Today, March 21, 2019, is World Poetry Day! Here’s a haibun with a picture of our good friend! Sorry beloved folks in the southern hemisphere! We’re really excited the sun is coming closer!
I was frightened you would come halfway around the world, see the state of things, and turn around. Snow and ice have covered lawns torn apart by plows and ground saturated with salt. The grass seems brown and dead.
Here we are on the day after the choice has been made. Here we are and you draw even closer. Here we are and your light shines on cold ground that I feared would be frozen forever. Birds have begun to sing, clouds have given way to deepest blues, and warmth fills our land little by little.
Soon the bees will bumble, the worms will wriggle, and the flies will buzz. Soon the mosquitos will awaken as bloodthirsty as ever. Soon summer storms will wash away the salt and grime of winter. Thank you for everything–even the mosquitos.
Welcome back old friend. Heat the soil of this good earth: Bring growth from cold land.
“Haibun for the Sun” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “living.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! These love locks can be found (for now) on the Greenway trail in Vestal. I know they’ll likely be cut off following Paris’ lead, but I give credit to those who spit into the wind. Wasteful? Yeah. Still, they are a romantic gesture.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “repentance.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! The photo was taken off of the trails in Vestal. In particular, it is in the section labeled the “Greenway.” I will include an extra picture with the nearby placard if you wish a little context.
This pipeline runs through Vestal and travels through rivers where local folks catch fish. Probably not surprisingly, the number of people who catch fish where these pipes risk contaminating the waterways are often economically lower on the scale than the folks who get their fish imported from the local Wegmans.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “present.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! The photo was taken in the wetlands by the Vestal Rail Trail.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “rest.” Yes, the word “rest” is used multiple times throughout Lent. Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga!
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “chosen.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! When I was a child my dad asked what I wanted to play in the band. I said drums. I was told to choose again. I said trumpet or bugle. I joined the choir. When my eldest asked if she could do percussion, my heart smiled. She has chosen well and I am blessed to be chosen by God to be her dad.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “good.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! I caught this huge flock of geese flying north! Spring is coming and that’s a really good thing!
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “weighed.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! I saw this beautiful bald eagle on a walk the other day. The question I’m pondering is whether the weight of the bird is greater on the tree than the need for food is on the bird. This must not be an easy season for this noble bird.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “accomplish.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so below is a haiga!
A word of explanation: I have spent nearly five years living in the Binghamton area and I have driven down 26 to Vestal Parkway probably hundreds of times over the years. Almost every time I either drive over this bridge and exit to drive underneath it or take a back road which leads me to drive down the parkway under this bridge. In nearly five years, I never knew what was over the dirt embankment. It turns out it is the Vestal Rail Trail which I walked and prayed over on Sunday. This is several kilometers from where I started to walk. I saw something new while doing something healthy with my stress. That’s a great accomplishment for a pastor who usually spends Sunday afternoon napping!
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “dazzling.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! I was walking with my toddler while praying through life yesterday when suddenly the sun burst out of the clouds. It has felt like forever since the sun struck my skin. It was glorious and reminded me of those first few verses of Genesis…
Tonight I had the first night of three evenings in a row with committee meetings. I found myself coming home and needing to let off some steam by thinking about something besides the church. I noticed that dVerse~Poets Pub was having another poetry challenge. Today’s is the quadrille or a 44 word poem with the word “Spike” involved in some way, shape, or form in the poem. I tried a pair of different poems for fun.
The first poem is inspired by my marvelous wife who sometimes forgets just how talented she happens to be. At the Father-Daughter dance at the school the other day, a friend remarked how the look my daughter gave her sister came straight from her mother. My wife is fierce, strong, and intelligent–Athena personified in my life. So, this first quadrille poem is for her. Also, it is a rondelet because apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.
You pierce my heart dear. My heart rate spikes as I stop to wonder. You pierce my heart dear. Athena questions her footing in fear While I listen and hear ringing thunder As heaven’s mold she does break asunder. You pierce my heart dear.
“Athena’s Rondelet,” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019. Written in honor of my wife.
My second poem is far less serious. It is entirely about a fictional video game character that I have been hanging out with off and on since July 13, 2016. We’ve been spending more time than usual lately as it turns out walking is the one exercise I can do well without throwing out my back. That comment is not an invitation for advice… The character is my Snorlax from Pokémon Go, which is totally not my intellectual property. Hey, free publicity though… I like your game. It is mindless and good motivation to keep on walking. The number of kilometers I have walked with this goon kinda shocks me. The poem’s form is ABABCC
Five kilometers for just one candy. My heart rate spikes as black ice makes me slip. My Pokémon Snorlax will be handy If I could only earn more on this trip. I straighten up and continue walking. No one loses weight sitting and talking.
“Pokémon Quadrille” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019. Feel free to use this Niantic!
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “rest.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! Today’s Sabbath reflection comes from last Friday. I kept whispering sweet words to my youngest daughter as she napped. She kept smiling.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “test.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! This photo describes life with a furnace you don’t own, can’t replace, and just want to go all “A Christmas Story” on but can’t because the kids are home and you’re a pastor.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “tempted.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! I’m guessing most of you know how well this plan ended.
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “full.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! This photo was taken at a spaghetti fundraiser for a family friend’s child (who happens to be probably as close to a best friend as my one year old has at this point).
