A Cry for Peace

On a typical hot, humid summer day in Washington DC, we visited the National Air and Space Museum.  A favorite tourist stop for young families, there were many squeals of delight and loads of loud chatter around the space capsules and astronaut exhibits. Parents eagerly read placards aloud and answered their children’s questions.

And then we saw the Enola Gay.  Why does that old plane have that name? Because the pilot, Colonel Paul Tibbets, named it after his mother. Why is it here? Is it famous? How do you answer those questions from a four year old who has no idea where Hiroshima is, what it signifies, and stumbles to even pronounce the word?

decomposing raven
lies outside rotting in snow –
infant wails for breast

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Frank Tassone hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. He reminds us that today is Hiroshima Day 2018. It will be marked by the annual Peace Memorial Ceremony where approximately 50,000 local citizens and visitors, as well as ambassadors and dignitaries from around 70 countries, will] gather in Hiroshima to console the spirits of those killed by the atomic bomb and also to pray for lasting world peace. Our haibun should somehow deal with this theme.

Haibun: Two tight paragraphs of prose, must be true, cannot be fiction; followed by a haiku. I’ve chosen to write a traditional haiku: three lines: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; about nature; includes 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: Colonel Paul Tibbets before take-off on August 6, 1945. Taken by US Air Force employee (unnamed) – https://www.archives.gov/research/ww2/photos/ photo #162, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9162980

Big City Haibun

She returned to her new home, a big city after Iowa. Good day at new job, alone with glass of wine in hand, the familiar chair feels comfortable. Staring at unpacked boxes, lacking energy, two unfamiliar items come into view. Walking closer, she eyes them more intently.

Two dirty, half coiled, frayed bungee cords sit atop an unopened box. Bungee cords? Metal steel curved hooks on dirty elastic cords. Quietly she hurried out the door.

partridge returns to nest
canine impressions mar one egg
nervous feathers flair

Haibun written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today we’re asked to write about an emotion without naming it — evoking it by the use of objects and imagery.  Haibun: prose that cannot be fiction, followed by a haiku. The prose describes what happened, before my husband joined me in Boston, on my second or third day in our new condo.  We moved here from Iowa. Turns out, some workers had entered our unit, without permission, to do some work….and realized they were in the wrong unit. I got security to do a thorough walk-through with me and then found out what happened. Needless to say, I received many apologies from management and I’m happy to say, we’ve lived safely and happily ever since. 

Valparaiso, Chile

I stand atop Casa Galos’ rooftop terrace, seeking the moon which appears in Chicago, Paris, and Vienna. Cities that progressed with time. Here I see only bright orbs. Street lights that blanket the cerros – hills holding once architectural gems beside corrugated metal homes. Erosion defied by vibrant street art.

Twentieth century’s magnificent achievement, the Panama Canal, thief of Valparaiso’s livelihood. And this past month, deserted by the cruiseship industry, as if a pickpocket stole her last coin. A missing moon tonight, and I wonder if it will ever reappear to illuminate this city’s spirit again.

blood moon phenomenon
shrunk to crescent sliver shard –
will you wax again?

My Pen and I

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!

Vacation Haibun

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

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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.

 

Iowa Haibun

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.

Flight

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. 

Haibun Delight

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

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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!

One Iowa Night

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

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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!

Morning

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

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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.