Quadrille Monday: Free

I have written a haibun for dVerse Poets Pub Monday’s  quadrille. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words (excluding the title) which uses the prompted word. In this case the word is “free”.  Come and join in the fun.

Everywhere Blue – (for De)
Oh! To be a cloud in the sky floating lazily or waves in a cerulean lake washing upon the shore . High mountains topped with snow standing guard and smiling.

clouds in autumn blue
sky drifting free – waves below
laughing like children

Lake Tahoe – public domain photo.

Real Toads: I wrote you a book

Today at Real Toads we are to write a poem to a book – a book of poetry or a collection of poems. I have chosen one of the five most influential books to me – Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North.  It was a birthday gift to me from my beloved and revered friend and tutor.  This is the book which introduces us all to the haibun – prose ending with a haiku.  Basho’s haibun were originally travel sketches.  I have traveled Basho’s route several times at different times of the year.  I wrote my first haibun when I was 14.  I have a written a haibun to it, in the spirit of the book. I am also linking this to Poets United Poetry Pantry: http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2017/09/poetry-pantry-370.html

The Beginning
It was November, two days before my 12th birthday. Jamie Pollard, our lifelong next door neighbor who had started my love of Japanese poetic forms and especially haiku, gave me an old ragged copy of Road to the North by Basho. He had carried the copy with him several times to Japan. He said, I want you to read this. It will introduce you to the haibun. I think you will enjoy writing them. I opened the book in awe touching the pages tenderly and then hugged Jamie. My road was opened to me. I have traveled it all my life.

snow was falling – you
were given to me – a
gift still loved today

public domain image from Road to the North

Quadrille Monday – Crepe Myrtle

Today Bjorn is hosting at the dVerse Pub and the word he has chosen for the quadrille prompt is “bliss” A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words not including the title. I have achieved my goad and written a haibun of 44 words!!! A haibun is an ancient Japanese poetic form that combines haiku (hai) and prose (bun). It must be factual and have actually happened to you and it must close with a haiku – another ancient Japanese poetic form consisting of 5-7-5 syllables and includes a kigo (season word as in autumn, not salt) and a kireji – a cutting word.  I am also linking this to Real Toads Tuesday Platform  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-tuesday-platform_29.html

Crepe Myrtle

The crepe myrtle this year was spectacular, full of blissful pink flower clusters. Now at the end of summer, there are only a few bits of bloom left.

crepe myrtle blooms fall
on the lawn like faded pink
snow – summer’s ending

copyright kanzensakura


Tsunami: One year anniversary March 11, 2012

This is greatly condensed down from a section of poetry based on the friendship of a Japanese engineer who was transferred by the company who owned the Fukushima power plant to a company in the US. I am posting this for Gillena’s prompt at: http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/  “Hi toads, today i want you to stretch your imagination; ponder a natural disaster, past or recent, and tell me, what role you think, the gods might be playing, resulting in that particular natural disaster.” This is a small section of a poem I have been working on for several years – The Walk – parts I – VIII. He and I became friends while I was reviewing his application for licensure in the US as a professional engineer. He explained to me that much of the physical documentation was destroyed and people who acted as references and verifiers of his experience were dead.  He was in Tokyo at the time of the tsunami on business.  I am writing in haibun form.

free public domain photo – Japan Tsunami

Tsunami: One year later March 11, 2012. section of The Walk Part IV
Susanoo-no-Mikoto* was in a rage the day of the tsunami. He swept before him adults and children, pets, wild creatures, graves of the beloved dead, altars, homes – all washed away like so much trash into a gutter. My friend and I walked that anniversary to our place by the peaceful pond. I handed him a stick of incense. He lit the incense and wept beneath the cherry trees, far from home and dead family and friends.

the sea inhaled then
exhaled a giant wall of
water – spring was drowned

copyright kanzensakura

*Japanese god of the sea, storms, and snakes

Haibun Monday – What did you do?

Today I host the prompt at dVerse for Haibun Monday. I am asking people – what did you do on your summer (or other) vacation? I hope folks had fun with the prompt.  https://dversepoets.com/2017/08/21/haibun-monday-what-did-you-do/  Come join us for a staycay-vacay!

