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.

 

 

Dreams

Monday Morning Musings:

“And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Such tricks hath strong imagination,
That, if it would but apprehend some joy,
It comprehends some bringer of that joy;
Or, in the night, imagining some fear,
How easy is a bush suppos’d a bear.”

–William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V, Scene 1

The Past and Future Merge

She soared high

amongst the stars,

weightless,

her mind everywhere,

she heard the universe sing

felt its rhythm in her soul,

it was part of her

and she of it,

had always been,

but unaware,

then,

before,

if there was a before and a then,

now she sang with the stars

and knew, she and they were one.

For a moment, she remembered—

a body unmoving on a bed in a white room,

beeping machines now silent,

a man with grief-streamed eyes–

now she saw,

as if looking in a mirror,

hundreds of her, stretching back and forth in time

they were her, and not her

different paths and different planes

all part of the universe,

she sang the songs of the stars and floated through space, time, dreams

 

Now

we wandered through bleak city streets

more like December than March

(but without the holiday cheer),

wet sidewalks with snow piled at the curb,

tinged grey from city dirt,

 

 

we walked into the theater,

found our seats

looked down on a stage,

bare, except for players with instruments,

sitting there,

we’re transported,

through time, space, dreams,

sixteenth-century English,

but timeless ideas,

love gone wrong and right,

couples bemused and bedazzled,

parted and reunited,

magic and fairies,

Oberon and Puck smoking a hookah,

watched what they’ve set in place,

musicians played

and displayed

impressive voices and skills,

(in double roles),

we laughed in delight

puckish Puck, the comical Bottom,

and the mixed-up lovers.

We got a treat at intermission

(for being subscribers)

then hurried back to see the conclusion,

watched the moon rise and set over the stage,

the fairy spells recast,

the lovers paired and married,

and the play within the play,

we applauded and rose,

happy to have been transported for a few hours–

the magic of theater

 

 

 

We discussed the play over coffee,

IMG_5637

me sniffling a bit with a cold and the cold,

and both of us waiting for spring to return,

I said that in Shakespeare’s time

the play would probably be ruder,

I thought of the playwright’s wit and wisdom,

then and now the words hold true,

“Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

words transported through time and space,

a play about love and dreams and magic

 

 

The next morning, I slept late

(late for me that is),

still befuddled by the time change and the cold

in the night I had a dream,

a musical, like Mel Brooks mixed with a touch of David Lynch

sprinkled with bits of Carole King and Toni Morison,

literary and ludicrous,

I woke briefly,

then had another dream,

my cold had kept me from a regular Saturday class at the gym,

I dreamt the same instructor had a special Thursday class,

consisting

(so it seemed)

of alternating ab work and running,

instead of mats,

we had our winter coats spread in lines,

our spots on the gym floor,

I was there with some of my gym buddies,

die-hards

(a strange and slightly ominous word),

we ran,

panting and perspiring,

but there were others,

who stood about,

I noticed one man,

he wore a sweater vest,

After I woke, I laughed,

my subconscious mind makes bad puns.

 

and I thought about dreams and dreaming

and what a fool I might be

perhaps lacking reason,

but still able to dream,

and laugh,

thinking of mid-summer

in the winter weather,

turning shapes to fancy,

imagining creatures in the night,

giving them names

thinking of love, magical and irrational

yet somehow real,

throughout time and space

and in and out of dreams

 

I thought of how Chuck Berry died the other day,

but his music is traveling through the galaxy,

“Johnny B. Goode,”

the stars add rock and roll to their repertoire,

and the poet’s words have traveled through time,

read and performed in schools, jungles, prisons,

and perhaps in space,

today my words may travel across the globe

and be read in different spaces, various places,

my thoughts of dreams

traveling through space and time

 

The_Sounds_of_Earth_Record_Cover_-_GPN-2000-001978 (1)

By NASA/JPL (The Sounds of Earth Record Cover) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

The first section of this was inspired by Jane Dougherty’s Sunday Strange Microfiction Challenge.    I didn’t have a chance to get the story in for the challenge. 🙂

 

 

 

 

The Journey: Tanka

 

Ship berthed, door opens,

friends lost, remembered now, here

the odyssey ends

far from the blue planet Earth,

immigrants from a dead world

 

 

earth_western_hemisphere

By Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds) Robert Simmon (enhancements: ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation) Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights). (http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view.php?id=57723) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

This tanka is for Colleen Chesbro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge.

The prompt words were friend and door.

 

 

Light in the Darkness (The Rescue): Microfiction

 

old_french_fairy_tales_0047

By Virginia Frances Sterret, Old French Fairy Tales, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Esmeena knelt on the cobalt blue tiles in her long, azure gown and gave the small deer a hug. He had just come from patrolling the castle’s grounds.

Then she stood, and said to the cat meowing plaintively at her feet, “Honestly, Reggie, I am working on it.”

He was her brother, and she had accidentally turned him into a cat while trying to cast a spell. “I’ve had a lot of responsibility since Mother’s been gone.”

Their mother was at a Council Meeting of Orwan chiefs. The Council was trying to decide if they should intervene here on Earth, now that humans seemed bent on destroying it. Wars, demagogues, fracking—the list of horrors and craziness seemed to grow daily. Thousands of years ago, the Orwan had come to Earth from the Planet of the Blue Ponies, (which was why they loved blue so much). They generally kept to their own realm, invisible to humans.

“I’m sure it’s not all that terrible,” Esmeena continued, “there is that female cat who seems to like you. And after all, you do still have all your. . .um. . .parts.”

At that, Reggie tried to spring at her, but he miscalculated the width of the table between them. With all four legs stretched out wide, he slid right over the table and crashed onto the floor on the other side.

“You are the least graceful cat I’ve ever seen,” said Esmeena.

