Haibun: The Kindness of Strangers

Today Xenia Tran is hosting the haibun prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub. She has given us the prompt of compassion but not to use the word. Also today on Poets United, Sherry Marr has highlighted me and some of my poems:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2018/05/blog-of-week-update-with-kanzen-sakura.html

Kindness of Strangers
Sometimes it is the small things that show kindness. When my mother was admitted into the skilled nursing facility, she was at first hostile and afraid. The personnel did all they could for her and to help me. I felt guilty because I could no longer care for her at home. The aides would get her up and bathed and dressed, joking with her, cajoling her into eating a bit of her breakfast, and letting us know about activities planned for the patients for the day. I would wheel her around the facility in her wheelchair, talking to the staff and patients, creating conversation to include my mother. After a couple of weeks she began to get into the routine and to eat her meals in the dining room. I began to help the workers with seating patients, bringing their food to the table, wheeling them back to the activity room for afternoon bingo, musical programs, and craft activities.

After Mother’s Day, mama had a series of seizures and strokes. The little ladies I talked to daily asked me about her, asked me to give her their best wishes and prayers for her. The key would even have their pastors come to mama’s room to talk with her, to pray over her. She was nonverbal by this time and took all of her meals in her room. The Kitchen staff would prepare special bits of food that they knew she liked. I would sit with her all day. Everyone knew my routine. Early one morning, the floor nurse called me at home to let me know my mother had died.
birds on feeder
outside her window – away
they flew – her soul is freed

 

an angel made by mama in her craft class from an oyster shell

Haibun: Chijitsu

The word “chijitsu” is one of those beautifully specific Japanese words that means “lingering day”.  Haibun have no titles.  They are factual accountings of an event or time in one’s life.  They are always finished with a haiku;  there is always a seasonal word in haiku otherwise, it isn’t.  For day 17 in Nannernanner and the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

The air as warm as bathwater – the last part of the day is filled with birdsong. A soft breeze blows and gently moves the new yellow-green leaves on the trees. Through the trees I watch the red ball of fire that is the setting sun slowly hanging on to the day. Except for the birds it is silent. No sounds of traffic or neighbors mowing lawns, no sounds of children playing – simple silence. I love this part of the day almost as much as I love the night. The brash sun mutes itself to soft grey. The smell of lilac fills my being and I breathe deeply. Soon it will be night but I enjoy this lingering day until the skies become cobalt and filled with stars.
lingering day –
the day prepares for sleep –
birds tell goodnight tales

 

Haibun: Who and why

Today I am hosting at dVerse Poets writing about why I write poetry and who inspired me.

Who and Why
I wrote my first haiku when I was six. Our next door neighbor, the last of his line, was a professor of Asian Studies at Duke University. I came and went freely in his home, looking at the antiques, the momentos from his journeys to Japan, and sipping lemonade on his generous front porch. Jamie Pollard was prissy, opinionated, and not afraid to speak his mind. Although I was six and he was 40, we became fast friends. His factotum was a Japanese man who kept the house in order, the vehicles running, and his employer looking perfect. He was also Jamie’s live in lover. At a time when such things were “not spoken of”, Jamie lived his life large. Often in the summer, as I lay on my stomach coloring in my coloring book, he would read Basho and Issa to me and we both sipped lemonade. I suspect his had some liquor added.

When I was 11 and totally bored, my grandmother stopped her preparation of dinner and went to the house library. She came back with several books – T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, and H.D. Thoreau. She put them down in front of me and said, I think these will keep you busy for a couple of weeks. I was inspired by all three writers. Thus began my interest in writing about nature in the form of “snapshots”…haiku. The Viet Nam war was ramping up. I wrote of poems about peace, love, and later, about drugs. Once when I was practicing my cursive writing, my father took out a lovely fountain pen and gave it to me. He said to me, “write your heart”. And I did. I took it with me everywhere I traveled – from the Coast of North Carolina to the summit of Mt. Fuji. I loaded it up with peacock blue ink. I write my heart, my soul, my feelings, my questions about life. I write simply. Like spring rain or snow or the ancient trees in the forest. Inspired by poets and people I love, I write. I will always write about life and how I perceive it.

spring comes in slowly
scattering snow and cherry blossoms –
legacy of love in verse

Haibun: Snow like fire

Today is Quadrille Monday at dVerse. A quadrille is a poem in any form with exactly 44 words (excluding the title) and using the prompted word. Dee (Whimzy Gizmo) is the pubtender at dVerse Poets Pub. She has given us the world “fire” to use in the quadrille. I am actually doing non-traditional in the ending haiku with not keeping to the 5-7-5 syllable count.  I am publishing on dVerse Poets Pub

