Promise of Hope

copyright kanzensakura all rights reserved. Used with permission.

copyright kanzensakura all rights reserved. Used with permission.

For the dVerse Poets Pub Haibun Monday prompt today, Toni (aka kanzensakura) has asked us to write a haibun inspired by this photo of hers. Check out the prompt for a description of a haibun and to find the link to a lot of great haibuns that will be posted throughout the week. Here’s mine.

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I awaken to an unexpected blanket of white outside my window. It’s beautiful, with flakes still falling, floating really, to the ground. I should relish the beauty, but I can’t because I know it will soon turn to ice. It always does around here. As a result church is cancelled, school is cancelled, work is delayed, and Bible study is cancelled. I stare out at the bleak beauty and spy a small pink bunch of flowers blooming. They weren’t expecting the snow either. In them I see a greater beauty, a hope and promise of spring to come.

God eternally
promises a return
of life after death

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Alive and Well

A puff wafts from the doorway of the old building
I scrunch up my nose at the scent, shake my head in disgust
or anger perhaps is a more accurate description of my feeling

I don’t smell it often in these days of indoor smoking bans
Mostly when walking downtown, passed old buildings
on my way somewhere that will be smoke free

Today that scent reminds me of them, but it’s not the good memories
It’s the memory of what killed them, their obsession with Old Gold
bare-butt cigarettes, in the house, the car, the trailer out camping

I prefer the scent of eucalyptus and fresh garden dill
that remind me of better days when they were alive and well
at least as well as two chain-smokers could be

That foul scent also reminds me of embarrassment
at being accused of smoking myself by a 7th grade P.E. teacher
because the stench of their smoke was inescapable for me

I glance into the doorway at the young woman smoking
I want to scream at her, tell her how stupid she is
I want to ask her if she wants to die before her grandkids are born

But I don’t, I simply move on, away from the smell
and consciously shift my focus to memories of better days
when they were still alive and well

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The first prompt of the year at dVerse Poets Pub is to write about a scent or scents that evoke memories. This is the first thing that came to mind yesterday. I tried to come up with something else because I didn’t want my first post of the year to be such a downer. But alas, sometimes we simply must write down what’s already written in the mind.

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Stars from Haleakala

Having watched the sun sink into the sea
amidst the valley of clouds
we waited there, my family and I
to view the starlit Hawaiian sky

On top of Haleakala the stars lit one by one
amidst a sea of blackened sky
as a chill descended upon the mountaintop
the Heavens shone bright

The sight was truly glorious from 10,000 feet
amidst the small cluster of visitors
who dared to brave the cold to see
God’s handiwork from on high

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I was inspired by Viv Blake’s star poem to write another for dVerse’s Poetics prompt.

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One Shone Brighter

“Gazing at a sky filled with stars,”
Wrote the Magi in his memoirs
“One shone brighter than the rest.
So onward towards that star we pressed.”

He never says how many they were,
Those magi travelling with gold and myrrh
But their destination he makes quite clear
Was to greet the new King who would soon appear

The brightest star that rose in the east
Would guide them to One deserving a feast
But instead was born in a simple barn stall
And one day years later would die for us all

“By the time we arrived the Child was but two,
And already we could tell He was holy and true.”
I read this man’s memoir and gazed up at the sky
Looking for the star that led the Magi

All I could see in that vast expanse
Was the truth that it didn’t happen by chance
The Creator of each and every star
Led the Magi who came from afar

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At dVerse Poets Pub today Toni is calling for poem about the stars. Since it is so close to Christmas, of course I thought of the star that led the Magi to the baby Jesus.

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Rejoice!

Revel in the joy of Christ who
Empowers us bid sin adieu
Jesus born so He might die
Once for all our souls to buy
Incarnation a great mystery
Calling all throughout history
Ever more to rejoice, rejoice

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I wrote this for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, and also to promote my new poetry book, Rejoice! Rejoice! Poems for the Holidays, available now on Amazon.com in print and on Kindle. This poem isn’t in the book, because, well, I just wrote it. But maybe I’ll add it to the next edition.

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The Red Horse and His Rider

When the Lamb opens the second seal
The red horse and his rider will go out
With power to take the peace of this world
That the end is then nigh there is no doubt

But will the rider find any peace on this earth
Where mothers kill their children and nations war
Despite our songs of peace in a post-hippie culture
We daily venture closer to hatred’s door

They say “let’s coexist” though we are in disagreement
Even so the so-called peaceful want their peace by force
Requiring agreement with them on fundamental issues
Never realizing the need for repentance and remorse

Peace without God is what mankind desires
But such a thing is only temporary
Though we must live in peace as far as we are able
Of mere men promising salvation we must be wary

Amidst the strife and turmoil of this life
The only true peace is that which Jesus gave
The rider on his fiery red horse is surely coming
But can’t take peace from those the Lamb died to save

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The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub this week is brought to us by Bjorn. He’s calling for us to write about peace in a way that is not trite and doesn’t rely on platitudes. The night before reading the prompt, I spent the evening teaching Revelation 6 to fourth graders, so my mind immediately went to the image of the second horseman of the apocalypse. I didn’t have time to write yesterday because I wanted to read the haibuns from Monday first, but as it turned out this one needed overnight to percolate anyway.

