Monday, February 28, 2011

haiku retrospective l

faint blue sky wavers
with green and gold locust leaves ~
the glass tabletop

3 November 1999

thin mist gathers
over the mountains
the sunset blurs

5 November 1999

indian summer
red poison oak climbs
the bare trees

7 November 1999

Sunday, February 27, 2011

haiku retrospective xlix

My, this era is embarrassing. I was reaching for something then, but I didn't quite understand what it was, and that jeweled finger keeps getting in the way of the moon.

gnats catch fall thermals ~
sun plays over the strands of
windblown spiderwebs

29 October 1999

a well of stars
trees breathe in the night
damp leaves underfoot

31 October 1999

upturned spout
last drops ripple
my teacup

1 November 1999

haiku retrospective xlviii

sunshine drips
from puddles on the trees --
autumn honey.

19 October 1999

from the fall sky spill
quivers of arrows golden:
sunlight on the trees.

26 October 1999

sudden rain
runs off the shovel
towhee picks through compost

28 October 1999

Saturday, February 26, 2011

haiku retrospective xlvii

october morning --
the sky pours sunshine
on green-shadowed trees

15 October 1999

animal charades --
the children bite with
pretend probiscii

16 October 1999

autumn afternoon --
beneath the live oak's branches,
oak moths dust the air.

16 October 1999

Friday, February 25, 2011

haiku retrospective xlvi

A set of haiku from 11 October 1999:

white-tailed kite
dances on wing-tips --
flight unmasked.

raindrops closed
the dandelion's flowers
open to the sun.

wind ruffles the pond,
swaying the trees' images --
a perfect pebble.

the garter snake
traces the sun's path --
night falls again.

Two jeweled fingers and a clever hinge to play with. Still a lot to strip away to discover a haijin under all that paint.

I rather like the last one, though.

haiku retrospective xlv

october warmth --
the starched drying of the quilt
in the autumn sun.

10 October 1999

This is my first extant post to the shiki list. Still almost 5-7-5, and to my modern eye it seems Victorian, overwritten, particularly the word “starched.”

But real haiku are on their way.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

haiku retrospective xliv

half-painted canvas,
argument paused mid-sentence,
a thick coat of dust.

9 October 1999

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

haiku retrospective xliii

in yixing, china
unglazed zisha clay teapots
demand high prices.

hands grind zisha clay.
artisan hands shape teapots,
sign chop-marks on base.

tea connoisseurs, west,
sip yixing ceremony,
drink chinese virtue.

"those clay particles,"
they nod, knowingly, informed,
"superior brew."

no porcelain pot
creates a brew that is true,
only zisha clay.

skeptics scratch their chins,
sip their earthenware-brewed cup,
shrug tea-stained shoulders.

"this tastes pretty good,
never mind the porosity,
pour me one more cup."

skeptic i remain,
although yixing designs tug
at my esthetics.

5 October 1999

haiku retrospective xlii

surf gods strum guitars
tawny-skinned goddesses dance --
young love in motion

predatory grace --
smooth skin slides over muscles.
young hips swing freely.

flicking hair backwards,
she giggles, running into
the bridgestone tire shop.

behind the counter,
the tire guy fakes nonchalance.
"i'll be off at eight."

swirl of young bodies,
shoehorned in a cheap sportscar,
roars off, pop blaring.

life is just on loan --
dance while the pulse within beats,
answer the drum call.

12 September 1999

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

haiku retrospective xli

when i start pushing
not even i will believe
that i'm in labor.

17 June 1999

ten pounds

At 12:30 on February 13th, I felt fine as I started clerking business meeting at my Quaker Meeting. I started feeling a pain in my gut and resolved to get some probiotics to get my insides in order. By 2pm, I was in so much pain that I couldn't focus on people's words. Shortly after midnight, I was being wheeled into the operating room to get my appendix out.

An unusual valentine's day, present, to be sure, and an experience that has given me a lot to think about.

Today, though, I'm thinking about one of the discharge instructions. I am not supposed to lift anything weighing more than 10 pounds.

A simple instruction, and one that I'm relatively well-equipped to deal with. I understand numbers and materials fairly well. I know that a full soup pot weighs a good deal more than 10 pounds and that a bowl of soup weighs a good deal less. I know that I shouldn't be hefting bags of groceries around or stacking wood or carrying loads of damp laundry.

I'm okay with the tea kettle. A gallon of water weighs 8 pounds, and the capacity of the tea kettle is probably about half that. It's not a heavy kettle, so I feel safe lifting it.

