Stargazing – A Double Nonet

Mama, is there time to watch the stars?

The sleeping bag is by the door

 We can snuggle to stay warm

And count the stars all night

We can tell stories

And share secrets

Me and you

Under

Stars

.

Yes

My child

Let’s count stars

On this clear night

We have all the time

Let’s snuggle close, you’re safe

I’ll always have time for you

I’ll share my favorite story

Of the star who fell into my heart

Image credit: Adrien King @ Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows an hour glass sitting on a small table. The sand has run through the glass. Two hand are reaching for it from opposite ends )

Here is my second response to Sadje’s What Do You See #51 photo prompt. This double nonet focused on the stars in the background and depicts another aspect of parenting during a pandemic. This one is has a “happier” tone. (Yes, I am making an effort to not be so doom and gloom on my blog. Cue rainbow farting unicorns…or not…)

I’ve been trying to make sure that each of my kids are getting some one-on-one time and that we are doing some special things to break up the monotony. I think everyone can agree that the feelings of anxiety, helplessness and isolation have increased during the past six months since pandemic safety measures have been in place here in the USA. And it doesn’t look like these precautions are going away any time soon – numbers of coronavirus cases are again increasing all over the country.

This pandemic – this entire year of 2020 – has been anything but normal. But, I have this crazy idea that, for my family, I want it to be special for positive reasons as well as negative. I want my kids to look back on this year and say, “Yes, we missed a whole year of ‘real’ school, we missed being with friends and family, we missed out on family trips and extracurricular activities, but….we got to stay up late and watch movies, we made some really yummy meals together, I learned a new skill, I started a new hobby, my siblings and I made up cool games, I realized I loved doing laundry…” OK – maybe not that last one, but I can hope…

And that’s the other thing I want my kids to remember from the year 2020 – that there is always hope, that they are resilient, and that together, we can still make the world a better place.

©️ 2020 iido

The Gift of Time – A Poem

The screen lights my face

Reflecting the curated world

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling

.

Your hand on my sleeve, then on my face 

Your voice reflecting a child’s request

Tugging, tugging, tugging

.

I turn away, pulling the screen to my chest

My peace broken, I add to the disturbance 

Yelling, yelling, yelling

.

You turn away and drop your creation

Broken bits of pride scattering on the floor

Falling, falling, falling

.

The sound of escape pings

The sound of reality heavily sighs with slumped shoulders and sits in front of the TV, turning on a show it’s seen before

The feel of escape vibrates

The feel of reality punches the gut with the realization that time should be given to a small hand and not a small hand held device

.

I am all thumbs, fumbling, 

dropping the screen

dropping down next to you

Putting my face in front of your face

Seeing, listening, loving

.

Living

Image credit: Adrien King @ Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows an hour glass sitting on a small table. The sand has run through the glass. Two hand are reaching for it from opposite ends )

An “early” post (at least for me!) for Sadje’s What Do You See #51 picture prompt. The picture above sent my mind in two directions. This is probably the first time I worked on two poems at the same time! I’ll post my second poem after this one.

This picture intrigued me because of the hands. The one on the table seemed desperate, as if reaching the hour glass was a final act. As someone who is chronically late, I can say that time and I are not friends. I thought that being at home and not having outside obligations due to the pandemic would gift me a lot of time to write and run and do all the other things that I told myself I would do if “I had more time.”

That hasn’t been the case.

Time seems to be going faster despite the fact that all the days are blending together. From the time I wake up to when I go to bed (which is pretty late), I’m on the “go” while staying at home. And since all the kids are at home with me, I am acutely aware of how much time I am spending on activities that I would have usually gotten done while they are in school, versus the time and attention I am giving to them during the day. Some times it’s more or less even, some days it’s weighted to one side.

I am that hand on the table, grasping for more time yet knowing it will be taken away from me and never returned.

©️ 2020 iido

Free Bird? – A Reverse Nonet

Stuck

Despite

The option

To fly away

Caught in a snapshot

Indecision showing

Trust as fragile as the song

I used to sing at your window

Will you raise your hand to set me free?

Image credit- Evan Clark @ Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a hand extended out with a little bird sitting on it. In the background one can see a lake and it’s shore in distance)

Another busy week, but I didn’t want to miss out on Sadje’s “What do you see?” #49 this week. Birds have often been used as metaphors for life – there is the “canary in the coal mine,” the “bird in a gilded cage,” the “early bird,” and “birds of a feather.” Birds have been featured in songs, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” and books, such as Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

As the election in the USA gets closer and issues of racial and social justice remain unresolved, I feel even more committed to doing small acts to help preserve this democracy and uphold it’s promise of equality and equity. I’m raising my hand in solidarity.

So between homeschooling/virtual learning, being involved the local election, and keeping up with usual household needs, I’m trying to continue to find the time to write and read and run. Some days, I have to chose what to do. Some days, sleep wins. Some days, I feel like I am doing the right thing for my family and for myself. Some days, I feel like I have accomplished nothing. Some days, I feel like I could be doing more.

Some days, just raising my hand and saying, “Present,” is enough.

