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Editor-in-Chief: Poet deVine
Editor: Karilea Rilling Jungel
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Passions in Poetry
by Karilea Rilling Jungel (aka Sunshine)
As will quickly be discerned, this newsletter comprises that which encompasses us all, nature. Sometimes it is possible to forget, in these times, that one meaning of "nature" is: "the essential character of a thing; quality or qualities that make something what is; essence
" [Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Ed.] We tend to think of nature as "
a simple way of life close to or in the outdoors
" [Webster's, id].
To review Webster's definition of nature, we see that it takes us from that which is born
to the universe! But to review the following submissions, we will not only see through others' eyes, but we will feel how others are, naturally. Allow yourself to be swept away by the writings of poets who extend their soul, who have not shut out the world, but have opened up to it, and have embraced it. Allow yourself to experience the joy, and pain, of nature, naturally. For it is natural that one should cry with life, and death. Just as one should reach out to lift others and in turn be lifted in spirit, in song, in dance, in wholeness that nature provides.
Now, stroll with me through some Haiku, Senryu, Tanka poems and some prose that will open your eyes, and caress your senses with delights and laughter. Be provoked into the wonder of "where did the muse come from for this", whether you still be snow bound, or on the edge of spring, where the sun shines warm on your face, or you are experiencing still the warmth of a quilt. Read on. If one or more strikes your fancy, take a moment to let the author know how you were touched! Then, once you have finished reading, and to borrow a phrase from one of our resident poets, write on!
Featured Poet - A Selection
by Beki Reese
|through leafless branches
morning breaks rose petal pink -
I drink black coffee.
three months since you left;
leaves have fallen, and the snow -
my step is slower.
silver footed fog
glides over rough green water -
leaves salt on my tongue.
weary willow branch
leans down to caress the earth -
Silence of moontide
breaks on the blackened shoreline -
waves whisper prayers.
Figures of light
etched in filigrees of ice -
snow on my window.
sleek silver fish
swim through pools of reflected light -
full moon hovers near.
beneath a still somber sky,
one apple lingers.
Half-eaten tea-scone -
tiny sparrow at my feet
enjoys every crumb.
A sudden breeze -
snow falls from pine branches
on this ancient grave.
the chill air stirs
with a soundless shiver -
can you feel the rain?
the green pacific
goes gray with gathering clouds -
heralds this night's storm.
After the long rains
sweet music in these caverns -
winter stillness speaks;
a cone of silence surrounds
breathless pines that wait
for love's secret expressions~
we smile, make them wait.
(written with Mike Rehling)
we the sun and moon
spinning in a dance of words -
I covet your light.
Take my hand in yours, pull me
into your gravity field.
This winter evening
cold ocean fog rolls over
high tide and sand berms;
even hungry seagulls pause,
shiver with its ghostly touch.
A Find, A Fix, A Friend
by Poet deVine
It began innocently. With a discussion about Passions in Poetry being the best poetry site on the Internet. Type in your name in Yahoo.com and do a search! Youll find that Passions in Poetry comes up first.
-- A Find --
And it did
then another site was found. A site that offered 'greetings' that could be sent to friends. Only the poems used were poems by two esteemed members of Passions in Poetry. One is Alastair Adamson and the other is Ron Carnell.
A note was posted in the "Alley" (used for complaining) on the PiP Forum. Then it was discovered that if you use http://www.google.com and type in the first line of your poem, you get a better look at where your poetry is being used.
It was shocking! Not only is the poetry used by other sites, some with links back to Passions, but some is blatantly passed off as written by someone else!
-- A Fix --
This is the way the copyright notice read on Passions at the time this problem was discovered:
Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to link to this page from your own web site, please feel free to do so. If you would like to post a copy of the poem, on the Web or elsewhere, please include appropriate credit to the author and a link to this page URL. Thank you.
And immediately, Ron changed it to read:
Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to use this poem on your own web page, please contact the Author. Thank you.
-- A Friend --
Several of the poems found were at one of these two web pages:
A note was sent to the webmaster of each, asking them to remove the copyrighted work. This is an excerpt from the reply:
Letter to Ron:
My name is Sandra, owner of asandboxgreeting.com. I have a lot of poems from your site posted on mine as well as on my sister in law Ann's site ( getpassionatenow.com. I do all the html work for her as well as the e-mail as she has an illness that prevents her from doing it herself.) Neither of our sites are business sites. We got our own domain names so we would not have to deal with the pop up ads etc. that come with free web hosting.
I was contacted by one of your poets in regard to copyright violation and pointed to a message board to read the posts of other poets from your site.
I always thought it was ok to post the poems because of this:
"(c) 1999-2000 poets name. Please respect the rights of the author and Passions in Poetry. If you would like to link to this page from your own web site, please feel free to do so. If you would like to post a copy of the poem, on the Web or elsewhere, please include appropriate credit to the author and a link to this page URL. Thank you."
I have always included the author's name and a link to the URL I found the poem at.
I am very upset and scared to death of being sued! I thought I was doing the right thing!
Please let me know what I need to do to make this right. I will remove all the poetry if that is what everyone wants, but please let them know it will take me some time to accomplish it.
Ann and Sandra
And an excerpt from Ron's Reply:
Hi, Sandra. I'm sorry for adding to your concerns, but if you read the thread in our forums I hope you can recognize our concerns, too. I'm glad you wrote and explained a little of the situation to me. As I said in that thread, I'm less concerned with people using my poetry (yea, you have one of mine, too than I am with commercial sites abusing it. Your explanation goes a long ways towards allaying some concerns. But, of course, I can only speak for myself, not anyone else.
Here are two possible suggestions. First, as time permits, I strongly suggest you give the authors more credit. People want to be recognized for their contributions and, as the web designer, it's up to YOU to make that recognition meaningful (rather than just token accreditation). Does that make sense?
That's going to take some time, of course. In the meantime, more immediately, I suggest you register in the forums and post a response to that thread. Be as honest and open as you were to me, and I think you'll be very surprised by the results. We have some of the most caring and compassionate people in the world at Passions, and I very seriously doubt anyone will take you task for making a simple mistake. Promise to make the correction above, and promise in the future to contact the authors before posting, and I suspect you'll not only allay their concerns - but will also gain some loyal visitors.
I will watch for your post and do what I can to back you up. If there's anything else I can do for you, just let me know.
... And a few hours later, Sandra posted this in the forums:
Hi everyone! I've spent the last 7 hours going through my site (and Ann's site) and making corrections. All links are now either above or directly below each poem, and in larger print. Hopefully I have not missed anyone...I had three years worth of pages to wade through and may have missed one or two) I did not know anyone's web site addy but will be happy to add it with the net poets link if anyone wants to send them to me.
