Thoughts Written on January 6 – A Quadrille

My summer island beckons me

When the sun hides behind

Winter clouds. Her waves, trapped

In whispering shallows, softly request

My return. Her rocky shoreline

Curved in a waiting embrace.

Her salty scent of carefree

Days warming the frigid air.

Only 6 more months.

Quadruple prompts in this quadrille! Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #196 – Islands was the basis for this poem while Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to create a poem about the seasons set the scene. I was also able to incorporate dVerse’s Quadrille #83 – Sun (Happy 8th Anniversary dVerse!!) and the Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt – Whispering Shallows. Whew!

I wrote this quadrille thinking of my two favorite islands – Maui (where the picture was taken) and Martha’s Vineyard. We’ve had lovely vacations in both these islands. They are vastly different in topography yet both bring a sense of peace and contentment – that “Hakuna Matata” feeling. Maybe it’s the sun on my skin or the smell of the sea or the gentle whisper of the waves that makes food taste better, colors look more vibrant, love feel deeper. I search for this during cold winter days.

©️ iido 2019

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I Cannot See My Face – A Villanelle

Whenever I enter a place
My insides search to belong
I cannot see my face

Can I take up this space?
There’s times that I’ve been wrong
And need to leave a place

Those times I’ve felt displaced
An unwanted tagalong
I paste a smile on my face

I try to handle it with grace
So the discomfort won’t prolong
When I need to stay at a place

But why can’t you embrace
The me inside that’s strong
Can you look beyond my face?

I will not be erased
I’m not one of the throng
I will not leave this place
I cannot change my face

This villanelle was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from a few weeks ago. She really has some wonderful, thought provoking ideas! This challenge requested poems about feeling like a “stranger in a strange land”. My two photos are both from my trip to Santa Fe, the top one was from a weird museum we went to called “Meow a Wolf” and the other is from the Puye Cliff Dwellings (is it an alien?).

This piece was originally titled “What It’s Like as an Asian Woman Living in a Predominantly White Community”.

I’ve often felt like the “stranger” – not because people haven’t usually been welcoming, friendly and kind to me – but because at some point in the relationship, I realize that they don’t see me as I see me. People usually see my Asian-ness first leading to reactions of surprise (“You speak English so well!”) or confusion (“How do you know about 4-H?”) since their concept of Asian-ness doesn’t intersect with their concept of American-ness. It’s similar to people’s reactions when a woman expresses opinions about sports or carburetors.

Since I’ve lived almost all my life in the USA and have lost the ability to speak the language of my parents, I see myself as an American first – that is my culture yet genetically, I am very much Asian. This disparity has led to that feeling of strangeness that I know will not go away until the concept of “What is American?” changes. And that will happen when…..??

I’m not gonna hold my breath….

I’m not gonna change my place…

I’m not gonna change my face….

©️ iido 2019

Love Works – A Senryu

Two rough reddened hands

Wash plates, clothes, floors and faces

Work softened by love

The senryu is for Patrick’s Pic and A Word Challenge #195 – Work. And yes, those dishes are a real example of the work I do as a stay at home mom (don’t ask about the chunky, frothy bits – I don’t know what they are either).

Patrick’s words about the “beauty of the moment taking work out of the job” really resonated with me. Being a stay at home mom, I’ve sometimes have to work really hard to find these moments!

I know I have many poems here about mothering – some funny and some serious but all coming from a place of love. The work involved with being a parent really needs that love – not love as reimbursement from our children and partners, but love as a no strings attached gift to our children and partners. I think about that when I am on my 5th basket of laundry (we are a family of 6!) or loading the dishwasher for the third time in a day. I don’t love the chores/work but I love the people. And there are days when they show their love for me by pairing the socks.

©️ iido 2019

One Million Stars to End Violence

@michnavs has written this moving and significant poem to spread the word about the prevalence of domestic violence and violence against women and children in general. We need to shed a light on this world wide problem. Maybe in that way, we can bring back some of these stars….

One Million Stars to End Violence

https://michnavs.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/one-million-stars-to-end-violence/

— Read on michnavs.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/one-million-stars-to-end-violence/

Mother With the Green Hair – A Poem

Rough brown skin scratches my cheek

I lean into your strength

My arms wrap around you

My fingers not touching

Reminding me of your age

A comfort in this short sighted world

Your willowy boughs sway in the hot breeze

But under your protective shadow

I am but one who rejoices/relishes in your giving nature.

This poem was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write a poem about a time when I felt most at one with nature (note: the link is Jamie’s post with the prompt responses as she has a new method for collecting response to her prompts. The original request is here.)

