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

Anniversary Hike – Three Haikus

Eighteen summers pass

Wishing puffs rooted in dreams

Happiness in bloom

I don’t know the real name of these flowers but they were like bigger dandelion puffs.

In the stillness green

Listen! My heart approaches

Your footsteps crunch leaves

My honey, NOT in his natural habitat…

A path just for two

Greenery gives privacy

Steps to sleepless nights

Nature made stairs for us…

This week, my Honey and I celebrated 18 years of wedded “bliss”! Yes, “bliss” is in quotes because like any other couple, we have had our ups and downs. But dealing with this pandemic as a couple and as a family has shown us that we are pretty well matched.

We celebrated by enlisting my parents to watch the kids while we went on a hike. What would have usually been an easy date night turned into a lesson on risk taking and selflessness (or maybe it was selfishness?). We hadn’t seen my parents since the shelter in place back in March so my kids were ecstatic to spend some time with them. Of course, we went through the pros and cons of whether to allow physical contact, use masks, etc. Sigh. There was no right answer, only love and prayers as we left the house for a few hours.

We took two short hikes – one a sun-filled trail that ended by a man-made lake surrounded by fields. The area is protected land for birds and other wildlife. A groundhog crossed our path as well as two beautiful iridescent blue birds who didn’t even move from their perch when we passed. The second hike was in a park in the middle of the city – a hidden gem that had well-marked hiking trails that traversed up and around a wooded hill and an unmarked trail that led down and long the river. We ended up getting lost and reluctantly had to use our cell phone map to guide us back to the car. An adventure with my Honey – fun and excitement for me (“We’re not lost, we’re exploring!”), exasperating for him (“Let’s use the GPS already!”), but overall we had a wonderful afternoon!

The 2nd haiku incorporates the Tuesday Writing prompt from Beth Amanda at Go Dog Go Cafe to use the phrase “in the stillness” in a piece of writing. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to join in their prompts – this one fell perfectly into place in this haiku! I was trying to capture the image of the two trees framing the water in the background when my Honey came traipsing through like a hairless Sasquatch caught on camera (I say that most lovingly).

The 3rd haiku incorporates a prompt from Patrick’s Thesaurus Game. The prompt was “clandestinely” which is synonymous to “privately” which became “privacy” in this haiku. The last line alludes to having children – our brood is never far from my mind.

It was great to be able to “escape” for awhile – no work, no kids, minimal thoughts of the pandemic. We went during the week so the trails were pretty empty – no need for masks or social distancing. We didn’t go out to eat at a fancy restaurant which is our usual anniversary outing, but spending time together, in nature, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on our skin was refreshing, healing and connecting.

Here’s to another year with my Honey and wherever our path takes us.

©️ 2020 iido

This Road – A Poem

I want this road to be left untaken

No need to explore the path forsaken

Cover your mouth, don’t be in awe

Follow the rules and withdraw

A cough, a fever, not rats or fleas

Are hallmarks of this deadly disease

To stop it, we need to change our lives

If on this road, we must survive 

For if you chance to take the step

One breath outside can become regret

IMG_4623

So…Social Distancing…I’m writing this from the prerequisite 6 feet away…

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #223 – Untaken and #224 – Awe. No virus is going to keep me from my streak!! Also, for GDG Tuesday writing prompt to “write a piece of prose around the question: How do we stay focused when the world around us is falling apart?”.  

So seriously, how is everyone doing? I’ve been caught off-guard with how fast everything is happening here in the USA, at least in my area.  I am not a fast mover (in running as well as in other aspects of my life). I am also one who needs the time to process change in order to fully accept the changes in my life – that’s why I’ve always gone to therapy during my big life changes (graduating college, getting married, the deaths and births of my children).  This isn’t a possibility right now so I have had to rely on my own “self-therapy” – which is OK, but nothing beats being able to talk to another person.

I think that’s been hardest part about social distancing – I am a social creature!! I gain energy from being with people and it keeps me from getting too caught up in my own head.  

True, I am blessed to have my family with me. My children have actually adapted to being “homeschooled” despite my lackluster skills at being an academic teacher.  We are on a schedule which includes doing chores and staying active. All good…on the surface…but I know the stress and fear of the uncertainty has been weighing on me and I worry how all of this is affecting my children.

So, I’m thinking “fake it ’til we make it” is going to be my new mantra! I’m going to catch up on my blog reading – I know you all have much better writings for me to read than the news! Art in all it’s forms may not be the antidote to this virus, but it will be the hot soup, the snuggly blanket and the social and emotional connection that will get us through this.

 

(c) 2020 iido

Mama vs Mars – A Haibun

On this day, fourteen years ago, the God of War thrust his sword into my abdomen and stole the apples of my eyes. Like his namesake planet, I was left cold, and barren with crusted blood like iron red rust covering my once life filled belly.

On this day, fourteen years ago, I declared, “Let there be storms!” and created a maelstrom of wind and tears, anger and confusion, sadness and frustration. The storms ate the comforting, yellow sun, the brave, blue skies, the protective purple rains and the just-for-fun rainbows. The storms raged and the war commenced.

Waiting out the storm

I eat Istakhar Apples

Spring’s peace is hard-won

Happy 14th Birthday!

While this is not a traditional haibun, it does incorporate the prompt from Frank at dVerse to use Mars in a haibun. I was also able to include Anmol’s dVerse poetics request time write a poem that included apples and it’s mythologies. The links to the “apple stories” I have used are included in the actual poem.

