Haibun Monday #10 Cherry Blossoms

Monday, over at dVerse Poet’s Pub, I am behind the Bar pouring out the prompt.  Cherry blossom time is a special time in Japan.  Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is all about family, fesitival, food, fun…from dawn to dawn, people will be out and about admiring the cherry blossoms.  At night, the trees will be strung with lights so they can be viewed at night as well as providing light for dancing, drinking…lovers!  I am using several cherry blossom haiku by Issa and Basho for the prompt.  Writers are to choose one of the haiku to begin their haibun and then end their haibun with their own nature/cherry blossom based haiku.  Come on over and read and view all the cherry blossoms provided by the various talented poets.  Bar opens at 3:00 pm EST.  Join us here all week:  http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/28/haibun-monday-hanami/

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

“How many many things
they call to mind –
these cherry blossoms”
Basho

As is my annual habit, I checked the cherry blossom blooming forecast for Japan.  This year, they are blooming early – both in Japan and here in the United States.  Sakura Matsuri (cherry blossom festival) is always a bittersweet time for me.  Many memories tied to cherry blossoms:  dancing at night beneath lighted trees, hearing the laughter of other dancers and lovers, wandering beneath their beauty during the day – my breath taken away by their beauty, sakura ice cream, stealing kisses in the midst of a cherry blossom snow, the first blooming of sakura after he went away, standing in the rain and seeing the petals driven into the earth around the trees – like tiny headstones for the graves of tears.

I still feel some of that sadness but remember when I began again to feel anticipation of and joy in their blooming.  The sadness is the mono no aware felt during this season for their quickly passing beauty – deep pink blooms against an azure sky or pure white blooms like earthbound clouds.  Yesterday I strolled under the cherry trees and smiled at lovers and danced to music of Japanese style bands, introduced my husband to a typical hanami picnic lunch.  His eyes as blue as the sky took in all the sights, sounds, and smells of his first sakura matsuri.  Joy and peace at being again in love with the cherry blossoms in spite of their beautiful brevity.  Hand holding and stealing kisses under the cherry trees seems to be eternal as Fuji – it is comforting to know some things do not change with time.  And that which was thought lost is found again.

cherry blossoms dance
in spring breeze – song of birds
like temple bells.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

 


No Return

Today Ahbra is in charge of Poetics at dVerse. He wants us to write about returning – perhaps. I feel you have memories, good or bad but you can neither go back nor come back. Come join us for this interesting prompt and all the takes on “What would I be if I could come back” or going back to a time or place. I’m in a cynical mood today! http://dversepoets.com/2016/02/02/poetics-coming-back/   The poetic form is the Bussokuseki. –

public domain of old southern home

public domain of old southern home

No Return
streets are smaller and
trees are fewer – someone else
lives in the homeplace –
all is faded into mists –
the past has passed no return –
look forward angel to now –

Summer Love

A second poem for Kelly’s wonderful poetics on Smell. Come visit!  http://dversepoets.com/2016/01/05/scents-that-linger/

Summer Love
hot summer night – room full
of locals dancing to a country band
and now they are playing a waltz.
Sweet peach of a man/boy
you glided across the floor and asked me,
Want to dance?
Oh yes!
Your arm around my waist
and you against me guiding me around
and in and out of other dancers,
swaying, sliding, feet making that
swooshswoosh sound against the
rough boards.
And you, sweet peach of a man/boy
and my head on your shoulder
breathing in the smell of you –
sundried cotton shirt
and Ivory soap
and the faint newly budding man-smell.
Even after all these years
these smells make my hips sway
and my lips curve into a lazy smile.
Oh yes! Sweet peach of a man/boy.

public domain free image

public domain free image

 

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Kelly is hosting Poetics today at dVerse and the discussion is about smells and how they affect us and how certain smells can evoke memories. Come join the discussion and add your thoughts about smells. I am linking this to dVerse Poets Pub.   http://dversepoets.com/2016/01/05/scents-that-linger/

Ghosts of Christmas Past 
First week of the New Year –
somehow the world seems a bit deflated –
a shiny balloon at the end of a stick
and hanging limply, almost flat and
oddly wrinkled. Outside the day is
grey – dull and tarnished.
Gone are the lights from the tree
folded and packed in their box
along with the lustrous crystal
ornaments – the corpse of the
now empty tree is lying at
is at the back of our property –
haunted property peopled by
birds and small animals unafraid
of possible specters.
I stand in my denuded living room –
from the corner of my nose
I catch a quick phantasm of pine –
an ectoplasm of orange and cloves
hovers above the desiccated pomander
of an orange studded with cloves.
Cedar swatches and wreath
rest with the skeleton tree –
the spirit of cedar oil lingers
in the place where they hung briefly
but happily – disembodied tang –
One last deep inhale from me
as I smile and bid them reside
in peace until they feel it is time
to move on to their final resting place
in my memory.

Smell of Home – haibun

free stock illustration

 

“He was conscious of a thousand odours floating in the air, each one connected with a thousand thoughts, and hopes, and joys, and cares, long, long, forgotten.” Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Christmas baking fills
the house with smells of love – stars
look down and make a wish.

