Walk with me . . .

Warning: Pack lightly when traveling abroad. Leave ethnocentrism at home.
Cultural biased cataracts blur the view of many.

Come walk with me in Busan,
savoring South Korea’s largest fish market.

My eyes espy wriggling, clinging, squid and octopi.
Cartiliaginous skates with long dead eyes,
phallic shaped Gaebuls beside sea worms,
long slithering swarm-swimming eels.

I jerk back reflexively
as red knobby sea pineapple
squeezed slightly by seller,
shoots its swallowed water at me.

So many live fish, tank after tank,
humongous to small.
Dried. Pickled.
Crustaceons. Amphibians too.

Offered sannakji to eat,
small “baby” octopus barely chopped,
some not.
Dipped in sesame oil,  swallowed like that.

I would feel them
squirm down my throat.

I remind myself silently –
Things are not better. Things are not worse.
They’re just different.

Then politely I simply say,
no thank you
and smile . . .
and stroll away.

Sarah hosts Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She tells us about her love for visiting markets – especially when on holiday. It’s something we always do when visiting another country…..visit markets and grocery stores. It’s always so very interesting to experience culinary culture. And yes, Sarah wants us to go to market today!

Photos from our April trip where we did indeed visit the amazing fish market in Bousan. Over 500 booths — so many kinds of sea creatures!!!

Haibun for Hiroshima

There is an expectant rise to the emotions – to visit Hiroshima where terror blazed. Hear survivors’ words, see artifacts, and one-thousand colorful paper cranes made by many hoping for world peace.

from devastation
hope bursts forth in blossomed trees
cranes lift wings to soar

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Merril hosts Quadrille Monday and asks us to use the word “rise” in a 44 word poem. It can be any form, hence a 44-word haibun today.
Photos from our recent sobering visit to Hiroshima. The Atomic Bomb Dome miraculously still stands…especially considering it was so very near the hypocenter of the bomb. A three-year old boy was riding his trike at the time of the explosion…his family buried him in their backyard with the trike….and then years later, exhumed his body to place it in the family plot and donate the trike to the Peace Museum.The sculpture is the top of the Children’s Peace Memorial, dedicated to all children killed and hurt in the blast. In particular, dedicated to Sadako Sasaki who was 2 at the time of the explosion and seemingly escaped unharmed. At 9 she developed leukemia and died 8 months later. As she was in hospital, she folded (origami) one-thousand paper cranes…the crane is believed to bring health and longevity. When the memorial was dedicated many people from around the world sent chains of 1000 paper cranes. President Obama is the only US President to visit Hiroshima. He made 4 paper cranes…2 are here in the Peace Museum, the other 2 in Nagasaki. I am so privileged to have visited this place. May no one ever experience this devastation again for any reason.

Woods Divine

Woods beckon,
come walk among the pine.
Steps slow, lighten, whisper quiet.

Meandering deep into the balm,
worries lessen, shedding stress
through leaf-canopied sieve

Shoulders relax. Breath softens.
Warm leaf-filtered sun
soothes like salve to wound.

Some call it forest bathing,
immersion in the ever green.
I call it serenity divine.

Photo: 100 years ago this large forest was planted in Tokyo with the idea of simply letting it grow naturally within the city. It was planted with the express purpose of later constructing a shrine within the woods, dedicated to the first emperor who, by action of the then shogun, transferred power from shogun to emperor, thus establishing a new type of government for Japan. It is truly a serene and beautiful place. Although much much newer than any of the other shrine and sacred places we’ve seen, I found this to be the most beautiful setting.

Ode to the Sea

My moon-blown dreams flutter flit.
‘Tis but water-spoken words
afloat in tide-looped waves,
gently wending their way
wave-seeping through my synapses.
Meanderments that mesmerize,
a ringed-sea within my mind.

Eyes sea-scape.
Islands seemingly afloat
shimmer on reflection,
my ‘scape
from dews of storm-clad life.
I seem to levitate
hover somewhere, not here.

No sound but water-softness,
lapping as if heaven-circling.
Eyes stair cross waters,
climb surreal to starry scrim.
Leaning against ship’s rail,
all railings retreat to insignificance.
Serenity lives upon the seas.

For April 16 Poetics….hosted by guest Laura Bloomsbury. Motivated by her prompt and our current journey, cruising through Japan, China and South Korea.

Beijing

II stand
amidst cherry blossoms,
reborn magnolia trees.

I tread
where dynasties ruled,
savored opulence as others served.

I climb
where men toiled, backs bent
bearing heavy stone.

I walk through history
incredulous to see
to understand,

to know.
We are
but a speck in time.

(photo taken April 5, 2019…me with my husband!)

Sundays with Me and Paul . . .

Come walk with me . . .
past busy city intersections
into Little Italy,
past salumeris and bakeries too.

Now look up . . .
at that gleaming white spire
atop the red brick edifice.
Boston’s Old North,
Paul Revere’s church.
National Historical Park Site.
Active Episcopal congregation.

So glad you’re joining us today!
Allow me to seat you inside.
Are you three today?
Yes, amazing to see . . .
all original white box pews.
And where are you from?

How about Pew #25?
Owned in 1759,
by Captain Daniel Malcom,
a Son of Liberty.
Yes, in those days,
wealthy people bought their pews.
And note the plaque inside,
December 29, 1912
Theodore Roosevelt
He did! He sat right there.

Now do look behind you . . .
four wooden angel figures
in the organ loft.
“Gifts” to the church in 1745,
from a privateer –
a legal pirate –
“taken” from a French ship!

And look here . . . .in your bulletin . . .
right after the Offertory.
See the words to the Doxology?
We sing that, and then . . .
what I love best at Old North.
The next words you see there . . .
final verse to My Country Tis of Thee.

Our fathers’ God, to thee,
Author of liberty,
To thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light.
Protect us by they might,
Great God, our King!

The organ booms it out
and everyone sings . . .
oh how we sing!
Chills down your back!

After the service,
listen . . .
oldest bells in North America,
cast in Gloucester, England in 1744,
hung in Boston in 1745,
will be pealing away!

Six bell ringers pull on ropes
in mathematical sequences
from high up in that famous spire . . .
where the lantern was waved
April 18, 1775.
You remember . . .
one if by land, two if by sea” . . .

So there you have it!
Nice to have you join me,
on my almost-every-Sunday walk
to Old North . . .
hallowed ground
hallowed place
in American history.

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It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Sarah is hosting and asks us to take her and our readers on a journey that is very familiar to us. Most Sundays of the year when we are in Boston, we walk to the North End (Little Italy) to Old North (actually Christ Church) and usher for the 11 AM service. Top photo was taken last Christmas; second photo was taken after the Patriots’ Day Service, the one night a year the lantern is carried again to the top of the tower/spire to shine as it did in 1775. Every Sunday, we literally have visitors from across the globe.

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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Sunset photos I took two nights ago 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. Sadly, our annual two weeks here ends on Saturday as we take the ferry back to Boston. Provincetown, you never disappoint!

Mish hosts OLN at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Open Link Night means anyone can share one poem of their choosing.

Cape Cod Early Morn

There is a softness to this early morn.
Waves slowly, rhythmically, lap the shore.
Tide ever-so-surely recedes,
reveals soft ripple lines on moist sand
sans foot prints of any kind.

Sky awakens rimmed with tufts of dawn,
pastel pinks and barely blues.
In the distance, Provincetown sleeps.
Sail barren masts pierce the clouds,
spinal column of the town.

Serene solitude,
self alone in nature’s calm.
I close my eyes in wakefulness.
I listen. I feel . . .
the softness of this early morn.