Keeper of Memories

 

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for Non-commercial Use

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for Non-commercial Use

Keeper of Memories

In musty basement dark
of that old house upon the hill
an old man finds a tattered leather case
(dimpled faux-finish, I now see)
caresses it as though it were his lover,
while I stand by and watch.

Gnarled hands fumble
at a rusty clasp that keeps
the contents from intrusion.
In spite of trembling that I know so well,
unwanted company of his later years,
he eases the lid on its loosened hinges.

Pungent aromas escape to fan
familiar once-upon-a-time remembrances
of when I was a child.

Images flash forward,
rape my ears, my eyes
and cold smooth surfaces, my touch,
so that a melding of sensations
hurl me back in time
to when I sat in expectation,
and listened to the quiet.

He brings the contents now to view.
No longer does she gleam,
yet there beneath patina tinged with tarnish
I smell music.

Clutching her now against his concave chest
he shuffles rhythmically across the room,
remembering, no doubt those evenings
spent upon the porch in twilight murmurings.

Once settled in between the cushions
of a tattered, dusty chair
he raises up the precious object to his lips and blows.
Diminished breath invades her inner being.

But I am overcome by remnants,
not of sound, but scent
that lingers still within the archives of my soul
in saxophonic exclamation.

This poem goes back to 2011. I thought I’d share it today for dVerse Open Link Night where we are invited to share a poem of any form or subject.  Come on in and share some fun and poetry.

November, Interrupted: dVerse Haibun Monday

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

November, Interrupted

Outside, I see the barren pewter skies of late November, consider how I was taught as a child that this is the time of year in which we are to reflect upon death. Nature seems to cry “emptiness,” though I know that, in reality, life surges beneath the surface of what appears to be.

Wind howls, inviting our outdoor chimes to sound a song of hope when, in a flash, color fills our naked fruit trees as a slew of winter birds fill their branches. Bright yellow and red accents of the cedar wax wings, the stunning burnt sienna of robins and breath-taking tones of blue of Stellar Jays. Even tiny monochromatic chickadees bestow joy as they nestle together in the maple, where scattered orange leaves cling stubbornly.

ornamental pear
stretches out her fruitful arms
fertile emptiness

Written and linked for dVerse, where today Kanzen Sakura invites us to post a haibun on any subject as long as it is a non-fictional account of something that happened to us, concluding with a traditional haiku. This happened just this morning! Please join us.

life–dVerse Haibun Monday

Cedar Wax Wings--Source Unknown

life

around me
(though chill seeps in)
life flourishes

winter birds
cull berries from leafless trees
drink from rainwater puddles

a lone purple flower
flaunts beauty at
my garden gate

three weeks ago today
i was there to receive
her last breath

eternal life flourishes

On October 30th, I arrived in Huntington Beach, California, to celebrate my almost-96 year old mother’s birthday on November 5th. I spoke to her the day before I left and she was happy I was coming, telling me, as she did quite often, “Don’t forget you are my little girl!”

When I arrived, I found that she was non-responsive. The night before she had told her caregiver that she was tired and was ready to die. The following day, she did just that–peacefully and with loved ones at her side.

I returned home yesterday, after three weeks sans Internet, tending to what I term “the business of dying.” That explains my absence. I have a lot of catching up to do here at home, so I may not be real present this week either, but wanted to take advantage of today’s wonderful Quadrille prompt at dVerse that asks us to use the word “breath” in any of its forms in a poem of exactly 44 words. Please join us. Little by little, I will get around to reading yours.

 

The First Time–dVerse Poetic

 

The First Time

Photo: Wikipedia Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

Photo: Wikipedia
Labeled for Non-Commercial Reuse

The first time that I witnessed birth,
saw the crowning of the head,
that shock of thick black hair,
heard the melded cries of mother
and her son, the pain and ecstasy
in resounding dissonance,
the joy and fear and victory
of shattered boundaries—
that first time I beheld the
mystery of newborn life
I shuddered in the face of Awe.

The first time that I prayed in silence
without words or thoughts and stood
like Moses by the burning bush
that would not be destroyed and
offered (to the One who is and was
and will be) all that I have been and
am and shall become without limit
that first time I embraced
the mystery of the divine
I shuddered in the face of God.

