Today’s Journey

The Ragtag prompt this morning is MIXED FEELINGS, and these we certainly have. We have planned our own family Christmas for tomorrow and were looking forward to that with anticipation. But yesterday we got a call from my niece telling us that my sister’s time on this earth is coming to an end.

Rose went into the hospital Nov 25th with an infection and it’s been roller coaster battle, at times gaining, then getting hit with a second infection. According to my niece, her mom’s body can’t seem to fight it any more and the family has been called together. Barring a miraculous recovery, she’ll be with us only a short time.

So we are preparing to make a journey back to Moose Jaw, our old stomping grounds, as it were. The place my husband and I were married almost fifty years ago and lived some of our first married years. We hope the weather will be favorable for this trip and would appreciate your prayers during these next few days.

Your Daily Word Prompt : JOURNEY
Ragtag Daily Prompt: MIXED FEELINGS

On Hues of Blues

I checked out the Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: How Green Is Blue. If this is some expression in common use today, I’ll admit that I’m rather uncommon and have never heard of it. At any rate, I was struck by the unusualness of it.

But wait…is unusualness actually a word? My word processing programme accepts it but the built-in Word Press spell-checker highlights it as an error. (It highlights programme as an error, too, but I’m using Canadian English today.)

I slid my mouse over to the Merriam-Webster site and they list unusualness as the noun, with the adjective being unusual, though its awkwardness does cause my mind to stumble a bit. STUMBLE is the Word of the Day prompt word this morning.

For the word unusual M-W offers alternatives like unique, off-beat, curious, odd, peculiar. If you want another word for your tongue to stumble over, try chromaticity, which isthe quality of color characterized by its dominant or complementary wavelength and purity taken together.”

In The Eyes Of The Beholder

The hues of blues are a common debate at our house: my beloved sees every blue-green shade from aqua to turquoise as green, while I call it blue. For example, is this fence blue and the sign green? Are they both green? Or both blue?

Blue fence + quote

Likewise, are these ducks swimming in green water or blue?

Ducks.Amy Spielmaker

The Colour of Emotions

It’s interesting how, in English, certain colours have become attached to emotions. A blue sky is always a sunny, cheerful one. Not so with a blue day or a blue mood, which rather suggests depression. It could be that people were green with envy long before Shakespeare came along, but his use of “green-eyed jealously” forever sealed the colour and the feeling in the Anglo mind.

Thus if you say, “How green is blue?” folks may hear, “How much sadness is caused by jealously?” Knowing someone has what you want, or that others have so much more than you do, can get you down if you focus there. Human as we are, envy does cause us to stumble at times as we go through life.

Asking, “How blue is green?” could be interpreted as, “She’s depressed and that’s why she’s looking at others and thinking they are so much better off.” Sad to say, when a person’s depressed they are usually inclined to see “everybody else” as upbeat, prosperous, and content with life. Other sad, lonely, desperate folks tend to fall below their radar.

And now I’ve exhausted my thoughts on this topic and shall wish you all a day in the pink.

The Crowded Street

Today’s contribution to National Poetry Month is a long verse by William Cullen Bryant, an American poet who lived from 1794-1878. I often have the same sort of thoughts as I watch humanity flow past me on the crowded street or in a mall.

The Crowded Street

by William Cullen Bryant

Let me move slowly through the street,
filled with an ever-shifting train,
amid the sound of steps that beat
the murmuring walks like autumn rain.

How fast the flitting figures come!
The mild, the fierce, the stony face —
some bright with thoughtless smiles, and some
where secret tears have left their trace.

They pass — to toil, to strife, to rest;
to halls in which the feast is spread;
to chambers where the funeral guest
in silence sits beside the dead.

And some to happy homes repair,
where children, pressing cheek to cheek,
with mute caresses shall declare
the tenderness they cannot speak.

And some, who walk in calmness here,
shall shudder as they reach the door
where one who made their dwelling dear,
its flower, its light, is seen no more.

Youth with pale cheek and slender frame,
and dreams of greatness in thine eye,
goest thou to build an early name
or early in the task to die?

Keen son of trade, with eager brow!
Who is now fluttering in thy snare?
Thy golden fortunes, tower they now,
or melt the glittering spires in air?

Who of this crowd tonight shall tread
the dance till daylight gleam again?
Who, sorrow o’er the untimely dead?
Who, writhe in throes of mortal pain?

Some famine-struck, shall think how long
the cold dark hours, how slow the light;
and some, who flaunt amid the throng,
shall hid in dens of shame tonight.

Each, where his tasks or pleasures call,
they pass, and heed each other not.
There is who heeds, who holds them all
in His large love and boundless thought.

These struggling tides of life, that seem
in wayward, aimless course to tend
are eddies of the mighty stream
that rolls to its appointed end.

Capturing Their Feelings

I recently purchased and have been reading a book titled Write Like Issa: A Haiku How To, by David Lanoue.

The writer talks about the compassion Issa often showed for the creatures he saw. He seemed to  look through their eyes for a moment and express, in an understanding way, how they were reacting to heat, cold, pain, etc. Be it the fly in a hot stuffy room, the toad on a chilly morning, the chicken dragging a damaged wing, he could display through his verse, without actually stating, their physical feelings.

The sparrows we see in winter puff up when it’s cold and they must feel an icy wind ruffling their feathers. Or we may see a baby bird hopping after its harried mother, crying for more food. Issa wrote a famous verse identifying himself with the hungry chick, by throwing in the words “step-child bird.” Knowing that the poet was a step-child neglected and harshly treated by his father’s second wife, we get the picture of his own hunger and longing for affection.

One of the exercises Mr Lanoue gives readers is to recall a experience shared with a some creature and then capture that in a haiku. I think we can all recall instances when a creature, especially a pet, shows some “feeling” we can identify with. One day as I was walking to the mall, I saw a salamander alongside the curb, twisting his head this way and that in obvious distress as cars swished past not far away. The traffic wasn’t steady; but every so often another car would pass and frighten him, yet the poor creature couldn’t go up the curb to escape that way. Just observing him a moment, I caught his fear and bewilderment. I could easily imagine the desperate cry of, “Which way shall I go?”

I’m not sure I could condense that scene enough for a haiku — if you want to give it a try, go for it, and leave your verse as a comment. But here’s a quick and easy scene for a verse. I don’t know if it’s a great haiku or not, but have you ever noticed how a fly is attracted to a dish or jar that once held something sweet?

fruit fly explores
the just-washed jam jar
something tells him

Who Is This?

 

 



Who is this person who
goes about with her head up
in the blue heavens plucking
white puffs from passing clouds,
weaves them into poems
until there is no cloud at all?

Who is this person who
goes about with her mind so
full of foolish things?
What does she think she’s doing,
ignoring the latest styles
in ladies’ hats and shoes,
missing social niceties
and other vital signs of life?

Who is this person who
goes about whipping out
a coil-bound notebook
at the slightest stimulation,
hunting for a pen, fearing
some precious thought will vanish
before she’s tacked it down
in scrawling lines of poetry.

Who is this person who
thinks she can demonstrate
why we feel the way we do
or how we should look
at some unusual bloom
or distant arcing rainbow
when we have so much more
important work to do.
Odd, isn’t she?

 

 

Listless

Word of the Day Challenge this morning: LISTLESS
A thought formed in my mind and has come out as a haiku.

One of the biggest challenges is writing any poetry, and especially haiku and senryu, is to know how much to say and how much to leave for the reader to imagine. I’d like to hear what this verse says to you.

the old dog listless
his master away —
how can he know