Haibun Monday – The Shadow Knows

Monday I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. Years ago I read In Praise of Shadows (陰翳礼讃 In’ei Raisan), an essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author and novelist Jun’ichirō Tanizaki. It deeply influenced me and caused my immersion into the Japanese culture. So I am prompting people to write about shadows today in classic Haibun form – actual shadows, shadows in our lives, walking after dark in the full moon, the fireplace flickering in a dark room, shadows of clouds racing over a meadow, mountain or lake. Come visit us and find out the reason for this quote by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki: “Were it not for shadows, there would be no beauty.”  The Pub opens at 3:00 pm EST

Moonlight, kendo, and love
Midsummer. The moon was full to bursting and it lit up our bedroom like a klieg light. My lover was sleeping soundly, softly snoring. I was rolling from one half of the bed to the other – the night was hot and moist and redolent with the smells of roses, jasmine, gardenias, magnolia….the rich musk of freshly mown grass floated over the flower smells and made me sneeze. I gave one look at the sleeping man, muttered “bah” and got out of bed. I looked down into the garden in the back yard – the scene was almost surreal, flat with the look of no contrasting shadows. Every detail stood out in sharp detail. I pulled on a tee shirt and shorts and went downstairs. I decided if nothing else, I would practice some kendo forms I had learned the previous week. With my shinai in hand, I began. I started to sweat but continued. Soon I relaxed and to get into the motions. Clouds blew across the surface of the full moon and shadows drifted across the koi pond and the graveled area. A soft breeze began cooling me and I closed my eyes and drifted with the forms. Suddenly, my arms were gripped by strong hands and my lover began to improve on my motions.

I turned to look at him. Taller than the average Japanese man with a beautiful swooped nose and full lips. I loved his mouth and his nose. He smiled. “Dancing in the shadows?” I melted into him and we began the kendo dance. Shadows began to shift as the moon began to dip in the sky. The branches of trees grew longer and one of the koi broke surface, thinking the moonlight on the water was a bug. I watched the shadows from the moon slowly glide along the walkway. We became still, me wrapped in his arms. “I love the shadows on a full moon night,” he whispered. “I love you on a full moon night.” And he started to caress me. Soon we disappeared into the shadow of the dogwood tree, making love in our garden. Fully sated at last, we went to sleep on the grass each holding the other close. We woke just before grey dawn and lay there looking at the sun rise. The koi began to roil the surface of the pond clamoring for food. I fed them and watched them as they swam in and out of my reflection. Shadows shifted as the sun rose higher. I kissed him. “I love you” I said. And he smiled.
flowers scent the air –
midsummer dreams – shadows on
a pond – koi jumps high.

Poetics: From Natures Point of View

Today Mish is doing the Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub.  She wants us to write about life from the perspective of nature:  a tree, frog, flower, whatever!  I used the quote form The Last Samurai as my inspiration and …the cherry blossoms.  Come join us for some excellent poetry.  Poetics: From Nature’s Point of View 

kanzen sakura
through the long winter
I sleep – curled tight within the
wood – I dream of spring
and bursting forth in shades
of pink and white –
just for a day in the sun
just for a day in the rain
just for a day in early spring snow –
just for one glorious day to look
at the beauty around me –
to listen to the birds –
to watch my friends opening –
to the sun around me –
to one day hear a man beneath my perch saying:
“The perfect blossom is a rare thing.
You could spend your life looking for one,
and it would not be a wasted life”***
and to smile and let my petals
slowly fall to earth.

***quote from The Last Samurai by Katsumoto

copyright kanzensakura

Quadrille Monday: Quadrille #29

De is hosting our Quadrille Monday. A quadrille is a 44 word poem exactly, using a prompted word. De has chosen “balloon” for us today.  Come join us for these wonderful short poems.  Quadrille #29


Mama’s Balloon

Breath of God
blown into a pink balloon.
It grew larger and larger
and it soared and dipped
until one day,
My mother was told
her left ventricle had ballooned out
and it could burst at any minute.
I hope it is quick: aneurysm

Haibun Monday – Yum!

This is Haibun Monday over at the dVerse Poets Pub.  I am prompting people to write about one of the best meals they ever had.  Come join us for some good eats!
Down By the River
I remember once when I was 10, my father took me fishing. Through Durham flows the beautiful Eno river. Papa had a place picked out for fishing. It was right before one of the several cascades of white water along the river. We scrambled down rocks and jumped over streams until we came to “The Spot”. My father took several cokes out of the basket I was carrying and nestled them into the rocks at the edge of the river. I knew in the basket were also a couple of bologna sandwiches, a small bag of corn chips, and a couple of Hershey bars. We sat in companionable silence and fished. Time passed slowly and I began to nod. Suddenly my pole began to twitch and I jerked awake, just in time to pull up the large trout. It was a triumphant moment.

