The Connection, #Haibun

This week’s Tanka Tuesday poetry challenge was an Ekphrastic #PhotoPrompt provided by Lisa Thompson.

Image credit: Unsplash, and the photographer is Wolfgang Hasselmann

The Connection, #Haibun

My walk resulted in a surprise this morning. I found a toadstool growing on the north side of a Palo Verde tree where the sprinkler had sprung a leak. It’s unusual to see a toadstool in the desert, so I suspected there was magic afoot.

The late summer sun hung in the early sky, an angry red orb smothered by wildfire smoke. Cool air currents swirled around my legs, mixing with the warmer currents above. I followed the winding path along the wall that edged the sprawling desert surrounding my housing area, listening to the sounds of the birds in the trees.

Ahead, a woman and her dog, dawdled. She’d tug his leash to suggest a turn in the path, but he’d have nothing to do with any changes in his plans. He planted his feet, refusing to budge, and watched my steady approach.

I remembered this dog from another walk. He’s an older gent with only one eye; maybe a terrier mix. Like me, his hair has turned silver and gray.

When I finally caught up to him, the dog wriggled across the path, wagging a stub of a tail in greeting.

“Hello, Sir Galahad,” I called out. I didn’t know his actual name, but this name seemed to fit. I held out my hand, and he gave it a quick lick. I scratched his head, and he shivered in delight. Both of us connected for that second, bonded in the simple pleasure of connecting with another like soul.

“He waited for you,” his owner said. “He wouldn’t take the turn until he could see you.”

I nodded my head. “I noticed he waited for me.”

The lady smiled back as Sir Galahad scampered to her side. “He definitely has his favorites.”

“You know what?” I called over to her. “That little guy just made my day.”

“That’s his speciality,” she answered, with a knowing look on her face.

The two of them turned down the fork in the path, and I realized how important this connection felt to me. I turned toward home, and noticed my steps were lighter, as if someone had lifted some tremendous weight I hadn’t known I carried around my shoulders.

look for the magic
in everyday occurrences
friendship feeds your soul

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

I consider the prose portion of this poem a haibun because I share a slice of my life, as in a real occurrence. The haiku speaks of change, asking you to seek the magic in life. As for the toadstool… well, I might have stretched that part a bit.

“Apocalypse Now” #Haibun

For my weekly syllables only poetry challenge this week, I’ve written this haibun using scented for the word, hint; and bright, for the the word, bold.

Image Credit: Todd Chesebro, San Francisco, CA

“Apocalypse Now” #Haibun

Is the myth of an Apocalypse a reality? Has mankind finally finished decimating our planet? The mother goddess is screaming out to anyone who will listen. Shhh… if you close your eyes and listen, you will hear her keening wail. Her voice carries on the wind.

Plagues, inland storms with the strength of hurricanes, fires that never stop burning, smoke so thick it chokes you… what will it take for us to wake up and realize climate change is real? When will we believe the truth? How much more proof do we need?

smoke scented sky haze
bright birds hide in confusion
waiting for the sun

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

Image Credit: Todd Chesebro, San Francisco, CA

“The Palo Verde Weeps” #Haibun

I always love the beginning of the month’s poetry challenge because poets choose a form and write about the things that mean the most to them.

As the number of coronavirus infections and deaths continues to climb in Arizona, I leave at sunrise for my early morning walks to avoid contact with others. I’ve discovered it’s the best time of the day.

The Palo Verde Weeps

The coolness of the early dawn wraps around me like a shroud of mist, palpable but unseen. Perched high above, two mourning doves murmur a soulful greeting. The sun crowns the Palo Verde trees like a nimbus surrounding the mother goddess in celebration of another day.

light reveals the morn
with the first heat of summer
saffron blossoms fall

My mission is to visit this place undisturbed, for I seek no human contact, only the companionship of the desert spirits who live nearby. The shady path follows beneath a tree framed in brilliant light, its branches humming with bees dressed in pollen while the golden blossoms fall to the earth like rain.

the Palo Verde weeps

For this is the meaning of all life, the feel of the land beneath, and the tears from the trees above. Let this moment witness my sorrow and joy, grief and gratitude, for I am still alive. May the spirits of the land and sky bless us and those taken away too soon.

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

“In Retrospect,” #Haibun, #FlashFiction

To get back into the swing of writing, I’ve combined my weekly #PhotoPrompt poetry challenge and the Carrot Ranch prompt into one piece.

