green-leafed branch trembles,
robin sings to chiming rain—
spring passes in song
This haiku is for Frank’s Haikai Challenge, Passing Spring
green-leafed branch trembles,
robin sings to chiming rain—
spring passes in song
This haiku is for Frank’s Haikai Challenge, Passing Spring
It seems to rain from moon to sun
rain over and over, never done
and then a break, till it thunders
again and again.
I feel lethargic and dull
and it’s hard to mull
over this or that—
the people who insist the world is flat,
or guns don’t kill, people do,
except there are more dead kids shot through,
and it seems we will never cease
with hate and violence, the human disease.
But in the midst of death we see the love—
yes, pomp and circumstance, uniforms and gloves,
the fascinators, and the meters-long train
(and the sun-filled day with no hint of rain).
It’s storybook fantasy, mixed with Stand By Me,
gospel choir amid the history and pageantry,
but these two appear so much in love,
and if it helps, gets us thinking of
better things, well, I can take a break
in the coverage of hate, it’s not a mistake
to celebrate love, or a wedding day—
a bit of color amidst the world’s gloomy grey.
Still–spring insists on being seen
and here, the world is turning green,
though I don winter clothes because it’s turned cold
and we go through rain, to visit
friends of old.
We eat Chinese food, laugh, talk over the meal
how we can’t understand the hypocrisy of those who feel
the man in the White House is okay
when they were upset at bare arms and a tan suit,
birthers and ape images, just try to dispute
there’s no racism there,
some very fine people on both sides–but I’d beware.
The next day, the clouds break and the temperatures soar,
everyone wants to get out of doors,
I see a hawk atop a weathervane,
perhaps she’s trying to ascertain
the state of this territory, her domain,
which no doubt is full of tasty things
grown and born in rain and light of spring.
We walk city streets, where life beats
in harmony and patterns, under the blue sky
and birds sing and fly,
and there is so much green and flowers in bloom
filling the air with their perfume,
and it is a relief from gloom and rain,
though I know people are in pain
and children are dead, and women are raped
and the world is shaped
by guns, disease, and violence
and we must break the silence—
but for today, just let me feel the sun and say
nothing but “see the hawk there”
and smell the roses over there.
We see a movie about motherhood and coping
with a newborn and others and life,
sometimes mom’s need an extra wife
or helping hands and people to truly see
beyond the façade, the hyperbole
of motherhood’s joys to the cries and sleepless nights
the clutter and exhaustion—along with the delights.
We drink coffee, walk and talk some more
then it’s home to feed the cats, take care of chores.
In the night, my mind wanders and roams
far from home
(Macbeth has murdered sleep)
But in my dreams, I hear the chirps and cheeps,
As the mockingbird sings through the night
and we are fine, it’s all right,
We saw the movie Tully, which we both thought was excellent, but I don’t want to give anything away. I’ve seen it described as a comedy. At least not in the modern sense.
I’m reading Jo Nesbrø’s take on Macbeth, set in a Glasgow-like city in the 1970s.
Sorry about the weird formatting and gaps. WP gremlins are still hanging about.
I stand at the open window listening to the robins, sparrows, wrens, and cardinals twitter, tweep, cheep, and trill as they tune their instruments, getting them just right to perform the sun salutation. The mockingbird rehearses his aria, long warbled phrases, chirrups, and chirrs. The birds perch high in the tall oaks and maple trees so that their voices echo, breaking the quiet of the early morning. I savor the moment. Soon, black clouds will come, the sky will weep, and the birds will take shelter in those wind-whipped high branches. I will gather then with others; together, we will express our sorrow to a grieving widow and children, and, say good-bye to a friend.
Spring a chimera–
rosy petals bloom, then fall
silver tears of rain
For Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday, using synonyms for belong and dream
For Frank’s Haikai challenge, using “twittering.”
Muddle my mind
with syllables that sing
the zing of spring.
Befuddle me with blackholes and space–
see the moon’s humming face,
her fullness, lost and found.
There the dying star
glowing from afar,
it’s unmuddled light,
clear, still bright.
A quadrille for dVerse, where De Jackson (aka Whimsy Gizmo) has asked us to use the word muddle.
“Not only are selves conditional but they die. Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead.”
–John Updike, quoted here.
“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.”
–Stephen King, The Shining
There are ghosts we see—or don’t
invoke, as though if left uncalled for
we’ll not provoke
those of the past,
who vanish–or won’t
go gentle into that good night,
the ghosts of guilt,
may waft or wilt
(seen just from the corner of your eye,
but whether unexplainable
they are us
and soon, we’ll be them.
