Harvesting Questions – A Quadrille

What harvest will we reap

When the seeds of isolation bloom?

Will it feed the hunger of connection?

Or will it be blighted with fear?

Is food for our soul

A quick fix for the 

Needs of our bodies?

Which god should we worship?

That old saying, “You reap what you sow”…. who planted snowflakes?

Racing against time to get this quadrille in for De Jackson at dVerse, Quadrille #104 – Fix. I was also able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #223 – Harvest (back on track and continuing my streak!!) as well as, Kate’s Friday Fun Prompt – Worship. I am so pleased with myself for finding the time to write today and get some of my thoughts out on paper. This is my 3rd post for today! I’ve never done that before….maybe it’s because I have to run tonight…..

I’ve been looking into virtual summer camps for my kids today and thinking about what we can focus on for this summer – academics, athletics, or amusement? At the same time, I was reading parenting blogs about how parents are dealing with kids being home all the time during shelter in place. The saying, “You reap what you sow” popped in my head – what summer seeds do I want to sow in my kids that will lead to a “good harvest”? What does a “good harvest” look like?

I’m going to be thinking about this during my run tonight…

©️ 2020 iido

Gesundheit – A Kyoka

The empty bench sighed

Emergent greens cried

Spring’s promise implied

Whisper-soft steps hide

Tissues beside

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Image credit- Pixabay– Majaranda
(For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a young girl standing next to an old sprawling tree in a park. There is an empty bench in front of her)

This is the first kyoka that I have written, in fact, I hadn’t heard of a kyoka until reading Frank’s Meet the Bar post on dVerse about 5 line Japanese poetry. Frank (not to be confused with this Frank Tassone), who is an expert in English-language, Japanese style poetry, writes that a kyoka like a tanka except the focus is on human nature. He also explains that in order to follow more closely, the Japanese linguistic unit called “mora”, that the syllable count should be between 20-24 and not 31. Challenge accepted!

Did I succeed in taking a lovely picture offered by Sadje’s What do you see Picture Prompt #30 and turning it into a satirical take on human nature? My allergies say, YES! Especially since I was also able to include Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #232 – Emergent into this piece. (I’m still on a streak and it was Patrick’s birthday last weekend!) Do I get bonus points for the unintentional rhyming? The kyoka doesn’t have that requirement but this poem seemed to think it was the “elbow nudge, nudge” it needed.

Spring is definitely here and summer is fast on her heels. School has ended for my kids so we are taking a break from academics and focusing on….nothing for now. This has been hard for me as it seems we “devolve” when we don’t have some sort of structure…however, my kids are not big fans of schedules or “being told what to do”. Of course, they’re not….they are big fans of video games, eating brownies for breakfast, eating breakfast food for any meal other than breakfast, talking to friends on the latest app for hours and seeing how many days can they not shower or brush their teeth before they’re able to smell themselves.

With shelter in place is still in effect, there no summer camps available, the play grounds are still off-limits and our usual summer activities (pool, museums, travel) are all still closed. I worry about how the next two months will go, as I don’t think being in front of electronic screens while eating sugar in all it’s forms is the best idea.

So, I’m giving them through the weekend, then, we’re going to start having suggestions for things to do during the day that needs to be done by a certain time.

A schedule by any other name…is still structure that is needed by children and welcome by mothers!

©️ 2020 iido

Moon Phases – A Poem

Moonbeams shine through the window

Highlighting hands in circular motion

Scccrrruuuubbb, sccccrrruuuuubbb,

The sound elongating on each orbital pass

Along the Corelle plane

Muffling the hopeful crinkle of suds

 

She looks out the window

Her eyes following the moon path

Russsstling, russssssstling

Wrestling with her mind to focus on the task

She looks down at the wet line along her shirt waist

Pointing to the needy stack of temporary satiation

 

Slowly, her hands stop their motion

And she lifts up her right hand to

Capture the moonlight upon her palm

She watches the shadows play hide and seek 

And feels the pull of Artemis to abandon her post

An arrow pierces her heart 

And she holds her breath in realization

 

Quickly, she presses her face to the window

Her breath now fogs up the glass

HAAAAAAAAAA, haaaaaaaa…….Aaaaaaaahhhhhhh

The cooling pressure reminding her

The moon is cold and lonely like a clean plate 

She notices the front of her shirt is wet

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This poem was inspired by Patrick’s Pic and a Word Prompt #230 – Moon. I took this photo of the moon on a cloudy night this week. It looks so far away….

