Following the Rules: NaPoWriMo

 

Every year we’re given the cards to fill out. There are boxes to check, the numbers 1, 2, or 3. In case of disaster, we will either stay at school, be taken to some central location, or our parents will come for us. My mother doesn’t take it seriously. She randomly checks one box or another. But I am a child, and I want my mom. I’m scared my family will be separated. In my sleep, I overhear news about brinkmanship and missiles in Cuba, the Iron Curtain and freedom. In my sleep, I hear my parents argue, hear the word divorce. Dreamworlds and destruction. But I am awake. I am a good child. I calmly kneel with the other children on the linoleum, dusty with playground dirt and tossed-away dreams. Our heads rest against the lockers in the hallway of this Dallas elementary school. No one ever voices the thought: if the bombs are dropped, there will be no escape. We do as we’re told, trusting the adults around us and following the rules. I am a good child. I slowly and carefully tug my dress down so my underwear does not show.

 

Mushroom clouds unfurl

in the desert, blooms of death,

poisonous beauty

warn us, still we play again,

still we keep score, game, set, match

 

 

This is Day 20 of NaPoWriMo. I covered several prompts here. Though it’s not really about games or sports, my haibun does include a sports reference. (Gasps from all who know me.)

This haibun is also for dVerse, Haibun Monday (a few days late) where the prompt was to write about a fear we’ve experienced. And I’ve managed to include all of Secret Keeper’s words in this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Score/Sleep/Free/Calm/Escape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferocious Angels Sing: NaPoWriMo

Persephone returns, laughs, and the world blooms anew,

yellow-green, pink, and white,

Corn Mother awakens, belly swollen with the seeds of life,

birds sing sweetly as the season turns

till the sky grows dark, crashes, and burns,

the world in flames and children are hungry

 

The song of ferocious angels lingers in the air

 

Unchanging, conflicts and battles

besiege the enemy, starve them in ghettos

enslave them, kill them all

(they are not us,

we are not them)

ancient tactics, mad men and fools with their bully cries,

rape the women, grab the prize

the rivers red with blood

 

The song of ferocious angels lingers in the air

 

And will it change, and do we care?

you can’t eat gold, or oil,

we can’t live on air

(they are us,

we are them,)

brothers and sisters, children of Earth

 

The song of ferocious angels lingers in the air

 

 

 

This is for NaPoWriMo: Day 11, a bop poem.

The form is described on the site this way:

“Like a Shakespearean sonnet, it introduces, discusses, and then solves (or fails to solve) a problem. Like a song, it relies on refrains and repetition. In the basic Bop poem, a six-line stanza introduces the problem, and is followed by a one-line refrain. The next, eight-line stanza discusses and develops the problem, and is again followed by the one-line refrain. Then, another six-line stanza resolves or concludes the problem, and is again followed by the refrain. Here’s an example of a Bop poem written by Weaver, and here’s another by the poet Ravi Shankar.”

Kerfe had me thinking of “ferocious angels,”   Unfortunately, the rest of the poem is ripped from history and headlines, unless you live in Sean Spicer’s fantasy world.

 

 

 

 

The Balloon: Microfiction

le_ballon-pierre_puvis_de_chavannes-img_8274

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes [CeCILL (http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html) or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

She had raged against the war, raged against the loss, and raged against fate. Her husband and her three sons had been killed; her grandchildren would never be born. Her city was destroyed, and there was no one left to rebuild it. Bodies lay in the streets, dead of starvation, disease, and hopelessness. Now the fire of her rage had died to embers. Over it, her sorrow had once simmered and stewed, but now, it too was gone. She was hollow, like a shell abandoned on the beach. She wondered if her body carried echoes of her life before–when she had dreams.

