Real Toads: I wrote you a book

Today at Real Toads we are to write a poem to a book – a book of poetry or a collection of poems. I have chosen one of the five most influential books to me – Basho’s Narrow Road to the Deep North.  It was a birthday gift to me from my beloved and revered friend and tutor.  This is the book which introduces us all to the haibun – prose ending with a haiku.  Basho’s haibun were originally travel sketches.  I have traveled Basho’s route several times at different times of the year.  I wrote my first haibun when I was 14.  I have a written a haibun to it, in the spirit of the book. I am also linking this to Poets United Poetry Pantry: http://poetryblogroll.blogspot.com/2017/09/poetry-pantry-370.html

The Beginning
It was November, two days before my 12th birthday. Jamie Pollard, our lifelong next door neighbor who had started my love of Japanese poetic forms and especially haiku, gave me an old ragged copy of Road to the North by Basho. He had carried the copy with him several times to Japan. He said, I want you to read this. It will introduce you to the haibun. I think you will enjoy writing them. I opened the book in awe touching the pages tenderly and then hugged Jamie. My road was opened to me. I have traveled it all my life.

snow was falling – you
were given to me – a
gift still loved today

public domain image from Road to the North

The Branch

For dVerse OLN 201 http://dversepoets.com/2017/08/10/openlinknight-201/ – one poem of our choice with any subject and the prompt at Real Toads – we are to write about things unseen.   I chose this picture I took last winter after a tremendous wind and snow storm.  The branch transfixed me then, it still does.  http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/

The Branch
I know this branch.
When last I saw it,
several small wrens were perched
upon it, settled among the
golden autumn leaves.

A drizzle of rain made
some delicate drips
and a light wind caused it
to gently sway.
The wrens rode the branch
like small sea birds drifting
on a peaceful sea of black wood.
Torn from the tulip poplar
the skeletal branch
pokes up through the snow,
carried by wind and snow
it ends up in this place
in my yard.

Now, it lies in my yard
encased in frozen snow.
When the snow melts and
I clean my yard,
I will take this branch and
move it to the verge
of the woods that border my yard.
I will lay it down gently on
the fallen leaves and pine needles.
Through time, ants will traverse its length,
tiny frogs will sit by its hugeness
blending in with brown leaves –
Their eyes round and shiny,
their tongues reaching out to
feast on small bugs moving about
the ground and on the branch.
A small spider will spin a web
catching gnats and no-see-ems.
On his way up from the creek
a small green snake will curve its way
sliding under the branch, going
about its green snake business.
The box turtle that explores my garden
and that small patch of woods
will make its slow sure way
under the branch.
The branch will rise and fall and slide
along the turtle’s back and
settle back onto the ground,
maybe at a slightly different angle.
Dew and rain will fall,
small birds will perch on
its fragile fingers.
Beetles, slugs, worms –
all will burrow beneath
and crawl upon it.
Time will pass and the wood
inside the black bark will begin
to rot and turn to dust.
On the ground, the black bark
of the branch will lie discarded
like the skin of an ancient snake.

I will be old.
I will make my deliberate painful way
across my yard.
There I will see the
remains of the bark.
I will, with effort
bend over and touch the bark
with my finger.
I will remember the day
I put it there.
I will say
to the trees around me,
I know this branch.

copyright kanzensakura

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

 

 

 

Snow

For Real Toads https://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2017/07/fireblossom-friday-bang-youre-dead.html Fireblossom Friday: Bang! You’re dead. Writing from beyond the grave….mwahahaaaaaaaa

Snow
drifting off
falling asleep
dreaming
opening the window
and gliding out into the snow
no footprints
no steamy breath
no weight no pain no sadness
walking into a dream
of slow falling snow
using the snowflakes
like stepping stones
walking up to the sky
walking on the tops of trees
of roofs of streetlights
covered with snow
slow falling snow
slow
falling…

dVerse Poets Pub – Meeting the Bar – Tanka

Today at dVerse, I am the prompter for writing to a form. I have chosen the deceptively simple form of tanka. One of the oldest of the Japanese forms, it is centuries old. To find out more about tanka and how to write them, come visit and come read! Short form, not much reading to do! https://dversepoets.com/2016/08/18/meeting-the-bar-form-tanka/

December night sky
snow like frozen stars silent
as dust falls to earth –
no wishes on these lost stars
summer photo fades with time

dVerse Poets Pub – Meeting the Bar #2

Another entry for the wonderful Golden Shovel poetic form prompt De has given us to use for our poems.  Come and read!  I am linking to:  http://dversepoets.com/2016/05/05/dverse-meeting-the-bar-the-golden-shovel-form/  I seem to have a theme going here:  stars and the night.  I have taken my lines (two lines out of sequence but in order) from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s  Maud, an extract, section viii

Winter Stars at Night
In spite of the leaving of day and love my heart continues to beat
and to throb in rhythm with the watching stars and to
carry me onward through the night and the
coldness of snow as it falls – noiseless.
I remember the lights and the music
your arms around me and the warmth of
your kiss on my neck – tasting the pearls, the
salt of my skin. Before you left the Night
was bright with chandelier stars and warm and my heart beat
f
ast with the waltz and the oh so happy
music and the lift of the music and the smiling stars.
Now here in the lonely night the stars pulse, timing
their silent heartbeats with
lost and broken things
stumbling in the falling snow, here on the earth below

free non-commercial use image

free non-commercial use image

Quadrille 1: Snow dance

At dVerse today, we begin the first session of a new challenge:  Quadrille – a word prompt and a poem to be written to that word in 44 words exactly.  Bjorn is the ring leader in this wonderful adventure. I had to learn to do quadrilles years ago in Cotillion Class – a unique form of torture in the South.  Today the prompt word is “dance” – as David Bowie said, Let’s dance…put on your red shoes…let’s dance.  I love to dance and love to write poetry.  Winner!!! Come join us – http://dversepoets.com/2016/01/18/quadrille-1/

Snow swirling in the wind
Whispering in my ear
– Dance with me
to my silent music
Like Astaire and Rogers
I’ll lead you follow
Let me stir your blood –
our private dance
only the moon will see
Our white hot rhumba
In the night

public domain image

public domain image

 

 

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