When I was thinking about this poem, I actually was washing dishes and looking out the window – this was after dinner, when the kids were still up and about and not at all tired enough for bed. The noise was daytime loud. There was nothing in particular that happened to make the day “bad” and even their after dinner/before bedtime squabbling wasn’t particularly bothersome. I was just waiting for the day to be over, so I could have some time for myself (sorry, Hubby).

It was only after all the kids (and Hubby) were in bed and the house was silent that I was able to formulate into words and phrases what that moment was like – a moment that I’m sure many mothers (and maybe some fathers) have experienced. It’s these moments that people always tell you to be grateful for because they will be gone soon enough.  It’s these moments that you try your hardest to accept as just a phase of life. 

I was reminded about a quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta, Mother Teresa, who said, “Wash the plate not because it is dirty nor because you are told to wash it, but because you love the person who will use it next.” Yet what if you’re having a hard time loving any of the potential people who will use the dish next because they are arguing about who’s turn it is to pick a show to watch while getting sticky ice cream and cake crumbs all over the couch? (It was supposed to be a nice treat….)  Maybe it takes a saint to not answer Artemis’ call….

 

© 2020 iido

 

Playtime – Four Connected Senryu

Being, Doing – BOING!

Keep up with life’s rhythmic bounce

Now the ball has dropped

 

Pushed and pulled now – PUFF!

In a cough, the order’s gone

Chaos! Tag, you’re it!

 

Now we sit, stay – RUFF!

Yet still, there’s a need to fetch

Wait for it – steady 

 

Being, staying, here

My eyes reflect what’s in yours

Let’s go build a fort

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I originally wrote this connected senryu just to get down some thoughts I’ve had this week. Serendipitously,  Laura at dVerse asked for poems about our relationship with “order” and with a few word changes, this poem fit right in.  I do like using a poetry form  – it helps me to not be too wordy and makes me focus on showing not telling (I hope you can see that in my poetry!).  I also do love order – not to be confused with a love of cleaning, though! I love the order of knowing what to expect, which is why I don’t love our current coronavirus situation.

The poem starts with this inspiration:

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Yes, that is a basketball and a foam tennis ball in the branches of a tree. I don’t know what the kids were doing outside but they swear it was not intentional…

The middle part (I’m pretty sure) came from my subconscious acceptance that my kids really, really, really want a dog  (yes, “Ruff” = “Rough” in the poem). They are doing everything in their power to show how responsible they will be if we got one (including daily vacuuming). My older daughter even made a powerpoint presentation about why we should get a dog.   My conscious answer is still, “We’ll see…” (meaning “no”) but the fact that a dog made it into a poem….

It ends with the first picture – my kids building with these large lego blocks and other materials (chairs, picnic blankets, boxes, bikes, cones). Obviously, this was a week where minimum school work was accomplished yet there was still lots of learning and problem solving opportunities.

I go back and forth between how much to enforce schoolwork and our daily schedule versus allowing the kids to do what they want. Some days (OK, most days), I am pretty strict with staying on schedule and making sure the kids are productive in an academic way. Prior to the coronavirus shut down, our lives were full with activities and things to do. We had a schedule, an order, a rhythm to our day and week that didn’t waver and was usually pretty consistent once it was set. (Yes, I have read the articles about how kids thrive in consistent environments.)  And I thought the kids liked doing all these activities.

I think they still do, but I think they also enjoy this slower pace of life that allows them the freedom to be more spontaneous with their time. Despite the inevitable chaos of having some days with less structure, having more time together to just be with each other to play, talk, connect – it really is a positive outcome of having to “shelter-in-place” to “flatten the curve” of this pandemic. Kids really don’t need all that much – well, besides a dog….

 

 

(c) 2020 iido

 

Nomad No More – A Chaucerian Stanza +1

Between 9 and 3, I used to wander

Down lonely paths and quiet streets in town

This nomad time allowed me to ponder

All my life’s ins and outs and ups and downs

But now I’m kept hostage by this virus crown

Physically restricted, no place to be alone

My nomad gifts this suffering, for sins I must atone

24 hours a day, 7 days a week

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This is my first time writing for Sammi Scribbles’ Weekend Writing Prompt – this weekend is #152 – Nomad, 68 words. I found her site courtesy of Sadje’s site. I love how inspiration and connection is a hallmark of the WordPress blogosphere!

