Tag Archives: Family

Envious

I’m green with envy
Hearing you complain
About having to care for
Your aging father
It’s such a burden you say

What I wouldn’t give
To be planning my daddy’s
95th birthday party today

But there’s no party
No celebration
Only wishing him near

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The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a Quadrille (44 words exactly) using the word “green.” The prompt isn’t live yet in my time zone, but I peeked at some other poets who have their poems up already to find out what the required word is.

My dad would have been 95, but he died 23 years ago so this is as close as I’ll get to celebrating his birthday.

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Blooming Season

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I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend Mother’s Day than walking with my son among 600 or more varieties of iris, along with the many “companion” plants—oriental poppies, fringe trees, lupine, and more. The weather is perfect. The sun comes out enough to keep us warm, but then slips behind a cloud for respite from its rays just as it’s feeling a little too warm with a sweater on.  Who knew there were so many different iris? Two-toned purple Poets Rhyme, burnt orange Drinks at Sunset, gold and pale yellow King of the Road, and vivid yellow with brown beard What It’s Worth (according to the sign, $40—yeah, I don’t think so).

Then there are the darker hues, purples verging on black, that catch my son’s eye because of their names. “These are some pretty edgy names for flowers,” he says, taking a picture of Hello Darkness (my apologies if you are now singing Sound of Silence in your head), Before the Storm, Banshee, and Old Black Magic, to name a few. Finally he decides he’s taken enough pictures.

We continue to wander up and down rows of iris while my husband takes a rest on an orange bench in the shade. The color combinations are simply stunning—I want them all in my own garden but I’ll later have to settle for just two. Then I happen upon what my son decides is the best iris name ever—”It’s as if the iris took my challenge to come up with the edgiest possible name,” he says—and there before me is Pretty Edgy. He snaps his final picture. The day’s perfection is complete.

Iris, iris bloom
Ev’rywhere the eye can see
Divine artistry

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This is posted for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub today where Bjorn is asking us to write about walking.

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Southern Exposure

For weeks I’d been getting away with pants or at least longer shorts. Up in the mountains of Ramona it wasn’t too hot. But that day we were off to Calico ghost town in Death Valley—the whole family was going and there was no getting out of it. Besides, I loved the desert. Still, it was likely to be 100 degrees or more and there was no way to get away with pants. So I pulled on my pink shorts and tank top, hoping mom wouldn’t notice.

Of course she did. “What’s that bruise on the inside of your thigh?”

I suspect she already knew. Mary Lou’s mom had probably called her the day it happened. (Your daughter’s friend doesn’t get stepped on by your horse without you calling her mom, after all.) I had convinced myself she didn’t know I’d gone over there that morning; that I’d gotten away with the forbidden main-road crossing before school. I was sure she didn’t know about that fateful bareback horse ride and me falling off. But the jig was up. The heat had exposed my secret.

Southern exposure
Reveals what we’d like hidden
In the desert heat

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Had to write another Southwestern-inspired poem, a haibun this time, for dVerse Poets Pub.

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Remembering Dad

My dad was the best.

I remember when I was a kid how with gloved hand he would take each bullhead off the hook so I wouldn’t get cut by their spiky fins.

I remember how he taught me to shoot a BB gun in our backyard.

I remember how he let me play in the stacks of tires in his shop and then give me money to go get a Mister Misty at Dairy Queen down the street.

I remember how he would drive me to church and Missionettes and youth group meetings every week in middle school.

I remember when he took me shopping to buy my first pinstriped suit for speech and debate class.

I remember him saying he was going to buy me that Dodge Charger for sale on Main Street then bringing home a Ford Maverick instead because he got it for the price of the tow bill and a new engine that he put in.

I remember opening my mailbox at college and finding a card from him with the note “Here’s a little mad money for you. Don’t tell your mom.” and 20 bucks inside.

I remember that he came to my college graduation but not my wedding 4 months later because my mom was too sick.

I remember the huge smile on his face when he came to my baptism when I was 23.

I remember his last call, when he said “Come see me,” but I didn’t hear the urgency in his voice so I bought a plane ticket to Palm Springs for 2 weeks later.

I don’t remember who called to tell me he’d died a week later but I do remember the darkness that followed.

I remember the turbulence on the puddle-jumper from Portland to Palm Springs and wishing it would just crash.

I remember listening to “Indifference” by Pearl Jam and wondering if the pain of losing him would ever go away.

I remember many more things about my dad, but most of all I remember that he loved me and he died far too young.

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The prompt at NaPoWriMo today is to write an “I remember” poem.

