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.

Antarctica

I stand
on ship’s deck.
Scenes dealt by Nature
visual poetry to me,
death’s hand to many seafarers of old.

Icebergs,
some city-blocks in size
litter the sea.
Imposing ice-capped peaks
tower above.

Humpbacks
spout jubilant spray.
I breathe misty wisps
in frozen air.

Photos from Antarctica – taken yesterday on our cruise. Amazing scenery. Quadrille written for dVerse using the word “poetry.” Apologies to readers that I cannot reciprocate and read your posts or reply to comments – Internet very sparse and expensive here.

Mountain Trek

Field of delicate buttercups
like bits of scattered sun.

Yellow flowers frothing,
undulating in mountain breeze.

Nature’s golden comforter
warmth beneath her jewel-blue sky.

Photos from yesterday’s mountain trek through the Magellan National Forest in Punta Arenas, Chile. A six mile hike: three from 800 feet above sea level, starting in fields of buttercups and wind-blasted tree remains to 1900 feet above sea level with fantastic views of the Magellan Straits, and three back down. A glorious day.

Best Wishes and Thank You, Toni

I rejuvenated (never say “retired”) exactly five years ago this Friday. From a stress-filled dean’s job at a university including solo global travel to doing . . . what? Talk about transition! I decided to reverse roles and became a student in an online poetry class. The pen hit the paper every morning as if a dam had been breached. Then I found WordPress and this untechie created a website. I was thrilled when I reached ten followers – all relatives. And then I found dVerse.

For me, writing is a space in and of itself, unlike any physical space. There’s a part of my mind that seems to have a conversation with my pen. dVerse introduced me to new forms and meters, and forced me to sometimes include that bug-a-boo-for-me, rhyme. I write for myself. Because of dVerse, I also edit and rewrite for my readers. Rejuvenatement brought a huge change to my biorhythms and my frequent-flyer status. dVerse made me a Samurai of words – gave me the courage to “put-it-out-there.” It’s introduced me to folks around the world who, like me, enjoy the power and creativity of words. Today, for the very first time, my computer’s auto-correct didn’t automatically change haibun to habit. How fitting is that???  Aren’t you proud of me, Toni? 🙂

migrating geese
arrow formation in cold crisp air
transition flies forward

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Post is “double-duty” for dVerse, the online pub for poets. Today, Paul hosts Tuesday Poetics and asks us to write about a change in our lives. Yesterday was Haibun Monday where, for the last time, Toni hosted and asked us to write about how we write/our plans for our writing. She is retiring from the dVerse board, although we’ll continue to see her poetry posts. For me, Toni is inspirational….she’s patiently taught me how to write a haibun (tight, nonfiction prose followed by a haiku).  She personifies the haibun’s Japanese spirit. Thank you, Toni. This one’s for you! 🙂

Haibun for Geiranger

Floating on a massive cruise ship, some days with ocean on every side as far as the eye can see, I am reminded that about seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered. The ocean makes up about ninety-six percent of that. I am one person among two-thousand-plus, traversing just a portion of these waters on this day, in this place.

Docked in Geiranger, Norway, the fjord rises up around us. We rest at the feet of Mother Earth. Her shawl of earthen tones and greenery spills out from the sea. Her pearlescent snow capped peaks rise far into the sky. Off ship, we feel very very small. A motor coach takes us up a winding road; so steep the bus seems angled in a partial recline position. We stop where snow makes further progress impossible. Spring melt has just begun. Stepping out into fresh, clear, crisp air, we look out and down. Our ship is dwarfed by the mountains. While the ocean occupies more surface space, landmass leads in terms of relief, colors, and grandeur. I stand, a speck amongst generations who have lived before me and those who will live after me, absolutely mesmerized.

winter’s snow-capped peaks
deter footsteps upon the pristine
Seven Sisters wait patiently

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Bjorn hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse today, asking us to write about water. In homage to Bjorn’s Scandinavian roots,  I’m writing about our cruise through the Norwegian fjords. The Seven Sisters are magnificent famous falls in the UNESCO-protected Geiranger fjord. Alas, since the spring melt was just beginning when we were there, five were dry and two were quite small in output. They need the full spring melt to achieve their grandeur.  Photos taken in this magnificent place. The sun was shifting as we were there. Just a gorgeous day!

Primal Desire

Desperate emerald envy.
Brownish grey chameleon
scampers across dirt path,
seeks scintillating shrubbery.
Ah . . . relief,
greening on a leaf.

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I’m hosting dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets. It’s Tuesday’s Poetics and I’m asking folks to write a poem that includes their birthstone. For example, if you’re born in May, your poem must include the word emerald; January birthdays, garnet; April folks, diamond; etc.  Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come on over!

Looking Up, I Wonder . . .

Does the sun, obscured by gray clouds,
feel like she’s brushing clammy cobwebs
from her perspiring face?

Do stars sputter when meteorites flash by,
hogging their solar spotlight?

As the moon waxes,
does she feel guilty about her expanding curves?

Does the sky feel belittled
when her brilliant blues blend with ocean hues,
blurring her celestial hemline
with saltwater slurps in a hazy horizon?

Are clouds frustrated
when winds blow them off course?

Do tides falter
when lunar rhythms lose their beat,
as if the maestro’s baton
has developed a score of its own?

Looking up, I wonder . . .

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Bjorn asks us to write a poem that consists only of questions. And indeed, we are looking to the skies as Cape Cod is under a tropical storm watch tonight and tomorrow, expecting residuals of Hurricane Jose.