I hope this is ok with everyone, and again, anyone who would like their poetry removed from my site, or Ann's just let me know and I will take care of it promptly.
Once again, thank you all so very much for your patience and understanding.
In subsequent messages back and forth on the forum, Sandra was greeted warmly by the members, thanked graciously for her prompt attention to this matter and urged to become a member of the 'Passions Family'. She has since done so and posted a lovely poem in the Open Forum.
-- What can you do? --
First, you might want to consider copyrighting your work. Here is the web address for copyright information in the U.S.
The cost is about $30 for a 'collective' work. You can print the forms you need from the computer
And here is the web address for the CIPO (Canadian Intellectual Property Office)
The cost is about $65 Canadian.
And if you search on Google.com and find that your poetry is being used without your permission, you can write to the site owner/webmaster/host and ask that it be removed.
Here is a 'sample' email that you can use to send notice to the webmaster or host of a web site to let them know someone has infringed on your copyright:
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is (insert your name here). While performing a search on my poetry, I came across (title of poem) on your site. (http://webaddress/poem here). This poem was first published at Passions in Poetry, as can be readily seen here: http:/netpoets.com/poems/authors/55550000.htm (insert your Resident Poet Page URL).
I do not mind seeing my work elsewhere on the web; it is rather flattering. However, I do like to be asked first, and I do like to see credit given where credit is due.
If this website would like to use my work, they should link back to the original work, ask for permission, and provide clear and proper credit. If such is not possible, I would ask that my work be deleted from this web page immediately.
I would appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
your email address
your Passion's Resident Poet Address*
To find out your Resident Address, go to Passions, click on the Resident Poet link, find your name and click on that. The URL at the top of your page is your 'link'. The date you submitted your work is listed beside each poem and is further proof of your copyright.
And finally, Ron will soon be adding software to Passions so that any of our poets or visitors can report copyright violations for follow-up activity.
Sometimes what we love about a person is a reflection of their own passions and love. This is poem is a tribute to a tree surgeon - and his response
The Man Who Talks to Trees
by Heather (aka Xangel)
leaving puffs of vapour in the frosty morning air
the tree climber heaves himself up to surmount the tree
branches groaning under his weight
he stills himself to quiet it's sway
looking downward he checks the tree for warps and rot
"looks good" he mumbles to himself
off to his left a bird nest, abandoned for the season
are all that is left of a family of Robins
hands busy now, he hauls the saw to his side
steady and slow, the rhythm almost sleep inducing
there, now he's ready to start his day's work
if you could call it that
god he thrived on thin air and pitch it seems
the cold never even touches him
if you could call shaping a monstrous tree
into a piece of art work
if you could call saving a tree from itself and mother nature
funny how early this morning
when he first touched this behemoth
he felt the sickness these branches hid
funny how each day as he touches a new tree
the feelings grow sharper, more palpable
funny how people looked at him strangely at times
and called him "the man who talks to trees"
but it was as if he had learned the secret language of the trees
for he knew their need before he ever climbed a branch
and he cherished that gift like a priceless treasure
day's end now
weary, he descends from the heights
to go gratefully home to his waiting family
he places his hands on the ancient bark once more
and he finds, as he suspected, only health there now
and calls it a day
The Tree Surgeon Replies
Yes it's true. I guess I'm what you would call a tree hugger. I've never hugged a tree apart from as a joke but I do feel an extremely strong affinity with a lot of trees.
I think it's a mixture of my knowledge of trees and my love of them that helps me communicate with them. I know it sounds weird so that's ok if you want a lil giggle. I talk to trees and can sense in some intangible way what they are feeling. and HAH... the feeling thing isn't imagination either. There's been research on many occasions that show plants can react to external stimuli.
One piece of research showed that if a pathogenic beetle attacks one tree of a certain species (can't remember which right now), it will produce a chemical defense agent in its sap. It might be too late for that tree, but within a few minutes, all the trees of that species nearby also start producing the same chemical. Clever eh?
Anyway, that's enough for now I think. Trees can feel and we can feel trees.
Two Interviews - The Language of Silence
I always thought I was alone, in my unwritten language with the trees. Even as a child, I recognized the silent strength, that strength of character to just "be," without the all of the blabbering. And so off in search of myself - amazed to find that there were others like me. In my joy, I'd like to share them with you in honor of Spring, so that perhaps, you too, can have a conversation with one of the green beings, spoken in what I call "the language of silence." Perhaps we can teach each other how. Perhaps just to break the ice- I will start with ME. So for a beginning, here is Serenity's interview with serenity
-- Interview with Serenity --
Serenity: "So you talk to trees, huh?"
serenity: "Not only do I talk to trees? But, SOMETIMES?" (serenity leans in toward Serenity in a conspiratorial manner) "I even talk to MYSELF-don't tell anybody!"
Serenity: "You think you're funny don't you?"
serenity: "Only sometimes. When the wind rattles the leaves and I can hear the laughter in the wood, I KNOW I am. Then there are days when there is no breeze, and the sun is relentless
and I go in search of trees in grove, where the dirt beneath is still moist, even in the midst of drought
and I find comfort there."
Serenity: "So you hug trees then?"
serenity: "I always hug back. They hug me first. I just hug them back."
Serenity: "So what is it that they tell you, when these trees talk to you?"
serenity: "They tell me stories--of hurricanes and lightning, and how life used to be a swamp---they remind me that they are still standing, and that I can too, if I so choose."
Serenity: "Really? Do they ever tell you HOW?"
serenity: "All of the time. And sometimes quite rudely too
it's the roots you see. The same roots I stumble on are the same roots, become wily, that I discover make a nice bench for me to rest upon. Trees whisper to me: 'dig deep-for nature is wild and unpredictable. Plant yourself, because there is only so much that others can do.' Trees remind me that there is strength in standing alone, and somehow comfort and beauty in the likeness of a grove of family."
comfort, in the likeness of a grove of a family
serenity: "Yes-it's like the poets of Passions
read and listen to the wind in the trees
you will hear what I mean."
-- Interview with Nature Girl --
Serenity: "So, you talk to trees?"
Nature Girl: "Talk" is not a word I use-"communicate" is a better word."
Serenity: "Communicate? Who makes contact first?"
Nature Girl: "I think we sense each other in synchronized time (though they have a longer awareness than I) but I usually open the exchange."
Nature Girl: "The person needs to open the channels first, because the trees are in reserve, content to listen and exist so their time is slower than ours. There are not nearly as many 'tree talkers' about. You have to let them see you, feel your want for connection. As soon as I walk in a forest, I feel a peace about me. If I see a sapling along the road, I can touch it and my hands seem to tingle and spread, growing with the life, with the commune. I think in certain areas, all people are aware of this. For instance, in a reservation not far from my old house, there is a pine grove in the center of the forest, set apart from all other trees. Hikers could be laughing, running, or clowning around, but the instant they approach the pines and step under their cover, all was silent. Everyone felt the whispers in that place; everyone felt the power that I do, whenever I come across ANY tree when I place my hands to it and converse."
