The Muse Despairs – A Quadrille

In a cavern

My muse languishes.

Beside her

A broken paddle,

And smashed frame.

Her voice blusters,

A construct of words without meaning

The how of creation

Forgotten in the wake of her shipwreck.

Without poetry,

My muse readies herself

For the long goodnight.

This photo was taken somewhere in Nevada – we had stopped at a place with underground caverns.
The coolness was a relief from the heat outside. I can’t remember the name now, but I remember the feeling.

A double achievement today – and maybe proof that my muse is alive and well! First, this poem which was inspired by De Jackson’s dVerse Monday Quadrille prompt to write a poem of 44 words incorporating the word “muse.” I have to admit, I had forgotten it was quadrille Monday and had written a lovely yet longer poem which I then had to cut down to 44 words. Hopefully, I chose the right 44 words to keep!

Secondly, I am almost caught up with keeping my streak for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge! Well, if a streak could zig zag and backtrack and then move forward…what do you say, Patrick? I’ve incorporated #296 – Bluster, #288 – Wakes, #282 – Cavern, #281 – Paddle, #280 – Construct, #279 – Frame, #278 – Creation and #276 – Poetry. As a blogger, consistency is key so I am quite proud of my efforts in keeping this streak going.

The muse may be despairing in this quadrille, however, I have to admit, I am feeling quite the opposite. Maybe it’s because it’s a new year…maybe it’s because I am writing again and reconnecting with all of you and reading all the wonderful bloggers that I have missed in the past few months…maybe it’s because I have also started running again….maybe it’s because all these maybes mean potential and potential is hope…and if ever there was a better muse to muse about, it would be Hope.

©️ 2022 iido

The Encounter – A Double Nonet

Struggling so hard to grow in this world

Reaching and stretching to the sun

Pushing between the stone cracks

Swaying in the warm breeze

Standing tall and free

Fragrant beauty

Beckoning

A touch

Sweet

Small

Tender

Curious

With gentleness

Feeling nature’s strength 

Wrapped in delicate green

Pink softness walks quietly

Whiskered and furry ball of purr

Sharing in a similar struggle

Image credit: Dimhou @ Pixabay
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a black and white kitten playing with a green flower-bearing shoot growing in between the paving stones.

This adorable photo from Sadje’s What Do You See # 115 inspired this double nonet. I thought the form lent itself to the idea of a meeting between two different entities.

Writing this poem made me think a lot about other encounters I have had in the past years and how they’ve changed. Making small talk with a stranger used to be so easy, but now, this act seems “risky,” fraught with suspicion and caution. Do I strike up a conversation with the unmasked person in line with me? How do I do that if they can’t see my smile behind my mask? How do we signal to each other that we are open, “curious with gentleness” – that we want to get to know them and not to judge them? Tenderness and compassion seem to be in such short supply lately. When will we realize that we all share in a similar struggle?

©️ 2022 iido

Resolution – A Haibun

There is no chill in the air despite the manger-as-cradle being filled by The Babe. Maybe this was the real climate during the first Noel? Mary and Joseph traveled to the rocky hills of Bethlehem in Palestine where she gave birth to Jesus Christ – hills covered in dry, scratchy sand and small grasses not soft wet snow.

I wonder if they ever looked back – to see what they were leaving behind, to realize how far they’ve come. Or did they only look forward, to the hope of what – of who – was to come?

On this warm December day, I must look back before I can look forward to new beginnings. Otherwise I fear the unintended and unwanted irony that could result. I feel the sweat forming on my brow as I imagine what this next year might bring. 

Outbound Old Year laughs

With relief or craziness

Cautious New Year starts

This photo was taken on our cross country in 2016, somewhere between CA and UT.

I wrote this poem last week when we were still in December 2021 for Go Dog Go Cafe’s Haibun Wednesday and for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #295 Chill, #294 Travel, #293 Cradle, #292 Rocky, #291 Beginnings and #290 Outbound. I need to catch up on Patrick’s challenge to continue my streak (hope it’s still valid even after my hiatus!).