I wanted to steam some cauliflower for my lunch, so I got out a 5-quart Calphalon pan with the clever steamer insert that sets atop it and its lid. Ordinarily, I fill the pan with water at the sink, put it on the stove, put the cauliflower in the insert, set it on the pan, put the lid on, steam the cauliflower and then take the whole thing off the stove.

Does this contraption weigh more or less than 10 pounds?

I don't know the weight of the pan, but I guess that the assembled whole weighs between 5 and 8 pounds. I put a quart and a half of water in it, for 2.5 pounds. I'm not sure how much a head of cauliflower weighs either, maybe a pound or so. So I decide to use a measuring cup to put the water in, assemble the pan, and then disassemble it in steps. Someone else will have to dump the steamer water out when I'm done. Oh well.

My youngest child comes by while the cauliflower is steaming and looks at the pan on the stove. His grandmother has left him with instructions to make sure I follow my medical limitations to the letter.

“Does that weigh more than 10 pounds?” he challenges me.

I lead him through the arithmetic, thinking “Ah, at least we can turn this into a useful homeschooling activity!”

My dining room chairs, I'm pretty sure, weigh more than 10 pounds. Should I use this as an excuse to teach my sons (and ask my husband) to be chivalrous and push my chair in for me when I sit down? Or is scooting my chair permissible? What about if I sit in another chair, hook my leg around the leg of the chair, and pull it towards me along the floor? Does that count as lifting or not?

We estimated the weight of my purse at about 8 pounds. My knitting bag is lighter, and I usually carry both bags everywhere, as well as a Joe Mo flask of tea. Each item weighs less than 10 pounds. Is it cheating to carry all of them with me?

And what about my outerwear?

Where did the 10-pound limitation come from anyway? Is it actually a useful metric for determining what sorts of activities are likely to retard my progress, or is it just an idea someone had?

haiku retrospective xl

watched pots never boil.
busy yourself at your tasks
and they boil over.

15 June 1999

Monday, February 21, 2011

haiku retrospective xxxix

great day for the race
["what race?" "the human race." "oh."]
sunshine breezy green.

strange dreams tickled me.
twenty guys with coffee cups
pummeled my cervix.

long conversations
with the baby drifting in
and out of sleep.

threads of the night
weave themselves into the day.
the new day. today.

garry's birthday treat --
daughters present apollo,
kings, queens, and eros.

golden-masked morganne
swoops around in tie-dye and
winge'd golden cape.

crimson-coiffed matisse
parades in turquoise silk gown --
queen of the fairies.

sleepy-voiced alex
drinks limeade in the kitchen --
two monkeys chatter.

youngest son (right now)
measures his length on the bed.
plays hard and sleeps hard.

15 June 1999

haiku retrospective xxxviii

full moon pulls the tides,
gravity's tug on oceans --
earth's and gravid womb's.

fortune's wheel's turning,
spinning in the starry sky.
fate's penny's aloft.

stand at the crossroads,
possibilities open,
potential untapped.

enjoying the ride,
at the rollercoaster's height,
wait for the descent.

29 May 1999

Sunday, February 20, 2011

haiku retrospective xxxvii

tossing a penny --
whichever way the coin lands,
t'other path beckons.

28 April 1999

the story of inanna

Inanna, Queen of Heaven, is the Sumerian Great Goddess, perhaps the oldest deity for whom we still have an intact mythos. She descended to the underworld to visit her sister, Erishkegal. At each of the seven gates of the underworld, Inanna had to surrender one of the emblems of her earthly power -- her crown, her pectoral, even her gown. She entered the underworld naked.

This summer and fall, I supported a friend whose sister-in-law was dying of cancer. During her dying, this woman had to surrender all of her earthly power: her job, her possessions, her mobility, control of her bladder, her body, her brain, her lover, her friends. I saw then that Inanna's journey is one that we all face: we all must surrender our earthly ties when we leave the circle of this life.

Inanna is resurrected with the water of life, something that doesn't fit into the idea of the myth as metaphor for death. This week, I've realized that mourning moves by the same process of surrender. When we lose someone we love, we need to surrender every earthly tie to that person. Anything that we hold onto creates suffering. Only when we surrender the last tie (and water our grief with our living tears), can we emerge from mourning. As we emerge from mourning, our loved one is also released from our grief and we can remember her with love and joy.

