Life Clock

photo credit to L.P. Salas

One pleasure of vacation is a bit more flexibility in the morning. Each Thursday morning, Laura P. Salas shares a photo prompt and a 15-Words-Or-Less poetry challenge. I’ve loved participating in the past, but recently have found that the photo prompt arrives as I’m on my way out the door to work, or at least quickly moving in that direction. With the luxury of unscheduled time, I was able to participate this week. Today’s photo inspired this response from me, colored by the recent loss of a long time family friend.

Life Clock

magnificent, intricate system
each whirligig
and curlicue
mysteriously synchronized
in rhythmic beat

until it’s not

©Molly Hogan, 2018

#haikuforhope

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I’m still participating in #haikuforhope, trying to write a haiku each day during the month of December. I wasn’t as successful this past week, and I missed a couple of days. Overall, this hasn’t been a productive writing month for me, and I’m more and more thankful for the nudge to write haiku!

December 15th:

A.M. Tragedy

morning’s sweet promise
takes an unexpected turn
fly in my coffee

©Molly Hogan, 2018

December 17th:

hollyhock stalks
festooned with snowflakes
blossom anew

©Molly Hogan, 2018

December 18th:

water, wind and cold
elemental alchemy
winter masterpiece

©Molly Hogan, 2018

December 19th

cloud congregation
clusters on the horizon
anticipating dawn

©Molly Hogan, 2018

December 20th

Christmas Homecoming

the day passes
anticipating her hug
molasses hours

©Molly Hogan, 2018

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Buffy Silverman at her blog, Buffy’s Blog. Make sure to stop by and read her review of a beautiful book of science/poetry, The Stuff of Stars.

Flashback: Art

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Last spring we visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston with friends. After entering, we wandered here and there, splitting up to follow our own inclinations. I lingered in the splendid courtyard for quite some time, admiring the falls of nasturtiums, the statuary, the mosaics and the fabulous architecture. Then, wandering through the warren of rooms, I admired ancient artifacts, gazed intently at masterpieces, and simply soaked in the atmosphere of the place. It’s a jewel of a museum.

After a while, I bumped into my husband, and we opted to head to the second floor. On the way to the staircase, we passed an older woman who sat on the low stone courtyard walls with a young girl and boy, maybe 7 and 10. Each of them held paper and pencils,  and they were contentedly sketching. As we walked by, the woman held her picture up to the children for inspection.

“What do you think?” she asked.

“I like the arches,” the boy replied decisively.

“Oh, good!” she exclaimed. “I spent a long time working on those.”

Their heads bent together and they continued to sketch and talk.

My husband and I smiled at each other, enjoying the overheard moment together. We’d already visited celebrated artwork by John Singer Sargent, Matisse, and Whistler, but we were just as moved by the amateur efforts and connection of these three strangers, making their own art.

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More Haiku for Hope

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I’m so thankful for the focus of writing haiku this month. It’s been a blessing. Thank you again (and again and again!) to Mary Lee Hahn for the invitation to write haiku daily in December with #haikuforhope. Here are my contributions for the past week.

Dec. 8th

within busy days
one may discover oneself
disappearing

©M. Hogan, 2018
(street art from a corner in Puerto Rico)

Dec. 9th

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in bitter winter
River shivers in her bed
ice shatters like crystal

©M. Hogan, 2018

December 10th

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fading oak leaf
ignites at dawn
final blaze of glory

©M. Hogan, 2018

Dec. 11th

Full Moon Memory

the moon appliqued
intricate branches
onto indigo sky

©M. Hogan, 2018

December 12th

dizzy holidaze
life glides into focus
writing haiku

©M. Hogan, 2018

December  13th

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on River’s skin
Winter’s icy winds etch
hieroglyphics

©M. Hogan, 2018

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by the warm and welcoming Laura Shovan at her blog. She’s sharing a snowy poem by Jona Colson that is full of beautiful words and  imagery.

