Haibun: Family

Today is Haibun  Monday at dVerse Poets Pub.  “This week, let us consider gratitude: Its essence, those reasons we have for feeling it, and what our lives—and our world—may look like if we live it.”  Frank wants us to write about gratitude.  It isn’t just for American Thanksgiving, but for us all.  Traditionalist that I am, I am ending this with an American Sentence.


“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” Richard Bach

The black and white photo, a Polaroid. One of the first my mother took with her new camera she bought for the heck of it. We all stared in wonder as the picture appeared on the film and she wiped the swab of developer/fixer across it. The photo has lasted for 62 years. It shows us all around the Thanksgiving table – my great-grandfather, my grandmother and grandfather, my father and mother and me, and my two aunts, the younger sisters of my mother. In the center of the table is a huge turkey, a ham, and a big platter of my father’s perfect fried chicken. Bowls of vegetables from the garden canned or frozen, and on the sideboard salads,  a luscious fresh coconut cake, several pies, a pecan pound cake with an orange glaze. The first cake I had ever baked. I was six.
We are sitting around the table smiling at the camera. My mother pressed the remote bulb and there we are, frozen in time. Now the only people left alive in the photo are my two aunts and I. However, I look in the scrapbook at the photo with tears in my eyes and gratitude in my heart. My family. My people, my tribe. How when we went around the table to speak what we were thankful for, we all to a person said, “Family”.

Love surrounds us daily even when family has passed to heaven.

21 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Glenn A. Buttkus
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 17:01:23

    Lovely, so very touching–photo albums used to be a staple for nostalgia. Sadly, in the last decade, digital images nest in internet clouds or haughty hard drives, and may not last the half century we used to expect.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 25, 2019 @ 17:07:50

      We are old fashioned. We still keep the photo albums because that is where we find the images of our loved ones.

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  2. gillena cox
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 17:39:28

    So beautiful. Happy Monday. I am grateful you are my poetry friend



  3. Ali Grimshaw
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 17:45:36

    I too love family photos. They are a way to travel back to wonderful memories shared. Thanks for the reminder to get the photo albums out.


  4. Rob Kistner
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 18:27:55

    This is gentle, nostalgic, and caring Toni. Even the touch of melancholy is tender. Wonderful write.


  5. Frank J. Tassone
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 19:31:18

    I felt like I was there with you and your family, marveling at that photo, seated at that table. An evocative feast for the senses, Toni! Beautifully and poignantly done!


  6. georgeplace2013
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 20:46:03

    Family yes. I am so grateful for roots… knowing my great grandmother and both sets of grandparents, siblings, cousins – in todays fractured families that is such a blessing.
    Love your haibun and haiku


  7. rothpoetry
    Nov 25, 2019 @ 21:05:13

    Yes Family is definitely at the top of the grateful list! A beautiful tribute!


  8. merrildsmith
    Nov 26, 2019 @ 07:14:09

    Lovely and touching–yes, those old family photos can certainly spark memories.
    I’m grateful for my family, too.


  9. memadtwo
    Nov 26, 2019 @ 13:44:15

    From the heart–I have one of those Thanksgiving photos too–my brothers and I remain, and we remember. (K)


  10. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Nov 26, 2019 @ 14:58:23

    Those pictures are so precious and few… we only used the camera on the most important moments once.


    • kanzensakura
      Nov 26, 2019 @ 15:27:48

      We were a camera snapping family. The polaroid was only used because it was expensive but the kodak was always used. I have a trunk full of snapshots that were mama’s of all of us through the years and when she was a teenager.


  11. lynn__
    Nov 29, 2019 @ 16:04:14

    Those old photos are sooo precious, Toni…and the memories even more so!


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