Summer Solstice

I haven’t been doing much participatin’.  Just a phase I’m going through, methinks.  However, I did start this two days ago (what?) and am finally ready to share today.  dVerse on Monday Haibun was hosted by Frank J. Tassone and he suggested we celebrate the Solstice (summer for the northern hemisphere, winter for the southern).  I love this time of year because it still has a mix of cool and warm days, especially in the Montreal area.  It’s a little Russian Roulette weather-wise.  Come mid-July to mid-August, we risk getting the gross, humid, hot and life-sucking heat.  So, I shall take this time to celebrate the little joys.

The tulips, rhododendrons, and lilacs have come and gone, their scent barely a memory before the next wave of blooms take centre stage, such as daisies, irises, and lillies.  Hatchlings have broken free from their shells and are looking less and less like little aliens and more like their parents, wings coming in slowly.

Yes indeed, Summer Solstice is upon us in the northern hemisphere.  Before the humidity and serious heat hit, we are graced with temperatures hovering around the 25℃ (75℉).  Daisies sway in the lovely breeze, bees are buzzing, roses are blooming and strawberries are starting to pop up to join with the rhubarb – cakes, pies, cordials?  The sounds and scents of summer fill the air.  And when the rains come?  They can be gentle or fierce, accompanied by thunder and lightening. Oh! To have a covered porch again so that I can feel I am one with the elements!

To Summer Solstice

Coming to life with aplomb

Soak it all in now

 

 

Climbing Mountains

it is Haibun Monday today on dVerse, hosted by Frank J. Tassone.  Today, we are to write about Cold Mountain – a Chinese poet from sometime in the 9th century, during the Tang Dynasty.  His poetry has influenced both Zen practitioners and eastern style poets. The immediacy of his work embodies the emphasis on the present moment that defines Zen aesthetics. The Beat Poets were moths drawn to his fire. Well. That is quite the mouthful.  Thankfully, Frank has not limited us to trying to become Chinese Zen Masters.  His instructions are as follows:

Today, write you haibun on either one of the following options:

  1. A Cold Mountain: the towering heights, frigid temperatures, majestic views, or existential challenges of a mountain. You could even go metaphorical, describing the cold mountain of overwhelming circumstances, or how we make mountains out of mole hills.
  2. The Cold Mountain: a haibun that follows the influence of Hanshan (Cold Mountain), with his immediacy, concern for humanity, and deep devotion to nature.

I knew a man who believed he could climb any mountain.  And he did.  Life was never a walk in the park.  A difficult childhood, a substance addiction, a near bankruptcy, were all stepping stones for him.  He always made the choice to live.  He cleaned himself up, he paid his debts, and he worked his way up from sweeping floors to fixing machinery to designing to owning his own company.  An autodidact who didn’t understand the word quit.

Some mountains are harder and colder to climb than others.  And some, you cannot reach the top, no matter how much you desire it.

No challenge too great

When you believe in yourself

Until breath runs out

CCC172 – Catch the Moon

Oy. I love when I challenge myself to try something waaay outside of my comfort zone.  I saw Crispina’s photo and knew I had some sort of matchy-matchy response (very much IN my comfort zone).  Then dVerse came along on the same day I was going to respond to the CCC, and challenged us to try a Sparrowlet.  So, of course, I thought, I can do this and merge two challenges since the CCC is open to pretty much anything, as long as we don’t exaggerate and go over 150 words – why I would never! Okay, maybe once or twice…  That said, my skills as a poetesse need much fine-tuning.  I like to think my attempts will gain in sophistication as I keep stretching…

 

The winter moon, above shines bright

And I so wish, with all my might

That I could hold it still till noon

And offer it for your delight

And gone would be all sense of gloom

Above shines bright, the winter moon

 

Within my arms, I’ll hold you close

Breast to my breast, nose to my nose

I know you won’t resist my charms

For it is you, I love the most

To never let you come to harm

I’ll hold you close, within my arms

 

 

