Like Humans

For Poets United, Midweek Motif – Human.

Like Humans
I love.
I weep.
I feel pain
both in my soul
and in my body.
I get cold.
I get hot.
I get thirsty.
I get hungry.
I walk among the trees
and look up at the stars.
I howl when the moon is full
just like the humans do.
It is amazing how much like us
these humans are.

Poets United – Midweek Motif

Today on Poets United, the theme is celebrate. Let us join in the celebration. I have written a double tanka.  I shall be wrapped in the quilt of stars made by mother, watching the display the next few night.

stars in their heavens
blast into light – *Geminids
celebrate the birth
of the original Light –
I watch in joy in the cold

I watch in delight –
meteors the size of sand
light the darkness – hums
from the earth – star symphonies add
their songs of celebration

*Geminids – prolific meteor showers that appear this time of year

geminids

nbc news – public domain

Cold Kiss

For Poets United Mid-week Motif – Vanity

public domain photo

Cold Kiss
Your kiss goodbye at the airport
reminded me of how years ago,
I held a narcissus up to my lips
and tasted it
kissed it –
cold and bitter from the snow.
my vanity was thinking you
would love me forever,
how you would stay with me forever.
cold bitter kisses goodbye.
the thoughts of that narcissus kiss
still makes me shiver.

Silent Road

This is posted for Poets United Midweek Motif – Meteor showers.  It is also posted at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.  This happened years ago.  It is an extended haibun.

Silent Road
Delta Aquarids –
escape from city lights – the
veiled stars will unveil

Hot night in July –needing to be out of the city, rolling down a smooth country two lane blacktop, soft roar of the tires – tack…..tack…..tack…..Rock in the tire tread – front passenger, I think. Black countryside, no lights showing in the few houses. Folks have to get up early go to work in town, go to work in surrounding tobacco fields. Rolling past rows of tobacco and corn row after row after row, broken only by the dark houses. The blooms on the green plants show up white in the headlights.

Past another small house, dark. Ahead off to the right a dirt road. I pull off and go down it slowly. Dust invisible but I can smell it, thick whiffs of sharp iron and sweeter lime.  In the headlights ahead. Washboard shadows in the hard dirt where constant tires have cleared away the gravel. In the headlight the road is pale pink but in the daylight, it will be red as blood. To the left, a small drive leading to an empty space by the tobacco field. I pull in and park, cut the engine – the cooling motor goes ting ting ting…

insect sounds rise in
the darkness – chackachacka
hypnotic hum..

Except for the insects, dead silence.  A dog barks some distance away then another closer by answers. In front of me as my eyes adjust I see several empty tobacco slides waiting for morning. Time of year to prime the thick leaves, snap by hand the thick stalks, heavy leaves of the plants, to be loaded in layers in the slides, then hitched to the back of a tractor to be taken to be to ancient tobacco barns and tied by hand to tobacco sticks, loaded by hand into the barn to dry for sale in the fall. I can tell by the snapped stalks on the plants, this is the third priming.

fireflies flicker – an
insect meteor shower
among the dark plants

One comes in my car window and settles on the steering wheel, White dark white dark – flashing its signals to an alien being who doesn’t understand the language. Smells of dust, acrid tang of tobacco sap, smell of cows from a field close by. Tipping the seat back  I lean my head against the headrest And look at the stars through my windshield. The firefly continues its signals. Suddenly, several quick bursts in the dark sky and the stars begin to fall – trails of white falling towards the horizon, silent as dust. Some shimmer, some burst, they all burn in the summer night, streak after streak, fast, slow, dark and again they explode and fall.  In the cool grey dawn, the stars have gone to sleep. The firefly has flown away. I drive slowly down the dirt road back to the two lane black top back to the city.   Tack…..tack…..tack…..

July stars burst streak –
trails of fire in the black night
fade and disappear

 

Poets United Midweek Motif: Silence

For Poets United Midweek Motif – Silence

Afterwards
The silence after the argument between us was devastating –
like the silence after an F-5 tornado –
trailers were coming to that last roll,
electrical wires were still buzzing and popping.
We sat on opposite sides of the fireplace –
burning its warmest friendliest best
but we were not to be lured into its trap.
We were imprisoned inside my house by the snow –
I wanted you gone and you wanted to be gone.
All civility between us was shattered.
I made myself a cup of hot chocolate –
with a bit of bourbon and offered you none.
The snow fell silently
and steadily outside.
I sipped from my mug.
At last the cats came out of hiding.

