dVerse Poetics: The Heavy Bear Who Goes With Me

Kim is charge of the pub today.  She is asking us to write poems about being an animal.  A simple and lovely prompt.

Mr. Cat
Nobody’s home,
Just me.
I walk around and explore.
I jump on the furniture
the kitchen cabinet,
the dresser,
the toilet….
I nap and graze on the nibbles in my bowl.
I take naps and look outside the windows.
Today there are lots of birds at the feeders
Who laugh at me and fly on the sill to tease me.
When you get home,
I ignore you of course.
Until you pick me up
and fold me into your arms
and ask,
Did you have a good day?
Of course I did but…
It is better now you are home.
I settle into your lap
as you nibble on treats
and watch the birds outside the window.
And we both nap.

SamCat the Ripper: RIP 10/15

Real Toads Tuesday Platform: Country Burial

This is posted for Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

Country Burial
A Cairn –
Placing a few rocks one on top of the other,
dug from the hard red clay.
My mother’s ashes reside here,
in the country cemetery
nestled in her mother’s grave.
I drove the several hours down to Bahama
(buh-hay-muh)
to the Mount Moriah Church –
where most of our ancestors lay.
The first one laid to rest was my
great-times-many grandmother –
buried with her infant son on her breast.
Since 1790. A long time.
My mother is the most recent.
I dug the hole,
wrestling with the drought hard ground
rusty red…the blood of the soil
makes good tomatoes, my great-grandfather said.
I poured her ashes into the hole
and filled it back with the chunks of dirt.
then all the rocks that I dug out
I placed in a pile.
I left my mother’s ashes there.
But I brought some of the soil back with me –
in a shoebox along with some rocks.
And the tomatoes grown in that red soil!
So tangy they jump off the plate and slap you
across the face before you can stick a fork in ‘em –
no passive sweet tomatoes grown in this dirt.
Mama would be pleased.

Quadrille Monday: Rock

Today Mish is in charge of prompting for the Quadrille.  What is a quadrille?  It is a form unique to the dVerse Pub. It has exactly 44 words, excluding the title and it must use the prompted word in the body of the poem.  Not a representation or definition of the word, but the word itself.  I have been going through a lot of changes.  I have been thinking that most of what I write is crap.  Plain and simple. It is part of the process  –  some of it is actually good.  So today I am writing my manifesto in 44 words using the word “rock”.  That is the prompted word:  rock.  Use it, skip it, throw it, paint it, build with it, dance to it, build a fire with it.

throwing rocks
A boy with a rock slew a giant years ago.
What is your giant?
What will you slay today?
Intolerance? Racism? Hunger?
Sexual abuse? Animal cruelty?
My poems are my rocks.
I am letting them loose today.
Let loose the brave poems.
*Yūkan’na koto.

*Japanese for: be brave as in bushido

piles of rocks in Japan – public domain photo

Real Toads: Doors

One Way to Different Things
“There are things known and things unknown and in between are the doors.” Jim Morrison

This is for the Weekend Mini Challenge at Real Toads. I may post for Poets United tomorrow. I wrote this in the haibun form. I have not yet decided.

Years ago, I walked out our front door to the great unknown – first day of school. I opened the door at school and passed into a strange world full of strange people and strange concepts – having to sit still and be quiet, to color inside the lines, to answer a question with only one correct answer. Doors at my childhood home – going through the back door of our home into the backyard to our kitchen and flower gardens, closing the door of my room which could only be entered with my permission. Sitting on the sill of my window and smoking my first joint with my cousin Billy – opening the door to a different perception of the world. And again later, having sex for the first time, allowing that sweet fellow anthropology student to open a different kind of door to a different inner me. And coming home to open the front door and stepping into a home without my father. With my mother, my arm around her, closing the door to that home for the last time until it was opened again by its new family. Opening the door to my husband and my home and opening the door to the bedroom that used to be my mother’s. Empty now.

The transition of the seasons – spring stepping forward and closing the door to winter behind her and then, after the passage of a few moons, opening the door to summer. Summer in a brief fling of heat and passion, mellowing out to step into autumn, falling through that door and getting ready for winter’s sleep. Quietly closing the door and resting until awakened by the first robin. Jumping up and springing into a time of new growth. A wreath of fresh cedar and oranges on my front door for Winter, silk pink cherry blossoms for spring, a plain homemade wreath of dried vines for that persistent little wren who builds her nest there. We don’t use the front door so she and her family are safe. We always us the back door which leads into the kitchen and where most people seem to stay – ignoring the door into the living room. People who enter for the first time almost always say – look at all the doors! you have a zillion cabinets and, are they really truly real maple? No false doors in my kitchen!

The final door – loved ones and friends can wait with us outside but we can only open and step inside to the other side alone – going from the life we know into the space of the unknown on the other side. A plain door that swings only one way and with no windows for those outside to see inside.

seasons’ doors open
and close – flowers bloom and fade –
always a mystery

Duke U Chapel Doors – Getty Images

 

 

Real Toads Bits of Inspiration

This is for Real Toads Bits of Inspiration: Dragonflies. there are all kinds of stories about them, myths. Japan is no different in its stories of dragonflies, especially among the Samurai. The dragonfly helmets are known as the type of armor called kawari kabuto – exotic helmet.