This is Day 3 of 2022 – so far, it’s gone well. I never really write down resolutions but my daughters have started to write their goals for the year and have checked it off as they have accomplished them. They both successfully completed most of their goals from 2021.

I have to admit that I have never written out a list of goals – interesting, right? Why not? Did I not have dreams that I strived for? Did I have no vision for myself growing up? Thinking back, I don’t think I did. I never really thought about what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do; I never even really thought about getting married and having a family. I always thought that life – or God – would just lead me where I was meant to go.

One thing for sure though – I never felt disappointed in my life. How can I be disappointed by not reaching a goal when I didn’t have any goals to reach? Some would call this being an under-acheiver…or being naive about how life works…. I would call it being trusting….is that a goal or a resolution to have or to change for 2022?

©️ 2022 iido

Candle – An Acrostic Poem

Compassionate

Answers

Not

Denial

Lessens

Errors

May this candle lead us to a better 2022.

A lovely photo from Sadje’s What Do You See #114 to bring inspiration, motivation and hope for the new year.

Light has always been the remedy of darkness, it’s heat keeping the cold at bay. My one resolution this year is to be a better candle. How can we be better candles this year?

© iido 2022

Away in a Manger – A Haiku

Stars covered my sins

Beyond all recognition

The Baby awakes

One of my “new babies” with our Christmas Tree…

A more hopeful haiku for you today inspired by Devereaux Frasier’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go cafe to use the phrase “my sins beyond” in a form of writing.

As we near the new year, I’ve been reading many posts and articles about looking back on 2021 and saying what was good and bad about it. As I’m looking back on this past year, I’ve decided that the question I’m going to as myself is: what have I learned this past year?

Whether experiences have provided a good result or a bad result, both these type of experiences bring learning, something new about yourself, about another person or about a situation that you might not have known before. To me, that could be more valuable than judging whether an experience is good or bad.

What have you learned this year?

© 2021 iido

The Holy Innocents – A Poem

On a silent night

They came

Destroying the calm

With the rattle of armour 

And the swish of steel 

They killed as ordered by their jealous and insecure king

On a silent night

They slept

From the crook of Mother’s arm

They were snatched

And dispatched

Mercifully (one hopes) with a single slice or a single stab

On a silent night

They wept

For their lineage broken 

Their dream bleeding out

Before his first word, his first step

Leaving houses stained with sorrow that could never be cleansed 

On a silent night

They left

Their son spared but wailing

For innocents, young and old,

Corrupted by the evilness of ego 

Silence will not bring the redemption needed to heal the night 

I saw this sign in a yard on a recent walk. My cynical side said, “Really? Doesn’t seem like it…” My hopeful side said, “Um, I think that message was for you. ”

Today is the Catholic Feast of the Holy Innocents, a day we remember the male children aged 2 and under who were slaughtered by King Herod because he feared one of them would be the king who would take his throne (Matthew 2, specifically verses 13 -18). I did not set out to post a poem today. Actually, since I have been MIA, I was going to post something in the new year – one of my new year’s resolutions.

But as I was perusing WordPress for inspiration, I found this prompt from the Go Dog Go Cafe (although I didn’t use the prompt words in this poem) then these two articles about the Feast of the Holy Innocents was delivered to my email – this one from the point of a view of mother who had lost a child and this one that provides some background about these first martyrs for Christ.

Despite being a mother who has lost two babies and who has read about children being killed in schools due to gun violence, I have never really thought about the Holy Innocents. In the Christmas stories, it doesn’t get the same recognition as the shepherds or the magi. Maybe it’s because it’s such a horrific event and we don’t want to associate it with the happiness of Christmas. Maybe it’s because the killing of children has become so commonplace in our society that it doesn’t even register as something that needs special attention (think of refugee children running from war-torn countries or all the children living below the poverty line in the United States). Maybe it’s simply because this feast day is not celebrated on a Sunday.

Whatever the reason, today, I’m remembering all the innocents that have been lost and all the innocence that has been lost, specifically in the past six years. Maybe this loss started before that time, but as we close out 2021 and review what is happening in the United States of America politically and morally, I find the sorrow of a mother who lost a child welling up again.

