Lights and Life: Quadrille Haibun

First Night of Hanukkah, December 2018

Candles burn, in winter darkness, a miracle of light. The ancient hatred is rising again. Six million and more, but we survive. We clink our glasses lightly, saying not, “Cheers,” but “L’chaim.”

twilight comes early

shadows blanket ground and trees—

light glows in windows

 

De, aka Whimsy Gizmo, has asked us to write a quadrille using some form of the word cheer for dVerse.  I’m also linking to Frank’s Haikai Challenge to write a poem that alludes to Advent or Hanukkah.

I know I wrote about Hanukkah yesterday, and there will probably be more—but you know, it lasts for eight nights. Tonight will be the third night of Hanukkah.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at Fire, Exploring the Cold

 

Leaves crunch underfoot,

above red planet rises–

owl hunts unconcerned

 

Thrusters fire, and a ship lands securely in a sandy crater. Passion burned in the heart of the war god; his namesake is rust-hued, barren, and frigid. But–once water flowed here, and perhaps life flourished, too.

 

We look up, wonder

see fiery stars, and ponder–

elsewhere, sun sets blue

 

117989main_image_feature_347_ys_full  Sunset on Mars

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Texas A&M/Cornell
On May 19, 2005, NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit captured this stunning view as the Sun sank below the rim of Gusev crater on Mars. This Panoramic Camera mosaic was taken around 6:07 in the evening of the rover’s 489th Martian day, or sol.

My poem was inspired by the Mars Insight probe that landed this week. This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday using synonyms for cold and safe.  And for dVerse, where Victoria asked us to write any type of poem using fire.

 

 

 

 

Waiting–Haibun

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I’m sick, my face is broken-out, and my slender body swells large over a period of nine months. Outside snowflakes fall, but I am cocooned inside where there is no time or seasons. Days of labor, and she finally appears, tiny and bald—the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. We’ve waited nearly ten years to have her. Three years later, we’re back at the same hospital, again in the February cold, again the wait to be surprised, to be exhausted and overjoyed. Now we have two daughters. Some things are worth waiting for.

robin trills in hope–

beauty rises from the snow

snowdrop sprouts and blooms

 

This Haibun is for the dVerse Haibun Monday prompt. Imelda is guest-hosting. She has asked us to write about waiting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishes and Dreams

 

I scan the sky for morning light.

 

gaze out to see a falling star

blazing brightly

 

there between the dawn

and indigo night.

I make a wish.

 

 

November sunlight

peeking through the falling leaves—

lights an open book

 

I was inspired by Janice to write a cherita haibun. I’m not quite sure if this works. This is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge using synonyms for pleasant and read.

 

 

 

 

 

Celebration

Monday Morning Musings:

“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

–Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-Four Variations on Voice

 

Once a woman had a fourth child, my younger sister, my friend. Once she turned sixty and decided to throw a party with dancing and drag queens, with dinner, drinks, and dessert. The room sparkled with anticipation. It radiated love. What felt cold at first, grew warm with love winging high and bodies dancing, prancing, and trying to fly. We paid tribute to my sister, and we remembered that despite all the horrible things in the world, love and friendship are things to be cherished and celebrated.

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My sister with Lady E

 

Summer turns to fall

leaves of many colors dance

birds trill, tweet, and soar

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My Girls

We left full and glowing, and after many twists and turns found our way home.

 

Sleep

to dream of the moon

singing languidly above

 

and recall the language

of purple gardens—

stilled—yet not—

 

the smell a crushing ache

as time flies by

sweet with ifs–

 

And so, we sing.

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The Oracle gave me that last part.

Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 11.32.25 AM

 

November 11

I wake to see Venus gleaming as the sky lightens from indigo to azure. The goddess of love beckons and beseeches, but the war god always wins.

 

Morning star rises

heralds the poppy-red dawn–

November morning

 

Senseless wars go on,

honoring in fall parades

stars blaze, flash, and die

 

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Poppy_field_-_Google_Art_Project

Vincent van Gogh, Poppy Field, [Public Domain] Wikipedia

This is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday–Poet’s Choice of Words, and Frank’s Haikai challenge using the prompt, “Armistice.”

 

 

The Move

So, here I am again today. I’m guest hosting at dVerse Poets Pub for Haibun Monday. The pub opens in about an hour. Come join us!

