cronechronicler

Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Pain and Peace: Weekly Haiku Challenge # 7

Loss of former days.
Candles burned at both their ends
Gutter into rest.

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Flare and Shadow: Weekly Haiku Challenge #6

Evening shadows crouch

Blanket colors of the day

Fireflies small light flares.

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What Did I Just Say?

The Daily Prompt wonders how I misuse words. I do, too.

On a perfect summer afternoon I was sitting in our usual place under the oak tree by the pool with my friends the “Word Ladies”. The apartment manager years ago gave the ladies a round metal table and matching chairs that a departed tenant left behind. That afternoon someone brought out the gray duffel bag containing the water-proof chair cushions that we keep stored in the bath house. Someone else retrieved the red bag containing cards for playing our game, Scrabble Dictionaries, the bottle of Listerine we use as bug spray – it really works! – and the black plastic bag of small rocks we use to hold down the cards on a windy day. When we look out our windows and see the red bag placed on the metal table we know that the card game is on for that day. It’s like a flag on the beach that signals to “come on in, the water’s fine”. Over time we have developed rituals worthy of any Japanese Tea Ceremony.

The game we play is called Royalty, a descendent of Scrabble. Each player is dealt a hand of seven cards with letters on them instead of little tiles. Like Scrabble the object is to make words. Unlike Scrabble we build on and change each others words to make new ones. The fun is changing other players’ words. In the process of creating new words from existing ones, we come up with words we aren’t sure how to spell. In this case I tend to spell from the sound of words and find “u”‘s combined with “a”‘s and “o”‘s particularly challenging. On this perfect afternoon I was so challenged. I told the ladies that I was sometimes loose with my vowels. There was dead silence followed by a roar of laughter. When I “got it” my face turned red. And then I joined in the best belly laugh I’ve had in ages.

 

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Who Are You?

Daily Prompt. Imagine I return home to discover a huge flower bouquet waiting for me. No card is attached. Who is it from? Why did they send it to me?

Flowers waiting at my door
Surprise from no one present to my mind.
Who do they perceive
and want to charm?
What have I done to kindle flames anew?

There lives an ache within my heart
To break free from guise of someone old.
I know what springs flow fierce and strong
Beneath wrinkles and my halting step.
I know deep down I have not changed a lot.

The question now is “Who are you?”
What fellow creature with the same desire
To look beyond appearances and see
The ageless search for someone dear to love
Is not denied to persons old as we.

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What the Mirror Knows

When I consider my blog as a mirror with revelations to offer me I first look at my posts. I see them going round in a spiral echoing the same experiences, ideas and feelings. There is a basic word-field I use to express myself. I love words – and writing. Maybe I write because I want to be heard, or at least to figure out how to be heard. Sometimes writing is how I play, especially my poetry. My blog is all of these things and still all-of-piece.

I named my blog Cronechronicler in collaboration with my son who is a writer. He remembered my identification with the idea of crones as women wise and free, set apart from society after their reproductive days were over and now occupying their unique niche. I chose Vivachange77 to represent my intention to get a new outfit for my life after the old one had become threadbare. I planned to complete my move by the time I turned 75 and did – hence Viva! – long live change. My current age is 77 and  I’m still going strong.

After choosing and abandoning several ideas for my blog’s theme I came up with the lines of a poem by David Whyte titled Journey that I feel define my journey.

” Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.”

Finding the design for my blog was serendipitous. From among the designs that were free I  chose one with an owl creature and a sunburst behind him that I thought fitting for a crone. Later when I wanted to know more about the possibilities for this design I window shopped other designs. In the process I accidentally replaced my wise owl design with my current one, Brand New Day, only with a pale aqua background. Posts were printed in white letters and were difficult to read so I went shopping again and learned that on Brand New Day I had a choice of background colors representing the cycles of the day. I chose Night which has a deep ocean-blue background and quite legible white lettering. I’m a technological neophyte so I leave the organization of my blog to the wisdom of the genies of Word Press. Recently much to my joy I stumbled on how Tags operate. I have much to learn.

My About section is abbreviated and refers only to very recent events. I plan to flesh it out. Also I considered choosing a new design for my blog until I realized how appropriate Brand New Day is. It expresses my life choices. The moons and planets in the night sky reflect the idea of my theme that everything has to be “enscribed across the heavens.”

When I pull back and look at the elements of my blog and how they came to be I’m reminded of the Ghanaian saying I originally chose for my theme.” When you don’t know where you are going, and you don’t know how to get there, you arrive there just the same.” Whether it is the mirror speaking or me that’s pretty much my operating principle.

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Westward Ho! Ho! Ho!

Daily Prompt: What if I were to wake up one day and realize I am ten years older than I was the previous night. How does this change my life plans?

Thinking ahead ten years and wondering how my life plans are affected is lost in a mist of uncertainty. In ten years I’ll be eighty-seven. I know I’ll be ten years older and then what? I can expect natural aging and the accompanying adjustments. I can’t know my unique situation. I think the life plans I’ve chosen will do just fine. Maybe.

It’s like I’m a pioneer ever traveling toward the horizon. I started out with my prairie schooner packed to bursting with necessary objects and some beloved and even frivolous things. As my journey unfolded I made my way through plains, valleys, rivers, mountains, dry desserts – whatever the journey required. Somewhere in the middle of my trip I began to shed non-essential stuff to lighten my load, only I had no plan for what to toss out and what to save. My load got lighter and lighter. That felt free and good. I got better at figuring out the true path for my life.

The person I was before awakening and finding myself ten years older had begun to make conscious decisions about sorting out what really matters for me. It was working out. What was missing was throwing caution to the winds and having a fling with whatever life throws at me. How I would love to be a gadfly for once in my responsible life.

