Floating on a massive cruise ship, some days with ocean on every side as far as the eye can see, I am reminded that about seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. The ocean makes up about ninety-six percent of that. I am one person among two-thousand-plus, traversing just a portion of these waters on this day, in this place.
Docked in Geiranger, Norway, the fjord rises up around us. We rest at the feet of Mother Earth. Her shawl of earthen tones and greenery spills out from the sea. Her pearlescent snow capped peaks rise far into the sky. Off ship, we feel very very small. A motor coach takes us up a winding road; so steep the bus seems angled in a partial recline position. We stop where snow makes further progress impossible. Spring melt has just begun. Stepping out into fresh, clear, crisp air, we look out and down. Our ship is dwarfed by the mountains. While the ocean occupies more surface space, landmass leads in terms of relief, colors, and grandeur. I stand, a speck amongst generations who have lived before me and those who will live after me, absolutely mesmerized.
winter’s snow-capped peaks
deter footsteps upon the pristine
Seven Sisters wait patiently
Bjorn hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse today, asking us to write about water. In homage to Bjorn’s Scandinavian roots, I’m writing about our cruise through the Norwegian fjords. The Seven Sisters are magnificent famous falls in the UNESCO-protected Geiranger fjord. Alas, since the spring melt was just beginning when we were there, five were dry and two were quite small in output. They need the full spring melt to achieve their grandeur. Photos taken in this magnificent place. The sun was shifting as we were there. Just a gorgeous day!
even in the serenity of Cape Cod’s seashore
there are reminders of life’s turmoil.
Sea grass, once vibrant green
turned darkly dank
littering the shore,
forced asunder by ocean waves.
Three molted hermit crabs
espied at low tide,
battling over prized shell
future home for only one.
Salt water and mold
slowly rotting undersides
of aging, once sleek sloops.
In one’s calm,
one must not forget
those living through the storm.
Posted on my blog on 9/13 —- but seems it fits beautifully for Bjorn’s 9/14 prompt at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. If you already read this yesterday, apologies. But I did want to repost for dVerse. Bjorn remins us that life has meaning metaphorically speaking. A metaphor is a comparison, without using the words “like” or “as.” As I relax at the beautiful Cape Cod seashore, I am reminded by bits and pieces of nature, that others are struggling to recover from recent hurricanes and monsoons — struggling to regain a sense of calm and balance in their lives. For them, the storm, even when the rains and winds have ceased, continues.
Our long planned summer holiday became a retreat from the turmoil of hatred and anger flooding the news. In five days we traveled to six art galleries in Western Massachusetts. We deliberately drove the back roads, immersing ourselves in rolling hills, farmsteads, streams and wildflowers. We noted “Thickly Populated” signs announcing upcoming small towns.
Our first stop was the Mass MOCA located in rehabbed 19th century factory buildings. Football field-sized Building 5 houses Nick Cave’s Until installation. 16,000 spinners hang from ceiling to floor. Walking through them was magical. Sol Lewitt’s colorful graphic walls made us smile. Most fun, was the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art. Squealing children were right at home in this cheerful place. We laughed in delight to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar original art work. We walked in quiet contemplation through the Museum of Russian Icons. Beautiful paintings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. In hushed amazement we realized, none of this exquisite art is signed – the anonymity of artists intent on reverence rather than aggrandizement of self. Our last day, we wandered the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, enjoying the juxtaposition of natural beauty and the possibilities of humankind’s creative genius.
waters glisten, shine
fish flicker at the surface
nature’s palette divine
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni asks us to write about a summer vacation, either recent or past. Haibun: 2 or 3 tight paragraphs that cannot be fiction, followed by a haiku that must have a nature theme. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.
We visited Western Mass. last week. Origins of the artwork pictured above are all mentioned in the haibun except for the last photo which is the sculpture Humming by Jaume Plensa. Locations: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is in North Adams; Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is in Amherst; Museum of Russian Icons is in Clinton; deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park is in Lincoln. We also visited the Clark Art Institute and Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown — both were exceptional as well.
We drove for miles ‘cross lush countryside, the majestic Kaimai Range in the background. Rolling hills in myriad shades of green were everywhere, always dotted in white. There are more sheep in New Zealand than people.