Salty Kiss

It’s Quadrille Monday on dVerse and I’m actually rather early (for me!) This week it is being hosted by De Jackson from WimseyGismo.  This week, De wants us to get salty!  So we have to use a variation of the word “salt” in our 44-word poem.  And, without further ado…

Winter wind buffets my bare face

forcing tears to stream

a frozen trail down my cheeks

 

A blazing fire would warm me, yes

 

But what I truly desire is

the taste of the salty sea

warmed by my lover’s lips in a sultry kiss

Brown Paper Moon

It was Prosery Valentine Monday yesterday on dVerse, hosted by the lovely Björn Rudberg.  I chose to wait until today because I wanted to try to capture the Snow Moon as close to full as possible – which is technically tomorrow… and ended up not liking what I took today so took my phone version from yesterday. Sigh.  Okay, okay!  I am posting today possibly because my words would not unjumble in a manner acceptable by moi though I kept trying until past 10:30 p.m., an hour past the time I was planning on hitting the hay.  This writing thing can be rather fiddly, if you ask me.  The phrase we must use comes from a poem by Carol Ann Duffy, entitled Valentine, which I chose to not read ahead of time – further to Björn’s suggestion. Good thing, too, now that I have! The phrase we must use in a 144-word prose, not poetry, is:  It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.  Isn’t that a lovely phrase?  Thought it would be easy-peasy to insert. Ahem.

What is true love? Do we not all have our own definition of what is right for us?

There are those who seek the the big bang and bright lights of fireworks, believing them as true signs of love and romance. They are always in love with someone new and it’s out there for all to see.  They know it is ephemeral and that is what they want, believing it is what makes them feel alive.

Not for us. How to describe our love? It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It shines brightly beneath its discreet packaging.  None but the most perspicacious know of its contents and this is by our choice.  It’s not that we have anything to hide in shame.  It is an attempt to keep it ours. Our sacred union with it’s share of excitement and quiet and real.

 

Winter Whites and Blues

Frank J. Tassone hosted Haibun Monday for dVerse yesterday. He wants us to get seasonal in honour of winter.  Those of us in the northern hemisphere might be just about done with the white stuff and cold but hey, it does have it’s beautiful moments. Should you want to try your hand, just click here and add your link.  All jokes aside, I do love winter – not as cold as we’ve had, thank you very much!

There is something special about waking up to a fresh blanket of snow.  Bleary-eyed, you crawl out of bed, not really ready to face the day (or maybe you are). You open your blinds and catch your breath. While you were sleeping, nature was laying down a gift.  All is covered in pristine white and the skies are as blue as they can only be in winter.

Now energized, you check the temps and dress appropriately to go out and get a better view.  Away from the noisy streets, as you make your way, you feel the silence grow louder the further you go.  The crunch under your feet is now muffled by the layer of fluff, your breath comes out in plumes and your jacket crinkles as you walk.  While the sun is shining brightly, it is stingy with its heat.  But you don’t really mind as you’ve dressed accordingly and while slight, you do feel the lightest of ray of kisses on your exposed cheeks.

Ah! If only all of winter were so!  But alas. That is the part of the gift of having four seasons.  We must enjoy the best of them while we can.

Blanket of white snow

Blue skies and crisp air delight

I’m ready for spring

 

 

No Books Allowed (This Time) – dVerse Prosery

Monday was Prosery Monday for dVerse hosted by Ingrid.  Prosery is a 144-word challenge – max – in which we must use chosen lines from a bit of poetry. But get this… we must not write a poem!  This week, Ingrid chose from Wordsworth’s ‘Lines Written at a small distance from my House…‘ The lines we must use are as follows:

And bring no book, for this one day
We’ll give to idleness.

We must use the words in the exact order and cannot insert any others. We can, however change up the punctuation.  How can I resist? It seems this week’s challenges both (that I participated in) involve books in some way.  Or not.

The plan for today is simple: walk and lunch and just hang out, catching up as it’s been forever and a day since our last get-together.  I notice a suspicious object in Kathy’s bag when I pick her up.  Oh no, not this time! She will not disappear to some secluded spot with her romance novel.

“Kathy, I believe I said to bring yourself and bring no book!  For this one day, we’ll give to idleness!

