Lemonade In August ~ haibun

Lemonade In August

This late summer month, when the wind seldom gusts and the heat clings to the skin with an air of resignation, the knowledge that its persistence will not last, this month was your favorite. In your retirement you spent more time outdoors than in, as you gardened, tended to your animals, and prepared for the coming change in weather. Shirtless while mowing your acres of lawn or relaxing with a game of horseshoes, you wore that warm sun like it was your own. You were born to this month, and I always did see it as yours. You are always on my mind, but most especially in this month.

lemonade
beneath a hot sun
the still air

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 8-2-21: August,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: PNGITEM

Solar Separation ~ haibun

Solar Separation

The sun rises and I embrace the warmth. I tan evenly over the course of the summer, but mindful of the power of those rays on my fair skin I limit my exposure and use sunscreen. Meanwhile, I spend my days making pickups and deliveries for a trucking company. Half of those hours are spent behind the wheel, often with the sun shining into my cab. I give little thought to that sun exposure. After all, there’s no sunburn. In fact, there’s no irritation, at all.

In my fifties, I learn the error in that assumption. I have some precancerous cells on the left side of my face frozen for removal. Two separate times, I have cancerous growths removed from my upper chest and shoulder. They can appear anywhere, even areas that get less exposure. The left side of my body seems to be the most affected, that which would have received the most sun exposure through the driver’s side window.

Dry patches on my face, primarily on the left side, are misdiagnosed by a dermatologist as a form of psoriasis, but they are correctly diagnosed as precancerous when I visit a cancer center for skin screening after moving to Missouri. Daily application of Efudex cream over several weeks gives me a face fit for a Star Trek alien when all of the precancerous areas are exposed, until the dead skin sloughs off and my face returns to normal.

That was six years ago, and there has been no recurrence. Summer has arrived, but my days in the sun are a thing of the past.

sun high overhead
shortest shadows of the year
days now grow shorter

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 6-21-21: Solstice I,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Solar Separation

mid-treatment for precancerous skin damage

Silently Waiting ~ haibun

 

Silently Waiting

Driving at one in the morning, I look up to see Venus, bright at first, then dim as thin clouds pass before her. I think to write a poem about this as I sit in the waiting room of the ER with nothing more than my phone. As I compose an email to myself, my thoughts are pulled away from planets and stars by the replay of a basketball game from the previous day. The room remains nearly empty, no more than a patient at a time entering or leaving the room, leaving me the lone planet filling the space. But my mind keeps going back to the game, and it works its way into my poem.

Concerns for the wounded are allayed, and it’s time to head home. At three in the morning, the moon sits high in the sky, hazy but unwilling to let the clouds keep it from offering comfort on the drive home.

nearly full
silently waiting
flower moon

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 5-24-21: Flower moon, the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

An injury at work meant a trip to the ER for my stepdaughter. No broken bones, but a muscle strain means rest for her. Ron. is right – hospitals have a way of inspiring poetry. This one gave me a haibun, as well as a poem I wrote while in the waiting room. Unfortunately there is no photo of that moon, as I was driving.

Rustle in the Breeze ~ haibun

Rustle in the Breeze

Rustle in the Breeze

A strong breeze brings to my ears the sound of a lawnmower two blocks away. Its dull drone is punctuated by the “Thud, Thud” of a sledgehammer slamming into my neighbor’s driveway retaining wall as a stone mason removes the last obstacle before him. Bags of cement sit beside a pallet of stone blocks waiting to take their place as a replacement for the long crumbling wall. A coworker starts the mixer to prepare the mortar, its low hum one more sound in a mechanical chorus. Water hisses as he sprays the inside of the hot metal drum. Sounds of nature are still evident to those who listen closely.

backlit green oak leaves
crowded with drying catkins
rustle in the breeze

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 4-26-21: The Present Moment,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the challenge
to write a haibun about the moment we are currently experiencing.

~ Day 26 ~

Parting Clouds ~ haibun

Parting Clouds

Parting Clouds

 

It’s been a year-long winter, this period of isolation for many, with seasons blending as one while the world’s population held its collective breath waiting for the passing of the coronavirus. But shelter, by definition, is confining, and cabin fever soon set in. Guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease were ignored, with many gathering, crowded and unmasked.

Those in the know gained their pleasure from the outdoors while maintaining social distancing, fearful, still, that those less wise, the many they encountered as they shopped for necessities, those who were unmasked while ignoring distancing, would bring them into contact with the scourge that had taken millions of lives around the world.

But at last vaccines have been developed, and infection rates are falling as more people obtain them. The storm has not completely passed, but there is hope that this long winter is finally over.

parting clouds
sunlight on pink and white
cherry blossoms

This is my response to Haibun Monday: Cherry Blossoms,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Close Encounter ~ haibun

Close Encounter

As I paddle down the narrow river, the banks nearly hugging me, I spy a large bird on a tree branch over the water. Its markings indistinct at this distance, I wonder if it could be a juvenile Bald Eagle. Drifting downstream, I decide it is an eagle when it drops from the branch into the water, just a hundred feet ahead of me.