Serenity: "Is this something you are born with, or must it be developed?"
Nature Girl: "It was something that I know I was born with. I've always felt that everything around me was alive and speaking; but it is a capacity that one can most certainly develop. I believe that respect and belief are all that one needs. My advice to anyone who decides to 'tree-talk': Find a secluded spot. (As you attune yourself, you will not be a distraction; but as a beginner, it would be wise to isolate yourself for total attention.) It's preferable to find a spot with large, towering trees. These are the most wise and more willingly able to 'talk 'than' sidewalk trees. Touch the tree. Use your hands, your face, sit and place your feet on the bark-it doesn't matter as long as the energy can reach you easily. Close your eyes and clear your mind. Focus on slowing down and 'losing your skin.' Remember that you are simply energy and impulses, blood and flesh, and have descended from single cells to plants to primitive animals. Expand yourself outside of your body.
Now speak with your mind. Words are not necessary. Let your spiritual side 'pull' the answers from the tree, and eventually they will come without any persistence on your part. You may tell the tree your name if you wish, your troubles, your inspiration, or just share the power residing in each of you. Remember that 'tree' language is much, much, slower than any way that most humans communicate. You MUST practice patience and repose. I have done this enough now to walk through a forest and send my thoughts out like a bomb. Often, just a simple 'hello' to all trees that I can see. The forest radiates back to me and protects me. And I always get a 'hello' right back."
Serenity: "What is the wisest thing a tree has ever said to you?"
Nature Girl: "Hmm
this is hard to explain because the answers I get are rarely ever words. Instead, I receive extremely apt feelings or imagery. In the backs of the mountains, where the environment has been affected less, the trees emit an intensity that almost hurts. I can barely imagine what it's like in the center of jungles. There is a sensation of awe, knowledge and age. At times when I've sent out a 'hello', I've been struck so hard it brought tears. A 'wash' of the struggles of the centuries: the torture, the death, the renewing life, the circles
this absolute understanding that, as a human being I can scarcely handle.
As for a direct statement, one instance that comes to mind. I once sent out my 'bomb' and received a warning to 'be careful.' Later that day I almost killed myself on a patch of ice that had frozen over the path. Not only would the drop have been most unpleasant (about a thousand-foot drop) but also I was at an elevation of about 13,000 feet, and could have been stranded. My instincts perked up-especially with the warning in the back of my head-and the extra precaution I adopted turned a possible tumble or a dangerous seclusion into a less significant gash to my leg. Ironically, the prevention, in fact, was my grabbing onto a tree stump! Perhaps not the wisest issue broached, but certainly the most helpful. A motto I developed after that day: 'Trees are our friends.'"
The Whispering Tree
by Linda Bramblett
|The morning drifted softly down and settled 'round my feet
And, thus in gossamer arrayed, my steps did lightly fall
Upon the path which drew me ever forward, ever on
And upward toward that lonely space where only eagles fly.
The forest's lacy silhouette enshrouded me complete,
While floated on the mountain's sigh the periodic call
Of distant thrush, whose sweet refrain but lately woke the dawn.
Each breath I drew was clear and blue; for there, I breathed the sky.
The peaks about assailed the heights with thrusts of jagged stone,
But where I stood, the hand of Time evinced its artistry;
For here, the rock was rendered smooth by touch of wind and rain,
Its roundness stark against the host pressed close and craggy by.
I quailed before that vast brigade, for never more alone
Was I than when I fell beneath their ageless scrutiny:
What hubris does this mortal dare, presuming to remain
Upon this shrine by Nature carved to please the Heaven's eye?
Forever spilled from every stone, the faint but certain sound
Of timelessness left all awash with ancient memory;
And yet, a silence held the space, a gravid hush endured,
Compelling even lawless winds to eerie quietude.
And there, ensconced upon the edge, in challenge to the ground,
There grew a single sapling pine in quiet modesty;
I marveled at this pilgrim's strength, whose meekness had procured
A place on this exalted height, to stand in solitude.
I felt a kinship calling there, a brotherhood of strife
With this unlikely denizen of barren wilderness;
Pariahs both, defiant of the petrous monarchy
Whose edict named this peak a place of venerable death.
There rooted in the hoary stone, from lifeless drawing life,
And worried by unflagging winds, its branches did confess
In whispered tones, the summit's unremembered history:
A hymn of ages, sung upon the mountain's very breath.
I settled close beside the trunk, entranced by this refrain --
So clear, it seemed, when all beside was quiet as the dead -
And through its melody there rang a courage gladly shared:
I feared no more the hostile heights, nor titan's treachery.
For now, the lilt of sylvan-song compelled me to remain
Betwixt the heavens and the earth, where late I feared to tread,
In homage to this humble tree, whose steadfast spirit dared
To steal the secrets of the sky, and whisper them to me.
The Final Word
by Poet deVine
We hope you enjoyed this issue of Digital Passions. Spring is a time to be rejuvenated - so dust off your muse and get ready for the months ahead!
Next month's issue will be a bit different. First, we have a new Editor - Sven! That issue will have Music as a theme - I think you'll enjoy what we've got planned. And in upcoming issues we hope to focus on humor in poetry, patriotic poetry and soon - I hope! - an issue dedicated to and written entirely by children. We've got some things to work out on that so we may not get to it until summer.
As you may know, April is 'National Poetry Month'. It's a great time to promote poetry - read more - write more - share more! I put up a bulletin board where I work and have had lots of wonderful comments on it. What do YOU do to 'celebrate'? I'd like to hear some of your ideas, so drop me a line!
Until next time, keep reading, keep writing and keep smiling! And as always, contact me if you have any questions.
All About Haiku
by Nancy Ness (aka Nan)
It's easy to write haiku, isn't it? The format is simple: We need only write about nature and convey a universal truth, while confining our verse to 17 syllables. Break the 17 syllables into three lines of 5-7-5 each, and we've succeeded. Haven't we? The Japanese forefathers who wrote great poetic works for centuries may not have been inclined to think so.
Haiku is significantly more involved than this simplified rendition.
What could be so difficult? What is so intriguing about Haiku? Furthermore, why are so many poets beginning to write Tanka? What, many still ask, is Senryu? Why are these Japanese poetic formats becoming so increasingly popular in today's Western cultures? To answer these questions, we have to look at the origin and evolution of Japanese poetry.
