A Tall Tale with Sandgrains of Truth

Beatrice caterpillared her way through life,
cocooned away in a dune shack
on Provincetown’s National Sea Shore.
Aware of her eccentricities,
town criers and town folk alike
let her live her reclusive life.

In the summer of nineteen seventy-nine
crowds gathered outside the Lobster Pot,
salivating at the new restaurant in town.
Suddenly, mouths agape,
they gawked at the brightly clad gal
who fluttered out its door.

Dressed in beaded striped chemise
gauzy wings mysteriously attached,
she looked vaguely familiar.
She smiled tossing menus to the crowd,
sand clinging to ginger ringlets,
long eyelashes and sunburned knees.

Beatrice had left the beach
and butterflied her way into town.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to write a poem in which we verbify an animal or two. Among the examples she gives are dogging someone’s footsteps and badgering someone. She provides us with a list of animals to verbify, or we may choose our own. I chose the caterpillar and butterfly.

Photo is from one of our many annual two-week stays in Provincetown, on the very tip of Cape Cod. The “sandgrains of truth” in this tall tale of a poem are 1) the Lobster Pot first opened in Provincetown in 1979; and 2) there are indeed dune shacks on the National Seashore in Provincetown. People still use them today and they are considered by many as historical treasures. At different times, Jackson Pollock, E.E.Cummings, Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac and Tennessee Williams lived in them.

Imagine with John

Image blurs reality.
One long gone, etched in charcoal,
hangs on wall.
Me frozen, living within his frame.
Trick of lighting,
reflection merges life and death.
Imagine all the people
livin’ life in peace.

I meander through gardens,
gardens he skipped through as a child.
Strawberry fields forever.
My words, set to this page,
meaningful to me.
His words, set to music,
reverberate round the world.

Imagine what words died within him,
unborn, silenced by those bullets.
Creativity treasured by so many,
silenced by that gun.
Children. Adults. Their voices
treasured by friends, family,
silenced too. By guns. Those bullets.
Their velocity rips through humanity.
Bullets sprayed in schools, grocery stores,
churches, movie theaters,
at concerts and in prayer,
on streets, on porches, in homes.

Image blurs reality.
The living stand with dead loved ones.
Framed in happiness on a shelf,
a dresser, hanging on a wall.
Reflection merges life with death
as we think, sing within our heads.
Imagine all the people
livin’ life in peace.
Oh dear God, please let it be.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Will share and read aloud at OLN LIVE on Saturday, May 20th, from 10 to 11 AM EST. Come join us to hear and see poets from around the globe. Click here, and then on the link for Saturday’s session with audio and video connection.

We did a Beatles themed excursion on a recent British Isles cruise. It included a visit to Liverpool and the actual Strawberry Fields that John Lennon wrote about. Strawberry Fields was and is the name of a facility run by the Salvation Army for children. It’s surrounded by gardens. When Lennon was a small boy, estranged from his mother, he lived with his aunt within walking distance of Strawberry Fields. He often went through the red gates to play with children in these gardens. While visiting the gardens and a building that includes information about John Lennon’s relationship with the facility, and the actual piano he composed Imagine on, we viewed an artist’s exhibit of charcoal paintings including the first image at the top of the page. This image was the motivation for my poem today. John Lennon was assasinated; shot 5 times outside the gates to his New York City apartment. My poem refers to his assasination, as well as the Beatles song, Strawberry Fields Forever; and Lennon’s song, Imagine, written and recorded after the Beatles broke up.

Privileged to Cruise

World slips away, hands-free sailing the seas.
Unbroken expanse lulls calm into being.
Softly undulating waves
stretch from ship’s edge to straight line –
where pastel blue sky caps azure blue waters.
Sparse, feather-edged clouds gently smudge the scene.
My mind, my body, sigh in unison.
I wish this peace for everyone.

Up earlier than most, I so enjoy sitting in a quiet space with a cup of coffee, contemplating the vast calm ocean before me. It is my muse this morning. By the time I took this photo, the scene had shifted a bit – but still it’s a quiet calming for me.

Lady of the Dunes

She lives her life as a barnacle would,
clinging tenaciously to existence.
A recluse without the vanities
and banalities of everyday life.
She escapes it all, lives in the far reaches
of Cape Cod’s shifting dunes.

