A Year

A quadrille for Kim’s prompt using the word cycle.  What is a quadrille?  It is a poem of exactly 44 words using the prompted word.  The title is not included in the word count. Exacty a year ago today, my mother died.

A Year
The year cycles through its paces
Summer, fall, winter, spring.
A full year has passed since you died.
Today dawns as it did last year –
warm and sunny,
deceptive in its kindness.
I sit on the back porch
listening to birds singing your name.

mama as a baby

The Doe

For Karin’s prompt at Real Toads, What is? I don’t know if I met the bar but….here is my poem. I don’t use metaphors. I only write what I see and feel.  Also visiting dVerse Poets Pub open link night with this.


The Doe

“And to die is different from what any one supposed, and
Luckier”. Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass
Now that we speak of dying, And should I have the right to smile:” T.S. Eliot Portrait of a Lady III

I don’t know why I have been thinking of death,
sitting up here in my tree.
Maybe it is the suicide of Tony Bourdain or of a friend a year ago
or maybe it is the death of my mother,
almost a year ago.

The tree bark is warm and rough behind my back.
Green shadows dance about my head
while birds sing and fly and fluff
and squirrels chase each other,
some of them coming perilously close to my head.
I had dropped down some withered apples from
my pantry for the forest folk to forage.
I heard the faint crack of a branch and looked down
to see a doe nibbling on the apples.
She looked up and for just a moment
almost fled.
But then she resumed her eating.
Perhaps she had seen me sitting
on the back porch as she wandered through our yard.
Her eyes reminded me of my mother,
large and pansy brown
looking up with innocence,
looking up with knowledge of her dying.
looking into my eyes with sorrow
at leaving me behind.
I’ve been thinking a lot about death.
I wonder what it is.
I don’t know what death is.
I only know what it isn’t.
Today it isn’t the blue sky and green trees
and the doe eating apples
at the foot of the tree.

New Moon

I have done a Bussokusekika, a Japanese poetic form that follows the rules of tanka, except there are three seven syllable lines that end the poem for a 5-7-5-7-7-7. Bussokusekika is an ancient form of poetry, older than Tanka or haiku. It translates to footprints of Buddha.

New Moon
crescent thin against
the black night – overpowered
by the stars she sings
a faint song of undappled
water and hunting owls – she
is lonely in the darkness

After

For Marian’s challenge at Real Toads. We are to write a tetractys poem – 1-2-3-4-10 Syllable count per line.  I am deeply saddened by the suicide of Anthony Bourdain.

“As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” Anthony Bourdain

After
I.
An
empty
place setting
at the table.
Pour the wine. Free spirit drinks with a smile.

II.
Knives
are still.
Dust settles.
Pans are empty.
The kitchen is silent and still, waiting

Suicide happens when a person’s emotional pain exceeds their ability to cope with that pain. But there is help. If you are in trouble, pick up that ten ton phone–tomorrow can be better, even if you don’t believe it right now. National Suicide Prevention Help Line: 1-800-273-TALK.

 

 

Cherry Blossom Jisei

Today Anthony Bourdain was found dead, of suicide. Last year, a friend of mine committed suicide. I could write nothing then of Jeff’s death but found my heart opened today. I am saddened by these events.NOTES: A traditional farewell. It was a tradition for the literate Japanese (monks and Samurai for example) to write death poems shortly before their anticipated death, seppuku, or battle. With the changing of the seasons from summer to autumn, from winter to spring, we see changes as the seasons of spring and summer end. All things pass – mono no aware. The images of dying are also symbols of “farewell”. For Hedge’s 55.

Cherry Blossom Jisei
how brief the blossoms
of the cherry tree –
their lives end at sunset –
snow and rain falling at night –
melting flakes gone before sunrise –
bare branches feel them
drift through skeletal fingers –
birds sleep as snow falls,
cherry blossom moon
holds back the night sky –
the night will conquer that moon

Haibun: Yuudachi

Today at Real Toads, I am doing the prompt for Thursday. I have given different Japanese words for rain – all of them seasonal. The Japanese have at least fifty words for rain. I have chosen yuudachi – sudden evening rain. I am asking people to choose one or several and write about the rain. If writing haibun I am asking for the classic form which is non-fiction and if writing haiku, the classic form which uses a seasonal word.

Haibun: Yuudachi
It was a long hot dry summer. Plants withered, animals died. I added another birdbath to the one already in use. Every day squirrels would line the thing, sipping and vying for places to drink. Several shallow birdbaths watered bunnies and the occasional cat or dog. The koi pond was down a foot, the koi clustered at the deep end in the shadow of plants. The night after you left, I sat on the back porch listening to the cicadas doing their raspy singing. I sniffed petrichor and suddenly rain began to pour down – a loud roar pounding plants into the ground, drumming on the roofs, and washing trash down the street gutters. The koi swam to the surface of the pond opening their mouths acting as if they were eating the drops of rain. I stood holding on the porch post and getting thoroughly soaked. I whispered – yuudachi, sudden evening rain. After the heat of the day the rain was cold. I wondered if it was raining where you were.  I bowed my head and wept hot tears of sorrow.

long hot dry summer –
cicadas cease their songs –
rain mutes all sound

 

The Southern Wind

In Honor of Walt Whitman’s birthday and his poem The Song of Myself – a song of myself for Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

 

Eno River – public doman

The Southern Wind
I am a southern woman born and bred.
Compared to my Yankee cousin I move….
Like a sloth. Which is cool by me.
I like to dawdle behind and look at the overlooked things –
The tiny flowers hidden in the grass
or the acorn still attached to the branch
wrenched by the wind from the oak
or the small yellow butterfly
drinking from the honeysuckle.
But I am also the dragon tea set –
two of the cups cracked and mended with gold.
I am the Smokie Mountains covered in mist
And I am also Fuji covered in clouds.
Peaches warmed by the sun are my skin.
One day my ashes will be scattered
into the South Wind –
Minamikaze –
Blown across the red dirt fields –
Blown across the slow moving Eno River
Blown into the ocean, The Crystal Coast
Blown back home

Public Domain, Crystal Coast NC

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