Haibun – Prompt: Mountains 29/04/2020

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In Trentino (Italy) I live practically at the foot of a mountain. The sun doesn’t peek over that mountain until around 11:30 in the morning in deepest winter. However the day once it has come remains longer than in other areas of our valley, which is like a bowl, with another mountain to the west. Those on the other side of the valley are lucky in the winter because they have mornings! We are lucky in the summer because we have long evenings. I must say though it’s lovely to visit outside our valley where one can enjoy a sunrise and sunset.

cold winter day
first light at noon
behind the mountain

(c) gsk ’20

Haibun – Phase Two – April 28, 2020

Haibun — Phase Two — April 28, 2020

So, yesterday I didn’t go online. The happy days of singing from the balconies and the enthusiastic – “This too shall pass! Yes We’re going to make it!” has gone by the wayside with lost jobs, death tolls, polemics and accusations. And the ravens caw all around us.

in darkest hours
old blackbird sings his song
remembering spring

It’s not that the emergency is over. People are just scared or worse bored. They aren’t worrying that there are still people dying. All too often people only understand when they too are touched. Just as they don’t know of the millions who sicken and die from lack of food or water. A photo is worth a thousand words, but pain is intimate and real.

no rain has fallen
even the flies hide away
– deadly drought

Many days have passed and many things have changed, if only for a few days. Cleaner air, cleaner water and the animals have returned. Everywhere films were made and some cheers were raised. Pretty pretty … But now humanity is tired of sheltering from a silent invisible killer, which when you look closely only kills the old and weak. The economy is wounded, petrol again has no value, people are not consuming. Stop Phase one we need to hurry up phase two!

in the silence
earthshine crescent moon
spring of COVID

© gsk ’20

Here in Europe, the common blackbird is a species of true thrush. It is also called Eurasian blackbird, or simply blackbird where this does not lead to confusion with a similar-looking local species. It breeds in Europe, Asiatic Russia, and North Africa.

In North America when one talks about a blackbirds one usually thinks about a crows or a ravens which are a completely different thing.

Read about blackbirds here:
Ciao!

Haibun – Day 42 and Earth Day – April 22, 2020

Haibun – Day 42 and Earth Day

It’s day 42 of the lock down here in Italy due to COVID-19 pandemic. The days are warm now, spring is all around us. My lemon, lime and kumquat trees are blooming filling the air with sweet perfume. My wind chimes tingle in the afternoon breeze. Who could believe that there is a disease that has killed thousands of people blowing in the wind.

bird song and blossoms
in the wind sweet perfume
– silent death

My friend’s wife developed a cough a while ago and she was put in quarantine (her husband and child who live with her were in quarantine too). They couldn’t leave their house for any reason, penalty a huge fine and if someone got sick because they’d done so they risked imprisonment. A health call-center called three times a day for their vitals, temperature and all that. All of their trash had to be put into two plastic bags and left outside their home for pickup. It was an innocent cough … this lasted 14 days.

through the wind
dust, pollen and COVID
– life and death

One wonders if it will end and how? Some people, not having seen death don’t believe that there is really a pandemic. Some people in the world have become violent about the lock downs and some protest that their rights are being violated. Some say our life will never be the same. Some say COVID will be with us until we find a vaccine. Who knows? Today is also Earth day.

across the Earth
skies are clear and clean
– COVID

© gsk ’20

Haibun – Tenacious Perennials – April 15, 2020

Haibun – Tenacious Perennials

When I arrived in Italy in 1970, a lot of the reconstruction had already taken place However, sometimes behind a bunch of new buildings bombed out shells still existed. In my 7th floor apartment in Savona where I lived a year after my arrival, I looked onto one of those bombed out hulks from my kitchen window.

memories of war
ghosts lurking behind homes
dragon’s teeth

After the twenty year reign of Fascism and the war that was the fruit of that political choice, Italy was a mass of rubble. Its economy was non existent. Its people downtrodden by crippling poverty. And yet, Italy arose from its ashes and each citizen arose from the dragon’s teeth to become many pledged to rebuilding the nation.

dragon’s teeth
scattered upon the land
seeds

Stone upon stone political battle after political battle, through corruption and the Mafias of various sorts, Italy arose from the ashes and rebuilt its bombed out cities. The Marshal plan helped of course, America was generous since Italy had the strongest Communist Party outside of the influence of the USSR. Above all though was the will of the Italians to overcome their century long poverty which pushed many of them into being the beggars of the Earth. They could at last dip into the wealth of the world.

seeds –
planted in poverty
sprouted by fiat
watered by children’s tears
tenacious perennials

gsk ’20

The destruction of Covid-19 on the nations is of a different entity. I don’t like to think of a disease as a war because I don’t like the way politicians are flinging that word around.  Be that as it is, although things may not be as they once were, this too will pass. The protagonist of this haibun is Italy … but with variations it could be any country.  Nations are not what the politicians would have us believe ..  they are really people living together trying to do best they can.

