An Aphoristic Thanks to Bjorn!

I’ve know Bjorn on dVerse for six+ years and finally got to meet him in Stockholm last week during our Best of Scandinavia cruise. He and Lotta were indeed the best of Scandinavia! They showed us the city from an insider’s perspective. We especially enjoyed walking through quiet streets and neighborhoods and going to a small restaurant filled with locals, for a truly Swedish lunch!

My husband’s grandfather immigrated from Sweden so Swedish traditions literally run through his veins. I’ve embraced many of those traditions, especially those related to Christmas. I’ve also eaten many a Swedish meatball. One tradition I have not taken to? Herring! George and our children always ate soft boiled eggs and pickled herring on Christmas morning while I stayed in bed. When they finished eating, they woke me up by breathing heavily in my face. Yech! So you can imagine George’s great delight to see an appetizer with three kinds of herring, Vasterbotten cheese, sour cream, red onion, and dill potatoes on the menu! He also had Köttbullar (Swedish meatballs) for an entrée with potato puree, cream sauce, lingonberries and pickled cucumber. I had Souvas (smoked reindeer) as an appetizer with kohlrabi in horseradish crème, lingonberries and hazelnuts; and Kröppkakor (Swedish potato dumplings filled with pork) for my entrée. Everything was delicious! But even better, was the time to sit and relax and just get to know Bjorn and Lotta. They took us on a commuter ferry back to our ship which meant more time to talk and seeing more of the real Sweden. The last photo is Bjorn and Lotta waving goodbye from the ferry. What an amazing day! THANK YOU BJORN and LOTTA!

And an aphorism for the prompt?
One man’s herring may be reason enough for a woman to refuse his kiss!


Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Bjorn is hosting Thursday’s Meet the Bar and asks us to create an aphorism, and if we’d like, add some prose of explanation.

All photos are from our visit with Bjorn and Lotta last week in Stockholm! If you click on each photo, you can see them a bit larger.

Aphorism: a statement that presents a moral or philosophical idea and many times does so with a pithy statement. For example: “the grass is always greener on the other side”and “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

I do admit, I’ve taken a bit of liberty with my aphorism….but I really wanted to share these photos with all of you dVersers! And…..after all…..everyone should know when to use breath mints!

Renewal

During the season of cherry blossoms, after more than fifty years of being separated by more than six-thousand miles, we met again. This gentle man, Kenji, who I knew only for one year, all those years ago. So many changes in the world since last we’d seen each other. Kenji was a foreign exchange student from Japan, during our senior year at my Illinois high school. And now I was a visitor in his home country. There for a few days to experience his beautiful culture. In his hometown of Tokyo for one day. How would it be to see him again?

We sat in a small restaurant over a pot of fresh brewed tea. Shared news about our lives, careers and family. Reminisced too. And somehow, the years melted away and friendship bloomed again.

cold brings frost, stunts growth
trees remain rooted in earth –
blossoms come again

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Frank asks us to consider cherry blossoms. A haibun combines prose and haiku.
Photo is from our cruise to China, South Korea and Japan in 2019. Such a wonderful reunion with Kenji Kojima! And how appropriate that our friendship bloomed once again exactly during cherry blossom season in Japan.

Taken too soon . . .

My friend, Louise.
Gregarious, always moving, always engaged.
She strode through life like she owned it
doing good for others, singing, laughing.
Pain from a pulled muscle slowed her a bit,
but she kept hiking, bicycling,
eagle watching along the Iowa River,
until she could ignore the pain no longer.

Cancer. A word. Not a sentence in her mind.
She fought. God how she fought.
Refused to be forced over the edge.
She took everything they had
and asked for more. Bring it on!
She told me, “I’m not afraid of dying.
I just don’t want to.”
Steps slowed. Belly bloated. Scalp exposed.
But she trekked on. Reached the fringe of living.

She  never acknowledged it. Would not let it win.
“My head’s freezing but doesn’t this hat look divine?”
She grabbed every filament of hope
no matter how thin. She held on for dear life.
Until one night as the household slept,
a kind ethereal spirit appeared beside her bed.
It spoke gently, words riding on the breeze
that floated in from her open window.

“It’s not like a high mountain top towering over a rough sea.
It’s simply a turn in the road.  
Hold my hand and I’ll walk you there.”
And quietly, in the middle of the night, she did.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today our prompt is to consider the edges and the fringes. We may if we wish, write a poem that contains the word “edge.” Photo is of my dear friend, Louise. She died in 2018 after a 2+ year battle with ovarian cancer.