Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place


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Wildfires: A Haibun

I am responding to a reader who challenged me to take the notes I made in my journal yesterday and write something from them.   I settled on writing a haibun, a form of Japanese poetry.   Haibun begin with brief, experiential prose (fictional in this case), followed by a haiku that is subtly and tangentially related to the prose portion.   Can you see the connection between the prose and the haiku?

Wildfire

Flinging damp sheets off my body, I bolt from bed at the sound of my phone ringing on the night stand. I fumble for the switch on my lamp.

Why is it so hot? Why is it always so damned hot? 

My throat is sore, raw, like swallowing razor blades, and I answer the phone with a ragged “Hello?” An automated voice drones something about mandatory evacuation. My mind snaps awake when I hear the name of my street.

I jump from bed and peel off the tee-shirt and shorts that cling to my sweaty body. I dress and quickly gather my bags and the boxes of valuables I had put out yesterday.

I open the front door. The air, still so hot even in the pre-dawn darkness, rushes in,  bringing the odor of charred wood and grass. I cough, and keep coughing until my lungs ache. The smoke overwhelms me.  My throat burns even more.

I can’t breath. I’m going to die.

I stagger to my car, already pointed head out of the drive way. I look up the hillside next to my house. The sky glows a sickening orange.

Now I see the first fingers of flame roar over the crest and head down towards me.


Old gray coyote
Hunts for juicy jackrabbits—
Autumn love ignites

 

 

 

Text: ljgloyd (c) 2018
Photos: Courtesy of Morguefile.com


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Night Sky: A Haibun

saturn nasa 2On a cloudless night, at the dark of the moon, close to All Hallows’ Eve, a woman stood at the edge of the sea and gazed at an indigo sky.  She murmured words of wonderment when the face of Saturn turned and revealed to her his exquisite rings.  Her spirit stirred, and she pondered if Galileo’s daughter had seen the same when she looked through her father’s glass.  Then the woman fell to her knees and cried out in love to the one who had kindled the stars.

Luminescent surf
Thunders over hard black sand
The stars cannot sleep.

Haibun: ljgloyd (c) 2015
Image: Courtesy of NASA

What is a Haibun?  Learn here.


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A Black Friday Haibun

This is my first attempt at writing a haibun.

drought

Rains, long promised, still hold off.   Sycamores and cottonwoods spill their life force like blood over cracked dry hillsides. This does not seem like a place where paradise exists. Glass towers float like castles in the air on a layer of smog, yet I still discover beauty. This is where I was brought during my Black Friday travels.  This is what I found in the middle of the frenzy.

On a sun soaked day
Among flaming cactus spines
hummingbirds battle.

smoggy skyline

 

 

hummingbird 3 small

hummingbird 2 small

getty cactus garden 1 small

These photos were taken in the gardens of the Getty Center Campus.

 

ljgloyd (c) 2014


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Three Urban Haiku

Traditional Japanese haiku is written in a pattern of 5 sound units in the first line, 7 in the second, and 5 in the third.  I recently learned that this pattern is discouraged when writing haiku in English since English syllables are not the same as Japanese sound units.  The focus of English haiku should be to capture a physical setting and a moment in time, hopefully with some sort of “twist” or “aha” for the reader.

Haiku is a lens through which nature and seasons are observed.  I live in the city, so these haiku depict this non-traditional setting.

1.
Twilight clouds roll in
Crows roost on high wires —
A “No Parking” sign.

2.
Waxing gibbous moon
Dog droppings on the sidewalk —
A jogger missteps.

3.
Cold afternoon rain
Slick white Beamer blows by —
Salt from my lips!

ljg (c) 2013

 


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Feeding My Muse

reader under tree sketchedI joined over 100,000 fellow book-lovers this past Saturday at the LA Times Festival of Books.  I have attended the Festival many times over the past decade and every year I walk away creatively invigorated.

This year I decided to forget about scheduling my day around the authors’ speaking engagements.  In the past, this usually never worked out anyway — authors cancelling at the last minute, no more tickets available for the indoor lectures I wanted to hear, et cetera.  This time, I embarked on a looser, more intuitive approach to my day’s activities by just wandering around to the outdoor stages and tents, listening to and speaking with whoever crossed my path.

As a result, I discovered the works of some bright young novelists and mature established poets I want to read:  Kiersten White, Rachel Cohn, Tahereh Mafi, Michelle Gagnon, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Kurt Brown.

About mid-day, I came across the tent for a local haiku study group and had an impromptu lesson on what haiku is and is not.  I walked away with a chapbook of haiku and some tutorial resources.   I have written haiku in the past and, like other forms of poetry, it works for me as a warm up to prose writing.   I have recently noticed that some of my online writing colleagues are being re-energized by poetry writing too, so I think I will be joining them and posting more poetry, especially haiku, in the near future.

Saturday was an abnormally warm, brilliantly blue day, and I ended my time at the Festival  by stretching out on the lawn under the sycamores and eucalyptus trees at the Poetry Stage.  I stared at the sky and drank in the words of the poets.

My Muse was well fed and sassily happy this day.

ljg (c) 2013