Echoes from the Before Time: Haibun

 

I wait in the garden watching the bees flit among the roses. Their somnolent buzzing is soothing, the music of the universe echoed. Once this sun-glimmered garden, this gold-gilded life, seemed alluring. But now I realize it’s an artificial oasis. Outside the Perimeter, life is harsh and chaotic. Children and dogs scuffle over scraps. I think back over the past few years and to what brought me here. I thought it a refuge. I was attracted to his power, mistaking it for strength of character. But there is no strength, only cunning; he will do their bidding, do whatever he needs to do to survive. I am the plucked flower tossed as tribute. He has given me to Them, a bribe for his safety. I hear them now, hear their fists pounding on the door. The bees have stopped buzzing; the sun hides behind a cloud, but I hear a robin sing.

 

Before time and wars

the sun sang and the moon hummed

songs still echoing

 

in buzz, chirp, and ocean waves

hear music of the cosmos

 

By Sir Edward Burne-Jones (died 1898) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

This is a Haibun for Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were power and allure.

 

 

 

The Letter

I open the letter, read the words again and again. But they don’t change. They recount the battle and your acts of bravery. They describe the sudden storm, a tempest that battered your ship against the rocks, as you were journeying home to me. I had warned you not to go. I told you of my dream, where the storm clouds gathered and flew like demons, covering the moon, and you appeared beside me, cold and still, dripping, smelling of the sea, smelling of decay. I felt the pain then, clean and sharp in my breast. You laughed at my fears, called me Cassandra. Perhaps I am, for you did not believe me. I look at the ring on my finger and think of this other love-pledge you have given me, feel him flutter-kick in my womb. A son. He’ll be born in the spring. I will tell him about you.

 

ghosts drift in moonlight

clouds obscure the pale glowing

drops like silver tears

Vermeer,_Johannes_-_Woman_reading_a_letter_-_ca._1662-1663

Johannes Vermeer, “Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words were clean and sharp. I’ve also used  this week’s Secret Keeper’s  prompt.  The words: | OPEN| ROCK| RING | ACT | LETTER |

Jane Dougherty used the Vermeer image above for a post this week, also using Secret Keeper’s Words.  I like it so much, that I decided to steal use it, too. The painting is carefully constructed and illuminated, of course, but I also like the literacy of the woman that is portrayed as unexceptional. Also, though it is most likely the fashion, the woman in the painting does look pregnant.

 

 

 

 

 

A Barricade, a Bear, and an Egg

We’re headed to my in-laws’ house, or perhaps the Jersey shore. A family road trip. My husband is at the wheel; our daughters in the back seat. They hold their beloved stuffed animals on their laps. There are no headphones or cell phones. In our future, when they’re older, there will be both. I’ll tune the radio to NPR. We’ll hear the election news or listen to an interview with actor Dev Patel. But here, now, I put a CD into the dashboard slot. The prologue begins, “Look down, look down, don’t look ‘em in the eye.” My husband would be happy never to hear Les Misérables again, but I don’t mind hearing it for the 200th time. Our daughters sing along. Correction. Humpty and Ahh Bear sing along. Aah Bear sings Éponine’s part and sobs with loud bear sobs when she dies. There is no barricade here in the car, but I see it nonetheless. Imagination is powerful, powerful enough to let me hear stuffed animals sing and make the tears of a teddy bear real.

 

Just one performance

life, replayed in memory,

paused and played again

 

 

 

I seem to be stuck on musicals, though that’s nothing new!  This is a haibun for dVerse. We were asked to write about singing along with music on a drive. You can listen to “A Little Fall of Rain” here. (Unfortunately, not the Humpty and Ahh Bear version.)

 

 

Ghost in a City of Ruins: NaPoWriMo

I go through the motions of living, looking for food. We’ve been at war for—I don’t know how long. I don’t remember how The War started. I don’t remember why. I go through the motions, pretend I’m still alive, but I’m hollow and crumbling like the buildings around me. Once I was young and pretty; I loved and was loved. But it does no good to remember. There is only The War now. The bombing starts again, and I run for shelter. The instinct to live is strong. The barrage goes on all night. Boom, thud, crash. Boom, thud, crash, scream. As the sun peeks over the horizon, shyly as if wondering if it should stay, I crawl from my shelter. The bright glow illuminates the destruction of my world. I am a ghost in a city of ruins.

 

In the peace of dawn

rivulets flow, salty tears,

a sea of sorrow

coursing through ruins, blood-red

flowers float amidst rubble

 

I wake. A woman is treating my wounds. She takes my hand and leads me to others. There is food. There is water. I hear a sound, wonder what it is. A child’s giggle. Slowly—I’ve almost forgotten how—slowly, I smile.