It was almost noon and my father decided it was time for lunch. We pulled the cokes up out of the river and I unwrapped the sandwiches. I washed my hands in the river and dried them on the back of my shorts. My father and I gobbled up the sandwiches, chips, and Hershey bars and drank our cokes, cold from the river water. I haven’t eaten bologna since then but that day, the sandwiches were sheer delights, wonders of modern cuisine. We sat there for several hours and finally decided to call it a day. The trout was swimming in his water basket and Papa decided to let him go. I was glad he did. I had been feeding it bits of leftover bread and had formed a tenuous friendship with it. It was the only fish we caught that day. My father packed up all the trash and wound the lines tight. We clambered back over the rocks to our car and then drove home. I told my mother what we had had for lunch and she smiled. “I remember a similar lunch he packed for us while we were dating and we went fishing on the Eno.”

melted butter sun
dapples river and trees – the
river runs silent

 

public domain photo Eno River Org

 

 

Meeting the Bar: Impressionism

Today Bjorn is Pubtender and is prompting us to write impressionist poetry, based on impressionist paintings.  Splashes of color, some scents, some cooking, some blurred edges – all the hallmarks of the great Impressionists, including Claude Monet.  Come visit us at the Pub and view the artisitic offerings:  Meet the Bar with impressionism

Water Lilies in the Kitchen 
In the lemon yellow kitchen
Sunday dinner is being prepared.
aromas of fried chicken and pot roast
mingle with scents of onion, celery, bell peppers
and the sizzle of the fried chicken competes with
the sound of birds outside.
through the wide window framed with red maple
and blue and white curtains
the bright jade green summer lawn
runs to meet the azure sky.
The heavy leafed trees comb
the sky clear of purest white clouds.
Inside the kitchen
the tender green perfume of freshly cut herbs
float on the heavier scents
like water lilies on a pond.

Water lilies – detail from Claude Monet

Haibun Monday – Taking a Bath in the Forest – say what??

Today at 3:00 PM, EST, I am hosting the Haibun Monday prompt for dVerse Poets Pub.  Come join us at this virtual pub for good conversation and good poetry.  I am asking people to write (non-fiction) a one – three paragraph haibun ending it with a classic haiku (using kigo and kireji) and to write about the last time they were immersed in nature.  The subject that prompted this was shinrin-yoku – literally forest bathing.  It is a recognized health benefit in Japan and lately other places.  So please, come join us! I was going to write about getting my vegetable garden ready for planting but decided on true shinrin-yoku. I am an old tree climber from waaaay back.

Having a tree as a BFF is a good thing!
I leaned back into the arms of the old oak tree, it’s warm bark comforting and cradling. All around me in the stillness of the woods that surrounds my home, I could hear the sounds of birds – songs, calling territory, rustling in the branches, wings occasionally flapping as one landed or took off. Every once in awhile, the bark of a crow or several sharp caws would join in. Small creatures – squirrels, chipmunks, deer, bunnies, snakes, frogs – all would make sounds as they went about their daily business. Foraging for food, scurrying from hawks gliding overhead, tunneling, eating, croaking and meditating in the sun – all the woodland sounds.

I come to these woods about once a week to nourish myself. I stand at the edge and decide what path to take today. Often I take the path to this ancient oak, an old friend of mine. I climb the tree until I find the certain conjunction of branches that hide and hold me. Winter or summer, spring or fall; snow or rain, sunshine and cold or heat – I love all the turns of the seasons I can watch from this place in the tree. Last summer, I watched a nest of cardinals hatching over in the neighboring tree. I looked down as a buck and his harem processed majestically beneath me. I have seen much and felt much in this tree. This tree is like the welcoming arms of my husband or my mother or a friend.

It is time. I rustle around a few minutes and bring forth my violin. Today in midsummer, it is time for something light and playful. I place my bow to the strings and begin Boccherini’s La Musica Notturna Delle Strade No. 6. The woods and all its creatures listen for just a space and then, they begin again, going about their business.

summer sounds drift by –
lazy creek at bottom of
hill sings its own song

copyright kanzensakura

Quadrille#27 Monday

Today is quadrille Monday and De Jackson is hosting the prompt. The word to use in your 44 word poem (not including the title) is giggle, giggles, giggling, or giggler. Come join us and real these wonderful short poems at: https://dversepoets.com/2017/02/27/quadrille-27/

Mr. Giggles

The old man is bent like a pretzel.
He has this perpetual Joker smile
a buzz haircut,
and is dressed in identical sweats every day.
His head snaps from left to right
Constantly – he giggles without stopping.
Even in his sleep he giggles.

dVerse Poets Pub – Haibun Monday #2

Another entry for Haibun Monday: The best things in life are free.

