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

Prayer to a Hummingbird – A Cinquain

Wise one

Without worries

Knowing that God provides

Help me follow your example

Amen

Image credit- Stefan Keller – Pixabay 
( For visually challenged reader, the image shows a woman holding her hands in supplication. In front of her a hummingbird is hovering in air. There are flowers in the background)

This cinquain was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” picture prompt. This is the first cinquain that I’ve written. Like haiku and other forms that have a syllabic structure, I was really drawn to the challenge!

When I saw this picture, I was reminded of the Bible verse, Matthew Ch. 6, verses 25-34. Truthfully, this verse has been on my mind a lot. It’s mid-July and our school hasn’t said anything about what their plans are going to be for the fall. Are they going to have in-person classes? If so, what are the plans for preventing the spread of the coronavirus? What will they do if a child or teacher gets infected? If they decide to not have in-person classes, how will they structure virtual classes? Since I am not working outside the house, having to “homeschool” the kids won’t be that difficult of an adjustment, however, I know my kids miss the social aspect of going to school.

There have been so many unknowns in terms of what to do to mitigate the effects of this pandemic. The lack of leadership in the USA, coupled with the lack of compassion and long-term thinking of the population has made this worrisome time even more so. None of the articles that I have read and none of the experts I have listened to have given me any insight into what to do to keep my kids safe when school starts in the fall.

I hate feeling helpless. I don’t want to feel hopeless.

So, I’ve been praying – which doesn’t help with coming up with a solution, but it does help relieve some of my anxiety. Oh, to be a hummingbird, right now!

©️ 2020 iido

Beholder – A Poem

I don’t want you in my view

You who brought these lovely hues

These vibrant strokes now seem obscene

An eruption of all the shades between

.

I want the simple black and white

The easy way to know wrong from right

No questions formed by a grey muddle

All sharp divisions, there’s nothing subtle

.

But I remember your yellow shades

And the pops of red, how they invade

My mind so I had to stop and question

All my beliefs…click! Here’s my deflection

.

I want the simple black and white

The easy way to know wrong from right

My picture is stark, unyielding, that’s true

But I can’t be responsible, if I don’t have a clue

Image Credit- Pixabay- Ariadne-a-mazed
(For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a camera capturing the image of a woman in color, while the rest of the image is in black and white. The woman seems to be holding a sheer veil over her face. The wall behind the camera is covered in graffiti with a large rectangular niche directly in front of the camera and a table to the left of the niche. )

This poem was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” Picture Prompt #36. I thought this was an excellent picture as there are so many interpretations as evidenced by the numerous writers and poets who submitted their verses for this prompt.

I originally started this poem and thought it would be about love, how love changes your life, adding color and vibrancy that would be gone once that love is gone. Basically, how it felt when Elvio told me was taking Sally to the 8th grade dance instead of me.

But as I wrote and edited and wrote some more…and as I read and thought about the 4th of July celebrations this weekend… another thought manifested itself into the poem.

Two articles in particular changed the meaning of this poem. The first was this article about “moral rebels”. The second article was about what the 4th of July means to different people, such as Black Americans, Indigenous Americans and immigrants.

There are people who would rather not know what is happening in the world – if it doesn’t affect them, it’s not on their radar. Sometimes they focus on other things in their life. Sometimes they think “ignorance is bliss.” Sometimes they know, yet still chose to ignore.

Our world is filled with so many different colors and shades and hues! We can chose to notice them and marvel at their beauty. Or we can chose to ignore them and live monochromatically. If we chose the latter, what would we be missing?

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” – Albert Einstein

Note; Apologies to any readers who may be color blind and who might have been hurt/insulted by this post. My metaphor above pertains to race/ethnicity and to nature. In no way do I mean to suggest that people without the physical capacity to see color perpetuate racism or that they are unable to experience the fullness life.

©️ 2020 iido

Castle – A Poem

What tipped you off?

Was it the high stone towers?

Or maybe it was the perpetual fog?

The howling? 

Well, of course, there’s howling with the full moon.

No? 

Oh. 

Then it must be the moat!

Obviously. 

You’re right – you’re unwelcome here

This isn’t the place for you 

It wasn’t anything you did or didn’t do

It’s me

I’m frightened

I mean – frightening 

You don’t want to come in here 

I don’t even want to be here

Yet here I am

But you – stay out

….

What?

You’re still building that bridge?

