The Shadow Knows

There are places and times for pure childlike delight.

We’d been through a stressful year. Death hovered too close to our family. Through the miracles of modern medicine, assisted by angels along the way, we survived. And so we ferried in September to our beloved Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod. We walked for miles at water’s edge, marveling at the vast ocean. Our mortal footprints disappeared as the tide returned to shore. We witnessed new dawns. Gazed at a glistening moon path on darkest nights. It was a time of contemplation and somber thankful prayers. 

Until that early morn. Standing in the cool sand, my shadow elongated before me. Cast like a circus lady on stilts. Like mirrors where clowns stretch tall or wide. Magnified to the absurd. And it birthed a smile. And then a chuckle. And then a laugh. Pure childlike delight far beyond my years. And it felt good. 

owls perch and observe
cows chew their cud in solemnity 
spring lambs frolic free


It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and Toni asks us to write about shadows. Any kind of shadows. A Haibun includes one or two paragraphs of prose and it cannot be fiction. The prose is followed by a haiku (3 lines with syllable counts of approximately 5, 7, 5). Haikus are about nature and include a seasonal word. Photo is my shadow in Provincetown. 

She Lives

And her spirit shall live within the sea
immortality within its ebb and flow.

Ashes tossed from sandy shore catch wind,
float quietly ‘neath shifting clouds
sink, adhere to anemones
and sail on dolphin fins.
Her smile illuminates in lunar path,
glistens under golden sun.

And generations shall feel her touch
toes stepping, leaping within her waves.

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Champagne Pond on the Big Island

First time in another world,
a magical low-tide place.

Barrier reef, bared each day,
encloses wandering sea turtles.

Alone at dawn, I smile as rounded gentle heads
break the surface, breathe, and disappear.

Stepping gingerly from dividing ledge
I ease myself into cool waters.

Push off, arms spread wide in wonder
head down with snorkel gear.

I float. Watching. Waiting . . .
in this absolutely quiet place.

Magnificent beings glide by,
slow motion ballet of graceful power.

Heads and legs, speckled green-browns,
protrude from massive solid backs.

Finning wide of me, angling below me
as if I am not there, yet I am. Mesmerized.

Occasionally one peers at me,
our eyes lock and I gasp within my soul.

I am afloat, savoring stillness,
experiencing a mystical time.

Kelly hosts Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and asks us to write a narrative poem about a “first.”  Photos: the “back yard” of a rental house we stayed at three times in Hawaii, the Big Island. Out of the way, it has its own “pool” of tropical fish, the body of water at the bottom of this photo.  Dug by the owners, it has a wire mesh grate that allows the ocean in and out but keeps the amazing tropical fish they’ve stocked it with, within the pool. Snorkeling there was amazing too. I’m standing greeting the dawn…and the next body of water you see is what’s called Champagne Pond which snakes back, for quite some distance on the left, out of sight. You barely see the pile of rocks/barrier, exposed at low tide, separating the pond from the ocean proper. Two small photos, I took with a cheap, throw-away underwater camera. Large one is a postcard. We’ve not been back for many years but it is a “first” I shall never forget.

Oh Provincetown!

Gulls squawk, shout high pitched squeals,
breaking through the silent calm of early morn.
Waters so still at low tide, there is no lap
as sun glistened ripples lie mute in their beauty.
Are these the sounds of long past voices
altered by time, soaring above your land?

Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams, Eugene O’Neill.
Were their bare feet marred by these rock pebbles,
these shards of shell beneath my feet,
tumbled through years of artistic waves?
Indigo waters turn cobalt blue, abut a stark line of sky,
like one canvas piled upon another,
an artists’ easel left for the day.

Muse to Jackson Pollack, Jack Kerouac,
Tony Kushner and Kurt Vonnegut.
Given voice by the calm and eloquent words
writ by Mary Oliver, resident of these dunes,
this town at the very tip of Cape Cod,
crooked arm of land surrounded by sea.

Leave the ocean and stroll into her streets.
See bawdy painted lips and swinging narrow hips,
drag queens, moving costumed forms,
tourists, lookers, art and food aficionados,
hawkers outside beaded doors and lovers of every kind.
Holding hands they strut, saunter, smile and wave.
Sixty thousand revelers by summer’s tides
ebbs to 3,000 who walk quiet snow encrusted streets,
appreciate winter palettes of whites and greys.

Oh Provincetown! Town of complexities.
Pilgrims’ pride rejected, settled by Portugese fishermen
and wives who waited for husbands to return from sea.
So many have claimed you.
So many have walked your streets,
marveled at your cinnabar setting suns,
danced on your sands of time.
And still you offer more.
More palettes of dawn and dusk.
More ocean tides and raucous waves.
More low tides that reveal your under life.
I revel to return again and again.
You hath cast your spell on me.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today, I am hosting and asking folks to write a “travelogue” poem. Take us somewhere! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston (eastern) time. Provincetown is located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. In November 1620, pilgrims on the Mayflower landed in the west end of Provincetown and wrote the Mayflower Compact there, before journeying on and settling across the bay in Plymouth. The Governor of the Plymouth Colony purchased the land of Provincetown in 1654 from the Chief of the Nausets for 2 brass kettles, 6 coats, 12 hoes, 12 axes, 12 knives and a box (see wikipedia). Provincetown has been the summer home for many fringe and reknowned artists and writers. Twenty-seven year old Eugene O’Neill produced his first play here in 1916 and spent the next nine years of his life in Ptown.

Moonlight

Daytime, meandering through the Peabody Essex Museum. I stopped to stand and look at a painting on the wall. The looking turned to gazing. Time shifted and everything disappeared. I was under the stars, the shifting clouds. Felt night’s cool air upon my face. Marveled at the moon’s path upon glistening sea. This magical night enveloped me. There was no one else. Nowhere else. Until a tap upon my shoulder made me turn my head.

luminous moon
reflects beauty in darkened sea
neath star spattered sky

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Double posting today! (see also Wishful Thinking) Written for dVerse haibun Monday where Toni, the maven of haibuns, asks us to write about the night sky. A haibun consists of a short, concise paragraph of prose that cannot be fiction, followed by a haiku. PHOTO taken at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA:  Moonlight, created in 1892, oil on canvas. Painted by impressionist Childe Hassam (1859 – 1935). The scene is from Appledore Island, the largest of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire, where he spent many a summer at the cottage of Celia Thaxter. 

Tanka for dVerse

waves crash in full tide
rush starts at epicenter
full moon excitement
night’s passion touched rekindled
we lie in sweet exhaustion

Toni hosts the bar at dVerse today (bar opens at 3 PM) and asks us to write a Tanka, a Japanese form of poetry comprised of five lines with the following syllabic count: 5-7-5-7-7. This form is older than the haiku, first appearing in the 8th century!  There is no punctuation, no capitalization, and no title. Third line is a cutting or pivot line. The first two lines examine an image and the final two lines are a personal response. Tankas were considered a “female” form, written more by females than males and were often sensuous. Photos from Bermuda.

Night Time Nostalgia

nights etched in mind
black water glistens
harbor lights beam on sea
shadow figures lean toward wind
far away music starts and stalls
tree frogs serenade the stars
stars peek from black sky
Bermuda’s scrim of night

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Photo from our deck in Bermuda, just before the stars came out in force….in February. We were right on the harbor….so many beautiful evenings!  Prompt is from my recent June class — write a poem of nostalgia.