Johnny Reb: A haiku

I’ve been enjoying the outdoors and have a number of planters scattered around the front of our trailer now, filled and flowering. This morning I felt to sit at my computer and spill out my latest vein of thought.

Recently I submitted some haiku to an on-line journal and the editor suggested I should get a better handle on juxtaposition. I’m sure this is quite true.

Juxtapose: put two things side by side. I’ll call it the art of implying a comparison. Whether I’ll succeed in this or not is another matter, but my mind started turning the matter over, working on a haiku.

There are a number of almost-dead trees in the narrow strip of woods beside us. Planted a hundred years ago when folks first settled here, these (mostly poplar) trees once encircled the farm yard to the immediate east of us. Sad to say, they’ve reached the end of their life span and now there isn’t much left to them but a bleak gray trunk. In the ten years we’ve lived here strong winds have brought a number down and we wonder, during storms, if another will fall. Envisioning these old trees standing against the storm, my mind made a leap to “union blue and rebel gray.”

stark gray tree
facing death from the boiling blue
Johnny reb

Good juxtaposition or no?

Stretched it out into a mini-poem:

Stark old tree
stripped of many branches
faces death in the boiling blue
storm sweeping over its head
Johnny Reb

Then I decided this post was long enough, so will continue in Part B: Rebel Gray and Union Blue. T’will be easier for you to Like and Comment on each.

Boyhood Memory

by Edgar Guest

It used to be fun in the good old days
to rise at the dawn of day
and dig for worms for a fishing trip.
It used to be fun, I say,
for I swear that a robin who hovered near
knew just what we were about,
since he flew to the ground when the earth was turned
and begged us to toss one out.
Yes, it used to be fun to go fishing then,
but Time has rewritten my terms
of what pleasure is — and I never get up
to dig for a can of worms.

We’d sit on the dock and we’d swing our legs
all day in the blazing sun,
and a few small fish on a piece of string
was our ultimate dream of fun.
Then digging for worms was an easy task,
but I tried it a year ago
and the earth seemed hard as a city street
where the streams of traffic flow.
And I’d lost the knack of clutching a thing
that wriggles and twists and squirms,
so I said to myself: “You will never again
go digging at dawn for worms.”

I stuck to the task ‘til my hands grew sore,
I labored and toiled and wrought,
but the worms were scarce and no robins came,
and it wasn’t the fun I thought.
But a small boy said as we walked away:
“I’m wondering, Uncle Ed,
when there’s so much pleasure in getting up,
how can old folks stay in bed?”
I could only answer him this: “My lad,
all experience confirms
the dreadful fact that there comes a time
when it’s labor to dig for worms.”

From Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

Some of us who have grown old and stiff are finding that it’s labor to dig for any reason nowadays, though ‘nature’s call’ may still rouse us before dawn. 😉
Happy gardening, everyone.

“Friendship”

I’m happy to say that my visit to the Cancer Clinic yesterday was really encouraging. My white count is about the same as it was back in November, no sign of the leukemia becoming active.

I’m going to take a break from the internet for awhile to catch up with other projects. I’ll schedule some poems to fill in the gap. I trust you’ll find them as inspiring as I do.

Friendship

by Edgar Guest

You do not need a score of men to laugh and sing with you;
you can be rich in comradeship with just a friend or two.
You do not need a monarch’s smile to light your way along;
through weal or woe a friend or two will fill your days with song.

So let the many go their way and let the throng pass by;
the crowd is but a fickle thing which hears not when you sigh.
The multitudes are quick to run in search of favorites new,
and all that man can hold for grief is just a friend or two.

When winds of failure start to blow, you’ll find the throng has gone —
the splendor of a brighter flame will always lure them on;
but with the ashes of your dreams and all you hoped to do
you’ll find that all you really need is just a friend or two.

You cannot know the multitude, however hard you try:
it cannot sit about your hearth; it cannot hear you sigh;
it cannot read the heart of you, or know the hurts you bear;
its cheers are all for happy men and not for those in care.

So let the throng go on its way and let the crowd depart;
but one or two will keep the faith when you are sick at heart;
and rich you’ll be, and comforted, when gray skies hide the blue,
if you can turn and share your grief with just a friend or two.

From the Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

Lost Ideas

ideas trickle
through my mind and shatter
a tap’s steady drip

Good morning everyone.

I’m happy to say that since Wed evening my back pain has lessened and I’m able to walk upright now. Something, usually taken for granted, for which I am really thankful this morning! I’ve found the exercise sheets from past physio-therapy and intend to develop a new habit: taking proper care of the muscles that hold me up.

We’ve also had a nice rain over our land lately, needed and appreciated by all. It does look like summer in our yard. Bob put up a block of wood, hammered in a nail and impaled an orange, so we now have a proper oriole feeder. We can watch them from our dining room window. A flicker has discovered that our internet “dish” makes a satisfying rat-tat-tat and is working on his timing as I write this.

Last weekend, a long weekend here in Canada, I saw folks hauling boats to Diefenbaker Lake, not so far away. I imagine with today being warm and sunny, folks will be out boating, fishing barbecuing. 🙂

The haiku above describes the general state of the human mind, with many thoughts slipping through but few caught and used. My mind seems very much that way, but who can actually compare?

I’m dismayed this morning because I can’t find my cell phone. I’m sure I had it here at my desk yesterday, doing some “housecleaning” in my g-mail, but now can’t find it anywhere. So if you’ve been trying to call or text and I haven’t replied, sorry about that.

I tried phoning myself but by now the battery has come to the end of its oomph — and so far no one has put a locator buzzer on a cell phone. Some technological whiz should get on that! Granted, it won’t do much good when you’re out and about, but for situations like this, and people like me… Or would it not work if the phone battery is dead?

Thinking of haiku, and ideas slipping away, I was scheduling a verse this morning Tree Top Haiku, to be posted tomorrow — then forgot and hit Publish. Now there are two posts back to back.  Here’s the second verse I composed while thinking back to my own mud-pie-baking childhood:
sidewalk baker
stirs in pine cones and pebbles
fresh mud pies for sale

However you’re spending this weekend, I wish you all health and safety. Thanks everyone, for dropping in and reading this post.

I want to say a special thank-you to poet Judy Dykstra-Brown, who’s kindly agreed to critique some stories for my upcoming e-book of flash fiction. I’ve been compiling it this week, seeing as a lot sitting was in the daily programme. Once I have it registered and get an ISBN, I’ll post a picture of the front cover.

PS:
Oh, JOY! Cell phone found.
It seems to have slipped down between the seats in the car on the way home after I visited a friend yesterday.

Looking on the Bright Side

“JUST BROKE”

by Edgar Guest

Nothing’s the matter with Me!
I can see,
I can hear, I can sing, I could climb
up a tree.
I am well, I can eat anything that’s about.
I can run, I can dance,
I can laugh, I can shout,
and I’m blamed if I’ll travel around here and croak
that I’m broke!

My arms are all right;
I can fight!
I can still romp around with the kiddies
at night!
I haven’t neuritis; I haven’t the ‘flu;
I still have a fairly good
foot in each shoe;
I am able to gather the point of a joke;
I’m just broke.

Nothing has happened to me
that I see!
My appetite’s good and I’m strong
as can be!
The wife hasn’t left me, the children are well.
Things are just as they were
when the stock market fell.
I can work, I can play, I can eat, I can smoke.
I’m just broke!

From the book, The Friendly Way
© 1931 by The Reilly & Lee Co.