The snow melted from the ground. Underneath were thousands of tiny blue flowers blooming. I am sure they must be kin to the forget-me-not but these are so very tiny and perfect. There were even a few violas mixed in with them. The grass had that curious flat appearance from being crushed under the snow which made these little flowers stand up even more so. The Japanese have a word – sumire- voice of jewels. Imagine! If jewels could sing, it would be with the soft sure voice of these tiny flowers. Blue as the sky above them they shine in the grass as if they were in a jewel box of new grass and old leaves.  Free for the taking, free for their sharing of beauty, free little flowers singing with joy at this gorgeous day.

the small shining things
of spring sing with the voices
of hidden jewels

copyright Kanzensakura

copyright Kanzensakura

 

dVerse Poets Pub: Haibun Monday – The Best Things in Life are Free

Monday I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub after a fairly long absence. While a bit stressful, it is still good to be back in the Pub writing prompts and reading and commenting on poems. My prompt for everyone is: the best things in life are free – as in without cost – not liberated from something – one of the other meanings of “free”…Come nd join us for the prompt on 02/20/2017.  Haibun Monday – The Best Things in Life are Free

Daffodils are Free!
Daffodils. I love them. I wait for them to come up every year in the very early spring. This year with the winter being so warm, you can spot clusters of green spears springing up from the dead winter grass or they are topped with the golden flowers. The smell of daffodils – I have yet to smell anything that smells like them. A heady mix of honey, jasmine, and butter – the perfume of them has not and probably never will be duplicated. Watching them blowing in the wind or dripping with rain or sticking out of snow, one can only sigh and know we are looking at one of our Creator’s most beautiful miracles. Ever since I was a child, I have loved them and I love them still at the grand old age of 65. They still make me smile, no matter how hard, sad, grey, or difficult the day has been.

Once when I was a child I pulled green blades of a daffodil still wet with rain. I wanted to see how  it tasted. I placed the green blade between my lips – slowly pulling using my tongue to feel the sharp edge and the soft green and the cold wetness of it. Years later after kendo, my lover and I stood in the rain and kissed. He had daffodil lips and I drank in their cool wetness and my tongue probed the sharp edges of his teeth and the slightly bitter taste of his lips.

in the spring rain
daffodils bloom with hope – true
love is in the air

public domain photo

public domain photo

 

dVerse Poets Pub: Meet the Bar with Expressionism

Bjorn is hosting the Pub today and prompting us to write poems based upon Expressionism.  Whew.  I hope this one comes close.  Come join us at:  Meet the Bar with Expressionism

Cuts like a Knife
The sky is so blue overhead
And the clouds so white.
Yet the wind cuts through you like…
a hot knife through warm butter
scissors through paper
a katana through silk…

And you. You.
You go through me like a
hot knife through cream cheese or…
like a katana through that thin branch
On my cherry tree –
you slash and slice and
and the blossoms fall
to the ground.
the birds peck now among them
finding the worms that burrow
underneath.

a lone crow circles overhead
in that blue winter sky.
he cuts through the sky
like a katana slices through fog.

still from Last Samurai

still from Last Samurai

dVerse Poets Pub: Quadrille Monday

I am linking this to dVerse Poets Pub, Quadrille Monday.  This is the second Quadrille.  The first one I will not be linking up as planned because….I was not happy with it.  Come join us at the virtual pub, dVerse Poets Pub for quick poems of exactly 44 words using the prompted word. http://dversepoets.com/2017/02/13/quadrille-25/  The concept of chinmoku on the top level means, silence or reticence.  It is more than that – it is a way of communication, of feeling the space or silence between the notes, like the scale played on a piano. One has to be totally immersed in the Japanese culture to truly understand chinmoku.

Chinmoku 沈黙
The silence between the notes
stretches out like long silk scarves
twisting around posts
fluttering in the winds
of now and then
of rain and sun.
like ghosts of long gone laughter
the silence between the words
wrap around your heart and pulls…tight.

dVerse Poets Pub – Quadrille Monday

Today is Quadrille Monday at the virtual pub – dVerse Poets Pub. Come join us for a day of quadrilles – a poem of exactly 44 words, not counting the title, and using the word of the prompter. Today, the pubtender is Kim Russell and her word of choice is “ghost” (or ghosted, ghosting, etc).

Windblown Birds
the winter day was sunny and warm
as a day in late spring –
And oh, so windy!
Birds were tossed into the sky –
they fluttered like windblown ghosts –
and rippled like long chiffon scarves,
snapping back and forth like pennants

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