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

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

Curiosity – A Haiku

Curiosity

Sees beyond the black and white

The key to freedom

Image credit: Billow 926@ Unsplash
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a baby panda standing in a mosses basket. Next to it is a wicker basket it is leaning into)

This adorable picture is courtesy of Sadje’s What Do You See #54 photo prompt. I am biased to baby pandas. My older son is obsessed with pandas so we have a plethora of stuffed pandas in our house.

Baby pandas are born small, weak. They are pink and blind. If there is more than one born (and often times there are) the mother panda must chose one to care for since she doesn’t have the resources to support both. Pandas are the opposite of rabbits – they do not mate often, have long gestation periods, and can only care for one baby at a time. They rely on one food source (bamboo) and are not known as the most aggressive animals (no matter what the movie “Kung Fu Panda” might have you believe).

Yet they have become a symbol of hope, a symbol of what humans can accomplish if they work to bring nature back into balance instead of continuing to destroy for the sake of “progress”.

As the pandemic progressed, it makes me wonder where are the “pandas” in my life? Where else do I have to put in work to keep that part of my life alive? What about in yours?

©️ 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

Making Phở – A Poem

She will rise at 5 AM

Finding the ingredients

Laid out on the kitchen counter

Ready for her attention

The bones are gently placed in the pot

The water covers the bones like a flood engulfing islands

The sachet of spices soaks in the stove top hot tub 

Bobbing in circles as it imparts its essential essence

The ginger sizzles with an aromatic burn 

Quickly extinguished as it splashes next to the star anise and daikon radish

The fire is lowered and the waiting begins.

She will watch the sun rise

Remembering your journey

From little boy to grown man

Imagining your journey

From your house to her home.

She will soak the rice noodles when the sun starts to slide

And cut the meat, paper thin

Wincing when the knife gets too close to her fingertips

Two types of onions, chopped, give her an excuse 

To second guess how she has raised you.

Before the moon rises, she will prepare the table

Chopsticks on white napkins

Large bowls filled with 

Softened rice noodles

Raw beef sliced paper thin 

Onions – two kinds.

And when the doorbell rings

And your deep voice reverberates in her womb

She’ll ladle the broth

Steaming with spices

Warmed with ginger

Hearty with marrow

And serve you a bowl

Of her love.

Image credit:

Pisauikan@ Pixabay 

( For the visually challenged

reader, the image shows an

old woman whose face is

deeply lined. There is a faint

smile on her face)

This is a late entry for Sadje’s What Do You See #52. This prompt marks the one year anniversary of Sadje’s What Do You See. Despite the lateness, I wanted to to acknowledge the inspiration Sadje gifts us with her weekly picture prompt. Her observations of “what she saw” over the course of this year are spot on! Thank you, Sadje for stretching our imaginations and sharing our interpretations!

I was also able to include Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #249 – Rise. I’m sure he has a really good excuse for being MIA for month but all that matters is that I’m still on my streak!!

This poem was inspired by my husband’s mom. No, she doesn’t look like the picture of the old Asian woman from Sadje’s prompt. My mother-in-law actually looks quite younger than her almost 70 years on this earth – her skin is smooth, unblemished and her hair retains its thick curls (natural) and black color (bottled). She does wake up at 5 AM to start cooking phở when she knows we will be visiting. It usually takes us 8-10 hours to get to my husband’s hometown and the broth she makes is the first thing we smell when they open the door. Good phở cannot be rushed (believe me, I’ve tried!) and my mother-in-law’s recipe is the best!

My husband is the first of four boys. His brothers are scattered across the United States – we are the second closest to his parents. I remember the first time I visited my husband’s parents in their home – I was really nervous but my mother-in-law made me feel welcomed and promised to share her recipes with me if I married her son. She served phở to us that winter day and ever since then, anytime we would return to my husband’s childhood home, phở is the first meal we would have.

I have often wondered what she thought of the women who came to take her boys far from home. Does she feel replaced? Does she worry if they are taking care of her sons in the same way that she took care of them? Does she enjoy the quiet of the house? Does she miss cleaning up after them? Does she wish they lived closer and visited more often?

I haven’t asked her these questions, but when I think about my own answers to these questions, and think about my kids who aren’t even dating yet being far away from me, my eyes start behaving like I’m chopping onions and I start to think of how I can serve them love in a bowl.

©️ 2020 iido

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