My Cousin Stephen

Written for:  Phoenix Rising
This week’s prompt is simple: Write a memorial about someone famous, personal or in general. As we in the states observe Memorial Day this weekend. Let us remember those who have gone before.

In younger years
with darker hair,
he resembled Steve Allen.

Warm, generous smile
accompanied by hugs.
He was happy when we came to visit.

Stephen married my cousin;
an enviable marriage it was.
He gazed at her with utmost respect.

Stephen loved playing sports
with family or myriad of friends,
even as his health weakened.

Riddled with tragedies
through years of their lives,
my cousins held
each other upright, stepped forward.

I miss him, think of him
often–his kindness and generosity
shining through, spreading light.

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In The Hallway

Written for:  The Mag #271

Still Life, 1907 by John Frederick Peto

Still Life, 1907 by John Frederick Peto

As I entered the hall,
and looked at the iron hook
on the wall of muted
design, I knew there were two
people in the house. His gargantuan
black umbrella and worn hat
hung next to a familiar
carpetbag. A sudden chill
stirred my neck hairs
into standing position.
I remembered where
I had seen that bag before.

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Watching Time Tick

Written for: Sunday’s Whirligig #8

words:  method, country, stones, bleached, sheep, olive, humming, needlework, men, fool, dominoes, laugh

Humming over needlework,
Olive stretches her bleached
piece of cloth over
the embroidery hoop. Another
country sampler. She laughs,
her voice a rasp of gritty stones.
What a fool she was, agreeing
to this method of rest
for her nerves. Sheep bleat
out in the field, their sound
unnervingly close to babble
spouted by the last man
in her life. Her aunt means
well, but Olive’s restlessness
persists. Dominoes, card games,
and embroidery do nothing
to assuage her feelings
of guilt. It was not
her own money, and she can
never repay it.

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Nosy Redhead

Written for:  Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
“Play it Again” – A past challenge
Mine is from Transforming Fridays with Hannah in which we are asked to write a haiku.
(April 17, 2015)

Nosy redhead struts
her stuff, sashaying, eyes keen
Odd bird, never seen

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“since the cherry blossoms”

Written for:  Carpe Diem #737, “since the cherry blossoms” by Kyohaku
Write a poem in the same sense, tone, and spirit as:

pine shows him
late cherries

© Kyohaku

The pine of Takekuma was famous in poem and fact because it was split into two trunks. In an earlier version of this poem the first five sound units were: chiri-useru “cherry blossoms have completely fallen away.

since the cherry blossoms
I’ve waited three months to see
the twin-trunk pine

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Searching for beauty
In needles of pine scent
Cherry blossoms gone

© Sara McNulty

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Written for:  Carpe Diem Special #148, Ransetsu’s “the childless woman”
Write a poem in the same sense, tone, and spirit as:

the childless woman,
how tender she is
to the dolls!
© Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707)

Woman holds baby
She is an aunt once again
cradling fine china

© Sara McNulty

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Written for:  Carpe Diem #736, One patch of a rice field by Basho
Write a poem in the same sense, tone and spirit as:

Saigyo (1118-1190), was Basho’s great role-model. Basho modeled his life and poetry, in many ways, on Saigyo. Basho’s poems (haiku) often contain references either to a poem Saigyo wrote on one of his journeys or to Saigyo’s memorial home, which Basho visited several times.

In one of his haibun Basho wrote: “Heels torn, I am the same as Saigyo, and I think of him at the Tenryu ferry. Renting a horse, I conjure up in my mind the sage who became furious. In the beautiful spectacles of the mountain, field, ocean, and coast I see the achievements of the creation. Or I follow the trails left by those who, completely unattached, pursued the Way, or I try to fathom the truth expressed by those with poetic sensibility”.
In “Oki no Hosomichi” or “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” Basho is anxious to see a certain willow tree at Ashino on which Saigyo has written a poem:

along the way
where water is running
in the willow shade
I have stopped to rest
for a little while

© Saigyo (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

one patch of a rice field
when it was planted I left
the willow tree

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold).

finally I saw
the willow at the crystal stream
sung by Saigyo

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Picnic basket filled
with makings of lunch awaits
on blanket `neath willow

© Sara McNulty

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Written for:  Poets United Midweek Motif~Happiness
Your challenge:  Help us to see, feel or anticipate happiness through a poem in any form that makes you happy.

you will see
them trot over.
tickles hairs on our skin.
Separation was awful.
How will they act when they see you?
Woof, woof, jump, jump, lick, lick–precious dogs.

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Log Dare ( a mirror shadorma)

Written for:  Poetics Aside #306
Write a childhood poem.

Our playground
had a set of logs
for walking
or jumping.
Dared by boys, I tried jumping.
Hit nose on concrete,

first nosebleed ever.
Trail of blood drops to building.
Held my nose,
cried for Mom
who berated me,
‘serves you right.’

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Best View

Written for:  Carpe Diem On The Trail with Basho, Encore (01)
Write a poem in the same sense, tone, and spirit as:

a grass pillow
is the best to use when coming
to view cherry blossoms

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Blanket spread on tar
roof top, close for gazing
at streaking meteors

© Sara McNulty

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