12 April 1999

haiku retrospective xxxvi

so many goodbyes
in a lifetime. all the deaths
we are called to mourn.

grief takes no bargains.
inanna, at heaven's gates,
surrenders her self.

to satisfy grief,
one must let the loved one go --
no holds barred.

after the fire,
each possession requires
its own goodbye.

let go, let go,
let all the energy go.
time to say goodbye.

don't look back, hold on,
try to keep things the same.
change is touching.

take it out to sea.
my grief is hurting me.
i release it all.

i am free.

9 March 1999

Saturday, February 19, 2011

haiku retrospective xxxv

I'm noticing a shift in the latest haiku. I think that this is around the point when I started getting interested in serious haiku.

These old pre-haiku haiku have a certain fluidity at their best, a relaxed gathered-round-the-fire rhythmic storytelling that occasionally makes me think, “Okay, they're not really haiku, but there is a form there, and it has a certain grace.”

clouds curdle the sky.
icy shards of sun splinter,
spilling their cold light.

junction park tai chi,
mittened fingers trace the form,
misty breath hangs white.

trees huddle for warmth.
arthritic river complains,
winter's still closes.

16 November 1998

Friday, February 18, 2011

haiku retrospective xxxiv

autumn night burrows.
hands trace the curve of my hip,
lips meet in the dark.

bodies' warmth merges
our breaths quicken, pulses beat
the call of the heart.

skin's whispering touch
promises deeper pleasures.
thighs tangle, relax.

5 November 1998

Thursday, February 17, 2011

haiku retrospective xxxiii

those hormones kick in, pump that
joy joice to the brain.

potential dad faints;
mama is buddha serene,
hormoned to the nines.

before that blue line showed,
new mama hormones kicked in,
blissing mama's mind.

with placental loss,
hormonal hurricane swept
emotional seas.

there's nothing to hold
in the storm-tossed seas, no way
to touch bottom.

hormone storm subsides,
whitecaps fade to choppy seas,
toes scrape rocky coast.

for the first time in
ten years and more, i'm just me.
plain female hormones.

it's true the third child
pushes you over the edge,
but it's a good edge.

25 September 1998

haiku retrospective xxxiI

eavesdropping on a
merry-go-round round of talk,
great america.

“one of the nice things
about middle age is not
having to be cool.

“you can be yourself,
just like what you like instead
of the new cool thing.”

cast curls to the wind,
lean back, arrange skirt so it
flutters in the breeze.

mug for the mirror,
a clipper ship figurehead
with trailing drapery.

bicycling today,
exercise run up the road,
flying on my wheels.

“just like what you like”
made me realize that kid
bikes suited me well.

i don't much like speed
or fiddly gear-shifting clicks
or constant motion.

i like coasting free,
air-hands caressing my breasts,
the wind in my hair.

climbing slowly up,
using the smallest chainwheel
on my mountain bike.

flying down, but not
too fast, avoiding the sand traps,
skirting the potholes.

8 September 1998

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

haiku retrospective xxxi

“this rain goddess moves
mountains; bring your own shovel,”
she suggests sweetly.

start of storm season,
hurricanes off mexico,
scudding muggy clouds.

storm crows lift their beaks,
brights eyes on satellite maps,
infrared storm course.

from san diego
sister-in-law reports rain
pouring on her desert.

cackle with laura.
weather deities local
prepares for winter.

4 September 1998

haiku retrospective xxx

wednesday morning gray skies.
cup of tea at my elbow.
steam touches my cheek.

thoughts wander and roam.
the ghost of a smile passes,
caressing my lips.

tumble of children --
clinging, climbing, clamoring.
feels like home again.

the future unfolds.
breathtaking panorama --

a child ghost's hand clings,
unfurls, floats away on the
mist of unborn dreams.

sheaf of cut flowers.
a friend's gentle touch soothes the
memory of pain.

womb wept tears of blood
shed from the sacred heart.
the sobbing eases.

ruby heart of life,
the mystery within us,
jeweled placenta.

riding the red tide.
got caught in the undertow,
dragged far out to sea.

water everywhere,
tossed among the frantic waves,
storm of emotion.

stagger to the shore,
rock, trees, grass, sand, the blue sky.
sun kisses my skin.

now standing upright,
newly born on wobbly legs,
i greet the new day.

love renews itself.
the heart of the mystery:
life gives birth to life.

hope dawns in the east,
paints pastel rainbows on clouds,
dancing lightbeam show.