We see two movies,
walk in between,
to see the vibrant glow of spring.
The first film set in Hungary in 1945,
a small town that seems not war-torn,
some have even thrived.
The town clerk owns a well-stocked drugstore,
more–he lives with his family in a large town house.
Others have also gained homes and wealth
obtained by stealth,
though it’s all legal, they explain
(show the papers,
for goods and property
no one left to claim).
But they are haunted by their complicity
no joy at an upcoming wedding,
where there should be felicity
secrets begin to seep—
they’re all around–
Look! Two Jews in town.
What do they want, these nearly silent men?
As they walk behind the cart,
like mourners to a grave site.
(the film shot in black and white)
Here, it’s always “God Bless,”
and the brandy seems ever handy.
There’s a Hungarian saying about this brandy–
“Palinka in small amounts is a medicine,
in large amounts a remedy.”
But there’s no remedy for what they’ve done.
What have they lost, and what have they won?
The Germans are out, the Russians are in–
A new dawn
when the Jews are gone?
But these two, why are they here,
and what is it the town folk fear?
Dark smoke billows from the train,
sun-filled day fills with thunder and rain.
The monsters are real. The ghosts are too.
They are us, and we are them.
We walk and chat
about the movie, this and that–
the susurration of sparrows,
the murmurings of spring
though the ghost of winter, touches
with icy fingers clings
as we turn from sun to shadow
you can’t flee me forever,
I’ll return in November or December,
when seeds then huddle underground,
sharing the cold comfort of the dead.
But now is for the living instead,
in blooms of green and pink and yellow and white
glowing, vibrant in the light.
We walk, seeing weddings and brides in white
smiling groups, life in color and in light.
We see a second film,
this one with ghosts up front
that an investigator will confront.
He’s a skeptic, he doesn’t believe,
but perhaps there are events he also grieves
There are scenes that makes us jump–
doors that rattle, and things that bump,
demons that are locked away,
but are released,
perhaps, to stay.
Three cases become woven together–
Will there be a happily ever after?
(Cue the nervous laughter).
We walk some more,
The Signer stands tall
through many seasons–
he’s seen them all—
though he represents freedom
he’s surrounded by ghosts
who flit over cobblestones,
manning their posts,
due diligence, remember the past—
My cat wakes me from a dream—
a ghost tells a character in a play
(stories within stories within my dream, it seems)
“we mourn the dead, but we move on.”
They are us,
and we are them.
Life moves on–
we begin again.
The final NaPoWriMo prompt asks us to “write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact.” Well, I included some facts. They may or may not be strange or fascinating. For more on “odd facts” about Hungary, see here. And here is more on the Holocaust in Hungary The Signer statue is in Philadelphia’s Old City.
I don’t mourn winter’s passing. Time’s river flows, carrying me. The air will again turn silver-cold. Then I’ll gather a blanket about me like a hug and wait for spring.
spring sun grows, gathers
bright rays trilling on robin’s wings
dawn flames green branches
It’s been a busy day, with work to finish, and a doctor’s appointment for my mom. And so many posts to catch up on! So this is not exactly an elegy, the prompt for today’s NaPoWriMo. I may come back to write a proper elegy at some point. This not-elegy is a haibun quadrille for dVerse, where Lillian asked us to write a quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words, using the word gather.
“We do on stage things that are supposed to happen off. Which is a kind of integrity, if you look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
–Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
“Were there words beyond which they could never touch, or did all that is possible enter their consciousness? They could not tell. .
E.M. Forster, A Passage to India
“This train doesn’t stop at City Hall”
(the conductor says)
as the world streams by
the rushing tracks,
clackety, clackety, clackety clack,
the engine hums, it’s zhhhumy zhumms,
my reflection in the window sways
I am traveling there
but does part of me stay
(a train beat away)
spring is a promise whispered over a wall.
“Please silence your cell phones and other devices.”
(the announcer says)
before the start of the play,
a somewhat dated farce,
act two and three are clever
better than the first
the play within a play from backstage, reversed
the stage rearranged, the set turned around
so, front is back
a player tumbles and falls,
and we see it all–
again, as the troupe performs months later–
each actor then has two roles,
and the timing and action is right
but as a whole,
well. . . it was OK
we both say
and the tickets were free—
something to see
with excellent seats
in America’s oldest theater,
so now it’s later
and we walk and talk
see spring a-springing,
the birds still singing,
eat a giant bowl of fries
(in a very noisy bar room)
then wander back to cats and home,
to see the daffodils still in bloom.
