Still Missing You

Charles Andrew Jr.
birthed before the War,
nine years my elder.

Took leave far too early
buried deep atop grassy hill,
mountain range across the way.

I see your image
every day,
looking out at me.

Framed and under glass,
always smiling.
Forever fifty-one.

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It was Quadrille Monday at dVerse. The prompt word  was “early” and somehow, I’m late to post for it!  Photo is my brother…..hard to believe he’s been gone almost 30 years.
Quadrille: a poem of exactly 44 words, sans title.

 

Fashion Forward

Hats . . .
so many in a lifetime
exchanged with curves in road.
Strapped on through squalls,
gently worn on balmy days
stored on shelf when out of style.

Mother-hat,
adjustable as needed
blessed to wear.
Daugher-sister hats
occasions departed,
retired too soon.

Yourlove-hat
once perky, so with-the-times
never veiled.
Labelled vintage now
slightly creased with age,
worn with gentle smile.

Yourlove always,
shining in my mirror.

 

Treasured Kitsch

Mother’s treasured knick knack,
miniature rotary telephone.
Two metal pieces, one with delicate dial,
still turns by clumsy finger tip.
Second piece balances on first,
receiver, small enough I’m sure,
to span from fairy’s mouth to ear,
to listen and to talk.

Mother’s treasured knick knack,
best friend’s gift in ’37.
Yellowed fragile note,
pristine cursive of the day.
My dear sweet Helen,
Always remember,
girl talk makes our days go faster.
Love from Franny, forever.

Mother’s treasured knick knack
sits on dusty shelf,
beside great-grandmum’s cameo brooch,
glass hat pin
and wound-to-tight music box.
Worthless items today,
to you.
Priceless to me.

 

It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Sarah is hosting and asks us to be mindful about a particular object….any object. Pick it up, examine it, write anything that comes to mind from it…and then from those thoughts, write a poem.

Immigrants

Our ancestors. Our families.
They sailed through rough seas.
They worked hard, dreamed big.
We are us because of them.
Their identities may fade but
Their determination remains apparent.
Pictured and posed in family albums,
They live on in sepia tones.

 

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. It’s Meet The Bar Thursday (MTB) and Frank hosts, asking us to write a Reverse Poem. Read it top to bottom. Read it bottom to top. Line by line. It makes sense both ways. Quite challenging! 

Photos:
Left:  Hjalmer Siegfried Hallberg, born in Sweden, 1884. Arrived Ellis Island, NY at age 22, in 1906. My husband’s grandfather.
Right: Adam Gruenwald, born 1857 in Germany. Arrived in U.S. in 1880. Grandfather to my father. 

And here it is in reverse, including the same punctuation at the end of each line.

Immigrants

They live on in sepia tones.
Pictured and posed in family albums,
Their determination remains apparent.
Their identities may fade but
We are us because of them.
They worked hard, dreamed big.
They sailed through rough seas.
Our ancestors. Our families.

Come Inside My Haibun

He was an immigrant. A painter. A Swede who arrived at Ellis Island many years ago. I was privileged, as were many, to experience his journey in a most unlikely place. A basement room, in Chicago, Illinois.

Entering that underground space, we stepped onto a ship sailing across the mighty Atlantic. Sky cerulean blue overhead, dipped to meet the horizon, forever brightened by an invisible sun. Gulls hovered above waves rolling with white caps, dabs of paint that never splashed. We sat in the midst of many family celebrations, our chairs backed up against basement walls, as if leaning on Grampa Hallberg’s painted ship rails. A lifeless life preserver hung never-used, drawn not quite round.  It was a room like no other. It was the USS Sweden, frozen in time.

young beaver crosses pond
gathers sticks and stones and spring time mud –
journey revealed in lodge

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It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets and I’m hosting today – asking everyone to delve into the traditional … and at the same time, take us on a trip into an interior they remember from their past. A room they can recall.

The Haibun must include 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose describing the interior (cannot be fiction); followed by a traditional haiku: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; must be about nature; must include a kigo (reference to a season) and a kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku.

Photo: Grampa Hajalmer Hallberg on the left in 1972, two years before his death. He immigrated from Sweden in 1906 at the age of 22. He’s sitting in the basement he painted to remind him of his journey to America on the USS Sweden.

Dad, You’re in my Haibun

What is a venial sin? What is the Immaculate Conception? What are the Ten Commandments? What are the seven mortal sins?