As a child and teen, I loved summer – NO school. We didn’t have much money to throw around for things like vacations but my parents worked hard to save during the year so we could take a couple of trips. Every other summer we travelled to New Jersey to visit cousins living there. Getting up in darkness, packing the car, and heading up Route One North – up to Yankee Land. Zipping through larger cities, over incredibly high bridges, going through tunnels…stopping someplace for lunch. My grandmother would unpack the cooler – always homemade sausage biscuits, cold fried chicken, sliced tomatoes from the garden, homemade sugar cookies, jars of frozen iced tea that had thawed and was oh! so cold.

Or we went down to the coast for a month. My parents would drop off my grandmother, my two teenaged aunts, my great-grandfather, and I and drive back to Durham to continue to work. I loved our place down at the beach. It was rented most of the year but for about a month we didn’t rent it out. I loved the Crystal Coast of Emerald Isle, Salter Path…fresh seafood, eastern style barbecue, walking on the beach for hours playing in the water and picking up shells. My parents would join us on weekends. Then we would go to the amusement area on the barrier island, watch young folks dancing – my aunts were always there! Hearing the sounds of the rollercoaster, the carousel, the music from the area after we had walked back to our cottage. “Wipeout” was a favorite song the teens enjoyed dancing to.

Such simple times. No matter how much money we spend nowadays, now matter how fancy the hotel we stay in, the local food from diner to gourmet – nothing seems to beat those memories of those times. Fresh fish frying in a pan on the stove, shrimp steaming in beer, hushpuppies hot from the fryer and summer fresh strawberries and blueberries for dessert. Sleeping with the bedroom window open to feel and smell the wind that came off the ocean, reading under the porch in the shade, my aunts flirting with young surfer dudes, my grandmother walking along the edge of the waves looking down for a choice shell. When my mother died in June, I unpacked some of her things from the attic. Chief among them was a bushel basket full of sand dollars from the size of a dime to the size of a saucer. I remembered us picking up every one of them.

summer waves and shells –
sand dollars spin in the waves –
tears fall – I remember

Emerald Isle NC

sand dollar in the surf

Simple Things – Summer Night Storm

This is for Kerry’s prompt at Real Toads – 10 lines or less about uncomplicated things. http://withrealtoads.blogspot.se/2017/08/micro-poetry-uncomplicated-things.html  One of my favorite forms – the haibun – classic of course and none of this modern nonsense – another uncomplicated thing! I am also linking this to Poets United Poetry Pantry:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2017/08/poetry-pantry-367.html

Summer Night Storm
Through the trees I can see the lightning flashing – smell the wet rain in the air. Not the smell of petrichor but rather, the rich wetness of long absent rain, the much needed rain, 恵雨 keiu – welcome rain. I hear the rain before it starts as it runs across the leaves of the trees and then the roofs of  houses, the road, and then here. Sudden rushing welcome rain. I stand outside in spite of the lightning and let it drench me.  I hold my arms up to the sky and smile.

still summer air weighs
heavy against the trees and
then the rain begins

rain – shotei 1859


First Snow: Hatsuyuki

This is for Victoria’s beautiful prompt for Haibun Monday – Wabi sabi – the beauty of imperfection.  Come visit us and read the haibun inspired by this.

Hatsuyuki – First Snow
Midnight.  I walk to the trees at the verge of the woods. I can see against the rough black bark where bits of snow have settled into the crevices of the bark – like exotic plants on the steep side of the cliff. I touch the snow with my lips – soft cold against rough and then melting. I bow my head against the tree – I murmur 侘寂 wabi-sabi.

The stillness, the snow, the silence.   I am no longer here but there – years past on the viewing platform at *Ryoanji. On the wall sit hundreds of suzume – sparrows.  Like me, they are watching the rocks in the 枯山水, karesansui. Feathers fluffed against the cold, tiny bright eyes seeing all. The air becomes sweet and before the suzume begin to flutter, I know…snow. I feel them on my face before I see the flakes and soon, they stick to the gravel, to the moss around the base of the rocks. The birds flutter off to more sheltered spaces but a few stay for the crumbs the humans leave behind.

Ryoanji and hatsuyuki. I stay until the moss is white and the suzume have all left. Straight down and fast, the snow falls. I stand and bow the long, deep bow of deepest respect. As I leave, it comes together for me – mujo – impermance, wabi sabi – the beauty of imperfection, mono no aware – the deep sadness at the passing of things – the snow that falls, the snow that melts, the birds that fly away…and the rocks that stay behind.

snow falls – white **sho-ru –
silence drifts to cover rocks –
peaceful dragon sleeps

* Peaceful Dragon

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