A Haiku or Two


For those not familiar with haiku, it is a form of Japanese poetry, the criteria being to present an image, evoke a mood and make an observation. There are three lines with five syllables in the first and last line and seven syllables in the middle line. Example:

Peeling an orange (5) image

the bitter juice squirts my eye (7) mood, feel the sting

one blink and it’s gone. (5) observe disappearance

And now I’d like to share with you a couple of haikus I have written over the years which will appear in my upcoming poetry book.

He had a tantrum

it spoiled my serenity

and made me angry.

 

Dinner was superb

red snapper on the menu

tasty on the tongue.

 

Crouched low in the grass

sly cat watched bird eat its meal

one pounce, bird was meal.

 

His gait was rapid

head bent low against the storm

heading for shelter.

 

That’s all for now, folks. Thank you for any comments.

 

 

 

 

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Out On A Limb


If you find yourself out on a limb this weekend, take a deep breath and pretend you are a bird. Happy Saturday.

Orange Gray Yellow Bird on Trunk

 

An Oldie But Goodie


Getting The Most Out of Life. A selection of personally helpful articles from past issues of The Readers Digest is the sub-title of this book, published in 1955. It belonged to my mother and has been in my possession since her death in 1972.

Because I love to learn life lessons every day, books like this keep me on the right track. Among its many chapters is one written by A. Cressy Morrison (1864-1951) an American chemist and one time president of the New York Academy of Sciences. The thought provoking chapter is called Seven Reasons Why A Scientist Believes In God and is condensed from his book “Man Does Not Stand Alone”. Morrison makes a compelling case. “By unwavering mathematical law we can prove that our universe was designed and executed by a great engineering Intelligence.”

Other chapters include:

When It’s Best to Forget…W.E.Sangster “No man should hope to forget the wrong things he’s done till he has done also whatever he can to put them right.”

Stop Worrying…A.J.Cronin “For worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its strength”.

On Being A Real Person…Harry Emerson Fosdick, D.D. “The central business of every human being is to be a real person.”

Three Steps to Personal Peace…Norman Vincent Peale, D.D. “As Thomas Carlyle said; ‘Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves.'”

Your Mind Can Keep You Young…George Lawton “At 80 you can be just as productive mentally as you were at 30–and you should know a lot more. Older people frequently suffer some loss of memory, but creative imagination is ageless…take an interest in the world around you and make a point of learning at least one new thing every day.”

I have gleaned a lot from this book over the years and, believe it or not, it is still available. I saw it on Amazon for various prices depending on its condition. It really is an oldie but goodie.

 

 

 

You Be the Judge


Have you ever asked a departed loved one for a sign that they still exist somewhere?

The second love of my life died in 2007, after twenty-seven years together. We had shared a good life which included our pet Yorkshire terrier who was almost twenty years old when he went to doggie heaven.

I’m one of those cloud scanners…that is, always looking for meaningful cloud shapes, like angels for example. I’ve seen them along with elephants, ducks, pigs, whatever.

One day I silently asked Jerry to send me a cloud-shape of our beloved little Yorkie…just to satisfy my hunger for a sign.

It happened while visiting an out-of-town friend. We were enjoying a summer afternoon outdoors when I looked up and saw the distinct shape of my long deceased pet.

“Look at that cloud,” I exclaimed to my friend, “what does it look like to you?”

“Looks like a dog,” she said.

“Yes, but what kind?” I pressed, needing reassurance.

“Looks like a Yorkshire terrier,” she responded.

Need I say more? Of course I breathed a silent “thank you” and have carried that sign in my heart from that day to this. Who or what was I thanking..Jerry, God, the universe? You be the judge..

“Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.” Isaiah 7:11

Tomorrow: The double rainbow.

Imagination Unlimited


Below is another example of where one of my writing books led me.

Undirected freefall (stream of consciousness) August 9, 2002. Revised August 27, 2002 and again June 21, 2006:

I woke up this morning and thought about how all the people in my life had been waiting to meet me. When I peeked out from my mother’s womb and into the future, I saw them, and realized that I had to be born to meet them; my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, foster parents.

Starting school, I met more people waiting to meet me: school chums and their parents, teachers, principals, coaches, my future husband(s). Then came work, and I met more people; bosses, co-workers. When I got married there was a whole new group of people waiting to enter my life; my children, grandchildren, more friends, neighbors, and relatives-in-law.

It was like driving to work one morning and just seeing the road go off into the future, and wondering where it was taking me. I felt the car rise off the road as I sat behind the wheel calmly surveying the scenery below me. Then I was on a highway in the sky, seeing everything at once. (Like the movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.)

