Haibun: aki fukashi

For Toads Tuesday Platform.

秋深し (あきふかし Autumn Deepens
Meigetsu: the harvest moon is fading. Bright gold coin in the black sky dims and wanes to a partial dish of cream. Hatsu grashi – the first storm of autumn has washed the sky clean. Aki simu – autumn is clearing – a brilliant blue sky with luminous white clouds drifting, silent, peace. Aki no koe – the voice of autumn whispers – a breeze across dry leaves on the grass, wind in the reeds at the creek, the little priest cricket delicately moves his legs, a small voice among the pine and bell crickets, alto to the larger cicada and their metallic thrum.

Shinryoo – a new coolness in the air. The coming of autumn is somnolent today – no rise or fall, a steady tone of almost silence. Morning glory twines lovingly around my plum tree and shows her blue face reflecting her sister the brilliant autumn sky – aki no sora. The small grey tabby across the way sits beneath an oak tree watching the occasional slow falling leaf. Her mad eyes stay upward and she does not move for she wants to see the leaves as they float and fall around her. An early leaf burning: smoke wanders and its incense drifts to heaven. I sit entranced in the midst of the haiku I wish I could write.
voice of cicadas
silent now in the stand of
pine trees on the hill.

tani bucho 1817

Food – a haibun

A haibun for the Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

Food – A Haibun
I don’t often write about when I was a chef. But my love affair with food is still running wild and unfettered. The fields of produce, the trees with fruit, the bakeries and butchers – all of them still lead me ever onward. We all have a comfort food, the food that says home or safe place or happiness. I know I do and the list grows longer every year. The feel in my hand of a warm freshly picked tomato or an egg still warm from the body of the hen sends a frisson of comfort down to my toes. The smell of my father’s fried chicken still lingers years after he died, the taste of a sharp acidic North Carolina tomato makes me almost orgasm when I taste it for the first time in summer, the taste of butter on bread or slurping a long noodle out of broth, stuffing a burrito into my mouth, or eating a big bun full of barbecue makes me happy in a way I cannot describe.

Food is what brings us together. It also separates us but food at its basic level brings us together. What we fix for someone tells us a lot about us to the person eating our food. We always give our best when we fix food for someone else; the food may be biscuits and gravy or Beluga caviar on toast points or fried rice or carne asada – it doesn’t matter. On some level I think we want to show off but on another, I think we want to say to the other person: “This is me. Please accept me.” I never refuse anything I am offered or say, I don’t eat that. I believe when we do that we are rejecting the person or culture offering the bite. I wish we could all sit around a huge table and share the food of our wealth, our poverty, our happiness, our grief. Pass the plates one to another, look each other in the eyes.  If we can’t do that then I feel we are all of us are well and truly lost.

seasons changing –
water to wine to juice –
we all are one

public domain

Haibun: Yuudachi

Today at Real Toads, I am doing the prompt for Thursday. I have given different Japanese words for rain – all of them seasonal. The Japanese have at least fifty words for rain. I have chosen yuudachi – sudden evening rain. I am asking people to choose one or several and write about the rain. If writing haibun I am asking for the classic form which is non-fiction and if writing haiku, the classic form which uses a seasonal word.

Haibun: Yuudachi
It was a long hot dry summer. Plants withered, animals died. I added another birdbath to the one already in use. Every day squirrels would line the thing, sipping and vying for places to drink. Several shallow birdbaths watered bunnies and the occasional cat or dog. The koi pond was down a foot, the koi clustered at the deep end in the shadow of plants. The night after you left, I sat on the back porch listening to the cicadas doing their raspy singing. I sniffed petrichor and suddenly rain began to pour down – a loud roar pounding plants into the ground, drumming on the roofs, and washing trash down the street gutters. The koi swam to the surface of the pond opening their mouths acting as if they were eating the drops of rain. I stood holding on the porch post and getting thoroughly soaked. I whispered – yuudachi, sudden evening rain. After the heat of the day the rain was cold. I wondered if it was raining where you were.  I bowed my head and wept hot tears of sorrow.

long hot dry summer –
cicadas cease their songs –
rain mutes all sound

 

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: 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: 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

Haibun: Snow Day


Haibun: Snow Day

Yesterday it snowed. Not a momentous occasion for you folks who live up North but it was for us who live down South. The last few winters have in fact been unusually snowy and cold for us. The past three weeks, the temperature hovered around 18F both day and night. Brutal cold. But…yesterday it snowed. The state department where my husband works was closed for the day due to the weather. After several weeks of extreme cold, frozen pipes, and a chore to go anywhere or do anything, my husband and I decided to play. We needed it.

We built a blanket fortress in the living room. This room is usually silent but today, it rang with laughter. We used heavy books to anchor the blankets. A quilt on the floor completed our fortress. Breakfast was oatmeal with fresh blueberries (on sale for some reason at the local Aldi’s). We ate sitting on the floor and looking at the snow outside our huge picture window. Board games was the order of the day. After beating him several times at Parcheesi and Dominoes, he switched us to Monopoly. Before we started, I fixed us a lunch of grilled cheese and bacon sammies and for dessert, a fruit cup. The fruit cup was divine made with grapes, blueberries, and sliced pear and drenched in a simple syrup to which I had added lime zest and juice. We took a nap. We plotted the downfall of Trump. We finished our game of Monopoly which I finally lost on purpose because to be honest, I was tired of it. I read him a story (The Three Bears) and we took another nap.

Outside it was snowing hard and cold. Inside, it was warm and laughter rang out. I had left the fort at one point to feed the birds and to put out food for the stray cats. A day without news, TV, or other stresses. We were kids again, best friends against the world and its woes. He went back to work today. I miss him.

fortress of blankets –
us against the world – snow falls –
we play at being kids

copyright kanzensakura

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