I seldom write haiku, so I’m honored to have had this one chosen by Freya for her Leaf series.
I seldom write haiku, so I’m honored to have had this one chosen by Freya for her Leaf series.
Viktar Smataŭ , “Farewell,” [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
He was gone / She watched his ship vanish, incandescent
No trace left/ gone, an unmarked path to undiscovered territory
A journey of miles / a journey of years
Across indigo seas, uncharted / amidst radiant spheres, unknown
Would she ever see his smile? / would she hear his voice again?
She felt no sense of wonder for his voyage/ she felt only fear and regret
As she bid him farewell / as she watched the trail of light in the sky disappear
This is a cleave poem (the left side is one poem, the right side is another, and both parts form a third poem. This is for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The prompt words were:
By NASA, Space Shuttle Atlantis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
User: (WT-shared) 耕太郎 at wts wikivoyage [CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Henry: “If you look across the desert, the earth takes on the appearance of the sea. You think you’re standing upon a rock that rises from solid ground only to discover that you’re standing on an island in the middle of the ocean. And you don’t know if you’re looking back into the past or into the future. Water covered this earth and water will cover it again and the days that man walked here will prove just a moment in time.”
–Andrew Bovell, When the Rain Stops Falling
The here and now,
from the past
Back and forth,
each moment lost
before it registers.
is already gone.
The play begins with rain falling on the stage,
a fish falls from the sky
and a man picks it up.
It will be his lunch,
lunch with the son he has not seen in many years.
The man had heard rumors that fish still existed
not totally extinct,
fish do not normally drop from the sky
life is full of unusual moments
and strange coincidences.
Patterns are repeated
fractals, the Fibonacci numbers, golden spirals,
tessellations, waves, and ripples,
ripples of time
the shape, the color of an eye
You look just like your grandfather,
your mother, your sister—
fathers leaving sons
And so might words also be repeated,
particular phrases also carry through time?
In the play,
they eat fish soup
in different times and places.
I think of the fish soup
I made for my husband, for me.
Mine, unlike the one in the play,
was made without heads,
but with plenty of vegetables.
More of a stew, actually,
It was a few weeks ago,
do you remember?
It was delicious,
and we ate it for a couple of days,
enjoying each spoonful
till it was gone,
in the past,
Yet there is a photograph,
posted on social media sites–
the moment frozen in time
lasting through eternity.
I have a dream.
my mother is younger
her hair still dark brown,
and she is going to work.
She leaves through a front door,
and my cat,
a cat who is my constant companion now,
in the here and now,
goes out the door, too.
but he does not run away.
I scoop him back into the house,
where I play the piano,
I tell my sister,
or is it one of my daughters,
(the generations mix and blur)
it’s the theme song I remember,
but it is a Bach minuet.
I can’t actually remember when my mother was a young girl.
I wasn’t born.
Does she remember it,
youth, I mean?
I see her in a photograph–
that moment frozen.
That moment then
is here now for me to see.
But as I look, my thoughts move on
to the future,
even as I regard the past.
When we watch a play,
or a movie,
when we read a book,
we are there,
while being here.
Is this a paradox of human existence?
The here and now,
the past, present, future
time and place co-existing in our minds?
And in the play
it is raining,
raining for days,
and sometimes it seems,
it seems as though the rain will never stop falling.
But it does,
and we walk out of the theater
and the clouds are gone.
The sun is shining
as it has through the past
and will continue to do
for some time, I hope.
when I am no longer here.
here and now,
it is shining brightly
illuminating the darkness,
chasing the shadows away.
We saw When the Rain Stops Falling by Andrew Bovell
At the Wilma Theatre in Philadelphia. I enjoyed it very much, an intriguing play with characters from periods of time between 1959 and 2039, in London and Australia, sometimes on the stage at the same time. The all share a connection.
There is relationship between the family saga and the Anthropocene. It’s possible that I said to my husband, “I love plays that come with further reading.” And that he laughed and said, “I know you do.” There is an interview with the playwright on the Wilma Theater’s web site.
Freya Pickard is launching her e-book today. It is a book of poetry that explores her “journey through cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy.” She wants to bring hope through her personal journey.
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Olav Johan Andreassen, via Wikimedia Commons
Stefan Danielsen prided himself on his investigative skills and objectivity, and those skills had won him acclaim as a journalist. So here he was, huddled behind a rock– because he had been intrigued by the rumors he’d heard about this remote Norwegian lake. Now he wondered why he was wasting his time. Of course, there was nothing here.