Light Show Quandary

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DSC_1022.jpgAfter years of good intentions and failed plans, we finally arrived at “Gardens Aglow”, the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden’s holiday light extravaganza. Bundled up against the biting cold, we entered the gardens, and bought cups of hot chocolate–more for hand warmth than for anything else. We opted not to use the map and followed the winding paths randomly, enjoying the variety of lights, the play of shadows, and the snowy scene.

The colors spilled out over the snow and a full moon shone overhead. Strands of brilliant blues, greens and purples twined around tree trunks. Glowing balls of gold, red and orange blossomed here and there. White bulbs outlined small outbuildings, and wee fairy houses were tucked hither and yon. Sparkling lights dripped off high branches in a continuous cascade and trail lights illuminated the ornamental grasses and dried flower heads. It was pretty spectacular.

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As we wandered and “oohed” and “aahed” over the scenery, we wondered about all that was involved in creating this event. How many people did it take to do string the lights? How long did it take? And the ultimate questions: How much is the electric bill? How much energy does it take to power this display each night? Along with those questions came this niggling concern: Although this was creative and beautiful, wasn’t it fundamentally wasteful?

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I’d read that there were over 650,000 lights in the gardens, and I could believe it. The “show” runs nightly from mid-November until New Year’s Eve. That’s a lot of power used to light up some garden lights!  When there’s so much need in the world, is this show squandering resources? If so, by paying to attend, was I condoning that waste?

On the other hand, there are also definite positives to this light extravaganza. The event was family-oriented and fun. People of all ages were walking, laughing and spending quality time outside together. I’m sure there’s also a huge benefit to the local economy.  Finally, isn’t it important to create and appreciate beauty?

So, how do you balance it all? There are such huge discrepancies in our country and in our world. Don’t I have a responsibility to consider these things and then to act (or not act) accordingly? On the other hand, I also want to live a rich, fulfilling life and take advantage of opportunities to see and do different things. I’m aware that’s a privilege that I have that many others don’t, but does denying my opportunity help anyone? But isn’t that what people say all the time to justify doing what they want to do? I’ve been stewing over this for a few weeks and I hesitated to share today, because my thoughts keep spinning in circles, shifting and changing. Sometimes I wonder– Am I just looking way too deeply into all of this? Yet, it does disturb me. I’m in a quandary, struggling to figure it out. Does anyone have some clarity to offer?

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On a Haiku Roll

unnamedRecently, I’ve been on a haiku roll. (Sounds like a special at a Japanese restaurant! lol) I haven’t ever meditated, but I imagine that writing haiku is similar–it narrows my focus and slows me down a bit. It brings me into the present, but also out of the present. I suppose that all writing does this, but the brevity of the haiku really intensifies that process for me. Also, the more I write haiku, the more I realize how much there is to learn about how to do it well.  I’m enjoying that challenge. (mostly!)

With lots of distractions and less writing time recently, it’s also been helpful to have a poetry invitation to motivate me–Mary Lee Hahn’s #haikuforhope or #haikuforhealing. This year, as for the past several years, she’s invited people to write haiku each day during the month of December. Even when I don’t tweet my efforts, I’m doing my best to participate daily. Thanks, Mary Lee!

inside the coffee shop
rain-streaked foggy windows
swaddle us

©M. Hogan, 2018

amidst whirlwind days
reading and writing create
an eye in the storm

©M. Hogan 2018

on the Christmas tree
faded paper and yarn ornaments
induce time travel

©M. Hogan, 2018

Also, I submitted a haiku to “A Sense of Place: City Streets–hearing”  at The Haiku Foundation (they have a weekly theme), and it was selected for that week’s final post (along with a whole lot more!). Yippee! Here it is:

hope in an inhaled breath
indifferent footsteps pass
the weight of a sigh

©M. Hogan, 2018

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by Elizabeth Steinglass at her blog, My Blog About Me. She’s sharing a lovely poem about a menorah. Stop by to add some poetry to your holiday festivities!