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

Full Moon Grace

Today Paul is hosting at the dVerse Pub. He is asking us to write about grace.  Happy New Year to you all. May we all be blessed with grace.  This is also for Sanaa at Real Toads.

Full Moon Grace
the night is bitter cold:
minus one degree farenheit.
I watch the first full moon of 2018 rise –
a wolf moon –
sitting on my back steps
I blend into the shadows.
out of the deeper shadows comes a ginger cat
followed hesitantly by a black and white cat.
hey tentatively look around and
approach the pan holding food.
I do not know where these cats came from.
It doesn’t matter.
They need food. I supply it.
The neighbor behind me earlier
this month shot two cats I had been feeding.
they were sons of Nobody’s Cat.
He also shot a neighbor’s dog
and another neighbor’s cat.
Rage as cold as this night swept through me.
I called the police.
They investigated.
This human will go on trial tomorrow.
Justice will be had.

But….
I wish for grace to fall upon us all
as the moonlight washes the night in silver,
I wish for grace in the new year
to all creatures, all animals, all humans.
I wish for justice.
I pray for grace.
The cats fade away, full of food
to wherever they have found a place to keep warm.
Grace be unto you,
I whisper.

 

chiaroscuro

an anthology of poetry. I am included!  This can be purchased from Amazon both in the US and the UK.

 

Haibun Monday: Komorebi

I am doing the prompt for Haibun Monday over at dVerse Poets Pub. I have given the Japanese word komorebi to get people started. The word means light filtered through trees, specifically in spring or summer. I am asking them to write about the season-between-the-seasons, specifically summer into fall.  A classic haiku must end the classic haibun form. A classic haiku must have these elements: a season word,a cutting word, and 5-7-5 syllable form. I am not being particular about the number of syllables but I am being picky about the season word being part of the haiku. If there is no season word, you don’t have a haiku. You have a senryu or micropoem.

 

copyright kanzensakura

Komorebi
The cicadas are loud tonight. They clack and thrum, rattle and hum. The night is slightly cool and the dew smells of fallen leaves. Soon the cicadas will burrow down into the earth to sleep over fall and winter. An owl flies overhead, hunting for prey. I hear it in the woods accompanied by a squeal – some creature has become dinner. Small yellow sunflowers peek from the hedge and the butterfly bush has put out its last bloom. The blackberries have all been eaten by birds, squirrels and chipmunks and the bushes are bare except for leaves which are slowly fading to red – here, here, and here. Only the sunflowers have color in this deepened longer night. It is that strange season between seasons – not summer and not yet fall.  The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting longer.

I stood in my woods today. It is my church, my temple, my cathedral. The light filtering through the leaves give it a holy, hushed atmosphere. Komorebi – the Japanese word for light filtered through leaves 木漏れ. Between the world and the word are three small shapes, the signs for ”tree,” ”escape,” and ”sun.” A beautiful word. I look up and a few of the old oaks are beginning to turn their leaves from deep green to pale yellow. They are still holding tight, refusing to fall. The dead leaves underfoot are damp from the recent rain. They have a moist earthy smell rather than the dry spicy smell of autumn. I brush some of the leaves aside to uncover a large block of velvet green moss. Soon, the little flags they grow to reproduce will turn bright red. A small snake slithers under my boot. I watch it disappear into the safe place of ancient fallen trees. The cicadas are quiet today. But soon they will begin their clack and thrum, their rattle and hum. The moon is full this cool night surrounded by a halo of clouds. Autumn is taking the long road traveling to here.

voice of cicadas –
silent now in the stand of
pine trees on the hill

tani bucho 1817

dVerse Poets Quadrille Monday

I am sort of back from my hiatus but not fully. I couldn’t resist this prompt word though from De for dVerse’s Monday Quadrille prompt – storm. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words, not including the title, in which you must use the prompted word.

Painted in Tones of Argent
My backyard sleeps under
the full moon like a drowned Atlantis.
I sit on my back steps inhaling
the scents of honeysuckle and
a whiff of pot from my neighbors next door.
A faint scent of petrichor:
the storm breaks.
My mother is dying.

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.

Black Dragon and Sparrow

free public domain wallpaper

free public domain wallpaper

黒竜 と スズメ (Kuro ryū to Suzume)
Black dragon and sparrow

“Come, let me show you” – Indeed the spring moon was full and lit the yard Like a klieg. Although in jeans and tee shirt, he still looked lethal and royal and somehow,the katana and wakazashi tucked into the makeshift obi around his waist did not look ridiculous. Hands arm and dry, he took my hand and pulled me outside into his yard – “such tiny hands you have” and he smiled his singularly sweet smile down at me. In the gravel place, between the pond for his *nishikigoi and the **karesansui, he pulled me. Always when he touched me, heat and electricity flowed from my heels to the top of my head, always drawing me closer to him. The song of steel as he pulled the katana clear – the sound to my ears like the sound the scales of a dragon would make as it moved across the earth.

Standing behind me his arms enclosed me and he placed the sword in my hands – like this and wrapped my hands around the hilt and now, hold it like this as he moved my arms into position and corrected my stance and how I held the sword. Move with me…awkward at first and then like magic it seemed, I was moving with him. Beneath that huge moon the black dragon and the sparrow began their dance. The sword at times reflecting back the light. And then we were still, weighted in that place it seemed by the moon – drawing us together as it drew the tides. The moon drawing from their branches the petals of the cherry blossoms to swirl and then rest in the dark place under the tree. The moon drawing from the dark water of the pond a nishikigoi as it broke the surface of the water, breaking free to leap and fall back with a loud splash. The moon pulling shadows close to the rocks in the dry garden and giving each piece of gravel its own tiny shadow.

The moon drawing us together, warmed by each other, our breaths frosted in the cold of an early spring night. We could not move from that place. The earth held us captive as the moonlight pinned us in place. Who knew that gravity was heat and electricity? Who knew that gravity was choosing not to move, to stay suspended in one place?

shallow spring night warmed
only by the first full moon –
tides and lovers rise

*nishikigoi – brocaded carp, koi
**karesansui – dry garden, zen garden like Ryoanji

 

This is for Poets United Midweek Motif by Susan.  The theme is Gravity. http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2015/10/poets-united-midweek-motif-gravity.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Frost – Haibun

Today is Open Link Night at the d’Verse Poetics Pub. Gayle is acting as bartender. Open Link means any poem can be submitted. Stop by for a visit and read some of the poems linked. There is no prompt so there will be a variety of offerings! On a cool autumn night, get warmed up by reading inspired poets’ work or, submit one of your own.  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/15/dverse-poets-open-link-night-158/

copyright Kanzensakura aka Toni Spencer

copyright Kanzensakura aka Toni Spencer

First Frost
Thinking of you, always of you. Last night a bright ring around a full moon. Hazy clouds conceal stars but allow the moon to shine forth. Silent deer pass through my yard casting only a slight glance my way. They are well acquainted with this night roaming human and glide past me as the haughty buck leads his harem to the almost stripped garden next door. I close my eyes for just a moment and when I open them again, I find frost has formed, silent as diamond dust, upon the grass and fallen leaves and branches. Dawn is near.

I pick up a faded oak leaf and gently blow upon it. The frost disappears, gone in a slight gust of warm breath. Another exhale to see my breath steam in the cold air. Proof – I am still alive. Unbidden, as I look upon the silent world, the words – “*the only living boy in New York…” steals from my lips. No one hears me except the frost.

autumn dawn – first frost
outlines brittle brown leaves – lone
crow hears my footsteps

*Only Living Boy in New York – Paul Simon – Bridge Over Troubled Water album

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