victor of winter’s final bluster
pine cones scatter across my path
seeding spring’s promise
victor of winter’s final bluster
pine cones scatter across my path
seeding spring’s promise
I didn’t know they are called winter violets
I know them as johnny jump ups, violas
They don’t bloom here in winter’s bite
They wait for spring to introduce themselves
They tuck in wherever they please
I cannot design their path
A surprise, a nod to independence, survival
a tiny fire
– Ami Tanaka
My grandmother grew them in her lawn
Candytuft their partner
Honeyed liquor for bees
Judicious steps for bare feet
A summer’s expedition
violets here and there
in the ruins
of my burnt house
It is snowing, again
Another kept quarantine
Amid no-contact solitude
Amid numbers piling up
Like leaden slats of blighted ruins
Waiting for Phoenix to rise again
Or little purple yellow faces
Peeking out from beneath
A kept quarantine
no limit to kindness
– Mitsu Suzuki
There is a kindness of canvas
An artist’s peace
If just a glance, a moment to dwell
Rising through depths of piled forfeiture
There is a spark of hope
Purple yellow faces
A cycle not denied
Author’s Note –
I was graciously invited to attend an on-line reading of haiku by some amazing poets from the Pacific Northwest and around the world. They read one haiku – their own or another’s – and spoke of the meaning. It was in celebration of International Haiku Poetry Day. The theme was taken from The Poetry Society of America who invited poets to write about “poems they return to in difficult times – to find solace, perspective, or even moment of delight.” Thank you Cj Prince and Victor Ortiz for this brilliant opportunity to learn and grow.
In the short hour, three of the haiku included winter violets. The images stayed with me and deepened as each new winter violet popped its head up to speak.
I took it to the canvas first and played with a different process than I usually do. It is very difficult to photograph this image. It just doesn’t do it justice. You may get a better idea of what it looks like if you do close-ups of the above image.
With one hand free we walk
he pulls and tugs, sniffs and wanders
I touch down off the stoop
careful not to stumble
pulling back on his leash
a safety bar for me
in balance with him
A few steps on scratchy
right turn around the corner of the house
down the driveway
then a quick left
and we are free
I see her in the distance
as he pulls and zig zags from sniff to sniff
she on top of the hill
waiting for us
First we must cross emptied streets
quiet in their distancing
We maneuver around dip of open space
spindly arms of buff bowing to earth
in honor of sprightly green pushing up,
frosted blue this fine April day
Past the stand of trees
blackened branches cradling bird nests
soon to be filled
then up the hill toward her
Upon arrival we see
her sap flows again
from a old wound partially healed over
but only partially
she allows an opening
a way for me to know she is alive
and well and ready for spring
“Our (optional) prompt for the day takes a leaf from Schuyler’s book, as it were, and asks you to write a poem about a specific place — a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. Little details like this can really help the reader imagine not only the place, but its mood – and can take your poem to weird and wild places.”
Social distancing is our way now to show our love, honor every being of this Earth.
Winter negotiates spring,
its last watered drops, ice tears
nourish that which will be,
release of what no longer serves.
After snow, graupel,
downpour of rain, I see your
green blush arms reach
to azure sky. I await, I inscribe your
nod to a new found spring.
Awww. It’s spring, at least in part. NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo begins tomorrow.
I welcome this as much as longer days and quick melting snow and birdsong.
Won’t you join me?
I had to shake the trees.
It seemed almost cruel.
Broomstick in hand, under great canopies of new born
leaves frozen within a shell of unforgiving spring snow,
I heaved and hoisted and shook.
It was for their own good.
Fledgling limbs flexed, resilient in their youth.
Rigid arms now hung limp, uncompromising
casualties before my arrival.
I was liberator.
For more stately limbs, older, wiser, seasoned,
they held strong lifting in gratitude as I lightened
My shoulder hurt, but I persisted in my pursuit of
justice against accidental blow.
…then day itself warmed, a memento
of sun seeped through the gray veil
of my Colorado Beltane sky.
Maybe I didn’t need to play at being champion.
Or maybe I was consort.
I move through days weaving and zagging,
wondering which design is true, proper.
And then I walk myself back. I still myself within,
steel my perplexity and receive.
