shimo no koe

Haibun is a Japanese form of prose and poetry (haiku) together.  I’m joining Victoria with dVerse Poets writing haibun about “first frost’s voice” (shimo no koe).


 

We actively anticipate the first frost of fall, working as a team ahead of the weather’s uncertain clock. The last tomatoes, some green ones, must be claimed off the vines and colorful peppers plucked from dying garden. This home-grown produce is chopped with harvested onions into tantalizing picante sauce to be admired in pint jars on shelf before smeared on tortilla chips.

Our prodigious pair of apple trees generously offer basketfuls of blushing fruit to family and friends willing to pick. The dropped or blemished fruit are treats rolled under fence to eager cows. Contentment wafts on spiced fragrance of apple-pie-in-a-jar syrup that simmers in large pot on basement stove. Steam from water bath canner spreads warm humidity indoors.

Fall rain dampens farmers’ spirits, swells soybeans in their pods, and muddies fields. “A killing frost is what we need” for corn stalks to die so matured ears plump with kernels can be harvested. The farmer checks weather forecast every night. At last, it steals in with the dawn, silently smothering the grass and finishing off the last droopy flowers.

 

icing on orchard

may ruin or ripen crops

winter’s first whisper

 

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photo by lynn

 

 

cicada song

Posting this haibun for dVerse Poets as we bid a long goodbye to sweet summertime.  Toni is hosting with an emphasis on “komorebi”, a Japanese word for the light that filters between trees…enjoy!

 

Our firstborn son’s house sits on a hill with a woodsy backyard and inviting patio where we celebrated mother’s day last spring. Now we embark on a final summer bike ride before our oldest grandchild starts school. It requires a little time and patience to find everyone’s helmet and shoes before hitching up the toddler carrier and deciding our route. To avoid riding on the busy narrow street, I and the two boys take a shortcut over grassy properties between shrubbery to meet grandpa and dad near the bike path.

My middle grandson points the way to “our lake” and we head down the steep path, gaining speed and testing brakes alternately. After a couple curves, the lake is in view below us. Wildflowers border the smooth concrete which ends at a dirt trail leading into the trees. Some tri-leaf plants look suspiciously like poison ivy so I google it while waiting with grandson for the other riders to catch up. His helmet is too loose and flops sideways again so I tighten the straps.

It’s gratifying to watch our son with his children at the lakeside park as he explores with them. We notice frogs of various sizes in the mud and a painted turtle on a submerged branch. My husband sits at lone picnic table with granddaughter as I try to keep up with the boys while maintaining a safe distance from a cattail swamp.

The sun plays hide and seek with puffy clouds above us and something, perhaps a fish, jumps as evidenced by the concentric rings expanding outward across the quiet water. The water too is partly cloudy, with some algael growth around its edges and a muddy bottom that gets stirred up by slightest movement of crawdad or minnow. A painted-lady butterfly flits from late dandelion head to wild morning glory bloom.

 

loud strumming in tree

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photo by lynn

camouflaged musician of

summer’s symphony

pannekoeken!

Remember home’s kitchen where cheery (if gaudy) yellow & green wallpaper, Mom’s gentle love, and Dad’s loud laughter surrounded our family eating at table booth by patio window.  Every Saturday morning, my Dutch-American mother served us Swedish pancakes (like crepes) stacked with butter and syrup, or rolled up with brown sugar inside or, occasionally, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.  My best childhood friend, Joyce, would come overnight on Friday to savor the next day’s breakfast.  We’d smell fried sweetness upon awakening and hurry downstairs to kitchen in our pajamas.  Between delectable bites, we would giggle over private jokes and tease my younger brother.  Now I make these favorite pancakes for my hungry boys on Saturday mornings, and they quickly eat to see who gets the last one!  Mom’s recipe (“tweaked” over the years):  3 3/4 cups milk, 4 eggs, 2 1/2 cups white flour, 4 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. vanilla (cousin Ben’s addition), 1 tsp. salt and 4 TBS. cooking oil.  Heat round electric skillet to 350, spray hot pan, pour thin batter, turn once and serve warm, with love.
 

lick maple syrup

morning after sleepover

snow falling outside

 


Bjorn hosting haibun prompt where dVerse poets share special recipes…

no fear in love

There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear… I John 4:18

 

