Friday, April 29, 2011

Haibun week

This is the week when the Maple trees open new leaves. It's the birthday of the leaves I will rake and compost in the fall. The beginning of shade. The opening of the roof over my hammock. The first day of green gold ceilings. The baby ripples of wind's laughter. The return of living emeralds.


wind chimes
thrilling in the key of verte;
today's leaves

It terrifies me that the next wind storm might bring this twisty old Maple (housing a colony of carpenter ants) right into my room; but I can't help wiling away the random minutes gazing out at the rippling green. I am enchanted by those little hands waving me away from the worries of the day. The oil of their birthing still fresh, the nibbled edges yet undone, each minute shrinks as they tenderly stretch and the glow fades.

new maple leaves

how they shine
the newest tender leaves;
oil of gladness

We had the poet & author George Ella Lyon at our school for a visit this week. She was telling the kids about how the trees breathe the world's breath and we are breathing with them. Carbon dioxide in, oxygen out, and back and forth. Yes, I thought, that is it. The little rustling, the tossing, the dance. Breath of the world.

new oak leaves

newest tossing leaves
fresh from the bud, already
breathing the world back

And there is this; the porch wisteria. I had tried to rip it out before I knew what it was. It is trained on a trellis now and each April brings more of these delicate trails of frothy blooming fountains. Only for a week or so are they purple. I spend the rest of summer hunting down the fingers of runners seeking footholds on my house siding. They sneak under porch and hide in the ivy. Like Pinky and the Brain they wake every morning anew to take over the world. I battle it only for the reward of this week.

porch wisteria

along the iron porch rail;
best loved enemy

-Andromeda Jazmon

I lost track of my daily haibun posts this week. Life interrupts once again. It has been a lovely month  though, hasn't it? Have you enjoyed the National Poetry Month posts? It's not too late to go back and browse what you may have missed. (Here are all of my haibun for the month.) And of course every Friday there is a  Poetry round up - today it is at Tabatha's. Enjoy your weekend!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

haibun #20

For a few hours this afternoon it was quite warm and humid. Driving home with the windows open the air was heavy with perfume from the magnolias that seem to burst into bloom all around us. It brought to mind long drowsy afternoons filled with the drone of bees. I heard a snore come from the backseat. I had to shake myself awake to remember the road.

magnolia confetti

open windows
drawing honey thick air;
magnolia in bloom

-Andromeda Jazmon

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Haibun # 17,18,19

I got behind in posting this weekend so I am playing catch up today. Three in one!


slowing steps
for just a day or two
nodding narcissis

These days rushing past the doorstep to be on time is a chance to catch at beauty. The school year is winding down; or up depending on how many projects and performances one has scheduled. Sooner than we believe we will be advanced to the next thing; but for today a new bloom everywhere we look.

Obi Wan is a Jedi

My kindergarten son is content to sit with a pen and paper, leaning over the seat of a chair to write with great concentration while I finish up the taxes. He reads it to me later; a foreign language in print that is my native tongue when he speaks. "Obi Wan is a Jedi". The power of his words.

my pen
in his hands;
new paper

I tried cooking Indian food yesterday. I found a packaged kit in the health food section that looked yummy and not too complicated. Tandoori spices packed in with basmati rice. I cut up mango just to see Buddy's face when he tasted that sweet, soft tang. Such joy to feed someone who adores every new flavor. 

hand poised

his eyes wide
juice dripping down his chin;
ripe mango curry

-Andromeda Jazmon

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Haibun #16

I found myself staring out the kitchen window several times today, pausing from the housework to watch the rain on the backyard grass. It's a brilliant green now and ready for the first cutting of the year as soon as we get a clear day and time to get out there. Amazing how grass endures the drab, miserable, freezing months to bounce back to verdant, vibrant growth after only a couple warm days and a good soaking.

June 5 006

grass heads bend
under the weight of raindrops;
then spring forward

-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday, April 15, 2011

Haibun #15

Puck dumped out his backpack onto the living room rug. There we were, putting the heads and arms back on Lego men. It's a rather quiet, focused activity, and a welcome contrast to the rest of the time when he was spinning in circles, laughing like a madman, taunting his brother, spilling crumbs all over the floor, or jumping up and down. Do you wonder why I call him Puck?

little smile

tiny heads and arms
each to each little toy man -
then they're off again

- Andromeda Jazmon

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Haibun #14

There is a crab apple tree in bloom right outside my window.  When I glance up I am likely to see a tufted titmouse, a cheery little gray bird with round black eyes, hopping from branch to branch directly in front of me. He is hoping to find a juicy little insect among the blossoms. Another time I might see a fat bee buzzing around between the pollen soaked petals. The blue sky peeks through, winking at me. What was it I was trying to get done?

crab apple 2011 013

watching the titmouse
in the blooming crab apple;
my day's work

-Andromeda Jazmon

(P.S. If you work where I work, please know that this is purely poetic license; I certainly do NOT ease off my rigorous work habits for a silly little thing like blossom gazing. That would be preposterous. It's just a poem.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Haibun #13