Haibun: Rice Planting

Part of my life journey, part of a travel journal. As a devoted follower of Basho and Japanese poetic forms, at one time, I undertook a journey to not only travel in France and Tuscany to renew my love of food and cooking, I also travelled to Japan to follow the journey of Basho in his “Narrow Road” – the precursor to haibun. He wrote paragraphs of a day’s travel followed by a haiku. Thus, haibun came into being. A haibun in its best form is an extended haiku which include seasons (kigo), a cutting section (kireji), aware (uh-wah-ray) – delicate sense of melancholy at the passing of things, and the amazing Oh! or as we non-Japanese say, an Aha moment. I hope you enjoy. I am linking to Poets United Poetry Pantry.  http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2016/02/poetry-pantry-291.html  This is also being linked to dVerse Poets Pub, Haibun Monday.  Our guest Prompter today is Rajani (thotpurge) who wants us to write a travel haibun in the manner of Basho.  http://dversepoets.com/2016/02/29/haibun-monday-8/

Rice Planting
All journeys may begin with a single footstep but, sometimes that first step is taken because of madness, bitterness, the hope of regaining that which was lost, or renewing a love now gone sour. I stepped away from being a successful executive chef to find again my lost love – food. An exacting lover but one that changes for the better in all the seasons of the year, in all the places of the world. Oddly enough, also the lover who taught me more about writing haiku – classic, real, genuine haiku. The lover who instilled in me a deeper sense of poetry and beautiful discipline – not a tightly constrained discipline, but one that flowed with the world around me. In my burned out madness, I truly believed I could win back this lover. My journey began with stepping on the plane to Tokyo.

It was spring – spring in Japan when the cherry blossoms were merely reddish-brown buds ripe with the promise of a blooming spring. I had arranged a trip that would allow me to follow in the footsteps of my beloved and revered Basho. I arrived at Sukagawa during rice planting season – this time of early spring. Workers were standing in the water planting rice – sometimes in total silence, at other times bits of song reached my ears accompanied by the song of birds. The rich smell of water and mud surrounded me. The air was cool and the distant mountains seemed to make the air even cooler. My guide asked if I wanted to speak to some of the workers. I said that in addition, could I be shown how to plant rice and to be allowed to share in the labor? He hesitated but after money pressed into his hand, he spoke to the supervisor who put me with a group of older, more experienced rice planters – small women with wrinkled faces and tough, surprisingly delicate hands. The guide stood on the side of the field as I rolled up my pants and took off my shoes. The women looked at me with bland faces – hiding thoughts – rich white woman wants to play in the mud – but courteously allowed me to stand by them and then, at my smiles and insistent gestures, showed me how to plant rice.

I followed them on that journey of bending, digging, lightly pressing plants into the mud and when they judged I would not ruin the crop, left me alone to my work beside them. Sometimes I would look around me at the field, the other workers, an early blooming pear tree on the hillside and then bend again. At noon, they stepped onto the side of the field and began to eat a brief meal, while standing. I was gladdened when they began to share out their simple meals with me – balls of steamed rice wrapped in black seaweed, bits of fish, sliced cucumbers and apples and with fingers pressed to lips for silence, sips of sake. Motions from the women told me the rice I was eating came from this field. I looked at the rice ball and felt tears sliding down my face. In my hand, I held once again that lover I had thought I would never find again. Before I left the field that day, I gifted my Nikes, a bracelet, some American coins, a head scarf. Paltry items in return for what they had given me. I was on the way to being sane and whole again, taking the first step to rediscover my soul and reunite with my true love.

pear blooms on hillside –
cold spring day with meal of rice
and fish – rice field waits.

public domain image

public domain image

Peggy: Brave Heart

A friend of mine died last May.
She knew she was dying and every breath
she forced from her battered lungs
only brought her closer to the end.

She was always there for her friends
And always willing to talk
And make your tears go away
By replacing the pain in your heart
With some of her joy.

In the end, I think it was her courage to share
That brought her end more quickly.
But being her, she could do no less.
Five feet tall, 86 pounds of wasted body.

I wonder if I would have the courage
To pour myself out so freely.
I wonder if I would hoard my breath
Or use it to laugh and make others laugh.

I wonder if I would ever have such courage.
I wonder if I would have so much love.

Peggie in Better Days taken by a friend

Peggie in Better Days taken by a friend

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