Landing in shallow water, it thrashes and hops to the shore, a fifteen-inch fish firmly in its grasp. It finally drops the fish and settles upon the it as I drift closer, just fifteen feet from shore. Debating between feasting on its catch and seeking safer haven, the eagle flies to a low branch of the next tree downstream. Spreading its wings and shaking the water off of its feathers, it settles in to watch me drift by, just twenty feet directly directly below, the perfect conclusion to this close encounter.

sycamore
on a riverbank
summer breeze

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 2-1-21: Eagle, the prompt form Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a haibun that references to the Eagle.  I first recounted this incident with my poem Rapt, in September 2016.

Haiku Reaction ~ haibun

Haiku Reaction

Severe iron deficiency seems to be the reason for my shortness of breath during the past few months. An iron supplement only serves to help me maintain those low levels, so I’ve had several “scopes” in the past eight weeks to determine if there is any internal bleeding from my colon or small intestine. One of them was a capsule endoscopy. I swallowed a capsule/camera that took thousands of photos of my small intestine. That provided enough evidence to suggest both an upper and a lower double-balloon enteroscopy. The lower enteroscopy is scheduled for next week. I had the upper this afternoon, which showed no irregularities. The worst part of recovery is the severe sore throat from being intubated for the procedure. It looks like it’s soup for me for the next day or so.

Meanwhile, it’s official.  I’m a poet.  While coming out of anesthesia and still groggy, my first thought was to write a haiku.

in recovery
after enteroscopy
haiku reaction

I’ve found a recording of another poem I wrote
as I woke from anesthesia, so I’ve posted it here.

Love Like Waterfall ~ haibun

24 June 24 2017

Love Like Waterfall

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.

Light Seen in Colors ~ haibun

Light Seen in Colors

For most of my life, I lived within ten miles of one of the most magnificent bodies of water known to man. Its combination of splendor and power never ceases to amaze me, though I’ve visited it hundreds of times. I see it far less often since moving away eight years ago, but seeing it this month for the first time in nearly a year was no different. From the rush and fury of the rapids above the falls to the roar of the water as it tumbles beyond the crest to the gorge below, the Niagara River at Niagara Falls once again took my breath away.

chilly mist
light seen in colors
sailing gulls

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday: Being But Human,
from Kim at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the prompt to write a haibun
inspired by a moment “in nature that left you with a sense of wonder or awe.”

Image: Niagara Falls – 10 November 2020
(click image for larger view in new tab)

On the Road Again, Finally

On the Road Again, Finally

I’ll be away for the next three weeks, so I thought I’d get in one more chance to take photos of fall colors. On Saturday, I went for a drive to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, which is 60 miles south of my home in Missouri. It’s located on Lake of the Ozarks and is known for its limestone bluffs and karst formations, as well as for the fire-ravaged mansion known as “The Castle.” I’ve posted other photo blogs of its fall colors in the past, including this one.

It was a mostly sunny day when I left home. By the time I reached the lake, scattered clouds became mostly cloudy as the day went on. The temperatures were in the mid-60s so it was comfortable walking weather. I didn’t do any trail hiking, but I walked about 1 ¾ miles by following the paved and graveled paths. While some trees were bare, many were colorful and the oaks and hickories were getting ready to change.

As I said, I’ll be gone for a few weeks. I left yesterday, Sunday, and drove 700 miles to my son’s home in Cleveland. I’ll stay here for a few days before moving on to Buffalo to stay with my son. Of course, I’ve spent some time (the first visit in eleven months) with my granddaughter, who will be two years old in a couple of weeks, and I’ll see her again on the return trip.

I thought I’d need to stay here for fourteen days, so that I’d be cleared to enter New York State, but NY’s travel restrictions changed while I was driving to Ohio. Now the requirement for all out-of-state travelers is a negative COVID test within three days prior to entering NY, followed by a three-day quarantine in NY, followed by a COVID test in NY.

Coincidentally, I tested in Missouri and received a “negative” notification Sunday morning. Since test results can take up to a week, I’ll drive to NY on Wednesday (within the three -day window),  then test on Saturday. I should have my “negative” result by the following Saturday, just in time for me to see my daughter for the first time in eleven months, just before her baby is born. Since she has type 1 diabetes, her doctors want to induce labor two weeks early to avoid complications. So, she has a “tentative date” of November 17 for her first child, and if everything works out I’ll get to meet my new granddaughter.

My online presence has been erratic the past few months, but for the next three weeks it could be sporadic. I know I’ll have down time while family is busy at work and I’m technically “in quarantine,” so we’ll see how that works out. I have poetry to catch up on, as well as comments on my own poetry to catch up with, so I’ll do what I can. I’ve looked forward to this visit for a while, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

decisions
take new direction
changing leaves

Here are some of those photos from Saturday.
(Click any image for a larger view in a new tab.)