A slight nudge, and I leave shore.
Or do I? It follows me on either side
as my kayak moves along the stream,
witnessing each stroke of my paddle.
And the stream, for its part doubling
the presence of the shore with sycamore,
oak, and maple casting their light
in ripples cast from my bow.
I touch the water as a floating leaf
passes, or is it the passing shore I touch?
Could it be that it has been the shore,
and not the water, that has drawn me here?
The newly rippled image tells me it could be both.
This poem is my response to Poetics: Connections, the prompt from Merril at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to about connecting or connections—in any sense. Merril cites the poetry of Mary Oliver as an example.
It was not by choice, but he left much earlier than anyone expected, his body finally succumbing to the ravages of illness that had plagued his life. His last six months were the hardest for him. The hardest for us.
But we go on. And so she did, for another fifteen years. Missing his love. Missing the many things he’d done for all of their life together. She was overwhelmed at first, but we assured her that we would do anything for her.
And we did, but the time came when her own health issues became too much for her. As I sit beside her bed, holding her hand while she sleeps, I know that soon she will take her last breath. Both of my parents will be gone.
Sometimes the great bones of my life seem so heavy, no night heavier than this.
This is my response to Prosery: Bone Weary, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. I suppose this could be seen as fiction. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For this prompt, the line to be included is from “Spring Azures,” by Mary Oliver.
“Sometimes the great bones of my life seem so heavy,”
– Mary Oliver
I’ve met the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.
chill wind through the trees
below, silent leaves rustle
greet last fallen leaf
Kristjaan Panneman (Chèvrefeuille) has told us of his mother’s struggles with dementia, apologizing for his absence from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai due to the time he was dedicating to her, as well as his increased workload as a nurse due to the current pandemic.
My senryū, child once more, was posted in August 2020 and inspired by that dedication, as well as by his senryū:
This is not a timepiece held by just any man.
His later life an escape to simple times and the bottle,
it graced the pocket of your father’s jeans
and marked the hours as he worked by your side,
toiling in farm fields after your mother’s death.
And later, it measured the hours of tavern time
till we would pick him up and drive to Aunt Ginny’s,
his home in his last years far from those fields,
never recovering from his loss. Measuring
his life, short as it was, it passed to you,
its black shoestring of a watch chain lasting
even through the years it served you. It passed
from your hands to mine, a reminder
of the hard years of your youth, a witness
to the life you achieved through hours of hard work,
a testament to the power of time to heal.
This poem is my response to Poetics:Object Poems, the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem beginning with “This is not a ______” and centered around an every day object, sparing the details of the object and instead showing the connection that it has made or what it represents.
Image: the pocket watch that once belonged to my grandfather, and then my father.
old year ends
hope for better times
first day dawns
With Carpe Diem #1842: End of Year,
Kristjaan (Chèvrefeuille) reminds us that
in classical Japan (following the Lunar calendar)
there was a fifth season ”New Year.”
Using “first day” as a kigo, this senryū is my response.
We stood on the the shore of Lake Erie, just as we had many times in the past. From the waves rolling onto its sandy beaches, to the dunes lining those shores, to the wildlife found along the the shore and on the marshes within the park, to its wonderful lighthouse, Presque Isle State Park in Erie Pennsylvania has much to offer and has become one of our favorite places to visit. We always make it a priority to stop there when we drive from Missouri to Buffalo to see family and friends.
But this visit was different. Family and friends from Erie, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Buffalo (and even Tennessee and Washington state) were there to share in the beauty of the moment as we stood beneath the towering Presque Isle lighthouse to exchange our wedding vows.
Pennsylvania is one of the few states to allow self-administered weddings. Because Presque Isle has come to mean so much to us, it seemed only natural for us to have our wedding there. I wrote poetic verse that was read by my children and my granddaughter, and I also wrote the vows that we exchanged. It was the perfect setting for our new beginning.
under clear blue skies
waves in the sunlight sparkle
love like waterfall
This haibun is my response to Happy New Year! This prompt from Lillian at dVerse ~ Poets Pub is to write a traditional haibun about a new beginning we’ve experienced in our lifetime. The haiku within the haibun is to include a kigo (a word associated with a season – here, waterfall for summer) and a kireji or cutting word at the end of the second line. This word (in English haiku, it can even be simple punctuation, such as a dash, comma, ellipsis, or an exclamation point) briefly cuts the stream of thought, indicating that the verse consists of two thoughts half independent of each other. In my haibun, sparkle serves as the haiku’s kireji.