19 August 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

haiku retrospective xxix

before i had kids
i never thought my small son
would cry because his

sister wouldn't let
him wear her flowered swimsuit.
"i like it!" "it fits!"

sister and brother
prance and sing "i'm so happy
just to dance with you."

10 August 1998

Friday, February 11, 2011

haiku retrospective xxviii

a wednesday surprise.
tossing and turning that night,
i feel my womb stir.

thursday morning test,
watching the blue line appear
in the small window.

walk the mother's path --
in thy power, mother moon --
once more in this life.

her hands in my hair,
goddess' touch of blessing,
the gift of rogue joy.

9 August 1998

Thursday, February 10, 2011

haiku retrospective xxvii

damp extra blankets
mildewed over the winter.
el nino's bequest.

in the baking heat
on the back deck washing line,
sun-hot blankets wave.

white pillows hang fat.
puffy quilts flow to the ground.
mildew smell rises.

more time in the sun?
how long does it take heat to
cure winter rain's work?

17 June 1998

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

haiku retrospective xxvi

sun beats on shoulders.
feet cool on the mossy walk.
first touch of summer.

bare feet in the air.
bare legs crossed on the desktop.
two sweat-trickled thighs.

lazy frogs floating.
schooling fish lay motionless.
the flick of a fin.

lime popsicle drips.
an ice cream bar's chocolate droops.
the flick of a tongue.

swimsuits and towels
dangle in a straggling line.
breeze lifts the ruffles.

the evening breeze stirs.
sun drops behind still treetops.
mosquitoes awake.

three ripe avocadoes,
black beans, salsa, tortillas,
sun-warm tomatoes.

summer's dessicant kiss
touches lush rainforest lips.
frying pan sizzles.

17 June 1998

haiku retrospective xxv

frosty blueberries.
ruddy cheeks of nectarines.
sun-drenched peaches blush.

vines of tomatoes,
red-ripe, firm-soft, savoury.
basil's aroma.

dribbling cherry juice.
the sunshine smile of oranges.
smooth-skinned juicy grapes.

tender young lettuce.
the milky kernels of corn.
sugar-crunch carrots.

broccoli's cool stare.
cucumber's cold-crisp whisper.
red bell pepper's ring.

strawberry's promise.
kiwi caressing my tongue.
cantaloupe's soft touch.

turning a new leaf
at the produce department.
delicious riot.

15 June 1998

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

haiku retrospective xxiv

beeping u.p.s
counterpoints rain's strong tattoo --
boulder creek winter.

lord willing and the
creek don't rise -- but, there, it did.
it rained a passion.

eight inches of fresh
silt lines two bar creek's stream bed.
river running brown.

down trees, power poles,
raging water and rushing wind --
drumbeat of nature.

four glowing oil lamps
light the playing children's games.
hand-wash the dishes.

national news tells
story of fresh disaster.
skeptic shakes her head.

we don't see the news,
tucked here behind the mudslides,
fallen trees, creek's flood.

phone rings all day long.
aural rubberneckers gawk --
all quiet storm front.

pineapple express
makes first delivery this
el nino winter.

flood waters recede.
booted woman clears storm drains.
trees shake out their beards.

power comes back on.
rush laundry through cycles,
fill lamps, freeze water.

pick through down branches
past the silt dumps and downed trees,
around the mudslides.

stock up on candles,
batteries, tp, water,
food, fuel. pick up mail.

big storm due tonight
heavy winds due tomorrow.
world telescopes.

all the world here.
this valley, this town, this creek
drainage, our watershed.

neighborhood draws close.
this household, hatches battened,
stands against the storm.

4 February 1998

Monday, February 7, 2011

haiku retrospective xxiii

I cannot believe that I've retrospected through so many haiku and have yet to approach a “real” haiku.

This one, however, is one of my favourite pre-haiku haiku.

murmur of voices
above the cubicle walls.
muted gray fabric.

three fluorescent tubes
dissected by reflectors.
wavering light cubes.

tendril of ivy
reaches for metal bookshelf.
rattling air vents.

accordion file
with sagging pleats lies open.
empty mind listens.

surreptitious pen
invades the office building.
the working haiku.

open air staircase --
plastic-covered black pebbles
clash with living things.

filtered, recycled
air circles machines' breathing.
the cornered mouse waits.

strand of turquoise stones.
watch sweep hand moves silently.
far laughter echoes.

fortress walls in place,
this business venue asserts
earthly dominance.

2 December 1997