(De)Composition–Haibun Monday

Oh, please visit dVerse for today’s exquisite Haibun prompt, offered by Toni (Kanzen Sakura). This will be your last chance to enjoy her hosting for a while as life invites her to take a break. Life does not let us escape CHANGE, does it! 

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

(De)composition

At night the temperatures fall into the upper 30’s or lower 40’s. Here and there I spot a tree that’s gilded gold or swathed in vermillion glory. In my mirror, however, autumn cedes way to early winter. Youthful energy wanes. Skin bears etchings, scars that remind of the battles of life, survived. But spirit-youth prevails, fills the heart with joy, a heart that soars at the sight of her loved ones, rejoices in the presence of friends, tastes the Divine. As winter slowly invades, it brings change. Life, like the bare branches of trees, becomes simple. Above ground, much of the goings-on, the life-surges, may not be at all apparent to others. But growth flourishes, deep within. Wabi-sabi.

branches appear dead
root tendrils stretch out, nourish
into fertile soil

what is your wish–dVerse Poetics: Wishful Thinking

what is your wish?

this morning as we walked
i saw a tree that bid to me.
i balked

not any more i told her
not with these old bones
and not-so-limber limbs
of mine

if you will come she said
caress my branches
smell my fractured leaves
you will be young again
begin

to taste your life anew
to run and jump and fly
with careless ease
if so you please

what is the cost I asked
were i to rise
into your textured world
(it tempted me)
you’ll flee

the confines of your age
you will begin once more
your journey on this earth
new birth

and lose all i have learned
the ones i’ve come to love
the memories
and yes
the pains and losses too
that nurture growth
i’d loath
to go through that again

forward, i walked in calm
i would not lose
the truths
i’ve gleaned along the path
of life
in spite of strife

Photo: Wikipedia Commons--Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: Wikipedia Commons–Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Today at dVerse Poetics, Mish invites us to indulge in wishes. My response is a bit oblique. I have wishes, true, and they are precious. But so is aging, and that is where my muse wandered. I tucked in a bit of scattered rhyme, still enjoying the latitude that Walt’s prompt from last Thursday offered. No pattern. Just whatever happened. Oh, by the way, I grew up climbing trees.

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.

 

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.

rose alone–dVerse Quadrille Monday

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

rose alone

a faded rose—
a bloom remains still in
those shrunken cheeks,
those milky eyes

tears—
raindrops on a furrowed cheek

she holds my hand
in hers—a skeletal embrace

reluctantly i leave—
life calls

perhaps i fear to stay
to watch those petals fall

Monday at dVerse Poets’ Pub and Bjorn invites us to write a Quadrille, a poem of exactly 44 words that must include the word ROSE. We are gearing up for our two-week summer break so this will be the last Quadrille prompt for a while. So get to work, write your poem and join us writing 44 words and any form of the word rose. The pub opens Monday at 3:00 PM EDT.

Orange Shoes

Photo: Nazeera Meedin (Pinterest)

Photo: Nazeera Meedin (Pinterest)

Orange Shoes
a Haibun

“Oh, I’ve made my share of mistakes,” Emily said. “How boring life would be without them.”

Sunlight stripped across the crevices on her 89-year-old face, creating hills and valleys in much the same way as her life had. But in her deep blue eyes, I saw the shimmer of stars, the reflection of the moon on water.

She took a sip of tea while I tried hard not to worry about the next patient on my list of hospice visits. She needed to talk and I wanted to listen. To really listen. “Do you want to talk about them,” I asked, hoping I wasn’t being intrusive.

“Oh, there was the man I loved who turned out to be pure evil. Because of him, I left a toxic relationship, so it cost me a few bucks. He conned me and broke my heart in the process. Without that lesson, I would never have been able to move on. In his own way, he gave me the gift of courage. And then, the job I took for money—it was pure soul-death, not suited to me at all. But that’s where I met someone who saved my life. I could go on and on; there are tons of lesser things.” And she did while I listened and learned.

Gently, when exhaustion emerged in her expression, she dismissed me. “In the end, I believe, the greatest mistake is not to forgive others or, especially ourselves. And not to forget that we are forgiven by the One who made us. I wear orange shoes with my purple dress.”

blue jay sings off-key
petals fall from the roses
imperfect beauty

Linked to dVerse Poetics where our lovely guest hostess invites us to reflect on mistake we’ve made. I wrote this as a fictional account, but, who knows, there may be some truth within.

Dreams–dVerse Haibun Monday

Dreams

On the bookcase, behind her, a photo showcases a twenty-year-old brunette—slim, shapely, with a mane of brunette hair cascading over her shoulders. She leans against the right fender of a 1930’s rag-top. Behind her sits her 1st Lt. Army Air Corps finance, wearing the uniform that would take him to the European theater—her fly-boy, B-24 pilot. There, he would die.