I also tried to connect it to Frank’s dVerse Meeting the Bar request to write a Chaucerian Stanza of 7 iambic pentameter lines with the rhyme scheme of ABABBCC. I missed the Mr. Linky deadline for that prompt, but it’s probably for the best since I went over the 7 line maximum by 1 line so I could fulfill Sammi’s 68 word request. I will attempt Frank’s challenge again though!

This theme of “competing demands” reflect more of my “current coronavirus conundrums”. While I might seem extroverted, on the deep inside is an introverted soul who needs alone time to recharge and refresh.  I used to be able to find this alone time when my children were in school (hence the reference to “9 AM to 3 AM” in the poem) and I could wander and wonder in a pseudo-nomadic state.

I don’t think my children knew this about me. When I pick them up from school, I am refreshed and ready for our afternoon and evening interactions. On the weekends, my husband is there to cover the times I would step away to recharge.

Being with them 24/7 for the past three weeks (has it only been that long that we’ve had the shelter in place order?), they have found out my secret the hard way. Now, they know that I need an hour at least by myself in the morning. They know that they need to occupy themselves with school work or playing or even (gasp!) TV or video games for that time. They know what the consequences are when I don’t get that recharge time, and how vastly more pleasurable it is at the home when I do.

In return, I have also learned more about my children’s needs at their current ages (versus when they were babies and toddlers, how they have changed!). After lunch is when my older daughter needs her alone time. My younger son needs cuddles and snacks around 3:30 (which is when we usually get home from school). My older son needs to have outside time in the middle of the day no matter what the weather is. My younger daughter needs to do something creative every day to stay happy.

Having this time with my children when they would usually be in school has been an unexpected gift from this otherwise greedy coronavirus. I read the stories about how COVID-19 has taken lives, taken jobs, taken people’s sense of a “normal life”. I wonder how many stories there are out there about what this period of time has given to people. I wonder if people would even realize that they’ve also been given a gift.

 

(c) 2020 iido

You Are Here – A Rhyming Poem

“Mama! Where are you?” 

My little boy cried

Standing by the toilet, 

At least he tried.

“I am here,” I say,

With mop in hand

Doing the job 

That I can’t stand.

“Honey! Where are you?” 

My love seeks me out

“I’m back from fishing 

With some huge trout!”

“I’m here,” I say, 

Fingers newly manicured

They’ll be chipped by dinner

That’s now ensured.

“Sweetie, where are you?” 

My mom’s on the line

“If you don’t call, 

How do I know you’re fine?”

“I’m here,” I sigh, 

On my errand drive.

Now, another stop, 

Will I be done by five?

“Oh, there, you are!”

My friend, from the school

Holding signs to fundraise

For the new pool

“I’m here,” I offer,

Accepting the task

I draw smiley faces,

That match my mask.

“I’m tired, I need rest,”

I hide in the shower

“Being there is so draining,”

My energy dips lower.

“I am here,” a voice whispers

“And you are here, too.

I can help you through this.

I’m here for you.”

I raise my eyes

To the Light from above

And feel myself

Wrapped up in His love

My strength renewed,

I cried without fear.

My heart knew the truth:

Alleluia! You are here!

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I’ve been missing the deadlines for Sadje’s “What Do You See?” picture prompts the past few weeks. Saturday was coming up so fast! But maybe that was because I was losing track of the days…

This week’s picture prompt for Sadje’s “What Do You See?” #24 is a photo with a neon sign that reads “You are here” against a blurred city background. It immediately made me think of the Catholic hymn, “Here I Am, Lord,” and one of my favorite stories from the Bible.

It also made me think of how often I am called every day – not by God (at least, I don’t think it’s Him, although, maybe it is…) but by my children, my hubby, my parents, my siblings, my friends, people who aren’t my friends.  Especially now, being home all day, every day – I can’t escape the “needs” (because “demands” seem too harsh) of the people and situations arounds me.  FYI – the hiding in the bathroom part of the poem is based on  a true story.

