My writing spills out from a deep cistern of life’s experience. Sometimes a bit dank and dark as the pen dips deeper. But never from the despair of a void.
I am a doer. A make-your-own-sunshine-on-a-grey-soupy-day kind of gal. Cheerleader-tap-dance vigor still runs through my veins. Lean machine, gone somewhat dumpy with the addition of an old age belly, I choose to look up and out, not down. My daughter once said to me, “Mom, every movie can’t be the Sound of Music!” But I do choose the channel, right? Write.
sunflowers smile at me
sheets flap and furl on clothes line
summer of my mind
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni, our haibun queen, asks us to write about why we write the way we do. Who are we and how does that come out in our writing? My readers will have to decide if they think I’ve nailed this assignment. 🙂
These are two of my all-time favorite photos from Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We’re in the second week of our annual two weeks here. Even on grey and foggy days, there is a soft beauty to this place! Hmmmm sounds like my haibun! Haibun: a paragraph or two of tightly written prose (cannot be fiction) followed by a haiku. A haiku true to Japanese form, always includes a seasonal word. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Our long planned summer holiday became a retreat from the turmoil of hatred and anger flooding the news. In five days we traveled to six art galleries in Western Massachusetts. We deliberately drove the back roads, immersing ourselves in rolling hills, farmsteads, streams and wildflowers. We noted “Thickly Populated” signs announcing upcoming small towns.
Our first stop was the Mass MOCA located in rehabbed 19th century factory buildings. Football field-sized Building 5 houses Nick Cave’s Until installation. 16,000 spinners hang from ceiling to floor. Walking through them was magical. Sol Lewitt’s colorful graphic walls made us smile. Most fun, was the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art. Squealing children were right at home in this cheerful place. We laughed in delight to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar original art work. We walked in quiet contemplation through the Museum of Russian Icons. Beautiful paintings from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. In hushed amazement we realized, none of this exquisite art is signed – the anonymity of artists intent on reverence rather than aggrandizement of self. Our last day, we wandered the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, enjoying the juxtaposition of natural beauty and the possibilities of humankind’s creative genius.
waters glisten, shine
fish flicker at the surface
nature’s palette divine
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni asks us to write about a summer vacation, either recent or past. Haibun: 2 or 3 tight paragraphs that cannot be fiction, followed by a haiku that must have a nature theme. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.
We visited Western Mass. last week. Origins of the artwork pictured above are all mentioned in the haibun except for the last photo which is the sculpture Humming by Jaume Plensa. Locations: Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is in North Adams; Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is in Amherst; Museum of Russian Icons is in Clinton; deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park is in Lincoln. We also visited the Clark Art Institute and Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown — both were exceptional as well.
Rural Iowa and fifteen acres of land. Three rusty metal cross-bars hold taut clothesline flapping white sheets and cotton diaper cloths. I stand on tip-toe, reaching high to pick low-hanging fruit. Branches sag with their weight. Nearby, the garden waits. Beet greens wilt, red-veined, atop vegetables grown too plump beneath the soil. Feathery dill goes to seed as crazed zucchini plants maze through cukes and pumpkin patch.
In the distance, I see dust rise before I hear the car. George is returning from city life to our quiet country home. A space to live simply on the land.
rolling hills of green
beribboned by dusty roads
corn silk dries in sun
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni is tending bar and speaks to us about the Japanese tradition of foresting — simply walking through the woods, unplugged, relaxed, listening and smelling what is true. Our Haibun must be one or two tight paragraphs of prose (not fiction) followed by a haiku. She asks that we write about a time we simply enjoyed the out-of-doors or a natural place. She wants us to relax with our readers — offering a post of calm.
Surrounding reality melts as I seek the comfort of sleep. In that half-aura, lying with eyes closed, weight of quilt on chest, I work to release tense shoulders, facial muscles. Within my mind’s eye, weightless arms rise, outstretched. I float above my body, cares released, and soar into the night.
heron, tense, alert
dives hungry into dark sea
soars with silver fish
Björn hosts haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Photo credit: Bird Sirin by artist Sergey Solomko. We’re asked today to find artwork that does not illustrate our haibun, rather compliments its meaning. Haibun: short prose, not fiction, followed by haiku. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.
