I don’t really know what cancer is, but mom’s in the hospital having surgery because she has it. I think that’s what Aunt Barb had and she died. I hope mom doesn’t die, too.
We’re visiting her today. She might be ready to come home, but I’m not sure. I hope so. She’s in a nice private hospital. Her room is almost homey with wood trim and soft lighting, not sterile like a typical hospital room. She’s sitting up in bed, propped up with pillows behind her. Her noon meal sits half eaten on the portable tray; she was always a slow eater, but this hospital food seems to have caused her to pick even more than usual. I climb up on the bed next to her and eye what’s left. “Can I have your Jello?” I ask. A half smile crosses her lips as she reckons I can help her clean her plate. “I have to eat it all before I can go home,” she says.
I wasn’t there the last time she went into the hospital. That time it was colon cancer. No one called to tell me she’d been admitted again or how bad it was, so I wasn’t there to eat her Jello. Maybe if I had been she could have come home again.
Rays of summer sun
Overshadowed by dark pall
Cancer beckons death
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and guest host Lady Nyo is calling for haibuns involving a childhood memory. If it was May or August, I might have conjured up a happy memory to share. But it’s January and I’m missing my mom so this is what I’ve got for today.
Filed under Family, Life, Poetry
This morning at the Oregon Christian Writers conference, Sarah Thebarge (author of The Invisible Girls) challenged her memoir writing class to tell our stories as a poem. As a greater challenge she suggested a Haiku. Here’s what I wrote.
Nothing heals, despair sets in
Dream shows path of grace
I love vacation because I get to spend more time with my mom and dad. Even if a lot of that time is riding in the back seat of the car. Eventually we get out and I get to hang out while they eat their picnic lunch and share pieces of pastrami and chicken with me. Yum! Then we head off on a trail. I’ve never been on such a long hike before, at least not that I can remember. And it’s hot out! I keep trying to sneak into a cool ravine, but they pull on my leash and say, “Stay on the trail, silly dog.” I see a chipmunk run across the trail ahead and I want to chase it, but that darn leash stops me. I do hope we get to the end of this trail soon. This is a long hike for an old dog like me. I need a drink and a nap. Oh, but first a dip in the cool lake.
Hiking near lava rock flows
Fun, tiring outing
Roman after a long hike
I’m finally getting around to posting for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub, where Toni is calling for us to write about the dog days of summer.
Filed under Family, Life, Poetry
An outdoor June wedding in the Pacific Northwest is always a crap shoot. You pick a date and hope the weather cooperates, or else don’t care whether it does or not. If a little rain (or an impending thunder storm) is going to ruin your special day, pick an indoor venue. But outdoors and June was the perfect option for a young woman named Kelsey June who loves nature. The weather forecast changed from thunderstorms to blue skies to intermittent rain showers every two hours or so. When the time for the beautiful riverside ceremony arrived (an hour late due to a train on the tracks that delayed the entire wedding party and guests) the sun was shining bright. As the festivities continued, there were periods of chill rain showers, some downpours, followed by blue skies again. I suppose the wedding day was a microcosm of the marriage itself, into which some rain and some sun will come in alternating bursts of life together.
Summer rain showers
Unpredictable as life
Nourish all that grows
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and once again Toni is at the helm. We are writing about rain and are to title our poem one of the 50 Japanese words for rain. I chose harenochiame ( 晴後雨 はれのちあめ), which means clear then rain. As a traditionalist, Toni is asking for us to include a traditional haiku at the end of the haibun. I have complied, though the wedding my haibun is about was anything but traditional. I’ve included below a pictures of the newlywed couple.
It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and Toni is calling for a haibun about everyday things with a true haiku at the end. I did my best. We’ll see what she thinks. This haibun is looking forward to later in the summer when I’ll get to enjoy the labors of this past vacation week.
Vacations can’t last forever. This one has been wonderful, spent planting flowers, including 14 Lantana. But eventually the daily routine returns. Preparations for the work day, each important for different reasons. Start with coffee, my daily devotional, and treats and a game of fetch with the dog. Crazy cat gets in on the action, too. Then shower and teeth brushing makes one presentable to the world. Must select just the right outfit to be warm enough in an air-conditioned office but not too hot to sit outside in the summer sun for lunch. Most importantly, I must pause for prayer—a chat with God about the day ahead—preparation for whatever might come my way. Oh, and can’t forget to pack that lunch. What good leftovers are in the fridge? No leftovers, but mmmm, there’s hummus, crackers, fresh snap peas from the farmers’ market, crisp jicama slices, and of course a cold sparkling water. All packed to go, give the dog his leaving bone and the cat a few treats. Finally, it’s out the front door to the car with just a moment to enjoy the potted flowers on the front step.
Lovely summer dalliance
They’ve grown large since June
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
This is posted for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub today where Bjorn is asking us to write about walking.
Filed under Faith, Life, Poetry
It’s April today
Oh when will the Dogwood bloom
Very soon Sweet Pea
Day 1 of NaPoWriMo and I didn’t follow the prompt, but close.
Filed under Faith, Life, Poetry
In the wilderness
Temptation fights my resolve
To follow Jesus
The journey of Lent is personal for each Christian. In fact, some Christians aren’t even aware of what Lent is, what it means. It should be a journey of drawing closer to Christ, of understanding His sacrifice. Yet so often it becomes a journey of self-righteousness rather than self-sacrifice. We “give up” something we think is important—often things that would be considered extreme luxuries in other parts of the world—like chocolate or sweets, T.V. or Facebook. Then we tell everyone what we’re doing so they’ll see just how self-sacrificing we are.
Several years ago I decided I wasn’t going to give up things for Lent. Instead, I adopted a writing discipline. This year I decided it would be poetry—I would write a new poem every day for Lent (with Sundays off, of course, because they aren’t part of the 40 days of Lent). Now here I am telling everyone about it, and thinking that I’d forgotten how hard it is to write a new poem every day whether there is inspiration or not. Still, the writing journey does draw me closer to my Savior, requires me to think about Him when I might otherwise be distracted by chocolate or sweets, T.V. or Facebook. It’s really no sacrifice, but it is a worthwhile journey.
Desert sun blazes
Forty days, forty long days
No food, no water
It’s only the beginning
Real sacrifice is coming
For Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub, Rajani has challenged us to write about a journey. The subject of this haibun was rambling around in my head this morning, though not in terms of a journey, but I wasn’t sure how to express it. The Haibun journey turned out to be the perfect expression. When I tried to write the haiku, however, it wanted to be a tanka.
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. ~ Mary Oliver
When you’re 14, they call it puppy love. What does a 14-year-old know of love—anyway, I thought it was love at the time. He said he loved me, too. I never imagined he would hurt me so deeply. I never imagined such violence was even possible, that a human being could be so selfish and cruel. The darkness he gave me that day almost consumed me, threatened to kill me. Ironic, considering the day itself was sunny and bright, though bone-chilling cold.
Looking back decades later I see the blessing, how the pain and loss drew me closer to God as my only refuge. The other path my life may have taken—had there been no pain, no loss of innocence—is one in which I may have never fully understood my need for a Savior. When all is well, what does one need saving from? But I did need to be saved from that box full of darkness—I desperately needed rescuing so I could live this wonderful, light-filled life I’ve been given.
Cold wind blowing in darkness
Holds no power now
This week dVerse Poets Pub offered up several quotes to choose from for Haibun Monday #7. The Mary Oliver quote spoke to me, so here’s my haibun for the week.