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

Me, Walking

quilt block


Me, Walking

And on this dark night of tattered clouds
and snow and me walking –
trying to piece out this crazy quilt
of emotions confessions beseechings anger
and all you can do is repeat the same words –
all I can do is to not hear them
over and over and over again again again
until I have to escape outside
and walk in this sporadic snow under the shrouded moon –
my footsteps looking like a drunken tango
filling with snow.
muttering whywhywhy – the litany of an idiot
or a fool finding truth for the first time –
I’m sure those beings above the clouds
laugh at those like me as they pull the clouds
tighter about the moon creating darkness.
a deer breaks cover – a shadow against the snow –
an owl flies overhead
his wings beating against the snow
hunting for…just hunting for a mouse or the truth.
And on this dark night of tattered clouds
And me walking,

 

free public use image

For Margaret’s prompt today at Real Toads:  “The challenge is to write a poem using one of these fabric details OR if you have a special quilt (or memories of one) write about that instead.”   One of the blocks particularly brought up memories of my lover and I discussing his return to Japan, years ago.  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/08/artistic-interpretations-with-margaret.html

 

 

 

Gold Day

A haibun for Real Toads – http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/ Karin Gustafson is prompting us tonight at Real Toads with A glance at narrative. So, here’s your task for the prompt.  Simply think of some story in writing your poem–it could be the story of a moment or of a lifetime–and it need not be fully detailed.  The poem may offer a bird’s eye view of the story or the small close-up of a magnifying glass, maybe just a sidelong glimpse.  (It does not have to be a story of human beings; it could be the story of a rock or a raindrop.)

金曜日 Gold Day
The afternoon he 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 his 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

 

Notes: Japanese Days of the Week –  The first two days of the week are named after the sun and the moon. To understand the remaining five wemust look at the ancient Chinese theory of the ‘Five Elements’ 五行 (wǔ-xíng). The Five Elements started out as a primitive system for explaining the universe but gradually developed to become an all-embracing cosmological system. Each element was equated to (among others) a direction, a colour, a season, a time of day, a planet, and a musical note in the pentatonic scale.  Fire (火 huǒ) was equated to south, red, summer, midday, the planet Mars, and note 5 in numbered musical notation. Water (水 shuǐ) was equated to north, black, winter, midnight, the planet Mercury, and note 6 in numbered musical notation. Wood (木 mù) was equated to east, green, spring, dawn, the planet Jupiter, and note 3 in numbered musical notation.  Gold or Metal (金 jīn) was equated to west, white, autumn, dusk, the planet Venus, and note 2 in numbered musical notation. Earth (土 tǔ), was equated to the centre, yellow, 18 days at the end of each season, the planet Saturn, and note 1 in numbered musical notation.

Haibun Monday – Free For All

Today I have the prompt at dVerse Poets Pub. Come join us!  http://dversepoets.com/2017/07/24/haibun-monday-free-for-all-2/

Beautiful Spring
The spring this year was beautiful. A mild winter and lots of rain and snow had thoroughly watered the earth and flowers and trees were bursting forth. The last few months of my mother’s life, I spent with her daily. It was hard watching her slowly die, to pray for God to take her and end her suffering. One morning, they called me early from the skilled nursing facility she was in. During the night, my mother had died. I hung up the phone feeling empty, tired and sad. I stood at our living room window and looked out at the early summer green.

summer green and sun –
hummingbirds sip from the feeder –
it is cold inside

A Tale of Heat and Cold: Summer’s Coming

This is for the Weekend prompt at Real Toads – global warming – Imagining a Changing Earth. Brendan’s Scriptorium asks us to write a poem of any length or style to describe a grieving heart, our place in the changing world, etc. You can find the prompt at: http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/07/weekend-challenge-imagining-changing.html I chose the form of haibun for this which is an ancient Japanese poetic style using prose (bun) and haiku (hai). One to three tight paragraphs with a classic haiku at the end to bring attention to the prose is the standard format. Being a bit of a pragmatist, I look at things with a sometimes Japanese outlook and sometimes, a skewed outlook. I don’t see the world changing as we know it as necessarily a bad thing just as change.  Mujo is  part of the Japanese mentality – change.

A Tale of Heat and Cold: Summer’s Coming
Heat, cold, fire, ice, cooling, melting…We are going through a natural cycle. People talk of a Sixth Extinction and quiver in fear or righteous indignation. Species will die out. Well, species have died out before this. We ponder over old bones and fossils. We put oil in our cars and diamonds on our fingers or in our ears – all of these the remains of species who lived zillions of years ago and died out with whatever climate change was going on at the time. Siberian Elk, Smilodon, Wooly Mammoth – 10,000 BCE, 5,200 BCE, 5,000 BCE died and became extinct and rotted. The earth heated up or cooled down. The Thunder Lizards are a few bones displayed in museums and the Neanderthal is part of a diorama.

Perhaps we will end up devolving. Perhaps a Smildon or Triceratops will again be grazing on tree sized weeds. Perhaps a Wooly Mammoth will again be slogging through the 1,000 year winter. This ending is our fault though. No volcanos erupted, nothing happened to tilt the Earth a degree – we did this ourselves. This may be an unnatural cycle in which we die along with other species and flora. Perhaps we will become the stuff of study by a new race or a bright stone in someone’s ear. Hopefully, they will learn from our mistakes.

summer’s coming – heat
destroys life as we know it –
brave new world ahead

 

free public domain image

Open Link Night #198 The Smell of Green

Tonight is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. You can submit one poem of your choice as it is no-prompt night. Come join us for some elclectic reading! http://dversepoets.com/2017/06/15/openlinknight-198/

The Smell of Green
As I sat on my back steps
I pondered the smell of green.
I was looking up at the mini moon,
the strawberry moon.
It’s a mini moon because it is farther away
from the earth on the apogee of its orbit.
The moon hasn’t changed sizes though.
and still I ponder the smell of green.
A moist southern evening –
It had rained an hour earlier and
the air was redolent with the smell of green –
freshly mown grass, the herbs in my garden,
The smell of the bushes, vines, and trees –
In my kitchen this night I had made a gremolata –
full of freshly chopped parsley, chives, rosemary, lime zest –
To spread on the chicken breasts I had baked.
Green – romaine lettuce, arugula, a salad of green
dressed with good green California olive oil –
it smelled so green I felt my fingertips tingle.
And then later,
I stuck my nose into the bag of pot I had bought –
The tightly dried buds smelled of pine and Thai basil.
I breathed in the smell of green as I sat on the back steps
and pondered the smell of green,
Smiling at the mini moon.
I had placed mama into hospice –
I was letting go.

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.

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