It is said she journals each day.
Pecks words into being on an old Smith Corona,
sounding every bit like gulls pecking again
and again at stubborn crustacean shells.
She imagines a kind of Victorian love,
creating a lover of her design.

Humpback whales serenade her
from the depths of Stellwagen Banks.
Red fox slink past her,
pay their respects with nary a sound.
All maintain her privacy,
be she substance of spirit or legend of yore.

Should you walk the beaches,
search the National Seashore’s length
in sunlight or by the path of a glistening moon,
you shall never find her.
She is known as the Lady of the Dunes
to all who live on this spit of land.

She floats amidst the salted winds
companion to the ocean’s ebb and flow.
She is the past, the present and the future.
She is the one who comforts Portuguese fishermen.
Those brave men who disappeared many years ago
as ships went down and women wailed.

She is the forever inhabitant
of this land called Cape Cod.

Image from Pixabay.com I must admit poetic license here – the Lady of the Dunes legend is my creation

Written to share at OLN LIVE which will meet Saturday morning, April 22nd, from 10 to 11 AM EST.
Come to https://dversepoets.com to find the link which will take you to a live session of poets from around the globe as they share a poem of their choice. Come to read a poem of your own, or just to listen. We’re a friendly bunch!

First Haibun of 2023

January takes us to San Diego, California for two months. We trade in Boston’s winter for sunshine, temperatures in the sixties and seventies, and enjoy living in a small apartment rental. It will be our fourth year so we no longer feel like tourists. With our Senior pass in hand, we ride the buses and take commuter trains and trolleys around the city like seasoned San Diegans. Shopping at the local farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh fish is a favorite Sunday pastime. And of course, that turns into delicious dinners in our home-away-from-home. We especially enjoy strolling the coastline, weekly visits to the world renowned San Diego Zoo, and listening to live outside concerts at Balboa Park.

So here’s to leaving our down jackets, wool hats and mittens behind and boarding the plane on January fifth. California, here we come!

snoozing burly bear
wakes up energized by sun
lumbers out to play

Kim welcomes us back to dVerse and asks us to write about what January means to us, in this first haibun of 2023. Photo is from the San Diego Zoo last year.

If One Could But Change History . . .

What a sham! Poo on you!
You shall not still my tongue,
nor shall you have me.
Cash? Mere bribery.
You’ve noticed but my shapely form
and never asked my name.
My name is Ava. Tar it not.
You shall not name me a witch, sir.
I am a woman of substance.

And you sir, are but a juggernaut,
steamrolling your way
into petticoats of young girls.
Threatening them like Tituba,
dare they not succomb.
Poor Tituba, incarcerated,
questioned these many days.
I have talked with them all, sir.
No longer will they remain silent.

No longer are they your mollified band.
Ana and Sarah, Elizabeth,
Susannah, and Rebecca as well.
In church on the morrow, sir
they will bare their legs, thigh high.
Exhibit their bruises and mottled skin,
then point their fingers at you.
You are the witch sir.
May you burn in hell.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Today, Punam is hosting from India, where she’s been celebrating Diwali. She introduces us to a number of words from Indian languages that have become a part of the English language. For example, bandana comes from ‘bandhana’ which means to tie as well as ‘bandhej’ which is the art of tie-dye technique used on fabrics in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Punam provides us with 15 such words and asks us to include 4 in our poem. I’ve used 5: shampoo, cashmere, avatar, juggernaut, and bandana. See if you can find them all!

The poem obviously refers to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. Sarah Good, Elizabeth Howe, Susannah Martin, and Rebecca Nurse were all convicted and hung.

You’ll find the photo here in an article written about Salem’s history. It’s the home of Judge Jonathan Corwin (1640 – 1718) and is the only structure you can visit in Salem today with direct ties to the Witch Trials. By the way, Salem is literally overrun with tourists this time of year! Living in Boston, we are but a 30 minute commuter rail trip away. We visit Salem in the summer for fun….don’t go near it in October!