I sit waiting. Orchestral music building. Gilded theatrical surroundings. Audience hushed. Clara, in white flimsy floating gown, on pointe. Drosselmeyer’s back to us. His arms outstretched dramatically. I know what is coming. The audience knows what is coming. And yet we gasp as the tree begins to increase in size, taller and taller. And our applause grows louder and louder and spirits soar higher and higher.
darkness waits for dawn
sliver grows to orb of light
always gifts the morn
Today we have a surprise guest host at dVerse. Bar opens at 3 PM Boston time for haibun Monday. A haibun is prose, which cannot be fiction, followed by a haiku. My prose refers to that most magical scene in the Nutcracker when the Christmas tree grows before our eyes. Photo: best sunrise photo I’ve ever taken in Provincetown!
We rented an Iowa farmhouse in 1973, in the midst of loess hills and cornfields. The acreage included a silo, machine sheds, pigs’ digs, and a large barn with 1876 chiseled into the fading red wooden door. On this particular January night, in the midst of a howling blizzard, we heard thumping at our door. Cat, our inherited outdoor farmcat, sat on the stoop. Bulging pregnant belly of yesterday gone, her teats hung low. We offered a bowl of warm milk as George donned winter gear. He set out to follow Cat and insure her new kittens were safe, protected from the storm. She led him in and out of buildings, round that farm for thirty plus minutes. He finally gave up the hunt and came inside, looking like a freeze-frame from Dr. Zhivago. Mucous frozen mustache. Beard turned prematurely white with snow. We feared the worse. And then . . . some weeks later, on a clear, crisp and sunny day, Cat paraded by our window with a smirk on her face. Six little ones scurried behind.
winds howl, snow pelts earth
nature’s creatures burrow deep
wait for calming sun
It’s haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni asks us to write about a night we remember. The haibun form includes a paragraph or two in prose (must be nonfiction) followed by a haiku. Photo is in fact, the old farmhouse mentioned in the haibun. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Stop by and imbibe some poetry or share your memories of one special night!
I wake up first. Our pattern for the past forty-six years. Turning my head, I see the love of my life. He sleeps, small puffs of air escaping from his lips. I smile recalling early days when he rocked our children, sang softly and soothed them into their dreams. His beard is white now. His hair more sparse than when the alarm clock jarred us into busy career filled days. I am content. I know we will soon be talking, laughing and loving, thankful for this day.
sun rises indolently
touching cloud puffs with rising blush
a new day to love
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, a virtual pub for poets, where Grace asks us to write about an ordinary moment in our day, challenging us to find the “extra” in that moment. A haibun is a paragraph of prose, written in the first person and is a true personal narrative; followed by a haiku that is complementary. Photo from Provincetown, MA.
Hand in hand, we explored the ports of call: Cartagena, Puntarenas, Puerto Quetzal, Puerta Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas. The cruise of a life-time through the Panama Canal in its 100th anniversary year.
We extended our trip by two days in the final port, San Diego. Our last dinner began at dusk and ended in the dark. Sitting in a pedicab with tiny white lights round its surrey, we wended our way down the esplanade, beside city trolley tracks. Music from the driver’s battered boom box played romantic songs. And then my husband’s voice surprised me: An extra twenty bucks if you play The Time of My Life! And so the surrey stopped and we danced in the night. One year after almost losing the love of my life, I was dipping, swaying, laughing and twirling in his arms. Two lovers having the time of their lives. Thankful for every day.
ebony still night
interrupted by joyful shimmer
two shooting stars
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse where we’re asked to write about a romantic moment. Prose should not be fiction (it’s not), followed by a traditional haiku (nature based with a cutting pivot in the second line). Video was taken by our driver – you can see the train/trolley go by near the end. Photo below is earlier that day, The Kiss — statue of the famous photo taken at the close of World War II. That’s us at the bottom of the statue 🙂 Statue is near the USS Midway — which you can tour in San Diego.
Cornfields, stalks of silk-tasselled green planted in marching rows, wave in hot humid breeze. Then slowly stop. Stand tall. Sensing. Waiting. Sky shifts from grey to sickly yellow. As if the early morning sun has returned to sulk and leave its stain. A rushing sound begins to fill the air. Decibels increase as dark clouds coalesce. Meld into a funnel shape and roar across the field. Dust swirls up from roads, their surface shocked as rain explodes from sky.
Field mice hide
‘neath towering stalks of grain and corn
as sky erupts in fury.
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Toni tending bar talks about the Japanese culture – in particular, fifty shades of rain. There are 50+ words for rain. She asks us to use one of these words in the title or the body of the haibun (prose followed by a haiku). The Japanese haiku: 3 lines, short, long, short; always about nature. The Americanization of the haiku has shifted to a strict three line, 5-7-5 syllabic form, about any subject. Shinotsukame means intense rain.