The Muse: Haibun

I am dreaming. I stand on a beach in a wild and beautiful land. There is a woman there with burnished skin, like cherry wood, polished and glowing. She’s clothed in a gown of flowers–red, yellow, and white buds that seem to open and bloom before my eyes. As she walks, the air around her parts in song. I hear it, carried on a breeze scented by the sea and tropical blossoms. The sun shines above me, but casts no shadows. I think time has stopped, or perhaps it has no meaning in this place. The woman approaches a doorway at the edge of sand and jungle. Smiling, she turns and gestures for me to follow. I calmly take a step—then wake–but I remember.

infinite doorway

from dream-time the muse beckons

in vision of light

indigo night turns rosy

dawn trailing whispered secrets

 

512px-'Waikiki_Beach_in_Sunlight'_by_D._Howard_Hitchcock,_1896

D. Howard Hitchcock, “Waikiki Beach in Sunlight,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is for Colleen Chesebro’s Poetry Challenge. The prompt words are calm and wild.

I wrote a poem in my dreams about a week ago. When I woke, I couldn’t remember it. All I remembered was one of my daughters writing about the poem, “OMG, OMG—that poem!” (My subconscious gives me pep talks.) And I had an image of a woman, Caribbean perhaps, dressed in a brightly flowered dress.

I am still crazy-busy writing a final entry for another one that didn’t come through from a contributor. I apologize for being so behind in reading so many wonderful posts and missing challenges and prompts. I’m trying to catch up as I can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Harbor: Haibun

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

–from Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus”

 

Our ship is stalled in the harbor–the weather, customs duties, bribes to officials—who knows why? We live in suspended time in a liminal space—on a ship, but not at sea; people who have left their homes, but who have not found a new one, refugees. I worry about leaving—perhaps it would not be so bad to stay? But it is too late, we are sailing. Weeks seem like months, as my stomach rolls and heaves with the ship, till at last we arrive. We are weary, but grateful for our new home, a small room in the house of distant kin. At night, we walk to the beach to escape the heat of the day. My sister’s face mirrors my own—relief that the journey is over, sadness that we may never see our parents again, and joy that we are safe. We dance on the sand under a moonlit sky.

 

Faults in men, not stars

lighting a sea-crossed journey

freedom has a price–

beckoning with torch raised high,

the beacon separates, too

 

Winslow_Homer_-_Summer_Night_(1890)

 

This is for Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Poetry Challenge.  The prompt words were mirror and harbor. I remember my grandfather telling me about when he was a boy, after he, his mother, and his sister left Kiev, their ship was stuck in Trieste. I don’t know why or how they got there. Trieste was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. I mentioned him in a previous post called Feast of the Immigrant. 

And here’s the Hamilton mix tape based on the line from the show, “Immigrants, we get the job done.”

 

 

Summer Storm: Haibun

From a dream world I’m summoned back, awakened by a boom and a crash. A flash of light illuminates the room through the window shades. My cat rises, ears up, but he remains by my side. Seeking comfort or giving it? Lovely petrichor drifts in through the windows left open from the summer day. Then boom, crash, flash, and the rain comes down in a rushing torrent, like a waterfall from the sky. I listen to it, feeling like the world below me might flood, and my bed become a ship that sails me, not into dreams, but into a murky river. I lie there in the dark, counting “one Mississippi, two Mississippi” each time the thunder roars. Finally, it is over, and I sleep, dreaming of oceans and sandy beaches. I wake to the mockingbird’s song, and a day that is washed clean. Hope sparkles in the morning sun.

 

Spirits rage at night

crash and bang till washed away

in wonder, joy reigns

 

Nikolay_Dubovskoy_Raduga

Nikolay Nikanorovich Dubovskoy [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is late entry for for dVerse. 

