Remembering

Free gift in every packet –

it might not be what you expect. Anticipate delight, or fear, or that bright tingle of desire that sets your fingers splaying –

in that anger you spilled
over the kitchen floor, there is
the seed of change –

rise up and use it. Breathe in deep and roar. Build roads and bridges, use your strength, haul on the rope, tighten your grip. Don’t let go –

 and in that weight of fear there
is some love,

as if they’re sisters, love and fear, arms linked, flip sides of the same coin of passion, an old coin, warm in your hand, sticky from sitting in your pocket –

and in that great, grey,
overwhelming grief, you’ll find

somewhere in that cloud, that blocks your sight and leaves you groping, hands out, blinded by loss, reading the air with your fingertips –

a memory of joy.

Hold out your hand.

 

This is for Amaya at dVerse. She asks us to take something we previously posted on a past 11 September and play with it. My original poem was published last year Free gift in every packet – for dVerse – and it’s here in italics. It was interesting to review an old poem. 

 

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Ginkgo – haibun for dVerse

Whenever I see a Ginkgo tree, I think of Hiroshima. Six trees were growing near the epicentre of the blast, and all survived, and continued to grow, apparently undamaged. One grows in the graveyard in our local small town. The branches spread over a path that cuts from the main road to the town square. That path has been there for hundreds of years – I imagine the town has grown around it. It seems fitting that the Temple Tree has been planted so close to a church. I don’t know how long the Ginkgo has been there, but in the spring the leaves are like small green fans, and in the autumn they glow bright yellow. I can rarely resist picking up one of the fallen leaves, so unlike any other.

This is the most ancient tree of all, and yet it is reborn every spring. It’s a symbol of hope, and of the resilience of nature, thrusting down roots, pushing out leaves, changing with the seasons.

gold leaves in autumn-
winter branches bleak and bare –
green leaves in springtime

 

It’s haibun night at dVerse, and Frank is hosting. It’s also Hiroshima Day, and Frank asks us to remember the horror of the bombing there in our haibun. I’ve chosen to talk about the Ginkgo, a symbol of hope. You can read more about the Ginkgo here: https://kwanten.home.xs4all.nl/index.htm

hope II

How do we talk
about hope

when it is
as illusory as fear

and yet

both things can grab our guts
and pierce our hearts

and so we talk about

hope and
love and
faith

as if they can step forth
and save us

 

Another one for De at dVerse (strangely satisfying words). A bit bleaker this time. 

Change haibun for dVerse.

In that moment, as he lowered his voice and leaned towards me, as he gave me his bruising words, in that moment, I changed from being myself to being someone else. My body became a public thing, my health became someone else’s responsibility. My breast became the place where my enemy lurked, stealing from me – my future, my happiness, my content, my ease. I changed from being visible to being invisible, hidden behind a mask of diagnosis, investigation, medication, prognosis. Words I scattered freely became darts that caused me pain. My children became sources of fear and anxiety. All the other changes led on from that moment. The scars, the skin that aged overnight, the hair thing – I’m a blonde now, not a brunette. What stays the same? Love, I think, the love that holds us in place, that feeds our selves, that keeps us taking one step after another, that reaches out and intertwines with the fine threads of family and friends and home. Love that reminds us that there is always morning, there will be a morning, the sun will rise.

Even in the dark
There is the promise of light
Birdsong calls us home.