Autumn in Vermont

October’s full moon
shines kindly in darkest skies,
unobliterated by city’s glare.
Gleams its bright spotlight
upon Vermont mountains,
hills and forest trails.
Trees stand tall in fall crisp air,
raucous cacophony of colors
punctuate serene picturesque scenes.
Leaves’ iridescent glorious hues,
crimsons, burnt orange
golden yellows, wine-reds too.
They flaunt their beauty
beneath your steady gaze,
defying winter’s wish
to cause their demise.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to consider various names for an October full moon that she provides in a list. She explains that different areas of the US and indeed, different cultures, have different names for the full moon. I’ve chosen the name, Kindly Moon from the list.

Image of Vermont fall from Pixabay.com Apologies: could not find photo of a full moon shining on a glorious fall Vermont scene. But you can definitely get the idea from this photo.

An Aphoristic Thanks to Bjorn!

I’ve know Bjorn on dVerse for six+ years and finally got to meet him in Stockholm last week during our Best of Scandinavia cruise. He and Lotta were indeed the best of Scandinavia! They showed us the city from an insider’s perspective. We especially enjoyed walking through quiet streets and neighborhoods and going to a small restaurant filled with locals, for a truly Swedish lunch!

My husband’s grandfather immigrated from Sweden so Swedish traditions literally run through his veins. I’ve embraced many of those traditions, especially those related to Christmas. I’ve also eaten many a Swedish meatball. One tradition I have not taken to? Herring! George and our children always ate soft boiled eggs and pickled herring on Christmas morning while I stayed in bed. When they finished eating, they woke me up by breathing heavily in my face. Yech! So you can imagine George’s great delight to see an appetizer with three kinds of herring, Vasterbotten cheese, sour cream, red onion, and dill potatoes on the menu! He also had Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) for an entrée with potato puree, cream sauce, lingonberries and pickled cucumber. I had Souvas (smoked reindeer) as an appetizer with kohlrabi in horseradish crème, lingonberries and hazelnuts; and Kröppkakor (Swedish potato dumplings filled with pork) for my entrée. Everything was delicious! But even better, was the time to sit and relax and just get to know Bjorn and Lotta. They took us on a commuter ferry back to our ship which meant more time to talk and seeing more of the real Sweden. The last photo is Bjorn and Lotta waving goodbye from the ferry. What an amazing day! THANK YOU BJORN and LOTTA!

And an aphorism for the prompt?
One man’s herring may be reason enough for a woman to refuse his kiss!

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Bjorn is hosting Thursday’s Meet the Bar and asks us to create an aphorism, and if we’d like, add some prose of explanation.

All photos are from our visit with Bjorn and Lotta last week in Stockholm! If you click on each photo, you can see them a bit larger.

Aphorism: a statement that presents a moral or philosophical idea and many times does so with a pithy statement. For example: “the grass is always greener on the other side”and “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

I do admit, I’ve taken a bit of liberty with my aphorism….but I really wanted to share these photos with all of you dVersers! And…..after all…..everyone should know when to use breath mints!

Zaanse Schans

Step back in time with me,
into 17th century Holland.
Into rural fields of working windmills.
One man pulls ropes taunt,
sets sails to catch wind and spin.
Inside wooden cogs and wheels whirl,
grind stone to fine ochre powder.
Village survives by ingenuity.

Quadrille written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe where today, Lisa asks us to use the word “work” or a form of the word in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title.

Images and videos from four days ago when we visited the village of Zaanse Schans, which is about a twenty-five minute drive from Amsterdam. During the 17th century there were more than 600 windmills in this area. Today there are 8. They were used to grind spices, produce paint, saw wood, and make oil, among other things. The one we climbed around in is used to grind rock into ochre powder.

A man must climb up onto the roof and adjust the angle of the sails to catch the wind. The turning sails power the inner workings, cogs, wheels etc (top video) which work to make the grinding wheels turn on the ground level (2nd video). We climbed up a steep wooden ladder to see the machinations and walked around downstairs to watch the huge grinding wheels.

The Ride

How many times around
life’s stationary wheel?
Eight times ten,
nine times ten?
Apex reached at twenty-five or fifty?
Maybe thirty and three-quarters?
Down cycle begins later, much later,
or maybe it did? Back then.
There should be a view from the top,
everything spread out in miniature
but recognizable.
Broken fulcrum invevitable,
timed entrance tickets do end.
Others clamor to get on, their turn.
What’s that saying?
We’re just along for the ride.

Photo taken in Warnemunde, Germany two days ago.