I guess it’s a summer memory now, since it happened a couple of days ago. 🙂

 

The Violin: Haibun

I awaken in a clean bed, my curls still soap-and-water-damp, but no longer tangled with tears and sweat. Kind people have taken me in–giving me a home and a violin to replace the one Papa gave me years ago. The one the soldiers smashed. It is old, this violin, and as I cradle it under my chin, I wonder what secrets it carries beneath its varnished surface, what tunes lie buried within the fine wood. I look out the window to see the stars, fairy lights that twinkle and beckon in the dark. I quietly hum an old folk tune, the motif of the piece I’m writing, blending old and new–a continuous and repeated theme, as in life, a melody of sorrow and hope. And now, from my window, I see the dawn– pink, orange, and red wings feather-brushed across the sky above the golden sun. The day is bright with magic and possibility. I am ready to greet it.

 

The strings laugh and cry,

sing music of many souls

through light and dark clouds

life twinkles brightly, then blinks

to fly through space, dance through time

 

512px-Lorenzo_Lippi_001

Lorenzo Lippi, “Allegorie der Musik” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words were fairy and magic. She is celebrated fairies and the summer solstice this weekend. Go visit her!

 

Star Spirit: Haibun

 

I am born with the stars, but I have always been. From a shadow world and through a smoky veil, I emerge, a shimmering spirit. A bang, a flash, and the universe expands, pitch-black, but filigreed with radiance. I skim the waves of space and time and dance to the humming music of the cosmos. Wherever I go, I leave a glow, light in the darkness. I travel in loops and streams, in and out of umbras, always and forever. See me, that flicker in the night sky–there and gone.

 

star spirit shimmers

darting, dancing joyfully

gilding the darkness

circling round suns, moons, and stars,

constant, timeless, eternal

 

512px-Karl_Schweninger_(attr)_Morgenstern

Attributed to Carl Schweninger der Jüngere, “Morgenstern,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This haibun is for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge.  The prompt words were smoke and veil.

 

 

The Selkie’s Lament: Haibun

In the wild water I thrive. I remember this. When I rise from the cold deep, the waves rock and cradle me. At dawn, the grey northern sea turns to fire. When darkness comes, the moon silvers the water, and I watch the stars twinkle and drift across the sky. I didn’t know how happy I was then, watching the days pass in light and shadow across the ocean. My brothers, sisters, and I danced our sleek bodies amidst the waves, laughing and singing our ancient songs. But I had glimpsed you from afar, and I was curious. When the summer sun lingered long and languid, I swam to the shallows, then walked ashore, my human form dripping dulse and smelling of brine. Love, I thought, but possession I became. And now— my true skin gone–I am marooned here, grounded, the sea forsworn forever more. And yet still it calls to me—come! Oh, my brothers and sisters–do you know my sadness? Do you hear my cries?

 

Tears under moon-glow

fall, drift, mingle with the sea

carried with the tides

 

Guillermo_Gómez_Gil_-_Salida_de_la_luna (1)

Guillermo Gómez Gil, “Moonrise,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

This is a haibun for Colleen Chesebro’s  Weekly Poetry Challenge. The prompt words were happy and sad. Sometimes my inner romantic pours out in a brain-tide. 😉

 

 

Survivor: Sun and Moon

I was a carefree child who played in the warmth of the sun. But her glow and mine have dimmed. At night, after he has finished with me, the moon sends her light to comfort me. Cold comfort. Still, she guides me now, lighting a pearlescent path for me, tangled and silver like the scars that trace my body, but leading me to freedom. I’ve killed him, and though he took my innocence, he can no longer hurt me. My past, present, and future merge—who I was and who I will become. I am broken, but not destroyed. One day, I may glow again, like the sun.

 

The moon saw sorrow

her tears, silver waves of hope

to light the darkness

 

"Rising Moon," John Constable, c. 1810

Credit Line: John G. Johnson Collection, 1917 Philadelphia Museum of Art

This haibun is a late entry for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. The prompt words were past and future. Some of you know I’m working on two reference books on rape. So, this. Now back to work for me!

According to the UN Women web site,  worldwide, 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence, most often from an intimate partner.

 

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.)