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.

 

14 thoughts on “Haibun – Tenacious Perennials – April 15, 2020

  1. I am fascinated to learn how other countries are getting on. Are you seeing food shortages and distupted supply chains there. We are seeing those problems emerging here. Over here the post war Italian migrants are known for their fabulous food gardens and cooking skills. I would imagine they are coping better than most of us now. That way of life is something I want to learn more about.

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    • Actually no, we haven’t had food shortages that I know of but I live in a rural area not one of the big cities like Rome or Milan. Still outside of the sensationalist news rags from England I have read no news in this sense. That encludes newspapers or from friends and family (over social media) who live outside of Trentino. To tell the truth looking through articles and blogs etc here in Italy the big problem right now seems to be binge eating. But I’m sure that there are people who are running out of money to buy the goods on the shelves. In some areas of Italy people went wild when the word lock down came up but calmed down quickly when the government guaranteed that the food chain would not be cut off … trucks and trains are still running, food plants are still running, and Italy has over 750,000 farms and farming is considered an essential industry. We still have fresh veggies and fruit. Although btw late afternoon on Saturday .. the supermarket where my son went shopping had run out of eggs, but then, it was the day before Easter. I look at what’s happening in the states and I think like, how crazy is this with farmers dumping mild and plowing their crops up and there are people who are going hungry and market shelves are empty. Sometime I really think that it must be a product of someone’s fantasy. I’m sure we’ll have problems here sooner or later… if not the supply the cash to pay for food. The we’ll see how things will work out.

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      • Thank you for your reply. Someone had told that the Italian Government had guaranteed food supply but I hadn’t really understood how that worked till I read your reply. Over here food is still being harvested though there is a shortage of seasonal workers ablef to get out to distant farmers. There was complete panic buying early on and skthough deliveries are still being made to supermarkets there are limits on how much you can buy ast any one time. Flour is unavailable. Rice is in limited supply and many items sell out very quickly. There are fresh vegies but often the supply is limited. Imported goods are not always available either.
        I agree, some people must be runnjng out of money too. Also some people are falling through the cracks. People with mental health issues are finding this time very difficult. Also I heard refugees from war torn countries have had terrible anxiety about empty supermarket shelves. It reminds them of what happened in their home countries.
        And yes, binge eating (and drinking) from anxiety and boredom is becoming a problem here. .
        Globally, we are in for some very difficult times ahead.

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        • I agree things are tough here as well… fortunately (though I could wish there were more governmental associations paying for the jobs done) we have many volunteer organizations who take care of a lot of difficult public situations including the care of the elderly, the destitute, immigrants and the various types of people with handicaps etc. This is a Catholic country … and charity work is a part of the system and works hand in hand with local governments. So there are food drives going on now, where you leave what you can for the people who are in difficulty and it is distributed in fixed areas given to them by the city. There are also people who take advantage of these organization in order to get a free hand-out. Yesterday after food distribution by the Caritas some of the food distributed was found in the trash bins (some milk and pasta). It was such a volunteer organization (though non-religious) for example that helped distribute masks to all of the residents of my town. There are problems with dysfunctional families and violence in the home too. There are people who are depressed that have problems staying at home (there has been help for children with special problems like autism and concessions made so that they can leave their home to go out for walks wearing a blue ribbon( so that they don”t get stopped by the police.) There are a lot of projects going on.

          This is not to say everything is cozy and nice, because there’s a lot of grumbling and people get mean and for example turn in their neighbors because they happen to see them go out of their house (happened to a friend who’d gone out in the evening to take out the trash).

          As I said though we don’t have empty shelves in the supermarkets, my son bought 2 kilos of flour this morning as well as bananas, kiwis, eggs, trout, zucchini, eggplants, some frozen minestrone, pasta, potatoes, fresh bread, cookies, bacon and I don’t remember what else. He forgot to bring extra money along and so someone’ll have to go out to pick up fresh meat but we have some in the freezer so, not big problem. Seems that there is also a problem of seasonal workers … well let’s say cheap labour, the jobs college students and young people used to do but now immigrants do…thanks to (can you imagine) Trump our local equivalents of Italy firsters have riled against the “extra-communitarians … so African and Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees for years but it’s they that keep the price of food down, it’s also they who do the job that the Italian firsters wouldn’t be seen dead doing …. so as you see we really are globalized … and all infected by common viruses both social and physical.

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          • Yes we have the same situation with immigrant workers and young backpackers doing jobs that many Aussie’s refuse to do.
            This virus is revealing so many problems. Over here we are allowed to get out for exercise thank goodness. It must be awful to completed confined. The problems for autistic children is bad here too. My autistic grandson has been very, very difficult for my daughter to care for this last month. She said to me on the phone today that he doesn’t understand why he can’t go out to the playground and is really getting angry with her. She has finally arranged for a young, active male autism worker to take him out to more isolated areas for long walks. It is such relief for her.

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  2. Here in Texas a good bit of hoarding took place. We have used instant milk as the quantities we used were so small the milk would go bad. We found the instant met our needs. I can find none anywhere except in commercial amounts. I do not even have a place to store 50 liters of dry milk! For a while eggs were a premium find. Stores realized what was happening and began limiting the number of items folks were allowed to purchase. Not a basket full but just 2 packages of items. Guess we shall see what the next chapter will be. Best wishes to you.

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    • Thanks Janice for your feedback … I got distracted with all the crazy news from the states and temporarily lost my wa or my centeredness … I think people must be hoarding because there is a keen sense of disorganization. Hope things calm down soon on your end. One of my sisters lives in Texas and says there’s talk of stopping the social distancing soon. I sure hope you keep yourself safe. Best wishes Janice, Georgia

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      • The governor is pushing to be the first state to reopen business. I will continue social distancing and sheltering until such a time as I feel it is safe. Just because a politician says go outside and socialize does not mean I have to follow the herd off the cliff. In what area of Texas does your sister live? My family roots for 5 generations are in north central Texas. Two sisters, their families and tons of cousins on both sides to the family tree live in that area.

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        • My sister’s living near San Antonio if I’m not mistaken. She had been living in Washington State until a few months ago. I think you do well not leaving shelter just because a politician says you should. I know that at my age I’ll have to wear a mask when I go out and avoid crowded closed spaces… I do know that we’re testing like mad, and there’s a good chance all my town will be tested in the next week as we had one of the highest incidents in our region.

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          • I live in a small town (by Italian standards) we0ve got about 17,000 people and have had 330 cases of covid and around 30 deaths. But it’s the highest outside of our provincial capital. We didn’t have anything like Lombardy and in fact we took in some of the cases from their area because they had no more hospital room. I feel very safe though.

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    • I’m taking care and have family that do for me, shopping and stuff like that. I know life won’t go back to normal but hope that I can still go to the beach in August … but will avoid hot sweaty discotheques. 😉

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