Just then the massive castle door was flung open. Their mother entered, wearing a midnight blue cape and a frown.

She looked at Reggie, muttered some words, snapped her fingers, and he returned to his normal form. He rose from the floor, all gangly arms and legs.

“Esmeena, what has been going on here?”

“I was trying to reinforce the barrier,” Esmeena said.

“Didn’t you think I would check on it before I left? But why did you think a sparkling rainbow-colored barrier would make the castle invisible to humans?”

“Everything is so dark now. I just wanted to make something light and cheerful.”

“Child,” said her mother, “I can see I still have much to teach you. Don’t you know the light is within you? We carry it in our hearts.” She touched her chest, then picked up a candle that now glowed brightly in the darkness of winter night.

“Come,” she said to her children, “the moon is humming. It’s time. Let’s go celebrate the solstice.”

This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge.

The prompt was the painting above.

 

 

 

 

 

We Will Talk Amidst the Clouds: Microfiction

2010_utopien_arche04

By Makis E. Warlamis (Own work, Daskunstmuseum, 2007-01-05) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Journal Entry, 4772: I woke up early, too excited to sleep. Today I begin my new position as chief consul. Thousands of years have passed since my ancestors made first contact with the world of our guests. We miscalculated then; the inhabitants of that planet were not ready, and we backed off, observing only from a distance. We were surprised that the beings we’ll be welcoming here today finally dominated their planet, and even more surprised that they survived. They were fond of wars, those bipeds.

It’s too bad that we’ll have to transport them from our planet’s surface to our capital. I love how it hovers amidst the clouds, a beacon of serenity, and a perfect place to hold our discussions. Too bad they cannot experience the joy of flight, as we do. There’s the beauty–the glow of light on feathered wing, the iridescent colors, and the glorious feel of the air, as it rushes by, carrying the scents from below and above. Oh well.

It’s time now to go. To meet the Earth ambassador. Apparently she is named for an ancestor who was famous for—what was it? A walk? Oh yes, I remember now, on their moon. Ambassador Neila Armstrong. End log.

I spread my wings and fly out to meet her.

 

This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. This week I’m close to the word count! The prompt is the painting above.

The story is related to this earlier one I wrote.

 

 

Those Left Behind

viktar_smatau%cc%86_1994_farewell

Viktar Smataŭ , “Farewell,” [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

He was gone /  She watched his ship vanish, incandescent

No trace left/ gone, an unmarked path to undiscovered territory

A journey of miles / a journey of years

Across indigo seas, uncharted  / amidst radiant spheres, unknown

Would she ever see his smile? / would she hear his voice again?

She felt no sense of wonder for his voyage/  she felt only fear and regret

As she bid him farewell / as she watched the trail of light in the sky disappear

 

This is a cleave poem (the left side is one poem, the right side is another, and both parts form a third poem. This is for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Challenge. The prompt words were:

Gone/Sense/Trace/Voice/Path

atlantis_taking_off_on_sts-27

By NASA, Space Shuttle Atlantis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

Under Three Moons: A Trilune

 

Mond

Photo by MKcray (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

On this brave new world, I watch the sky,

scintillating stars, and glowing moons

they shine, these three, brightly, so clearly.

 

At day’s end, the suns set in the north

and rise in the south, over red seas.

It’s not yet home, but almost, nearly.

 

On this brave new world, there is no war,

and I would feel content, yet regret

I left her, who I loved so dearly.

 

This poem is in response to Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge.  The poem is a new poetry form, the trilune, which Jane invented. She explains it this way:

“A trilune is a poem of three stanzas of three lines of 3×3 syllables each (that’s 9 in case you were wondering), circling a central theme.  The rhyme is on the third line of each stanza so you get a pattern of abc dec fgc.”

The prompt was the photo above.

Worlds and Colors

Marc-little_blue_horses

Franz Marc [Public domain],”The Little Blue Horses,”via Wikimedia Commons

 

Reflecting the sky,

manes and tails

glow,

 

Four legs gallop, then rest

sides heaving,

blue

 

mothers and foals nuzzle,

in sheltered

love

 

safe from Earth’s war and bombs

far travels

space

 

and time, final frontiers,

journeys of

hope

 

under the sky’s two suns,

peaceful world

found

 

This is a tilus series in response to Jane Dougherty’s poetry challenge. The prompt was the above painting by Franz Marc.

A tilus is composed of 10 syllables altogether: 6 for the first line, 3 for the second, and 1 for the third. I found this form very difficult to write. I’ve put together a series to tell a story because I really wondered about those blue horses, and I couldn’t tell their story in 10 syllables.

 

 

 

Microfiction Challenge: Shapes in the Mist

ChelmonskiJozef.1870.OdlotZurawi

Józef Chełmoński, Cranes, Source: Wikipedia

 

We’ve traveled far, my crew and I. We’ve journeyed past thousands of stars and worlds. Our small ship has sailed through space. None of our kind has ever been this far away from home. Our voyage has taken decades. We’ve slept much of the time. Our automatic system has awakened us occasionally to perform some needed task. Or maybe it was simply to give us a break from sleeping, from dreaming of the unknown and those we’ve left behind.

Now we’re all fully awake. It’s time. We’ve landed on this green world, the third planet in a system that revolves around a bright yellow star of average size. We’ve sensed signs of life. We pause now at the doorway. Large creatures swim before us in the murky water. An uncharted world with uncharted waters. I’m going to stand for a moment, my tail held high, before I issue the command. I want to remember this. In a moment we will raise our wings, and fly out in formation to meet them. First contact.

 

My second attempt at a microfiction challenge: Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge: Shapes in the Mist 

The prompt is the painting above and the words, “uncharted waters.” There’s a 200 word limit. My story is 173 words.