loss–dVerse Haibun Monday, Hanami

loss

When cherry blossoms
scatter –
no regrets

Issa

I slept last night beneath our cherry tree, its branches bare of blossoms after the early freeze—this loss, a surprise, much like the morning I awakened and you were gone. Life goes on, so the cliché would have me believe, but the void inside looms, ever-present, like the weight of snow this seemingly endless winter.

Am I to believe that love will return, much like the cherry blossoms I hope for in another springtime?

Will I be one with you again, once I follow you into the void? I reach for the soft assurance of the touch of satin, the flowering branch I culled before cruel winds doused my hope. I listen to silence.

hanami whispers
what appears lost shall return
do not be afraid

Today a dVerse Haibun Monday, Kansen Sakura invites us to consider the Japanese concept of hanami. What? You don’t know what that is? Come over to dVerse and learn about it.

My reflections on the Easter Season which many of us celebrated yesterday influenced my haibun–what do the seasons, typified here in the mystique of cherry blossoms, have to teach us about doubt and faith?

Photo: dautrich Labeled for noncommercial reuse

Photo: dautrich
Labeled for noncommercial reuse

 

 

A Season of Newness

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

For today’s reflection I would like to share an excerpt of the homily delivered by Pope Francis I at the Easter Vigil Service.

“In the Gospel of this radiant night of the Easter Vigil, we first meet the women who go the tomb of Jesus with spices to anoint his body (cf. Lk 24:1-3). They go to perform an act of compassion, a traditional act of affection and love for a dear departed person, just as we would. They had followed Jesus, they had listened to his words, they had felt understood by him in their dignity and they had accompanied him to the very end, to Calvary and to the moment when he was taken down from the cross.

We can imagine their feelings as they make their way to the tomb: a certain sadness, sorrow that Jesus had left them, he had died, his life had come to an end. Life would now go on as before. Yet the women continued to feel love, the love for Jesus which now led them to his tomb

But at this point, something completely new and unexpected happens, something which upsets their hearts and their plans, something which will upset their whole life: they see the stone removed from before the tomb, they draw near and they do not find the Lord’s body.

It is an event which leaves them perplexed, hesitant, full of questions: “What happened?”, “What is the meaning of all this?” (cf. Lk 24:4). Doesn’t the same thing also happen to us when something completely new occurs in our everyday life? We stop short, we don’t understand, we don’t know what to do

Newness often makes us fearful, including the newness which God brings us, the newness which God asks of us. We are like the Apostles in the Gospel: often we would prefer to hold on to our own security, to stand in front of a tomb, to think about someone who has died, someone who ultimately lives on only as a memory, like the great historical figures from the past. We are afraid of God’s surprises; we are afraid of God’s surprises! He always surprises us!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us not be closed to the newness that God wants to bring into our lives!

Photo: Jimmy Akin Francis washing the feet of several young people, including women.

Photo: Jimmy Akin
Francis washing the feet of several young people, including women.

 

Spring Muse

Tulips

Spring Muse
in response to the July Challenge offered by Blaga at http://brokensparkles.wordpress.com/  for which we are asked to showcase our favorites for each season of the year.

This QUOTE by Canadian author Margaret Atwood reminds me that one of the joys of Spring reentering the world of gardening—close to the Earth Mother we watch new life emerge in an array of color.

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood

Out of so many POEMS inspired by Spring, I chose this one by Katherine Mansfield because of her descriptions and personifications.

Very Early Spring
by Katherine Mansfield

The fields are snowbound no longer;
There are little blue lakes and flags of tenderest green.
The snow has been caught up into the sky–
So many white clouds–and the blue of the sky is cold.
Now the sun walks in the forest,
He touches the bows and stems with his golden fingers;
They shiver, and wake from slumber.
Over the barren branches he shakes his yellow curls.
Yet is the forest full of the sound of tears….
A wind dances over the fields.
Shrill and clear the sound of her waking laughter,
Yet the little blue lakes tremble
And the flags of tenderest green bend and quiver.

My husband and I love to watch classic MOVIES. Singing in the Rain, featuring the song and dance of Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds is one of our favorites. To me, the WORD rebirth sums up the spirit of the season. These two favorites joined to inspire this haiku.