She sheepishly removed the books from her bag.  “A girl can try. Reading is a form of idleness, no?”

“I think not.  Are we so dull, you need to escape us?”

“Of course not!  I always bring a book, just in case–”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. No reason for it today for today, we pfaff.”

“Sounds wickedly sinful.”

“‘Tis.  Shall we join the others?”

“Lead the way!”

 

 

Tuesday Poetics – Food!

On Tuesday, Sarah from Sarah Writes Poems hosted  dVerse Tuesday Poetics – Food being the subject du jour.  Well now. Anyone who knows me, knows I do food. I love food. I love to make food to feed others. I love to share pictures of my food.  I am all over this prompt!

Funny how I knew exactly where I wanted to go and then, started writing and it went here. That muse just took over and ran roughshod over my idea!  She might have had the right idea, we’ll never know because she squashed my original words. Hope she used a quality masher, is all I can say.

My Food is Love

Chatting about food with my cousin one day

She says: What do you mean, you cook for others?

You should cook for your own pleasure

 

I retort:  What is the point to go all out

If it is just for me?

I show my love with my food

 

As did my father with his famous BBQ ribs,

His secret recipe held close to his chest

Or that one special meal made for my birthday, which I’ll never forget

 

And my mother, who can magically

Rummage in her freezer and find the ingredients

To feed a last-minute group of fifteen

 

I like to think I am a mix of both parents

Able to create something with nothing

Or to go all out with a six-course feast

 

My joy of creating fancy meals

Has caused others to fear receiving me for a meal

As if I would ever judge what they serve

 

The purpose of an invite is never to show off

Nor make others feel intimidated

It’s to gather my loved ones and share, even in the prep!

 

So, in my house, do not be surprised if on Tuesday

There is duck breast with raspberry sauce

Because Saturday it might be grilled cheese or frozen pizza

 

Creating food, simple or complex

All has the same goal, in the end

To show my love, sitting around my table

 

So, if I’ve gone through efforts, big or small

And no one comes to join me (kids? where are you?)

I guess my cousin was right, in the end

 

I best cook for my own pleasure, then
I suppose I could even convince myself it is a form of self-love

Yeah well… I’m not buying what I’m trying to sell

 

Subdued Celebration

On Monday, Lisa hosted a dVerse Haibun with the theme “Celebration”.  Like most people, Christmas and New Year’s were not the celebrations we were hoping to have.  for this prompt, I kept it to Christmas mainly because New Year’s was a whole lotta nuthin’.

The plans were set in motion. This year, we were going to retake Christmas, government be damned. It had been cancelled last year, thanks to measures to combat COVID. Not this year!  Christmas Eve at Tracy’s (all dressed up) with game gift exchanges, a potluck feast and scratching of Chinese gambling cards. This would be followed, the next morning, with brunch at my house where we all squeeze in (still pyjama-clad) my kitchen and living room while Iain makes the omelets and the rest of the breakfast goodies.  Don’t forget the “mimosies” as Mick used to call mimosas. After naps, we make our way to Lisa’s (casual) for our turkey dinner that ends with a Texas Hold ‘Em poker game.  We were so excited.

Then December 23rd happened.  COVID hit and we had to cancel.  A scramble to buy a turkey, hope it thawed out in time. Iain made us three our brunch and, later that day, while the delicious scent of Christmas permeated the house, Iain went to get my mom and we shared a perfectly roasted (if I say so myself) thirteen-pound bird with mashed potatoes, canned peas (don’t ask, traditions are what they are) and homemade gravy. I even found jars of my cranberry sauce and pickled beets, preserved previously. All was not lost.

Parties are cancelled

Celebrations now subdued

Love remains present

Tinsel

Quadrille Monday for dVerse and I’m actually posting on the same day?  Will wonders never cease.  It must be because we had to use the word Tinsel…

 

 

Silent Night plays while
tears stream down her face
like tinsel cascading from the branches
of a Christmas tree

 

Where the silver strands hang on
hers roll off her chin
disappearing into her shirt
over her heart

 

It is but her yearly ritual
Remembering