God, it was cold. Winter came early this far north. He wondered if he could risk lighting a cigarette.
An icy touch on the back of his neck. Get a grip, Danielsen, he thought to himself. It’s the wind.
He thought he heard music, a tune in a minor key. It seemed both familiar and unknown. Don’t be ridiculous, he told himself. It’s just the wind.
Wait till I tell Ove about this. He imagined how Ove, his little brother, would tease him for being frightened by shadows and wind.
It was close to midnight. He rubbed his eyes, blinked, as silhouetted figures appeared on the shore; men and women dancing slowly to that minor tune. Yes, the same music he thought he had heard earlier.
Who were they? He fumbled for his camera, as the tempo of the music increased, and the dancers twirled faster and faster. They called to him, their siren voices somehow inside his head, drawing him in.
Spellbound, powerless, his body floated toward the circle. The Cimmerian figures held him, crooning, as they gyrated for seconds, minutes, hours. Time no longer had any meaning. His body was an empty shell. It would be found on the beach in the morning. His spirit, however, it would dance on that shore every night, in a circle, forever.
This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Writing Challenge. The prompt was the painting above.
*Image of ”’Joan of Arc”’ *Painted between 1450 and 1500 *Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
She was set
battle never easy
dungeon & hard space
light and joy completed
Hosted by Elusive Trope at Specks and Fragments
“but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”
–Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird
No harm was done
Walk and talk,
Tic Tac talk
(and looming walk),
no deep thought,
(just locker room talk),
boys will be boys talk,
(that’s what they say),
but they might stare,
so best beware,
take some care,
(though it’s just talk).
(incite some action).
(from small hands)
(from small minds),
Dog whistles and gas lighting,
talk’s just talk
(even if it’s frightening).
But if it prevails
(the repulsive talk,
the racist squawks
the bully stalk)
It’s all our loss,
(It’s not just talk.)
This poem is for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge.
The prompt words are: Harm/Deep/Act/Stare/Loss
And here’s the kind of “walk and talk” I like. With a president I like. Vote!
Antoš Frolka [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Gerda clutched the bill-of-sale in her hand, glancing with smug satisfaction at Rose Zukerman’s amethyst ring that now sat tightly on her own fleshy finger. Franz had purchased it for her, along with the Zuckerman’s house. Gerda had always coveted that elegant townhouse with the piano (that she couldn’t play), the many books (that she would never read), and the china (that would end up broken).
They had gone to the Zuckerman’s early this morning, even though it was a Sunday. Gerda was afraid that some well-connected Party official would get the house first. They’d offered Dr. Zuckerman a fair price. Better than being thrown out, she had sniffed, when the doctor had hesitated at the offer, a sum that was far below what the house and its contents were worth.
Dr. Zuckerman was no longer allowed to treat Aryans, and most of his Jewish patients could not pay him. He could not afford to live in this splendid house, even if he was permitted to stay in it. Gerda chose to forget Dr. Zukerman’s gentle kindness. She chose to forget how he had traveled in a blizzard to treat Franz for pneumonia. Gerda brushed aside the thought that now their medical care would come from Dr. Höss with his trembling fingers and schnapps-scented breath.
I’m not a monster, Gerda thought. We’re giving them the day to pack up some personal items and food. The image of the two little Zuckerman girls with their honey-colored curls who had clung to their mother’s skirt stayed in her mind; she wondered where the family would go. Well, it’s not my concern. They’ll be with their own kind.
She understood that the hook-nosed caricatures of street posters bore no resemblance to the educated, cultured Zuckermans. But still she thought with pride that now true Germans would get their due. The Führer would make Germany great again.
She urged Franz along. She didn’t want to be late to church. She wanted to pray to God for their continued good fortune.
This is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge , but I’ve gone over the word limit. The prompt was the painting above by Antoš Frolka of a couple going to church.
“I’ve never had a way with women, but the hills of Iowa make me wish that I could”
Dar Williams, “Iowa”
“We are not lost in the mortal city.”
–Dar Williams, “Mortal City”
“We both know what memories can bring
They bring diamonds and rust.”
–Joan Baez, “Diamonds and Rust”
“This shirt is just an old faded piece of cotton
Shining like the memories
Inside those silver buttons.”
