Let Sleeping Cats Lie: Haibun Quadrille

This is a Haibun of 44 words for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for play and guess, and for dVerse’s Quadrille Monday, where De Jackson asked us to use the word bounce.

 

It’s been a stressful couple weeks. Thoughts bounce about in my brain, as I try to sleep. My cat is nestled beside me, and his soft snores echo in my dreams. Time and space now speculative.

 

ideas frolic

gamboling animals romp

visions of wonder

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Franz Marc [Public domain ], via Wikimedia Commons

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Passing (Strange) Along the Stage

Monday Morning Musings:

 

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,”

–William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act Two, Scene 7

 My story being done, she gave me for my pains a world of sighs.
She swore, in faith ‘twas strange, ‘twas passing strange.”
–William Shakespeare,  Othello, Act One, Scene 3

 

“Because your mother’s love might seem insane
It’s ’cause she really knows everything
Too bad it takes so long to see what you’ve been missing…

(Love like that can’t be measured anyway)
Too bad it takes so long to see what you’ve been missing”

Stew and Heidi Rodewald, “Love Like That,” Passing Strange

 

The weekend is a many-act play

we’re immersed, we stay

(of course),

actors reacting to sudden cues

a little bruised, confused

wondering how to choose–

pratfalls on the shrinking stage,

soliloquy from the acting sage,

we spout our lines and ramble on

waiting for the denouement

 

We pass in and out

both clueless and without a doubt

stage to stage

filled with joy and filled with rage,

youth to adult

then on to elderly and frail

without fail–

we pass along

we pass in song

we pass through sunshine and shadows–

what will stay and what will follow?

It’s all a mystery,

but before too long

we’ve passed (strange) along, and then we’re gone.

 

In the midst of these farcical days

we pause to see an actual play

through city streets with rainbow flags

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swaying, zig zagging past cars and bikes, we go

wondering, but do not know

when last we three sat this way

(Love like that can’t be measured anyway)

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The play is of a young man coming of age,

there on the stage,

the narrator is the older him,

while he, the youth

tries to find life’s truth

fleeing LA,

passing through European cities

leaving before it all become too real

afraid perhaps of what he’ll feel

passing strange

passing as black,

is there any going back?

We all hide behind our chosen masks

going about our daily tasks

art can save us, or can obscure even more

(we hear this in the clever score)

It’s a wonderful play, we say,

and at the end we clap and sway

thankful to have this balm for our crazy days.

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We walk and talk and drink some wine

 

 

discuss the play, and feeling fine

we talk about my mother,

whose own mother, I find, used to sing

but stopped, when embarrassed,

and it’s strange, in passing

to suddenly hear such things, the past trespassing

in the here and now, and at this age–

yes, the world’s a stage

“Too bad it takes so long to see what you’ve been missing”

 

And so, we leave the warmth for frozen streets

the city marching to a different, syncopated beat

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and we,

well, we’re passing strange

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through our own domains

sometimes the hero, sometimes a supporting role

we see it all

sometimes fall

and fail to reach the unknown goal

(strange)

but journey on

with hope for more laughs than tears

and love to help us with the fears.

we make a wish upon a star

wonder who and where and what we are

then pause. . .

in early morning’s brightening light

the moon gently hums before she fades from sight.

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We saw the revival of the award-winning musical play, Passing Strange, book and lyrics by Stew, Music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald at the Wilma Theater, and we went to Tria Cafe, Washington West, afterward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freedom: Haibun

This is for Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge. Tomorrow is a federal holiday that celebrates the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. Frank has asked us to reflect and write about freedom. Here is MLK’s “I Have a Dream speech.

My grown daughter is visiting. She dances into the kitchen in the morning, and I join in with a song. I’m happy that this is a safe place for her, and that here she feels the freedom to be silly. We both do.

Too many people think freedom means waving a flag and repeating slogans. But greatness does not come from denying others the right to love, to learn, to live without fear of a knock at the door. Freedom generously shares a dream, but requires effort and vigilance. Freedom looks forward in hope, not backwards to repression.

 

dreams hibernating

wait for spring’s awakening

hearts dance in sunshine

 

 

 

 

How to Make Your Workout More Exciting: Haibun

So, this happened today.

I’m at the gym. Sally is going up and down, and we’re moving right along with her. Ab muscles burning; eyes yearning for time to move more quickly. We move on to squats and burpees, until we we’re quite literally saved by the bell. Yes, the fire alarm, a warning alarm with an accompanying light show. The woman who lives in one of those fire boxes tells us to exit, and so we do, though staff members continue to stand around the front desk, and no one seems particularly concerned. After ten minutes or more, a fire truck arrives, and then another. Firefighters stream in, then out again, then back in again. I finally leave without knowing what happened. But I know, Sally will be waiting. Till next time, Sally.

 

exit carefully

in case of emergency

talking with friends helps

 

 

Here’s the song.

The Road Taken and Not: Tanka

This is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for destination and guide.

This is also for Mish’s dVerse prompt to write a poem based on one of Sharon Knight’s wonderful photos.

 

experts give advice–

signposts along bumpy roads

stretch to tomorrow

 

infinite unknown pathways

curve between past and future

 

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“unincorporated” by Sharon Knight, used with permission from https://sunearthsky.com/

Catch a Star

This was inspired by a poem Jane posted and our comments.

 

In the darkness, catch the stars

keep them, hold them, in a jar

with memories of long ago. . .

then on the nights when thoughts are bleakest,

let one go and watch it seek its

dream-mist companions of the light–

watch them floating, soaring high—

to the rhythm of your heartbeats, fly

on intangible wings to empyrean heights

follow fly, and do not stop or wonder why,

but in the darkness, grasp the jar

catch, hold fast, a glimmering star.

