Warmth in September’s Chill ~ haibun

Warmth in September’s Chill

Days that were cool, but just as often warm, always led to cooler nights, and walking from the barn to the house through damp evening grass meant sitting by the wood burning stove to dry the cuffs of our jeans while waiting for dinner. It didn’t matter if they became wet again as we walked across the lawn later in the night, because it meant sitting by the open flames of the firepit, sometimes the highlight of our weekend visits, where they could dry once more. And if that meant we had the cool night air against our backs it also gave us a reason to stand and turn to warm that side as we gazed at the beauty overhead.

vast blanket of stars
blazing light in the night sky
timeless memories

This is my response to Haibun Monday: September Song,
the prompt from Xenia Tran at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Though miles and years apart from those visits to my parents’ country home,
the fire in the photo is from a recent family gathering
that I know my parents would have enjoyed greatly.

hope for the future ~ shadorma

hope for the future

newborn child
a most welcome gift
blessed with love
embraced, now and forever
hope for the future

Just three days after our return home from our trip to New York, my newest granddaughter, Maeve Emilia, arrived. I look forward to meeting her in the not-too-distant future.

This poem is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #TankaTuesday
Challenge No. 289, #SpecificForm Shadorma.
Also, I am sharing this with OpenLink LIVE at dVerse~ Poets Pub.

Beside, Before, Beneath


Beside, Before, Beneath

Placement is paramount in understanding
this gift, to be so near a natural wonder
appreciated only by proximity and granted
by the good grace of introduction by parents
who appreciated the beauty around them
and were aware of the intrinsic value of water,
that essential element that lives within all of us.

To be held beside, to stand before and beneath,
and to ride on the waves below the Falls of Niagara.
All of these have been my pleasure, practiced
for the first six decades of my life.

While being with the one I love this past decade
has been an additional blessing in my life,
my distance from that natural wonder is now
nine hundred miles, a curse that is lifted
only when traveling to see family.
The day when it is once more a short drive
from my door cannot come soon enough.

This is my response to Day 29 at napowrimo.net, which is to “write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with.”

American Falls with Horseshoe Falls in background
One year old, with my father & grandfather
Visiting Niagara Falls with my wife

(click each photo for larger view in new tab)


A Winter’s Tale

This is my response to Poetics: Homage to the Bard, at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. To honor William Shakespeare, baptized on 26 April 1564, Ingrid asks us to use one of the provided titles, including “A Winter’s Tale,” in a poem. Forget iambic pentameter, dragging rhyme and meter out of me is like pulling teeth. So, I offer this:

A Winter’s Tale

Though I may look back
and see much to be forgotten,
it was not all a winter’s tale.
There was warmth,
of this I can’t deny.
How else could two souls
be bound for three decades?
And though, in the end,
a chill took hold,
love played its part
for the greater portion.
Long after it burned itself out,
I hold close to my heart
three souls, born of the embers
of that original fire.

Photo: May 2019

Embrace the Change

Embrace the Change

“Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”
                              Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr

Time waits for no man.
How I wish I could refute that.
But here I sit, about to finish
my seventh decade, knowing
there are things I will never see,
people and places I will never know.

I look to you, my children, with pride,
and I call to you with hope
for a bright future and a reminder
to live each moment as if it were your last.
No two are the same, and nothing is routine.

You will have losses you will overcome.
In those times, feel my embrace.
You will have accomplishments
I will never know, but know
that my pride for you will never end.
That is the one thing that will never change.

This poem is my response to Day 7 at napowrimo.net, where Maureen asks us to write a poem that argues against, or somehow questions, a proverb or saying. “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” loosely translates to “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” It’s from Les Guêpes, a satirical monthly journal printed in the 1840s by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr.

Image source: geralt at pixabay.com

Memory, Still

Memory Still

“I am in my mother’s room.”
                    Samuel Beckett, Molloy

Stained glass, radiant with hummingbirds,
this light was long a fixture in her dining room
as it cast its many-colored rays onto the walls
and a golden glow across many a holiday
dinner of homemade dishes and desserts
served with love and family laughter.

One of the few traces of her life left
in this world, as a reminder of those days
it now hangs in the corner of a bedroom,
spare with just a repurposed child’s dresser
filled with clothing that waits to be sorted
for donation and a bed of far too few nights.

My home was her home, independence
the price of failing health, and displacement
was a tax she shouldered with sadness.
The hummingbirds often stayed lit,
their brilliance a reminder of better days,
however brief her days with me would be.

This light will not be dimmed forever.
Her granddaughter shares a fondness
for hummingbirds. One day, their glow
will grace her home, a welcome addition
to a family sure to be filled with happiness
and a reminder of one who is held so dear.

This poem is my response to Poetics: Opening Sentences of Famous Novels, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use one of twelve sentences provided. I have chosen “I am in my mother’s room” from Molloy, by Samuel Beckett, published in 1951.

Momentary Permanence


Momentary Permanence

I paddle and I paddle,
each stroke offering reward.

A bass, thrashing
in a futile struggle to escape
the grasp of an eagle
that swiftly rises from a river
in a slow January crawl.

The graceful nature
of a sycamore’s white lines
against a blue March sky,
just as beautiful the full green
bloom of its leaves
in the coming months.

A dragonfly, the imperceptible
breeze of its lustrous wings
welcome in August heat
as it flits from a tree branch
to the bow of my kayak
to reeds that line the shore,
never still for long, until
it reaches the gray arm
of a tree rising from the river,
pausing to let me pass.

I drive and I drive,
each trip offering reward.

Children who greet me
with open arms, engage
in long talks of events
new and not-so-new,
as if they are one.

Conversations starting up
where they left off,
leaving off where they
are bound to start
once again.  And again.

A granddaughter
who will read to me
the memorized tale
in her favorite book.
One who will walk with me,
a fast crawl more her speed
when last we were together.
Both milestones
in the passing years.

Places that never grow old,
never have when I was close
and never will,
even in my absence.
The sight of maple trees
when oak and hickory
have become my norm.
The blue of rivers,
waterfalls and lakes,
now that I’m surrounded
by muddy waters.

All of this welcome to me.
Permanent bonds, even
with their temporary nature,
like golden sycamore leaves
as they drift beside me, caught
in the swirl of my paddle,
as if to remind me
they will always be with me,
even if waiting inside graceful lines
against a blue November sky.

This poem is my response to earthweal weekly challenge: EVERYTHING IN THE FOREST IS THE FOREST.

Red Cheeks and Laughter

Red Cheeks and Laughter

Across the road there was a lane,
an old logging road that went
nowhere, except uphill. Or down,
if that was where you wanted to go.
And we did, but only in the winter,
when a walk up that hill,
along that simple trail,
ended with a sled ride back down.

Or on a saucer. Or an inner tube.
And the kids loved it. All of them,
because everyone who went down that hill
was a child for the day, even Grandpa.
Sliding, tumbling, crashing
amid red cheeks and joyful laughter.

The last ride down the hill was the best.
It was just a short walk back across the road,
where Grandma waited with hot cocoa
and the inviting warmth of the wood stove.
There was more laughter as mittens and socks
dried above the stove and everyone talked
about their favorite ride down the hill
on those Botsford Hollow holidays.