Barely Spring–Haibun

The weather seems more unpredictable than usual–open windows one day and heat on the next. I wake listening to rain. It is dark and dreary. Then I hear the birds begin to greet the day. Each morning, the sun rises a bit earlier and sets a bit later. I know we could still have a blizzard, but hope is in the air, rising with the crocuses. Spring is coming.

February sun

hides light under grey covers—

yet mockingbird sings

 

Watching for birds in the rain.

 

This is for Frank’s latest Haikai Challenge.

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Catch a Star

This was inspired by a poem Jane posted and our comments.

 

In the darkness, catch the stars

keep them, hold them, in a jar

with memories of long ago. . .

then on the nights when thoughts are bleakest,

let one go and watch it seek its

dream-mist companions of the light–

watch them floating, soaring high—

to the rhythm of your heartbeats, fly

on intangible wings to empyrean heights

follow fly, and do not stop or wonder why,

but in the darkness, grasp the jar

catch, hold fast, a glimmering star.

 

Anything But Black

ESO’s various observatory sites in Chile — Paranal, La Silla, Chajnantor — boast enviably low levels of light pollution. However, the skies overhead are rarely pitch-black! As shown in this image of Paranal Observatory, the skies regularly display a myriad of colours and astronomical sights, from the plane of the Milky Way shining brightly overhead to the orange-hued speck of Mars (left), the starry constellations of Scorpius and Orion, and the magenta splash of the Carina Nebula (upper middle). Despite the remote location there are also occasional signs of human activity, for example the sequence of lamps seen in the centre of the frame. These faint lights illuminate the route from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) where this image was taken. Due to the highly sensitive camera this photograph also showcases a mysterious phenomenon called airglow. The night sky is ablaze with deep red and eerie green hues, caused by the faint glow of Earth’s atmosphere. Because of airglow, no observatory site on Earth could ever be absolutely, completely dark — although ESO’s do come pretty close. This image was taken by talented astronomer and photographer Yuri Beletsky, a member of the 2016 ESO Fulldome Expedition team. This team visited Chile to gather spectacular images for use in the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre.

 

 

Grace in the Moon

This is for the dVerse prompt, “Grace.” Things were off for my New Year’s Eve and New Year’s, but I was struck by the brilliant moon. I felt there was a message there, if only I could hear it.

 

The moon hums with a fierce light

glowing

throwing

pale white heat

we do not hear or feel it,

the insistent beat

on rural roads or city streets,

though she hums aloud

we’re lost in darkness

lost, frozen, under this

tenebrous cloud

 

but if we stop,

listen for a space

(pause)

here in this unknown place

look upon a well-loved face

find here, see, a bit of grace

in love constant, shining like the moon

like her humming tune,

hear the whisper in the wind,

hope is coming, listen, soon

 

 

Candles

Monday Morning Musings:

“Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.”

—Attributed to Anne Frank all over the Internet, but without any source that I can find

 

A single candle

(for miracles)

flickers in the night

IMG_7696

joined by others

till eight in a row

they burn, and then they go

leaving only melted wax behind

and yet, perhaps I find

something, a sense of peace

in watching them increase

and we remember how our daughters

bet on which candle would stand last

one that burned not quite as fast—

lovely memories from the past.

 

 

A single candle

(for wishes)

flickers on a cupcake

IMG_4578 2

baked with love

and so sweet, delivered as surprise treat.

FullSizeRender 289

It’s a strange birthday,

things don’t quite go my way

I lose a filling, and due to the snow

we stay and home, and don’t go

to dinner and a show,

but we eat pizza and drink some wine

and it’s fine, I say,

we’ll do something another day.

 

Everything a bit off this week,

small victories tinged with apprehension

tension over what might come, or be

a tax bill to help the rich–

oh, if only I could flip a switch

to eradicate ignorance and greed

wish on candles and stars that people would read

would help those in need

and instead of hindering, would keep freed

thought and scientific inquiry.

