Birthday Wishes: Haibun

I think of my dad today and how he admired Tony Hillerman’s novels, mysteries involving the Navajo Tribal Police. Once he wrote Mr. Hillerman a letter and received a gracious reply. It’s been twenty years now since my father died. He’d be ninety-nine today—perhaps he’d have new favorite books and authors. He was a man filled with passion—for food, women, art, history–and for his children and grandchildren. He thought we were the best and brightest, no question. Though he expected all to wait upon him–courtiers of the court of Lee–yet—he was generous with love, presents, and hundreds of restaurant meals. He was always proud of me and assigned my first book to his history classes. (Sorry). I wish my dad was still here to read my words. I love you, Dad. I miss you.

 

yellow-green stems grow

vivid blooms in summer’s heat—

then red-gold leaves fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is for open link night at dVerse, where Lillian is hosting. I’ve given a nod to National Book Lovers Day in my Haibun.

 

 

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Awkward Fantasy and Ghosts

Monday Morning Musings:

“We have grown to trust blindly in our senses of balance and reason, and I can see where the mind might fight wildly to preserve its own familiar stable patterns against all evidence that it was leaning sideways.”

–Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

The weather has been erratic. Storms followed by sunshine, but always hot, only the level of humidity changes. The volatile, vacillating moods are echoed in the movie we see about a woman with an abusive husband and their custody battle. Neither child wants to see the father, but the daughter, who is almost eighteen, doesn’t have to. It’s the ten-year-old son, Julian, who must submit to visiting his father in this movie that becomes an intense thriller, rather than a legal drama. After the movie, we walk through Old City, where ghosts still walk, flitting through gates to hover over flowers, and drift over the cobblestone streets.

 

Sun-chased charcoal clouds

tumble through the evening sky

bright blooms smile hello

Summer in Old City, Philadelphia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We sip wine another night as the sky changes once again—blue turning grey. But we stay.

Wine glasses turn red,

echoes of the summer blooms

coloring the gloom

 

William Heritage Winery, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We travel to the New Jersey Fringe Festival in Hammonton, NJ—“Blueberry Capital of the World.” We see three short plays, funny, touching, strange. (It is fringe after all.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer festivals

walk through human emotion,

taste laughter and tears

We see a play about two fantasy worlds colliding,

sliding together

the man who lives in a porno world

meets a woman

then hurled

into her action hero world.

We thought the script could be tightened,

some excised, some enlightened,

but it was silly fun—and we’d only just begun

 

when off to the next one

about a man with two cartoon character names

and a most awkward life,

not so much filled with strife,

rather loneliness and seeking to connect

(even when his house is wrecked)

it’s whimsical, with ukulele and narration

and women who give him quite an education

in their multiple roles in his life, unlucky as it is

somehow, we see some hope at the end in his.

 

We pause to shop and eat gelato

 

NJ Fringe Festival,
Hammonton, NJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

walk through the flow, and then go

onto the next play

stay there in the small, hot basement room

listen to the man, the actor, speak,

we jump at every creak

we’ve seen him before

(someone opens the door

to cool the room a bit,

and still we sit).

Last year he performed here

serial murderer Jeffery Dahmer,

he is compelling, in this telling

of the ghosts and demons he has seen.

All the evidence leaning sideways,

We always

Try to make sense of what we see and fear

And here

With theater we sway a bit—wonder what is real

What did he see? What did he feel?

Is it all a metaphor for inner trauma,

Packaged as paranormal drama?

And does it matter if it is?

We take what he gives

entertainment and thoughtful reflection

we walk and talk in the direction

of our car. Then off to dinner, a day well spent

in this summer event.

The clouds fly by—

perhaps it’s my fantasy

to see ghosts and shadow figures in the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decided to play with form a bit today–Haibun and rhyme.

We saw the French movie, Custody. Trailer here. We went to the NJ Fringe Festival and saw, Wildest Fantasy, The Most Awkward Love Life of Peabody Magoo, and Ghost Stories.

We ate dinner at Mera Khana in Berlin, NJ, where I finally got my vegetable samosas. (Everything they make is delicious.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dream Puzzles: Haibun Quadrille

I dream of huge white blossoms flaming and shooting off petals into the sky, turning it dark with flowery ash. Wondrous and a bit terrifying, this puzzle of my mind.

 

Moon silvers the trees,

green leaves pale in midnight glow—

dreams waiting to bloom

 

Anonymous, Südländische Ideallandschaft bei Mondschein, [Public Domain] via Wikipedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Haibun quadrille for dVerse. Mish has asked us to use the word “puzzle,” or some form of it, in a quadrille, a poem of 44 words.

 

 

 

 

 

That House on Oxford: Haibun

Not a ghost, but the emanation of some past emotion. That’s what I feel in that house in Havertown—the one my mother rented after my parents divorced. Have you noticed that some houses have their own emotional atmosphere? Well, that’s my theory, and if you’ve never felt a house reeking of love, terror, or despair, then it must sound weird to you. But this whole house makes me feel welcomed; my bedroom in particular—it’s as if someone has felt joy there in the past, and the feeling now lingers. . .forever. This room, painted a golden yellow, seems to glow all the time. Every molecule in its walls, floors—even the air—releases joy and serenity—at least for me. Here I also experience first love. I wonder if my feelings will join the room’s aura, biding there for future inhabitants.

thrush sings amid buds,

trees flower, and then leaves fall—

echoes hang in air

Dock Street Creek once flowed here.

