Song and Dance in the City – A Haibun

Ubers honk as they make their way through crowded city streets. Buses slowly rumble past. Delivery bikes ring bells of warning. But in this corner of the street, only the divine laughter of a fortuitous meeting can be heard. 

It started off as the dance of strangers trying to occupy the same space. It could have become a “West Side Story” type tango, but a smirk of good humor turned the would-be spectacle into a delicious salsa of dialogue. Understanding swayed in the gentle arms of laughter. Commonality cha-cha-chatted with disparity, a note-worthy syncopation that made the conversation a harmony amidst the city’s melody. 

The new friends did not wear Pollyanna’s rose-colored spectacles of previous generations. They knew this relationship must be protected, like amber sealing off a cut in a tree. What insects caught in the resin, could be analyzed later, but for now,  the enjoyment of this opportune meeting – whether through kismet or serendipity –  resounds in the city streets.

Amidst city sounds

The divine dance of friendship

Sways to laughter’s song

Image credit: Jed Villigo @ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, this image shows three young men standing on a city street and laughing at a shared joke. Two of men are Black and one, holding scooter handles, is white.

A (late) submission for Sadje’s What Do You see #119. This haibun was also inspired by the picture she chose for WDYS #118. I’ve been experiencing writers’ block the past week or so, so while these images brought many ideas to my mind, I wasn’t able to put them all together until now. Patrick’s Pic and Word Challenge #300 – City, #299 – Amber, #298 – Divine and #297 – Spectacle also served as inspiration, tying all my thoughts into this haibun.

The past few weeks have definitely been roller-coaster of happenings, bringing with it the ups and downs of emotions. Physically – it’s been all up – I completed a January Step Challenge with my running group, She RUNS this Town (formerly known as Moms RUN this Town, but changed to the pronoun for inclusivity since not all members are moms). My team won 1st place which was totally awesome! We were consistently getting over 20K steps a day – well, not me, but my teammates did which is amazing! I’ve started the Taji100 (100 miles in February to support veterans) and am currently in 3rd place in my age group for my state.

Emotionally – it’s been mostly down – my good friend suddenly lost her mother to COVID, we’ve also had numerous COVID infections at our church which has made my work there difficult, we’ve had several good friends also come down with COVID and now my daughter is sick with strep throat (thank goodness it’s not COVID!). I am trying to be like that tree with the cut, letting amber flow out to seal it off and trap whatever insects (aka stress) caused the cut to analyze for later.

February is Black History Month in the USA so this photo of two Black men talking to a white man really captured my interest. As you might know. the issue of racism is still very prevalent here in the USA, as evidenced by the killing of Ahmaud Arbery (which I’ve written about here and here), George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people in 2020. Now, some Americans are in an uproar about Critical Race Theory (even erroneously thinking that Black History Month is part of CRT) which takes away from actually addressing the issues of racism and working towards equity and yes, friendship – or at least, respectful connection – between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Diversity is a strength. Being empathetic is a strength. Being able to laugh in the midst of trying times is a strength. Can we find strength to be the harmony?

©️ 2022 iido

Keeping Her Resolution – A Quadrille and Runfession #17, January 2022

She is heard before seen

Her breathing huh-huh-huh heavy 

As if suffocating on the cold air

Yet not actually dying 

Puffs of effort-filled mist 

Emanating from her open mouth 

Her chicken-plucked skin shivering 

Despite the winter sun

No sweat to prove

Her dedicated determination

Guess who this quadrille is about?

I started writing this poem last week but didn’t get a chance to finish and lost the original “essence’ of what I was going to write. Thank goodness for Merrill’s d’Verse Quadrille #144 prompt – Shiver for getting me back on track! I also have to give props to Björn for his response, “Afterward” and to Kate for her response, “Quiver” to this prompt that set my wheels turning again! Check out “Mr. Linky” for other wonderful shivering submissions! NOTE: I did “cheat” a little with my hyphenated words which I counted as one word to make the 44 word limit. Merrill – will you let that slip buy? I’ll buy you a drink at the d’Verse bar! 😉

So, obviously the “she” in this quadrille is me! This my first Runfession of 2022 but my 17th Runfession blog post since I started doing them in 2019. My last Runfession was actually in January of 2021 – so it has been a year that I’ve been on my running hiatus. Yikes!! Now the huffing and puffing make sense!

You can’t tell from the picture, but it was a pretty cold day when I decided to do a short and quick outdoor interval run. But the sun was out and I had set a goal for myself to restart running/walking/moving of any kind this month.

I have to admit, getting back to running has been hard especially due to my knee injury which hasn’t fully resolved. I’m trying to take it easy and focus on form and (time) endurance rather than speed and mileage. It’s a different way of running, a different idea of myself as a runner but if I want to keep running, this is what I have to do. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Right?…

Also linking to Marcia’s Health Slice, originator of the Runfession.

©️ 2022 iido

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