The Light – A Double Etheree

Light

A hope

In darkness

Beckoning me

Promising safety

My heart leapt through the fog

Disregarding the shadows

Imagining the warmth and love

Offered by a warm fire and belonging

I entered willingly and was engulfed 

I could not breath yet I stayed, struggling

Disbelief turning my soul to ash

Until a voice of cooling wind

Reminded me of the path

With boundaried edges

I left with embers

Of my choosing

Now I bring

My own

Hope

Image credit- Pixabay- ArtTower
(For visually challenged reader, the image shows a road leading towards a dwelling in the forest. It is hidden in fog and surrounded by tall trees. A light is shining brightly out of the window of the house)

This double ether was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” Picture Prompt #31. I loved how the light seems to draw you in, however it was the path that intrigued me. They look almost like railroad tracks and I was reminded of Thomas the Train, which was one of my son’s favorite shows. It was only after hours and hours of watching that I realized that tracks don’t go “one way”, trains can actually go both ways on the same track. So even if tracks only lead to certain destinations, trains (or their conductors/train engineers if this was real life) can decide how to get there.

This idea mixed with a masterclass I am taking on boundaries, offered by a very generous and brilliant therapist friend of mine, Mari. In our class today, she reminded us of why and how people will push on our boundaries not just on a personal level but on a societal level as well. It also brought to mind the work of another friend, a passionate poet and advocate, Mich, and the work she has done to bring to light the plight of women in domestic violence situations. Domestic violence is one of the ultimate ways that a woman’s boundaries are destroyed, that a woman can lose her sense of herself and her self worth. You can read about Mich’s anti-DV work here.

With many people stuck at home, the incidences of DV and other types of abuse (child neglect and abuse in all its forms) have increased in the USA and worldwide. Reports of civil unrest here in the United States of America due to police brutality and the recent senseless deaths of African-Americans has made me wonder if the word “safe” can ever find a home in our world again. How can we change the direction of this train we are on? Maybe we need to stop looking for that “hero” with the light outside and look at the light we all carry within to show the way…

©️ 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

Silly Me – A Quadrille

It was silly of me 

To think it would be 

Different

After we were allowed out

I ran through the streets

Exuberant with

Gratitude

Love 

For surviving

Without what we 

Most cherished

Then realized

I was alone

Because to Others 

I was still nothing

 

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Image credit: Pixabay- Zhugher
( For visually challenged reader, the photo shows a man, on a pier, in a carefree swinging movement. A body of water is visible in the background.)

Lillian from dVerse requested quadrilles with theme “silly”, however, I could not rise to that challenge with all that has transpired this week weighing on me. Apologies, Lillian! I will try for a more light-hearted poem for next week.

This quadrille was also written for Sadje’s What to do you see? Photo Prompt #28. I had so many thoughts about this picture of a man – is he dancing? just strolling along? I think the background is in NYC, maybe looking into Queens but I am not sure. I have more thoughts about it though, but I have to confess, my mind has been preoccupied.

Finally, Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #231 – Nothing, completes this trifecta. While his “nothing” conjures relaxation and peace, my “nothing” has undertones of anger and hurt. Interesting how “nothing” can actually be more than one thing….

My mind is overwhelmed  yet I am finding it hard to put into words all the thoughts that keep spilling…

I did find this piece of calming inspiration written by Gina on her piece, Temporary.  She writes:

Temporary is here
permanently,
our home on earth is a gift
not a guarantee
isolation is life with a new colour
a temporary home,
one we did not order
nothing we ever deserved……

I have to find a new color to paint this part of my world……

ahmaud run graphic_20200507010413380515

 

© 2020 iido

C Battle – A Poem for My Cousin

The sun sets on your battle with the C

It’s orange rays shining sadness on a war

Well-fought but ending in irreplaceable loss

There should be no shame in your choice

Although the disappointment is heavy

Like the curtain of dark clouds that await the sun’s last bow

Look towards the beacon of light – it is not as distant as it seems

Only good memories will be in the spotlight

Hold your head high and savor the last notes

As they crescendo like those

Cresting waves of C that sought to bring you under

Your choice to let go deserves applause and a standing ovation

Rest, then ready your sail for the next adventure

Image credit- Pixabay-Thommas

This poem was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” Picture Challenge #26 and Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #229 – Choices.

I also wrote it for my cousin in Texas who is in the last stages of cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. She beat it once but when it returned again, the prognosis was not as good. They didn’t think she would make it to Christmas of last year so we held a huge birthday party for her in September. But she held on, and had time to visit with family here and in the Philippines. Through it all, she was in extreme pain and had lost the use of one side of her body. This past week, she took a turn for the worse and was admitted to the hospital. She decided that she was done fighting. Yesterday morning, she had minor surgery to insert some tubes so she could be more comfortable. She will be saying her final goodbyes this weekend and has decided that she wants to go home to die instead of to a hospice.

When I saw Sadje’s picture prompt, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. Then I started getting news of my cousin and the week flew by. This morning, I looked at the picture again and I finally noticed the lighthouse in the distance – a beacon of hope in this intense picture.