The first time that I tasted love,
sought urgently to touch and hold,
looked into eyes that knew
my secret sacred spaces,
longed to please before receiving
pleasure, lost track of time, luxuriated
in the scent of passion,
that first time I received the mystery
of you, of all we could become,
I shuddered in the face of Bliss.

The first time I attended death
and held an old man’s icy hand and
looked into his eyes that saw beyond
me, wiped a brow expressing
nuances of sorrow and of joy,
the scope of everything we can imagine,
that first time I received a dying breath
and closed those eyes
I shuddered in the face of the Unknown.

I apologize for re-posting a poem that has been around before, written originally in 2010, but it fits Kelly’s prompt for dVerse Poetics, right down to the title, and I confess it is one of my favorites, because of its significance in my own life. Those of you who’ve been around, please don’t feel compelled to comment–but there are so many newbies at dVerse, I wanted to offer it again.

the color of longing–dVerse quadrille

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

the color of longing
a quadrille

early winter doldrums
sky heavy with payne’s gray clouds
birds silent, gone

flowers sag
leaves weep while chill
seeps into old bones

but then a vibrant flash
an incongruous spark-
ing of a flame

shedding warmth
on this cold scene
(so like your touch)

Today, for our wonderful quadrille prompt at dVerse Poets, we are invited to submit a poem of exactly 44 words, no more, no less, that uses the work SPARK in any of its forms. Please join us for this prompt. The link is open all week.

This rose opened this last week, smack dab in the middle of our flower garden, defying the withering of everything else. I’ve cut back all the other rose bushes so this is truly “the last rose of summer.”

I will also add this to Cee’s Daily Flower (photography) prompt.

October–dVerse OLN

Photo: jcookfisher via Flickr Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: jcookfisher via Flickr
Labeled for non-commercial reuse

October
Haibun

Recently, a red tail hawk sat on our fence, watching an assortment of jays, robins, quail and doves fattening themselves on the seeds in our garden. Spent cosmos and coreopsis shrugged, let nature have her way.

Hawk, the Messenger,
seeks tomorrow’s sustenance,
dove feasts, unaware.

All the work of putting the garden to bed for the winter has claimed our attention, turning it from creative pursuits. The tasks of autumn bring to mind those chores that face us later in life—clearing away the debris of spent dreams, wasted efforts—preparing the soil for what is yet to come.

Autumn smells pungent—
leaves moldering in crannies,
poems forgotten.

A few brilliant roses still persist in their efforts to boast their beauty, proving that nature is not as fussy as we are when it comes to choosing the colors she will wear, or what’s deemed appropriate as defined by the expectations of others. Bright pink and orange: how freeing!

Late blooming roses
struggle in October frost,
clash with changing leaves.

The Truckee river, a block from our home, is feeling the effect of this summer’s lack of rain. It is fed by beautiful Lake Tahoe, flows east through Reno and ends up in Pyramid Lake, home of the Paiute Indians. Snow fell this week, just above our elevation, in the Sierra Nevada and we will see more soon, hopefully. Reno is high desert, receiving only 7” of rain annually. We depend on the snowfall in the mountains and at the Lake.

Truckee, languid now,
flows gently through our city,
hopes for winter snow.

Linking to dVerse OLN where you can post any one poem, any topic, any form. Please join us.

Of the Onset of Cold Weather–dVerse Poetics: Homophones

Credit: ProWritingAid.com

Credit: ProWritingAid.com

Of the Onset of Cold Weather
A Snowbird’s Lament in Homophones

If I’m allowed, I’ll rant aloud
of autumn’s need to dye, to die
or so it seems, to knit
the season’s seams together
through leaves it threw to ground.

The endless summer’s sear
has left the land so sere.
The trees, in springtime fair
did not, this year, fare well,
the ash has not survived.

As winter’s morn draws near
I’ll mourn the loss of warmth.
We’ll travel south to find
the sun and pause to play
some golf and walk the dogs
where paws don’t freeze.

And, as for golf, I drive my
ball, yell “fore” and hope that
(unlike last year’s very first drive)
I will not break a window.
(Said story’s sad, but true.)

For dVerse Poetics, Lillian invites us to write some poetry using homophones, that is, words that sound alike. There are tons of them, just Google “homophone lists” and have fun with them.

If it’s Haibun Monday you want, that poem is here.