Nature’s Nurturer

Photo: V. Slotto David's veggie garden last year

Photo: V. Slotto
David’s veggie garden last year

Nature’s Nurturer

It begins toward the middle of March, while we are still in snowbird-land. He drags out the bag of potting soil, his seed-starting paraphernalia and tiny heirloom seeds he’s ordered from catalogue. I cringe, knowing what I will face in the kitchen when the sowing is done.

That’s the shower in the guest room becomes a greenhouse, with the help of sunlight from the Solartube™ and a grow light. Several times a day, I find him there on hands and knees, watering, fertilizing and watching. It takes only few days till he beckons me to come and see tiny sprouts, emerging from the moist soil. In a few weeks, the first transplant occurs, giving them room for roots to emerge. Within a month, another transplant and then shorts spurts of outdoor acclimation and desert sunshine.

By the first week of May, our migration north sees the passenger seat of his car sporting plants that are already 2-4 feet tall. I follow him in my larger vehicle, the dogs sleeping in their crate in the back, waiting for him to be pulled over on suspicion of transporting pot. Upon arrival in Reno, sub-zero weather at nighttime prevails, so the routine of acclimatizing begins anew. As soon as the snow is “off of Peavine,” as Reno wisdom dictates, they are placed in their newly mulched and soil-amended raised flower bed. Going forward the day begins with watering and attentive care until at last

water, summer sun
engender fruit of labor
harvesting begins

Gayle is our hostess today for dVerse Open Link Night where we can post a poem of any topic and form.

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Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: V.Slotto

Photo: V.Slotto

Blue Skies Tinged with Gray–dVerse Poetics

Blue Skies Tinged with Gray
a Sestina
Iambic Tetrameter

This morning I painted my world in blue,
dreamt of new days beneath brilliant clear azure skies
and floated in mem’ries of life borne on waves—
the summer we spent making love by the lake,
when our love sang so sweetly of hours in the sun
and clear water soothed pain that I saw in your eyes.

More often was hope gleaming in those deep eyes,
clear mirrors of mys’try—not silver, not blue,
reflecting the brilliance of summer’s lush sun
this faith that I found in those cloudless, pure skies.
We washed away fear in our bay at the lake,
floating hand within hand on her cool, gentle waves.

Sometimes we are crushed by the force of life’s waves
and excitement can wane, dull the spark in your eyes.
Then return to those days of our love by the lake
to renew what we knew when we dreamt dreams of blue,
streaked with hues of Payne’s Gray as we looked to the skies,
adding depth to those moments of light in the sun.

Summer’s end soon drew near and our time in the sun
gave way to the wind, to the chill in the waves.
Autumn clouds came too soon, hiding blue of the skies,
cast long shadows on joy, dimmed the glow in your eyes.
Succumbing to dark, nature cast off her blue.
Thus we tasted the close of our days at the lake.

Arid sands took you far from our love by the lake.
In Iraq you would know desert dry, scorching sun.
Did that world of brown erase recall of blue?
Did you dream of the days we had shared in the waves?
Or did you forget, horror blinding your eyes
to all of the plans that we held ‘neath blue skies?

For my part, I still hope for the day when the skies
shall return you to me, to our love by the lake.
When you rush to my arms will the tears in your eyes
still be there as they were on that day in the sun
when you told me they called to you over the waves
and you walked from my life for the red, white and blue?

I still look to the skies, shield my eyes from the sun,
wait for days at the lake, for the calming of waves,
lose myself in your eyes, wrapped in dreams painted blue.

Photo: thestir.cafemom.com

Photo: thestir.cafemom.com

This poem is in response to De’s prompt at dVerse Poetics where she invites us to reflect on Blue—however you wish to consider it. (De is coming down off a Lake Tahoe high).

I write this poem as a Sestina in iambic tetrameter (first draft.) It is a fictional narrative. I spent yesterday afternoon with a representative from a local veteran’s assistance program and, of course, that sneaked its way into my writing. Please join us today.