As a young child, I had to memorize answers to Catholic Catechism questions before I could make my first holy communion. One of the greatest benefits I gained from my early Catholic education was the ability to memorize. I spouted off those answers quickly and matter-of-factly as my father patiently sat in his big green fake-leather chair, asking the questions. He never went to church – except for mother’s day, Christmas and Easter. Yet he sat patiently, testing me on my catechism questions.

I remember my father as undemonstrative. I don’t remember being hugged or hearing him say, “I love you.” But I understood years later. He showed his love in different ways. For example, listening to me spout off doctrine he didn’t believe. The one answer I parroted, but could never ever understand, and never dared to ask a nun or priest about, was the one that basically told me my father would go to hell because he didn’t believe. No way. He had the patience of Job. He was a good man. And he was my dad.

huge white pelican
rules of gravity be damned –
soars in autumn skies

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The White Pelicans migrate every fall to Florida. With a 9′ wingspan, they are one of the largest birds in North America. And they soar.
Amaya hosts dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to considerthe 7 deadly sins, and/or the 7 virtues. We may consider our relationship to them — or how they affected us at some point in our lives. I’ve written a haibun: 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose (must be true), followed by a traditional haiku.
Missing my dad….

Tale of the Hats

Two men, not brothers
married two women, not sisters.
One man brother to one not-sister.
If you’re counting, that’s four in all.

Christmas means a family gathering
cousins and those two not-brothers,
Bob the wee man, wicked funny
Bud a big man, comic not,

Laughter, carols, dinner done,
friends and family sit to leave.
Expectantly they wait,
tittering they anticipate.

Bob and Bud step forth all clad
coats, galoshes, mufflers too.
But to hats the family looks
as Bob and Bud, snicker not.

Bob stands small, beside big Bud.
Simultaneously they seriously say,
We’re ready to go dears
as all guffaw at what they see.

Bud looks sheepishly at Bob.
Bob’s small hat sits daintily,
perched
on top of Bud’s big head.

Bob cannot see Bud,
his eyes covered by Bud’s big hat
sitting precariously balanced
atop two pencils
protruding from Bob’s ears!

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Mark Walters guest hosts Tuesday’s Poetics. He asks us to write humorously about something humorous from our lives. The Tale of the Hats is absolutely true! My Uncle Bob (very small head and a very fun-loving guy) and my dad, known as Bud, (a much more serious guy) exchanged hats every year at the end of our big Christmas gathering. Uncle Bob made sure he had two pencils in his coat and they’d come out looking absolutely ridiculous! No matter how many times they did this, we always laughed and laughed. Family lore now….I miss them both. 

 

 

Generations Shall Pass

Raw winds blow. Rusted lock bars entrance to dark, dank family crypt. Souls long forgotten. Generations ceased their lineage, lost in the dust of time. Undisturbed cobwebs ensnare no prey. Nothing lives here.

Steps away, a young mother’s tears salt the ground below open-toed shoes. Her gaze locks on the small white coffin. Follows it lower, lower, and lower still, until its sides are nestled by mother earth. Stunned mourners file by, gently releasing miniature white roses into fresh dug grave. Wind shifts. Breeze rifles through nearby trees. Magnolia blossoms, rift from spring green leaves, rain quietly on forlorn scene.

Rest little one, love shall follow you. Mother, father, sisters too. All will come in time. And more. And more. Until the dust of time consumes them all.

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Used for Napowrimo day 28 where the prompt was to write prose poetry. Photo taken several months ago at the cemetery in Valparaiso, Chile. Shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, on Thursday, May 3rds OLN. 

 

Bud’s Daughter

I have
a morning mirror routine.
Mine for sandman’s deposits.
Eyes clear, smile appears.

There it is,
thick wavy hair.
Left side front
waving, brow-over.

Morning mirror bud,
dad’s reflection waves.
Cascading silver,
my inheritance.

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where it’s Poetics Tuesday. Kim hosts and challenges us to write a poem in the first person about a body part we’ve inherited. Yep, that’s me and my waves. My dad, affectionately called Bud by his friends and relatives, had a full head of hair – beautifully silver and always wavy, till the day he died. I miss him.
PS:  did you read that last line aloud? It’s all about hair.
Also posted as off-prompt for Napowrimo Day 24.