I love Nature however Nature has often times not loved me back as evidenced by all the insect bites I usually get during the summer, the sunburns, and the humid-inspired frizzy hair-do. Trees though have been a stalwart friend on these hot summer days. I am always saddened when I see one being cut down. All those decades, centuries of growing…and only a few minutes to have it all fall down. Not to mention the loss of an oxygen creator…

When we lived in verdant New Hampshire, Hubby and I used to joke about not having enough trees for everyone…now I fear, that may soon be not a joking matter.

©️ iido 2019

The Towers Fell – A Trijian Refrain Poem

These tall metal and concrete trees
Towering overhead
Without leaves to dance in the breeze
Remind me of the dead
The towers fell – because of hate
Lack of compassion can’t relate
The towers fell
The towers fell
What is this world that we create?

While this is not a true Trijian Refrain Poem as it only has one stanza, it does fulfill Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #194 – Towers. With this being 4th of July weekend, my thoughts drifted to the Twin Towers in NYC and the horrific events of 9/11/01. I grew up in NYC and the Twin Towers were a definite feature in my life, especially in high school.

I remember going to the plaza between the two towers on sunny days after school. My friends and I would lay on the ground and look up at the towers. It would feel like they were swaying towards you. It was a beautiful, awe-inspiring moment that I still carry with me.

What is it about these structures that reach to the sky? That can inspire with their heights of grandeur or at times, feel like they are falling in on you?

©️ iido 2019

Radiance Running – A Haiku and Race Review of the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon

Grey clouds have no chance

When radiance runs with heart

Summer sun follows

On Sunday, June 2, 2019, I ran the 8th Annual Niagara Falls International Women’s Half Marathon and 5K. I signed up because a good friend of mine, Danielle had signed up for it and I wanted to run an “international race”. Niagara Falls is a few hours drive from my in-laws’ house so we were able to see them on the way to and from the race – bonus!!

Read my pre-race ramblings here!

If you’ve never visited Niagara Falls on the Canadian side, then you are truly missing out on an awesome sight. The majesty and power of water as it rushes over the rocks is truly humbling. You can hear its roar and see its misty beauty from the walkway next to it or a boat ride (for an up close and personal view) or even overhead on zip lines.

The morning of the race was cold and grey. The forecast said rain later in the day but obviously the weather did not get that memo. It started to rain as I waited for Danielle to pick me up at my hotel and the rain would continue on and off during the race.

As if the rain wasn’t enough of an ominous start to the race, Danielle arrived frazzled – she had left her running belt at home and her lucky sunglasses had broken that morning. She also just had a baby a year ago so her First Big Race after the baby. But, Danielle is one determined woman who doesn’t give up with or without her lucky sunglasses. She joked that as long as her pants didn’t fall down, she was going to run this race!

When we got to the race site, Danielle’s friends, Tiffany and Angie, were already there. This was Tiffany’s first half marathon. Angie was coming back from an injury as well. If there ever was a tougher group of mother runners, this was it! Check out the awesome shirts they had especially made for this race just to show how truly kicka$$ they are!

There was some music and a tent at the start of the race but not much else. There were a few moments of heavy rain that stopped just as were starting – the sun showed its face for a brief second before it became overcast again. Perfect running weather in my opinion!

One cool thing that Danielle reminded us when we were lining up was that when the announcer was saying that there were so many other countries represented at the race, that those “other countries” included us. We were Americans in Canada so that made us one of those “other countries” running the race. This is what it’s like running my first INTERNATIONAL race! Mind blown!

The course started out by Marineland, went out towards the Rainbow bridge then back on the same street, past the start area and then further down the other side of the falls along the Niagara river. This was a pretty flat course on streets right by the water. The course formed a “lopsided bow tie” shape. While the first loop was beautiful and had some people cheering, the second loop was almost devoid of spectators – not even the people who’s houses we passed, opened up the front door to cheer us on. Maybe it was the rain at the start of the race that kept the spectators away?

It didn’t keep Katherine Switzer away though! That woman is simply amazing and so full of energy and positivity!

The four of us started out together before Tiffany went ahead. This was her first half marathon and she totally ROCKED this race finishing about an hour before Danielle, Angie and I did. While this race wasn’t the my fastest, it was full of great moments like this one

and this one

and of course, this one!

At the end of the race we were treated to cold towels, which was perfect for cooling off from that final sprint. There wasn’t much in terms of post race festivities. Maybe it was because of the rain and/or because we were towards the back of the pack? There were still a lot of ladies left so this was somewhat disappointing (don’t they know the back is where the cool kids are??).

Still, I couldn’t have asked for a better first race of the year! Thank you, Danielle for telling me about this race and training with me. Thank you Danielle, Angie and Tiffany for some wonderful memories!

©️ iido 2019