Kingfisher in Flight ~ haibun

Kingfisher in Flight

It’s early morning as I paddle on this narrow river that winds and twists through farmland, changing direction nearly every quarter-mile. On a day when temperatures will reach the mid-nineties, I move along a brief northward stretch and enjoy the cooler air as I take advantage of the shade offered by trees along its eastern bank.

A heron takes flight as I approach, but a killdeer lingers nearby, leaving tiny tracks as it dashes in spurts across the mud. Tiny waves sparkle in sunlight as I pass a break in the trees and paddle around a dead tree extending from the bank into the water. Catching sight of me, a turtle sunning itself drops into the water with a plop. I continue back into the shade, enjoying the sights that surround me.

kingfisher in flight
reflection of waves in flight
kayak glides along

This haibun is my response to Come Sail, the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Sarah says,
“For this prompt, I’d like you to be inspired by boats. Maybe you’ve travelled by narrowboat, or taken a cruise on a big liner. Maybe you’re a kayaker, or a paddle-boarder. Maybe you built a raft as a child, or made a toy boat out of twigs and leaves. Maybe you’re a rower or a sailor. Maybe you take a ferry to work, or watch other people floating down a river. Maybe you want to write about an imaginary boat, with sails of leaves and a cargo of fairy dust. It’s up to you.”

Image source: screenshot from this YouTube video

Flickering Candles ~ haibun

Flickering Candles

When I was growing up, our family always held birthday celebrations; simple affairs with my parents and sisters, and, occasionally when I was younger, with my grandparents. Birthday cakes were present, of course, and our tradition was to have an extra candle on the cake. “One to grow on.” Another tradition was to have the birthday celebrant cut the the first slice into the cake and have the knife removed by the person with the next birthday, as a measure of good luck.

I may not place much significance on birthdays of my own as milestones, but I’ve always enjoyed celebrating a birthday with family and friends. A photo from 1958 is proof of that. It has one very pleased little boy who just blew out the candles on his cake.

flickering candles
give warm feelings all around
frosting on windows

This is my response to Haibun Monday: Birthday,
the prompt from Kim at dVerse Poets Pub.

Also shared with Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday
#Poetry Challenge No. 189, #Poet’sChoice

Once in a Sturgeon Moon

Once in a Sturgeon Moon

Back in my scuba diving days, the majority of my dives were river drifts in the Niagara River. The water was a welcome relief on a hot August day, even while wearing a wet suit.

A shore dive would mean parking one vehicle at the exit point, followed by a drive upriver for the start of the dive. Holding a line connected to our dive float and flag, we would descend to the river bottom, from thirteen to thirty-five feet below, depending on the section of the river. Knowing the approximate time of the drift, we would surface and kick towards shore for our exit. Sometimes that could mean a strong, hard kick into shore because the current was faster that day or had pushed us out further than expected.

I started carrying a quarter in my wet suit after one dive that resulted in overshooting our exit point and landing on an island (connected by a bridge). I walked into a bar at a marina, borrowed a quarter to call for a ride (pre-cellphone days), and walked back out to my dive buddy, my wet suit garnering looks and comments from the bar patrons. The woman who gave me the quarter also bought shots to share with me.

We also would dive from a boat on the river, which was much easier. A back-roll off the side of the boat, and we were in the water. Once on the bottom, we would be connected with a ten foot long buddy line. The current was our friend, carrying us downriver as we watched the bottom for lost boat anchors and antique bottles. A tug on the line usually meant the other diver had grabbed on to a rock on the bottom as he pulled an anchor or bottle from under a rock or from the silt. Over the years, I acquired propellers, hundreds of bottles, and dozens of anchors, as well as a few outboard motors that I sold to an outboard engine repair shop. For years, I had a recovered three-hundred pound anchor on my lawn.

Of course, I never caught any fish while diving, but I saw quite a few, from bass to catfish to muskellunge. One fish that stands out in my memory was a complete surprise. As we drifted along the bottom with fairly good visibility, a shadow appeared on my right. I was confused at first, because I thought it was my dive buddy (whose name also happened to be Ken), but the buddy line was on my left, with my buddy firmly attached. And then it came to within five feet of me, staying by my side for thirty seconds. It was a six-foot long sturgeon. Back on the boat, it was all we could talk about.

hot, still days
no relief at night
sturgeon moon

This haibun is my response to Frank Tassone’s #Haikai Challenge #150: Sturgeon Moon.
The first full moon of August is called the Sturgeon Moon, Grain Moon, Barley Moon or Red Moon.

In Love’s Warmth ~ haibun

24 June 2017

In Love’s Warmth

A shining day approaches, the celebration of the day, three years ago, when family and friends witnessed the union of two souls beneath a lighthouse tower on the shore of Lake Erie. Our paths, separate and whole, met and became one in a way possible only through a desire to be complete, each with the other, no longer alone. As equals, we gladly followed the path before us, each knowing the love, grief, joy, hardship, and elation of the other.

Experienced by all present, our beacon of love could not be denied.

passion’s waves
flow from heart to heart
in love’s warmth

This is my response to Traditional writing: on a shining topic,
the prompt from Lillian at dVerse Poets Pub, which is to write a haibun
about “One Shining Moment” in the writer’s life.

The Only Way ~ ekphrastic haibun

The Only Way

This life, spent for so long in one place, was not a life spent at a standstill. The directions taken may not have been direct, but they’ve brought me to where I am, today. The shortest route is not always the quickest.