I’m not afraid of people who live with a mental illness. I feel empathy and compassion for them in their struggle. Most are not dangerous but very gentle, if overly sensitive souls. Instead of lashing out, they often desperately turn inward. They need to be listened to and comforted. Fears, both real and irrational, plague them. I know friends and relatives who’ve suffered mental illness. My father experienced a psychotic break at age 74 when his life circumstances produced the perfect storm. His disturbed mind, suddenly snapped into suicidal mode, which scared us all. A police officer saved him, family rallied around him, and he responded to treatment for bi-polar disorder. Thanks be to God, he is doing well in recovery with medication and a balanced lifestyle. No, I’m not afraid of a person with a mental illness…but I do fear suffering a serious mental illness myself.

 

secret storm swells dread

losing control of mind’s eye

uninvited guests

 


Participating in dVerse Poets haibun Monday on topic of fear…

can i pray for you?

 

Prayer is practicing the quiet presence of God.  It is crawling up into the lap of our abba – daddy and crying to hear him whisper comfort in our ear as he wraps us in his strong, everlasting arms.  Prayer is communion, connection, conversation; our privilege as children since Jesus opened door.  It may be a mighty wrestling, his will bending ours to grant a greater blessing than we can imagine.  In amazing love and grace, God invites us to pray and he initiates our prayers.  He wants us to come to him. In his presence, our brokenness begins to heal, our emptiness to fill. Prayer is relationship, not religion;  desire, not duty.  It is our lifeline; vital as breathing, inhale – exhale.  If we cannot pray?  Jesus intercedes, the Spirit groans and the family of God lifts us up, before his throne.

 

listen in silence

dew refreshes, green renews

spring rain for the soul

foreboding

 

How are we wandering Americans to know it’s Canada’s provincial parks camping weekend?  Of course, all campgrounds from Jasper to Banff are overflowing so we drive on. Sun is setting low over the pass when we find a lonely parking lot near trailhead where we can park our pickup camper for the night. Tired of riding, we decide to check out the trail as dusk settles on forest.

Light fades fast in the high country, exaggerating shapes and shadows.  Full skirts of fir trees appear as dark illustrations straight from the Brothers Grimm.  My apprehension only serves to amplify the crunch of pine needles and sounds of skittering.  We meet last pair of hikers coming back down trail and I note they have walking sticks equipped with bear bells.

 

night envelops trees

alpine woods bathed in shadow

autumn falls early

 


Poets at dVerse are writing haibuns and “forest bathing” this week!

sterling elocution

 

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. 

Like Solomon, who wrote these words, I find soul satisfaction in beautiful speech.  As a writer, I search for delicious words to be framed in serendipitous syntax.  I hope to pick ripe thoughts, artfully arrange them in woven-word baskets and serve a taste of lingual delights.  I admire skilled poets and appreciate how different poetic brushstrokes reveal textured perspectives; unique angles on life’s truth.  Flighty images of the mind settle to roost in solid words. Sentinel ideas on signposts outline silent spaces for contemplation.  Hand-in-hand, we meander world with senses alert to the wild call of hurricane winds or the fresh whisper of gentle breezes, then collectively record richly scripted delicacies for our hungry souls to feast on.

*Proverbs 25:11, BRG
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photo by lynn – Galveston beach

the peanuts club

The crawl space of childhood’s basement offered an obvious place for our secret club. We climbed red-bench invitation to reach spool knob and swing open a wide (but very short) plywood door; then clambered up, one-by-one, into our hide-out. Sliding over corrugated cardboard flooring, the first brave soul would pull the string to a single lightbulb. Neighborhood kids formed collaborative huddle amid boxes of empty canning jars and old books. Dark, cobwebbed corners added aura of mystery (not to mention arachnid fear) to our clandestine meetings. With conspiratorial whispers, we’d conduct official club business and ritual passing of candy before breaking out the “Peanuts” board game. Hanging out with Charlie Brown’s gang, we rolled the dice, collected comic character tiles, and took our turns in the “Booby Hatch”.

childhood memories

password protected clubhouse

friendship’s secret code

harvesting the moon

Linking with dVerse Poets for Haibun Monday…

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November 2016 “super moon” 


 

I remember the harvest moon when we still picked corn. My husband’s father hunkered inside the tractor-mounted picker on a clear October night. He throttled ahead, pushing the machine’s snouts into the rows of dry corn, stripping off ears, spitting them into the trailing wagon and leaving bent stalks in its wake. At the end of the field, the satisfied farmer unhitched his full wagon by pulling a rope and riding ahead to wait.

