What’s happened? How can I be a Russian Nesting Doll? Shrinking. Shrinking. Travelers were we. Recently returned from China, South Korea and Japan. Walked the Great Wall. Reveled in Mt Fuji and cherry blossoms. Sailed the seas. Viewed sunsets and sunrises across waves. Escaped Boston’s winter in San Diego sun. Two months walking Balboa Park, La Jolla coast. Seafood galore. Joyfully we planned for our 50th anniversary to meet our children and their children. Long weekend in Washington DC. Laughter, love, and more love. Then Covid-19 raced across our land. And yours too. Told to stay at home we are minimized. I exist on a much smaller plane. Just me here in these few rooms. But at least I am with you.
Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Laura asks us to “conjure a room or rooms in the literal, functional, metaphorical, imaginary, or fantastical sense.” I am struck by how the Covid-19 has shrunk our world and decreased our living space….our “living rooms” so to speak. And thus this post. Image from Pixabay.com
It seems to me, there is a map to our lives. Imagine that we can draw it on a grid. Each cell is a day. Cells filled in with bright colors are to-dos and pay-attention-tos. Some neon need-tos are so intense they cause a glare. Blank cells appear in chunks. Free days. Times to play, cogitate, and just be.
My early years were chock full of free days. But ultimately, they almost disappeared. The grid became so colorful, it was blinding. Full of responsibilities, accountability. Children to raise. Professional ladder to climb. Even in those few empty cells, vacation days, I found myself calling in to the office; answering emails. The job tinted even the blank chunks on my grid.
Now in rejuvenatement, never say retirement, filling in the grid is largely my choice. And as I look at it, I suddenly begin to understand, the map of my life is not all my own doing. The socioeconomic term “privilege” comes to mind. Circumstances of birth, ethnicity, geographical location – all have affected my life and enabled me to come to this point where the grid is much easier on the eyes. And in these days of Covid-19, I understand even more, how blessed I have been.
for the lucky ones summer yields bountiful crops – others slowly starve
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Kim asks us to respond, in some way, to the image above, “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, created by Piet Mondrian, displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Haibun: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose followed by a haiku that includes reference to a season.
Day 4 of national poetry month. The prompt from Imaginary Garden with Toads is to write a poem in the style of Gertrude Stein’s TENDER BUTTONS. I’ve chosen to write about jello, attempting to create a metaphor for life while at the same time, writing a factual description of this food. Challenging prompt!
Published in 1914, Stein’s TENDER BUTTONS is divided into three parts: Objects, Food, and Rooms. It avoids any use of gender specific pronouns. It is considered a masterpiece of verbal cubism and a failure at the same time. Here is an example directly from Stein’s text:
Follow a meditative path
out of stress, anxiety, and fear.
Open your heart to blessings,
lean into possibilities.
Serenity is after all, ours to achieve.
It’s National Poetry Month and across the globe, people will take up the challenge to write one poem every day in the month of April. NAPOWRIMO challenges us to write a self portrait about an action that is a part of who we are. Imaginary Garden with Real Toads gives us the word “fool” as a prompt, since it is April 1.
Thus I’ve written an acrostic poem (first letter of each line spells FOOL) about meditation, which I find particularly helpful in these challenging times. Every morning I am on the yoga mat: meditation, stretches – all to wonderful calming Zen-like music. It is a quieting space I deliberately enter into and treasure. It centers me for the day.
Photo taken last summer in Provincetown, Cape Cod.
Embrace the darkness, my dear,
keep hold my hand.
Listen to the quiet.
Many have come before you,
many shall follow.
Breathe slowly, slower still,
until your body dissipates.
Darkness will become light
as we soar into the cosmos
feeling peace among the stars.
Written for dVerse, for both Monday’s quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, sans title) which required the word “keep” and today’s Poetics which asks us to write in someway about black/darkness. Photo from pixabay.com