©️ 2020 iido

Watercolor Recipes: Sapphire Stardust – A Poem

Sapphire stardust and one drop of water

Use for

……….Deep ocean souls

………..Waterfall daredevils

……….Getting lost on purpose

Sapphire stardust and two drops of water

Use for

……….The scent of early morning air

……….Skin after a run

……….Stretching after an afternoon nap

Sapphire stardust and three drops of water

Use for

……….Clouds resting on soft grass

……….Campfires on summer nights

……….Listening to the song from your first dance

Sapphire stardust and four drops of water

Use for

……….Prayers whispered into tissues

……….Crying babies

……….Dying breaths

Image credit- Elena Mozhvilo- Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged readers, the image shows an incomplete watercolor on open pages of a notebook. There are tubes of colors next to it and some painting paraphernalia )

Another beautiful picture for Sadje’s “What do you see?” prompt #47. I love the colors in the picture and all the details (the skull filled with mysterious amber liquid can be a whole story all by itself) certainly brought to mind many different ideas. In the end, it was Beth Amanda’s from the Go Dog Go Cafe that brought this poem together. She posted the Tuesday Writing Prompt to use the phrase, “sapphire stardust”.

My birthday is in September so sapphires, which is the birthstone for the month, has always had special meaning for me. Blue is my favorite color, especially deep blue with a touch of black it. I don’t know the artistic name of that blue, but “sapphire stardust with one drop of water” would work!

Like everything else this year, birthdays seem like they shouldn’t be celebrated. This year, I’m thinking about giving on my birthday instead of receiving. I usually love having a day (or two) just for myself, but sharing seems to be a more appropriate way of marking another turn around the sun. Maybe next September will be a “sapphire dust with two drops of water” type of year….

©️ 2020 iido

The Power of Sand – A Haiku Sonnet

Vast expanse looming 

Single disconnected grains 

Hour glass ticking 

.

The tiniest rock

Carries the heaviest weight

Strength alone ebbing

.

Frustrated steps sink

Grains claw in supplication

Prayer time ending

.

One is annoyance

Millions demand attention

A sand storm brewing

.

Vast problems challenge

Connecting into action

Image credit: Dan Grinwis- Unsplash 
(For visually challenged reader, the image shows a person walking in a desert, dwarfed by huge sand dunes. A long line of their footsteps can be seen behind them)

Squeaking in under the wire of Sadje’s What do you see? #46. The picture above might seem hopeless, scary to some – a figure alone in the desert. But to me, I felt envious of the time to be alone, to walk and think, to feel the heat on my skin and the notice the individual grains of sand beneath my feet.

I know this feeling is because of all the “family time” we have been having. I never realized how much I enjoyed having time to myself until those opportunities were curtailed with this pandemic. I grew up in a family where we were together all the time so I actually don’t mind all the togetherness, but since having a taste of time alone when all the kids were in school last year…being able to sit in a silent house is definitely a luxury I enjoy!

But this poem had another inspiration with Kate’s Friday Fun Prompt – Vastness and Donna Matthew’s Poetry Form Challenge on the Go Dog Go Cafe to try a Haiku Sonnet. I love form challenges. I used the traditional American syllable form for my haikus. It’s still brief enough for me (LOL – if you haven’t noticed I do tend to be wordy so the use of forms is definitely a challenge)!

The idea of vastness though, like being alone, can be hopeless and scary sometimes. But Kate writes:

spaciousness or vastness often opens our minds
especially if we are feeling tightness or fear

Writing this poem made me think of all the things I am afraid to do alone, but that are easier to do with others. As the old adage states: there is strength in numbers, strength in being together – whether with friends or family.

Creating vastness also means creating space for others to join you. If we are closed in – physically, mentally, emotionally – we won’t have the space for others – other people, other ideas, other experiences.

With all the discord in our world today, creating space for togetherness seems to be one solution.

©️ 2020 iido

Hot Air Rises – A Nonet

Their fire exhaling passionate hope

Their dreams hidden in wickered hearts

No thorns to cause them to pop

Captured in weightless bulbs

Cloudless promises

Reaching higher

So many

So close

Rise

Ian Dooley- Unsplash
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a sky full of hot air balloons in various colors. The nearest one shows a couple in the basket with an operator)

This nonet was written for Sadje’s What do you see? photo prompt #45 (hopefully not too late!). I also was able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #246 – Thorns.

I loved this image of hot air balloons rising. We have a hot air balloon company near us who take off from the local airport. My kids have loved seeing them float over our house. One time they got close enough that when we waved, the people in the basket waved back.

Hot air ballooning has always intrigued me. But it has also terrified me – flying high in the sky in a small basket, subject to the whims of wind. There are only two choices – sit at the bottom of the basket and try not to hyperventilate with fear, or stand up, turn your face to the wind and enjoy the scenery.

With the pandemic still going strong and the upcoming election, I’ve struggled with this choice. But the blue skies have been beckoning me…enjoy the ride and let my hope ride….

