Here is Home: Haibun, NaPoWriMo, Day 12

Here, are two, then three, then four, then two again. Here, atop a settling foundation and slightly slanting floors, are family dinners, friends, love, and tears. Here, the venerable oak tree stands tall, shading and shadowing, though the swing set that stood beside it is long gone–and here, decades-old daffodil bulbs still bloom. Generations of mockingbirds have sung through summer nights perched on the new greenery of aged trees. Here is home, where amidst clutter and dreams, cats gaze from windows–then look within.

 

blooms and snowflakes fall

drift through Earth’s revolutions–

ghosts sing to living

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s NaPoWriMo  prompt was to write a haibun “that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live.”

 

 

 

The Cruelest Month: Tanka, NaPoWriMo, Day 4

To Persephone

daffodils pay bright homage,

echoing the sun,

the golden rays breed passion,

love and hate rise up

 

white buds burst open,

spring no longer a maiden

swells with fruitfulness

till her petals wilt and fall

covering the blood-soaked ground.

 

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napo2018button2.pngThis double tanka is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for grow and honor. This is also for NaNoWriMo. This may or may not fit the prompt.

 

 

 

Faith in Spring: Haibun, NaPoWriMo, Day 3

I walk out into the dark morning. I can’t see him, but I am serenaded by the mockingbird. Soon snow mixes with the plothering rain. But still the daffodils bloom, glowing in the gloomy day. As the rain disappears, the skies lighten, and I notice the grape hyacinths at the side of the driveway. Were they there yesterday? I smile at the sight of the perky purple flowers. I have faith that spring will soon come–and stay—until pushed aside by summer’s heat. Before long, we will stroll through the Azalea Garden at the art museum, dazzled by the pink, coral, and red flowers. Their warm fragrance will scent our memories when the cold returns.

 

birdsong and blossoms

trigger heart’s anamnesis—

dreams becoming truth

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This is for Frank’s Haikai Challenge and dVerse Haibun Monday. –maybe somewhat tangentially for both prompts. I have no associations with the white lily, azaleas don’t bloom here till late spring, and I don’t have religious faith. But for any who are interested, here are some photos of the Azalea Garden at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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Hope Rises and Falls, Like Us All: NaPoWriMo, Day 2

Monday Morning Musings:

“Remember only that I was innocent
and, just like you, mortal on that day,
I, too, had a face marked by rage, by pity and joy,
quite simply, a human face!”

From “Exodus,” by Benjamin Fondane, murdered at Auschwitz in 1944

“But where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.”

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, June 6, 1944, written after Anne hears the news about D Day.

“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty will end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”

Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl, July 15, 1944

 

This Passover—at least at the start,

my husband and I dine alone–

we’re on our own

for this Seder

(apart from the cats,

who join us later).

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It’s been a strange week of that and this

things not quite right, a bit amiss–

the whole afternoon at the doctor for my mother’s hand

in a city office

(the building still grand)

 

I look at my hands

starting to look like my mom’s

when did this change begin of fingers and palms–

these strange hands turned from mine to others

how did they become so much like my mother’s?

 

The weather turns from cool to warm

but still I feel the coming thunder, the storm—

I read about a French woman who survived hate and the camps,

stabbed by her neighbor to whom she showed only kindness–

but he was caught up in blindness

(of the soul)

if that is how we can characterize it all—

this hatred or fear,

we should remember her

not him,

Mireille Knoll,

for whom the bell finally tolled.

 

This climate of fear

seems to grow daily

the president goes on another Twitter rant

and I just can’t–

listen to him (sniff sniff) speak or chant

transplant

fiction in his supporters’ brains

(enough of them still remain)–

where and when does it end,

will it ever stop,

the firing of the latest shot,

the hate, the finding of scapegoats to label

the fear of the intelligent and able?

There’s fear in the air,

but does fear rise above hope?

Which is denser, which one floats?

 

We see a performance, a play

people forced together, every day

having to live in close quarters

annoying each other, parents, strangers, daughters,

dependent upon friends for food—

for everything

never permitted to go out

or glance through a window—or shout–

forced to be silent all day—

even chatterbox Anne must sit still and stay,

but she finds a way,

observing and recording

in her diary she writes,

somehow hope rising above despair

as if she’s gathered it from the air

“Think of beauty,” she writes,

and

“I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Her writing, an art,

though she’s doing her own part

for the war effort, for after, for when life re-starts,

revising her words for the novel she hopes will one day be—

when the war is over—when they’re all free—

We know watching, that it is not to be,

and yet, still, I hope for a different ending,

one that ends without sending

them off in cattle cars to the East

to be treated worse than beasts

to die hungry, filthy, covered with lice,

wonder why she and others had to pay such a price—

would she then have written what she did–

as she slid

as if down a well

from hiding into Hell?

 

We celebrate miracles, the Exodus,

I’m not religious, but the history of us

of pogroms and hate at this time—

the crimes—

make me honor those who came before me

and who were not free

to celebrate or see—

here now–

a day of sun and clouds,

voices talking out loud,

the daffodils in bloom,

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I hope they don’t disappear too soon.

