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

Doubting Starlight – Prosery

The starlight winks, as if it is a joke that it is crucial to finding the way. Is this? There is no beginning or end – the sky goes on and on and on – how do we know this is the right one to follow? Balthazar says this one suddenly appeared. Melchior observes this same one hasn’t wavered course.  

Gaspar holds the compass in one hand and my hand in the other, “My dear, trust my friends, this is the one, He will be the one.” 

I smile at him, my king and my love. “I will follow you to the ends of the earth, but this star, is it really that important? I see it twinkling, laughing at us poor mortals who follow without knowing the destination.” 

Smiling, Gaspar leads me to the camels, “We will know we have arrived, when we get there.”

Photo by Neale LaSalle on Pexels.com

Hello, Readers! Merril’s Prosery Monday at d’Verse and Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #271 – Starlight inspired this little story and brought me out of my writing drought. If you are a Christian, you might recognize the names used here although in the Bible, the names of the maji or where they came from or even how many there actually were and what they rode were never specified.

Merril’s prosery prompt also required the use of the phrase, “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.” written by US Poet Laureate, Jo Harjo in “A Map to the Next World.” I changed the punctuation to fit the story, hoping to evoke the sense of faith and trust.

This sense of faith and trust is something that, I feel, is missing in our world right now – or at least in my world. Our state will be removing the mandates for masks at the end of this month. From then on, we will rely on the “honor system” – that people who are not wearing masks are fully vaccinated (as per CDC guidelines) and that if you are not fully vaccinated, that you will continue to mask.

I doubt that everyone who is not wearing a mask will be fully vaccinated.

As of today, only 45% of people in my state are vaccinated. That means it is more likely that the unmasked person in front of me is unvaccinated.

Without faith and trust that the people around me are doing the right thing and following the rules like I am, the honor system doesn’t work. Is faith and trust crucial to finding our way in this world? I would say, “Yes.”

©️ 2021 iido

Regret in Five Syllables

A letter unsent

A blog not posted

Kind words only thought

A hand not offered 

A meeting not kept

Resentment held tight 

A smile with just teeth

A shrug and eye roll

Blindfolds for the pain

A call not answered

A hug with no arms

Dessert not eaten 

Just five syllables

Can weigh down my heart

Red heart partially covered with a multicolored scrap of paper on a teal, mermaid tail embossed background. There's an orange scrap of paper to the left of the heart and three scraps of paper at the top that look  like multicolored clouds.
Untitled collage art created by Sophia Do (2021).
Used without permission from the artist but that’s because I’m her mom.

Hello Readers! The weeks fly by and, although my thoughts are in line and verse, by life does not follow that rhythm. I finally caught up with Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge with #265 – Unsent. Patrick seems to be on a hiatus as well so I will not worry about my streak. But I have also missed some wonderful prompts from Sadje and D’Verse and Kate and all the other places I find inspiration.

A life without inspiration is no way to live. Inspiration (and by extrapolation, hope) all point to some type of current connection – to a person, an idea – leading to something in the future. Without inspiration and hope, life would be meaningless. Why would we do the things we do? What inspires our behavior? What are we hoping to accomplish? What would we regret if we did not do it? Or would we regret it more if we did do it?

These questions run through my head as I work through all the projects I have going on right now. I’ve started a business and have expanded the amount of volunteer work that I am involved in. School is almost over so summer planning is underway. What I haven’t been able to do is run – my knee injury is still not healed but my elbow is feeling better. I haven’t cancelled my Spartan race though! Inspiration and hope…would I regret it more if I did or didn’t do it? What would you do?

©️ 2021 iido

Winter Dance – A Pantoum

A lazy dance in silent snow

Wearing lace of ice and air

Swaying gently to a rhythm unknown

Caressing my nape with a freezing squeeze

Wearing lace of ice and air

My eyes marvel at the delicacy 

Caressing my nape with a freezing squeeze

An appetizing shiver puckers my skin

My eyes marvel at the delicacy 

I squint, imagining the transparent twinkles 

An appetizing shiver puckers my skin

The soothing cold symphony satisfies my soul

I squint, imagining the transparent twinkles

Caressing my nape with a freezing squeeze

The soothing cold symphony satisfies my soul

A lazy dance in silent snow

Pictures courtesy of Peggy Cardone, private collection. ©️ Peggy Cardone. All rights reserved.

I missed Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #261 – Ice and #262 – Freezing. It’s been a busy few weeks, but when I saw these gorgeous photos from my friend, Peggy, inspiration fell from the sky like one of these delicate beauties and this pantoum was born.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been outside when it’s been snowing. I usually try to stay inside the minute a snowflake makes an appearance, but there was one time when my husband was traveling and I had to use the snowblower to clear off our driveway. Snowblowing is usually my husband’s job so needless to say, starting the snowblower and figuring out how it worked is a story in and of itself! But I did it and I started blowing the snow off the driveway, making a huge arc of snow that landed on the lawn. The snowblower was loud and stinky (yuck to gas fumes), but I was determined to prove that I could snowblow as well as I could make hot chocolate.

As I was on my third row, it started snowing again, Just gently that I didn’t notice at first – until a snowflake landed on my eye lash. I could see it clearly, hanging right in front of my eyeball. I stopped the snowblower and immediately, the quiet of the snowfall enveloped me, like a soft blanket. I was the only one out and it was evening, the night already a violet-black. The silent snow softly falling, the smell of crisp cold air – I couldn’t turn the snowblower back on to ruin the simple sacredness of the moment. After standing in the quiet night, my outstretched limbs gathering hundreds of unique snowflakes, I returned the snowblower to the garage and took out the snow shovel. The sh-sh-sh of the shovel was a better accompaniment to the snowflakes’ leisurely orchestra. The hot chocolate could wait but this moment would not.

©️ 2021 iido

F-Words – A Tautogram Haiku

Fake facts finding fools

Fantasy forcing future failures

Funny? Fucked.

I found this image on Facebook from a friend of mine who had posted it. I am not sure where it came from, so if you are the owner of this image (or know who is), please let me know so I can make proper attribution and/or compensation for using it here. Thank you! UPDATE: Thank you to The Mellow Curmudgeon for finding the artist of this fabulous drawing. The artist is Rick Fausto. You can find the original work at https://rickfrausto.com/products/don-the-con.

This haiku was originally going to be a light-hearted, funny little thing using Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #260 – Future as the inspiration and Donna Matthew’s call for tautogram poems at the Go Dog Go Cafe for the structure. However, as often happens with my writing – the poem decides to take a different road.

If you haven’t guessed, the assault on the Capitol building in Washington, DC has been on my mind. Not only is there a pandemic, but there is an assault on American democracy. The fallacy of the American Way and the American Dream has been laid bare. As an immigrant, a woman of color, who has been steeped in this fabulous fable, finding out that this fairy tale is actually a “fairy fail,” has filled me with sadness, anger, disbelief, indignation. It’s the same feeling I had when I found out that Santa wasn’t real – somehow, I knew deep down inside that a man coming down the chimney to give me gifts was too good to be true, but still really hoping that he was real.

Disillusioned disappointment is tough, no matter what the age.

©️ 2021 iido