 

Haiku- Shiva’s Dance – April 10, 2020

India_statue_of_nataraja

 

Shiva’s Dance (Tandava)

even headless crowns
must move to Lord Shiva’s tune
– Tāṇḍavam

© gsk ’20

In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic we might remember that even the coronavirus is part of the world and follows its principles.

“Tāṇḍavam (also known as Tāṇḍava natyam) is a divine dance performed by the Hindu god Lord Shiva. The dance is a pictorial allegory of the five principle manifestations of eternal energy:

Srishti – creation, evolution
Sthiti – preservation, support
Samhara – destruction, evolution
Tirodhana – illusion
Anugraha – release, emancipation, grace

Thus Tandava symbolizes the cosmic cycles of creation and destruction, as well as the daily rhythm of birth and death. ”

Haibun – Thursday – April 10, 2020

Haibun – my wooden ship

On Thursday I look at the world in all its (ah-hum) glory. Its the day I usually prepare for my English Conversation class and so a day I look into news articles about politics and current events. In any period of time one needs a bit of ballast not to  flounder but now with the COVID pandemic at its height one really needs to have an inner anchor.

in my wooden ship
I sail through death and storms
– humanity

Back in the mid ’80s I was living in yet another interesting time of my life and was feeling rather tired of it all. I came across an old book “The Way of Zen” by Alan Watts. I felt I’d found a new lover, such were the power of the vision I found in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a converted from one religion to yet another religion. I was raised in a religious uncertain family so, in my early youth I’d experimented with many representatives of monotheism and alas preferred my familial religious chaos to monotheistic self righteous rigidity. Watts though didn’t preach he taught. How refreshing!

wild this daisy grows
no lily of the valley
that false innocent

After the maelstrom of the day, I kick back and listen to a talk by Watts … just to balance out the day.  I put on a TV show about the life in England in the 1950s , it’s entitled “Call the Midwife”, so heartening!  I feed myself and Brynn the princess cat and finally go to bed.  As an introvert, basically I have no problem with social distancing.  I admit I’d be in a much more unpleasant place if I had to live elbow to elbow with millions of people all at once!

balancing my soul
looking at simple drama
at social distance

© gsk ’20

———————————————

Now some flower facts both flowers  represent purity but:…

Daisies

Just like a lot of the other flowers in the Asteraceae flower these are easy to grow. This is a flower that a child can grow and it stands all sorts of conditions. With the vascular nature of this plant and the tap root, it basically grows so well that it can become a weed. So, even if you are a person with a brown thumb, you can grow this. These flowers will grow in dry areas they will grow in open areas too. They are easily pollinated because bugs love them and spread the pollen throughout, so you will see fields of daisies in some of the places that are out there. This is a great beginner flower to start growing.

Lily of the Valley

Even though the Lily of the Valley prefers cooler temperatures, it will grow in warmer as well. If you plan on having Lily of the Valley in your yard or garden, there are two things you need to be careful about. One is the poisonous nature of the plant, for humans and pets. The other is the way the flower reproduces may make it difficult to get rid of it once it has established itself. Since its root system creeps underground, you may have to really work on eliminating it. However, if your plans are to have them around to make your yard just beautiful, then you will have no problem because they will multiply on their own. Find out about how the Lilies of the Valley like to live, whether they want lots of water or just a little, what type of soil is best for them, how much sunshine they need during the day, then you are set with growing beautiful Lily of the Valley flowers.

Revisiting Padua – Sijo – April 10, 2020

past discarded farm instruments
I went wandering one day–
attracted to bright autumn colours
when I soon  became aware –
that  long dark wintry shadows
were menacingly all around me.

gsk ’20

You can find out what type of poem this is in Mindlovesmisery’s Menagerie .. Glassary under Sijo

Haibun – Isolation Spring – April 8, 2020

Haibun – Isolation Spring

Days in isolation tend to blur. The lock down in this COVID-19 spring is different from my past. I’ve spent hiding from palpable danger, that made your heartbeat race. For example, when I was young I lived in Chad. That spring, I didn’t need anyone to tell me to stay at home because there were armed bands of rebels and government soldiers roaming the streets. One knew there was death outside. Death which could break down the door and come into your home.

in the night
tat tat tat tat
–silence

In Italy when spring arrives, days are warm.  Larks and blackbirds would warble their delight in the early morning.   Children would be out in the streets going to school. A couple of gossips would be standing on the corner exchanging all their news. I’d walk down from my house to the cafe to read the newspaper and drink an espresso. Enjoying the sunshine and the freedom of movement without a coat.  Ah … memories.

chattering
warm sounds of spring
new life

Now it’s spring.  Thank heavens the birds still sing and the days are still warm. But they tell me that we’re in danger.  No one will break down my door with guns, though some dramatic politicians and news people speak of a global war. I find it difficult to feel afraid here in my Italian valley.  Everything is even too peaceful as everyone is shut away.  We live in an age of the miracles in our modern age. I never would have thought that a sneeze would cause fear.

in the street
aaachoo
–silence

gsk ’20

Shashin no uta – 写真 の 歌 – Photographic Song

(This was a page from the top of my blog which I think no one has ever read.  So I thought I’d turn it into a post.)