Patrick’s prompt (like so many of his prompts) resonated with what I was experiencing this week. I know making this choice is a painful one for my cousin, but it is what is right for her. She leaves behind two young adult daughters, both her parents and stepparents, two siblings and their children, and all of us, cousins and our families.

Amidst this pandemic, the ebb and flow of illness and health, life and death, happiness and sadness still occur.

(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!

IMG_5628

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

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

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

Speak My Name – Fiction

The stories got it wrong, you know the ones about the “fallen angel” who defied the god. It wasn’t for power or control of the heavens. No, it was for love.

You see, he didn’t want to share the light that would allow the humans to survive in the world we created. He wanted to keep them dependent on him. But that meant they were subject to his whims. Like I was. I couldn’t do that to them.

He had created the cold, dark time then told the humans that if they didn’t give him sacrifices, that he wouldn’t bring back the sky fire that would warm them and make their food grow. I tried to help but he put out my sky fire and now it is just a shiny stone ball in the sky.

That made me so angry! For millennia, I have supported him whether I agreed with what he did or not. How many worlds did we create together? How many worlds did he destroy for his own selfish reasons?

But not this one! These humans I made looked the most like me than any of the other creatures I had fashioned for him before. They were like children to me and I loved them.

I was done sitting idly by. The bit of fire that I brought the humans helped them to survive the cold and the dark. It helped them to thrive so they no longer had to depend on him. I was their liberator, their angel who saved them from death.

“Lucy, our Light,” they used to call me.

“Lucifer, the Light Bearer,” they used to praise my gift to them.

They loved me and I loved them! Why else would I have risked his wrath?

But he got the better of me. He corrupted the humans, corrupted my gift. He turned my gift of warmth and life into one of destruction and death, scaring the humans into thinking I wanted to harm them. And now my name is no longer shouted with joy but spit out with hate and worse, fear.

My heart is broken but I don’t regret helping my humans. And I know, one day, my name, my real name, will again be spoken with love.

Sadje at Keep it Alive has given us another beautiful picture prompt for this week’s “What do you see?” #13. The flame in the woman’s hand made me think of the story of Prometheus as well as the story of the fall of Lucifer.

Fire, which brings heat and light, has always been important to our survival. If you’ve ever watch episodes of the show, “Naked and Afraid,” getting a fire started is usually the number one priority for the contestants. The question of how did early humans discover fire is still unanswered. Still, I am grateful for the hominid who might have seen a burning bush and said, “Hey, this could be useful…”

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As I was writing this post, I remembered the fires still burning in Australia. Fire – like most things in life – can be both good and bad. If you would like to donate to help those affected by these fires, this link will take you to an article that has links to organizations accepting donations.

©️ 2020 iido

Out to Pasture – A Rhyming Poem

Her hooves pawed at the frozen ground.

Her coat matted a sticky mud brown.

The haflinger snorted, nostrils flared

Tossing her mane without a care

Or so it seemed, this lonely horse

Left in the cold without recourse

She was too old, her back too swayed

A life giving rides to any who paid

But now, no longer able to work

No more carrot treats as a perk

Standing in the mirror, she nuzzled her reflection

The mirror an impractical gift of appreciation

Her breath fogged the silvery surface

As the moon emerged and shone on her face

A tingling started and then a pain

Then something blossomed in her brain

A horn of gold twisted from her forelock

Her coat showed no more signs of muck

Her body grew with muscles strong

Her mane and tail got Fabio long

She turned to the mirror and let out a neigh

She won’t become glue to her owner’s dismay

No more prancing for the pleasure of others

A unicorn surely should not be smothered

She nudged her stall door then galloped out of the barn

Without a look back, she didn’t give a darn

As a unicorn, she didn’t need to linger

But if only she had a middle finger

I had fun writing this poem for Sadje’s picture prompt What do you see? Challenge #12 although the inspiration was actually a sad event.

My daughters take horse back riding lessons. There is a halflinger named Sarge who has been at this barn for a long time and is usually the first horse that new students ride due to his gentle nature. He is getting old and has been having some physical issues. His owner mentioned selling him when he can no longer give riding lessons. I asked the owner if she would sell him despite making her a lot of money giving riding lessons. She said despite Sarge being a good horse, that he still needed to earn his keep and that she would have no use for him if he is no longer able to work.

I didn’t grow up on a farm so it is difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea of animals that aren’t pets, that they are there to serve their purpose for humans – whether pulling wagons, laying eggs, giving milk or being our food. I know I participate in this exploitation and I joke about it (if cows didn’t taste so good…) however this reality really saddened me. After years of work, this horse would just be tossed away as if he didn’t matter.

The Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt to use the phrase “standing in the mirror, she…” helped me turn this sad scenario into a happy ending. Sometimes we need to take a good look in the mirror to see our self-worth and to leave situations or people who don’t honor our worth. We might not sprout a golden horn, but our confidence and self esteem would shine through.

©️ 2020 iido