©️2020 iido

To Mothers Making Tough Decisions – A Cinquain

Mother

With broken heart

Your knowing eyes loving

Despite fearing unknown chaos

Hero

Image credit; Lucas Pezeta at Pexels
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows face of a woman. It is painted with luminous glitter paint and the features are highlighted with bright yellow lines, ending in a question mark on the forehead)

Joining Sadje’s “What do you see?” picture prompt #42 this week with the beautiful picture above. I would have loved to know where this picture was taken, if it was for a special ceremony or celebration. The colors are so vibrant against the black background – they seem illuminated even on my computer screen. And the design – does it allude to the “third eye” or does it have some other symbolic meaning?

It’s the person’s gaze in the picture that drew me in. I made the assumption that it was a feminine face, but I could be totally wrong since there are no other indicators of gender. As with any picture, our interpretation really reflects more of who we are and our point of views/filters/biases than on what the artist’s intent is.

The gaze in this picture speaks to resignation – knowing something and accepting it. I am hoping it is a compassionate resignation – knowing the decision made is done with the best intentions and understanding of the current data.

I would like to imagine that this is the look that I have right now. I would like to imagine that it’s the same look mothers/caregivers all over the United States have, after making the difficult decision of whether to send their kids to in-person school or attempt learning from home. I would like to imagine that we are looking at each other with this compassionate resignation and also with the unspoken promise of support no matter the outcome.

The first word of this poem could also be replaced with “Teachers” and the last word would remain the same, “Heroes”. I know our teachers are also struggling with the difficult decision of return to school – for themselves and their children. Again – I bestow the look of compassionate resignation and the promise of support for the following school year.

As this pandemic continues and many of us are feeling the fatigue of continuing with safety measures, let’s practice this compassionate look above our masks. Our eyes can convey hope as easily as contempt.

©️ 2020 iido

What Do You See? – A Poem

Three pairs of teacups

Or is it two pairs of three?

Waiting for loving hands

Or is it more a mystery?

.

A pair of pictures

One dark and one light

An ominous warning?

Or a universe’s insight?

.

A lone vase 

Filled with branches reaching

The seated figure

Meditating or teaching?

.

The elegant teapot

In front of the chair

In front of that wall

Of hope or despair?

.

Our eyes’ observation

And mind’s interpretation

Won’t know the artist’s intention

Just our own assertation

.

Three pairs of teacups

Or two pairs of three

It only really matters

If we disagree

Image credit; 五玄土 ORIENTO – Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a table set with six teacups, a teapot and a glass beaker. The wall at the back is adorned with oriental art and a flower arrangement)

I stole Sadje’s title for this poem for her “What do you see?” Picture Prompt #40. I love reading different responses to the same prompt. It just proves that we really do see things differently based on who we are: our experiences, preferences, points of view all contribute to our interpretation of the information from our senses.

Kate’s Friday Fun prompt – Pairs was the big contributor to my interpretation of Sadje’s prompt. If you remember your elementary math, the number 6 can be made by two different multiplication pairs: 6 and 1, 3 and 2. It doesn’t matter if you have 3 sets of 2 or 2 sets of 3, the result is the same. This is called the Commutative Property and it holds true for addition, as well as, multiplication. (Who said you don’t need math if you’re going to be a poet?!)

With all the different opinions going around about school reopening, I always check to see who the opinion is coming from. Opinions from teachers, especially those who are also parents, have a lot more weight than opinions from politicians or even administrators who don’t have as much at stake. Everyone thinks or feels they are doing what is best for the children – from their point of view.

We have to make a decision about whether to send our kids back to school this week and it’s not getting easier. Writers – if you have sent your child(ren) back to school, what factored into your decision? How was it for the kids? What safety measures did your school take? Do you prefer 2×3 or 3×2?

Anyone who can see the future by reading tea leaves, please chime in as well!

©️ 2020 iido

Petition – A Cinquain

Come down

From your tower

Eat our food. Wash our feet.

Suffer our love. Live our losses.

Witness

Image credit- Stefan Keller- Pixabay 
( For visually challenged reader, the image shows an old bearded man standing on a stone staircase that is leading to a tower. In the background you can see mountains enshrouded in clouds)

Another beautiful prompt from Sadje’s “What do you see?” #38. This one has a Merlin/Harry Potter feel to it, but for me, it spoke more in terms of the “Ivory Tower” and thinking of the disconnect between those making the rules and those who have to enforce the rules and the those who are meant to follow the rules. So often, those three groups are not the same people.

As a social worker, one of the first things that I learned is to “start where the client is,” meaning that people are the experts of their life and that in order to effect change, we need the input of our clients as well as their buy-in to what that change will be. It can’t just be me/the therapist making rules that I expect my client to follow. Good therapy means that the client makes their own rules, enforces these rules and (because they made it themselves), follow these rules to make improvements in their lives.

On a macro level, it always amazes me to see how many systems don’t follow this format. For example, all the men who are making rules about what women a can and can’t do with our bodies or all the non-teachers who are deciding what whether or not to re-open schools during the pandemic. I see this happening on a personal level with my children’s school where the administration is making plans for re-opening without consulting teachers or parents/families regarding needs and concerns.

When will we require our leaders, the rule makers in our lives, to come down from their ivory tower and bear witness?

©️ 2020 iido