Was I finally going to see what life was all about? Would I look down and see everything as it should be: my life, my work, my family, my spouse and the things I would like to have done differently? Where did I go wrong in my life? Why did I allow so much bad stuff into my subconscious?

From this distance can I just blot it all out, cause a rain cloud to wash it away, and write a different scenario for my life? What would that be like? What would it be like if I had never heard the words, “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “you’re just like your father” (and he was supposed to be a bad person)…”they just live together…not married”. And what about that home for unwed mothers up the street from my teenage home? I felt sorry for those girls, but also intrigued. Where did their lives take them? Where did their babies go?

I can’t imagine my life without my babies; my own babies and their babies. I love my life. From a higher vantage point it looked pretty good.  I could see where I had lived a lot, learned a lot, cried a lot, laughed a lot, played a lot, worried a lot, and been hurt a lot. But life was good.

At this point, I just want to be there for all the people whose lives touch mine; all those people who were waiting to meet me, and who I went forth to embrace. God bless them, every one!

And now, it’s time to come down to earth.

The Winning Circle


Today I’m borrowing a story from my book of poems. I wrote it in 1994, and it’s about a parent or adult helping a child become aware of nature, dreams, kindness, and the world in general. I believe it fits nicely into the theme of My Precious Life, if not into the book itself.

The Winning Circle

Come little child, take my hand,
and together we will walk
through a forest green,
by a flowing stream
where the winds and the waters talk.

The sounds they speak
brush against your cheek,
mere words need not be said;
hear the bird’s high trill
from a far off hill,
breathe the scent of a wildflower bed.

Come little child, and take my hand
as the twilight turns to purple;
we’ll dance on a breeze
through the moonlit trees
in search of the winning circle.

We traveled all night
as the moon’s clear light
shone bright on the path before us;
to the chirp of night crickets
and a bullfrog’s loud “ribbits”
we sped through the carpeted forest.

We sometimes grew weary,
but the sound of a cheery
night owl’s encouraging cry
kept us skipping and dancing
and breathlessly prancing
until dawn decorated the sky.

We came to a meadow
and delightfully settled
in a bed of soft grass and flowers;
as dreams drifted o’er us
to refresh and restore us
we slumbered in dawn’s early hours.

We soared t’wards the moon
in a hot air balloon
dodging dazzling stars in night skies;
as we gazed down at earth,
the place of our birth
a vision appeared to our eyes.

We saw wars being fought,
many people distraught
by the horrors happening to them;
we saw famine and disease
and despite the world’s pleas
the good life seemed doomed
for all humans.

Then words soft and clear
in our hearts we did hear,
“Give hope, offer your hand.
Do a kind deed,
help those in need.”
We awoke to the sounds of the land.

As we traveled along, child, you and I,
we came to a town called “Wanting”.
The people there
were hungry and bare,
and the look in their eyes was haunting.

We met a young lad
whose demeanor was sad
for all he wore was a sack;
without further ado
I gave him my shoes
you gave him the shirt off your back.

We tended the sick,
shared our food and our water
until all we could do was done;
then we bade them good-day
and went on our way
in the glow of the setting sun.

Come, little child, take my hand
as we come to our journey’s end;
we have traveled well
and have much to tell,
we must share it with a friend.

We must tell of the need
to do a kind deed,
and to lend a helping hand;
for the world needs us all,
young, old, great and small,
to make it a happier land.

Come, little child, and take my hand
as the twilight turns to purple;
we’ll dance on a breeze
through the moonlit trees
into the winning circle.

©1994

A Touch of Fiction


I’m still waiting for my book, “My Precious Life” to hit the stores, and have been blogging bits and pieces of my life that didn’t make it into the book. This post is a work of fiction, which I normally don’t write. Feedback would be good.

 

THE ELEVATOR

Running for the elevator, Elsie quickly glanced at her watch.

Damn, late again, she muttered to herself as she flew through the door just as it was closing.

“Where to, young lady?” the voice was phlegm-filled.

“Fourteen,” she panted, “And make it quick!”

As the last few inches of space closed behind her, the ancient elevator lurched into its ascent.

“You think I control the speed?” The sarcastic reply was accompanied by a racking cough.

Elsie eyed the only other person on board.

He was wearing faded Levis with a blue plaid flannel shirt half tucked in, and black sneakers that looked like they had seen a marathon or two.