Singing in the Rain
celebrate rebirth with joy
song dance love stories.

I turn to nature to find my favorite SONG and it is that of birds: mockingbirds, tanagers, mourning doves, all varieties of song birds. Another haiku:

Mockingbird rejoice
sun’s gentle rays awaken
greet morning with song.

I can’t resist an opportunity to promote my upcoming BOOK, Winter is Past, that celebrates hope and joy that follows a season of loss.

Chilling winter winds
give way to hope and new life
when Winter is Past.

There are so many ANIMALS that return from warmer climates, that waken after a winter hibernation, or give birth to their young during spring. Out of these, I have chosen the lamb. One year I was making an eight-day silent retreat in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in a monastery planted in the heart of farm country. This is what happened:

On rolling hillsides
pregnant ewes give birth to lambs
dabs of white on green.

I’ve lived in many places and each TOWN, or city or rural area has their own beauty during Spring. I could write about Paris’ enchantment, Richmond’s (Virginia) azaleas, Washington D.C.’s cherry blossoms, Michigan’s tulips or Reno’s fickle spring that, some years, lasts only a few days. What I’ve come to realize is that my favorite place to be in spring is wherever I happen to be.

Stay in the moment
spring offers beauty to you
wherever you are.

In my tradition, spring is the season in which we celebrate Easter…a feast of rebirth, new life, resurrection. After the deprivation of Lent, the penitential season the helps one to prepare for this day, everyone looks forward to their favorite FOODS. For many, that’s candy.

Celebrate Easter
choc’late eggs and jelly beans
savoring sweetness.

One of my greatest joys is to see FLOWERS begin to blossom or break through the frozen soil. Among my favorite are tulips in all their many colors.

Break out of hiding
in an array of color
paint our world in joy

How can anyone summarize spring in a single IMAGE?

Feast for our senses
Sun returns to warm spirits
invites us outdoors.

Paschal Moon

 

Photo: D. Slotto-Palm Desert April, 2011

Paschal Moon

Last night the sky embraced the moon
enfolding her in a swath of indigo.
Warm desert air, heavy with the scent of jasmine
whispered songs of mystery.

Whimsical stars shimmered in the distance,
danced across the heavens until one
jumped from its orbit, dying not with a whisper
but in a fiery blaze, still unforgiven.

You set about the daunting task of giving comfort
while from your lips I tasted the sweetness of ambrosia.

My commitment to writing a poem a day during the month of April fell victim to the exigencies of life last week as I spent time with a loved one in need. This causes me to reflect on the fact that life itself is a poem, written in the choices we make, the care we give and our response to whatever the moment presents to us. That being said, this is a poem I wrote in response to the Wordle I gave in my Monday Morning Writing Prompt. It is my submission for NaPoWriMo Day 18 http://www.napowrimo.net/. Thanks to Blaga whose poem served as the inspiration for the words I chose http://brokensparkles.wordpress.com/.

Memorial Day Poem: “April Eighth”

Today is Memorial Day and my thoughts, as always, turn to those who have given there lives for our country. I never knew my father who was killed in action in WWII when I was three months old. I wrote this poem  when Easter Sunday and the anniversary of his death in 1944 fell on the same day. It’s not a new post, but it seems a fitting occasion to repost today for the dVerse Memorial Day prompt.

April Eighth

An article in the Smithsonian
alluded to the Holy
Shroud of Turin.
The image of Christ
seared radiologically
into a burial cloth.
A violent burst of energy.
A life-seed
in a closed space
blowing out boundaries.
Stories of an empty tomb.

Easter comes early
this year.
Daffodils explode in
the front garden,
sheltered by a warm wall.

April eighth,
nineteen forty-four.
A seed plummets to earth,
wrapped in a metal
death-womb.
Ejaculated from heaven,
it burrows into dank soil.
Buried.
Fragmented.
Combusted in another
surge of energy.

Months go by:
a year to the day.
Someone in the
War Department
types the letter on
a piece of onion-skin paper.
Words smudged by an
over-used ribbon tell
the woman to move on with her life.
The child will never call him
daddy.