Tracing Whitman’s Path

Lying back, blue sky beckons me
carries me through dreams
until flock of geese interrupt serenity.
Rolling on my side, eyes shift to daffodils.
Yellow ruffles near still pond,
quiet in their breezy sway.

Noisey crowd above migrates north
racing through scattered clouds.
I rise reluctantly, retrace my steps.
Well worn path through banks of trees
leads to asphalt covered parking lot,
return to life’s routine.

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Written for Napowrimo Day 18’s unique prompt. Select a poem (or stanza from a poem), cover up all but the last line: write a response to that line. Now cover up all but the second to the last line: write a response to that line. Etcetera.  In essence, you read the poem backwards, creating your poem. Your poem responds to the original poem, and is its reverse.

I’ve used the first 6-line stanza of Walt Whitman’s famous poem,
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud:

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze
Beside the lake beneath the trees
A host of golden daffodils
When all at once I saw a crowd
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
I wandered lonely as a cloud.

First line of my poem responds to last (6th) line of his stanza; second line of my poem responds his 5th line; third line of mine responds to his 4th; fourth line of mine responds to his 3rd; fifth line of mine responds to his 2nd; sixth line of mine responds to his 1st.  My last stanza simply completes my original poem as the “speaker” of the poem must leave the beauty and serenity of nature and return to life’s routine. 

What moment lies between?

To cruise the seas. Ship of many with restaurants, shops, shows, casino and dancing. Playing on the waves. Yet for me, it is the moments of silence I savor. Sunset on our veranda. Leaning into the salty breeze.  Pondering as body sways naturally. What lies between that place where red melds into black? Between moments in time? Between a last intake of breath and the final audible sigh? Clouds hover like memories floating through my mind. Mixed emotions. Content to stand and savor. Slow ache for loved ones faded from my life. Red streaks lessen, darkness consumes. I shiver in the suddenly cold air.

black cold red-streaked sky
Ursus lumbers to dark den
winter signals sleep

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Haibun prompt today at dVerse: think about CHIJITSU, a Japanese Kaigo that means lingering day….can relate to the moments of sunrise or sunset. Haibun: prose (must be true) followed by a haiku that must, in the true Japanese sense of the form,  include reference to a season.  Post also applies to day 16 Napowrimo’s prompt: something to do with play. Photo taken from the deck on our last cruise around South America.

Sadly we say goodbye to Victoria our dVerse host today. She’s been a force at dVerse since its early days in 2011. Thank you, thank you, Victoria.

See the Sea . . .

Transplant from concrete city,
hustle-bustle and blaring horns,
she loves all things Bermudaful.

Smitten by color
red flowers peek from handlebar baskets,
her rusty bicycle now a sky-blue.

Today, just as every day
day after day, week after week
she tries to begin a letter home.

Sea breezed salt-flavored lips
gnaw tooth-marked pen.
Mind searches for appropriate words.

The ocean here is so . . .
cerulean, cobalt blue,
aquamarine, azure hued.

Page littered,
crossed out words.
How to write what she sees?

Try again. First words flow,
White-capped and undulating,
turquoise ultramarine waves . . .

 sapphire, Prussian, pastel blue.
Mesmerizing . . . royal blue waters.
Nature defies the dictionary.

Stationery crumpled and set aside,
sun glasses off, wine poured
she makes the long distance call . . .

and simply says two words.
Come see.

 

Bermudaful — another way to say beautiful in Bermuda!  We have 10 days left of our month-long stay in this beautiful island country.

It’s Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. I’m hosting today and provide folks with a number of images to peruse….all of which, in some ways, evoke the feelings of spring.  “Think young, take the energy of the spring season and think fun, new life, possibilities. Sunny side up, everyone.”  Poets choose one image from those provided in the prompt. (I selected the bicycle). Poems should be motivated by the image, which should be cut and pasted into the post. The poem does not need to be about spring, but it should take us away from the cold and dreary.

Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come see the other images available for this prompt….and put a spring in your step with us!

 

 

Impatient in Iowa

Elusive spring
buried beneath snow.
Monotone whitened rural scene
minus crocus, lilacs,
and red breasted robins.
Brightened only by weathered barn
and newly painted crimson birdhouse,
daredevil cheerful bracelet
on snow laden tree limb.
Old man winter,
still balking at retirement.

Photo by Sari Hacker, my former Iowa Valley High School student. Fond memories of our days in Marengo, Iowa.

Bermuda Beautiful

Liquid joy
blues beyond belief.
Gaze on her,
feast your eyes.
Aquamarine, royal, teal,
sea colors, her crown.

Kiskadee
yellow warbler sings.
Loquat trees
bear gold fruit.
Island nation taunts my pen,
tell them if you can.

History,
railway trails of old,
limestone ruins,
painter’s muse.
Twenty-two miles, end to end,
only half-mile wide.

Soul soother
slower pace of life.
Welcome rain,
next day’s tea.
Bermudean tapestry,
your blues steep my joy.

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Amaya is hosting dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to write a shadorma: a poem with 6-line stanzas with the following syllabic count for the lines: 3-5-3-3-7-5. We are in Bermuda for a month — our fourth year to do this. The waters surrounding this beautiful island country really defy description in terms of their colors. And the yellow kiskadee’s song is exactly like its name: kiss-ka-dee, kiss-ad-dee. Because Bermuda has no aquifer, rainwater is collected in a ridged white-roof system that drains into each home’s cistern located below ground. That water is then pumped up into the house, into the faucets, washing machines etc. Hence, my tea this morning is made from the latest rain storm! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.  I’ve also published a second shadorma today, more in line with the term itself…in the shadows of a grave yard

Happiness is . . .

when you marry your best friend
knowing he is the love of your life. . .

when your heart expands
as your family does the same. . .

when your love is so strong
that together, you could travel

to the end of the earth
and back . . .

and you do.

Photo from Antarctica. Days before we rounded Cape Horn and ferried to the last light house on the earth. An amazing journey – through the last almost 48 years with this man . . . and to the end of the earth!

Elephant Island, Antarctica

Shackleton’s men
twenty-two in number
left behind to wait . . .
in this ice-clad
god-forsaken
frozen hell.

Desperate human spirits
battled Nature’s fury,
trespassers
upon her frozen soul.

Weeks on end
they dared to hope,
‘midst wind-blasted anguish
fear, hunger,and numbing cold.

Eyes blurred
by snow-mass glare,
stared beyond roiling seas.
Barely saw the shape emerge.

Eyes opened wide and wider still
watched it grow.
Frozen limbs sluggishly awoke
began to stretch . . .

Arms began to stiffly wave . . .
reaching higher, then higher still.
Slowly first, then slowly faster . . .
quickened to a frantic pace.

Raspy voices strained with hope
hoarsely yelled . . .
then shouted to unforgiving peaks.
‘Tis the Captain, our compass true!

History writ that day
etched in frozen tears.
Defined by return to home
from frozen end of earth.

Photo from yesterday’s visit to Elephant Island with reference to Shackleton’s Antarctica Expedition on the aptly named ship, Endurance – one of the greatest tales of endurance and survival in history.