The appeal of these seemingly simple verses undoubtedly stems from their unique messages that deliver succinct words of wisdom to their readers. A well-written Haiku will incorporate two criteria. It will impart a universal sentiment that relates to all of humanity - in 17 "onji" (Japanese equivalent of syllables) or less, and it will allude thematically in some way to nature.
It's often difficult, though, to translate specific poetry from one language to another without losing some of its intrinsic ambience. Adapting Japanese poetry to English is a classic example of this principle. Japanese verse is primarily syllabic rather than metered or rhymed. The commonality of word endings in Japanese would make the concept of rhyming much to simplistic for the mature reader.
Inherent differences in the two languages hinder a smooth translation of poetry. Unlike English, Japanese is inclined to adhere to very succinct verbiage, thereby using very few syllables to say a great deal. Proper Japanese grammar also permits the interchanging of word order where English does not. The result of these syntactical differences is that writing in English is significantly more restrictive. English syllables inherently contain more information than Japanese, resulting in a verse of the same onji or syllable count being much more profuse.
The structure of Haiku, is infinitely more flexible in the Japanese language than its English counterpart. Most Japanese poetry is comprised of verse that involves some combination of five and seven onji lines. Historically, Japanese Haiku were written on one line - composed of two major parts of varying lengths, such as 5-12, 12-5, 8-9, 9-8, 7-10, or 10-7 onji. Properly written, each line of Japanese poetry carries an odd number of onji.
Modern day Western versions of Haiku differ somewhat from the original classic format. The ultimate "English Haiku" challenge is to write effective verse in fewer syllables than the standard 17. The Western writer must make a choice. If he/she opts to conform to the rigid structure of form, then a 17 syllable Haiku will adhere to the Japanese onji format. If one prefers to adapt to the doctrine of brevity, an abbreviated version is genre of choice.
Contemporary haiku writers are now penning their verse in 3-5-3 format as well. These 11 syllables more closely approximate the same Japanese message using a total of 17. Some brave Western poets have attempted to narrow down their syllable count even further to a 2-3-2 pattern, but usually find that effective writing on this level is difficult within English grammar constraints. Unlike Japanese renditions, rearranging English syllables would alter the intended meaning of most short verses.
Try as we may, we just can't have it both ways. The trend of contemporary English-Haiku seems to be spurning the constrictions of tight form in favor of brevity, further affecting the evolution of the contemporary American Haiku
Although Haiku was the first of its kind to find its way to the Western world, it's merely one of many Japanese variations of the 5-7 poetic form. Numerous variations have developed over the centuries, and a select few have recently begun to permeate contemporary Western literary culture. Tanka is becoming quite a well-known poetic form in today's literary world, with Senryu following dutifully behind. These poetic forms, of course, are preceded by many others
According to researchers of ancient Japanese poetry, the Katauta is recognized as their "basic unit of poetry." It incorporates a 5-7-7 onji format, or a total of 19 syllables. It has a specific rhythm and takes the form of either posing a question or giving an answer.
An expanded version of Katauta is used in both the Mondo and the Sedoka, which duplicate the syllabic pattern with 5-7-7-5-7-7, a total of 38 onji. The Mondo has.two distinct parts. First a question is posed, then a subsequent answer is written by a separate author. A distinct rhythm break occurs in the middle of this structure where the question and answer join. Sedoka is similar to a Mondo in that it also consists of two parts (one pair) of Katauta. The difference is that Sedoka were written by a single author and did not generally consist of a question and answer part.
Senryu is rapidly gaining popularity in the Western culture. Surprisingly, poets who consider themselves to be writing Haiku are frequently penning Senryu. The criteria for this format are similar to Haiku, but Senryu doesn't necessarily have to impart its message through an allusion to nature. The theme is totally optional.
Tanka is rapidly gaining popularity in the Western literary world as well. Of all the poetic forms ever written by the Japanese, Tanka adheres most rigidly to form in terms of structure. It requires 31 onji, and is divided into 5 lines of 5-7-5-7-7 onji each. Tanka, in its classical format, could also incorporate a variety of subjects.
Originally, Tanka were divided rhythmically at the end of the 12th onji with a new rhythm beginning at the 13th. Later, these poems were rhythmically divided at the end of the 17th. Modern Tanka utilizes either rhythmic version. Thematic approaches are optional, but a rhythmic division is still an important factor.
Tanka's advantage is that it allows the poet to delve further into themes that would be too longspun for Haiku to handle. Very rarely can Tanka, Haiku, or Senryu written in 17 or 31 respective English syllables be written properly to acquire the effect that the Japanese can do with their onji. To compensate, Western Tanka writers frequently choose to adapt a more concise version of 3-5-3-5-5 syllables, maintaining consistency in rhythmic format.
The most intricate Japanese poetic format is the Choka, the long poem. Its structure consists of 5-7-5-7-5-7-5-7-5-(any number of repetitions)-7-7 onji lines, and the poem itself can span any overall length. Choka are frequently known to exceed 100 lines. In spite of the succinct nature of the onji, many Choka correlate to epics in their extensive presentation.
Japanese poetry as a whole is certainly forging a Westward literary path. It can be enjoyed equally by both young and old
for its auditory appeal as well as its universal wisdom. It remains in its infancy in the English-speaking world, however. As I found when I began my research, there's much, much more to learn. Japanese works are perhaps the most succinct form of poetry in the world, yet we could write endless volumes about them
These wonderful Japanese forms are rarely found in Western textbooks about formatted poetry. It's no surprise, then, that Westerners don't have a true understanding of their intrinsic nature. Haiku, along with its counterparts are perhaps the most ancient forms of poetry; yet they are likely also among the most under-rated and misunderstood poetic forms of our day.
There are understandably differing opinions about the "proper" way to write these wonderful poetic forms. Those traditionalists who think that retaining the classic Japanese style is most important are totally committed to their stance. Contemporary liberals who believe that adaptations are appropriate are equally as dogmatic in their opinions. Who's right? I feel that the answer lies completely and subjectively within the mind of the writer
or perhaps the reader
Haiku and Senryu
Selected by Sven/Temptress
by Heng Kaile
|Clothed in snow,
I see Cherry blossoms and brown leaves
As twilight falls
by Maria Byrne
|Perfect crescent shape,
Fading in a starry mist,
Stand down to new moon.
by Moon Dust
|Goodbye to winter,
Spring beckons a new life,
But I won't forget.
Three Senryu for D
by Michael G
|Moments that complete
Of a summers rain falling
Bringing us as one.
by Heather (aka Xangel)
cool gentle breezes
|Old rain crusted snow
polished by southern night winds
Rabbit waits for Spring
Spirit of the Forest
|A place in dark woods
Some mysterious unknown
Drops of honey touch
See your face on the water
Hear wind rustle trees
Smell some intangible place
Taste life in the air
In wonderous distant realms
bake in springs tender oven
warm as lemon pie
Midnight Lake Haiku
by Moon Dust
|Dusty sparkle stars,
Rippling along crystal,
Mirroring night sky.