I’m in seventh grade when my parents get divorced, and we move from Dallas, TX, to Havertown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. I’m scared, but I’m also excited. My sisters, mom, and I move from the land of chicken-fried steak and football—where I always felt like an outsider—to a place that feels both foreign and like home. I was born in Philadelphia, as were my parents and siblings. Here my grandfather visits, bringing us lox, cream cheese, and bagels on Sunday mornings. The divorce and resettling without my father living with us is a transition, and it brings many changes, but my father also moves north and remains in our lives. I always feel loved.

Now, I wonder who I would be if we hadn’t moved—though I feel like I’ve always been the same me inside. And though junior high is pretty much universally terrible wherever it is, in ninth grade, I meet a boy. Years later, Reader, I married him.

 

wind blows west and east

summer gales and winter sighs—

acorn sprouts and thrives

 

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The Tree

 

Theresienstadt Tree

Sapling from the Theresienstadt Tree, Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial Plaza

 

I walk through the triangular plaza, this memorial to those known and unknown; those who survived, and those who perished because of hate. It is the little tree I focus on. It’s small but carries a mighty legacy of survival. I think of the children who tended its progenitor with such dedication, knowing that they themselves would most likely perish. I consider those children then, and all the children now fleeing from horror or living in war zones. In the words of a woman who survived hate, who survived a hell, I hear an invocation. “Hate is a terrible thing,” she says. And I think we must never forget: hate only nourishes more hate, but kindness makes both people and trees grow.

 

Ghosts walk among us

whisper through buried ashes

brave saplings rise up

 

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This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. We were to use synonyms for haunt and spell. Yesterday, I walked through the Philadelphia Holocaust Memorial, which was dedicated on Monday.  You can read more about it here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If a Deer Runs in a Forest

It’s just past sunrise when I see him. I wonder why he’s there alone, the little deer. I wonder if he’s one of the twins, I saw lying in the grass a day or two before. His light brown coat blends into the woods so well that I almost missed him. We both stopped walking. His ears twitch, and I see him sniffing the air. I take one step, and he takes one step. Finally—though I want to stay– I walk on, as quietly as I can. I feel like I’m disturbing his peace, though the sight of him has made my day. Later, when I see a group of deer resting together, I wonder if he’s there amongst them, with his family and friends. I wonder if they missed him when he was off on his own, and if they are all happy to be together again.

 

fawn loses his spots,

russet leaves fall to the ground–

time passes unheard

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This is for dVerse’s Haibun Monday, where qbit/Randall is the guest pub tender. He asks us to write about one member or element of a group. So, I guess that little deer made a big impression on me. I’m also linking to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, where it’s open prompt words or “poet’s choice.”

Once

Monday Morning Musings:

“Falling slowly, sing your melody

I’ll sing it loud”

From “Falling Slowly,” Once,

Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová

Once. . . I woke in darkness. Then the sun rose golden through rose-tinged clouds. The air was cool but clear. The world shifted and tilted. Dreams rose from the misted woods.

morning moon whispered

softly, praise touched red-gold leaves

geese honked overhead

Morning Moon

If you look carefully, there’s the morning moon.

chevron rises up

earth cycles, river to land,

the tide ebbs and flows

Geese at Red Bank Battlefield Park, NJ

We take a train into the city. We walk over sun-bright cobblestones, passing tourists who stroll and chat in a variety of languages. We wait on corners as wide city buses try to turn onto narrow streets. We enter a theater. Seats surround a center stage area covered with Oriental rugs. Musicians are playing Irish songs of the past and present. I bop in my seat to “Brown Eyed Girl” and tap my feet to a jig. Last call for the bar. The lights go down, and magic begins.

man meets a woman

music flows, drifts from their souls,

they’re falling slowly

 

together in tune

Dublin days strummed in rhythm–

piano echoes

 

musicians rebound

music from aisles and walkways

crowd smiles and applauds

We walk and talk. Watch the lowering sun shine through cloud-dappled sky. Red bricks glow. In Washington Square, a young girl whispers her secrets to a tree. Does it answer?

music of nature

city sounds form the chorus

we dine al fresco

Again. . .

We dine al fresco

wine and pizza in sunshine

a dog rests in joy

Nightfall comes too soon,

moon rises to hum goodnight—

cats slumber and dream

 

Sleeping Cat

Once. . .September was full of rain. The world was full of anger and sorrow and lies. But once, September ended in a perfect weekend of sunny days and cooler nights–falling slowly into October.

 

We saw the  musical Once at the Arden Theatre Company in Philadelphia. It was a performance full of warmth and spirit, wonderfully staged. Here they are rehearsing “Falling Slowly.