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.)

 

 

 

 

 

New Leaves Wait to Grow ~ haibun

New Leaves Wait to Grow

It was an easy decision for me, when I decided to move to Missouri. I was following my heart to be with the woman I love. If we were going to be together, it was much easier for me to make the move than it would have been for her. Still not yet sixty (I had retired at fifty-three), I had no job to hold me back.

I gave a lot of thought to being away from my children and reasoned that it would be no different than if they were to move away after completing college. My eldest son had attended university in Cleveland and had a job there as a computer engineer. My other son still lived in the Buffalo area, working in IT for a web hosting firm, and wasn’t afraid to travel himself. Meanwhile, my daughter was in college, and there were no guarantees that she would stay in the area once she completed school. Since then, she has become a high school counselor, and all three have stayed in their respective cities.

It’s 700 miles to Cleveland, and another 200 miles further on to Buffalo, and I’ve driven those roads to visit them at least twenty times in the past eight years. I don’t mind the drive. We have a great time when we’re together, and we’ve even had them as guests when they’ve visited us.

When my granddaughter arrived (two years ago, next month), I realized there was something I hadn’t anticipated. Grandchildren unexpected? No, but I hadn’t thought about how much I would be missing, over the miles. Now, I saw her (and held her!) a few times in the first year, and there have been many video calls, but it’s been nearly eleven months since I’ve actually seen her.

And now, my daughter is expecting her first child in three weeks. Meanwhile, due to the COVID-19 infection rate, Missouri has been on the out-of-state travel ban list for New York State for months-on-end and flirts off-and-on with the slightly less stringent restrictions for Ohio.

I am where my heart has taken me, but I wonder.  If I knew then what I know now, would I have considered the move a folly?

old leaves fall
new leaves wait to grow
left behind

This haibun is my response to dVerse – Poetics #427 – Mussenden’s Temple,
the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the prompt
to write a poem using the word folly.

The Ultimate Fright Night ~ haibun

The Ultimate Fright Night

As he had for years, he placed a large bowl of candy on the table just inside the door of his home, put decorations on the outside of the door, placed an orange bulb in the lamppost, and waited for the children to ring his doorbell as they called out the cheerful chant, “Trick or Treat.” But times had changed, and fewer children roamed the streets on this festive night. Concerns for safety meant parents took their children to churches and malls for their treats, and each year fewer and fewer superheroes and princesses appeared at his door, leaving him with a bowlful of sugary sweets to ration for himself for the next few months.

But this year he waited in vain, for there were no smiling faces, and no one rang the doorbell looking for treats. In the true spirit of this frightful night, the children had one more reason to listen to the words they had heard for so long, “Don’t take candy from strangers.”

blue moon curse
on All Hallows’ Eve
COVID plague

This is my response to Haibun Monday 10-26-20: Happy Halloween!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Full Moon Comfort ~ haibun

Full Moon Comfort

Since moving to Missouri, I’ve made many trips back to Buffalo to visit my family, probably as many as twenty in the first seven-and-a-half years. Three of those trips were by air, but the rest have been by car. The trip is only nine hundred miles, one-way, a distance easily covered in a day, and I don’t mind the drive. Driving also makes it easier to make a stop near Cleveland to visit my son and his family.

Bonnie still works, but I’m retired, so I have a lot more flexibility when it comes to travel time. It’s always nice to have company on the drive, but I don’t mind driving solo. I can cover the total distance in daylight, except when winter brings darkness in the early morning and evening hours. There have been a few times when I’ve had the moon for a companion.

With travel restrictions due to the pandemic, I haven’t made that trip since December. I’ve missed opportunities to see my granddaughter in Cleveland, who will be two years old in November. I’ve not seen my daughter since before she learned she is expecting her first child in November, and I don’t know when I will be able to hold her daughter. I’d say it’s down to once in a Blue moon, but even those seem more frequent.

thoughts of family
in search of consolation
full moon appears twice

This is my response to Haibun Monday 9/28/20: to the Moon!,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image: Harvest Moon, 29 September 2012