Provincetown Farewell

Day dallies before night,
languorous not angry.
No streaks of orange-red.
No temper tantrum flares.
No sinking glaring half-orb
stamping her rays.

This evening she dabbles,
pastel palette en plein aire.

Blushing, she rouges blue sky.
Sun butter yellows upon her brush,
delicately blend into rosey hues.
Bending closer, stroking more,
soft kisses touch ocean calm
till violet hues meld into scene.

She pauses quietly in her beauty,
then softly fades farewell.

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Originally published a number of years ago. Publishing again today as we return to Boston. Instead of our usual two weeks, with walks into town to meander galleries, shops and eat at restaurants, in this age of Covid, we spent just 8 days in hibernation at our rental by the ocean. But, Provincetown, even without all the hoopla and town attractions, never disappoints.

Sunset photos taken in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod. No photoshopping; no edits. Just pointed my phone and clicked. Breathtaking evening as you can see. Easy to understand why artists and poets (including Mary Oliver) flock to Provincetown.

Provincetown Good Night

Early fall breeze wisps over me
touches my brow, my nose,
swirls ’round the room.
Plastic window blinds plink a tune.

Lying, just barely awake,
my hand touches yours.
Fifty years together,
twenty years enjoying this place.

Provincetown’s oceanic lullabies,
gull squalls and answering calls,
raucous Commercial street walks,
and paint-brushed skies to end the days.

Lying next to me, this year’s fourth night,
your fingers curve round mine.
Your lips puff out some snoozing air
and I smile.

Eye lids heavy,
I imagine us young again.
Dancing in the stars
riding on moonbeam tails,
and I grin myself to sleep.

Photo taken in Provincetown from our deck, BC (before Covid) in 2019. This year we are hunkered down, still enjoying the ocean and beautiful scenes similar to this, but maintaining our Covid-bubble. We are not walking in to town to galleries, restaurants, and shops. Here’s hoping next year will find us on raucous Commercial street again!

An Iowa Story

She returned
to eavesdrop on her history.
Imagine Grandpa’s weathered face,
rusted tractor rumbling through fields.
Picture Grandma young and spry,
aproned in her summer kitchen.
Failing roofs,
weathered homestead,
long empty.
But as she left, it whispered,
You are our dreams come true.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Kim asks us to write a Quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, sans title) using the word “eavesdropper” or a form of the word.

PHOTOS provided by Andrea Gunderson Frederickson. She was a high school student of mine many many years ago when I taught at Iowa Valley High School in Marengo, Iowa. This is her grandparents’ homestead, just outside of Marengo. Summer kitchens were used to avoid heating up the entire house during the hot and humid summer months.

Iceland

We’ve seen firsthand the many faces of Iceland. We’ve soaked in the Blue Lagoon and walked beside hot bubbling fumaroles in the Krysuvik geothermal field. We’ve hiked in her desolate volcanic terrain.

Wearing sturdy hiking boots, using walking sticks for leverage, we climbed to the top of Stora Eldborg, an extinct volcanic crater. At its peak, buffeted by winds, our travel van below was a mere dot. Craters in the distance looked like small molehills. On the descent, our sticks helped take the pressure off our knees.

An hour later, we donned hardhats with headlights; no sticks allowed. Our guide took us to explore a 2,000 year old lava tube. Once a conduit for flowing molten rock, the channel crusted over forming a tunnel which we gingerly entered. We inched over boulders, slid down slabs, and crawled our way through parts of this damp, dark hollowed out place. Our headlights revealed pockmarked, cracked, uneven walls and lavacicles that hung from the ceiling. We came upon misshapen lava pillars impeding forward progress, thus marking our turn-back point. By the time we clambered out of the tube, my body was chilled to the bone and I was exuberant to feel the sun.

earth weathers through all
summer’s torrid heat burns land
below ground, cold springs

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Frank is our host and asks us to write about a hike, or somehow use the word hike in our post. Photos are from our 2017 visit to Iceland.
HAIBUN: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose, must be true; followed by a haiku.

Arachnophobic . . .

I should have known.
She silked the room,
entered with swishing skirts.
Eye-lashed me
in that coquettish way.
Wove words into delights.
Spinning wheeled me,
unlike any woman I’d ever known.
I could not escape her wiles.
I skeined under her spell.
First hands, then arms,
then eyes, then heart.
My senses spooled as one,
tautly captured in her clutches.
She left me,
forever specimened.
Pushpinned my veins
until I was but a dried shell.
Once a vibrant man,
now locked in despair.
I shall never love again.

Written for Meet the Bar at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets from around the globe. Today, Bjorn asks us to “verbify” in our poem. That is, to use a noun, or several, as verbs in our poem. Photo taken a number of years ago at Ricoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

Early Morning Cape Cod View

Lone gull at dawn
sits calmly in repose.
Papaya stained sky,
mirrored hue on ocean tide.