 

 

This Haibun is for dVerse, where Lillian has asked us to write a traditional Haibun—that is, a tight paragraph or two, which is a true account, not fiction, followed by a traditional haiku. The haiku should be nature-based but allude to the prose. It should have a seasonal word, and “a haiku must have two parts including a shift, an added insight. Japanese poets include a KIREJI (cutting word). BUT there’s no linguistic equivalent in the English language therefore punctuation creates the cut: a dash, comma, an ellipsis, an exclamation point. Sometimes it’s simply felt in the pacing or reading.”

Lillian has asked us to write about one of the first houses we lived in. This was not the first, but it was the first one we lived in after we moved from Dallas to Havertown, PA, when I was in 7th Grade.

 

This is also for Colleen’s Tuesday Tanka, using synonyms for the words beliefs and strange. I’ve used theory and weird in my prose. Colleen notes that a Haibun should be written as though it is happening now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mockingbird Dawn–Haibun

Just before dawn, the mockingbird sings, an extensive string of melodies. Does he advertise his riches, or is he protecting his nest? I listen, captivated by his song. I take a mental snapshot of this moment to hold it tight within my cache of memories. Marked for now, but memories do not stay fixed on a map. The maple tree in which the mockingbird sits is ravaged by disease, and soon it will be cut, leaving only a stump. The birds will have to move on, flying into the air–soon gone like a thought.

 

dawn beguiles with song–

with bells of trills and warbling,

summer mornings ring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for bewitch and treasure.

Thunder and Light: Haibun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wake to thunder. Lightning flashes in silver zig zags across the sky, and then the rain comes—first pelting, then plothering, then fading to a fine mist. Branches fall, weighted by their burdens. Flowers smile as they drink. If only summer storms could wash the world clean, ensorcelling all its inhabitants. I sip my coffee and gaze outside, dreaming of today and tomorrow, wondering at hearts that cannot be enchanted.

 

Verdure of summer,

nourished with morning rainfall

finch sings good morning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for magic and green.

 

 

Friendship Blooms–Haibun

We have the restaurant patio to ourselves. Though it’s a hot day, it’s pleasant here in the shade. We’re surrounded by hanging baskets of red, pink, and white flowers that block the outside world. We chair dance to the 80’s music playing in the background. One of my friends says she has few female friends, as she treats us to dinner. She and I tell our friend, who has recently had surgery, how people miss her at the gym. We had her the card that so many people have signed. This has been a bad week for our country, for the world. Not everyone has the luxury to forget the evil around us—because they are experiencing it. We’re fortunate to be able to do so–and I celebrate and cherish this gift of friendship.

 

Summer evening comes–

breezes brush blossoms with joy,

blooms of laughter fall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday—using synonyms for the words give and receive.

 

 

The World Awakens Anew

“I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow

by I don’t know what

–Jim Harrison, “Tomorrow,” In Search of Small Gods

 

Every day the world awakens anew. I wake to the sound of birdsong–twitters, chirps, the laugh of the woodpecker. I laugh, too. It’s a beautiful June morning. I drink coffee while a cat purrs on my lap. I stand in sunshine, and later I smell petrichor rising from the damp grass as the world—or my little part of it—is washed clean. I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow by what I don’t know—more people who appreciate the earth, who believe in truth and value what is good.  Our cups can never be too full. There is always room in this world for more beauty, more love.

 

peonies open,

a fleeting gift of beauty

given to the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m catching up on prompts! This Haibun is for Jilly’s Day 9 of 28 Days of Unreason, inspired by the poetry of Jim Harrison. I’m also linking to Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for care and share. Frank’s Haikai challenge this week the 2018 FIFA World Cup. I have zero interest in sports, and I know nothing about the FIFA world cup. So, totally cheating here, but I did get world and cup into this, along with a nod to last week’s prompt on peonies, which I missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Echoes of Sounds and Silence, Haibun

I hear a poet on the radio today and learn that one definition of clamor is silence. It’s a word with opposite meanings—meaning loud, insistent noise and silence both. My mind, too, seems full of opposing thoughts, but it’s never truly silent, even in my sleep. Ideas, voices, songs, bits of this and that spin around non-stop within my brain, clamoring for attention, moving at high speed like race cars speeding around a track. Or, like meandering streams or comets that leave a fiery trail before vanishing in space–the poems that die unborn. They are all the birds in the dawn chorus and the night’s humming moon. They ebb and flow like the tide. I can stop and focus on one or more, if I choose. Sometimes I don’t choose.

 

birdsong wakes the day

growing with summer sunlight,

echoing in dreams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is for dVerse, where Frank has asked us to write a Haibun Monday poem on “silent sounds,” “all those thoughts and chatter that go through our minds. . .”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Laughed Till We Cried: Haibun

My sisters and I help my mother try on new clothes on Mother’s Day. She has trouble getting up and sitting down, and she can no longer see very well. All of us, including my mom, laugh so hard at the maneuvering and manipulation of her body parts in and out of sleeves that we cry. Our tears fall lightly like the spring rain dampening this day. Our giggles create a euphonious sound, a rainbow of multi-colored tones that arc across the small room. I tuck this moment into the folder in my mind labeled “Mom Memories.”

 

fledglings cry for food

spring to summer, then they fly–

stormy skies soon clear

Carroll Sargent Tyson, Jr.
Kingfisher
From the portfolio Twenty Birds of Mt. Desert Island
Philadelphia Museum of Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xenia Tran who is the guest host for Haibun Monday at dVerse asks us to write about compassion or self-sacrifice without using the words.

I’m also linking to Frank’s Haikai challenge, Spring Rain