 

Hope watered with tears

a seed nurtured with kindness

a hardened heart smiles

 

This is Day 27, NaPoWriMo.   This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were “peace” and “tear.”

I didn’t want this poem to be of any particular time and place, but yesterday, I heard a story on NPR about a woman who is one of the “White Helmets” in Syria.  I also thought of Fred Roger’s oft-repeated line “to look for the helpers.”

 

 

Following the Rules: NaPoWriMo

 

Every year we’re given the cards to fill out. There are boxes to check, the numbers 1, 2, or 3. In case of disaster, we will either stay at school, be taken to some central location, or our parents will come for us. My mother doesn’t take it seriously. She randomly checks one box or another. But I am a child, and I want my mom. I’m scared my family will be separated. In my sleep, I overhear news about brinkmanship and missiles in Cuba, the Iron Curtain and freedom. In my sleep, I hear my parents argue, hear the word divorce. Dreamworlds and destruction. But I am awake. I am a good child. I calmly kneel with the other children on the linoleum, dusty with playground dirt and tossed-away dreams. Our heads rest against the lockers in the hallway of this Dallas elementary school. No one ever voices the thought: if the bombs are dropped, there will be no escape. We do as we’re told, trusting the adults around us and following the rules. I am a good child. I slowly and carefully tug my dress down so my underwear does not show.

 

Mushroom clouds unfurl

in the desert, blooms of death,

poisonous beauty

warn us, still we play again,

still we keep score, game, set, match

 

 

This is Day 20 of NaPoWriMo. I covered several prompts here. Though it’s not really about games or sports, my haibun does include a sports reference. (Gasps from all who know me.)

This haibun is also for dVerse, Haibun Monday (a few days late) where the prompt was to write about a fear we’ve experienced. And I’ve managed to include all of Secret Keeper’s words in this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Score/Sleep/Free/Calm/Escape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time Paradox: NaPoWriMo

 

The portal door opens, and I am here. Before. I look out at this beautiful sun-splashed world. What did they do to it, this planet they called Earth? There is magic here in this moment. I feel it in the sun-steamed breeze. I taste it in the flower-blossomed air. I close my eyes and make a wish. Hoping it works better this time, I spread my wings, pause for one more second to watch the iridescent feathers gleam in the sunlight. Then, I take flight to make first contact—again.

paradox of time,

space bending, moments flowing,

slip-rippling along

ends become beginning points

with magic, wishes, and hope

 

Today is Day 19 of NaPoWriMo. The prompt was to write a creation myth. I suppose this haibun is a sort of re-creation myth, based on some microfiction I wrote a while ago. It’s also possible that I had time paradoxes on my mind from watching an episode of Star Trek: Voyager a few nights ago.

This haibun is also for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words for her birthday week are wish and magic, and I wish her heaps of birthday magic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocks, Rivers, and Stars: NaPoWriMo

 

 

IMG_4251

Delaware River, National Park, NJ 

I stand at the river and watch the small waves break against the rocks, feel the ancient tidal rhythm. Hear its’ call. You dwelled here once, it says. I pick up a stone from the beach, rolling it about in my hand. Its’ hard surface is worn smooth by the water that has kissed it softly, repeatedly over time. Created thousands of years ago by heat, water, and air, this stone has journeyed along the river, till I, born of heat, too, and composed of water and minerals, worn by time, softened by kisses, pick it up.

 

World born in fire,

stellar dust swirls, drifts, and falls,

carried in our genes

speckles of cosmic magic

in my eyes gazing at you

 

This is Day 14 of NaPoWriMo. I’m off prompt today. I’ve written a haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge instead. The prompt words were hard and soft.

 

 

 

 

River to the Stars: #Haibun

 

 

I paddle slowly. The river wanders like my thoughts, meandering, unhurried. The water forms patterns, sparkling ribbons that dance with the breeze’s soft kiss. The breeze smells of earth, water, and of greenery sprouting and blooming, the scent of life and promise. I watch a great egret perform a sun salutation. A turtle on a moving branch floats by, a surfer hanging ten. I see fish swimming just beneath the glimmering surface of the water. Their silver scales catch the light, as they twirl in an aquatic ballet. This river has been my place of dreams, my place for dreaming. I say goodbye.

 

The blue planet fades

soon only a memory

carried in my heart

adrift, sailing through star seas

scarcely feeling the shockwaves

 

I am in a tiny vessel hurtling through the vast universe. I am sad and scared–but filled with wonder. Though I think of Earth, remember the sun-glowed river, it is like a dream. The stars call to me. I’ve awakened, and I listen.

 

the_blue_marble

This is my first attempt at a haibun. Colleen Chesebro provides an outstanding explanation of the form, if you are interested.  The prompt words were  earth and water.