They were looking for poetry; or joke books. The little girl quickly sat down next to the shelves. Mom and I sat on comfy chairs and caught up on the job situation, the housing market, their recent trip to D C. We both admitted to being tired, having been up in the middle of the night for one thing or another. We shared a few knock knock jokes, they checked out the book, and left. The sun streamed in.

comfy chairs

two chairs set near
tall reading room windows
inviting the light

-Andromeda Jazmon

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Haibun #12

Rain today, a steady drizzle developing into drumming on the roof and rushing gutters. A sleep song on the roof, as Langston sings. The dandelions that were smiling yesterday are all curled up. We pulled a few more books off the shelves and drew in closer for another poem or two.

wiffle ball in puddle

All day rain
drizzle, downpour, then wind -
flotsam in the gutter

-Andromeda Jazmon

Monday, April 11, 2011

Haibun #11

The first really hot day of spring. Trees popping flowers and pollen coating the parking lot cars. The spice bush is in full bloom and drawing bees, along with the crab apple and magnolias.  I make a point of not parking under the magnolia trees. Everywhere you look kids were shedding layers and stretching out long, lean limbs to catch the sunshine. Recess ended hot and sweaty, with long lines at the water fountain. It'll be cold again tomorrow, but the planet has shifted. Summer clothing is being aired all over town.

spice bush

children giddy
from spring's first heat wave;
bee fried air

-Andromeda Jazmon

*"bee fried air" is a phrase I loved from Ray Bradbury's book Dandelion Wine. It's part of a delightful description of a summer afternoon spent picking berries in the woods.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

haibun #9

She came over to help with the housework, and brought flowers. Those joyful yellow blooms crowded onto the table in the midst of a tumble of children and cleaning clutter. Hearing her tell stories of all the office gossip and laughing over the confusing bits... What I had puzzled over myself now started to make sense. At clean up she smiled at me with a smudge of dust across one cheek. We rounded up the kids and went to dinner exhausted and satisfied.

daffodil vase

held together
stems crowded in a green vase;
on each stalk a bloom

-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday, April 08, 2011

Haibun #8

Driving to work damp and chilled in early April.  Bare branch tips promise swelling buds. Occasional burst of gold in the scrubby woods. Wild hedges of forsythia have escaped into the brush. Arms flung skyward or trailing on the ground; each year more territory taken. On the subject of forsythia my dad said, "Just don't let the branches touch the ground, whatever you do. There is no going back."

tall forcythia

early light;
wanton forsythia spreads
gold along the road

-Andromeda Jazmon

Writing the Life Poetic

Susan Taylor Brown and Laura Purdie Salas have started an online bookclub around the book Writing the Life Poetic by Sage Cohen. Each week they are alternating on their blogs to talk about a different chapter and hosting those of us who want to try the writing exercises. I am joining in late, having just received my copy of the book. I'm playing catch up today, posting a poem I wrote in response to last week's discussion of chapter 7: "13 Ways of Looking". I have always loved that poem by Wallace Stevens. I am just going to consider one new way of looking from the list of exercises: No. 2 - "If it moves, how does it move?"

Boy and Dog

Buddy launches himself,
arrives before

crashes into the sofa
and collapses
already chattering.

Above us,
on the high bookshelf
bobble head Snoopy is

frozen at attention
arms at his sides
feet stuck to skis.

His round, black eyes
peer over the shelf
tracking my son.

Buddy dashes back
into the kitchen
in need of fuel.

Snoopy bobs
his head in time
to rattling dishes.

-Andromeda Jazmon

Friday Poetry is being rounded up at Madigaan Reads.  Don't miss all the fantastic poetry being shared all this month around the kidlitosphere! Please come back here later today, and every day  for my daily haibun haiku post.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Haibun #7

The children in my library are making paper cranes. In the last 10 days they have made 2,567. They are using origami paper, old magazines, discarded chip bags, shiny bulletin board paper, and tissues. Every time I come back to the desk baskets are full to overflowing. Outside my window the Japanese weeping cherry quietly bursts into pinkness.

yellow crane

child's paper
blessed and folded into
open blossoms

-Andromeda Jazmon

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Haibun #6

My friend and Poetry Sister Liz Garton Scanlon is also doing haibun this month, and we talked about trying to bounce a few haiku off each other in a kind of echo. She put a haibun up yesterday about her time in a botanical garden with some children. It's quite lovely, in a relaxed, lazy way, mentioning bees and sweet flowers. Her final line is "let children slip past". I thought about how completely different I have been feeling; rushing and scattered.