 

Anything But Black

ESO’s various observatory sites in Chile — Paranal, La Silla, Chajnantor — boast enviably low levels of light pollution. However, the skies overhead are rarely pitch-black! As shown in this image of Paranal Observatory, the skies regularly display a myriad of colours and astronomical sights, from the plane of the Milky Way shining brightly overhead to the orange-hued speck of Mars (left), the starry constellations of Scorpius and Orion, and the magenta splash of the Carina Nebula (upper middle). Despite the remote location there are also occasional signs of human activity, for example the sequence of lamps seen in the centre of the frame. These faint lights illuminate the route from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) where this image was taken. Due to the highly sensitive camera this photograph also showcases a mysterious phenomenon called airglow. The night sky is ablaze with deep red and eerie green hues, caused by the faint glow of Earth’s atmosphere. Because of airglow, no observatory site on Earth could ever be absolutely, completely dark — although ESO’s do come pretty close. This image was taken by talented astronomer and photographer Yuri Beletsky, a member of the 2016 ESO Fulldome Expedition team. This team visited Chile to gather spectacular images for use in the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre.

 

 

The Moon’s Smile: Haibun

Another moon poem. This time for dVerse, where Victoria writes, “For our Haibun prompt today, I have chosen the Japanese Kigo, Fuyu No Tsuki—winter moon.”

 

On New Year’s Eve, I’m feeling stressed, tired, and soul-weary. From my kitchen window, I see the moon rising in the east. It’s almost as brilliant as the pale winter sun, and the sky around it also glows, sapphire blue. I stop to gaze at her–and spellbound, there’s a pause between worlds. For a brief moment, it’s just the moon and me.

In the glimmer of Christmas lights, we eat homemade pizza, drink ruby-red wine, and binge watch a Netflix show. When I wake on New Year’s Day, the day is bitterly cold and diamond-hard, but there is the moon, now lighting the western sky. She smiles at me, and I understand her presence is a New Year’s gift.

 

Ensorcelling moon–

glowing winter light is grace

smiling in the dark

 

Traveling Under the Moon

Monday Morning Musings:

“Certain thoughts, it seemed had minds of their own; they wandered away from their thinkers and lived wild unchained lives.”

–Victor Lodato, Edgar & Lucy

“Laughter is sunshine; it chases winter from the human face.”

–Victor Hugo

 

the year travels, a winding road

marked with gates,

some for love, some for sorrow, some for hate

the road curves, wanders, and splits,

it doesn’t quit,

but rambles round from season to season–

now winter winds blow

over the quiet that is the snow,

and in the chill, we sit and wait–

await our fate–

the moon shines above, and quietly she hums

as the year travels through love and hate, and what is yet to come

 

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Watching the snow fall

 

I wonder if truth lies buried under layers of ice—

there’s no true wisdom or advice

so, in the cold, we watch movies about love*,

perhaps impossible, or perhaps only kind of

a Cold War fairy tale–

Is she a princess?

Is he a god?

Without speaking, they talk

and dance, and together walk

or do they swim

in this magical world they live within?

And afterward we walk and talk

caught in the magic, forgetting

(it’s cold)

watch the pale sun setting,

sparkling the snow and making the buildings glow,

then at night. . .

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Philadelphia, Old City, 3rd and Chestnut

the moon shines above, and quietly she hums

as the year travels through love and hate, and what is yet to come

 

my thoughts wander on their own

only sometimes making themselves known,

I dream and look lovingly at words

hear them sing like birds

flying high in the sky

and wonder why the bad news won’t stop

wishing and wanting the swamp creatures to go,

to be flushed away, to be buried in the snow,

but still it’s so–

there’s love and laughter, chasing away the blues

and yesterday’s, today’s, tomorrow’s news

while at night. . .

 

the moon shines above, and quietly she hums

as the year travels through love and hate, and what is yet to come

 

We visit my mother and sit,

visit when the day is brightly lit–or grey–

either way, we stay,

repeating comments and stories,

(perhaps they really are allegories)

like the silent princess and the god,

that vanish or rise like sun and moon

too soon to tell

(too soon the doctors say)

one day, she’s fine at noon

then lost, she sings another tune

but still–

the sun rises and sets

and we wait

yet watch the road wandering, never straight

 

and the moon shines above, and quietly she hums

as the year travels through love and hate, and what is yet to come

 

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*We actually saw The Shape of Water a couple of weeks ago. I loved it so much, I told my husband that I would have stayed and watched the whole movie again. You can see the trailer here.

The Warmth in Winter Storms: Haibun

This is a Haibun for Frank’s Haikai challenge on winter storms. On the day of the snow “bomb cyclone,” we only had a few inches of snow, but it was very cold blustery day. In between phone calls about my mom, I made soup and baked.

 

I bolt the door against the raging winter winds. Outside, the snowflakes soar and drift–lost souls looking for a home. They howl and beat against the windows, but I do not let these winter ghosts in. I turn away, seeking warmth and substance, not frosty ephemera. My siblings and I talk on the phone, connected by invisible cords that close the space between us. Once my mom cared for us, now we care for her. I chop onions and sauté them till they turn golden sweet. I think time is frozen, but I realizes it bends, diverted by laughter and memories. My soul is warmed by love; my body warmed and sustained by soup and bread.

 

Ghosts flitter around

soup pots filled with scented thoughts–

memories linger

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