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Sea of Umbrellas

New York City Umbrella Scene, courtesy of Mary

New York City Umbrella Scene, courtesy of Mary

They aren’t Oregonians, that’s for sure. This sea of umbrellas must be somewhere that people are afraid of melting or that a little rain will mess up their perfectly coiffed hair. One hundred percent chance of rain—real drenching rain, not a mere drizzle—and there wouldn’t be an umbrella in sight where I come from. I know, because that’s what I faced just this morning. So I threw on my rain jacket, flipped up the hood, and I was good to go.

Wait, I think I see an Oregonian there next to the girl with the pink umbrella. He’s braving the rain with a backpack on his back in true Oregonian style. No fear!

A little rainfall
never melted anyone
but the wicked witch

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For Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub, Mary has given us four of her original photos to choose from to inspire our haibun. Mine’s a little shorter than my usual haibun, but I think it fits the bill for this rainy, windy day in Oregon, with flooding streams and standing water on the roads.

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An Unexplainable Feeling

The current prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is to write poetry as a vehicle for emotion, which is pretty much what most poetry is anyway. When I read the prompt, I immediately knew the emotion I wanted to write about, but wasn’t sure how I wanted to write about it. And I’ve spent most of the last two days making cookies and deviled eggs, avoiding the emotion I’m struggling with. Then, with 3 hours left to post, I realized what I wanted to write. So here is my haibun for the prompt.

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Our vet says it’s for the best and will make him feel much better. And the veterinary ophthalmologist didn’t say it was the only option, but she did suggest it was the best for him. I try to tell myself it’s no big deal. As I said to both vets and several other people I’ve talked to about it, it’s not like I’ve never had a one-eyed dog before. Bette lost an eye when she was only 7 weeks old, and she lived to be the best 18-year-old Cocker Spaniel there ever was. So why do I have this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach now that we’ve made the appointment? Why am I second guessing whether maybe, just maybe, having to have drops in his eye several times a day for the rest of his life might be better than having that eye removed? He can’t see out of it anyway; hasn’t for years with that cataract.

Perhaps it’s the regret that we didn’t have the cataract removed years ago, which might have prevented glaucoma now. But as my cousin Noryce says, you can’t go back to Tuesday, or when Roman was only 3 and first showed signs of the cataract. You can’t go back, you can only move forward, even if that means doing something you’d rather not do when you know it’s in the best interest of someone, or some dog, else. But still I’m sad—that’s not really the right word, I don’t even know what the right word is—I’m angry that I can’t go back and do it all again, avoid this inevitable, remaining option. I love my little dog, and I’ll love him just as much, if not more, when he only has one eye. Maybe that’s the crux of what I’m feeling—love and empathy. I’ll hold onto that and to the faith that God loves him, too. He is, after all, named after one of the books of God’s Holy Word.

Turning a blind eye
to the pain and suffering
is not an option

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What We Deserve

We think we all deserve God’s love
All good gifts that come from above
A good God wouldn’t send folks to hell
And therefore the story we tell saves all with love

Except, of course, men like Hitler
Terrorists and Jeffrey Dahmer
They don’t deserve to see heaven
Don’t belong with the eleven we are so sure

But just where do we draw the line
What is your fate and what is mine
We all deserve God’s holy wrath
Because we’ve followed our own path and think we’re fine

We must be repentant sinners
When the truth of God’s mercy blurs
Vision of the Lamb who was slain
And how He took all mankind’s pain troubled heart stirs

Not one of us deserves God’s grace
Praise to Jesus who took our place
He saw our need and came to save
His life for us He freely gave, we must embrace

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As is typical for me, when I learn a new poetry form I can’t write just one. The idea for this poem was originally going to be an essay, but this morning this Florette started forming in my mind, so I finished writing it while I ate my breakfast and decided to post it in time to share for Meeting at the Bar at dVerse Poets Pub.

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Before the Throne

If I could stand before the throne
Turn an ear to His trumpet blown
Blinded by His countenance bright
Finding in His majestic Light I’m fully known

Amazed by lovely seraphim
And flying, singing cherubim
Though they themselves are quite sublime
Each spends every moment of time worshipping Him

By contrast my paltry worship
Is hindered by my ego trip
May a vision of God’s throne room
Cause praise like a sweet perfume rise from my lips

Lord, make me see Your majesty
So I’ll worship, You are worthy
Great Creator, Lamb who was slain
Forever and ever You reign, You are holy

Holy, holy, holy are You
You are righteous, that much is true
Remind me daily of Your grace
Help me seek Your beautiful face each day anew

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For the Meeting the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub is brought to is today by Gayle, who offered a form lesson on the Florette. It’s a cool form I just had to try.

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