Gatherings

My first eighteen years ~
we enjoyed picnics
backyard fun,
family celebrations and holidays.
Cacophonies of raucous laughter and glee.

Hiatus years, different byways ~
address books with edit over edit.
Catch-up Christmas times
marked by postage-due,
aging faces afloat in photo cards.

Reunions of late, any time of year ~
increase in frequency.
Convene in funeral homes,
adjourn with casseroles
served over memories.

Still shadows walk beside me ~
aunts, uncles, cousins.
Will I be the last?
Sole survivor of happy clan,
left to sit with photo albums,
colors fading beyond the years.

Motivated by Misky’s Twiglet prompt, “still shadows.”  A twiglet is a short phrase meant to motivate thoughts. Photos from many many years ago when we often gathered with aunts and uncles and cousins – we had so much fun together in those days when the entire family lived nearby. Now, sadly, all the aunts and uncles, my folks and brother, and some of my cousins, have passed on from this life. Others live far from me. Family is always dear — no matter how far and no matter if earthly or not.  

 

Advent

I sit silently this early morn,
scenes from yesterdays
flickering through my mind.

Their childhood. My childhood.
Her sliver-thin sugar cookies,
his wool overcoat and black galoshes.

Seasonal luminaries.
These scenes from Christmas past
remembered through the hush of time.

Light shafts begin to intrude,
cast shapes upon the floor.
Today encroaches as the rising dawn.

Reluctantly I stir,
take up requirements of the day
but a promise I do make.

On Christmas Day, in early morn
I shall return to these shadows,
to this quiet place of calm.

I shall recall again the way it was,
the ones who were, those many times.
And I shall whisper to my memories,
Merry Christmas to all.

candles-in-soft-light-1407463

Haibun from Days Gone By

Looking back from this vantage point, from who I am now and how we raised our children, I’m surprised at my calm, unquestioning “okay” to one man during my lifetime. Wally Rucks, high school football coach and my guidance counselor.

I only had one meeting with this overweight, jowly faced man. In 1964, at the beginning of my senior year.
“Are you filling out your college applications?”
“Yes.”
“What career are you aiming for?”
As the only female on our award-winning debate team, I was ready with the answer. “A lawyer.”
“Girls don’t do that. Study to be a Speech and English teacher.”
The meeting was over. I walked out the door and that’s what I did. I became a high school Speech and English teacher, albeit a very good one.

And then years later, I earned a second Master’s Degree and a PhD. Became a university dean and traveled the world solo, meeting corporate executives, establishing internships for our Global MBAs. Go suck an egg, Mr. Rucks.

smallest acorn
trampled in mud by hiking galoots
tall now in forest green

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse and today we’re supposed to write about something that surprises us. Come join us at the virtual pub for poets — bar opens at 3 PM Boston time. Haibun: short, precise prose (cannot be fiction) followed by a haiku.

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

grey-geese-2112216_1920

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! 🙂

Iowa Scene

Thirty acres of Iowa farmland surrounded our country house ~ the first home we ever owned. We tended a huge garden, had six apple trees, and rented out the rest of the land to a nearby farmer.

It was a magical place in all seasons. Spring time brought apple blossoms and the sound of tractors moving up and down the fields. Our summer garden overflowed with zucchini while wind-blown sheets flapped on the clothesline. Fall harvest coincided with our consolidated high school’s homecoming parade around town square. Winter storms left corn stalk stubs peeking out from a blanket of white snow. And if we were lucky, we might spy a migrating snowy owl, perched atop the fence post next to our old wooden barn.

blizzard blows in night
red barn awakens to white landscape
snowy owl hoots in delight

winter-barn-556696_1920

Victoria is hosting Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. A Haibun is a Japanese form of poetry that includes one or two paragraphs of tight nonfiction prose followed by a haiku that must include a seasonal reference. Today, Victoria tells us how the Japanese associate the Kigo, Fukuroo with the season of winter (Kigo is owl; Fukuroo means the snowy owl). We are to write a haibun about owls. Photo in public domain from pixabay.com