In the whist calm,
my interior depth,
in the cavern I have
carved out for you,
I attend. I see your spring dawn.
And I begin again.
Once again, today I take my prompt from an unusaly icy, snowy spring storm on this
In spring flowers are to bloom,
buds to burst with life,
sun to warm ground
awakening that which slumbers.
Here snow aligns itself along
reaching limbs, arcing to ground
in acceptance of something that
cannot be controlled, bending in
accommodation, knowing softness
is cardinal and warmth retraces
I pause for season to shift, for
sun or snow to answer. I bow
to you, and rest avowed
A spring snow and Beltane in our lovely and mischievious Colorado is my prompt today.
Overwintered cattails lie down
under spring rain’s cloak.
Ten boxes, three bags, trappings released,
that which no longer serve.
I yearn for open space where
the only music I hear is of bird and beast.
My knee swells and pounds
as I walk with dog, twice daily, regardless.
How many pieces of cloth needed
to cover my nakedness, not highlight my ego?
One red tulip awakens.
There is food in the fridge,
what other is there to feed me?
Why do I need to know the why,
may I reside in knowing it is so.
Not so disparate, really, liberate the old,
not acquire new, just leave pause to grow.
Prompt for day nine of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo:
“Finally, here is our prompt (optional, as always). Because today is the ninth day of NaPoWriMo, I’d like to challenge you to write a nine-line poem. Although the fourteen-line sonnet is often considered the “baseline” form of verse in English, Sir Edmund Spenser wrote The Faerie Queene using a nine-line form of his own devising, and poetry in other languages (French, most particularly) has always taken advantage of nine-line forms. You can find information of various ways of organizing rhyme schemes, meters, etcetera for nine-line works here. And of course, you can always eschew such conventions entirely, and opt to be a free-verse nine-line poet.”
Even though branches fell
to blade’s persuasion,
you held tight in puzzled
from your source,
buds remained imminent.
You waited for liberator’s hands
to disentangle you from your
demise, carry into warmth,
water to ease your thirst.
And you burgeoned as if
there would be no other
I look to your gossamer spirit
to know your strength,
feel your will, share your hope
under snow and ice,
trust in spring.
Day Four prompt from NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo:
“And now for our prompt (optional, as always). One of the most popular British works of classical music is Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The “enigma” of the title is widely believed to be a hidden melody that is not actually played, but which is tucked somehow into the composition through counterpoint. Today I’d like you to take some inspiration from Elgar and write a poem with a secret – in other words, a poem with a word or idea or line that it isn’t expressing directly. The poem should function as a sort of riddle, but not necessarily a riddle of the “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” variety. You could choose a word, for example, “yellow,” and make everything in the poem something yellow, but never actually allude to their color. Or perhaps you could closely describe a famous physical location or person without ever mentioning what or who it actually is.”
Gently it unfolds.
Just before dawn
a sweet call
return, your nest
Reassured, I mark
his parade. Four small
wheels turning under
bent and formed to catch
his unsteady slant.
Another winter passed and
he remains fundamental
to spring’s element.
From tip of bud
it is not extrinsic
ingredients we fashion
into seasons, but
from root below,
those we do not see.
It is finesse of ancients
who came before to teach
us how to assemble.
Their wisdom of time.
into patience. Their
passion to endure.
This our recipe of
Day Two prompt from NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo:
“And last but not least, here is our prompt (as always, optional). Today, I’d like you to write a poem inspired by, or in the form of, a recipe! It can be a recipe for something real, like your grandmother’s lemon chiffon cake, or for something imaginary, like a love potion or a spell.”
She hid under lush leaves of summer hoping to be lost to the gatherer’s touch. Deep inside she watched as gentle fingers lifted pieces to be housed in safety over winter’s time. And snow came. Cold endured by only the strongest. Rain to quench when dry days lingered too long. Finally, she let herself be noticed as sun grew long and earth made way for new growth. Her journey complete, a jubilant wink greeted her summer friend.
rain feeds earth
spirit grows within
Today is a preview, an Early-Bird Prompt for NaPoWriMo, National Poetry Writing Month.
This is a haibun.
What a wonderful start!