Selected by Marge Tindal
Tanka - Fluttering Fancy Free
by Marge Tindal
From cocoon now surrendered
Flitting amongst the flowers
Finding freedom's wings at last
Tanka - Spring
|Sweet fragrance of spring
within blossom of green youth
sparkles of new life
kaleidoscope of colors
tickled by gentle sunbeams
Tanka - Gray Moods
|Gravity of clouds
draws a song within gray moods
teardrops falling down
leaves a trace of shattered light
gentle waves will soothe my mind
Selected by Sven
To See the Winter
|Can I count the stars
on a starless night
In the silence of winter
by the window's frosted light
When you come to me
like the first time
will we watch the snowflakes fall
through the footprints will we remember
will we remember at all?
Can we trace the warmth that melted
like angels in the snow
Can we see the winter you loved me
a long time ago
Will your skin melt against me
like it did in seasons before
Will the beauty be recaptured
to see the winter once more
Can I tell you I still love you
after all he faded years
Can you hold me like you used to
will you melt the frosted tears
Can we trace the warmth that melted
like angels in the snow
Can we see the winter you loved me
...a long time ago.
Whispers through the Willows
|The willows sway gently
with the summer breeze
Whispering winds softly stroke
the willows leaves
Gentle winds whisper secrets
only the willow knows
Whispering winds only travel
where the willow grows
To softly whisper through the willows
secrets never told
The whispering wind knows his secrets
the willow will always hold
Arctic Winter Whispers
|Harp Seals are kissing
On blankets of downy white
|an intruding beep
an inanimate message
"the sky is clear tonight"
to exasperating existence
by overbearing obligations
I marveled at how
you found your delight
in the distant stars,
not remotely relevant
to our lives
Rose Petal Dreams
|I see myself sliding
into a pool of rose petals.
Silky, exquisitely soft
they caress my skin.
Scarlet and mauve stains of love
I am surrounded
by intoxicating fragrance.
I am immersed in cool, delicious, seductive,
intricate bits of breathless flowers.
If you pass by
at just the right time
you can join me
Rain Inspired Tears
by Melissa Honeybee
|My tears are not pain
but merely reflections of
the rainfall outside
The Storm and The Ocean
|Thunder Storms were then,
Though now the spatters seem thin,
Still they flood my heart.
Poems on Life
Selected by Marge Tindal
by Laura Mason
|Whispering willows in the wind,
Throughout their calm, majestic leaves,
Breathe a sigh of unspoken tales,
Fables of hangings and murder plots,
The love-affairs of courting couples,
Names on bark entwined for love,
Sleeping beasts awaken at dawn,
Burrowing to the surface skin,
But at night, how she sleeps,
Her slow steady process,
Growing, receiving and giving new hope,
Where she falls, others will succeed,
Her place overturned in the,
Circle of life.
The Fruit That Fell
by Celia Moodie
Flat with fallen fruit
Bruised - Folded
and matted I
n your shadow.
Behind your head
With your wild eye
At the mottled light
Of clouds and sun
You are hungry.
But the fruit is fallen
And you will never Starve.
So you leave the fruit
Where it will surely rot.
Browning the grass
For another season.
I stand behind another tree
And watch you.
I touch the rough bark
With my cheek.
I am hungry too
But I have eaten that fruit.
Soft and wet in the grass.
Tasting of moss-green
I hallucinate from the
Wild forest floor
As I reach for you
My arms extend - retract -
I cannot touch you.
Starved as I am
My body falls
And I sound like a tree
In the woods.
That no one hears
Have you Ever Traveled Down Nature's Road?
by Teresa King (aka netswan)
|Have you ever been out to sea
on a moonlit night with the fresh salty breeze?
Have you ever stepped into a forest, and if
you did, how far would you travel until you were in?
Have you ever wondered during your nature trips
if the quiet, silent forest would have sound, if you
were not around?
Have you ever yodeled off atop a mountain,
to the echoing valley below?
Did you stop during your singing to
smell the cold glistening snow?
Have you ever been out camping to
wake ravenous and have to build a fire?
Have you ever found that certain secret spot
that only you admire?
Have you ever slept out at night under
the scintillating stars? Did you ever wonder
how many planets there actually really are?
Have you ever passed a graveyard and wondered
what death was all about? Or stopped your car
along a lonely road to pick some litter up?
Have you ever sailed a ship, or swam the
sea or dived off a cliff? Have you ever
gone to cut a tree and heard its piteous cry?
Have you ever seen a cactus laughing at the
scalding sun? Or touched a rattle snake
just for a little dangerous fun?
Have you ever questioned if the moon and sun
are suppose to be a pair? Or, do they both shine
brightly searching eagerly everywhere?
Have you ever tasted the pouring rain upon your
curious tongue? Or, did you ever climb a teetering
ladder and stand on its highest rung?
Have you ever stood waiting for the sun, then suffered from the heat?
Did you ever watch the rain and appreciate a storm?
Did you ever have the chance to help a stranger
who was calling in distress? Or, did you ever write
a traveling nature poem at someone's request?
Have you ever likened a precious plant to a well nurtured child?
Or wonder if a weed is like the child who grew up wild?
The plant that is tended and guarded with all that special care,
is the one that roots up easiest
as it was not prepared.
Delighting In Mother Nature For The Moment
by Ellen Ware (aka Cerenity)
|I peer out into the valley below
calm and serene the mood.
Mother Nature's beauty is getting
ready to unleash its vast
Heavy dense fog settles at the
lowest points, the rain has
subsided and the sediments drop
in unison off all that may
The song birds chatter of the
storms passing and announce
the plentiful bounty blessed
The fawn in all her splendor
strolls paths worn from
yesterdays gone by.
The larger of the feathered
species are perched fine-tuning
their plumage readying
themselves for flight.
Off in the distance a dog
barking, it echoes through
the valley becoming fainter by
the moment until gone
I sit peaceful and rested,
my gaze not fixed on any one
thing, absorbing the tranquillity
so freely offered.
Totally in awe at the beauty
all around me, so much
so it brings tears of jubilation
to my soul.
Knowing that like all of Gods
creatures for the moment
finding delight in the sheer
beauty that nature provides
we all have our own destinations
as time does not stand still.
So this brief moment of joy
and thankfulness is now ending,
I have placed its memory in
my heart so as to return in times
Never do I bid farewell to
Mother Nature's gifts
completely for I carry a multitude
of treasured moments, for this is
what sustains me.
by Tara Bassler (aka RosePetals25)
|The sun rises in the brisk morning air
as the world slowly begins to awaken.
