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.

 

Inspired by a Visit to Matisse

Shadow lady,
from wherever-you-prefer
cash-only for hire,
she an artist’s muse.
Name-her-as-you-wish
pose her as you will.
Her rule, never touch,
sparks a masterful brush.

Face concealed,
enveloped in a penumbra of voile
anonymity always required.
Pastels, oil, charcoal, or clay
shades of black, white or grey.
Bright hues perhaps?
Your choice.
Clothing optional, save the veil.

Perched upon a chair,
garters hold stockings taut
bare breasts paint themselves.
Curses fall upon that masked face,
as she survives within the pale.

Fee collected, she hurries home.
Scarf thrown upon the chair
no mirrors with which to see
that face so hidden then,
now sipping cup of tea.

Years later,
accompanied by her spouse
she visits galleries,
genteel pastime of the upper class.

Smiling ever so slightly
she spies her former self,
framed in golden gilt
hanging upon the wall.

She, an artists’ muse,
their anonymous visage.
Paid a pittance then
worth a fortune now.

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Written for today’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. I’m delighted to be hosting so step right up to the bar. The prompt word for today is “shade.”  Use the word itself or any derivation of the word in the body of your poem. My poem today is inspired by a recent visit to Boston’s MFA to see the Matisse Studio exhibit. I was enamored with this painting, Seated Figure with Violet Stockings, oil on canvas, painted by Matisse in 1914. My imagination took a leap from the painting to this musing. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us in the shade!

Urgent Plea

Standing in lunar light, hands extended to cloudy, star studded skies, I scream to the heavens. Silhouette me!

This cursed disease. It is a time machine with rusted levers. Disengaging cogs cranking ever more slowly. They will stop far too soon. I cannot leave shadows behind. Dark thoughts of what-ifs and could-have-beens. Family and friends who will only remember the deep hollows of my eyes. The chaffed dry skin pulled tautly across these brittle bones.

They deserve better. I deserve better. Realign your celestial scrim! If there be Ursa Major, then let there be me. A forever galaxy of light.

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Originally written for a Flash Fiction challenge/competition I saw — to write a piece of 100 words or less, using the word “silhouette.” Unfortunately, I waited too long and the deadline was past. Assurances to my readers: this is fiction. Photo in public domain at Pixabay.com

Calamity

She leaned against the wall
sun beating down
sweat on her brow,
legs aquiver.

No doubt about it
a long hard fall
a catastrophe ’tis true,
but she’d landed on her feet.

She counted in her head
one . . .
two . . .
ah. . . . just three.

She arched her back
preened a bit
and catwalked down the lane.
Six more to go.

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Includes July’s word prompt from my granddaughter, “catastrophe.”

Perpetuity

Come roundabout with me.
Twelve months
January then January,
again and again.
Hours one to twelve repeat
add A to M or change to P.
Teeter up must teeter down
hinged to teeter up again.
Perennials are as annuals will.
Your hands are theirs and ours
to fold, to point, to plant and pray.
Stones cast upon the waters
ripple out toward the morrow.
Time copulates where we are
and when we’re not.
I am. You are. We are will be
small arcs within the world
go roundabout with thee.

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Blessings

When the cacophony of news blares deafening dreadful,
‘tis time to still one’s feet, one’s hands, one’s mind.

Seek the beautiful, but for a moment.
Listen to stillness and you will hear the quiet.

Contemplate the beside you ~
     the chair upon which you sit
     the cold-hot water you may choose to drink, to draw
     the texture of cloth which warms your skin
     the view through glass panes that alternates,
     day to night to day again
     the love you carry within your heart,
     from those who have held your hands.

Inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

Then slowly rise and move deliberately,
into the good.

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It’s Tuesday and that means Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Paul is hosting and tells us about a book, Anam Cara, by Irish poet/philosopher John O’Donahue, which includes a number of “Blessings” poems. Paul asks us to write a blessing, adding “and may our words create ripples in the pond of the world.”  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come soar with us! Photo taken a number of years ago on our Baltic cruise.