The hearing of God’s voice is also true, although not as dramatic. I haven’t actually heard His voice, but I have gone to mass (so much easier to do now that all it entails is just turning on the TV) and have come across several serendipitous articles that speak to God’s role as Compassionate Comforter.  With all the uncertainty and fear in the world, I have found myself turning to the One Constant in this world.  Indeed, nothing has changed with mass since I was child – the order of sitting, standing, kneeling is still the same; what the Priest says during the consecration is the same; the hymns are the same; that message of unconditional love is the same.

I know many people have rightful concerns and issues about the Catholic Church. I was even thinking of putting a trigger warning at the start of this post because I know some of my readers feel very strongly about the corruption in the Catholic Church especially with regards to the cover-up of child sexual abuse (please let me know if I should have).

And I agree – the part of the Church that is made by man is terribly flawed. But the spiritual part is not (at least in my opinion). The consistent message of hope and love is not.

And right now, it’s that message of hope and love, that is helping me through this shelter in place.

Happy Easter to my Christian readers! Chag Pesach Sameach to my Jewish readers!

 

(c) 2020 iido

Holding the Glimmer – A Sonnet

A glimmer of God I feel in your touch 

As your head turns to the sound of my voice

Your eyes see me as one who knows so much

Aware that I held the power of choice

 

The transformation came awhile ago

From the seed that was planted deep inside 

Yet my mind still accepted these changes slow

Despite my body being modified 

 

And then like a flash in the dark of night

A surprise, this gift you bestowed on me

The honor of knowing love at first sight

Your touch confirmed that I am your mommy

 

That point of love exponentially grown

I pray to deserve this baby on loan

 

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This sonnet was inspired by Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #225 – Glimmer and Frank at dVerse who requested poems with couplets.

The biggest inspiration though was my friend, Lindsay, who gave birth to a beautiful baby boy this past Wednesday.  Amidst the scariness of this pandemic, miracles of life still happen!  The above poem isn’t her birth story (Lindsay is a wonderful mom to a 2-year-old already) but maybe it’s yours or someone who you know.

I have to admit, with all the forced togetherness, I have forgotten at times that children will act like children and the mandate – whether from God or Gibran – is to be more like children.  So yesterday, we did no school work and played outside, enjoying the sun and observing the flowers that have blissfully blossomed, unaware of the threat of illness or death.

Children are truly a gift – they know what is important in life. It’s none of the things that adults think are important and that is such a wonderful blessing.

 

(c) 2020 iido

Mama vs Mars – A Haibun

On this day, fourteen years ago, the God of War thrust his sword into my abdomen and stole the apples of my eyes. Like his namesake planet, I was left cold, and barren with crusted blood like iron red rust covering my once life filled belly.

On this day, fourteen years ago, I declared, “Let there be storms!” and created a maelstrom of wind and tears, anger and confusion, sadness and frustration. The storms ate the comforting, yellow sun, the brave, blue skies, the protective purple rains and the just-for-fun rainbows. The storms raged and the war commenced.

Waiting out the storm

I eat Istakhar Apples

Spring’s peace is hard-won

Happy 14th Birthday!

While this is not a traditional haibun, it does incorporate the prompt from Frank at dVerse to use Mars in a haibun. I was also able to include Anmol’s dVerse poetics request time write a poem that included apples and it’s mythologies. The links to the “apple stories” I have used are included in the actual poem.

Lastly, I was able to use Beth’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe. Her prompt was the phrase, “Let there be storms”. The god of war, the red planet, apples and storms – mix together with a dash of angst and pinch of nature and voila! Haibun!

March 4 is the birthday of my twins, Lucas and Larissa, who were born at 22 weeks and didn’t survive. We have always celebrated their birthday with a cake. This haibun captures a bit of the anger and sadness that comes with losing children, as well, the bittersweet aftermath of living with the reality of this grief.

©️ 2020 iido

Traveling with Children – A Haiku

The Child’s tourist eyes

Whisper such wondrous details

This world seen anew

This haiku was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #217 – Tourist.

My daughter saw this imprint of little foot prints on a sidewalk as we were walking through Paris this summer. As I was pointing out the architecture and ooh-ing and aah-ing at the Parisian ambiance, my daughter had noticed this lovely detail that we would have just walked by. Children do see the world in a different, and often times better, way than adults do. This is what gives me hope in today’s world.

©️ 2020 iido