Then a rainbow appears way up high

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It seems magical, and though I’m cynical,

perhaps it is a Passover miracle,

whatever, it’s beautiful, I think,

and so, we eat matzah and drink

(more wine)

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Passover Walnut Cake

and before desert, the full moon appears to hum in the sky–

filling me with wonder and whys

 

The human face,

if we could only see it

instead of looking at a space

feel—seek out!– the pity and the joy

but instead, we destroy.

Fifty years ago, this week, a man was killed

perhaps from him, some hope was spilled

“I have a dream,” he said,

but before long, he was dead.

He urged others onward in the fight

for justice, for light.

Anne Frank, a young girl, also died

her family, too, only her father survived.

she wanted to be remembered, a famous writer

and so, she is, with life gone and so much missed.

I don’t know that our future looks any brighter,

(Do you hear it? The wind carries their cries.)

and yet. . .when I look up at the sky

I still see the stars and moon, and then I sigh,

hoping their dreams will never die.

 

We saw, The Diary of Anne Frank at People’s Light in Malvern, PA. 

This is Na/GloPoWriMo, Day 2.  The prompt was to play with voice, but well, these are my musings.  🙂

 

 

Secret Joys: NaPoWriMo, Day 1

The beauty of the daffodil

after winter’s snow,

the sound of robin’s morning trill

at dawn’s rosy glow–

effable delights, I hold tight

to fight vague evils of the night,

secrets for my heart–

from this truth comes art.

 

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This is day 1 of NaPoWriMo. The Prompt: “Today, we challenge you to write a poem that is based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song and Dance: A Quadrille

Daffodils smile,

dance awhile,

giggle when tickled by the breeze,

tease,

they bask in light,

their faces bright,

listen to the robins sing,

melodies of spring,

flowery laughs join birdsong,

a sing-a-along

till day is gone, all unspun,

the moon rises with a hum

 

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This is for dVerse .  The Quadrille Monday prompt from De Jackson (aka WhimsyGizmo) is “giggle.” (Doesn’t the word giggle make you giggle?) This photo is from a few years ago. Our daffodils haven’t bloomed yet, but they are starting to come up. They make me happy. A quadrille is a poem of 44 words; it is also a dance.

 

 

 

Daffodils and the Rebirth of Spring

“But as we went along there were more and yet more [daffodils] and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing.”

–Dorothy Wordsworth, Grasmere Journal, April 15, 1802

Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth: The Alfoxden Journal 1798, The Grasmere Journals 1800-1803, ed. Mary Moorman (New York: Oxford UP, 1971), 109-110.

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I think winter has finally been banished from South Jersey. The snow and the sleet and the grey skies are gone. Just before dawn each day, I now hear a choir of birds. I don’t know what type of birds they are, but I know I did not hear them during the winter months, which seemed this year to last forever. But now daffodils are blooming everywhere. I love daffodils. At the start of spring, just after the shy crocuses and snowbells peek out from the still frost-tipped ground, the daffodils appear, beautiful and confident. They do seem to exude joy and laughter, or perhaps seeing them simply makes me happy. Dorothy Wordsworth’s wonderfully evocative passage above describes the “host” of “golden daffodils” that her more famous brother William later wrote of in his famous poem, “Daffodils.” She describes the daffodils as dancing; he expresses the pleasure of thinking about them later, a thought that makes his heart “dance”:

“And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”

But Dorothy and William both express the way I feel: the daffodils dance, and they make my heart dance.

Tulips will begin to bloom soon. They were exotic flowers to the Europeans who encountered them in the sixteenth century. The Turks cultivated tulips as early as 1000 CE, but tulips spread throughout the Ottoman Empire over the centuries. As Europeans traveled and explored more widely in the sixteenth-century in the search for gold, knowledge, and adventure, they came across the exotic blooms. This period of European exploration also coincided with an interest in botany (and other sciences). Botanical drawings of tulips spread throughout Europe and sparked great interest. In Holland, Carolus Clusius, the head of the first botanical garden there, obtained some tulip bulbs from a connection to the Ottoman Empire. By 1594, he had tulips blooming in the Netherlands. Tulips began to be cultivated elsewhere in Holland, but they were still rare and exotic. Before long, they were being traded, and a financial tulip-trading market appeared. Traders and speculators went crazy. In 1624, one type of rare tulip bulb was selling for what would now be over $1000; some went for even more. The financial bubble became known as “Tulipomania,” and eventually the bubble burst in 1637.

            Tulips, though undeniably beautiful, seem a bit haughty to me. If tulips and daffodils were Downton Abbey characters, tulips would have the personality of Maggie Smith’s character, Violet Crawley the Dowager Countess of Grantham. Daffodils are more like the free-spirited Lady Sybil, who is also beautiful, kind, and loved by all.

Spring is the season of rebirth. Both Passover and Easter celebrate this theme. Birth and death; the cycles of nature, the cycles of life. The spring flowers that appear in bright shades of yellow, pink, blue, and red, chase the gray of winter cold and gloom away, and we can rejoice. And dance– especially after all that Passover Seder wine. By the time, my family gathers for our Passover Seder, the daffodils at our house probably will have faded and their blooms vanished. But that’s OK. Because I know that next year, along with the birds of spring, the daffodils will return to brighten my thoughts and my days after the long, cold winter.

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