Haiku 05152018

This is posted on Real Toads Tuesday Platform in honor and memory of my friend Peggie who died three years ago today due to complications from COPD. She was a true onnebugeisha. She rescued greyhounds, people (including me), she loved her country, and she loved to laugh.  She never called a “turd a rose” …thank you Fireblossom for this wonderful quote.

summer night is long –
dew falls but fades at morning –
grasses remember

Quadrille Monday dVerse Poets Pub

Today at dVerse Poets Pub, Grace has given us the word “green” for the Quadrille word prompt “.  What a lovely word for the blending of late spring and early summer.  Poems must use the prompt word (title doesn’t count) in a poem of exactly 44 words – no more, no less.  I am writing this poem in memory of my friend Peggie Duggan who died a year ago May 15.  Her memory is ever green among those of us who were gifted by her light.

Tender Green
when love was green
and tenderly grew through the still
frozen ground of winter –
when green memories bloomed
in early spring frost –
I reach back to draw them near again
but they dissolve in my weeping hands
and return to sleep in frozen earth

grass shoots Public Domain Image

grass shoots Public Domain Image

 

Haibun Monday #11 – Reach Out

I am hosting the dVerse Poets Pub for Haibun Monday. My prompt was inspired by the new “Call a Swede” in honor of the 250th anniversary ban on censorship in Sweden. You call a number and a randomized Swede will answer and talk to you about whatever you wish. I did it and had a great time. I then was reminded how easily we often seem to talk to strangers rather than those closest to us. So the haibun prompt is “communication” – to write a haibun about a conversation, email, phone call that changed you somehow, to write about someone you haven’t but need to speak with, uncomfortable silences, happy reconnections. I imagine there will be some interesting takes on this prompt. It is an unusual subject for a haibun but I tell you all truly, it was one that weighed upon me. I lost three dear friends in 2015: suicide, COPD, drunk driver. I wish I could call them and say hello. I thank you all for your support of my blog and work through the years. You are all dear to me.

public domain image

public domain image

Last Call
“Couched in our indifference like waves upon the shore, you can hear the ocean roar…” Dangling Conversation, Paul Simon

I recognized the number in my Caller ID – it was the government agency for whom I had worked a decade earlier. I had kept up with several of my co-workers there through the years and knew their numbers both at the agency and their homes. When I answered, there was silence and then the attempt to speak and finally the words, “It’s bad. Karl is dead. He committed suicide and his brother found him yesterday. Plans are…”. I mumbled a few words and thanked Sarah for calling me. I had tried calling Karl several times the past couple of weeks and left messages on his voice mail which were not returned. I had decided I was going by over the coming weekend. Karl was notorious for going into hiding and only going to work and not speaking to anyone unless he was confronted at home. I actually was not surprised at the news. Grieved, saddened, shaken – but I had been expecting this since I first met him thirty years earlier. The love of his life had died of AIDS and Karl had never fully recovered.

An hour later, I knew there was a call I had to make. I had not spoken to this man since he had boarded a plan and returned to his home in Japan. In that odd manner of life, Karl had first been my friend and then the two of them met through me and became fast immediate friends. Opposites but brothers of the soul. One a disciplined passionate Japanese man who played the piano as if his soul was on fire and gregarious. The other a sensitive, wounded gay man who harbored deep silences and only let a precious few into his life. The two remained friends visiting each other yearly after the Japanese man had returned to his country. Karl kept the two of us apprised of each other – nope, still not married, she is beginning to date, he dates sometimes, calling us both idiots and loving us both until finally Karl gave the news, she is married to a great guy, a good man.

And now, I had to make that call. He knew it was me when he saw the number in his Caller ID for the first words out of his mouth were “What is wrong?” And then I told him Karl was dead. Silence across thousands of miles. And finally on his end, “Does his brother still live at the same address? What are the plans? I will try to come.” Awkwardly I said I was sorry to call with such news. With his usual to the point, words slicing like his deftly wielded katana, “Oddyseus’ wife waited.” I pulled my own sword and said, “And she was his wife and he always meant to return.” The silence on the other end let me know I had drawn blood with that last stroke. I disconnected the phone. Later my husband broke my silence as I worked at sharpening and honing my kitchen blades. All he said was, “I love you.” And it was everything I needed to hear.

silence in the spring –
cherry blossoms are gone – birds
sleep among the branches

Peggy: Brave Heart

A friend of mine died last May.
She knew she was dying and every breath
she forced from her battered lungs
only brought her closer to the end.

She was always there for her friends
And always willing to talk
And make your tears go away
By replacing the pain in your heart
With some of her joy.

In the end, I think it was her courage to share
That brought her end more quickly.
But being her, she could do no less.
Five feet tall, 86 pounds of wasted body.

