Keeper of the Relics

Another week, another Big Tent Poetry prompt to respond to. Where does the time go? I suppose I might have written about something else altogether, if the need had not arisen for me to approach “the boxes” in search of an important paper. Funny how that works.

Keeper of the Relics

In my house is a storage room,
and in that storage room are boxes,
lots of boxes, the kind you can buy
at a moving and storage facility
or even an office supply store,
and in those boxes are relics,
old letters and postcards, the matching
skirts my father brought back one year
from Greece for my sisters and me,
my mother’s knitting needles and yarn,
left over from long abandoned projects—
things too baffling to keep, too precious
to throw away, things that defy
categorization, the detritus of a life,
two lives, well spent, now gone before.

Read other responses here.

Falling Back (Asleep)

This is the last Wednesday Poetic Asides prompt for awhile. Starting Monday, and for the whole month of November, every day will be prompt day! Join me here for the 2010 Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge. Or better yet, participate too! The rules are here.

Falling Back (Asleep)

What I like about this time of year
is that when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m.
and I blink my bleary eyes trying
to read the friendly green numbers
off the face of my clock radio
to make sure this is no dream, and
I look though my curtained window
at darkness so complete I find myself
thinking that it could be the middle
of the night, or even the beginning
of the night, then I reach on over
and hit the snooze bar on my clock radio,
pull the covers up over my head, pretend
it is the middle of the night, roll over,
and go back to sleep, just like that.

An Autumn Renga

Well, this is the 7th and final day of the Big Tent Poetry gong, and I’m happy to say that thanks to Issa, Alan Summers, vivinfrance, ms pie, Julie Jordan Scott and Lisa Hills, the renga is complete. What a lot of fun! Here it is, in all its glory:

Autumn moon–                                        [Issa]
a small boat
drifting down the tide

memories of summer fading         [Cara Holman]
with the scent of lavender

from V to U                                             [Alan Summers]
a parliament of rooks
shift their flight

an old forgotten pail                              [Cara Holman]
the rustle of maple leaves

first fire of season                                    [vivinfrance]
cheers us at the start of chill
sparks fly in the stove

a six letter word for fate                       [Cara Holman]
she taps her pencil lightly

looking up                                                     [Cara Holman]
from her crossword
the front door slams shut

the crunch of fallen leaves                [ms pie]
a tangle of brown, gold and red

Ninety one degrees                                 [Julie Jordan Scott]
It’s autumn in Bakersfield
(Sunday will cool down)

searching the cloudless sky                 [Cara Holman]
another leaf spirals down

squirrels crisscrossing                         [Cara Holman]
the road
a cache of acorns

I see outlines of maple leaves            [Lisa Hills]
imprinted on the sidewalk

tranquility garden                                    [Cara Holman]
the scratch of a rake
across gravel

the blue sky, the hemlock soil          [Cara Holman]
and everything in between

Wet windy weather                                   [vivinfrance]
while we wonder what to wear
epitome of Autumn

drenching rains pour down on us   [Cara Holman]
the next minute, sunshine

Warmth of the autumn sun                [Lisa Hills]
hummingbirds suckle
at the red bird feeder

windfall apples on the lawn                 [Cara Holman]
the last rays of sunlight

Add to this Renga!

I’ve been immersing myself in reading haiku these days, my latest book being The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, & Issa, edited by Robert Hass, The Ecco Press, 1994.  So when I saw the announcement of the first poetry gong on Big Tent Poetry, I thought immediately of writing haiku in the style of a poet I am less familiar with, namely Issa. It’s not that I have never read his haiku before– rather, there is something about doing a concentrated study on a single poet at a time. I like his haiku! He was extremely prolific, and wrote about everything from fleas, earthworms and snails, to priests, death, and summer rain.

I originally planned to write a series of haiku for this poetry gong, in response to some of Issa’s haiku, but then I got an even better idea. Why not reprise the idea of writing a renga in community, like I did last August with delightful results. A Summer Renga was composed collaboratively  by vivinfrance, brenda w, 1sojournal, Linda Goin, Lisa Hills, pieceofpie, and of course, me. The original post, along with the rules can be found here. This time, I propose An Autumn Renga, starting with one of Issa’s autumn haiku, and adding on from there:

Autumn moon–
a small boat
drifting down the tide



memories of summer fading
with the scent of lavender

Please join in the fun, and add your haiku or couplet in the comments section (they alternate). I’ll keep this going all week, and then put it together at the end into a new post, crediting each contributing poet for their lines.

September Kukai

I took 1st place this month in the Caribbean Kigo Kukai with this haiku:

twilight shadows–
the flash
of a bluebird’s wing

You can read the wonderful commentary on it by Gillena Cox here.

And in the Shiki Kukai, my kigo haiku came in 11th, and my free form haiku 9th.

paying my respects —
the whisper
of fallen leaves

changing tides —
the ocean
fills my footsteps

The Sketchbook Kukai runs bi-monthly, so the next will conclude at the end of this month, but you can read the “fall trees” haiku thread here. My haiku are #’s 15, 55 and 57.

Human Encounters

The prompt today for Poetic Asides was to write an “other side of the fence” poem, in which we attempt to empathize with “the other person, animal or situation”. I wrote about something that actually happened to me yesterday– I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one was me. 😉

Human Encounters

I can pinpoint the exact moment she spots me—
she immediately freezes—causing me to freeze too.
I can almost read her thoughts: What if he comes at me?
What then?
She looks away, but not before I see
the fear in her eyes. Fear mixed with disgust, like I was
her worst nightmare. Ah, the ways of people!
She makes a great show of crossing to the other side
of the street, instead of just walking on by. Honestly!
As if I was even interested in her. I shake my bushy tail,
and continue my search for the perfect acorn.

Betwixt and Between

Well I kinda sorta wrote to prompt this week for Big Tent Poetry. Actually, it’s more like a reprise of last week’s prompt. I liked the haibun form so well I had to do it again! And a  journey, taken frequently in the past, that I’m contemplating taking again soon is an adventure, right?

Betwixt and Between

The first leg of my journey. I feel the familiar sense of anticipation twinged with reservations: Have I forgotten anything? (Have I ever forgotten anything?) Is this the best time to be going? (Is there really any best time?) My side of the bed will be empty tonight— I will be elsewhere. (Is this what death feels like?)

windfall apples—
another one detaches
from the tree

Now I am disassembling. Off comes the jacket, the shoes, my belt, my watch, my keys from my pocket. Out comes my Ziploc bag with miniature bottles of toothpaste and lotions. One by one, they fill up the little plastic bin, then another. I feel myself getting smaller and smaller. Becoming undone.

beneath the outer
layer of onion—
another layer

The green light comes on, the uniformed security guard waves me through. I have passed the test. Been given clearance. I’m on my way. I reconstitute myself. Put back all the pieces. Suitcase. Check. Shoes, belt, watch, jacket, keys. Check. Toothpaste and friends. Back in the suitcase. Ticket, driver’s license. All here. Before I have time to wonder: Do I have time to grab a quick lunch? Where’s my gate? I get swept away in the crowd, heading for Concourse A.

summer afternoon—
the drone of bees
grows louder

Finally we are on the runway, taxiing into position. More clearance given. We roll along, unimpeded now, picking up speed, faster and faster until the wheels lift, the nose of the plane points skyward and with a mighty roar, we are airborne!

higher than
the highest cloud—
the eagle