Image Credit- Pixabay- Ariadne-a-mazed 
(For visually is reader, the image shows a castle at night, it’s turrets and towers reflecting moonlight. A cloudy sky can be seen in the backdrop.)

This poem was inspired by the picture above courtesy of Sadje’s “What do you see?” Photo prompt #35 (hope I’m not too late to join!). I was also able to incorporate Sammi Scribbles’ Weekend Writing Prompt #163 – Unwelcome. Her mandate of 91 words for this prompt, helped me pare down the poem and keep me from rambling – oh, I could have gone on and on….

This moody picture captures my current mood considering all the events that are currently happening. I, too, feel like I want to build a castle and protect myself and my family against the coronavirus, the pain of racism, the heartache of loss – the loss of how life was before, the possible loss of relationships/people. I am heartened by the people in my life who reach out, to build that bridge of compassion, understanding, acceptance and solidarity.

We need bridges right now – especially to places (internal and external) that seem foreboding. Walls are built not only to keep things out, but also to keep things in. What are the walls that we have built? Why did we build them? What walls do we see around other people? What are some reasons those walls are up?

The other part to consider is what happens after we build that bridge. Should we just expect the door to be opened? Do we knock softly – maybe hoping the door doesn’t open? If the door doesn’t open right away, do we shrug our shoulders and say, “Oh, well, I tried,” then turn around and go back over the bridge? Do we bring our battering ram and force the door open?

Building bridges is just one part of the process. Are we brave enough to see this process all the way through?

©️ 2020 iido

Night Sounds – A Quadrille

The whisper of dry leaves

Parting to accommodate the stretching 

Of things growing taller, wider.

The frantic drumming of little hearts

Creating eddies of air

With delicately powerful moonlit wings

Which is louder in the still of the night

When no one is listening?

Image credit- Pixabay
(For visually challenged reader, the image shows a woodland scene, where blue butterflies are sitting on the forest floor among tiny mushrooms. Tall trees are visible in the background)

Two inspirations combined this week for the quadrille above. Mish at dVerse is the host for Quadrille #106 – Drum and Sadje’s “What do you see?” photo challenge #34 provided the photo above.

I loved the peaceful beauty of this photo – exactly what I needed to see with all the turmoil in the world. I could imagine the quiet breath of fluttering wings, the hush of the forest. The human photographer must have waited long time, in silence, in order to catch this photo and not disturb the wonder of nature.

Humans disturb nature in so many ways. Reading the essays in The BeZine made me realize the tremendous impact of human behavior, human self-interest and – dare I say it? – human selfishness, on the destruction of our natural world, the destruction of our brothers and sisters, and ultimately, our own destruction.

There is a saying that I’m sure you’ve seen on nature trails, “Take only pictures, leave only footprints.” But what if even our footprints destroy the very things that brought us to the nature trail to begin with? We would be able to take those pictures, but the people coming after us would not. Would getting these pictures be worth that destruction?

©️ 2020 iido

The Photographer – A Poem

His presence captures the nuance of a place

The feel of colors on the wall

The look of air captured in stillness

The sounds of triumphant details

The smell of belonging within a vast space

His presents are introspective breaths inhaled

With a click of a camera

And the scratch of a pencil on the back of a ticket or napkin

And exhaled onto a screen where he dares us

To be present in the world

Image credit- Pixabay-DariuszSankowski
( The image shows an old-fashioned camera resting on a faded map. There are three photos in sepia print next to the camera)

This poem was inspired by Sadje’s What Do you See? Prompt #32 which features a camera on top of a map with photos of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome and a city street (maybe New York?). Of course, when I saw it, I immediately thought of one of the few photographers I know, Patrick, and his Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #234 – Presence.

I was actually thinking of titling this poem, “Patrick – A Poem”, but I wasn’t sure if the subject would appreciate that since he seems most comfortable behind the camera than in front. I owe Patrick a great debt of gratitude – he was one of the first, if not, the first blog that I followed and commented on. I was quite surprised that he actually responded to my comment with such warmth and humor. That’s when I realized that WordPress wasn’t just about posting stuff. It really is about building a community through words and pictures.

You can find my first submission for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge # 43 – Lesson – HERE. It took awhile, but I have been fairly consistent with doing this challenge, even though I am a week behind. Patrick’s photos are breathtaking and his words are thought-provoking. In another life where I have more of an artist’s eye, I would have loved to be a world traveling photographer and writer. But for now, I am content seeing the world through Patrick’s Pix to Words.

©️ 2020 iido

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

image
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