As she walked toward the ancient walls of her city, she noticed a balloon rising in the distant sky. A sign of hope or help? Too late, she thought. She wondered if she imagined it, as she watched the balloon ascend higher and higher, mocking her. She knew she would never rise; the only way for her was down. She hoped her flight would be graceful, like the balloon’s, a final bit of beauty amidst the tragedy of her life. She stood at the top of the city’s wall, spread her arms, and dived into the wind.

 

After

She floated, carried by wind currents, by angels’ breath. She floated like a leaf upon the water. She heard a sound, like echoing voices, and a door between worlds opened. There was her city spread beneath her, filled with joyous people, busy with the tasks of everyday life. In a blink, she stood now in the market square. Her eldest son saw her and greeted her with a smile. She noticed a balloon high above her. She dared to dream. Here and always.

 

This story was for Jane Dougherty’s Sunday strange microfiction challenge. The prompt was the painting above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts in the Moonlight: Microfiction

 

repin_iliya_moon_night

Ilya Repin, “Moonlight Night,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

The river shimmered in the moonlight, but for the moment, Jo was immune to its charms. She was pondering the telegram she had received:

“J.  Mission on. Pack your bags.  Love, T.”

Her brother Tommy was an excellent surgeon, but not such a great communicator. As she bent down to rub her setter Dottie’s spotted back, Jo thought about this “mission” and wondered how long she would be gone.

Tommy had told Jo that Mr. Roentgen’s discovery could change medicine and medical care. The new apparatus that the commission planned to ship abroad used these invisible rays–X rays– to photograph bones right through the skin. The X ray devices could also be used to see bullets or shrapnel within a body.

We keep improving ways to kill one another, Jo thought, I suppose it’s only natural that we find new ways to treat those that survive.

She pictured all the politicians she had seen shouting slogans, ignoring facts. She admired scientists who checked and re-checked and shared their knowledge. A German scientist discovered X rays, and now English doctors were using the discovery to help Greek soldiers.

Perhaps, she thought, with these new-fangled X ray machines, the young men, pawns in squabbles between nations, might have a better chance of surviving the carnage of the battlefield. Tommy and the other surgeons, and she and the other nurses would do their best, however inadequate it might be.

Calling to Dottie, Jo turned to take one last look at the river. Then she squared her shoulders and strode back to the house to pack her bags for Greece.

 

This story is for Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. The prompt is the painting above, “Moonlight Night” by Ilya Repin. Even though the painter was Russian, I thought the woman was English, and she seemed to be pondering something. I found out that X rays were discovered the same year the painting was completed, 1896. Soon after, X rays were used in field hospitals, and a group in England financed the transportation of a X ray machines with surgeons and nurses and sent them to Greece during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897.

You can read more about the early use of X rays here.

 

The Prisoner and Full Moon Songs: Magnetic Poetry

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-7-49-16-am

 

She dreams about a thousand sweet summers

and a gorgeous garden,

pictured love

yet life is sweat and pounding

trudging feet

ugly men chants

crush her

Mother, I soar to pink misty sky

and death my friend

 

This is for Elusive Trope’s Magnetic Poetry Saturday Challenge.  I read a report that one of the schoolgirls captured by the Boko Haram was recently found and rescued, along with her 10-month-old baby fathered by one of the men who held her prisoner. I think that inspired this poem, but then I heard this stunningly beautiful Handel aria sung by Joyce Didonato in this video.  It gives some hope amidst the despair.

But still, there was so much bleakness, so I went to the Oracle for another try.

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-8-26-32-am

 

Full moon song

spirits breathe sweet berry harmony

color breezes

there in dark verdant forest

they wander, watch

through night

as the river murmurs

we thrive and bloom

 

 

 

Jeanne: Magnetic Poetry

*Image of ”’Joan of Arc”’ *Painted between 1450 and 1500 *Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Paris,  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-12-07-33-pm

She was set

battle never easy

dungeon & hard space

for her

a girl

light and joy completed

by fire

 

This is for Magnetic Poetry Saturday Challenge

Hosted by Elusive Trope at Specks and Fragments

 

Survivor

vincent_van_gogh_-_sorrow

Vincent van Gogh, “Sorrow,” 1882 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Now years have passed, the pain is gone–

physical pain, the dreams remain,

demons, terror, always the same.