The kids have been sick with allergies, asthma, and colds. Fevers and coughing and sleepless nights. All this when the days are finally getting (slightly) warmer, the sun extends the days, and flower and leaf buds are beginning to pop everywhere. I've rushed pasted the cherry tree, skipping up the steps grabbing at glimpses and sucking sweet air. Feeling sad there is no time to linger, but rejoicing that spring comes no matter what.

cherry blossom cluster

she slips past
just time to glance up &
snatch fragrant sky

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Haibun #5

My six year old son lay on the sofa drowsing and wiggling his loose tooth. Suddenly he jumped up. "My tooth! It came out!" A quick scramble through the blanket to find the tooth, lost in the cushions. Blood welled up in the gap, scarlet between milky buds. Earlier in the day he had jumped for joy at the sight of a red cardinal in the blossoming cherry tree.

cherry blossoms

lost baby tooth;
a red bird in a white tree
blood between pearls

-Andromeda Jazmon

Monday, April 04, 2011

Haibun #4

I turn away from the screen, get up and wander outside, drawn by the warmth streaming in the window. Mild breezes, waving twigs heavy with bud, a low buzzing in the air. Coat left behind, at last, I am stunned. Sitting on the front step doing nothing but breathe.

bee in vinca 6

spring sunshine
my desk unattended;
watching the bees

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Haibun #3

I am painting my house, room by room. This weekend a good friend came over to help me pack up the dish cabinet and bookshelves in the dining room so we could scrape, spackle and prep the walls and woodwork for painting. It is an exhausting and overwhelming project and I am frequently discouraged to the point of tears. It's only her good cheer and optimism that kept me going this weekend. That and frequent tea breaks.

Taiwanese minature tea pot

after cleaning the house
we sat down to admire my treasure;
tea in my best pot

-Andromeda Jazmon

I am posting haibun, or haiku + photo + short prose, every day in April as part of National Poetry Month. See what others in the kidlitosphere are doing here.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

tea haibun

Many years ago I was in China teaching English and had the opportunity to travel around the country. I found these 2" clay figures, or "mud men" as they are called sometimes, in a dusty little shop in Tianjin. The art form goes back to the 19th century, when they were made for bonsai and miniature gardens. I am enchanted by the expressions on these gentlemen's faces. Their conversation, whether it is on poetry or philosophy or the recent rain, is so animated I lean in to overhear.

gentlemen at tea

during spring rain
have you another story?
our tea grows cold

-Andromeda Jazmon

I am posting haibun, or haiku + photo + short prose, every day in April as part of National Poetry Month. See what others in the kidlitosphere are doing here. Enjoy a little extra poetry today!

Friday, April 01, 2011

National Poetry Month kick-off 2011

Every year for the past four years I have celebrated National Poetry Month by posting an original haiku and photo each day in April. It has been a wonderful exercise for me in creativity and thoughtful observation. I plan to do it again this year, with the added challenge of extending into haibun. This is a form that compliments the haiku with a short prose piece that amplifies or extends the revelation. Basho, the famous 17th c. Japanese haiku poet, made it famous with his work "The Narrow Road to Deep North", which was his travel journal of a trip across Japan  interspersed with meditations and haiku. You can read it in English here, and more about Basho's journey here.

Dawn L. Stewart writes that Haibun should be

"a combination of prose strong in imagery and at least one haiku. The prose in a haibun is trimmed to its essence just as a haiku is composed of few words chosen for their particular meaning. A haibun relates a journey, whether the travels are a physical exploration of the world or an internal journey of discovery."
Here is another explanation from Bay Moon, and the latest issue of the online journal Haibun Today. As this is also the season of Lent, I am going to focus my haibun on an internal journey; that of seeking God's face in the everyday events and people around me. I hope to discover and celebrate the little graces and blessings so easily overlooked in the hustle and bustle of my days.

I invited my good friend and Poetry Sister Liz Garton Scanlon to join me. She also has been spending her Aprils writing haiku, and I thought it would be fun to bounce off each other. We haven't worked out the details yet, and things may develop, but it should be interesting...

Before I get to today's haiku I have to share what the kids in my school are doing. After the tsunami in Japan three weeks ago we heard about a project going on at The Bezos Family Foundation has pledged $2 for every paper crane that young people send in for Japan. The cranes will be made into an art instillation in Japan. The money goes to Architects for Humanities projects rebuilding Japan, up to $200,000. In one week the kids have made 1000 cranes! It's a perfect way for kids to make a big impact for good. I've been running to the craft store every day buying up origami paper, and cutting up old magazines, and spending my lunchtime teaching kids to make paper cranes.

Paper Crane Haibun #1

paper cranes 011
I didn't know these children through their fingers. Only from their eyes seeking me and darting away; their playful voices. I didn't know what they could do with squares of paper. I only gathered as many colors, shaped into hand sizes, and showed them the folds. Mountain fold, belly fold, petal fold. They came up with smushed fold and crumpled fold. And then, suddenly, relentlessly, gathering steam, they perform shocking beauty. Japanese paper, transformed, and returned with interest.

clumsy fingers
find mysteries in paper
folded beauty

-Andromeda Jazmon

paper cranes 026

Poetry Friday is hosted today at the Poem Farm, where Amy LV has been writing a poem a day for the past year! Please be sure to spend some time this weekend enjoying the poetry celebration. And please do come back here all through April for more haiku!