This Road – A Poem

I want this road to be left untaken

No need to explore the path forsaken

Cover your mouth, don’t be in awe

Follow the rules and withdraw

A cough, a fever, not rats or fleas

Are hallmarks of this deadly disease

To stop it, we need to change our lives

If on this road, we must survive 

For if you chance to take the step

One breath outside can become regret

IMG_4623

So…Social Distancing…I’m writing this from the prerequisite 6 feet away…

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #223 – Untaken and #224 – Awe. No virus is going to keep me from my streak!! Also, for GDG Tuesday writing prompt to “write a piece of prose around the question: How do we stay focused when the world around us is falling apart?”.  

So seriously, how is everyone doing? I’ve been caught off-guard with how fast everything is happening here in the USA, at least in my area.  I am not a fast mover (in running as well as in other aspects of my life). I am also one who needs the time to process change in order to fully accept the changes in my life – that’s why I’ve always gone to therapy during my big life changes (graduating college, getting married, the deaths and births of my children).  This isn’t a possibility right now so I have had to rely on my own “self-therapy” – which is OK, but nothing beats being able to talk to another person.

I think that’s been hardest part about social distancing – I am a social creature!! I gain energy from being with people and it keeps me from getting too caught up in my own head.  

True, I am blessed to have my family with me. My children have actually adapted to being “homeschooled” despite my lackluster skills at being an academic teacher.  We are on a schedule which includes doing chores and staying active. All good…on the surface…but I know the stress and fear of the uncertainty has been weighing on me and I worry how all of this is affecting my children.

So, I’m thinking “fake it ’til we make it” is going to be my new mantra! I’m going to catch up on my blog reading – I know you all have much better writings for me to read than the news! Art in all it’s forms may not be the antidote to this virus, but it will be the hot soup, the snuggly blanket and the social and emotional connection that will get us through this.

 

(c) 2020 iido

WOMAN – An Acrostic Poem

Waters of life connect us
Over millennia, we birth and love,
we cry and learn,
we bleed and live
Mother to daughter and mother 
to daughter and mother
to daughter
Awash in power and persistence
Now let us open the floodgates!

Yesterday was International Women’s Day. I wanted to write a poem to celebrate the great accomplishments of women in the world, historically and more recently, as well as acknowledging the women in my life who are great, accomplished women. This includes:

  • my mother
  • all the wonderful women here in the WordPress blogosphere (Gina, Punam, Kate, Mich, Jamie, Jane, just to name a few)
  • my running tribe (Michele, Nada, everyone in MRTT/SRTT, of course)
  • my west coast fam (Karla, Ellen, Jane, Henny, Trucs, you know who you are – don’t make me call you out!)
  • my east coast fam (yes, that includes you if you’re reading this!!)

I know the “water is wide” with regards to how far women still need to go to achieve true equality…it would help if women were (at least) met half way, don’t you think? Still, we have moved forward and hopefully, together, we will continue to do so.

* The link above is to a song by Joan Baez called “The Water is Wide”. I wasn’t able to embed the video in the post. I love the first verse of this song (it always makes me teary) and thought it went well with the poem. The verses after…eh…

This acrostic poem is also linked to Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #222 – Connections and to Punam’s Saturday Ragtag Community Daily Prompt – Water.

©️ 2020 iido

The Path – A Double Nonet

The straight and narrow path calls to me

Stay strong, be brave, keep eyes ahead

Gluttonous green surrounds me

Lusciously tempting me

It can be all mine

Lumber, water

Resources

I will

Take

And

Share them

The path says:

You have enough

Abstain from conflict

Caused by fear, greed, hurt, hate

Bridge ignorance with knowledge

Each slat a step to love and peace

Generosity widens the path

This double nonet was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” Picture Challenge #19. The photo Sadje provided (above) seemed to fit with Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt request for poems “abstaining from war and conflict while committing to compromise and to unity with and respect for nature into perpetuity.” I’m not sure my poem totally fulfills Jamie’s requirement but the two together, at least to me, are a perfect complement.