Knowing the streets in the towns around me like the back of my hand meant never getting lost while making deliveries when, and where, they were needed. There is a comfort in knowing a place so well, but other elements in life have a way of interceding.

So it happened, that my last time behind the wheel of a truck was on the direct, cross-country route that brought me here, following my heart to a new home.

falling leaf
taken by the wind
shifting scenes

This ekphrastic haibun is my response to Haibun Monday: Meet Piet,
from Kim at dVerse Poets Pub, with the prompt to write a haibun
inspired by “Broadway Boogie Woogie” by Piet Mondrian.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons – “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, by Piet Mondrian

The Day After ~ Post NaPoWriMo 2020

The Day After ~ Post NaPoWriMo 2020

I have participated in National Poetry Writing Month every year since 2014 and have met the challenge of writing a daily poem in April for each year. Completing the challenge this year seemed harder than in past years – in fact, a couple of my poems were about writer’s block – but inspiration from other poets, as well as following other poetry prompts, helped me complete the challenge.

Writing every day, as well as reading the poems of fellow participants, seemed to consume more time than in previous years, at the expense of time usually spent reading the words of poets I follow on a daily basis. I have some catching up to do, but the sun is out, it’s not raining, and I’m going kayaking.

pausing for fresh air
poet’s mind is exhausted
writing challenge done

This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge
No. 175, #ThemePrompt
, where the theme is “The Day After.”

One Man’s Heart ~ haibun

One Man’s Heart

There is no sea so wide that I would not cross, nor mountain so high that I would not climb. I would cross the driest desert and brave the wildest jungle, weather any storm of frigid snow and stand against the strongest of gales. All of this I would do so that I could proclaim to all the world my love for you. Not in sonnet nor in flowery verse, but in words so clear that none might question their intent.

one man’s heart
could not be more full
than by your side

This is my response to Haibun Monday 4/27/20: A Portrait of Two Masters,
from Frank Tassone at dVerse Poets Pub, where the prompt is to write a haibun
inspired by William Shakespeare and Matsuo Bashō.

~ Day 27 ~

I Can Actually Get Away with Calling This a Poem ~ haibun

Today is Day 14 of National/Global Poetry Writing Month, and the prompt at napowrimo.net is to write a poem that deals with the poems, poets, and other people who inspired you to write poems. Long story, short – I started writing to sort through my emotions. However, I am inspired by Bashō.

The prompt for Poetics: Order, Order! from Laura at dVerse Poets Pub is to write a poem about your relationship with order. Simply put, we’re merely acquaintances.

I may have met both prompts.

 

I Can Actually Get Away with Calling This Poetry

Never, in the past ten years, have I had less enthusiasm for writing poetry than I have today. It’s not as simple as having a favorite poet that inspires me. I have never looked upon any one poet as a beacon, although I may have enjoyed or appreciated individual poems.

I have written to form, to many forms, but I find doing so to be constrictive. I prefer to write in free verse, but more about that in a minute. I may experiment in a form, but few impress me enough to stay with me. I can finish reading a poem before I realize it actually has meter. I may read a tritina and think I’ve never tried that form, only to check my poetic forms list to see that I have. When I do write to a form, it must work for me at that time, but, more often than not, writing that way feels contrived. Sometimes it’s, “Okay, I tried that. Time to move on.” Even when a form works for me, I don’t necessarily gravitate to it, with one exception.

Haiku. (And here I contradict myself and say that there is a poet, Bashō, who inspires me, from beginning to end.) Maybe it’s the simplicity. It’s like a thought fragment, so it may seem natural to me, considering I have ADD. Who knows, maybe that’s why authors don’t stick with me. Maybe it’s why I prefer writing in free verse. Maybe it’s why I’m hard to please. But, believe me, I have had poets impress me, please me to no end.

Sorting my emotions was what got me to start writing, in the first place. No one poem or person. As for free verse, maybe it’s my way of shrugging off the order that’s required to keep my mind on task, working in a straight line. I may do so more than I realize, but I try not to write in a narrative. Too often, I’ve read poetry that strikes me more as a story (like this?!), as a series of sentences with line breaks, relabeled as poetry. I’m sure that I’m guilty of the same. And, now that I’ve probably insulted every poet out there, I’m going to try to write some poetry.

troubled poet
in need of inspiration
directionless

In the Beginning ~ haibun

The prompt for Haibun Monday 30/03/2020: Snapshots of Our Lives, from Kim at dVerse Poets Pub, is to write a haibun that tells the story behind a poem from our personal archives. This is the story behind How I Knew I was a Poet, my video poem from 2017.

In the Beginning

I first visited YouTube in 2006, and it wasn’t long before I was making videos of my own, including video poetry. As time went on, I joined other video sharing sites. In 2010, one of the vloggers I followed was planning to travel from Chicago to Boston on his motorcycle, and he asked those along his route about meeting up for coffee. I took him to see Niagara Falls, and offered a room and a bed for the night. He told me to visit him any time, offering the use of his spare room.

The following year, we planned a meetup that included four other vloggers. Two of them also were from Chicago, one was from Washington state, and the fourth was from Missouri. Over several days, we visited a blues club, took a boat tour of Chicago’s architecture along the Chicago River, and visited the Green Mill Jazz Club (the home of slam poetry) and The Poetry Foundation. Everyone had a good time, and I had some interesting conversations about poetry at The Poetry Foundation with, little did I know, the woman who would one day be my wife.

I moved to Missouri in 2012.

whispering verses
witnessed by poets
in the beginning


Image: The Poetry Foundation, in Chicago