Close to the Heart
Specialists tell me it’s not all there, my interatrial septum. Blood that should be routed to my lungs to be filtered can, instead, be passed through that barrier. Flow in one direction can cause oxygen-rich blood to join blood going to the lungs, overtaxing them. Flowing in the other direction, blood that needs to be filtered by the lungs will join blood destined for the brain, which can lead to mayhem.
More than sixty-five years of my life passed before this was discovered. By a stroke of luck, my one stroke was minor. When it passed through the hole in my heart, a tiny clot that could have come from any injury did reach my brain, but its effect was minor. The hole can be closed with surgery, but with a high risk of complications due to my age – so I accept this defect as a part of my whole.
from fresh fallen rain
This is my response to Haibun Monday 1/30/23: Heart
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a congenital heart defect in which blood flows between the atria (upper chambers) of the heart. Some flow is a normal condition both pre-birth and immediately post-birth via the foramen ovale; however, when this does not naturally close after birth it is referred to as a patent (open) foramen ovale (PFO). It is common in patients with a congenital atrial septal aneurysm (ASA) – a bulging in the septum (or barrier) between the atria, which I also have.
Detailed chambers of the heart & PFO illustration – © Mayo Clinic
(click image to see larger view in new tab)
Read another poem about my PFO here.
In hands both worn and never still
a simple watch was held
the daily tasks could be fulfilled
and all life’s worries felled.
than that in times severe and lean,
each day it was resolved
and labor served without machine
would take away the pall,
This is my response to Meeting the Bar: Memento, the prompt from Grace at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem in the memento form or about a memento. I have done both, writing about a daily occurrence (though not a holiday or anniversary) involving a particular object, a pocket watch that was my grandfather’s and handed down to my father (and then to me). My grandfather was a laborer all of his life, one that was mostly consumed by hard times.
Memento: The form was created by Emily Romano and is a poem about a holiday or an anniversary, consisting of two stanzas as follows: the syllable count should be 8 beats for line one; 6 beats for line two; and two beats for line three. This is repeated twice for each stanza. The rhyme scheme is: a/b/c/a/b/c for each of the two stanzas.
So below. Within a shared pulse
star fields merge to engulf
the depth of myriad layers
always there, never concealed.
Light dances as stars celebrate
a quickening pulse, an embrace.
Image source: Astronomy Picture of the Day ~ © Mehmet Hakan Özsaraç
The Colliding Spiral Galaxies of Arp 274
This is my response to Ronovan Writes Sijo Challenge #45: Embrace.
Sijo (a Korean verse form related to haiku and tanka)
~ three lines of 14-16 syllables each
~ a total of 44-46 syllables
~ a pause near the middle of each line
~ first half of the line contains six to nine syllables
~ the second half should contain no fewer than five
Originally intended as songs, sijo can treat romantic, metaphysical, or spiritual themes. Whatever the subject, the first line introduces an idea or story, the second supplies a “turn,” and the third provides closure.
Modern Sijo are sometimes printed in six lines.
Read more here: Wikipedia
the way you do
pull me under, the way
you pull me under
wave after wave
washing through me
until you resuscitate me
press your lips to mine
massage my heart
the way you do
when you pull me under
This is my response to Twiglet #309: the weight of water.
Image source: wallpaperflare.com
What separates us
does not make us better.
Even the thinnest
layer of ice threatens
to shatter all that we’ve built.
Words left unspoken,
to reach the surface,
only serve to strengthen
the divide, remove
the chance to heal.
Speak to me.
This is my response to Quadrille #168,
the prompt from Mish at dVerse ~ Poets Pub,
which is to use a form of the word ice in a Quadrille – a 44-word poem
(excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.
Which face to wear?
or back? The past,
both blessing and weight,
does not cease to be,
even as what will be
approaches. To know
both is not possible,
yet one gives insight
to the other. I wear both.
This is my response to Reena’s Xploration Challenge # 264. It’s January, and Reena asks us to consider Janus, the Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and endings, who is depicted as having two faces.
Shared with OpenLink Night LIVE at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.
You Call This Winter?
Take a hike in the wild during a Missouri winter,
and it’s a crapshoot. Bare branches heavy
with snow and turkey tracks the only impressions
in the white blanket that lies before you,
or t-shirt weather with the sound of rustling leaves
as you scuff them out of your way wondering
what happened to the four inches of snow
that shut things down just last week.
I may not miss the storms of New York’s winters,
but I sure miss the snow of New York’s winters,
where it knows how to fall and stick around
until it decides to fall again. And again.
Where the beauty of driving through a forest
with a blanket of snow can be appreciated
in spite of the inconvenience of slick roads
or the need to clear your windows of frost.
As much as I may appreciate warm spells
that are more frequent than cold, or the need
to shovel the driveway all of three times,
give me a New York winter, any time.
This is my response to the prompt Poetics: The Blizzard of the Self, from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to speak to winter.
What is a trip to a place left behind,
one that always lives in my heart?
Have I returned home when I visit there,
or when I leave?
This is my response to Twiglet #308: returned home.
As an exercise, I have also written this as a gogyohka and a senryū.
(Also shared with Colleen’s #TankaTuesday
Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 303, Senryū.)
a trip to a place left behind
always in my heart
at home in two places
past and present as one
have I returned home
when I visit the past
or when the trip ends?
Senryū are similar to haiku, but they tend to be about human nature, rather than nature.
Gogyohka (pronounced go-gee-yoh-kuh)
~ a form of Japanese poetry pioneered by Enta Kusakabe in the 1950s
~ 5-line poetry ~ like tanka, but with freedom from restraints
~ no fixed syllable requirement
~ no conventions regarding content
~ brief lines in keeping with the tradition of Japanese short verse
collection of poems
in heartfelt delivery
friends from near and far
hear labor of love in words
I wrote a gogyohka this morning, then realized
I could use the same theme to write a sijo to respond to
Ronovan Writes Sijo Wednesday Challenge #44: Overcome.
Words of Healing
Searching both heart and soul,
a poet finds words of healing.
Held close at first, they come alive
when read to a circle of friends.
Recovery follows loss,
as a gentle rain quenches a drought.
A Higher Plane
I follow a light and the path
it offers, the secret held
in musical notes that float
as they dance with sunbeams,
stepping stones that lead higher
and higher. The notes become
so numerous they can’t be
discerned from the light
that wraps itself around me
and opens my eyes to a new day,
one of acceptance of all, by all.
This is my response to Poetics: Visionary Poetry, the prompt from Ingrid at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which asks us to write a poem inspired by a vision or dream.