©️ 2021 iido

Reconciliation – A Haiku

Enveloping warmth

Belie the many winters

Words were left unspoken

For the visually challenged reader, this image shows an elderly man and woman embracing. In the background, people can be seen going about their business.

Sadje’s What do you see? instantly inspired this haiku. The expression on the man’s face seems so…satisfied, relieved, joyful.

I would hope that would be the look on our faces when the divisions brought on by politics and this pandemic is over.

©️ 2021 iido

Watersource – A Compound Word Verse

fingers whisper, curl and beckon

enticed, my thoughts try to reckon

watercress

eyes with hazel depths hold hidden 

promises that are forbidden

waterproof

words flush doubt down and out my head

rocks become pillows on the bed

waterjet 

thoughts tumble and swirl, confusion

swallowed by dark adoration

waterfront

desire so verdant, lush, alive

lull my senses to take the dive

waterfall

Image credit; Sean Robertson @ Unsplash 
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a natural pool fed with streams. There is mist on its surface and there are green moss covered rocks surrounding it.

I am late for submission to Sadje’s What do you see #104 (I am out of practice and I forget about the time difference) but the photo she chose and the poetry form introduced by Grace at dVerse have been swirling around and around in my head. Grace chose the Compound Word Verse, a challenging poetry form that piqued my interest (which I am late to submit for as well). I first tried to use the root word “pool” for my compound word but when I realized I needed five compound words, I had to switch to something that had more possibilities (I couldn’t make up cool new compound words like Kate did – read her take on it here).

I used a lot of enjambed sentences in my version of this form. This was accidental as it took me three verses to realize that because “water” had two syllables, that I could only use the compound word for that last line. As I am coming to learn though – there are no accidents in life. Things happen for a reason and most of the time, we will not know what that reason is.

Not searching for “reason” has actually helped me during this pandemic. I think if I tried to figure out why people were doing the things they were doing, why all these awful things have been happening, why so many people have died – I would have gone into a deep, deep depression. Instead, I’ve held on to the belief that God has a plan and is taking care of things. So I don’t have to figure things out, just trust that He knows what he is doing. Maybe this is why they say that reason is the opposite of faith!

What’s kept you going? Has that changed in the long months of pandemic? What do you need/want now to continue? Suggestions welcome (asking for a friend! LOL!).

©️ 2021 iido

Stolen Surprise – A Quadrille

It was a stolen dance

That pried back the layers

Of comfortable expectations

Leaving me 

Vulnerable

To your hand reading the goosebumps written on my back

So when I swayed to 

Savor your strawberry lips

I was surprised 

By the ash on my tongue

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

I was feeling unsettled tonight with too much going on (per usual) and not having enough time to re-center and connect with the parts of me that have nothing to do with parenting or working. As I was waiting to get my daughter from a class, I decided to open up WordPress (instead of doom scrolling on other social media which unfortunately has become my stress go to) and stumbled up Sarah’s dVerse Monday Quadrille prompt – Ash. It caught my eye because I have a story that I am working on with that title.

I then turned to one of my favorite inspirational writers and photographers and of course, Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge did not disappoint with #285 – Dance, #284 – Vulnerable, #283 – Layers, #283 – Stolen (I’m thinking he meant #283, 284, 285, and 286 – Patrick’s just trying to keep me on my toes since I am behind on my streak!). These were the four words I needed to make my quadrille have the requisite 44 words.

Life’s expectations have take a turn as most of you have probably also experienced. It has been like “ash on the tongue,” a phrase I had not heard about before but so succinctly describes the current state of my life. I feel as if I am still in shock daily with how people, places and activities that used to bring such joy are now sources of despair and anger. How do I get rid of this distasteful feeling? Is this part of the “new normal”? Do we have to learn to live with another endemic coronavirus? Do we have to learn to live with endemic people who believe in a stolen election and that being patriots means having guns and not caring about other people, especially those who don’t look like you?

If so, then I need to invest in some mouthwash.

©️ 2021 iido