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Oh Ramona

The sun rises high
In the cerulean sky
The wind comes like manna
Out of Santa Ana

The brown weed field
Naught but thorns does yield

In the one-story houses
The ungrateful one grouses

Pool parties and a picnic feast
Friends come from north and east

Catching pollywogs and crayfish
Riding horses our greatest wish

I dream of being a writer
Not knowing I must be a fighter

Eucalyptus trees line the street
Dust devils you’re likely to meet

Nothing of substance to export
Not even our own airport

Painted on the town water tower
A lovely field of wildflower

There I found the lover of my soul
He who one day would make me whole

The sun and drought did conspire
To destroy weed fields by wildfire

That same sun sure did bless
So we’d wear shorts and Ts for dress
Bathing suits were all the rage
If only there I’d come of age

Riding bikes so innocent
To school and library we went

The most notable person in town
Was my dad who I seldom saw frown

He loved to pull our travel trailer
I think it reminded him of being a sailor
It sat out the picture window pane
And was more fun than flying by plane

Once again the wildfires burn
The news says for a good rain we yearn

I had a pen pal from Bangladesh
Suriman Bang was her name so fresh
I don’t remember what we wrote
And so I cannot share a quote

But I wonder if we talked of the unicorn
Or the day that Bigfoot was born

Did I share my favorite children’s tale
Where the Wild Things Are, when I sent her mail

Or Mystery in the Night Woods
Where Flying Squirrel hid in alley backwoods

Just beyond the border of town
You heard the sounds of animals die down
As evening gave way to dusk and night
At the Wild Animal Park all was right

I know not yet the meaning of fear
But bask in this sweet security dear

After I had moved away
A friend sent a postcard to say
With a picture of a sign that does endear
Wish you were still here

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The NaPoWriMo Day 16 prompt called for answering a series of Almanac questions and then using the answers to fashion a poem. I decided to write a poem about my childhood hometown of Ramona, California. I answered each of the questions and decided to leave all the answers as a series of thoughts about my life in that town.

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I Never Said Goodbye

January is the cruelest month
despite it’s shimmer of hope
It’s when cancer took you
I was twenty-three
Hadn’t yet made amends
for the pain I caused you
Still drowning in my own
Your death only added
to the shame
of not measuring up

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This quadrille is doing double duty today. It includes the dVerse Poets Pub word prompt from Victoria and offers my thoughts on the cruelest month for the NaPoWriMo prompt.

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Sweet Scent of Rain

The wafting scent of petrichor
Will remind me forevermore
Of streets lined with eucalyptus
Where my friends and I played and thus

Those were the days of fun and cheer
Memories that I hold so dear
Before, before the terror came
And life was no longer a game

Oh take me back sweet summer rain
To when scraped knees were my worst pain
Bicycle rides on dusty roads
Catching pollywogs, snakes, and toads

Our little dog would bark and scratch
While we hid in the garden patch
Mom had told us Go pull some weeds
Why are they here—we planted seeds

Weeds often grow among the tares
Some people say God never cares
There was a time that I agreed
I believed He forgot my need

He allowed pain to enter in
My memories tainted by sin
Engulfing me in endless torment
And yet He also left this scent

A reminder of hope and peace
Assurance pain one day will cease
Flooding my mind with memories
Of joyful times I’ve been at ease

Life’s a balance of rain and sun
An inkling that when each day’s done
I’m one day closer to the truth
Pain tried to pilfer in my youth

The truth that I am beloved
My future’s not something to dread
My memories aren’t who I am
I belong to God’s perfect Lamb

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5/12/16: Shared for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. Head over there and check out the wonderful offerings by other poets today.

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Mama Bear

The mama grizzly
languishes lazily beneath
the old pine tree
observing her three cubs
frolic and play in the sunshine

At first glance
she appears unconcerned
almost docile

But make no mistake
if one should threaten
the safety of her dear cubs
her fervent concern
will quickly arise
signaling the interlopers
sure demise

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Tomorrow is the beginning of NaPoWriMo, a 30-day challenge to write a poem every day. Last Sunday I finished my personal challenge to write 40 poems for Lent—I actually wrote 45. So 30 poems in 30 days seems quite doable. I wrote this poem yesterday with the thought of saving it for day 1 of NaPoWriMo, but I decided to post it today along with this call for any poets who are reading here today to join me in this quest. Go to the NaPoWriMo site and register your blog, check out their prompts, or find your inspiration wherever you can—then write, write, write!

I’m also planning to submit this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub later today.

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The One-Eyed Wonder

I tell my dog to stay
so he promptly sits
He just wants to play
It’s a battle of wits
A quick game of fetch fits
with the cat’s added comedy
when he jumps and flits

It seemed like quite the tragedy
when the poor dog lost his left eye
Nonetheless he is wicked smart
and when he is wont to cry
it breaks my heart
Inwardly I moan
my heart’s not made of stone

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The Meeting the Bar prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a Bouts-Rimés (pronounced Boo-ReeMay) with a given set of end rhyme words. When I read the word choices, I immediately was inspired to write this poem about my pets, both of whom had to go to the vet this morning. Our vet called Roman her “one-eyed wonder.”

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My Dear Son

Twenty-one years ago today
You came into our lives
You brought love for each day
By tens and twenties and fives

For you I’m writing a rhyming verse
Because that is the good kind
Though I know you’re not averse
To stories intertwined

I am so proud of who you are
The man who you’ve become
Your taste in music is a bit bizarre
Your humor will help overcome

Your compassion and generosity
Are traits I much admire
How you love your silly kitty
Is something to inspire

I could go on and on, you know
Because you are my dear son
On you blessings may God bestow
Until your many days are done

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