Lives in the Balance

We’d been aboard the cruise ship for fifteen days. This, the sixteenth, our last day prior to disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Relaxation our goal, we never got off the ship. We simply explored this glorious vessel. Marveled at her sculptures, paintings, photographic art; and her six fine dining rooms, each different in décor. We enjoyed delicious entrées and delectable desserts. Our stateroom had a king-size bed and large bathroom with rain shower and soaking tub.

And then, on this sixteenth day, the Captain’s announcement: There is a raft on our starboard side with sixteen refugees. We will remain near them for approximately three hours until the U.S. Coastguard comes to their aid. We are committed to the safety of everyone at sea. Through binoculars I watched a green rubber raft bobbing in white capped waves. Four oars floundered, trying to propel and steer the raft. Desperate people struggled to survive against the elements.

I’ve read articles, seen news clips, about refugees plodding across and through unforgiving terrain. But nothing compared to seeing this from my cruise ship balcony. The juxta-positioning of my life at that moment, the privileged lives of everyone on the cruise ship, to what was happening before my eyes. Heart-wrenching. It started to drizzle and a rainbow appeared, arcing over the raft. I immediately thought of it as a metaphor for hope. These people, hunched against the wind, shoving four wooden paddles through the teeming ocean, desperate to overcome the insurmountable, seeking a better life, with God knows what going through their minds. And me standing there, so privileged, that I could formulate poetic thoughts and think metaphorically.

fire hydrants gush
kids splash, jump in ghetto streets –
country club pool soothes

Written for dVerse Haibun Monday. Frank asks us to write something in relation to Thanksgiving or being thankful. We just returned from a Caribbean cruise on Celebrity’s newest ship, the Apex. The ship is stunningly beautiful. On the last day at sea, what I’ve written about in this haibun happened. Watching the refugees, I suddenly understood how privileged I am. I prayed for these poor souls, hoping they survive their treacherous journey. We could only surmise they left Cuba to get to Florida’s shores. Watching them, from a cruise ship balcony, I realized how fortunate and how blessed I am. Thankful for every day. Thankful for freedom. Thankful for a warm bed and food. Privileged to afford a cruise. Humbled to watch this scene unfold.
Photos all taken on our cruise.

A Bushy Tale

Oh dear sweet child
and parents too,
listen to what I say
and do as squirrels do.

Spring time they play,
summers they work.
Winter time’s rest
is always the best
because gathered nuts
gifted by trees,
are stored for later
so they won’t freeze.

The lesson to this bushy tale,
my sweet and darling little dear,
is live like the squirrel
and there’s nothing to fear.
Enjoy all the good times
but work hard too.
Talents used wisely
make blessings accrue.

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Amaya is hosting Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. We are to create a child’s nursery rhyme motivated by one of several Franz Kafka (modernist German writer) quotations provided in the challenge, remembering that children like rhythm and rhyme. 

The Kafka quotation that motivates this Bushy Tale is “God gives the nuts, but he does not crack them.”       Photo at Pixabay.com

In the midst . . .

of headline news
frenetic must-dos, should-dos,
buy-this-sales and shopping bustle.
Before the dawn of daily busyness,
Christmas shimmers and gleams.

Candles glimmer,
tiny white lights shine.
Treasured ornaments hold memories –
children grown, loved ones passed,
moments shared.

There is a serenity to the season,
if only we pause to savor.

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A blessed Christmas season to all.  The pink reindeer ornament is actually one of the pieces that hung on my children’s mobile, over their crib when they were infants. They are now in their 40s and both have a wooden animal from the mobile on their own Christmas tree. The pink bell, just barely showing at the top of the final photo, was on my mother’s girlhood tree.