Lastly, I was able to use Beth’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe. Her prompt was the phrase, “Let there be storms”. The god of war, the red planet, apples and storms – mix together with a dash of angst and pinch of nature and voila! Haibun!

March 4 is the birthday of my twins, Lucas and Larissa, who were born at 22 weeks and didn’t survive. We have always celebrated their birthday with a cake. This haibun captures a bit of the anger and sadness that comes with losing children, as well, the bittersweet aftermath of living with the reality of this grief.

©️ 2020 iido

America – A Short Story

Looking out my back door, I tried to keep my breathing steady. It had been twenty-four hours since Mamá said goodbye. She had walked me to the school door instead of just dropping me off. She had given me an extra long hug and whispered, “Hay una sorpresa para ti, in your lunchbox,” before letting me go and walking quickly down the steps so she wouldn’t be late for work.

I had entered the school and didn’t give her another thought. Until she didn’t come home for dinner. And she wasn’t in the kitchen making arroz con chorizo on Saturday morning. And now it was Saturday evening.

I walked into the living room and picked up my cell phone. I tapped the “news” icon and watched the app launch. I saw it then, a picture of the factory where she worked. Mamá was coming out of the front door, flanked by two men in dark clothing, carrying guns, and wearing bullet proof vests that had the three scariest letters in the entire English language.

I-C-E

Mamá was still wearing the gloves she used for cleaning, her hair was mussed, the curly tendrils like a crown of ivy on her head. The headline said, “The first day of school turned into a nightmare after record immigration raids.” I sat on the couch, my heart rate increasing.

“No te preocupes,” Mamá would say when I whispered my fears to her. “Tengo fe in this nation.”

Mamá might have faith in this country, but I no longer did.

The photo above was taken by Patrick for his Pic and a Word Challenge #216 – America. I’ve also incorporated other prompts from this last week: Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt to use the word “ice” and the number “twenty four”; and the Ragtag Daily prompt for Saturday – Nation (Thank you, Punam!), Thursday – Looking out my back door and Wednesday – Goodbye.

This story is based on a true story of an immigration raid in Mississippi that occurred on the first day of school in 2019 – so it isn’t really “fiction”, hence the title. The children, of the immigrants who were taken, were not picked up from school and had no way of knowing what happened to their parents. I can only imagine the terror of those children – losing a parent is a big fear for any child. This incident also reminded me of the way the Jewish people were rounded up by the Nazis. Is this what America has become?

©️ 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

Gratitude Gestures – A Haibun

In the chilly autumn evening, deep contented sighs battle with the hum of heated air wafting from the grate. The food has disappeared but the smell of fullness lingers: the tart scent of oranges in the cranberry sauce, the savory thyme lining the turkey’s moist cavity, the sweet butter hiding in the mashed potatoes.

Unsaid words also hide in the small gestures of family. “I love you” is plated with each dish on the table. “Take care of yourself” is served with second helpings. All desserts come with a side of “glad you decided to spend this holiday with us this year”. “Thank you’s” are coded in each utensil that is washed.

Gratitude gestures

With knives and forks and drink toasts

Autumn’s chill dissolves

I’m coming out of my food coma and wrote this haibun for Frank Tassone’s gratitude themed Haibun Monday at d’Verse and Go Dog Go’s Tuesday writing prompt themed “Thanksgiving”.

We had a traditional American Thanksgiving meal at my in-laws. I was looking forward to Thanksgiving with a Vietnamese twist however there was no turkey pho or banh mi with cranberry relish. The food was still delicious and watching the cousins play together made the occasion even more special.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year – for not only my family (immediate and extended) but also for the family of friends I have been blessed with here on WP, as well as, in real life, at school, church and my running group. The saying “many hands make light work” come to mind in terms of the many hands that touch my life and make light work of and support the improvements I need to do to become a better version of myself.

As this holiday season gets underway, I hope we all get a chance to pause and appreciate the people, things and activities that bring joy to our lives.

©️ iido 2019

A Parisian Tale of Loss – A Dizain

This tale that I tell of sorrow and loss
Arrives at this place that poets still love
At the cafe, eyes convey their pathos
While ours frantically seek pray’rs from above
Have we lost that je ne sais quoi? Sort of…
No more sweet kisses stolen by the Seine
Covered in dust are my notebook and pen
Little voices clamor for attention
Our passions still strong but shown less often
The loss is tempered by Love’s additions

This Dizain was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word #199 – Loss, for Beth’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe (use the words “poet” and “pen”) and for this month’s d’Verse Poetry Form Challenge. How fitting that the dizain poetry form has French origins as this one was inspired by our trip to Paris.

The last time I was here was when my then boyfriend, now husband proposed to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was his “grand gesture” and one of my most fondest memories. We ate rich foods, drank delicious wine and sat in cafes for hours savoring our cafe au lait.

This trip included our children so there weren’t any long hours savoring a little cup of coffee. The food was still good but our wine consumption was limited to gulping down a glass of wine in between managing melt downs and sibling disputes.

I don’t know what I had expected from this trip, but I do know that what I lost from a couple standpoint, I gained from a family viewpoint, and I loved every minute of it!

I think Patrick said it best in his poem for this prompt:

The joys once lived
Remain in our memories
And in our hearts

In the empty spaces
Something new, perhaps
Something new to love

©️ iido 2019

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