The season of Lent has begun for Christians and it is marked by fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Instead of giving something up, I’ve tried to do more – more praying, more helping, being kinder, being more compassionate, giving more whether it’s monetarily, physically, emotionally or mentally. Laurie, a fellow runner, from Meditation in Motion wrote a great blog post about this. I think this practice has helped me have more hope in the world. Especially with everything going on right now. Ghandi said it best, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

©️ 2020 iido

Mass – A Limerick

The priest intoned in a voice deep

The solemn promise that God keeps

He loved us on the cross

We gained life through his loss

The cost of salvation doesn’t come cheap

The body of St. John Neumann in repose under the altar at the St. John Neumann Shrine.

This irreverent limerick (is that redundant?) was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #221 – Mass. My streak is still going strong! While Patrick’s heavy poem focused on mass in the physical sense, I went in a more spiritual direction.

I spent yesterday on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. John Neumann with my daughter’s Confirmation Class. We had never been there before and this was actually our first “pilgrimage” together. I really enjoyed learning about St. John Neumann who is known as the Patron Saint of Immigrants. He was the first male saint from the United States of America.

St. John Neumann’s remains are interred in the shrine underneath the main altar (yes! That’s totally him in the picture above!). We celebrated mass before we left the shrine and I couldn’t help but look at his remains during the entire mass. Here was an actual saint, a man who was so moved by God’s love and God’s message to the world that he changed the New World! He founded the first Catholic Schools in the United States and created 89 churches, most of which catered to specific immigrant groups who had come to the United States from Europe.

St. John Neumann was made a saint when I was three years old. The latest miracle attributed to him occurred in 1982 in Philadelphia. The boy who was cured is now 41 years old and living in Ohio. Do you believe that miracles can still happen in this day and age?

©️ 2020 iido

Biking to the Beach

The shoreline changes

My breath holds steady

Memories of salt, my beacon

The sea air shifts the sand

While waves grab the wet grains

The shoreline changes

Yet directions are not needed

The old bicycle just needs legs to pedal

My breath holds steady

Despite the sting in my eyes

Quickly there and then gone

Memories of salt, my beacon

This cascade poem incorporates four (4) prompts: Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #220 – Shoreline, Merril at dVerse’s call for poems about impermanence, Punam’s Ragtag Daily Prompt – Beacon and the picture is courtesy of Sadje’s “What do you see?” Challenge #18. Sometimes it takes all these little pieces to create something big and beautiful (at least I hope this poem is such).

The idea of impermanence made me think of beaches and the changing shore. There are so many happy memories that can be made at the seashore. However, memories can change from year to year. The smell, feel, and taste of salt water and air also goes well with the salty tears shed in making bittersweet memories.

Ironically, (at least in stories and movies) people seem to go to the beach to get away from some painful event or memory without realizing that the pain is as impermanent as the seashore.

This month, remembering how transient the difficulties of life is, helped me keep moving forward – my beacon for this month. As the Persian adage states, “This too shall pass.”

©️ 2020 iido

Spring Transformations – A Haibun

The smell comes first – crisp like biting into fresh lettuce and clean like a new baby. Then a breeze with a “just right” coolness that even Goldilocks would approve of. Next comes small green buds, slowly sprouting from the soil and branches, testing patience and bringing hope.

The scent is different inside where nature has less power. Chemical, metallic, like a fake robot baby or what some earth dweller thinks the sun might smell like. There is no patience only promises of change, the beginnings (but not the endings) of transformations that manifest in mops plunged in buckets of soapy water, clothes sorted into “too big”, “too small” and “just right for now” (again, Goldilocks would be so proud), and the whirring sound of a treadmill going nowhere fast. The buds of transition form, shaking off the covered winter self to sprout the wings of the self that could be considered “the cat’s meow”.

Transformations start

The promise and hope of spring

Even cats can change

This haibun was written for Frank Tassone’s Monday Haibun prompt at DVerse to write about spring. The picture is courtesy of Sadje’s “What do you see?” Prompt #15.

