
Harry Potter
and the
Prisoner of Azkaban.
Not a Netflix binge.

Family vacation . . .
road trip
with I Spy
and
the license plate game.

So . . .
tell me.
How are you,
really?

To listen . . .
leave space . . .
to wait . . .
slow down . . .
to appreciate time.

To think . . .
before we blurt.

A skill.
A common sense attribute,
I fear is becoming a lost art.
Patience.

letter-1077860_1280It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Jill asks us to consider unseen things, reminding us that only about 5% of the universe is visible matter. Patience is something you cannot hold in your hand.

A Cry for Peace

On a typical hot, humid summer day in Washington DC, we visited the National Air and Space Museum.  A favorite tourist stop for young families, there were many squeals of delight and loads of loud chatter around the space capsules and astronaut exhibits. Parents eagerly read placards aloud and answered their children’s questions.

And then we saw the Enola Gay.  Why does that old plane have that name? Because the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, named it after his mother. Why is it here? Is it famous? How do you answer those questions from a four year old who has no idea where Hiroshima is, what it signifies, and stumbles to even pronounce the word?

decomposing raven
lies outside rotting in snow –
infant wails for breast

Col_Paul_W._Tibbets_before_takeoff_6_August_1945

Frank Tassone hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. He reminds us that today is Hiroshima Day 2018. It will be marked by the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony where approximately 50,000 local citizens and visitors, as well as ambassadors and dignitaries from around 70 countries, will] gather in Hiroshima to console the spirits of those killed by the atomic bomb and also to pray for lasting world peace. Our haibun should somehow deal with this theme.

Haibun: Two tight paragraphs of prose, must be true, cannot be fiction; followed by a haiku. I’ve chosen to write a traditional haiku: three lines: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; about nature; includes a Kigo (reference to a season) and a Kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku). 

Photo: Colonel Paul Tibbets before take-off on August 6, 1945. Taken by US Air Force employee (unnamed) – https://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/photos/ photo #162, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9162980

Come Inside My Haibun

He was an immigrant. A painter. A Swede who arrived at Ellis Island many years ago. I was privileged, as were many, to experience his journey in a most unlikely place. A basement room, in Chicago, Illinois.

Entering that underground space, we stepped onto a ship sailing across the mighty Atlantic. Sky cerulean blue overhead, dipped to meet the horizon, forever brightened by an invisible sun. Gulls hovered above waves rolling with white caps, dabs of paint that never splashed. We sat in the midst of many family celebrations, our chairs backed up against basement walls, as if leaning on Grampa Hallberg’s painted ship rails. A lifeless life preserver hung never-used, drawn not quite round.  It was a room like no other. It was the USS Sweden, frozen in time.

young beaver crosses pond
gathers sticks and stones and spring time mud –
journey revealed in lodge

IMG_1484

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets and I’m hosting today – asking everyone to delve into the traditional … and at the same time, take us on a trip into an interior they remember from their past. A room they can recall.

The Haibun must include 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose describing the interior (cannot be fiction); followed by a traditional haiku: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; must be about nature; must include a kigo (reference to a season) and a kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku.

Photo: Grampa Hajalmer Hallberg on the left in 1972, two years before his death. He immigrated from Sweden in 1906 at the age of 22. He’s sitting in the basement he painted to remind him of his journey to America on the USS Sweden.

Dad, You’re in my Haibun

What is a venial sin? What is the Immaculate Conception? What are the Ten Commandments? What are the seven mortal sins?

As a young child, I had to memorize answers to Catholic Catechism questions before I could make my first holy communion. One of the greatest benefits I gained from my early Catholic education was the ability to memorize. I spouted off those answers quickly and matter-of-factly as my father patiently sat in his big green fake-leather chair, asking the questions. He never went to church – except for mother’s day, Christmas and Easter. Yet he sat patiently, testing me on my catechism questions.

I remember my father as undemonstrative. I don’t remember being hugged or hearing him say, “I love you.” But I understood years later. He showed his love in different ways. For example, listening to me spout off doctrine he didn’t believe. The one answer I parroted, but could never ever understand, and never dared to ask a nun or priest about, was the one that basically told me my father would go to hell because he didn’t believe. No way. He had the patience of Job. He was a good man. And he was my dad.

huge white pelican
rules of gravity be damned –
soars in autumn skies

white-pelican-1926545_1920

The White Pelicans migrate every fall to Florida. With a 9′ wingspan, they are one of the largest birds in North America. And they soar.
Amaya hosts dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to considerthe 7 deadly sins, and/or the 7 virtues. We may consider our relationship to them — or how they affected us at some point in our lives. I’ve written a haibun: 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose (must be true), followed by a traditional haiku.
Missing my dad….

Bud’s Daughter

I have
a morning mirror routine.
Mine for sandman’s deposits.
Eyes clear, smile appears.

There it is,
thick wavy hair.
Left side front
waving, brow-over.

Morning mirror bud,
dad’s reflection waves.
Cascading silver,
my inheritance.

IMG_9004

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where it’s Poetics Tuesday. Kim hosts and challenges us to write a poem in the first person about a body part we’ve inherited. Yep, that’s me and my waves. My dad, affectionately called Bud by his friends and relatives, had a full head of hair – beautifully silver and always wavy, till the day he died. I miss him.
PS:  did you read that last line aloud? It’s all about hair.
Also posted as off-prompt for Napowrimo Day 24.

 

Mother’s Junk Drawer

Teeth-gnawed yellow #2 pencil stubs.
One Avon Coral Pink lipstick.
Rosary missing crucifix.
Emery board. Eleven rubber bands.
Antique roller skate key.
Three packs Juicy Fruit gum,
never opened.
One white Sunday glove.
Thirty-two S&H green stamps.
A gathering of . . . what?

Green-Stamps

Written for dVerse where I’m hosting Quadrille Monday, asking folks to write an exactly 44 word poem (sans title) that includes the word, or a form of the word, gather.  Junk drawers: quite a gathering place. Do you have one?