Haibun: Gifts

a haibun is a Japanese form based on prose and poetry. It is a true accounting of an event in your life. This one is brief in the manner of Basho, the “inventor” of haibun. It is closed with a seasonal haiku. This haibun is less than 100 words.  Haibun are not fiction.

Haibun: Gifts

“Breath is the finest gift of nature. Be grateful for this wonderful gift.” Amit Ray

Years ago, my mother gave me the gift of life – she gave birth to me. All through my life, she gifted me with self-discipline, toys, love, hugs, appreciation of me – she taught me to be grateful for all gifts and when possible, to share gifts with others. Every day she gave me gifts – even when she was lying non-verbal in a bed, dying slowly with Alzheimer’s. One day she died. She gave me the gift of grief and pain. On a beautiful day in June, she ceased to breathe.
June sunshine –
flowers blooming outside –
my mother dying inside

my mother on her deck

 

Haibun: The Balloon

For Merrill’s prompt at dVerse – a quadrille.  A quadrille is a poem in any form with exactly 44 words using the prompted word, sans title.  The word today is “rise”.  A haibun in the manner of Basho.

 

Haibun: The Balloon
“Perhaps wisdom… is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” Anthony Bourdain

The day I buried my mother’s ashes was a hot summer day. I untied the balloon from my wrist and let it go. I watched it rise quickly to the sky.
balloon rises to heaven
and clears the trees –
my heart goes with it

Haibun: Summer Tomatoes

A haibun of exactly 75 words in the manner of Basho for my prompt at Real Toads, Day 15 of NAPOWRIMO. A haibun is a Japanese poetic form consisting of a true autobiographical part and ended with a seasonal haiku.

 

Haibun: Summer Tomatoes
“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” Lewis Grizzard

It was the middle of July; mama had died mid-June. She is the one who taught me all of my gardening and canning skills. The tomatoes hung thick from the vines. To encourage more blooms, I buried the fertilizer spike.
soft like my mama’s cheek
I held the tomato to my face –
watered it with my tears

Seasons Change

This is for gues prompter, Merrill who asks us to write a haibun on transitions. Haibun are factual accountings usually of one to three brief paragraphs ended with a seasonal haiku.

Seasons Change
Winter changed to spring and spring changed to early summer. The sun was mild and roses were blooming everywhere. You had changed from happy and verbal to non-verbal and sad. I watched you changing before my eyes. I would wheel you around the skilled nursing facility, taking you to activities and into the dining room. You enjoyed your table mates and the musical activities. You liked going out into the garden and having your hair done. You had a stroke and then another and another. You became non-verbal and bed ridden. The last two weeks of your life, I sat by your bedside for hours reading your favorite verses from the Bible and singing hymns to you. Suddnely one day you said to me, “Mama is here. So is your father.” The next day your father joined them along with your beloved Grandmother. I knew the end was not far away. I left you that day after praying with you and telling you I loved you. The look in your eyes was sad as you watched me leave the room. The next morning, your nurse called me to let you know you had died. I went from beloved daughter to orphan.
blue sky of autumn –
the earth moves to silence –
leaves drift like the clouds

copyright kanzensakura

 

the Bowl

The Bowl
I was going to drink a glass of milk for dinner but
then I remembered Heidi,
drinking milk from a bowl.
I pulled down my favorite bowl –
A small yellow bowl that looked like a beehive
when it was turned upside down, with a small crack at the top.
It was my grandmother’s bowl when she was small.
I poured the milk into the bowl
noting the contrast between the white of the milk
and the creamy crackled glaze of the bowl.
I drank deeply.
I drank until the bowl was empty.
I rinsed it out and put it on the drying mat.
I thought about my mother always wanting that bowl
for her grits and butter
with the over light egg in the center,
salt and pepper sprinkled on the egg.
I dried it and reverently placed it back on the shelf.
I wonder who will get this bowl when I die.
I wonder if they will love it as much as I.

Painted in Tones of Argent

For the weekly 55.  When I wrote this, my mother was dying. She has since died.

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’-
A faint scent of petrichor:
the storm breaks
weeping on the trees.
My mother is dying.

Haibun: The Kindness of Strangers

Today Xenia Tran is hosting the haibun prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub. She has given us the prompt of compassion but not to use the word. Also today on Poets United, Sherry Marr has highlighted me and some of my poems:  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2018/05/blog-of-week-update-with-kanzen-sakura.html

Kindness of Strangers
Sometimes it is the small things that show kindness. When my mother was admitted into the skilled nursing facility, she was at first hostile and afraid. The personnel did all they could for her and to help me. I felt guilty because I could no longer care for her at home. The aides would get her up and bathed and dressed, joking with her, cajoling her into eating a bit of her breakfast, and letting us know about activities planned for the patients for the day. I would wheel her around the facility in her wheelchair, talking to the staff and patients, creating conversation to include my mother. After a couple of weeks she began to get into the routine and to eat her meals in the dining room. I began to help the workers with seating patients, bringing their food to the table, wheeling them back to the activity room for afternoon bingo, musical programs, and craft activities.

After Mother’s Day, mama had a series of seizures and strokes. The little ladies I talked to daily asked me about her, asked me to give her their best wishes and prayers for her. The key would even have their pastors come to mama’s room to talk with her, to pray over her. She was nonverbal by this time and took all of her meals in her room. The Kitchen staff would prepare special bits of food that they knew she liked. I would sit with her all day. Everyone knew my routine. Early one morning, the floor nurse called me at home to let me know my mother had died.
birds on feeder
outside her window – away
they flew – her soul is freed

 

an angel made by mama in her craft class from an oyster shell

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