Chester and Vi–Haibun Monday, Romance

Today, for dVerse Haibun Monday, Toni (Kansen Sakura) asks us to write of romance. The prose aspect of a Haibun is a non-fiction account. This event occurred when I was nursing in Long Term Care, Toledo, Ohio in the mid-70’s.

boldsky

Image: boldsky.com

Chester and Vi
a Haibun

It’s early morning and the scene repeats itself. After bathing his wife, Vi, Chester trods down the neon-lit hallway to the unit’s kitchenette to blend an assortment of foods for her breakfast. He knows her likes and dislikes and takes care to please her. Though it’s been years since she has spoken, years since she has even shown signs of recognition, he speaks to her, telling her news of the day, of other patients and of his love for her. Chester once told me that he digs into his memories of those times before a massive stroke rendered Vi helpless, excavates moments when the love they shared was everything to him, as it remains. When he’s certain she is comfortable, he comes and finds me, helps me with other bed-bound patients, seeming to offer them the same care and gentleness he has given his beloved. Old, but healthy, Chester is my sagacious teacher. Without speaking a word, he gives me a glimpse into the true meaning of romance. The day goes on in its endless routine; his loving attention endures.

mourning dove still waits
scattered feathers mar spring joy
hawk feeds her young ones

Just to add a bit of humor, Vi did speak once when Chester was feeding her and I stood by, ready to suction her in case she choked, as she often did. He asked her how her dinner tasted. She responded, “Like shit!” True story.

Dedicated to a friend who is lovingly caring for her husband.

 

Death Imagined: dVerse MTB

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

I’m hosting this week’s dVerse Meeting the Bar, asking our community of poets to consider what they can do to liven up a poem in their archives, a poem they are not happy with, with a focus on imagery. I wrote this poem, “And Before I Die” in 2009 and posted it on my blog in September of that year. I guess I was okay with it back then, but today, it falls flat–though I like the concept.

 And Then, Before I Die

I see the vacuum,
upright in the
corner of the room and
understand my work
remains undone.

I catch my lover’s
glance, stretch
out my hand but
words I try to speak
remain unsaid.

Outside, our world is
chilled and tumbling snow
covers earth.
I close my eyes and hope that
whatever lies ahead, my hope
remains unshaken.

Here is the revised poem, titled anew and amended with a bit more sensory detail. I feel it needs some tightening but is a bit richer for sensory detail. I’ve tried to include all 5 senses. I appreciate feedback. Is it too wordy?

Death, Imagined
a Revision of a 2009 Poem: And Then, Before I Die

There’s my upright vacuum, waiting across the room.
Spindly webs hang from valences while dust motes dance
in silver light bursting through gauzy curtains,
settle on the window sill and dresser.
My world smells musty, tastes dry.  My work here remains undone.

In the corner, my husband sprawls in his worn chair,
folds in on himself, head buried in gnarly, arthritic hands.
Words, trapped in my mind and throat, cry for me to speak them.
I open my mouth, emit emptiness.

Outside, our winter-washed world shivers
under its velour blanket of tumbling snow.
Inside, doubt hammers at every truth I hold dear.
I close my eyes, wrap my hand around my beads,
touch the wear, born of daily use, reach out to hope.
In a distance, I hear (or imagine) birdsong.

The pub doors open tomorrow, Thursday, at 3:00 PM EDT.

sometimes i am so happy it hurts–dVerse Monday Quadrille

sometimes i am so happy it hurts
a quadrille

yesterday i am
play of shadow and of light
sunset’s watercolor sky

tomorrow
fragile day-lily
letting go her brief yet lovely life

today
today the texture of a sturdy bark
free flow of cool water
tiny finch whose song is all she has

This week, for the Monday Quadrille prompt at dVerse, Lillian challenges us to paint a self-portrait in exactly 44 words. Whew.

The title of this poem came to me last evening while I was doing dishes, looking out the kitchen window where my husband kept watch over our two small white dogs, romping in the grass. This morning, when I woke up, the poem appeared.

Please join us for this most challenging prompt. This week there is no word that we have to use. Have fun.

Sweet World–dVerse OLN

Why should a tree be so sweet and live
in this world?
Mary Oliver
“Honey Locust”

Sweet World
a Quadrille

We walk below low-hanging branches,
variegated leaves hang heavy on her boughs
dabbed randomly with bright yellow green
splotches of wondrous watercolor whimsy.

On high, two woodpeckers play percussion.
Lacy tickle-leaves tease us with whisper touches.
We taste the sweetness of this blessed moment.

We have an abundance of these lovely trees in our neighborhood.

We have an abundance of these lovely trees in our neighborhood.

Today’s the day to hang around dVerse–it’s Open Link Night where you are invited to share any poetic form, any topic that pleases you. I love the discipline and surprises that the quadrille offers–a poem of exactly 44 words. Please join us at the pub.