Seasonal Synesthesia

Heartfelt music, morning to night
December brings joy, no matter the site.
Children scamper ‘cross fields in the Commons,
screaming and laughing in childhood chase.
Away in a Manger’s sweet refrain
fills my head as I slowly saunter on.
Evergreens tall and warm in the sun
nod in sympathy at neighborly oaks,
their skeletal branches shivering in cold.
Oh Tannenbaum wafts through the wind.

Back now inside, I stare at our tree.
Fragile ornaments peek from the top.
Mother’s pink bell of thinnest glass
father’s airplane, with broken tail,
both from their childhood days.
What were they like, way back then?
I wonder as I wonder on this Silent Night.
This season of softness with candlelight,
flickers that shift both time and space
cause memories to flood through my head.

Mom hanging tinsel, strand by strand
and dad’s ruddy cheeks, smoking his pipe.
December’s calendar squares
orderly, rigidly, sit in their rows.
Not for me. They dance in my head.
Musical numbers turned into songs
turned into people and memorable times.
Cold and blustery weather predicted,
warms my soul with harmonious skies.
Oh Come All Ye Faithful to celebrate His birth.
And yes dear Virginia, oh my yes,
I still do truly believe.

Grace hosts dVerse and asks us to “incorporate music in our poem from the persepctive of a synasthete. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic involuntary experiences of a second one.” For me, the month of December brings Christmas carols to mind almost anywhere I go, which triggers family memories.

The “Yes, Virginia” statement at the end refers to “eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon [who] wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897.” The responding editorial reassured her. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Photo taken yesterday. These are the two ornaments mentioned in the poem. They were on my parents’ childhood trees and are extremely fragile. Each year, I hold my breath when I unwrap them from tissue paper and place them on the tree; and when I carefully take them down, wrap them and store them for another year.

On this day . . .

This early morning, Thanksgiving day
before the dawn is bright,
I contemplate by candlelight
our family so afar.

Quiet am I now, as memories come and go.
Travel to another state, the table set for many.
Generations past. Grandchildren now grown.
Scenes of happiness and laughter, dancing in my head.

Sun now risen, our day to share begins.
Warmly we embrace, so thankful for each other.
Later we shall sit to sing our family’s table grace.
Only two place settings, two voices raised in song.

Thanksgiving 2020’s essence remains the same,
thankfulness for God’s abundant blessings.
Unique this year, we also have requests.
We pray for more kindness in our troubled world
and healing in these Covid times.

Shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe, and my friends and family, on this Thanksgiving day.

Searching

Still her ire for Orion
seethes within her aching breast.
Soulful search for daughter lost,
sends her through the nebulae.
Shedding tears each sparkling night
sorrow steeps in starry scrim,
solace never to soothe her.

Laura hosts Tuesday Poetics at hhttps://dversepoets.com. She asks us to write a poem in the Pleiades form: 7 lines, each with 7 syllable; a one word title; and each line must begin with the first letter of the title. Plus, she asks that we somehow write in relationship to the star constellation, Pleiades, sometimes called Seven Sisters.
In mythology, the Peliades (seven sisters) and their mother were pursued by Orion. And it just so happens, only six of the sisters (stars) are visible to the naked eye. Legend has it, one sister disappeared. Hence the content of Searching, written from the mother’s perspective.

Death Stalks a Tanka

Death rattles nearby
cold winter has stripped trees bare.
Branches jerk in wind
create shadows in our room.
I seek comfort in your arms.

Frank is hosting MTB at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, he asks us to write a Japanese death poem which can be in the form of a tanka if we choose. He explains that a Japanese death poem speaks of imminent death but at the same time, extolls the significance of life. A tanka is similar to a haiku, but longer: 5 lines of 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.

Her Name is Sharbat Gula

You saw me as a refugee.
My piercing eyes your prize.
I was, am more than that.
I walked miles over mountains.
Mountains of earth, violence
hatred and poverty.

You asked no permission.
You saw in my eyes . . . what?
Pain, loss, my future?
My future was with or without
your use of me.
Your lack of concern for me.

Your future, on the other hand
calloused or not,
your future was in my eyes.
And they appeared everywhere
while they were still here.
One click and you were gone.

I became your prize photograph.
I was your prey.

Mish hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us today to “look into my eyes”, giving us several ways to do that in her prompt for our poem.

My poem is written from the perspective of Sharbat Gula. Her photo was taken in 1984, by Steve McCurry and subsequently used as the cover for the June 1985 issue of National Geographic and the large book National Geographic: The Photographs published in 1994. This photo has been called “The First World’s Third World Mona Lisa.” The photo was published without her consent and the identity of the photo’s subject was not initially known. At the time, she was a child living in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

National Geographic later searched for her, not knowing her name. They found her and produced a documentary “Search for the Afghan Girl” which aired in March 2002. In her recognition, National Geographic created the Afghan Girls Fund, a charitable organization with the goal of educating Afghan girls and young women.  In 2008 the scope of its mission was extended to include boys and was renamed the Afghan Children’s Fund. After finding Sharbat Gula, National Geographic also covered the costs of medical treatment for her family and a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hers is an amazing story and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Girl

Iowa Morning

Septuagenarian farmer sows seed.
His eyes shine brightly
imagining possibilities.
One last bumper crop
then winter’s rest.

