Heartbeat on Wing

Heartbeat on Wing

Floating on the river, tree-lined
stream, really, far shore just sixty feet away,
as bald eagle, far upstream, leaves its perch.
Each wing beat bringing it closer, regal profile
passing within fifty feet. Its graceful exit
over, held as a lasting impression.

The image, above, is the crop of a frame of video taken on the Moreau River, Missouri, October 4, 2019. My kayak was resting on an underwater ledge, immediately to the left of the angled rock (photo below). I was stable and partially shielded from view, but framing and focus at full zoom were hard to maintain, especially as I panned to track its approach and passing. The angled rock likely is broken from a nearby overhanging ledge that has numerous rocks lying in the water below. (These images also are cropped from frames of the same video.)

Free Firewood ~ haibun

Free Firewood

Two days before we traveled to my daughter’s wedding, a tree came down in our yard. It was a fifty foot hickory that was dead when we bought the house in 2013, and it was struck by lightning in 2014. The top of it hit the top edge of the chimney, at the side of the house, leaving fifteen feet of broken wood at the foundation. The chimney is fine. The tree continued down, resting in the fork of a redbud tree and splitting it three feet to the ground. We’ve had a lot of recent rain, softening the ground on the slope where the hickory stood. The roots were rotted to pulp and broke off as the tree fell.

I couldn’t leave it like that while traveling, so I spent the next day cutting up the pieces on the ground and cutting twelve feet off the top end of the tree. I cut the redbud into firewood and cut its branches into four foot lengths, leaving them in three large piles at the side of my garden.

When we returned, I spent a day cutting the rest of the hickory into firewood. It was so choked with English ivy that I spent more than an hour lopping that off before taking the chainsaw to the tree. The pile of ivy, some of it an inch-and-a-half thick, was as high as any of the three piles of redbud branches. I now have more than a cord of hickory firewood, with a fireplace that I converted to natural gas.

Last month ended up being tied for the hottest September on record for mid-Missouri, so I wasn’t too anxious to clear out those tree branches. We had a break in the weather today – overcast and 65º – so I spent the morning lopping the redbud branches and ivy into two foot lengths, then taking them to our city’s yard waste site, a mile away – five trips in my station wagon. The site won’t take anything larger than six inches in diameter, so now I have to find a neighbor who needs firewood.

ivy clings to tree
draining life from hickory
warm glow of fireplace

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge
No. 147, #Poet’sChoice

Childhood Memories ~ haibun

Childhood Memories

Many years after my mother’s passing, I got a hankering for her apple cake. I remember it as a single layer of spice cake in a rectangular pan, with apple slices upright in three rows, from end to end. I searched online for apple cake recipes, and ended up combining two recipes to get a cake that tasted just as I remembered, but with the apples stirred into the batter.

My mother always baked from scratch, and it finally dawned on me to ask my sister if she had my mother’s recipe. She sent a photo of the original recipe card, and there were distinct differences from my final recipe, so I didn’t waste any time trying my hand at the original. It had been fifteen years since I’d had my mother’s apple cake, but I knew I would never forget that taste.

Unfortunately, mine did not taste the same, and it occurred to me that my mother had made that cake since I was a child, and she probably hadn’t bothered to look at that recipe for years and years. Fortunately, I came up with a recipe that reminds me of her cake, so now I’ll try making it with the apple slices in rows. Maybe I can pass that recipe on to my children.

childhood memories
rows of fruit trees in orchard
apple falls from tree

This haibun is my response to Poetics: Looking for Sustenance from Lisa at dVerse.

Image: Apple orchard in Olcott, Niagara County, New York, October 2010

Words of Love

Words of Love

Witness two lovers, sharing their vows.
There is no instantaneous transformation.
Their love is as true before, as it is after,
yet that moment stands frozen in time,
the depth of their love in the words they choose.
Their truth is a song, and no song
that a bird might sing to its mate
could make this more clear to the world.

In Meet the Bar – Metaphorically Speaking, Björn at dVerse asks us to use metaphor
to expand on something to create something entirely new and unique.

Image source: The Guardian

A Giraffe Lullaby & Isolation

The prompt for Poetics: Kafka for Kids, from Amaya at dVerse, is to use one of the provided quotes by Franz Kafka as the basis for a children’s nursery rhyme. In using the line “I do not see the world at all; I invent it,” I am taking a slight departure from the nursery rhyme route to show you something I wrote several years ago.

While my children were in middle school, Craig Frazier was their music instructor. He also was a volunteer docent at the Buffalo Zoo, and he produced a CD of animal-themed music as a fundraiser for the zoo. One of the tracks is titled “A Giraffe Lullaby,” and I wrote lyrics to accompany it.

Griffis Sculpture Park, East Otto, New York

A Giraffe Lullaby

Come lay your head on my shoulder
and I will tell you
all the things you can look forward to

Now close your eyes
and dream dreams of what you want to be

The ones that you love will be there
to walk beside you
in your dreams as you slumber tonight

All of the leaves in the trees
will hang low for you

~~~~~

Come lay your head on my shoulder
and I will tell you
all the things you can look forward to

All of the leaves in the trees
will hang low for you
and be as many as stars in the night

The stars in the night

A few years back, I asked my daughter and her friends to sing “A Giraffe Lullaby,”
so that I could record their vocals with the music.

#####

And now for something in a totally different direction.
At the end of the prompt, Amaya included a Kafka quote with which she could well relate.
Well, so can I, at times. So, I’ve used that quote to create a cross-out poem.

Isolation

No memory,
nor experience.
I have nothing,
know less.
What I do know is beyond
me, my thoughts a wall.
The essence, incoherent.
Thinking, scarcely.

Ken Gierke