Dew kissed leaves softly sparkle,
shining in the new day's light.
White clouds fill the baby blue skies,
soft and light, in all shapes and sizes.
The sunlight shines down from overhead,
casting shadows that swirl and dance.
The day goes on as the daylight dims
and twilight settles over the land.
Brilliant colors fill the gradually darkening skies
Blues, pinks, lavenders, and oranges
Like fingers reaching towards the heavens.
Do you ever stop and look around
Take the time to see the beauty
That surrounds us everyday
Selected by Kathleen (aka Irish Rose)
by Lone Wolf
|The brilliant sunshine begins to fade
As the beach is covered in cool shade
The sky takes on a glowing hue
Of purple, pink, orange, and blue
Swirling together to form
The aftermath of the storm
No one thought they would ever glow
Unified in nature's wondrous show
Before the shelter of the bay
Which is peaceful and calm today
Not a wave is in sight
As daylight gives way to night
I sit in awe of God's great masterpiece
Its beauty grants my soul release
The bonds of sin are freed from me
I turn my life over to thee
Do with me as you will
Take my cup and drink your fill
The shackles that once held my hands
Are vanquished into grains of sand
No longer tormenting my life
I have conquered their awful strife
Banishing them to the past
Where all my worries shall be cast
I walk now proud and tall
Within the sanctuary of these walls
You walk here by my side
No reason left to fear or hide
Total trust is placed in you
For you know what I've been through
You have seen my heart's true tone
Meant for only you alone
Grant me the strength to persevere
Month after month, year after year
In your house I shall dwell
The glory of your deeds I'll tell
Following wherever you lead
Your call I'll always heed
My garment has been purified
Evil's chains have been defied
Heaven is on the distant shore
Through him we receive the key to the door
His Hope Lies Deep in Earth and Heart
by Ellie LeJeune
|I've planted the bulbs,
deep in the earth for next spring.
I could feel Springs hope,
though winter is surely near.
So His Hope lies in our hearts.
The Pasture Pond
by Karilea Rilling Jungel (aka Sunshine)
|There is the 160, and to the
northwest corner in a sheltered area
lies a small
pond, primarily north and southern laid,
a drainage area succumbing at
the northern end from too much rain,
the furthermost corner of the
dammed area eroding away.
To reach the pond you must go over two
swells of elevated native country,
not hills, just swells,
enough to lift you high at the top to see
and view the Smoky Hills.
Indian country. Virgin land.
Just you and me.
Once at the pond, we can slide rocks over the
frozen waters, and test the ice with our boots,
give it more weight,
hear a cracking and step back.
Not cold enough to slide across
fear holds us back, we've
never known how really deep the pond
and don't want to find out now.
Wait a moment.
Spring's rains dissolve the iciness of winter
and warmer weather starts the pond to
green, bubbling, warm sun growing
algae, with bobbing eyes of half-morphed
tadpoles blinking, sinking, popping up over
see? Step into the worn ruts
left from last summer's cow's tracings
to the edge of the pond,
kick the sand a
bit with your booted toe, and watch the
red ants swarm. Cattails are beginning,
Wait a moment.
Summer erupts the pond into cattails brown tops
and squirrels chittering along the bank,
and bugs, water bugs dancing,
skimming the pond's surface
and down the frog's throat.
Now skim small rocks, flat rocks,
make them dance
and plop. Plop. Plop.
A bit of moss clings to the edge of the water
and you walk softly there, to not scare
....croack.... splash, splish, frogs
hear you anyway, and dive, dive safely.
The weeping willow lends a long trunk outward
over the pond, enough to sit on and gaze out
on the shimmering pond's
eyes of toads, frogs and perhaps a turtle
floating in the middle.
Wishing for a small boat.
Just for the heck of it. Heads disappear. Pop
back up. Croaking.
Look toward the pond's south end,
a blue heron standing.
Still. Silent. Solitary.
Ducks overhead, waiting for us to
Wait a moment.
Rest begins. Water lower, scum gone,
cooler mornings, lazy afternoons of fall
Cattails effervesced into
fuzzy white puffs of seed
waiting for scattering winds.
reflections on blue water
from the cottonwoods, elms,
birch, and hedgetrees. Quiet. A frog, huge now,
croaking deeper, lonely, only the one? No answer.
Cows on the rise,
watching you, waiting for you to leave.
Come with me. You've seen the seasons of the pond.
Selected by Karen A. Hood (aka serenity)
|About the poem: So I took my knowledge, written notes, and walked down to the pond. There, beneath the shade of a friendly oak tree, I took my refuge in his shadow. I rested in crook of roots grown gnarly---in caress of a timeless oak, and brought my pen to read again, in hopes that I could understand a thing that should be read twice.
The Hanging Oak
by Karen A. Hood (aka serenity)
|It was nice beneath the Oak-
all of my ducks came out to play.
Upon the pond, in paddled wild-
I read my notes and all they said.
As I grasped my highlight pen
to underscore, scored words again.
I heard a whispering from Oak
" spoke he, in breezes fluid.
"Tell me, are you,
are you, a Druid?"
"Excuse me?" was startled response.
"Are you Druid-or are you not?"
" I KNOW you do not speak to me."
I spoke aloud unto the tree.
The leaves then rattled in response.
"I know , I know that you are not."
"How can ye know what I do not?
Who tells my answer in response?"
"I am answers-evertold
yellow sun within-
I am the speckles
that make gold
Reflections of the sun made bold."
I am shining deep--chagrin,
The sparkled bold of gold tooth grin
I asked him then, "within roots time?
How long to sour in sweet wine?
Of all of your unpleasantries-
Tell me, what's the worst you've seen?"
The oak then shook and rattled leaves
And told me hatred unrelieved,
About a mankind hanging fruit
And bodies hanging, taking root
and eerie shadows on the ground
They leave an echo without sound
The legs that weave a dangling web,
In rock of sway of ever-ebb
Persistence in the rock of sway
Persistence in the ground of gray
"Why do you stand?
Why you not play?"
"I'm grounded." Spoke
the Oak, dismayed
A silhouette, in dawn of me-
And drawn? Forsake my blasphemy.
Never will I take my leave
The day an oak tree spoke to me.
|About the poem: Linda Bramblett is among my favorite poets at Passions. I have followed her postings from the first reading of her work. Read on, as it is quite evident why this is so. Her grace and artistry with the written word is an accomplishment that I can only aspire to. Here is what Linda had to say about her work and the following selection:
"These sonnets were inspired by the same rush of emotions that inspires any of my poetry ... in this case, it was a reawakening of hope and life after a long period of solitude and (though I had not before realized it) loneliness. It was a turbulent time in my life; a time of great change, and not all of it good.