 

The CDC, an agency, supposed to be science-based

is not supposed to use the word

it’s not to the taste

of the current administration

who would like to see a nation

without education based on facts

but the monster simply reacts

without nuance or tact, but snaps,

just twitter taps and taps and taps

 

We fry latkes

IMG_9407

and when we’re through

IMG_7721

we eat them–and donuts, too

IMG_7731

because it’s a holiday of oil and sweets

and it’s a treat to share them with love

we eat the food and laugh and talk of–

oh this and that–

we watch their dog and see their cat

climb in search of treasure—food!

Yes, we’re in a holiday mood

as candles flicker and lights glow

FullSizeRender 290

but soon it’s time to go.

 

I spend the next day working

(cats around me lurking)

I have too much work to do

I sit at my computer

in a bit of stupor

but as night falls

we light the candles

and watch the shadows on the walls

from the flickering glow

I think of miracles past

(wonder if our country will last)

but let those thoughts slide

subside for a more festive mood

as we eat our Chinese food

and watch the Christmas shows

I might doze. . .

 

 

In the morning, before the dawn

I yawn and look up at the sky

and know that hope like a feather flies

and though the clouds block the stars

I know exactly where they are

I close my eyes and make a wish

I hope it flies and travels far.

FullSizeRender 293

 

 

 

Awakening: Haibun

This poem is for dVerse’s Haibun Monday. Frank asked us to write about being pleasantly surprised.

I wake to the pleasant surprise that Doug Jones has won the Senate race in Alabama. The win gives me a tiny bit of hope that people have been awakened, though I am still disheartened by the closeness of the race. Like Daedalus, we could create; like Icarus, we could rise and soar, and we could rescue those who dare to dream but fall, so that they can try again. Instead, we sink into the muck, believing lies and embracing bigotry, ignorance, and greed. My husband and I light the Hanukkah candles. I watch their flickering glow and think of miracles. Later, as I turn out the bedside lamp. I hear geese honking in the winter night. Do they beat their wings to the songs of the shimmering stars? Do they dream of soaring higher? I wonder and think again of miracles.

 

wait for the sea change–

the winds shift and the waves roll

awakening spring

 

Lucílio_de_Albuquerque_-_Despertar_de_Ícaro

Lucílio de Albuquerque, “The Awakening of Icarus,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

Bells of Light: #Tanka

This is a tanka for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday.

This week, Colleen has asked us to use synonyms for bells and past.

 

In time of darkness

the tintinnabulation

tolls for all of us,

displays of holiday cheer,

reminders of our light-search

 

Anything But Black

ESO’s various observatory sites in Chile — Paranal, La Silla, Chajnantor — boast enviably low levels of light pollution. However, the skies overhead are rarely pitch-black! As shown in this image of Paranal Observatory, the skies regularly display a myriad of colours and astronomical sights, from the plane of the Milky Way shining brightly overhead to the orange-hued speck of Mars (left), the starry constellations of Scorpius and Orion, and the magenta splash of the Carina Nebula (upper middle). Despite the remote location there are also occasional signs of human activity, for example the sequence of lamps seen in the centre of the frame. These faint lights illuminate the route from the Very Large Telescope (VLT) to the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) where this image was taken. Due to the highly sensitive camera this photograph also showcases a mysterious phenomenon called airglow. The night sky is ablaze with deep red and eerie green hues, caused by the faint glow of Earth’s atmosphere. Because of airglow, no observatory site on Earth could ever be absolutely, completely dark — although ESO’s do come pretty close. This image was taken by talented astronomer and photographer Yuri Beletsky, a member of the 2016 ESO Fulldome Expedition team. This team visited Chile to gather spectacular images for use in the ESO Supernova Planetarium & Visitor Centre.

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. Wishing all of you light in the darkness and miracles.

 

 

 

 

Hope Soars and Sings: Yeats Challenge, Day 30

This is for the final day of Jane’s wonderful A Month with Yeats Poetry Challenge. It has been glorious. Thank you, Jane! I wanted to end the month on a hopeful note–a bit different from my last couple.