Pinning percale sheets on line,
she turns to stare across the fields,
proud of him, their land, their children.
Inside clapboard farmhouse
baking bread wafts yeasty scent.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. De is hosting and asks us to literally ponder possibilities. Key word to use in our exactly 44 word poem (sans title) is “possible” or a form of the word. Photo from pixabay.com

The Dawn Always Comes . . .

Hearts take the hand. Trump failed.
Dummy hand hapless in play.

Donned in camouflage
revealed as the ill-literate.
Sees no value in a paradigm shift.
Pair a dimes? Chump change.
No interest in cents at all.
Narcissistic I-land, far off shore.

You are no sire,
no knight with Excalibur.
Rather bellicose bellyacher
night or day, wielding tweets
perched upon a thin wire,
manufacturing a storm.

Hailing, thundering, “MY RAIN”
even as it is about to end.
Drowning in the fetid swamp
created by your squalls.
Your reign shall cease
and the sun will shine again.

Linda is hosting OLN at dVerse, where we can post any poem of our choosing: no prompt. I decided to engage in a bit of word play and ended up with a political piece – perhaps a poem of witness again? Photo from pixabay.com

Allegorical Tail

No name and no identity.
I was caged, abandoned.
Lived in a shelter,
not really a home.

Rise up . . .
let ’em know my worth.
Look ‘em in the eye
and stand up tall.

Rise up . . .
from obscurity.
Major news story,
I’m staking my claim.

Rise up . . .
just walk on in.
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
DOUS. That’s actually me.

You try it now.
Let ’em see your worth.
Look ‘em in the eye
and stand up tall.

It’s a new day a comin’.
tell the whole world.
I got this now,
so you can too.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Peter from Australia is hosting. He is looking at Poetry of Witness and asks us to go to our local newspaper and find a publicly reported event to write about. IE giving witness to an occurrence. That’s President-Elect Biden above, with his dog Major who he adopted in 2018 from the Delaware Humane Association. He was a shelter dog, abandoned to the shelter by someone for whatever reason. Unwanted. And now Major will be the DUSA (Dog of the United States), moving in to the White House on January 20th!

And the allegorical tail? Major teaches us that any person can stand up tall, look ’em in the eye and ultimately become POUS!

Homestead

I drove for hours, listening to oldies on the radio. Six lane highways shrunk to two. My speed decreased for maybe three minutes at a time, as highway turned into Main Street in rural towns.

I found the cemetery first. Scuffed through fallen leaves until I found their headstones. My eyes blurred reading the dates. All just one year apart.

Back in the car, two miles down the road, left at the fork. I found the house. Shingles half gone; flaking paint and boarded up windows. Mama’s rusted clothesline poles still there. The stones we lugged and stacked to separate mama’s garden from our play yard were half-gone. I peered over what was left, imagining Gina swinging and laughing. But there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.

You can never go back. They warned me. But I didn’t listen.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Merril is hosting Prosery Monday.

Prosery? We’re given a line from a poem, and we must use it exactly as it is worded (punctuation may be changed) within a piece of fiction that is exactly 144 words in length. It is similar to flash fiction except it must include a specific given poetic line. The line we must use is “There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.” It is from Liesel Mueller’s poem Drawings by Children. Photo from Pixabay.com

Rubicund Me Rosy Red

Christmas is red,
with or without snow.
I am tone deaf but rosy carols come naturally.
Heart blooms musically as cheeks blush rouged.
Passed in ’98, mother’s memory crimson bright,
tinsel lover carefully silvered red bauble balls.
Red skirt paled beneath gauzy apron always smudged
snowy confectioner sugar streaks and gravy tracks.
Life’s red blood stopped as father’s bubble lights died.
Mulled wine evokes spiced rubicund scent.
Red hot ire most of the time creamsicles to softer pink.
Passion flames blend to ever-companion,
berry bright books and lover in my bed.
Down comforter snuggled save cold red nose,
which brings me back to Rudolph.
Christmas is red.

Today Grace hosts dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She is teaching us about synesthesia, a “neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sense leads to automatic, involuntary experiences of a second one.” Today, we are focusing on Grapheme Color Synesthesia, the most widely studied and common type of synesthesia.

For today’s prompt, we are to write about color from the perspective of a synesthete. Pick one color or several colors and create our own dictionary of color. What I chose to do was write in a stream-of-consciousness format, reacting to the color red. Photo is Christmas tree of my childhood. My mother loved tinsel.