I suppose it was a stubborn exercise of will to tame this proverbial whirlwind into the strictures of 'sonnet-hood'. Perhaps it helped me to put my feelings into a less frantic perspective. Perhaps it was simply my way of convincing myself that SOME portion of my runaway existence made sense, at least in the sense that it could be made into something beautiful and, thankfully, predictable.
It was once suggested that I "think in iambic pentameter..." I would like to state, for the record, that such is not the case. I do, however, have a great respect for structured poetry, and I have found that there is a great deal of satisfaction to be had in achieving, in form at least, what the "poetic greats" of the past that we so admire made possible with their wit and skill. It is but my privilege to aspire."
by Linda Bramblett
|A barren waste, a stretch of sterile soil,
A blemish on the spirit's solemn face:
So waxed my heart in wake of treason's toil,
For I had labeled it forbidden place.
No more would I entreat the luscious green
Which only served the serpent's form to hide;
No longer would provide pastoral scene
Where thorns of harsh betrayal might abide.
And yet, your winsome smile hath placed its seed
Without intent, upon that vacant earth,
And fed with quiet hopes and secret need,
A bud of rarest splendor found its birth.
Such tender grace doth blooming Love impart
When nurtured in the gardens of the heart!
If aught is truth in reaping what you sow,
Then I should find my soul an endless field
With seas of swaying blossoms all aglow,
For such a fertile hope hast thou revealed
In me, with but a brush of gracious hand,
That I suspect my cup shall overflow,
And spill my joy upon the thirsty land
To further urge my passion's seed to grow.
I shall in wonder stand, my soft regard
So rapt upon this wondrous verdancy,
And there remain, until my spirit's yard
Hath overgrown with you, and swallowed me.
A monument I'll stand, with blissful face,
Entwined in evergreen of Love's embrace.
|About the poem: My next selection is by Maree Russo. Her style of free verse, while sometimes "dark" is poignantly sad and graciously beautiful. She also has my full admiration, as free verse is a style that escapes me. Here is what Maree had to say about her poem:
"Well the poem basically says it all, that a person would live the rush of love, or that particular love, that is why the use of that metaphor, "the River". When you love someone you will put up with the high tides and low tides upstream or down. That a person will reside there like a water bird."
You, A River
by Maree Russo
fields and woodland
here I reside
Like a swan
the rise and fall
of you, I struggle to feed
and survive from
the banks of
I'll travel your waters
like a water-bird
I will live
A Certain Perfect Disarray
by Karen A. Hood (aka serenity)
|Apple-mint sprigs, tiny leaves
unfold to sun in ancient prayer--
Ever strives to meet perfection...
Lemon tree in bloom this year.
How perfectly ironic.
Blossoms fall--lemon drops--
Heady scent--seductive tonic--
a certain perfect disarray...
think I'll let it stay that way...
(Some things should be
just what they are.)
Broad-leaf fern, pine-apple sage,
rose-in-bud, "Society's Page,"
(she used to be all the rage.)
spears of iris by the pond
and just the slightest curve of palm
behind the waterfall--
White ginger standing tall
and pots of basil
hunger for planting
bringing out an ache in me--
ever wistful--ever wanting--
a shovel full of upturned earth
droplets of rain, quenching thirst.
"Gentle hands are needed here,"
said the breeze into my ear.
"Ssshhh..." It whispered me aware.
Selected by Lone Wolf
The Moon My Friend
by YeshuJah Malikk
|Hunkered amidst remnants of day turned dusk,
I nurse a split along the edges of my mind
and stare at yonder rising moon.
A slight breeze spreads waving palms
upon the canvas of my reprieve,
their movements one with crickets song
and firefly pirouettes;
neighbors present their evening hellos
their shadows tossed upon fences,
long and lean, as through the eyes
of a moon lover seen.
I hear the call of this soft light,
drink deeply of its unsatisfying draught,
yet inebriated by its dreamy flavors
wrapped around the openings of my mind..
at evenings end,
I greet the moon my friend.
The Hush Of Night
by Shawn P. Sharkey
|Listen to the hush of night
Creatures scurry here and there
But there is a loud crescendo
Of the orchestra of
Listen to the hush of night
Stop, Breathe, absorb
The emotion of the dark
As nature's creatures talk
Listen to the hush of night
And you'll hear your name
Spoken on the waves of wind
As your troubles flow away
Listen to the hush of night
Could it be that animals
Can serenade one another
Expressing love in foreign verse
Listen to the hush of night
And you could hear the call
Of a friend in need who
Is calling you heart to heart
Listen to the hush of night
As night merges to day
The orchestra plays a great
Masterpiece for its encore
Listen to the hush of night
Be as attentive as you can
The creature's voices fade
As they bid you come again by
I Wish For You
by Marilyn Gordon
|I wish for you...
I wish for you a rainbow
With your own pot of gold.
I wish for you a cloudless sky
And happiness untold.
I wish for you an ocean breeze
And balmy summer days.
I wish for you to be assured
That you are loved always.
I do not wish a perfect life.
An earthly life has flaws.
I do not wish a straight smooth road,
But curves and hills, because
I wish for you adventures
And dreams that never end.
And most of all I wish for you
Love, joy and peace, my friend.
by Denise Snyder
|Serenity floods through my soul today;
A canvas splashed with memories sublime
Transports me to those shores of grand Cape May
To childhood, back to that simpler time.
Beside the oceanside is found release
Completely I am cleansed from cleaving stress
Awash in tides of ever-flowing peace
Immersed in God's creative timelessness.
Upon the rocks crescendos mighty crash
Gulls swoop and soar in glee above each crest
In reverie amidst the foam I splash
On velvet sand, sun-kissed, I find true rest.
Enchantment is the gift the artist brings
Enraptured by each stroke my spirit sings.
by Seymour Tabin
|Where is that moon...I used to know?
With butter yellow...afterglow?
That listened...to my every sigh?
Where has it gone...where does it lie?
That magic sphere...paramours dear
It shines I swear...but know not where.
How have the years...made me so blind?
Where is that moon...where is that mind?
That rare mystic...that alchemy?
That lovers seek...of revelry
The keeper of...my secret store
That golden Magi...lovers core
That magic lantern...light of trance
The light of love...that made us dance
The glory of...the flowers lie
How did it droop...how did it die?
I stand and stare...and search the moon
The sky is bare...It is high noon.