By the way, this is my 200th blog post! I have others scheduled for the next few days, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who keeps encouraging me by reading and enjoying my posts, even when they’re silly. Blessings to you.
On the cold days when all warmth seems to fall asunder I seek out the deep depths of my wardrobe to plunder One of the best blessings from Christmas past: warm sweater To keep the frost from my bones during winter’s wonder.
For some a warm blanket might seem a choice far better Or a towel from the dryer when things are wetter; still, I do feel there is nothing else that I could know To be as warm and cozy as once gift wrapped sweater.
So on a frosty morn with coffee in hand I show This ugly sweater that they once gave me years ago. Yes, I will join them under a blanket warmed with love But that warmth fills my heart. I can take both kinds to go.
If you see me with February reindeer don’t shove Me out of your mind with coarse fashionista’s glove. I do not wear this as a fashion faux-pas blunder. I wear it because it warms me with both wool and love.
“February Sweater” by The Distracted Pastor, 2019
I wrote this poem for the dVerse poetry form rubaiyat challenge. We were invited to reflect on our writing process. I was thinking about the prompt offered by Frank Hubeny in the comment of “vortex.” I did not want to go straight into the vortex as I somewhat covered my feelings on the polar vortex with my blogs on “Ice” and the angry poem about that groundhog.
I started to think about the polar vortex and the cold that filled our home despite our best efforts last week. I thought about how nice it was to be warm, but that most forms of being warm were transient. Despite the subzero temperatures, the sweaters I wore did keep me warm wherever I went. I didn’t look very fashionable, but I was warm.
So, in many ways this was an ode to both those awful Christmas sweaters and to the kids who made sure I had warm clothes to wear. I enjoyed writing it even as it wandered around from one quatrain to the next. I guess, in a sense I am grateful for the kids, the sweaters, and for the prompt for happy contemplation.
If you were wondering, I do own an actual wardrobe. No, I haven’t found Narnia… yet…
You are in spotlights… How did you not see shadow??? You lying rodent…
The Distracted Pastor, 2019
This senryu was written while waiting for a chance to grab lunch. Hunger has an effect on my sense of humor. It was written in response to Frank Tasson’s Haikai Challenge. The challenge responded to being cold and was presented on the day when the famous shadow forecasting of a particularly coddled groundhog on February 2nd said it would be warm soon. I obviously went with the senryu form, which is obviously not to be taken as a personal insult to the people of Punxsutawney.
There is a time for every matter under heaven. There is a time for challenge and a time for winter. There is a time for difficulty and a time for tears. There is a time for brokenness and a time for loneliness. There is a time for solitude and a time for silence. There is a time for every matter under heaven, so why be jealous of those whose tears are yet to come? Why be envious of those who will know broken days? Why wish to be those who have had perfect days? There is a time for every matter under heaven…
Tomorrow will come And all will be different, So breathe through the pain.
Ice. Accumulating floe. Choking, Seizing, Stilling. Grinding to a halt... Frozen...
The Distracted Pastor, 2019
The polar vortex froze the water in the pipes running through the lawn between our home and the church from Thursday through Sunday. We left town to go to a training, but returned before the thaw. It was very stressful, so this poem has been writing itself in my head for a few days. I thought I would get it out of my system and share it for fun.
Today I wrote a poem in response to quadrille challenge #72 on the Poets’ Pub at dVerse. I wrote the poem while having a cup of green tea, despite the words of the poem. Given the fact that I am baking stuffed potatoes in the other room, it is surprising that they didn’t make their way into the quadrille.
The challenge is to write a forty four word poem. I based my poem on a 44 letter poem I wrote based on the unitoum form, although it is not officially a unitoum as it is only three stanzas long. As a result, the related quadrille is not a proper pantoum, but does have the neat feature of having the letters in the last word adding up to 44 letters in a 44 word poem. I like the symmetry of that construction. In honesty, I personally enjoy the 44 letter poem more than I like the resulting quadrille.
Steep and Steep
Black leaves steep. Pour out Your Pot of fragrant tea. Fill your mug now.
As you sip your Tea think about life. Go slowly now. Ponder things and drink
Think about your life While there is Still time to drink And switch life up.
This somonka is meant to be read as conversation between two lovers (alternating between bold and regular type) until the third voice enters in (in italics). What treasure awaits when these lovers are united?
I rest here alone I wait where few find the way I wait in the cold Nobody finds the still path no one turns my rusty key
I come my lovely! I seek you across the miles. You alone I seek. No one will still my sore feet Until you rest in my arms!
Come find me quickly! I grow weary of this place Where no one sees me. I keep something just for you– Deep inside with my desires.
No one can stop me! Here I am after so long. Did you wait for me? Let me draw you close and sigh As I smile and end my quest
Turn my key my love! Open the way to my heart! Twist and turn and pull! Pull open that which binds me! Come and find your heart's desire!
I will, my sweet one! Here I come to seek inside Places I long sought... Oh bliss, can it be? My love... My chest of old comic books!
Honey, are you there? Your mom says dinner is soon. What is that you have? Seriously? More comics? No, they're not graphic novels
Hold me close, my love. Touch me with your gentle hands. Carry me back home! She will never understand! She's just like your mom once was...