Cape Cod Haiku Quartet

i.
sunrise red softens
sky stains blur gorgeous pastels
tint sea pearly-pink
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ii.
curmudgeon sea gull
squawking, scolding, guarding catch
flaps wings, screaming MINE

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iii.
battle escalates
stealthy no more, gulls swoop in
jealousy explodes

iv.
garnet red sunset
crimson canopy save gull
streaking across sky

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Photos from the past two weeks in Provincetown….all as seen from the deck of our annual rental. No photo-shopping….these are the real colors as we saw them.
Ptown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, has been a muse for many an artist as well as literary giants including Mary Oliver, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, Eugene O’Neill, and John Dos Passos.

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There is a waiting . . .

. . . that greets each visitor. A grey clapboard shack-of-a-building at the wharf’s edge. Ferries dock nearby. Disgorge day-trippers to this Cape Cod town. Three rusted, but still operational fishing boats, are moored nearby. A far cry from the fleets tethered to a myriad of docks, back in the fishing and whaling heydays here in Provincetown.

Larger-than-life black and white portraits of Portuguese women are affixed to the shack. They Also Faced the Sea is an art installation, a tribute to the patience and suffering of those who waited. They had no way of knowing when their men would return, until the sailing ships reappeared on the horizon. They waited for their husbands, brothers, and sons. Coastal storms battered their simple homes. Kettles filled with hearty stew simmered as families prayed, then ate at roughhewn tables. One empty chair often haunted their meals. Thunder would roll in and they would silently worry. Was he battling this storm? Would the mast hold . . . or would he be swallowed by a churning sea?

Portraits on a wooden edifice. Reminders of those who still wait . . . still pray.

autumn breeze cools shore
gulls wait, savor shift in wind
as clams, crabs, float in

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It’s Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today, Sarah asks us to write about “waiting” — I’ve chosen to do so in a haibun (three succinct paragraphs of prose – cannot be fiction – followed by a traditional haiku).

We are in our last few days of our annual two-week visit to Provincetown. I took this photo on our trip into Provincetown and we’ll see this wonderful art installation again as we leave on the ferry back to Boston on Saturday. This is at MacMillan Pier – photographs by Norma Holt and art installation by Ewa Nogiec. It has watched over the Fisherman’s Wharf portion of the pier for the past 10 years. 

Whether to . . .

Layers of putty grey clouds hover on the horizon. Empty masts jut upward from small boats bobbing in waking waves.

Look right: off in the distance, pale blue sky meets roof tops of white clapboard buildings; the town, a twenty-minute walk away. Look left: eyes squint as water glitter-gleams. The sun appears then disappears, valiantly trying to break through slow moving, darkening clouds. A lone gull perched on jetty’s peak, preens itself then sits, nature so statuesque, as waves slap against stone, lap into shore.

Morning pauses, weather waits . . . deciding on its temperament for the day.

early September ~
dalliance between summer
and crisp autumn days

Posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Frank asks us to write a poem that includes descriptive detail.

My haibun (prose followed by a traditional haiku that includes a seasonal reference) is about what I saw this morning, sitting on the deck of our annual two-week rental in Provincetown. Photos document the view! Provincetown is at the very tip end of Cape Cod. 

Provincetown Serenity

Wooooshhhh . . .
wooooshhhh . . .
waves sweep in,
rhythmic oceanic refrain.
Sun glittered ripple-path
narrow at shore,
widens to horizon by risen sun.
Solitary floating cormorant
stretches sleek neck,
floats . . . then dives under,
resurfaces yards away.
Provincetown serenity
in the nick of time,
news cycle left behind.

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Prompt word for today is “nick”. It must be used within the body of a poem that is exactly 44 words in length, sans title.

Photo from yesterday morning — sitting on the deck enjoying our beloved Provincetown…at the very tip of Cape Cod – just beginning our two week respite here.

Industrialization at a price . . .

On a hot summer day, we ventured back in history, on a day-trip to Lowell, Massachusetts.

A small boat took us through part of the 1796 Pawtucket Transportation Canal, with locks so old, their levers are maneuvered above us by National Park volunteers. Green trees reflect in the water marking a beautiful scene. But we’re told that once these waters were polluted thick with textile dyes as industrial capitalists captured hydro-energy from the Merrimack River falls to turn belts and wheels on thousands of textile machines.

In the Boott Cotton Mill Museum, we stand in a long factory room, filled machines, just as they were in the 1830s. Only three of the hundreds are turned on and the noise is deafening. We drip with sweat and imagine women as young as fifteen, standing in long dresses, no electricity for fans, tied to machines fourteen hours a day, six days a week.

sweltering summer
dogs pant laboriously
tethered to leashes

Frank hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Since today is Labor Day in the U.S., a day to celebrate workers, he asks us to write a haibun (2 or 3 paragraphs of prose — cannot be fiction; followed by a traditional haiku with reference to a season) that is somehow about labor. Canada celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September and more than 80 countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1.

Photos and video from our recent day trip to Lowell, MA. An amazing step back in time. The Mill Girls, as they came to be known, were some of the first individuals to stage a strike against unfair wages and conditions. They were recruited to this factory city from rural farms in the nearby countryside. Companies required them to stay in the company boarding houses, attend church on Sunday, and live by “the bells” which woke them befroe dawn each morning, signalled meal times, and times to report to the floor. When Mill Girls left their jobs, waves of immigrants came to Lowell, working side-by-side with locals. Lowell did not stay with the times, keeping the hydrology-run factories until they all left for other parts of the country and Lowell fell on hard times. Warehouses were vacant and fell to disrepair. Senator Tsongas, from Lowell, together with Congress, established Lowell as a National Park and the city was “reborn” so to speak, rehabbing and restoring itself as a place to preserve history. An amazing place to visit!

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.