The next day–
(still no stops at City Hall)
“The kitchen is small,”
says one man to another,
“But the apartment looks out at the rocks, and
the water is right there.”
“Maybe Rehoboth would be better,”
The other man murmurs
he has to stay in New Jersey.
We exit, a bit early,
before finding out if they make a plan.
“A little shifty,” that man,
(my husband says)
as we walk out into the day—
where now spring is more than whispering,
and we say, yes, this weather, please stay.
We walk through Washington Square Park
I insist some roots look like feet
though they’d find it hard to tap a beat.
Trees are blooming in pink and white
and people are out to see the sight
of them, feel the gentle heat,
sun on their faces,
filling the outdoor spaces
and even the walls shout of spring
while the birds trill and sing—
(“Phoebe Phoebe, sings the chickadee,
“Peter Peter” the tufted titmouse calls,
and the mockingbird repeats them all.)
Spring fever all around
Penn’s green country town.
Please silence your cells phones—again,
the play is about to begin,
and thought-provoking it is,
the playwright’s words are his,
but “a fantasia inspired” from Forster’s book
though people and countries are never named
other than with letters,
Country X and Country Y, could be any nation
the characters not assigned by the writer to any gender, race,
or sexual orientation,
F, R, H, M, D, Q, J, B
plus, a mosquito and a gecko–
and, of course, there are those echoes. . .
we hear them, reverberating through now, the ages,
all around us–
and on stage, thus–
F speaks of the people in the darkness,
Dr. B is arrested for a crime he did not commit,
and G breaks the fourth wall to talk to us
and yes, it’s a bit uncomfortable–
Are we supposed to answer her out loud?
I wonder, and are we different from another crowd?
Later, I say,
“I’d like to see that play all over again with another cast.”
How different would it be to see people of a different race,
or gender, play the roles we just saw?
Because, I think, we must draw
pictures in our minds—leap to conclusions—
have preconceptions that we cannot help but make,
and would it break them–
if what we saw was not,
well, exactly the same.
I imagine this part of the writer’s aim.
(I learn there is a hashtag, #ChenMindFuck)
but my mind is rather more struck
than fucked I think,
and we have much to discuss over food and drink.
Can one be friends with one’s oppressor?
The idea leads to variations and degrees of power
not only of gender and race, but
CEO and factory worker, student and professor,
Black Lives Matter and #MeToo,
seeing things from another’s view. . .
The server brings more bread,
I wonder what lies ahead.
We walk and talk back to the train,
ideas swirling in my brain.
“This train doesn’t stop at City Hall.”
but time flows through spaces and goes to places
Every exit is an entrance somewhere else.
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt to use sound. “The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language. Perhaps it could incorporate a song lyric in some way, or language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto). Or you could use a regional or local phrase from your hometown that you don’t hear elsewhere, e.g. “that boy won’t amount to a pinch.”
Today’s [optional prompt] for NaPoWriMo, Day 19: “to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.”
So, early this morning, I wrote the paragraph below, which described what I saw while sitting in my usual kitchen spot. I didn’t change it, except to add the last line—because the sun did come out—briefly. This became the paragraph part of the haibun. Then I used Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday prompt words for the haiku. I used “accruing” for gather and “feathery” for soft. This was to give me new words, so I was not simply revising.
Finally, I took words from both parts of the haibun to create a new poem. Works in progress!
Outside the world is grey with mist, and yet the green of evergreens and new spring growth provides color in the gloom. A red-breasted finch sits in the bird feeder at the window. The cats take their morning naps, one on my lap, the other in the basket in front of the window. Soon, children will walk out their doors to go to school. But now, I see the sun breaking from the clouds.
pale sun shines through
turning feathery clouds gold
accruing spring light
Grey and green
the world from my window,
feathery, the mist, drifting between trees.
But what colors does the red-breasted finch see?
Greyer greys and emerald greens,
to me unseen?
I hear him sing—
such heartfelt joy–
as the pale sun caresses,
draping his shadowed shape with light,
turning his chest to fire,
to ring in the colors of spring
Isn’t this document box with finch exquisite?
And I’m going to link this to dVerse Open link night, too, where Grace is poet bar tending. Because, why not? 🙂