Today, she stares over her glasses, the clouded irises of her eyes registering little but confusion, the once-smooth surface of her skin bearing ravages of the many losses that have dogged her throughout her lifetime. “Are you happy?” she asks for the 17th time in the last couple of hours. I answer, “Yes, Mom, I’m happy. You don’t need to worry about me.”

I return my gaze to that photo, so full of youthful hope and happiness. Yes, Mom, all is well. You can move on when you’re ready, I think. I’ve told her that before.

For her part, she has dosed off again, perhaps returning to those dreams of years long-gone.

clearing out dead leaves
unearth patterns of remains
lace-knit life forms

Photo:

Photo: Susan Judd, Used with Permission

Thank you to Susan Judd for allowing us to use her wonderful photography to inspire us today in writing to dVerse Monday Haibun prompt: beauty in decay. And thank you to Bjorn, for inviting Susan.

 

Waiting–dVerse Haibun Monday

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

Waiting
a Haibun

Anna waited. And waited. Her room, dark except for light seeping through half-drawn blinds, smelled musty, old. Dust motes danced where sun invaded. Aside from that, there was little activity. Even her old cat, Flossie, lay motionless on the rumpled covers of her bed.

They hadn’t called for at least two weeks. No one called or came to visit anymore. She wasn’t sure why she even had a landline, but she wasn’t about to try to figure out those smart gadgets that all the young folk held continuously in their hands, their eyes locked on the screen. No one had the time or patience to teach her all that fancy stuff.

Outside the window she heard birdsong. Even the birds had something to say to each other. Anna pulled herself slowly to her feet and went to fill their feeder. What else would fill the hours?

in spring, finches’ songs
fill the empty hours, the void
without them, nothing

Please join in for dVerse Haibun Monday where we are talking about communication! The link will be open all week! The doors open today at 3:00 PM EDT

The Cloud of Unknowing

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

The Cloud of Unknowing
a Haibun

Today, strong gusts of wind pummel the desert floor, while on the Santa Rosa mountains ominous clouds hang low, seemingly reluctant to bring much-needed rain to our thirsty valley. In spite of drought, stalwart wild flowers, yellow and lavender, push through the crusty desert floor, clothing our world in swaths of color.

The old man sits on his patio across the way from me, bundled in a bright red lap robe. The fragrance of his pipe wafts my way and I recall the hours we used to sit and muse on life’s mysteries while nursed his tobacco habit and stroked the burled wood cradled in the palm of his hand. “I’ve seen a lot,” he would say, “and I know very little. I’m willing to wait to understand it all.”

Confusion clouds his mind these days, but when he sees me those eyes still twinkle and he throws me a kiss. I catch it, and toss one of my own back to him. I suppose that he’s closer to piercing through the darkness and unwrapping the mysteries the rest of us still grapple with.

cloud-covered mountain
even at the summit
we can’t always see clearly

Today we are pleased to have Lynn hosting Poetics at dVerse. She asks us to climb to the summit of the mountain for inspiration. I’m fortunate to live my life surrounded by majestic mountains. Thank you, Lynn. Please join us. 

 

Enduring Love

Photo: pexels.com labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: pexels.com
labeled for non-commercial reuse

love that endures
a sestina

you sit beside the hearth and dream
of years long past, of youth
those days so filled with dance, with life
that you do not forget
you walked in worlds of swirling greens
gave birth beneath the sky

you revel ‘neath cerulean skies
and catch a glimpse of dreams
and thus the burgeoning of green
as you reclaim your youth
those signs of spring you won’t forget
for you still pulse with life

in aging, still you sing of life
your eyes reflect the sky
you smile at love you can’t forget
those memories of dreams
fulfilled when you were full of youth
midst flowers, in fields green

you stood by him in days of green
he held you throughout life
you gave each other joys of youth
‘neath bound’ry of the sky
he was the answer to your dreams
you never will forget

a love that’s easy to forget
cherishes flowers, the green
of grass and sun, the blissful dream—
can these endure through life
when clouds obscure the blue, blue sky
and aging foils youth

how easy to enjoy one’s youth
and facile to forget
the promise made ‘neath azur skies
delight-filled days of green
yet to endure the stuff of life
we need more than to dream

beyond your youth, those days of green
(lest you forget) the greatest life
soars to the skies, surpasses dreams

Throughout the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day, much is written about love–most of which is about younger people, with an erotic twist quite often. Today, I want to write about love that has lasted throughout the ups and downs of a relationship, of the years. Love that the Greeks refer to as agape, love that is about the choices we make for the well-being of another. I have been privileged to witness that sort of love in my life as a nurse, when a caregiver puts aside oneself for the sake of his ill or cognitively impaired loved one.

I wrote this in response to a challenge from a fellow poet, Bjorn, to write a sestina in which the end words of each line follow a specific pattern throughout six stanzas, each of six lines, ending with a tercet that uses the six words in internal rhyme, also following a pattern. If you want to learn more about this complex form, go here

I will post this for OLN on Thursday and on my Christian Blog: Be Still and Know That I Am God. I am also linking this to Sanaa Rizvi’s Prompt Nights.