Raised as city girl and college-educated, I learned to drive tractor and maneuver an empty wagon behind the picker, unhitch, then turn to back tractor in front of full wagon. It was like a mechanical dance when performed smoothly. I’d hop down and run to lift tongue of empty wagon in line as picker slowly backed to it until holes lined up and I could drop hitch pin into place. Dad turned machine back into standing corn for next pass across field where my husband met him with another empty wagon.

After hitching up full wagon, I’d climb back on tractor, and haul my load to a corn crib; one of our round wire cribs or a wooden-slat shed. I drove straight past the folded elevator; dismounted to lower heavy hopper to ground. Climbed on tractor again to back the wagon against hopper and raise wagon box with hydraulic hoist, tipping it back.  A utility tractor ran the elevator as I reached over to open/close the wagon’s small back door to allow rolling corn ears to fall into the hopper at my feet. A moving chain with metal flights carried the corn up, up, up to top of roof where it dumped ears into open crib.

I wore earplugs to deaden the noise, my skin chafed in the cold wind, my eyes protested the dust and my body fought fatigue after an already long day of harvest (switching wagon, hauling load, emptying wagon, repeat).  But to witness an abundant crop under a beautiful moon felt like God smiling his blessing on us.
 

shadow hides raccoon

full moon rises on cornfields

kernels of plenty

 

city-escape

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National conference downtown allows brief time for exploring familiar noisy streets. Walking with a friend to art museum through civic park reveals underbelly of city. A few paces on hot concrete in summer sun induces sweat. Try not to notice drug deal under shade of fountain colonnade or homeless lounging against marbled wall near bronzed statue. Pigeons investigate remnants of fast food, old newspapers and cigarette butts. Step across colorful chalk-lettered sidewalk declaring “Black Lives Matter” while handful of protestors camp under tree. Police car cruises by, another has stopped a car of rowdy boys. Keep focused on destination while avoiding curbside drunks.  Hastily cross boulevard ahead of traffic bearing down. The beautiful main entrance of memories is under construction and visitors are directed past dirt piles to alley door. Once inside, relax in climate-controlled air and stroll past paintings and exhibits, admiring the polished side of human culture.
 

pillowed hotel room

sirens howl in the night

dazed lights of city

 

Linking with dVerse Poets where Bjorn hosts modified haibun Monday.

starry nights

photo credit: Stephen Bockhold,  rebedvrlists.com

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Torches shine along forest trail that leads to clearing.  Youth campers in Rocky Mountains gather around bright bonfire; jostle each other to find seats on long pine logs. Click off flashlights with excited whispers. Flames lick upward as sparks rise higher.  Guitar music wafts through smoke and singing begins.  A chorus of “kum ba yah” fades as heads quietly tip up toward heaven.  Eyes blink in wonder, above and beyond, to where floating sparks extinguish and a million twinkling stars ignite!

 

clear night on mountain

milky way spills across sky

deep infinity

 


I’m joining dVerse Poets for haibun Monday’s theme: twinkle, twinkle

evening glow

Joining dVerse Poetics prompt:  moon muse personified…

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photo by lynn

 

One beautiful summer’s eve, Moon hosted a gala dinner party on Earth’s patio but did not invite Sun (understandably, as he always seems to outshine her best efforts and makes a point of it).  The Stars, however, like to imitate Sun’s braggadocio and would have enjoyed bringing his ego down a notch.  Miss Moon animated the night, elegant (as always) in her pale dress with feathery cloud shawl caressing her white shoulders.  The Stars regaled their gracious host with tales of the Hunter and Great Bear.  They all joined in the ancient songs, illuminating the night sky.  A misty-eyed Moon finally bid farewell to the fading planets and slipped into bed just before the jilted Sun blazed hot on the horizon.

 

moon reflects sun’s face

heavenly bodies sing praise

shine created light

 

 

 

 

 

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