The April 23, 2020, Carrot Ranch prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about distance dating. It can be any genre, era, or setting. Who is dating, and why the distance? How do the characters overcome, accept, or break up because of the distance? Go where the prompt leads! Respond by April 28, 2020.

Jude, from Tales Told Different, provided the photo.

“In Retrospect”

I have no tears left to shed. Yesterday, Pa and I’d buried Jeremy at the edge of the cemetery where the tallest trees grew.

After a month in country, an enemy bullet had found its mark. Now, all that remained of our love was the box of letters he’d written to me from Iraq.

Darkness hovers. Thunder growls, a storm ready to erupt. Yet, a feeling of warmth comforts me. I know he is near. Deep within, the first faint flutter of life stirs—Jeremy’s baby, a life reborn.

the sun plays
hide and seek between
the storm clouds

©2020 Colleen M. Chesebro

“Disappearing,” #Tanka #Prose

The image is from Pixabay, by Michael Seibt

Diana Peach sure picked a doozy of an image for us to work with for our photo challenge this week. I thought long and hard.

I kept zeroing in on the poppy and the snake. There was a story there, and I had to tell it. I imagined a woman in the late 1800s abused by men and looking for a refuge.

I reclined on the dirty sofa propped up by greasy pillows. I didn’t care. My entire reason for living existed in this room. I was ready to retreat to a place where nobody could hurt me again.

I held the long-handled pipe over the oil lamp, waiting for the heat to release the vapors. I breathed in and disappeared into the verdant mist.

hedonic songs taunt
while green sylphs dance in my head
opium dreams plague
my dear snake familiars
gift a comatose release

©2019 Colleen M. Chesebro

Read more about the opium dens in American history HERE.

I’m ready for Trick or Treat! Are you?

“Monsoon Madness,” A #Haibun #Tanka

The challenge words for this week’s poetry challenge are “character and wild.” I used tempestuous for character, and howling for wild.

Here in Arizona, the weather forecasters speak of “the monsoon season” and the destruction it sometimes wrecks across Phoenix and Maricopa County.

“Not to worry,” I said. We’ve lived through blizzards, sub-zero temperatures, hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes. What can a little desert wind and rain do?

My late summer garden area is complete and ready for my new dirt babies. Last week, I purchased two small tomato plants just for this occasion.

I trowel the soil, relishing the spirituous scent of the wet earth. I tamp the soil around the plant’s roots, securing them in their spacious new home.

Next, I sow the seeds from my favorite vegetables – cucumber and zucchini by poking them deep into the fertile soil.

I pause and savor the feel of the sun’s heat on my back as I water the newest additions to my garden family.

I pause near the Mesquite faery tree and give thanks to the land spirits for the bounty they will confer upon my table.

This desert expanse whose hot winds blow across the land with the breath of the mother goddess completes me. I turn and watch as ivory clouds spread like gauze across the beryl sky.

Monsoon season? What are they talking about?

Image by Keli Black from Pixabay

tempestuous winds
howling demons from hades
tear through the desert
unleashing the mother’s wrath
on the wilderness below

© 2019 Colleen M. Chesebro

No tomatoes or vegetables were harmed during this storm! My glass topped table however, is a now a thing of the past!

“Embrace Change,” A Haibun/Haiku

For my weekly syllabic poetry challenge, I’m sharing a true experience which happened just the other day. Welcome to the family, coyote. ❤

For the word, perception, I used the word, “approach.” For the word, influence, I used the word, “change.”

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Beneath a sapphire sky, our Jeep cruised along the road toward home. The desert shimmered in the heat and ribbons of light danced above the asphalt reflecting a myriad of rainbow tints. The air conditioner blasted away, struggling to erase the heat of the day.

“Look,” said my husband, pointing to the left side of the road. He slowed the vehicle and we gawped, mesmerized by a bit of beige colored fur scurrying across the road.

“A coyote,” I stammered. “I’ve never seen one in their natural setting.”

Upon reaching the other side of the road, the coyote, as if hearing the awe in my voice, paused and looked over his shoulder. Our eyes met, and a feeling of mutual understanding passed between us. My new friend pulled back his lips in a tight grin.

Approach a balance-
between wisdom and pleasure.
You must change your ways!

Coyote spoke with the foresight of a spirit animal. But what about Crow? Certainly, I could have two animal totems, I reasoned. Suddenly, it all began to make sense. Crow had brought me wisdom and now, Coyote had given me the strength to change.

©2019 Colleen M. Chesebro

Happy Summer Solstice