Lone gull at dawn
anticipates promise of new day.
Spreads wings to full span,
ready for flight.

Pauses only moments
in rippled sand by lapping waves.
I breathe in the silence,
a beautiful hushed scene.

Lone gull runs gracefully
barely touching span of sea
then lifts, gloriously,
soars toward the unknown.

Poem written in response to Laura Bloomsbury’s prompt, Flights of Fancy, which appeared on July 28 at dVerse.  Posting it today as I host dVerse’s Open Link Night. We are a virtual pub where writers from around the world share their poetry.  Come join us!
Photo taken September 2019 at Provincetown, Cape Cod.

Wish Upon a Mermaid

Merm me –
shiny gleaming teal and aqua blue
magically beautiful and intelligent,
free to explore and dare.

Merm me –
flow, glide, glissade
braided seaweed round my wrists
necklaced in seashells and coral bright.

Would that I could . . .
dive deeply
escape earth’s rancor
and rollick in rolling waves.

Of what good are legs
and human lungs
when hell
is inhumanity on earth?

What if only life within the sea
in and of the sea,
can live and love
within the lunar tides?

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Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today De asks us to write a poem that is somehow related to mermaids. Image from pixabay.com  I must admit, I have always been smitten with the idea of mermaids!

The Norwegian Fjiords

Sit with me, bundled up, in cold crisp air.
This aft cabin deck, sailing through fjiords,
the widest aperture to wonder we will see.

The long gaze observes staggering beauty.
Craning to look up provides a granular view,
landscape etched and carved by glaciers.

Snow capped mountains glisten before us,
pearlescent as sunlight touches peaks
grey and darker grey where shadows impede.

Below wintry remnants yet to melt
earthen tones dotted by green patches
compliment the scene.

Not content with singular grandeur,
mirrored reflections ripple,
swaying colors float on ocean’s blue.

Off ship, we explore Geiranger.
Van slowly chugs up hairpin turns
until road stops where winter has not.

Our ship sits far far below us
like a monopoly or lego piece
set in a mural of wondrous beauty.

We simply stare in awe
in profound silence,
and we understand.

We are but a few breaths
in the life of this earth.
She is the grandeur eternal.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. I’m host for today’s Tuesday Poetics.

I have a second poem written today for Toads, with a wonderful video from our walk to day. You may want to check it out as well!

Given that so many people are sheltering at home during these challenging days, and almost everyone has cancelled recent travel plans, I thought it might be fun for dVerse folks to offer a travelogue of sorts….take you places while you’re sitting at home.

So the prompt is this: the title of the poem must be like a pin in a map: that is a place. The body of the poem must take us there with its words and imagery. I’ve also asked folks to post photos of the place, if that’s possible. Given that dVerse poets are from across the globe, literally, I think you’ll have a grand time reading our poetics today. Pub opens at 3 pm Boston time.

Photos from our 2017 trip to the Norwegian Fjiords. 

In Celebration of Matsuo Basho

When we travel, we most especially enjoy immersing ourselves in new cultures. Last April we toured the Asakusa area of Tokyo. Many people strolled these special grounds, photographing the iconic 5-tiered pagoda and praying before the Shinto and Buddhist shrines. We saw a good number of people in formal kimonos, rented from nearby shops to mark a celebratory visit, perhaps a birthday, engagement or anniversary. We stood quietly in front of a temple, in awe of its gold and rich reds. Walking a bit away from the crowds, we discovered a memorial to the poet Matsuo Basho. He lived from 1644 to 1694, during Japan’s Edo period. His haiku are considered the ultimate example of this poetic form. I touched his memorial stone in awe and appreciation.

As we ended our time at Asakusa, I talked with Kaz, our guide. I learned his mother wrote and published poetry in her youth and he told me more about the continued honor that Basho is paid in his country. He gifted me with the special pen he’d been using to jot down notes, in Japanese characters. He also gave me a beautiful writing pad with cherry blossoms etched on it. I was so very touched.

Later, back at our hotel, I did a bit of research and discovered Basho’s haiku about this place:

A cloud of cherry blossoms
the chime of a temple bell
is it Asakusa, is it Ueno?

花の雲    鐘は上野か   浅草か

see with your eyes wide ~
bees visit many gardens
all have sweet nectar

Day 27 of National Poetry Writing Month. Today’s post is written for both Toads and dVerse’sHaibun Monday. ¯¯

Toads asks us to consider the ancient tea ceremony and The Way of Tea which includes a good number of suggestions on how to share tea meaningfully. One, that I used to motivate this prompt is: “See with your eyes! Listen with your ears! And if you wish to smell the fragrance, press for an explanation of every unresolved matter until your understanding is complete.”
My haiku at the end moves beyond humans appreciating other cultures and explains that even the bee appreciates nectar from many gardens. 

Frank hosts dVerse and asks us to consider how similar Basho and Shakespeare were to their cultures, in their own time and for many generations to come. He asks us to write a haibun related to one of these famous literary geniuses.