I wrote a  Shashin no Uta back in September of 2014 thanks to an idea on a blog called Ronovan Writes: Wordless Haiku … later thanks to a blogger I once knew Jen Rosenberry the Wordless Haiku became  Photoku.  After a while she took over the prompts for the “photoku” finally deciding to discontinue for lack of time … but she did suggest to me this lovely name in Japanese: Shashin no Uta   写真 の 歌 – Photographic song.

What I’m posting are photoku  in the order of when they were published.

I wanted to see how the genre evolved from chaotic collage I was trying to work with as though it were a rebus – so practically a picture for a word then I decided to work towards pictures for each phrase until at last I worked out that the best way, for me of course, was to use one photo for each line … and then the photoku really  began to become a “photographic song” indeed (it’s interesting to note that I actually did a full circle …my first “photoku” indeed were composed of just three photos … one for each phrase in a haiku!).

A Stink Bug – September 15, 2014

photo haiku

autumn vineyards
among wild Passiflora
a stink bug

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Autumn Reflections – September 21, 2014

wordless Haiga_resized

new harvest
warm dreamy reflections
– new snow

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Indian Summer Walk – September 28, 2014

worldess Haiku_2

Indian summer
under ancient shadows
– bees

G.s.k. ’14

Roses Bloom – October 5, 2014

last blooms
near the ancient house
old cat

G.s.k. ’14

Time – October 12, 2014

Wordless haiku_2

fallow times
darkness deepens
poverty’s harvest

G.s.k. ’14

Childhood Memories – October 19, 2014

Wordless Haiku October 19

persimmons
leaves and wild flowers
childhood memories

G.s.k. ’14

The Tournement – October 26, 2014

Oct26_2014 WH_2

the tournament
red feathered knight
ballads sung
celebrating
memories of war

G.s.k. ’14

She Dreams – November 2, 2014

Wordless haiku nov_2_2014

harvest memories
sticky candied fruit
shadows of childhood

G.s.k. ’14

The “Mille Miglia” – November 8, 2014

Wordless Hiku_nov_8Collage

bridging history
the thousand mile auto race
hitchhiker’s dream

G.s.k. ’14

Bottles and lights – November 16, 2014

PhotoKu - November 16

reflections
cosmic red lightening
abstract – blue bottles

G.s.k. ’14

Cold Wave  – November 23, 2014

PhotoKu_ Nov 23

last dead leaves
cold waves on Lake Garda
ah – snow comes

G.s.k. ’14

Sunshine Exodus – November 30, 2014

photoku

frosty days
late migration
snowbirds fly south

G.s.k. 14

 

Mountain Cabin –  December 14, 2014

Photoku_picasa

mountain cabin
ice-fog at dawn
frosted trees

G.s.k. ‘14

VARIATION

moon in heavens
over the baita*
frosty morning

*cabin in Italian

© G.s.k. ‘14

Christmas Snow – December 21, 2014

Stain glass collage_2

Christmas
decorated trees
– light

G.s.k. ’14

Smiling in the Clouds  – January 4, 2014

photoku jan 4_monkey

clouds and rain
moon smiles brightly
a soaring bird

G.s.k. ‘15

dreams sailing free – January 18, 2015

PIC_Haiku Jan18 collage_3

embers of sunset
bridging the world
sailing free

G.s.k. ‘15

PIC_Haiku Jan18 collage

Variation

Ripples and Change – January 21, 2015

January21_collage_c_bwSmall

crack of dawn
ripples through infinity
times change

G.s.k. ‘15

Shadows and Patterns – January 25, 2015

Photoku_4finished

shivering  patterns
shadows in darkened masks
a sinking leaf

near the cobbled path
patterns making dark omens
leaf shivering sinks

G.s.k. ‘15

Autumn Morning – January 29, 2015

observing the lake_collage
observe
lantern on the post
old gull
G.s.k. ’15

Withered Moon – February 1, 2015

Signed_Withered Moon Ku_small

withered moon
morning dawns
ah – fishermen and ducks

© G.s.k. ‘15

A Dead Leaf On Stone – February 11, 2015

lamp and moutain_small light lit snow
what peace
the way

G.s.k. ’15

Vines – April 5, 2020 – Shahai

autumn vine
last blaze
before snow
gsk ’20

In this time of coronavirus everything in one way or another brings to mind the situation we are living through.  Looking at all the maps of the various countries reminded me of the autumn vines in our area.

Vines here are very important and when they are red … then soon the leaves will all fall and the once beautiful fields of red will look dead and forlorn awaiting the white and black of winter.  But then there is the rebirth of the vines in spring …