Somehow, the tasteful artificial wreath decorated with shiny red and gold balls irked me. My mother-in-law had bought it at an outlet in Williamsburg to replace the small pine swag on our front door. The bright red bow tying it together was a little crooked. She disapproved of that as well. She missed her husband who had died shortly before Christmas of last year. I sympathized but as soon as she left, I fished out my pine swag from the trash and replaced the tasteful one, perfectly hung, on our front door with my clumsy one. We never used artificial things for Christmas when I was growing up. Until I moved to Philadelphia, every year, my father and I went into the woods and searched out the perfect tree and cut swags of pine, cedar, spruce. We knew where the holly with the thickest amount of red berries lived and had spotted the oaks with mistletoe in several oaks the week before. We both had our rifles slung on our backs. It was a contest as to who could shoot down the biggest bunch of mistletoe. We took turns letting the other win. And then to home. My grandmother and aunts had punched oranges full of holes and inserted whole cloves tying red ribbons around each. My mother put the swags of greens together for garlands, wreaths and swags which we hung inside and outside the house. The oranges were hung on the green decorations and the house smelled of the greenery, oranges, and spice.

We each baked our specialty– spicy hermit cookies, snickerdoodles, pecan snowballs, sweet potato pies, Kentucky bourbon cakes, fudge – for a week the house smelled of spices, sugar, bourbon, and fruit. I won the family award for best sweet potato pie – it’s a secret recipe – wink. One year, my teenaged middle aunt wanted Shalimar for Christmas. Somehow, the box with the exotically shaped bottle broke and Shalimar whispered its sweet tale to us all until the New Year. She used some of her Christmas gift money to buy it herself.

Ever since my father, grandfather, and grandmother died, it has not been the same. Walking through years of artificial trees, plastic baubles, white tree lights, and pine scented candles, the year I had been hospitalized for surgery and treatment for cancer I decided enough was enough. I pulled out the ancient fragile blown glass balls, the strings of brightly colored lights, My First Christmas ornament. A friend came and decorated the live tree she had picked out for me because I had asked her and I lay upon the couch for frequent rests. She helped me bake the sweet potato pies and Bourbon cake. That day, for the first time in years, my house smelled of the Christmases I remembered with tears and love. My husband laughed when he came home from work, the last day before the office closed for Christmas.

I sat on the couch that night with only the tree lights glowing. The ghosts of Christmas past were there – my father opening his joke box of chocolate covered cherries, my grandmother laughing as she clapped her hands in joy when someone opened the gift she had given them, my mother and aunts making jokes and then singing together carols –  they are alive but absent but still they came to join in. All the cats and dogs that had loved us lay about sleepy and content, filled with turkey bits sneakingly given to them, as I lay there and remembered, tears slipping down my cheeks. After that Christmas eight years ago, Christmas is happy and not a bit tasteful and perfect. My husband smiles a lot and takes in deep breaths and raids the cookie jar.  In a couple of weeks my home will be filled with those perfumed memories and gentle spirits.  The tasteful wreath has gone to a nearby church that is providing decorations to people who are in need of them. And while the elements of Christmas are here, oh how I miss those people I love. Of all the things so dear, my beloved family I miss the most.

fresh green cedar wreath
hung with oranges – sweet smelling
past whispers in dreams 

orange wreath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday at d’Verse Poets Pub, at the beginning of this holiday season, Mary is prompting us to write about what we miss during this time.  Come and visit and share.  What do you miss?  http://dversepoets.com/2015/11/17/poetics-who-what-do-you-miss/

 

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

Picking Figs

Victoria is our pubtender today. She always comes up with interesting prompts for us – prompts that stretch our writing and creativity. Our poems today are to consist of conversation. Not meaningless, Hi, I’m fine. How are you? chitchat. But conversations that tell a story, set a mood, take us someplace else than here. Mine is a childhood memory. It was brought to mind today while I was at a friend’s picking figs from her beautiful old bushes.  Please come visit us and read the poems for today.   This poem is linked to d’Verse Poetics:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/09/10/whats-that-youre-saying-dverse-meeting-the-bar/

Monday was our premier Haibun Monday feature.  If you enjoy this form or want to learn more, visit that page as well!

Picking Figs
My hand gently cupped the sun warmed fig and tugged downward.
Lifting the fig to my nose, I inhaled the sweet aroma. My grandmother’s voice came.

You want to pick the fig where the green has this rosy collar –  it will fit
in your palm, pull it down gently. See? It comes loose from the bush.
Cup it in your palms. Gently now, give a little squeeze. Soft. Not mushy.
Now, smell. Nice, isn’t it? I’ll take the top branches, Little Honey, you take
The bottom branches….Yes, just like that.
It smells like honey, Ninny. Sweet.
A light hand on my head…Just like you Little Honey.
Ninny. What’s a fig? Why?
It is a fruit that has the flower inside. I’ll cut this one open for you. See?
Ooooooo – pinky. Like a rose. I want to taste, please? Tastes like a peachy strawberry.
It crackles inside….little crackles.
Little seeds from all the little blooms that were inside. Let’s eat this one now. Isn’t that good?
It is going to rain soon so let’s get them in the baskets and inside. Figs and cream for dessert?
Oh yes!….hands work faster. Lay them gently in the basket. Don’t bruise them.
Carefully, like a tiny kitten or a puppy. Very good! You did that just right.
Fig preserves? Fig ice cream? Dried figs?
And fresh. There will be enough to go in the big yellow bowl on the kitchen table.
Ninny, can we do this again tomorrow?
We’ll do this in a few more days when more get ripe to pick.
I like picking figs with you.
The only think I like better than picking figs is picking figs with you, Little Honey.

free public domain image

free public domain image

 

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