Hunter vs. Runner – A Haibun and Runfession #16, January 2021

Her white belly, like a dangerous cloud against the blue sky, was difficult to see at first. But hints of brown and the predatory glint of sharp eyes gave her away before her ear-piercing screech did.   

I pump my arms faster, willing my legs to follow suit as I traverse a country road where sage greens are losing the battle against fiery reds and commanding yellows. We are racing, this eagle and I, although my plodding footfalls are in no way as graceful as her gliding gilded wingspan. Wind rustles the golden corn stalks, the soothing cheer interrupted by a final taunting screech as the eagle and I part ways.

Hunter’s glint flash bright

I am not competition

Does that make me prey?

My first runfession of 2021! I’m finally able to link up with Marcia’s Healthy Slice, the creator of the Runfession Forum. It’s been months since I’ve had a proper runfession and my soles were getting heavy.

I was able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word #263 – Bright into this haibun that was inspired by Frank J. Tassone’s prompt of a haibun about eagles for d’Verse’s Haibun Monday. Full confession (since this is a runfession!) – I think the 1st picture above is actually a hawk (taken during a run in downtown Harrisburg) and, while the 2nd picture is an eagle, it’s not real but an iron sculpture at the Hawk Mountain Conservatory in Kempton, PA.

I did try racing a raptor during a run a few years ago. I wasn’t sure exactly what type of bird it was (probably a hawk) but I was on a country road training to get my road apple award when I noticed the bird flying over the corn fields to my right. I was so intrigued by it’s elegance that I actually almost fell into a ditch on the side of the road. Thankfully, I caught myself in time and only stumbled. By them the bird flew away, it’s screech was probably laughter at the clumsy creature hobbling along below.

But I digress…I’m trying to distract you from the true purpose of this post which is to give a good runfession because Saucony knows, I need it….

I runfess…2020 was dismal year for running for me. Despite doing 100 miles in February 2020 for the Taji 100, when the pandemic hit in March and everything closed down, my motivation was gone faster than the time it takes me to wash my hands (20 seconds or singing “Happy birthday” twice). But 2021 is new year and I have already committed to several challenges this year.

I runfess…Maybe I’m crazy but I’ve always wanted to run across the USA like Forrest Gump. So when a friend asked me if I wanted to run the Amerithon with her, of course I said yes! January was a slow start with only 41 miles for the month, but at least it was a start.

I runfess…I’m doing a little double dipping with my miles for February. Not only am I running the Amerithon, but I also signed up for the Taji 100 (again!). Yes, 100 miles in the month of February for Team RWB and to support our men and women in the military. I have a nephew serving in the Air Force and numerous friends who are retired military so this challenge has significant meaning to me.

I runfess….I am still injured and am probably a little crazy to attempt this high mileage after several months of inactivity. However, I am tired of feeling like the injured mouse just waiting for some eagle or hawk to swoop down and put me out my misery. I’m actually walking about 90% of my miles, so while that will take longer, I think (hope) it will keep me from totally exacerbating my injuries. Just don’t tell my sports medicine doc what I’m doing…

I am so glad that running/walking has returned to being a bright spot in my life! I do feel so much better with regular exercise. Even if I don’t reach 100 miles in February or complete the 3521 miles for Amerithon, I know that the journey is more important than the destination. With the pandemic still going strong here in the USA, I’m not sure what else this year will bring, but at least my intentions are clear – 2021 will be a better year!

©️ 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

Old Woman Running – And Poem and Runfession #15, October/November/December 2020

The hallway, long and dark, 

Echoes footsteps, like a dull bell

Ringing a dirge.

The egress beckons, urging speed, 

Alas, the footsteps carry 

The weight of time

Old woman running

If plodding could be considered as such

The effort coming out of her pores

Her face, glistening

Brow furrowed, lips frowning

A beauty hidden in determined wrinkles

At last the goal is reached

She pauses at the threshold

Stepping aside

A young girl runs by,

Face glistening with hope 

A new year zooming by with possibilities

The old woman laughs

Such innocence in ignorance

Better not to know, her inner child says

She makes her slow exit

Relieved yet fully aware

Not her best race, but finished nonetheless

Image credit; Tim Hüfner @ Unsplash 
For visually challenged reader, the image shows wall art. A woman is dressed in 1950’s style. A speech bubble next to her says, ” Listen to your inner child.” There are cartoons and graffiti on the wall too.

Hello and Welcome to 2021!! What a year it has been! Yes, I know it’s only been 7 days into 2021, but if you’ve been listening to the news coming out of Washington, DC, you’ll know what I mean about this year not starting off as best as it could.