 

Family gone–denouement

of war, of destruction, of fright–

she mourns them still, alone at night.

 

For evil men, she was a pawn.

They took her youth, left no trace

in tattooed arm and withered face.

 

The past is gone, she won’t dwell on,

memories–peace comes, with a book,

a cat, some tea, a quiet nook

 

in which she sits, sometimes till dawn,

longing to die, willing to live,

she tries not to hate; she tries to forgive.

 

This week, Jane asked us to write about pain for her poetry challenge in a poem using the rhyme scheme: abb acc add aee, etc. I didn’t use the prompt words or the image she suggested. I think this Van Gogh drawing conveys the mood of the poem. The model was pregnant and abandoned by the father of the child. She was forced to prostitute herself to buy food. Van Gogh took her in as a model, paid her rent, and shared his bread with her. The Wikipedia page has more information.

For World Peace Day: A New Trend

knaus_ludwig_-_peace

Ludwig Knaus, “Peace,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 “I many times thought Peace had come

When Peace was far away—“

–Emily Dickinson (Full Text here with original.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

With seeming wit, some may cackle

and let Rome burn,

But (with wits intact), I wonder

(Can we be honest here?)

How many notes must be taken

to perfect the art of war?

What tests must be performed?

Would it not be better to note,

to test how

not to kill

not to hate

not to hurt the innocent

not to believe the lies?

It’s a simple question.

What do you think?

A new test. Peace.

Let’s try it, shall we?

An era of love,

instead of hate,

If nothing else,

it would be something new.

Be a trendsetter.

 

I used  Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge to create this poem for World Peace Day, September 21, 2016.

The prompt words were:  Wit/hurt/note/honest/test

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Song of the Stars

Shadows_looking_at_stars

Jess Mann [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

I watched the stars as they danced by,

They glimmered brightly in the sky.

I heard their song, mellifluous,

I heard their song, I thought of us.

 

I heard the lap of river waves,

They touch the edge of muddy graves.

I thought of war and bloody fields,

I thought of death and broken shields.

 

But still your touch remains with me,

Though different skies and stars we see,

Come back to me, before too long,

To watch the stars, to hear their song.

 

This week for her poetry challenge, the ever creative Jane Dougherty asked us to concentrate on sound and meter. I’m not certain I succeeded, but here it is.

The prompt words were: Stars, night, and water. The image is the one above by Jess Mann.

 

 

 

 

 

Far Away: Microfiction

 

Theodor_Kittelsen_-_Far,_far_away_Soria_Moria_Palace_shimmered_like_Gold_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Theodor Kittelsen [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

“Run!” his father shouted, and the boy ran. His small body dodged soldiers and bullets, and he ran. Leaving his father and the occupied city, he ran till he reached the tunnel, crawled through it and ran again. He didn’t know where he was running to, only what he was running from. And so he ran, traveling farther than it seemed possible for a boy of his size to do, until he could run no longer.

Now stopped, panting, he stood on a grassy hillside, and gazed in wonder at the glowing, golden mountains in the distance. They seemed to pulsate with radiance. He had never seen such a sight, and overcome with exhaustion and emotion, he fell to the ground. His eyes closed. He felt the flutter of wings. There was a faint scent of caramel in the air, and he heard a voice of unearthly beauty. It sang like a cello and whispered, “Don’t worry. You’re safe here.”

His eyes opened. He was in a bed. A woman bent over him. “You’re safe now,” she said. She held a bowl of soup for him. A cake with caramel icing sat on a table nearby. He sat up and ate.

 

This is in response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge.

The prompt was the painting above, an illustration by Theodor Kittelsen, for a fairy tale with the caption, “Far, far away Soria Moria Palace shimmered like gold.”