Long lonely tendril, or: Poetry upon water

A ‘Magnetic Poem’ tanka

Wanna try? Click here.

dark dusk colored clouds
sweetly secret soft sun shine
loving light beneath
grows like long lonely tendril
poetry upon water

Notes

  • Once again, I stuck with the ‘Nature Poet’ virtual magnet set for this poem; but I am ready to move on, I think, particularly because it seems that no changes are made in the sets of word magnets available to me week after week;
  • This week, I opted for a tanka, rather than a haiku, which was more challenging, given the limited amount of magnets;
    • Tanka traditionally have a ‘turn’ in the 3rd line, which I attempted to employ, transitioning from the sun above to its light upon the waters;
  • For this particular poem, I drew inspiration from my own haibun, which I wrote just last week;
  • That haibun of mine led me to search for and discover the stunning sunset photograph above, which I then attempted to portray in this tanka.

Sea, or: Sky

Today marks the Jewish holiday of Purim, one major theme of which is the Hebrew phrase ‘nahafokh hu’ (נַהֲפוֹךְ הוּא), which, loosely translated, means ‘it was turned to the contrary’. This comes to us from a particular verse in the Book of Esther (9:1):

וּבִשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ הוּא-חֹדֶשׁ אֲדָר, בִּשְׁלוֹשָׁה עָשָׂר יוֹם בּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר הִגִּיעַ דְּבַר-הַמֶּלֶךְ וְדָתוֹ, לְהֵעָשׂוֹת: בַּיּוֹם, אֲשֶׁר שִׂבְּרוּ אֹיְבֵי הַיְּהוּדִים לִשְׁלוֹט בָּהֶם, וְנַהֲפוֹךְ הוּא, אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁלְטוּ הַיְּהוּדִים הֵמָּה בְּשֹׂנְאֵיהֶם. Now in the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have rule over them; whereas it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;

In short, the Persian king’s advisor Haman (the villain of the story) convinced him to establish a date (the 13th of Adar), upon which all who so wished could kill Jews with impunity, and the Jews would not be allowed to defend themselves.

Without getting into the story, suffice it to say that the king’s decree could not be repealed, for it had been issued with his seal. Rather, the decree was reversed such that the Jews would be allowed to defend themselves against their enemies, as we read on in the following verse in the Book of Esther (9:2):

נִקְהֲלוּ הַיְּהוּדִים בְּעָרֵיהֶם, בְּכָל-מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ, לִשְׁלֹחַ יָד, בִּמְבַקְשֵׁי רָעָתָם; וְאִישׁ לֹא-עָמַד לִפְנֵיהֶם, כִּי-נָפַל פַּחְדָּם עַל-כָּל-הָעַמִּים. the Jews gathered themselves together in their cities throughout all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, to lay hand on such as sought their hurt; and no man could withstand them; for the fear of them was fallen upon all the peoples.

Now, ‘nahafokh hu’ is somewhat more precisely translated: ‘it was turned over’, and Purim has come to be the topsy-turvy Jewish holiday of reversals, in which everything is not what it seems, but rather its opposite. Purim represents the impossible becoming miraculously possible.


The Jerusalem winter skies

In Israel, the winter season is rainy, and the Jerusalem skies fill with clouds, which, in turn, produce some majestic sunsets.

Several weeks ago, my six-year-old and I were returning home from the store in the early evening and Jerusalem’s creamy clouds caught our attention. Not much for photography, I nonetheless put down the groceries and pulled out my smartphone to capture the moment.

The most fantastic aspect of those particular clouds in that particular sunset for me was what they looked like upside down. With a bit of fiddling in Microsoft Paint, I managed to flip the photograph upside down and zoom in on the clouds between the building and lamp post. To my eye, the picture looked just like the setting sun reflecting off of a foamy sea.

sun sparkles on clouds
sea foam glistens overhead
one need only see

d’Verse

Middles & Turns

The d’Verse prompt was to look to our [poems’] middles and see if we can build in dramatic turns, open a new window, pick a sonnet or a haiku, write in blank verse or pentameter, just show us your best turns.