I’m still back in 2020 – not because I didn’t want to leave, but because I feel like there is still so much I needed/wanted to get done before the year changed. Alas, Time waits for no one (especially a chronically late procrastinator like me)! This poem and runfession incorporates Sadje’s What Do You See #61 (check out the wonderful responses to her prompt in her roundup here) and two of Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #258 – Beauty and #259 – Hope.

Next week (or maybe this week if I can get it together) I will be back on track. This is my mantra for 2021 – “Get back on track!” Or maybe it should be “Don’t fall off the rails”….

I’ve combined my runfessions from the last three months of 2020 because honestly, there was really nothing to runfess those last few months. I did absolutely no running during that time – I wouldn’t even count the 2 mile run/walks I did here and there. I didn’t even really think about running. The Spartan race that I had signed up for in October was cancelled and that was in it for my motivation for 2020. So that’s my biggest runfession for 2020!

I’m hoping 2021 will be the year I get back into running. I’ve already signed up for 2 Spartan obstacle races – a sprint and a stadion – something different to break up the running a bit. And I’m looking to do at least 1 half marathon. Of course, this is all pandemic provisional.

I couldn’t decide if I identified more with the old woman running or the young girl running in the poem. How about you? We’re 7 days into 2021, yet I’m wondering if 2020 has decided to hang around…

©️ 2020 iido

Countdown – A Cascade Poem

The porch steps are cold despite the flowers

I remain hopeful in my solitude

The radio wails so I don’t have to

It’s 6 pm and I’ve been waiting

Since 3 pm, your promise repeating yet

The porch steps are cold despite the flowers

.

It’s 9 pm and darkness is whispering

Forget, the candles are melting yet

I remain hopeful in my solitude

.

It’s midnight and I’m fumbling

For reasons, don’t stop believing yet

The radio wails so I don’t have to

Image credit; Shche- Team @ Unsplash 
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows an outdoor scene. An old fashioned radio is placed next to a couple of candles and a wicker basket. Behind the radio is a pot full of blooming red flowers.

I’ve been sitting on this poem for a few days, but it’s time to set it free! Peter, at dVerse’s last Meeting of the Bar for 2020, brought these prompts together with his request for poems that explored different endings/beginnings. I immediately thought of a cascade poem, one of my favorites with lines that repeat and loop back. The one above also plays with enjambment.

Sadje’s What do you see #60 provide the inspirational picture while Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #257 – Solitude provided the feeling that this picture brought for me. Maybe it’s the melancholy that the end of the year brings me, even for a year as bad as 2020. This year definitely had its share of disappointments, promises and plans not kept. And solitude – even with family, that feeling of disconnectedness has been quite profound this year.

Still, I’m sad to see this year end – I’ve enjoyed the extra time with my children and the more relaxed (meaning, basically non-existent) schedule. I know 2021 will be better. It has to be.

©️ 2020 iido

To Touch the Moon – A Poem

If I reached out a hand 

Toward the moon, touching

It’s essence, not merely flying 

Over its form, like geese 

heading south, but capturing 

The hard rock, biting into my palm

Reminding me I am just a girl

And not a silly goose. 

Image credit; Lolame @ Pixabay
For visually challenged reader, the image shows three Cranes flying in the evening sky. You can see a waning gibbous moon behind the birds.

Getting back on track with a poem for Sadje’s What Do You See #59. When I first saw this picture, I thought the birds were geese, however after pasting in the description, I now realize they are cranes. If I knew that before hand, this poem might have taken a different path. But I didn’t and that’s OK.

I also incorporated Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #256 – Touching. There are so many things I want to touch! I’m the type of person that if I see an interesting texture – on a wall or on clothing or in nature – my curiosity gets the best of me and I do reach out to touch it. Touch is really one of our most underrated senses but it’s the one we have the most of since we are covered in skin from head to toes.

There is a saying, “Shoot for the moon – even if you fail, you might land on a star.” This poem reflects my thoughts before I tried for the moon.

©️ 2020 iido

Thanksgiving 2020 – A Sestina

The smell of bread perks my senses

I struggle against the warmth of comfort

Wrapped in blanketed protection

Dreaming of food and family 

Around a table, laughing together

Ignoring the nightmare outside

.

I get dressed and check outside

The warm sun deluding my senses

Into thinking it would be OK to be together

Why should we throw out our comfort?

The Bible says love of God, of family

Provides everything we need, even protection

.

What are we really protecting? 

Is the fear from inside or outside?

We shouldn’t be afraid of our family

Yet I feel that niggle, like Spidey senses

No amount of food can bring comfort

If we get sick from being together 

.

Is the risk worth it to be together? 

Should we stay away for protection?

If one gets sick or dies, will memories of this time be enough to bring comfort?

My worries spill from my body to outside

I do not want to kill my family

.

Because this is what it’s about – family

The primal need to be together

The smell, the sight, the sounds of food and laughter filing my senes

My role should be as protector

Not a bystander looking in from outside

Aloofness won’t bring comfort

.