A Tree That Cried
by Bill Charles
|Have you ever seen a tree crying,
when the morning sun,
melts the dew
I saw it very plainly that autumn day,
so please take a look,
and perhaps you'll see it too
When it's leaves drop, I believe they're tears,
like mine that keep falling,
from my eyes
And the sap that flows through its bark,
is the same as my heart,
bleeding, from too many cries
I know that there must be some correlation,
with this tree that has feelings,
so much like mine
There must be an attachment to share our pain,
and to be sad together,
with neither one being fine
Perhaps there is something I haven't realized,
that maybe a tree can show its emotions too
But I'm very aware that my being, has almost died,
as I sit here with my friend, a tree,
'A Tree That Cried', as I
Things to Remember - Memories in Haiku
|wintered air breathed in
nervous glances pass between
just before lips meet
by winter raindrops flowing
or perhaps by tears
such a cold damp day
and then a warm winter night
lives of irony
open road ahead
under threatening winter sky
we must say good-bye
Selected by Javier Agosto (aka Dopey_Dope)
My Shining Star
by Valerie Arsenault (aka sugarpie313)
|My shining star burns bright in the dark sky,
And anywhere I go it's sure to catch everyone's eye.
With a smile that could light up a thousand nights,
And the courage to fly to undiscovered heights.
To help and protect me in everything I do,
You're the one to help me make it through.
With open ears and a heart that stays true,
You know what to say when I'm feeling blue.
The way you read my mind and always see,
Just how I wanted every thing to be.
You looked past the outside, viewing the real me,
And took out of my life all the uncertainty.
The uncertainty I had of years to come,
you showed me who I could get help from.
You would be my guide and let me lean on you some,
And show me that sometimes you just need to have fun.
You know exactly when to let down your guard,
And to only keep fighting when things start to look hard.
I want you to stay in my life and never go far
For you are my one, and only, shining star.
Death of Bitter Hands
by Dark Enchantress
|Death of Bitter Hands
Remind me of moons
and milk and honey.
Pour it over me,
preserve some purity
and we find
even hearts of stone
can crack open wide.
In the shadows
of the cave
can you see stars?
They remind us that
we can go so very far
And in my endless gaze
without a blink,
you must remember that I
wouldn't change a thing.
Mistress of Rose Fields
by Javier Agosto (aka Dopey_Dope)
|"Mistress of Rose Fields, beware thy speech.
Tis Whispering Meadows, a secret leach.
Crouch down and speak, yet lightly still
Thou dost not want a Meadow to thrill.
Ever so softly grant me thy tale.
Be slow, yet steady. My mind to fail.
In left ear, not right. Tell me now,
Whisper thy plight of where and how."
Time elapsed, the tavern was cold.
Mistress of Rose Fields, her secret told.
Whispering Meadow lay in shock on floor
Exclaiming, "Halt! Please stop, no more!"
Yet still, she went on, and on she pressed.
Meadow lay dead, in motionless blessed
With eyes wide open, and mouth closed tight.
His mind in fear, in fear of fright.
Tears ran down Mistress cheek.
Uttered a secret that made her weak.
Fell to the floor in a weary spill,
Yet continued on, no fear of kill.
She finished herself with one, short phrase.
Said it softly and within a haze,
"Tis what happens when we blindly see,
I turned my back on love, on thee."
|Taken by the waves
crash landed on heaven
broken on impact
it could never be saved
Yet it got there
it made its trip
it arrived at its destination
that is all that matters
The course brought him
closer and closer.
he reached eternal grace.
he won the race.
Crash landed on heaven
broken on impact
it could never be saved,
but that was just the vessel anyway.
Thee Lost Woods
by Angel in Flight
|I saunter unhindered
through the shadows,
as malignity swells up inside.
My eyes are wide shut yet
the rage will not hide.
The forest of iniquity,
clutches my breath.
I ultimately grasp ...
I'm in the lost woods of death!!!
I rampage though the leaves
to attempt to get out.
I am plundering through
my distinctive perturbation of doubt.
The ebony ink commences to devour my soul...
My spirit was seized ...
just let it go.
I collapsed to the dust
from the feebleness
of my treacherous plight.
The trees covered my remains
and I no longer had the STAMINA
the WILL POWER
r the HEART
to finish my fight.
I realized something
as one solitary tear
shattered the ground,
On that mystical and vaporous night
I had found;
I was not ever
in the lost woods of death ...
But rather ...
my own horrendous stone walls of flesh.
by Karen A. Hood (aka serenity)
My father is a gentle man, with an odd sense of humor. He takes his time to play his pranks, and crafts his work, most patiently. It can be seen behind his eyes, if one would know the signs to seek. A humor glazes across his eyes as he pretends to hear you speak.
And all the while, he's crafting wiles, with a secret smile on face. And if, and when he chooses speech? You learn to listen carefully. My father is a special man-a man who loves to torment squirrels. So now, herein, lays a bushy tale - as told to me, by my mom. And I promise? Dad would deny every word.
We worried when he retired. We were unsure if there was enough at home to keep him amused. After watching him take to his garden with gusto, we breathed a sigh of relief. But now, after hearing this story, I fear he may be going a little "nuts."
Dad likes his coffee, and cigarettes, neither of which is on his diet. So he wakes before my mother does (which is not hard to do) and partakes of both, and sits outside to watch the dew diminish in the rising sun. His yard is just a kingdom of palm and flowers misconstrued. Plantings here and there, obscure---all looking quite at home. It's paradise.
I asked him once, about marigolds
"How do you make them grow do big?" He grinned at me and stomped his foot upon the plant we gazed upon. "That's what I do
" and he giggled. (It is a lovely thing to hear a grown man giggle.) But then he furthermore explained, about how much stronger a planting grows from strain
and how with every healed sinew, a new strength is created-and how every new wound survived creates a bigger bloom's surprise. My father knows of what he speaks. He's cheated death repeatedly.
But on this morning he was at rest. His coffee brewed and steaming, and his cigarette in curl of his beloved smoke, in his own hand-carved ashtray. He sat, and listened to a morning song, the wrens, and robins, all of the birdsong. And then he heard annoying scurry. A squirrel - a RAT with a tail too furry -scurrying now across the fence, across the planks of redwood and then so brave as to cross the street to capture a nut from the neighbor's pecan tree. Then my father watched him scurry back to his nest in the pine, stockpiling to ward off lack. And then again, the squirrel was brave. He dared to go again and save another nut yet from the tree. My dad watched and waited patiently.
He watched this squirrel run back and forth. In total greed with no remorse - from pine, to fence to street to tree, and back again, becoming bolder with each foray. Finally Dad could take no more. He watched the squirrel with one nut more, crossing yet again his sacred fence; and no more could he put off the suspense. My quiet dad stood up and yelled
."BWAHAHAHA!" ---the poor squirrel was so startled that he fell from the fence, and dropped the pecan as he fell.
My daddy smiled-and stole the pecan.
And? It is with my father's grin and much fondness that I state: "The fruit does not fall far from the tree."
(A true story, no matter WHAT he says, written with much love to Dad - from "squirrel number "five.")