Green, Brown, or: Blue

A ‘Magnetic Poem’ haiku

Wanna try? Click here.

green moss river winds
over earthly ancient brown
for bright breezy blue

Notes

  • For this poem, I stuck with the ‘Nature Poet’ virtual magnet set and with the haiku form again because they are outside of my wheelhouse;
  • Still, having said that, this is definitely getting easier for me;
  • Also, if the virtual magnets do remain the same every week, I might switch to another set and/or form… we’ll see.

Wind, or: Sun

A ‘Magnetic Poem’ haiku

Wanna try? Click here.

winter wind rustles
full freshly frosted flower
in the soon spring sun

Notes

  • I am still sticking with the ‘Nature Poet’ virtual magnet set and with the haiku form because I remain uncomfortable with these;
  • Having said that, this particular haiku came together fairly quickly for me (well, relatively);
  • It seems (although I could be mistaken) that the magnets available in each virtual set remain the same every week…

Lonely, or: Full

My 2nd ‘Magnetic Poem’ haiku

Wanna try? Click here.

lonely stroll about
the soul's full rustling colors
could seed poetry

Notes

  • I am sticking with the ‘Nature Poet’ virtual magnet set for now because it’s the least comfortable for me to use;
  • Yesterday, I wrote my first ‘Magnetic Poem’ haiku, using this same set;
  • To be honest, I am not usually much for haikus, but this exercise feels very productive; and I am deliberately sticking with the haiku form;
  • I find myself especially pleased with this particular poem.

Fertile animal, or: Wild berry

My fourth ‘Magnetic Poem’

Wanna try? Click here.

moist path between boughs 
fertile animal eating
wild berry gently

Notes

  • This particular ‘Magnetic Poem’ takes the form of a haiku;
  • I opted for the ‘Nature Poet’ magnet set for the first time.
    • Flora and fauna are not in my poetry wheelhouse at all;
    • Therefore, I now intend to regularly make use of the ‘Nature Poet’ virtual magnet set to challenge myself again and further broaden my repertoire.

Eagle, or: Hoopoe

A haibun

My response to d’Verse’s prompt for Haibun Monday: ‘Eagle’

As an adult, I left the United States of America. but the United States of America never left me. I have a graduate degree in US public policy; and I lived and worked in Washington, DC for three years. To this day, I continue to follow current events in the United States of America closely from my faraway home in Jerusalem, Israel.

Only a fragment of my soul remains in the United States of America, but I can navigate its society more readily than any other. I remain intimately familiar with the history, culture, and symbols of the United States of America in a way that transcends my mind. I know the names of the faces that appear on US currency. I know the meaning behind the stars and stripes of the flag. I know the dates of the American national holidays. I know the national anthem. I know the national motto. I know the national tree and the national mammal… and, of course, I know the national bird and the national seal that it graces.

America, for all its many challenges, remains the world’s superpower; and the [bald] eagle, its national bird, is considered to be the leader of the avian world, symbolizing strength, courage, immortality, and far-sightedness. This mighty bird of prey also enjoys connections with the Greek god Zeus and the Roman god Jupiter; and it flies higher than any other bird – alone – never in a flock.

Accipitridae -
More than 200 species.
Upupidae? One.

The haibun above is my response to the d’Verse Haibun Monday prompt.

Poets were directed to write haibuns that reference the Eagle, in whatever context they conceive. For those new to haibun, the form consists of one to a few paragraphs of prose (usually written in the present tense), which evoke an experience and are often non-fictional and/or autobiographical. They may be preceded or followed by one or more haiku—nature-based, using a seasonal image— that complement without directly repeating what the prose stated.

I did not strictly follow the prompt because I did not include a seasonal image. My mind meandered elsewhere.