This has been a bit of a busy week but only because I’ve been trying to get miles for the Taji100. That means that the time I would usually spend at night writing, I’ve been walking on the treadmill. I’ve logged 35 miles out of 100 so far!

It has been unseasonably warm this winter and we’ve also been inundated with a lot of rain. Spring seems to be already here in terms of the weather. But my body is still in hibernation mode. I don’t yet feel the need to do any big cleaning or to get out and about. I’m still holding on to my sweaters and fuzzy socks.

I’m not ready to transform into my “spring self” – the one that is ready to take on the world. Nope – my “hold on to the hygge self” is still going strong and honestly, I don’t mind the winter induced resting period. Making time to recharge and slow down is important and something that a lot of people overlook.

Cats know the value of inactivity. They may not literally transform into “catterflies” but cat owners can argue how cats can be transformative to their owners. Here’s to transformations – whether they can be seen or not!

©️ 2020 iido

Do You Want Fries With That? – A Quadrille

Your wild red hair,

Pale skin and

Painted lips belied

Your power.

Despite scientists showing

The Traditional Ways were better,

Our greased guts and

A-salt-ed hearts craved the

Colonial Menu

Of broken McPromises and

Big McLies.

Our health for Your wealth.

Not funny, Clown.

Jamie Dedes had a guest “prompter” this past week, Zimbabwean poet activist, Mbizo Chirasha. His prompt requested poems or prose about “neocolonialism or the use in place of direct imperialism of capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism for the suppression of human rights by First World actors in Third World arenas.” A difficult, yet thought provoking challenge. You can find responses to this prompt here.

I was also able to incorporate Kim’s prompt for D’Verse Quadrille #96 – Wild.

Being an immigrant to this first world country, I realize now how much the USA has influenced my country of origin, for better or worse. To me, this influence can be found in colorism and internalized racism. It is also most evident in the preponderance of American food, specifically fast food, found in every mall (also an American concept) and every city, large and small.

It is truly a wild concept that the USA can consider McDonalds, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, KFC and other fast food restaurants as main exports. It isn’t just the food but what that food symbolizes about the “American Dream” – is this really what America is all about?

©️ 2020 iido

Self – Deception — A Haiku

If I don’t swallow

The lie you put on my plate

My stomach grumbles

This haiku was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write about deception. You can read some of the fabulous responses here.

We all tell lies to ourselves whether we know it or not. My most frequent lie to myself is thinking that I have enough time to do something, when really I don’t. Hence, the reason I am perpetually tardy. I don’t know why I haven’t learned that lesson: I consider myself an insightful person, I know I underestimate time and have always struggled with time management. Yet, something inside makes it hard for me to believe that it really doesn’t take only 15 minutes to get anywhere.

Some lies are OK to believe, in my opinion, like the lie of Santa Claus or the lie that I still look good in the pants I wore when I was 20 (I can still get them past my hips if I suck everything in!). These lies serve a purpose for that point in life. But after awhile, we do have to start seeing reality and accepting the truth. Or come up with a different and better lie than before.

©️ 2020 iido

Liar, Liar – A Poem

Cough, cough, ahem,
Excuse me,
You’re on fire
Yes, you, holding the cell phone
And scrolling
Scrolling
Is it Facebook? Instagram?
Twitter? Tiktok?
Or maybe just the news?
Oh, you don’t notice the smell?
The smoke coming from your pants?
Those pants twisted from all the gymnastics you do –
Well, not actual gymnastics
But the mental gymnastics you do
So you can sleep at night
Oh wait, that’s right
You don’t sleep
You’re scrolling
At 2 AM
Your body, your mind
Your life
Hacked
Into believing
You’re the only one entitled to the American Dream

This poem was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from last week to write about living in a “hacked world”. Responses to this prompt can be found here.

The word “hacking” can have many different meanings. This being cold and flu season, and having kids in various stages of “the sniffles”, my first thought was coughing and not electronic hacking. These are both symptoms of much larger problems.

©️ 2020 iido