Smoke Again

again this smoky haze
the incense of
an unwanted cleansing

Forest Fire

A thick blue haze has settled on the fields again today. We’ve shut all the windows, as the smoky air is hard to breathe. I hope you’ll pardon me if I’m boring you with all my versifying about forest fire —I find it hard not to think about it whenever I step outside.

On a positive note, two bright but very timid orioles have been snitching from our hummingbird feeder today.

On Fire and On the Move

Our air quality seems somewhat better today. Earlier in the week smoke from northern forest fires lay like a fog on the fields. Today there’s a faint gray haze and the sky’s a solid pale blue, but the sun’s colour is normal. I noticed only a whiff of smoke in the air when I was out earlier.

We’d have had a lot hotter temps this month if it hadn’t been for the smoke screen we’ve been living under, so I guess there’s one small blessing. Yet when I think of vast tracts of forest burning…

I wonder if the birds suffer in smoky air? The hummingbirds are still zipping around, busy at the feeder, especially in the early morning. Since it’s the end of the season I was able to buy a second feeder on sale and they seem happy to slurp from it, too. In just over a week they’ll be gone, so I’m enjoying them while I can.

I was out for a walk a few minutes ago and ONE grasshopper took flight beside the driveway. Can this be Saskatchewan! As soon as it landed I stomped on it — I don’t at all mind some species becoming extinct. Birds can’t eat them anyway, so…

Actually that’s not quite true! One fall morning about six years ago we saw a juvenile great-horned owl, still with his white baby feathers, sitting beside our garage. Mostly silent and observant, he opened his beak now and then to let out a shrill peep. Later we watched him run up and down the driveway devouring grasshoppers. You haven’t lived — or seen “funny” — until you’ve see an owl run. They’re so awkward, hopping as much side-to-side as forward!

poplar shoots
spring up in my driveway
bent on take-over
Birnham Wood creeping
to Dunsinane*

At different times this summer, walking along our driveway, I’ve thought of that phrase from MacBeth. The original owners planted a row of poplar trees on the west side of the property. Theses have grown tall in the last ten years and are no longer content to stay in one neat row. Shoot by shoot they are creeping toward our castle. Bob has been keeping them at bay with the lawn mower, but they aren’t giving up.

Which inspired me with a tanka on the subject. A tanka is a five line poem which, in old Japan, went in a syllable sequence of 5-7-5-7-5. Here’s what haiku master Alan Summers writes about it.

If you are interested in learning more about haiku, senryu, tanka, and other forms of Japanese poetry, courses are being offered this fall. For details, check out Call of the Page.

*The woods near Birnam in Perthshire, Scotland. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macbeth is told that he will only be defeated when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane. Later, his enemy’s army comes through Birnam Wood and each soldier cuts a large branch to hide himself, so that when the army moves on it looks as if the wood is moving.
https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/birnam-wood

Molly From Cork

“Molly O’Haggerty Rourke
my colleen from county o’ Cork,
oh, I’ll soon be sailing—
now don’t you go wailing!—
My fortune I seek in New York.”

Says Molly O’Haggerty Rourke,
“Your colleen from county o’ Cork,
sure, you’ll be forgettin’
as soon as you’re settin’
your eyes on the girls of New York.”

I says to her, “Love don’t you frown,
your trust I will never let down.
I’ll send for you, sweetheart;
we’ll both make a new start
and light up the streets of York town.”

My response to Fandango’s FOWC word: ENERGY

First posted April 22, 2016 on Friday Tales

A Carefree Creature

As my response to the Ragtag daily prompt: FREEDOM
with a nod to Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day: NONCHALANT

I offer this poem about this carefree toad:

The Happy Toad

by Edgar Guest

As I was walking down the road
I met an ugly, grinning toad,
who squatted in the shade and said:
“I never wish that I were dead.
Wherever I may chance to stray
I find rich food along the way;
I have no dreams I can’t fulfill;
I owe no other toad a bill.
In slimy places I abide
but with them I am satisfied.
My little children I forsook
as tadpoles in a nearby brook;
I know not where they are, nor care.
I have no burdens I must bear.
At night I never lie awake.
My bitterest enemy is the snake.
I have no taxes, no beliefs,
no cares, ambitions, hopes or griefs;
no clothes to buy, no cash to lose,
no tools that I must learn to use.
I sing no dirges, tell no jokes.
I’m just a jumping toad who croaks;
contented, placid, happy I
shall be until the day I die.”
~~~
Yet as I trudged along the road
I thought, “Who wants to be a toad?”
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co

Toad

A Fragile New World

Large Soap bubbleWith engines humming at warp speed and maximum forward thrust, the alien creature piloting the craft approached the strange planet. Cautiously the creature circled several times before hovering motionless above one section of the orb. He scrutinized the surface of this new world that recently popped up on his screen before making his decision to land.

The blue streaks on its surface likely indicated the presence of water — hopefully similar to the H2O of his home planet. And the green would normally indicate large areas of vegetation, perhaps even forests. Was there life on this planet? Was it hostile or friendly? Things to be considered before any attempt to explore.

And what were those pink swirls all about? Unusually coloured foliage, like the orange of autumn leaves on Earth? Poisonous gasses? Had some noxious substance under the surface leached into the atmosphere? Was this new world another like Planet Earth, where the inhabitants routinely produced weird colours of clouds over its surface?

Actually, the planet seemed to have no atmosphere — unless its air was crystal clear. Te creature saw no sign of habitation to alarm him. Time to touch down and explore the place. Wings extended, landing gear lowered, he brought his craft down for a graceful landing.

The moment the weight of his craft came to rest on the surface, which seemed to be composed of some unique substance, there was this huge

Pop bubble + word

The force of the explosion sent the tiny craft tumbling back into space. It took serious effort on the creature’s part to right his craft and steer it into a level course again. Having more than satisfied his curiosity — and there being nothing left of the strange planet to explore — the creature continued his journey into space.

He made this note in his mental logbook:
Important data for future reference: mosquitoes unable to land on soap bubbles.
😉

I can’t resist squeezing in a haiku to complete my tale:

silver-blue flash
and a planet appears
child’s play

Soap planet

Writing prompts that inspired my tale:

Fandango’s one-word challenge: SUBSTANCE
Ragtag daily prompt word: BLUE
Word of the Day Photo challenge: CLOSE UP

E-zine Haiku Competition

Following a link today, I discovered a new online magazine, Vita Brevis . For those of you who are interested in Haiku, the editor is hosting a four-day haiku competition, ending Monday night, Aug 13th.

Anyone can leave one haiku verse in the comments. Read the complete details here: Comment-a-Haiku Poetry Competition

Nature is the theme so I dug into my archives and pulled up a few that could work. I considered this one, but it’s not very aesthetic so I won’t offer it for the contest. You can read it and give a Thumbs-up or Thumbs-down.

beside the highway
three ravens process
yesterday’s mad rush

Or how about:

the zoo animals
watch the humans play

amusing monkeys

🙂
It’s probably been done before.