But sickness and death also won’t bring comfort

I do not want to lose anyone in my family 

So I invite them to come in from outside 

If this is the last time we are all together

I will build a wall around my heart as protection 

As we take leave of our senses

.

There is no comfort in being left outside

My senses overload upon seeing my family

Breaking bread together crumbles the wall of protection 

Can you guess what my favorite Thanksgiving food is?

Hello! It’s been a while and I’m jumping right back in with a submission for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #253 – Bread, #254 – Nightmares and #255 – Warmth. Back on track to continue my streak! My original idea for these prompts were to write about a carb-free diet and how awful that sounds to me right now being that we are in the middle of Christmas baking, however, as with all things at this moment when positive COVID-19 cases have almost reached 15 million in the USA, not eating warm bread doesn’t seem like that much of a nightmare.

I am also tried out the sestina form for the first time. It seems to work well for the merry-go-round of worry I seem to be riding since having family over for Thanksgiving. Yes, we had a gathering of over 10 people. No, we didn’t wear masks. Yes, my family quarantined before we had my family over due to my dad being immune compromised (we only left the house for work and food) AND we are quarantining until the end of this week just to make sure we don’t have anything from this gathering. While I know most people would not be this strict in following the CDC guidelines, we are trying to do our part in preventing the spread of this novel coronavirus.

But that’s the thing – we are doing our part but I see other people are not. Until there is enforcement of the safety guidelines, I fear this pandemic will continue to rage unabated. Sure, there is talk of a vaccine coming out in the spring of 2021, but how many more people will get the coronavirus until then? How many more people will die?

I’ve read about countries where they have been able to stop the spread of the coronavirus in certain areas and where they haven’t had any new cases in over a month (I’m looking at you Melbourn, Australia – shoutout to Kate and Ivor!) Will Americans ever be able to let go of their “right to individuality” in order to do something for the good of society? At this moment in time, the answer for most Americans seem to be a resounding no.

Maybe come January 20, 2021 things will change. My hope is that it does. Then I can go back to obsessing about sourdough bread bowls filled with clam chowder.

©️ 2020 iido

Curiosity Two – Another Haiku

Curiosity

An opening of the mind

To the depth of life

Image credit: Evan Clark@ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a person precariously balanced, standing on a fallen tree trunk hanging over a body of water.

As I was writing the title for this poem, I realized that I had another poem with the same title, also inspired by Sadje’s What Do You See. The picture above is from Sadje’s What Do You See #55 and also incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #252 – Opening. I’m curious as to why I’ve had curiosity on my mind recently….

This is been an exhausting week for no particular reason. Maybe it’s the weather or maybe it’s the drop in adrenalin after the election or maybe it’s the dreaded “pandemic fatigue” (dun, dun, duuuunnnn). Or maybe it’s the fact that the holidays are coming and there isn’t that general sense of holiday cheer or “peace on earth and goodwill to all” that usually comes this time of year.

Whatever it is, maybe curiosity – as in wondering, observing and reflecting – is the answer to opening our hearts again to the depth of beauty and love that resides in our world, including the people around us.

©️ 2020 iido

November Lament – A Poem

Oh, why have you lead me here?

My Lord, who I have faithfully followed

Enclosed in darkness

The cold seeping into my bones

There is no where to go

I fear you have left me

With nothing but a single light

Who will see this flame?

Who will hear my lament?

Who will shed a tear

For this wretched servant?

In Your hands, I have placed my life

My future is Yours to decide

I stand ready for Your pronouncement

I am waiting

(My Lord, I am fearful)

I am waiting

(My Lord, I am hopeless)

I am waiting

(My Lord, I am alone)

.

The flame flickers

I follow your whisper

And look up

Image credit; Linus Sandvide@ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows the back of a man who is standing in a dark medieval arch holding a flaming torch in his hand.

Coming in under the wire for Sadje’s What Do You See #53. I was writing this poem and going to a deep, dark place when I noticed the little window at the top. Hope is sometimes hard to see…

I was also able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #250 – Fear. Those deep, dark places can bring fear – fear of the unknown, fear of what we can’t control, fear that can paralyze…

And the last prompt that I was able to use was Beth Amanda’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe to write a piece of poetry to prose using the phrase “in your hands.” I’ve spoken before about how my faith has helped me through this pandemic period As we are nearing Election Day, I’m again leaning into that faith, trusting in God’s Divine Plan, praying for acceptance of that plan…

I don’t know what will happen to the United States of America on Nov. 4th. At this point, I am in that deep, dark place, the flame that burns inside me is sputtering. I’ve written postcards, talked to people about why I support these candidates, volunteered time in organizations that support my vision of the USA. I’ve already hand delivered my ballot. Now, I am waiting and searching for that window…

©️ 2020 iido