I wonder if I would have the courage
To pour myself out so freely.
I wonder if I would hoard my breath
Or use it to laugh and make others laugh.

I wonder if I would ever have such courage.
I wonder if I would have so much love.

Peggie in Better Days taken by a friend

Peggie in Better Days taken by a friend

Christmas Miracle – not a sobby story

This is being linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2016/01/poetry-pantry-284.html

grey drizzly day
didn’t feel like Christmas –
77 degrees farenheit
quiet – my husband I opened our two packages
and smiled over hot homemade biscuits
and orange juice.
We have each other –
we can’t complain….
except it’s 77 degrees Farenheit
and grey drizzly day.
Inspiration hit –
Let’s treat ourselves to the new Star Wars movie
and deciding he felt up to going
out in the world
We went.
Interminable ads,
horrible previews,
theater crammed.
I was beginning to regret this.
And then…..
And then…..
The opening fanfare.
A spontaneous roar went through my fellow movie goers
and then…
and then…
everyone was standing and cheering –
my husband and I held hands and grinned
and then…
and then…
the guy next to me reached for my hand and the guy beside my husband
grabbed his hand and before one could blink,
everyone on the row was holding hands,
smiling,
cheering…
thirty strangers all united in one swelling laugh.
Holding our hands up in the air
and around the theater,
other groups of people holding hands.
Oh….and of course I shed some tears
because we were friends – in just that moment.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful it we could find a common
source of joy and all around the world
put down our rifles and our money and our prejudice
and just be friends?
Even for only five minutes?
and then…
and then…

This is being linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2016/01/poetry-pantry-284.html

Cookie Exchange!

cookies - copyright kanzensakura

cookies – copyright kanzensakura

Yesterday, my friend Leah had a cookie exchange. Talk about fun! She opened her home to a group of women who brought home cooked cookies….yes, real homemade cookies and no variety was repeated. Scandinavian almond cookies, soft fragrant ginger cookies, snicker doodles, chocolate chip, oatmeal in several varieties….yum deluxe.

Leah’s home was very happily decorated for Christmas, she had great finger food, and her sweet Lab, Butters, made friends with everyone and graciously snacked on pilfered goodies – crackers, carrots, apple slices, bacon wrapped crackers….it was a hard job but Butters held up his part of the job well.

I do hope you all will be able to participate in a cookie exchange. If not, I hope you will be able to bake and share cookies that are part of your celebration traditions and that others will share with you.

Blessings and happiness to you all!!!

Haibun Monday: d’Verse Poetics

Today is Haibun Monday at D’Verse Poetics Pub. Bjorn and guest, Hamish Gunn, have given us the prompt to use one of two quotes from poet Khalil Gibran.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/05/haibun-monday-2/

 

Peaceful Dragon
Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. Khalil Gibran

A cold, wet day in Kyoto. I did not want to be here but since I was, I decided to go to Ryoanji, a few blocks from the hotel where I was booked. Because it was cold winter rain, I took a taxi instead of walking. The taxi driver was happy I was American. I sat in the back seat for the few moments it took. Several times I caught his eye in the rear view mirror, he always smiled. When I got out of the taxi handing him money, he waved it away. “American. Stranger. Cold.”..I could not in honor leave money after that. I bowed deeply to him as he drove off.   I hoped he would look in his mirror and see.

I was alone on the viewing platform overlooking the dry garden. I stood looking in silent awe. On top of the wall was a row of sparrows. All fluffed out, eyes bright with curiosity, they watched this Western stranger move from one end of the platform to the other until I felt “right” and sat down. A few moments later, a young man came in and sat down close by. I glanced in curiosity and he smiled,. We sat there for an hour or so breathing in the perfume of the past, breathing out the steamy breath of the present. The breaths mingled with the cold air and became absorbed. The sparrows became restless, the air turned sweet. I knew that smell – snow! Soon snow flakes joined the rain. I sensed the young man was looking at me. He pointed up and around the garden – hatsuyuki – first snow, he said and sweetly smiled at the sky. It was time to go. Stiffly I began to rise and he put out his hand to help me. We walked in silence to the parking lot where I would summon another taxi. He motioned me to follow him and without fear, I did. With gentle courtesy he opened his car and brought out a thermos. He handed me the cap and poured hot tea into it. I sipped quickly, thawing. A taxi pulled in the lot, trolling. He hailed the taxi for me and put me in speaking to the driver. I gave the driver my hotel and was taken there. I paid him and went inside. I headed for a hot shower and room service.  I blessed my new friends who gave without asking.

First snow and sparrows –
Strangers become friends beside
The peaceful dragon.

free public domain Getty Images

free public domain Getty Images

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