We stood on the deck of our cruise ship, warm and comfortable, having just eaten our fill for breakfast in a beautiful dining room. The night before, we’d had wine with dinner and our choice of four entrees. We were returning to the ship’s home port in Florida, to then return to our highrise condominium in Boston.
The Captain’s voice was clear and strong over the loudspeakers. “There is a small boat of refugees on our starboard side. We have alerted the Coast Guard and will hold our position until they arrive. We believe in safety at sea for all. This will not impede our itinerary. We will arrive at our home port as scheduled.“
A small boat bobbed in the ocean, the people barely distinguishable except to see they were crowded in what looked like a rubber raft. It looked so low in the water, as if it was barely staying afloat. When the Coast Guard arrived more than an hour after the announcement, our ship moved away quickly. We only saw the Coast Guard approach the refugees. We never knew what happened to them.
cherry tree blooms pink robin sits in feathered nest mole burrows in darkness
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, Mish asks us to consider the word “shelter” in our haibun: two or three succinct paragraphs of prose that are nonfiction/autobiographical, followed by a classic haiku.
Photo is from November 2021, when we took a cruise in the Caribbean. It was sobering to see in reality, what we’d read about in newspapers and heard about in the news.
Rain gushed from heavens thunder, lightning pandemic hell turned purgatory. Boxed in by walls. Boxed in by zoom boxes.
Snows came, windows frosted shut. Our spirits glazed as seasons passed seen from shuttered window panes. Cities crawled. Inequities laid bare.
Sparse masked figures hurried to tasks, six feet apart. A grave distance indeed. Hope impossible to grasp by stifled hands. Optimists whispered. Hang on, hang on . . .
. . .after all, tomorrow is another day. But optimists were far and few between. Tomorrow is another day wore thin because it never was.
Addendum. Recovery. Release for those us who survived. Smiles visible but leery. Freedom, sort of, for far too many to openly grieve.
Freedom for the privileged while far too many across the globe still parched, still weary still covid devastated . . .
. . . another day . . . still impossibly too far away.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Mish asks us to consider lines made famous by movies. She provides many for us and asks us to include one of them in a poem. I’ve chosen “After all, tomorrow is another day.” from Gone with the Wind, 1932.
It seems to me, there is a map to our lives. Imagine that we can draw it on a grid. Each cell is a day. Cells filled in with bright colors are to-dos and pay-attention-tos. Some neon need-tos are so intense they cause a glare. Blank cells appear in chunks. Free days. Times to play, cogitate, and just be.
My early years were chock full of free days. But ultimately, they almost disappeared. The grid became so colorful, it was blinding. Full of responsibilities, accountability. Children to raise. Professional ladder to climb. Even in those few empty cells, vacation days, I found myself calling in to the office; answering emails. The job tinted even the blank chunks on my grid.
Now in rejuvenatement, never say retirement, filling in the grid is largely my choice. And as I look at it, I suddenly begin to understand, the map of my life is not all my own doing. The socioeconomic term “privilege” comes to mind. Circumstances of birth, ethnicity, geographical location – all have affected my life and enabled me to come to this point where the grid is much easier on the eyes. And in these days of Covid-19, I understand even more, how blessed I have been.
for the lucky ones summer yields bountiful crops – others slowly starve
Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Kim asks us to respond, in some way, to the image above, “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, created by Piet Mondrian, displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Haibun: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose followed by a haiku that includes reference to a season.