I’m also linking this to the dVerse Open Link Night. 

 Today’s quotation from Yeats:

 “And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,” —W.B. Yeats

 

In my dream, I soar with the gulls

adding my laughter to their own,

as I fly higher and higher away from home,

riding the waves of the infinite sea

floating weightless, drifting far, content to be

just there, a speck, a spot within the shimmer

lightly gliding amongst stellar glimmer

as the stars sing their songs and the moon hums along.

Then dropping slow, I wake at peace upon my bed,

(bits of stardust still glint softly on my head),

at home with you, now earthbound me,

and I rejoice to hear a sound, the robin’s voice

greeting the rosy sun, the light of day now just begun

hope sings and floats with feathered wings

and rises strong at dawn from the maple tree.

 

 

 

 

The Swans: Yeats Challenge, Day 22

I’ve been busy getting ready for Thanksgiving. Wishing all of those who celebrate the holiday a very Happy Thanksgiving. 

This is for Jane’s A Month with Yeats Challenge. Today’s quotation:

 “I wander by the edge
Of this desolate lake
Where wind cries in the sedge:” —W.B. Yeats

 

I wandered by the shadowed lake,

desolate it seemed at first,

till a swan glided there and took

a sip to slake his thirst.

Soon after that, his mate sailed to him,

the two swam side-by-side

a lover’s dance, in evening dim

across the lakeside wide,

but with moonlight the sky turned brighter

together then, they spread their wings and gracefully took flight.

Their feathered bodies seemed larger and whiter

against the blanket of indigo night,

and though I’ve traveled, often far,

this is the memory that comforts me

when hope seems lost to faultless stars

I think of the swans on that moonlit night–and I feel free.

Schwaene_im_Schilf_(C_D_Friedrich)

Caspar David Friedrich, “Swans in the Reeds,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Caspar David Friedrich, “Swans in the Reeds,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

From the Ashes: A Month with Yeats, Day Nine

 This is for Jane Dougherty’s November Month with Yeats, Day Nine. The quotation is: 

“Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,

And Usna’s children died.”

—W.B. Yeats

I was also inspired, or perhaps haunted, by this article that I saw last night about a girl’s pendant found at Sobihor.

 

Once she played and laughed upon a hill,

once there were families, hope, delight

before darkness came and all was still

in a nightmare world of constant night

monster-filled with hate and fear

and all that once was cherished and held dear

lost forever, or perhaps entombed

within the ruins, amidst the gloom.

 

Years passed in revolutions round the sun,

and grass sprouted in ashes cooled of fired hate

buried there, searchers found that she was one

in rubble raked beyond the gate

found there, a victim of the slaughter,

someone’s child, once a daughter,

found her broach, inscribed, a sign, a trace

that she existed once, now not entirely erased.

 

But does this finding some closure bring

to those who are left or suffering?

The ashes of the dead once rained like sordid snow

fertilizing now the ground where flowers grow

light’s restored, but mutable

and darkness still falls, indisputable,

hope the feather that softly flies

from wings of knowledge and wistful sighs.

 

 

 

 

 

Shadows: November Shadorma Challenge, 1 and 2

Eliot of Along the Interstice is doing a November Shadorma Challenge.  You can read about it here.

“The Shadorma is a Spanish poetic form made up of a stanza of six lines. (sestet) with no set rhyme scheme. It is a syllabic poem with a meter of 3/5/3/3/7/5. It can have many stanzas, as long as each follows the meter.”

Here is my Day 1, inspired by a fortune cookie, and Day 2, a bit of fun inspired by the foggy morning.

 

Light shining

through the shadowed world,

glimmering

battling fears

luminous rills, glowing streams

where hope ever grows

 

IMG_7282

 

Misty morn

where night creatures lurk

shadowy

half-seen. Blink

and they will be gone—but no,

watch, they linger still.