Snow like Fire
It started out as rain but quickly turned into heavy snow. Daffodils show like flames against the white. My flowering quince smolders like a slow fire in the falling snow.

snow falls like freezing fire–
flowers show against white –
burns slowly in the cold

copyright kanzensakura

 

 

Haibun: No Ko Me

Today Victoria is prompting us for the Monday Haibun.  A haibun is a Japanese poetic form mixing prose and haiku.  It must be true and is usually written in the first person.  Today her prompt is:  No Ko Me—Tree Buds or something pending.  Come join us for this beautiful and seasonal prompt.

copyright kanzen sakura

No Ko Me
My ex-lover and I always marked the changing seasons as the Japanese do; but he was Japanese so there you go. As a Southern white girl, I always made note of the seasons, usually by smell: the freshly cut grass of summer, the snow scent of winter, the autumn leaves’ must, and of course, the fresh smell of tender buds of spring. Masashi taught me much more – the tens of thousands of kigo relating to the changing seasons and about mujo – change.

Around mid-February we would inspect the trees and shrubs on our property seeking out the most infinitesimal of growing buds which sprinkled the branches like individual dark red snowflakes. We knew that first spring was soon to be here. The buds would grow bigger until they would burst forth into bloom. A flower here, there, and soon second spring there would be flowers everywhere.

I would delicately touch the tree buds or gently kiss them soothing their pain. He told me the buds felt pain at growing large and then giving birth to flowers and leaves just as a woman felt pain at giving birth. In the rain I would imagine the buds weeping with pain but then the joy when the flower would unfold. I would stand beneath our cherry trees as the petals would fall to the ground – children that only lived for a day.

pain of tree buds
birthing into flowers –
petals fall – drops of blood

flowering quince copyright kanzensakura

 

 

Haibun: The Grey

Haibun Monday at dVerse.  Bjorn is our host and enjoins us to think of grey.

The Grey
I am a porch sitter from ‘way back. I sit on the steps of our back porch in all weathers and watch the night. The last full moon was bright. The light changed the world into shades from ash to argent – trees were blacker shapes against the black starry sky and the lawn was palest silver. An old photograph it looked to be. I walked around the yard clothed in grey – the dark grey shrubs, the light silver of dried grass, the middle tones of my skin. The whole world had been transformed into grey by the magic of the moonlight.

I went back to the steps and sat. The frost glittered in the moonlight like faceted hematite. Stretching out under the moon like a grey tabby cat, the lawn flexed and flowed down to the woods. As I watched this silent grey night, from the old potting shed came a small black and white cat followed by two young kittens. I held my breath and watched them go the plate where I had earlier placed food. They didn’t notice me at all, silent and still. I watched as they ate their fill and then returned to the potting shed. A bit later, a red fox crossed the yard at a trot, intent upon his own business looking neither to the right or left of him. The grey holds so many secrets. I get to watch them all unfold – like an old silent movie. When dawn began to come, the world was transformed into lighter grey – everything the same color. I stood up stiffly and went back into the house to awake my husband for work. The inside of the house was warm. The lace curtains in the bedroom changed into a solid sheet of grey, the patterns of the lace growing together. My husband’s face was still and calm, deep into sleep. I gently touched him to awaken him. In the grey pre-dawn, he pulled the quilt over his head and went back to sleep.
grey of winter night –
the moon changes all the dross
into purest silver

stock photo

Gold Day

For Rommy’s prompt at Real Toads – Love hurts

Gold Day
the afternoon you left
was a golden roux of fading autumn sunlight,
spicy oak leaves –
bright yellow, still holding on to the tree,
not yet ready to fall,
and bitter salt tears –
like the oak leaves – refusing to fall,
refusing to join the earlier faded maple leaves on the lawn.
under the trees, quiet and still,
I allow the knowledge of your leaving to permeate my being.
I am still breathing.
My heart is still beating.
The sky is still ethereal blue with purest white autumn clouds
wafting their way to the end of the horizon –
Starlings lift from the telephone wires to follow the clouds –
I realize, I will continue on my way –
leaves will change color and fall,
snow will cover the sepia winter landscape –
cherry blossoms will bud, bloom, and fade –
trees will leaf in explosions of green,
leaves will change color and fall –
Seasons and things will pass.
inside, my soul says “Oh!”
I sit as the gold day ends –
early leaf burning –
its incense drifts to heaven
autumn’s voice whispers.

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