We finally reached the sprawling Alexander family farm, centerpiece of J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle Earth. Setting out on foot to stroll the Shire, we were enthralled by the massive pine known as the Party Tree, the scene for Bilbo’s eleventy-oneth birthday. We walked along paths that led to vegetable, herb, and flower gardens – each different in shape, texture and color – next to thirty-seven colorful Hobbit Holes. Delightful miniature sheltered smials. Underground homes built into the hills, with roofs covered in grass and clover, and windows so low we had to crouch as if to take a peek. A clothesline was strung with miniature work shirts. A small wheelbarrow leaned up against a tree stub. We were giants walking through a magical world.
lily of the valley
miniature belled flower tops
tabby cat traipsing through
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse where Toni is hosting today, giving us free rein in terms of a topic. Haibun: prose (not fiction) followed by a haiku (must have a nature theme). Photos from our wonderful trip to New Zealand. We visited the 1,250 acre Alexander family sheep farm outside Auckland, NZ, home of the mythical Hobbiton. The rolling topography, huge trees and lakes were deemed the perfect spot for 17th century Middle Earth immortalized in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
Head cleared of cotton candy
and spider webs,
she begins to write
backwards and up-to-down.
beginning at happily ever after,
from future generations.
Temporary lodger on Rainbow Lane,
Fuscia and chartreuse stripes
appear on sidewalks and gutter spouts.
Her wings, still nubs,
keep her anchored to earth,
for thirty-three o’clock.
Then, and only then,
will she dust herself in stars
summon her steadfast unicorn
and ride to the century’s morrow.
Descending into Earth’s belly
we clamber over solidified lava,
misshapen slabs, coarse and sharp.
Crouch. Walk. Crawl in darkness.
Her innards surround us.
Two thousand years have passed
since she belched fire
spewed molten fury
encased this land.
Liquid anger flowed and ebbed
cracked in cooling drafts
left behind tunnel pathways,
cold witness to those fury days.
My mouth agape,
body chilled to the bone,
we move through this, her confession,
the scars of a temper once unleashed.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Paul asks us to write a poem from our underground travels. Paul opens Tuesday Poetics at 3 PM Boston time. Photos: from our recent excursion into the lava fields and extinct volcanoes outside Reykjavik, Iceland. We actually went underground and explored a 2,000 + year old lava tube. That’s me in the purple. Last photo is what the land above the tube looks like — that’s lichen growing on ancient lava fields. Very barren and harsh. Iceland is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries. It has extensive volcanic and geothermal activity (see photos with my one sentence poem entitled Geyser. About 50% of Iceland is mountainous lava desert. Only 1% of their land is cultivated.
…thy voice speaks to me.
Rolling hills of green
ancient Celtic cross
sixth century monastic ruins.
Paths echo medieval prayer
parlay murmurs of buried souls
stones tipped and etched by time.
I tread lightly through hallowed ground
savor the quiet of this place.
Glendalough, thou art a soothing song.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Mish prompts us to write of an abstract thing (I chose serenity) using sensory description. Photos: Glendalough, Ireland, the valley of the two lakes renowned for its Early Medieval monastic settlement founded by St Kevin in the 6th century. We opted for an excursion that took us into the countryside, outside of Dublin, rather than a city or pub tour. This is a truly beautiful and mystical place.
earth spews steam
in unseemly belch.
Photos from outside Reykjavik, Iceland. There are 300 volcanoes in Iceland. 50% of Iceland’s landmass is mountainous lava desert. The famous Blue Lagoon is in the midst of lava fields with waters heated by the natural geothermal heat “beneath the earth.” These photos show the steam belching from the earth. In some places, large geysers shoot up. Iceland collects this geothermal energy and uses a system of pipes below streets in Reykjavik to keep streets from icing over and they also provide heat and electricity to homes in Iceland. Absolutely amazing to see.
Sow seeds of beauty as you travel earth.
Mirror the sun.
Shine kindness upon frozen souls,
splash colors brightly.
Climb as the ivy does,
each dawn higher,
each morn basking in hope.
Written for dVerse where Björn hosts, asking us to write about soil/earth. Photos: Norwegian fjords; gardens in Blarney Village (Ireland); house in Kinsale, Ireland; dawn from the deck of our cruise ship on our way to Dublin. Final photo taken in midst of Norwegian fjords fascinates me — note the shadow of mountains on the mountain — looks like a face!
Echos of light reflect rugged beauty.
Silent walls of rock carved by glaciers,
mirror themselves in ancient seas.
We sail, necks craned,
staring, gaping in awe.
in setting sun.
We are but specks
on the scales of time.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where Monday’s quadrille (4o word poem, no more no less) prompt is to include the word echo within our poem. Photos from recent Norwegian Fjords cruise.