Akitsushima

My lover took the antique helmet out of the case to show me. He explained that it was one of the helmets worn by his Samurai ancestors. I reached out a tentative finger to touch it. A tingle went through me – old times, men long dead, battles fought. It was a dragonfly helmet. I asked why such a fragile thing for a battle helmet design. He laughed.

“Dragonflies are relentless hunters”, he explained. “They can fly forward, they can hover but, they can never move backwards”. I asked again, why such a fragile thing? He laughed at me. “ Have you ever seen a dragonfly hunt? The ancient lords chose such embellishments so they could be easily found on the battlefield. They often chose a motif that they felt described themselves. They are also considered to be far seeing.” I later learned that an ancient deity, while sitting on top of a mountain looked down upon Japan and named it Akitsushima, Island of the Dragonfly -because of the shape of the islands. My lover then took down his katana and said, “Come, it is time to practice.” I did a jaunty step, “Float like a butterfly, hunt like a dragonfly.” He laughed. Years later, I learned that like the dragonfly, I could never go back to that time.

ancient far seer –
the dragonfly hovers –
no going backwards

public image domain

Silent Road

This is posted for Poets United Midweek Motif – Meteor showers.  It is also posted at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.  This happened years ago.  It is an extended haibun.

Silent Road
Delta Aquarids –
escape from city lights – the
veiled stars will unveil

Hot night in July –needing to be out of the city, rolling down a smooth country two lane blacktop, soft roar of the tires – tack…..tack…..tack…..Rock in the tire tread – front passenger, I think. Black countryside, no lights showing in the few houses. Folks have to get up early go to work in town, go to work in surrounding tobacco fields. Rolling past rows of tobacco and corn row after row after row, broken only by the dark houses. The blooms on the green plants show up white in the headlights.

Past another small house, dark. Ahead off to the right a dirt road. I pull off and go down it slowly. Dust invisible but I can smell it, thick whiffs of sharp iron and sweeter lime.  In the headlights ahead. Washboard shadows in the hard dirt where constant tires have cleared away the gravel. In the headlight the road is pale pink but in the daylight, it will be red as blood. To the left, a small drive leading to an empty space by the tobacco field. I pull in and park, cut the engine – the cooling motor goes ting ting ting…

insect sounds rise in
the darkness – chackachacka
hypnotic hum..

Except for the insects, dead silence.  A dog barks some distance away then another closer by answers. In front of me as my eyes adjust I see several empty tobacco slides waiting for morning. Time of year to prime the thick leaves, snap by hand the thick stalks, heavy leaves of the plants, to be loaded in layers in the slides, then hitched to the back of a tractor to be taken to be to ancient tobacco barns and tied by hand to tobacco sticks, loaded by hand into the barn to dry for sale in the fall. I can tell by the snapped stalks on the plants, this is the third priming.

fireflies flicker – an
insect meteor shower
among the dark plants

One comes in my car window and settles on the steering wheel, White dark white dark – flashing its signals to an alien being who doesn’t understand the language. Smells of dust, acrid tang of tobacco sap, smell of cows from a field close by. Tipping the seat back  I lean my head against the headrest And look at the stars through my windshield. The firefly continues its signals. Suddenly, several quick bursts in the dark sky and the stars begin to fall – trails of white falling towards the horizon, silent as dust. Some shimmer, some burst, they all burn in the summer night, streak after streak, fast, slow, dark and again they explode and fall.  In the cool grey dawn, the stars have gone to sleep. The firefly has flown away. I drive slowly down the dirt road back to the two lane black top back to the city.   Tack…..tack…..tack…..

July stars burst streak –
trails of fire in the black night
fade and disappear

 

Haibun Monday: Owls

Today the theme for Haibun Monday is owls. Victoria is hosting the Pub with this lovely winter kigo for haiku. A haibun is brief true prose ending with a haiku – haiku must have a seasonal word to be a haiku. Come visit us to read these haibun about owls. the Japanese word for snowy owl is fukaroo. This is also being posted at Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

Owls at night
I sit on the steps of our back porch. The night is cold and still and a light snow is falling. I pull the quilt tighter around me and gaze out at the snow slowly covering the lawn. From the woods I hear a sound that is like a woman screaming – a tiny screech owl. For something so small it can emit a scream from that sounds like it comes from the pits of despair. The owl screams again. I look up at the dark sky, the stars blacked out by clouds. As I look up, a deeper black slowly glides across the sky – an owl. Probably the screech owl or the saw whet owl I found earlier in autumn living in the woods. There are several owls around here – you can spot them at night or their nesting places during the day if you are observant and very quiet. There is even a ghostly barn owl taking advantage of an old deserted barn. Owls. I love owls. I can sit all night and watch them hunt – hearing their clucking or wild cries as they find and capture prey. The screech owl screams again. The snow continues to fall.

in the cold night owls
split the darkness with their
ghostly glide – snow falls

public domain photo

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