Today’s Rethink Church prompt is “Peace.” Being myself, I would prefer a Haiga to a simple photo. On March 31st, a Sunday, I fell asleep on the couch. At some point, a child grabbed my phone and took this photo. I was asleep, enjoying a heated blanket, and completely unaware that the photo was taking place. Peace is sometimes that moment when you let everything go and get some rest.
“Sent” Photo-A-Day Haiga
Today’s Rethink Church prompt for the Lenten journey is “Sent.” I wrote this haiga with the simple understanding that we try to share in church enough on a regular basis: that it is a blessing to have enough and enough to share. Maine Federated Church is collecting Easter baskets for our Chow Pantry, because most of our church members have enough to cover their basic needs and enough to put together an Easter basket for a family that may be struggling to cover medical bills, utilities, or rent. Similar to our participation in CHOW, we believe by taking care of simple things like food or Easter Baskets, we help community members free up resources for other bills. The picture is of the stack of buckets that is mightily diminished since they were first put out. I will try and take a picture of the completed baskets for next week.
“Wheels go around” Rondelet
Today the d’Verse Poetics challenge for today is hosted by anmol(alias HA) and is centered on the subject of geography. I pondered what to write about today and decided the best thing to do was to think about a bit of local geography that has been bugging my family for the last few days as we have sought to be outside walking, biking, and having a good time.
We live on a rectangular block. The one side of the block is up a hill and the other side of the hill goes downhill. Somewhere between the two roads there is a cresting place which always brings relief, especially on a bicycle. As the challenge was based on geography, I thought I would reflect on the weird geography around our block. My rondelet is called “Wheels go around.” Sometimes they go fast and sometimes they go slow, but they always go around when we are circling the block.
Wheels go around.“Wheels go around” Rondelet by the Distracted Pastor, 2019
Quickly we roll down the far street.
Wheels go around.
We grunt: we climb up hilly ground.
As pedals almost stop and still.
We creep up towards downward thrill.
Wheels go around.
“Rest” Photo-A-Day Haiga
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! “Rest” is a weekly thing. I found this on the Vestal Greenway. Yes, I saw your message. Thank you!
“Fruit” Photo-A-Day Haiga
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “fruit.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! Why the head shaving reference? I once thought my value lay in how I look. I am not bald. I shave every single morning to remind myself that life isn’t about a full head of hair or how I look in general. May I suggest the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention as a wonderful partner for your ministry in this life?
“Planted” Photo-A-Day Haiga
The word for the day for the #RethinkChurch Photo-A-Day challenge is “planted.” Being myself, I can’t leave well enough alone, so here’s a haiga! The photo was taken on the Vestal Rail Trail.
“Living” Photo-A-Day Haiga
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.
“Repentance” Photo-A-Day Haiga
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.
Taking a break with quadrilles
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.“Athena’s Rondelet,” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019. Written in honor of my wife.
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.
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.“Pokémon Quadrille” by the Distracted Pastor, 2019. Feel free to use this Niantic!
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.
“Rest” Photo-A-Day Haiga
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.
“Full” Photo-A-Day Haiga
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).
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“February Sweater” by The Distracted Pastor, 2019
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.
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…
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…“Perspective” by The Distracted Pastor, 2019
Tomorrow will come
And all will be different,
So breathe through the pain.
This poem is written in response to the challenge from the dVerse Poets’ Pub challenge for a Haibun on Solitude. This poem is dedicated to a good friend who knows why I wrote it. Thank you for listening, my friend.
“Steep and Steep ” plus an extra poem
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.
Bonus: Quadraginta Quatuor
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...
Treasure Somonka, The Distracted Pastor. 2019
Written in response to the Creativity Contest “We’re Going Treasure Hunting” by Peregrin Arc! This poem is dedicated to Art, Russ, Tim, Michael, Ben, and all of the other comic book lovers I have known over the years. Keep being yourselves and call your graphic novels whatever you’d like!
A Quadrille of Conjoined Tankas
Gusts pierce old windows
As I enter cold kitchen.
The new year still creaks.
Calendars change as snow falls.
Aromatic tea wakes bones.
Silent draft reminds:
You are blessed to be so warm!
Howling wind reminds:
Halloween is not scary
Compared to homeless winter!
Poem crafted in response to Quadrille Challenge #71 by dVerse. I am currently decompressing from preparing for Sunday’s Annual Meeting at the church I serve by using the creative side of my brain. Too much analysis and planning leaves my creative side in need of expression. There are worse things to do at your desk while enjoying a sandwich and cup of tea!