His pudgy face, under a balding head, was as gray as her kid-leather briefcase, and showed beads of perspiration which he mopped with an even grayer handkerchief. His full-lipped mouth was missing a couple of teeth.

“I was kidding,” she retorted, unconsciously pressing herself against the wall. “I’m late for an appointment. Of course I know you don’t control the speed!”

But I wish I could, she thought, noticing an unpleasant odor coming from the old guy’s direction.

Come on, come on, she eyed the slow moving indicator above the elevator door. Four, five, six.

Why is it so slow, she wondered, and when is he going to get off?

Suddenly, there was another lurch and then–no movement.

“Push fourteen again, please,” Elsie was agitated.

But his arthritic fingers were already pushing the buttons–nothing.

“What’s going on?” She was beginning to panic.

“Don’t know, young lady, but looks like we’re stuck between floors,” the old man wheezed, and then broke into another coughing fit.

Oh, no, Elsie moaned to herself, this can’t be happening.

“Well, push the emergency button!” she almost yelled at him.

“You think I don’t know what to do?” He glared at her and mopped his face again. “This here’s an old elevator. I’ve been stuck in it before. Last time it took ‘em an hour to get it goin’ again.” His gravelly voice rasped on the young woman’s fraying nerves.

The odor was getting stronger and Elsie didn’t know how she was going to cope.

“What do you mean, an hour! That’s preposterous!” she exclaimed, “I must get to my appointment!”

The old man started to speak, but instead, a rattling cough shook his body.

Elsie watched in horror as he doubled over, coughing uncontrollably.

Next thing she knew he was on the floor gasping for air. Her two-piece, light linen suit suddenly felt like a fur coat.

Her feet swelled in the high-heel shoes she had chosen so carefully for their comfort.

Her own body became sticky with perspiration.

The leather briefcase seemed to be filled with bricks rather than the manuscript she had been studying so hard for the past few weeks.

But now she was hopelessly late. Her dream of becoming a star was dying on this stifling elevator.

Elsie looked down at the ashen face and wondered how often he had these attacks, or if this was a first. She felt totally helpless and frustrated.

As she watched the old man struggling for breath, she suddenly realized how self-centered she was.

Instead of trying to help this poor soul, she was only concerned with her own discomfort, and the fact that she was missing the audition of a lifetime.

She had found him so repugnant it didn’t occur to her that he might be suffering. Elsie knelt down and loosened his collar.

As her hand made contact with the clammy skin of his throat he stirred and muttered something unintelligible.

She remembered a bottle of water tucked into a loop in her case.

She tilted his head, put the water to his lips, and he slowly opened his puffy eyes. “Thank ye kindly, young lady,” he croaked, and tried to sit up.

“It’s okay.” Elsie forced a smile. “Will it really take an hour for somebody to get us going again?” Her tone was now conciliatory.

“Nah,” he said, “any minute now.”

With that, the elevator started to move, and suddenly the air didn’t smell so bad after all.

“You’d better have that cough checked out, Mister.” Elsie told the old man.

“Yep, an’ you better book another appointment, young lady.”

The elevator came to an abrupt stop at the fourteenth floor, and the old man waited until Elsie was off before he followed her.

They headed in the same direction and stopped at the same office.

Elsie smiled uncertainly as the old man held the door open and ushered her inside.

He motioned to a chair, and as she slowly sat down he removed the blue plaid shirt, revealing a stark white tee shirt with the logo – DUO.

“Now, young lady,” he said with a grin, pulling off the bald latex wig, and removing two black patches from his teeth, “you’re here to audition for the lead part in the Angel in Disguise production?”

He wiped the gray-toned makeup off his face and pulled puffy patches from beneath his eyes. He leaned across the desk and offered his hand. It was not arthritic, and he was not a bald old man with a hacking cough.

Elsie’s heart raced as she placed her hand in his.

“What’s this all about?” she asked.

“I’m Daniel Bayes, producer and director of the upcoming TV series, Do Unto Others.”

“I’ve played the elevator scene with every hopeful applicant so far and believe me, there were no angels among them.”

“But you, although you were repulsed and frightened, overcame your feelings and tried to make me comfortable. You showed concern for my well-being, and when we reached the fourteenth floor, didn’t rush away to make up for lost time.”

“I had my doubts in the beginning, but when the elevator began to move again I knew my search for the lead angel was over.”

“The part is yours, young lady, if you want it. Your audition was on that elevator.”

Elsie smiled at this pleasant man who was not much older than herself.

“Thanks, old man,” she joked, “I think I’ll take it.”