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Funny Tears

Daily Prompt: Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.

It was the last time my grand kids were to spend the day with me. I could tell something different was going on as soon as they walked in the door. Aidan had in his hands a small Lego hero figure he had created. His I-Pad was nowhere to be seen. He said his sister Mia had lost it, as well as his I-Pod. I could see that Aidan had lost his happy disposition. Mia seemed content with reading books she had brought with her. I went back to my computer where I had been paying a few bills. All this happened before 9 o’clock in the morning. We three had fallen into a rhythm of beginning our days together slowly.

But obviously not today. Mia turned on the TV to watch cartoons, which she usually did the hour after lunch before their dad picked them up. The unaccustomed noise shocked me out of my usually peaceful mindset. (I guess you can tell I am a creature of habit, as is Aidan. Mia is a maverick in our midst.) I moved into the living room and picked up a word puzzle to do. Aidan had gotten absorbed in Mia’s cartoon so I decided to accept the situation as the best of a weird morning. When the clock said it was time to go outside to the pool Aidan announced he had not brought his swimming suit and did not want to swim. Mia really wanted to. Oh, me. I said I could not be in two places at once and asked Aidan if he would consider sitting with me by the pool while Mia swam. He grumbled but agreed.

Once we were settled I asked Aidan how his I-Pad had gotten lost. Apparently it had gone missing after three friends slept over to celebrate his birthday. But that isn’t what Aidan wanted to talk about. He launched into an in-depth one-sided conversation about the game Mine Craft. I learned one thing – the mines the game refers to are not land mines as I had supposed but old-fashioned mines in the earth.

Finally the clock crept forward to noon. We went to Boston Market for lunch where we were greeted as the usual Thursday customers we had become. We ate lunch and headed back home.

I was glad the day was almost over, and my summer commitment to take care of my son’s children. I looked around the living room of my apartment and thought how home-like it had become this summer of Thursdays with my grandkids. Mia was sitting in my usual chair which she had adopted as hers and Aidan was stretched on the floor watching TV. I thought how beautiful a sight it was – and how precious it is to love grandchildren, whatever their mood. And tears came to my eyes.

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I Could Hardly Get the Word Out.

The Daily Prompt focuses on words that sound like the thing they describe. It asks the question do I have an example of such a word and what do I think creates that effect on me.

Immediately the word wheeze comes to mind. Beginning when I was two years old and continuing into my early 20’s I had chronic bronchial asthma. The raspy sound of wheezing when I tried to breathe identified an attack coming on. It felt like my chest was being squeezed like an accordion only to produce very unmusical sounds. It took so much effort to wheeze that I had a hard time getting words out. I spoke in gasps between breaths. An attack very often came on in the middle of the night and interrupted my sleep, and my mother’s.

My wheezing, like other involuntary bodily sounds, affected other people in various ways. In my teenage years sleeping over at each other’s house was the big thing. When I invariably woke up wheezing in the middle of the night I just moved my sleeping bag into a closet so no one else would hear me. In the morning my friends weren’t surprised to find me there. While I was a student at a women’s college we were allowed to stay overnight at nearby men’s colleges on weekends, in authorized boarding houses only. One night I was sleeping in a room with four girls from another college whom I didn’t know. In the middle of the night I woke up wheezing, which naturally woke up the other girls. One said she was sure a cat had somehow gotten into the room. I was so embarrassed that I sneaked into the bathroom and spent the rest of the night sitting on the toilet lid. Long ago I outgrew my asthma. Still, when I hear someone wheezing my chest constricts in empathy.

To me the word wheeze sounds like having an asthma attack. The wind to breathe out the sound of the word begins deep in my throat. After I have expelled the word I feel a lingering tightness in my chest like the breathlessness of an asthmatic wheeze.

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It’s Not Over Til It’s Over

To make an end is to make a beginning.
The end is where we start from. T.S. Eliot

This morning there are men in the tall oak trees I can see from the windows of my apartment. They are pruning the branches that have died since last summer to make room for new growth. The men look like rock climbers with their head-gear, sturdy boots, ropes and pulleys – only they get paid for their daring gymnastics. I get to watch the circus for free.

Beginnings and endings have been on my mind lately. My sister decided we should start getting together, just we three, more often than our big family reunions every five years – “while we still can”. In two weeks I’ll catch a plane and our other sister will travel by car to make this happen.

I’m looking forward to an exciting tour of Costa Rica I have planned for next March. At the same time I keep receiving catalogues luring me to sign up for other places I’ve always wanted to visit. Only now there is a difference. Yosemite National Park, one of the trips offered, has long been on my list of places to see. I note that the trip offered in my activity level involves walking a mile or so among the Giant Sequoia trees and driving to see another site or two. Most of the time we would spend in a classroom learning about the wonders more able-bodied adventurers could get to on foot. That’s not for me! I’ll find other avenues to explore.

It’s clear to me now that my energy is diminishing. I push ahead to do what I want to do and then my body puts on the brakes. If I’m honest with myself this has been occurring slowly over a decade or so. When I accept this I find balance restored. My appetite for exploring new things is in accord with the natural slowing down of my body. This elegant equation leaves me with just the right amount of energy still to do things I love. And open to new possibilities which I have no doubt will appear.

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Revisited By Loss

Today the prompts don’t work and nothing comes to mind.
No ideas new – or old – appear to keep me company.
For once I threw the towel in and moved on with my day.
With shopping cart and list in hand I sought to jar the muse
With a pedestrian task. At least I’ll now have bread.

As I walked past the empty lot beside my home
A sudden kinship with it sprang to mind and heart.
This week two years ago was when I said goodbye
To what I’d built, life I lived, dream that was still-born.
Of course, I thought. Old-buried grief has come to call today.

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