The last three prompts on the NaHaiWriMo Facebook group were van life, snails, and okra. I wrote a haiku for each but they felt “more right” (if you’ll pardon the poor grammar) strung together as a senryu-ish poetical micro-story.
The first August prompt from NaHaiWriMo: mountain letterbox. The precursor to geocaching, letterboxing has a fascinating history! According to the article, it first started in the mid-19th century among the peat bogs of England. Letterboxing relies on finding your inner Sherlock Holmes and being willing to “solve riddles . . . use landmarks, maps, compasses . . and . . . perseverance.” Let the treasure hunt begin!
Ever feel hen-pecked by life? Yeah – me, too. With one red crayon, I could cross the last month off as a total loss and never look back. And yet . . . it’s good to remember growth pains are transitory. Stage setting. Nest leaving. Vista enhancing. Peace will be found. And lost. And found again. The feathered friends visiting my feeder show that each day.
my Sunday morning peace . . .
with some sugar and cream
it swirls back ‘round
Four cups of coffee down and you
watch her light one more cancer stick. The smoke crowns her and I wonder
when the art of breath died. I wonder how
this fog, this smog, this burning can go on for oh so very very very long.
I wonder why each lit match fails to ignite her oxygen, and I ask: will she
ever be free? I pour you another cup. We watch her drizzle in counterfeit cream she took
from the table across the way and I skirt the edge of corporate policy to
slip her just a few more blue cylinders. Just enough humanity to make
her grin. Yet not enough that it
coaxes her voice out
from where it quivers, hiding her bouquet of stale fear from
the posse for historical truth. I swallow bile, turn away from the
vigilante justice dealt her with each rattle of exhaled smoke.
If you ask, she will say “some things are better left unsaid” but just maybe
you have the courage to ask one more time. I pour you more coffee. You sip and she
raises her chipped mug in solemn tribute and crushes out her cigarette. I never
say die. You did.
This was developed as a “golden shovel” poem, a form I play with occasionally. It’s a bit of a structural discipline: the writer takes a line (or two) from an admired poem and uses each word in those lines as an end word in a new poem, in order. For this poem, I started with the following two lines:
you wonder how long she took to make it out from the smoke
maybe she never did
by Over the Rainbow by Melody Chen. You can read the entire poem on her blog here. The picture is via Creative Commons Nighthawk by Edward Hopper used under CC BY-NC 3.0. It was adapted in Microsoft PPT: Rotated, cropped, and “chalk sketch” effect added.
Don’t fear the spindle’s prick.
One ruby from your fingertip gives release.
Dream, sweet prince.
Last I looked you perched on the swing gate of a worn fence.
Fly, don’t fly, fly, don’t. You chose to climb.
Toes gripping chain link, one grunt and you were in . . .
. . . dust motes and danger: a siren song of threadbare tomes.
I filled your pockets with the white pebbles of freedom.
Our plan had arrows, circles, lines – a complete diagram and time of expected arrival.
Did you know that the forest floor is soft and sticky with pine sap?
You only needed to mark the trail home.
I would have met you there.
Firelight hides shrinking mounds of flax and hemp.
This was a fun one to write to the NaHaiWriMo prompt: possibilities. I spent a bit of time revisiting the science and art of the summer solstice and the sun’s path, and then considered migratory restlessness and which south-flying bird fit my morning mood. The picture is one I took a few summer’s ago at the WWI Stonehenge Memorial overlooking the Columbia River. And there you have it!