–Mary Chapin Carpenter, “This Shirt”
I don’t go to concerts very often,
but this weekend, there were two.
strong women, with beautiful voices
their voices shined and stirred memories,
diamonds and rust.
My daughter and I went to see Dar Williams,
her husband drove us through the puddled night,
the city lights glowed through the mist,
reflected on the streets of the mortal city,
but we were not lost.
And we ordered food and wine
sharing platters and talking
of friends, family
(her sister would have loved to have been with us)
of TV shows, of her house-to-be
a special momma-daughter night
I remember when I first heard Dar Williams,
I was driving home from teaching a night class,
listening to Philadelphia station, WXPN,
hearing “When I Was a Boy,”
and I thought,
Who is this woman?
I have to find this album
And I did
sharing with daughters
(young voices of strong girls)
who sang along, even not quite understanding the words
until they grew older,
And now here we are, one of them with me at a concert
in this mortal city
It is a wonderful concert
And she is generous to others
Sharing the time with local author, Liz Moore
Who reads from her latest novel, The Unseen World
And joins Dar on the chorus of “Iowa”
And for several hours we
forget about the candidate who never had a way with women
(Voices of women will be heard.)
In between concerts
my husband and I get a visit from our daughters’ friend,
our older daughter’s friend since kindergarten,
younger daughter was the little sister she never had.
I watched them all grow up together.
(Diamond memories, comfortable like an old shirt)
She had messaged me,
she was coming home and had been dreaming of my cookies,
the cookies we call “Mommy Cookies” in my house,
she wondered if there might be some this weekend,
And I said I could make it happen.
How could I not?
So she stopped by and picked up the cookies,
enough for her boyfriend to try one.
She says she likes where they live,
a people’s republic in Maryland
the town will take in refugees
(voice of the people).
She’s a strong woman,
like my daughters
all working to make this world a better place.
So then that night
(Sunday, if you’re keeping track)
my husband and I drive back into the mortal city
we see the rainbow flags and signs
of the Outfest celebration in the Gayborhood
(Voices of love, is love, is love, is love is love is love
is love is love)
And though the rain has finally stopped
it is cool and windy,
We eat at a bar–
my husband laughs when I say,
“It is a good night to eat in a dark bar.”
He picks a beer to drink
I order wine
We both have the Belgian frites
And we sit and talk before walking to the Academy of Music
(I’ve never sung in such a beautiful hall before,” Mary Chapin Carpenter says.)
and it is beautiful
and she sings,
and her voice is beautiful and strong.
(I remember, diamond memories, of my daughters
singing along to “Passionate Kisses”)
She reveals a bit of hero worship for both Lucinda Williams
and Joan Baez
who then comes out on the stage,
elegant and strong at 75,
with that voice
that distinctive soprano vibrato
(Who doesn’t worship her?)
She begins with a folk song
alone on the stage
the way she probably sang at the start of her career,
and she sings her way through the years
(memories of diamonds and rust)
and she sings alone
and she sing with others
all strong, beautiful voices,
and despite claiming she is tired and her feet hurt,
she sings several encore songs
because we need this song,
and “The Boxer,”
another song of another mortal city
as we hear what we want to hear
and disregard the rest.
She ends with “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”
wanting it to carry us all home,
she sings with a laugh and says “Good night.”
In the car
(traveling home from the mortal city)
I read the texts from my daughter
(a strong woman with the voice of an angel)
She has filled me in on the debate.
I turn on NPR,
I hear a strong woman
and I hear the other voice
that I hope will fade like rust
leaving only a slight orange stain
We know what memories can bring,
diamonds and rust.
The oracle first gave me this poem, a contemplation of life and love. The bottom seems to be cut off in the screen shot. I copied it first, just in case. Perhaps the oracle thought that was a better ending.
Sweet Water Song
Ask an ancient river
whither come love
between moss or spring bloom
a color bright
& moon over rock
it is here
follow sweet water song
and gentle breezes
to ask why
Then this one came from the leftover words.
Look Out! They’re Here
as cold brown blanket
rose above him
Life who were
Wander this world nightly
Both poems are for Elusive Trope’s Magnetic Poetry Saturday Challenge. I think they illustrate our dual natures. I watch Masterpiece Theatre and The Walking Dead.
Everyone is welcome to play along on Magnetic Poetry Saturday. See the links on Mr. Trope’s page on his blog, Specks and Fragments.