Tag Archives: summer

a rabbit in my chest

For the dVerse Monday haibun prompt “Summer“, let me tell you about my day….

 

A trip to the GP turns into an afternoon in the Goulburn ED. A triage nurse takes my history and some blood, then runs an ECG as we chat about how hard it’s been for nurses during covid, how good the change of government is for women, about #MeToo and wonder “you too?”. Then I wait again, until someone else comes to take me for a CT scan.
First some saline through the canula and a cool tingle rushes through my chest triggering another thump. Then I am waiting as the machine whirrs, and tells me: “take a breath and hold it… now breathe normally”. It is hard to breathe normally on command. Then the iodine solution is pumped in and there is a rush of heat to my face and between my legs and a strange taste in my mouth. Again, I take a breath and hold it on command as the machine whirrs.
Dressed again, though still speckled with ECG electrodes and with the canula in my arm, I wait again until a doctor calls me through. The tests have all come back clear. So the chest pain? …likely pleurisy, long covid. The thumping beat, like a rabbit kicking? “yes, I heard it – ectopic ventricular beats”, tentatively “are you still… regular? Given your age…”.

Autumn inside me,
no summer heat flush, just a
rabbit in my chest

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where did summer go?

The Thursday dVerse “meeting the bar with the Constanza” challenge was to write a series of at least 5 three line stanzas with the rhyme scheme a/b/b, a/c/c, … in which the first lines form a poem in their own right, which is then placed at the end. Oh, and it has to be in iambic tetrameter as well.  Ummm…. okay, here goes:  

 

We watched the summer come and go,
the fields turn green with summer rain,
then gold with ripening of the grain.

Now bright leaves fall from the gingko,
to reds and browns they add their gilt
as autumn lays her patchwork quilt.

Against blue sky, bare branches show
and a half-moon peers through their net
at pigeons roosting in silhouette.

Flocks of autumn carrion crows
scrounge fields now brown and stubble-strewn.
The winter’s chill comes all too soon,

so while we wait for winter’s snow,
we’ll fill the woodshed to its beams
to give us warmth for winter dreams.

Now build the fire, and in its glow
dream of spring and a greening land
and plan the next spring’s plantings, and

ask ourselves, where did summer go?
In just a moment it was past.
But briefly too will winter last.

We watched the summer come and go,
now bright leaves fall from the gingko.
Against blue sky, bare branches show
flocks of autumn carrion crows.
So while we wait for winter’s snow.
build up the fire, and in its glow
ask ourselves, where did summer go?

 

I’ve followed Björn’s  lead in going for a seasonal theme – autumn for us down here in the southern hemisphere. Unfortunately I haven’t taken a photo of the gingko trees on campus which have turned brilliant yellow, but here are the pigeons in silhouette, against a typically blue Canberra winter sky with the moon peeking through the branches. 

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a stutter in the seasons

Summer refuses to depart,
though the sun’s daily arc
now starts well north of east
and ends far short west.
Reluctant to leave,
though the lights are dimmed
she drags out another encore.

And this hesitation confuses:
only half-way to winter
but beneath the soil
barely-rested bulbs
raise their new green spires
like a scattering of uncertain applause
through last season’s still green foliage.

This succession of Indian summers, in which
any colder day seems a transient glitch, is
a stutter in the seasons –
so summer plays again and again.

But the sun cannot be fooled –
he rises and inscribes
an autumnal arc across the sky.

 

Some years ago a friend visiting from Sydney asked “do you get many sunsets here?”, to which I gave the obvious answer “yes, every day”. But I guess they’re more noticeable here – the kitchen window faces west, towards a long ridge, and he was looking out that window at the sunset when he asked. The point along the ridge where the sun sinks changes with the seasons, like a sundial calendar.  So even though it feels like summer at the moment, the point where the sun is going down is well to the north now of where the summer sun sinks. In the southern hemisphere the sun heads north for the winter, not south.  🙂  

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come blackberrying

Bright white paper-scrap butterflies
flit and flutter by the roadside,
beside the passing roaring cars
among their passengers’ discards –
cans and bottles, fast-food wraps,
brought by highway, the city’s scraps.

But walk with me into the trees,
where butterflies like autumn leaves
all rise and swirl, then drift to ground
in shades of russet, yellow, brown.
Ripe grasses wave their waist-high plumes,
and tethered between the thistle blooms
silken threads from jewelled spiders
catch the careless zephyr riders.
Come, follow me, up the hillside,
skirting the webs and thistles stride
to where the brambles arch and mound
and birdsong is the loudest sound.

We’ll pluck the fruit, so ripe and sweet,
some for our baskets and some to eat,
sweat slicked, hands pricked, faces glowing
stained by musky juices flowing,
‘til sated at last with fruit, my love,
come lie with me with just sky above.

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Blackberrying, Lake George

There is water now where the sheep grazed,
a second blue sky
stretching from our feet to the hills
where paired upright and inverted turbines
turn slow semaphore signals.

Skirting the gate
and stepping over the fence,
avoiding sodden gullies and thistles,
we come to the bramble-mounds
where the sweet black musky berries wait.

Recycled honey-buckets over wrists,
one hand to steadies the stem,
while the other plucks the plump fruit,
some so ripe it drops at a touch.
We alternately fill the buckets
and ourselves,
until both are full near to overflowing.

Fingers and mouths stained purple,
hands and arms scratched,
we return home triumphant.

Pots bubble
and the scent of
dust, musk and summer heat
fills the kitchen
as we pour these dog-days of summer
into a dozen jars,
to be put away until we need
a taste of sunshine.

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ko: blackberries and biting flies

Lisa at dVerse challenges us to write about or create a ko (micro-season). Full specifications (which I have not met) are listed below:

 

Major season (sekki, of which there are 24): late summer dog-days

Micro-season (ko, of which there are 72): Blackberries and biting flies

This is the season of hot days when we are ready for coolness, but are unwilling to accept that summer is almost gone. Holidays are over and school begins just as blackberries are ripening and shining invitingly on roadsides.

 

Seasonal vegetables:

Tomatoes are ripe in the garden, squash as swelling into scalloped-edged flying saucers. But these are incidental now – because this is the season when the blackberries ripen. The hard green clusters, eyed in passing for months, are swelling and darkening, and our impatience for them is at last washed away by inky-sweet juices. We gorge ourselves, fingers stained purple and buckets overflowing onto the kitchen table. Tarts and crumbles bake, despite the heat, jams bubble on the stove, filling the house with the musky, dusky scent of these summer-end days.

 

Seasonal activities:

Work and school are resumed, there is no denying that the year has started now as we pack lunches, pat pockets for keys, phone, wallet, ID, before the now-unaccustomed and resented commute. We envy the pig, as she wallows in the dam, mud drying like cement on her sides as she grumbles at the heat and flies. A hundred of these fat black biting flies perch on her, a flock of feeding vampires. When I shoo them away they rise in a buzzing black cloud, only to resettle on her, and on my own bare legs.

 

Haiku:

 

A stinging slap,

a flat black fly falls, leaving

a smear of blood.

The specifications (more information can be found at dVerse):

“The format for each  is as follows:
•the title of the Major Season or Sekki
•outline why it is called that
•the title of the micro-season or kō
•outline why it is called that
•write a haiku that speaks to the kō
•include insider information on the haiku and include information about the poet (you)
•seasonal fish, information about it, and including ways to prepare it
•seasonal vegetable, information about it, and ways to prepare it
•seasonal activity, often including the holiday or tradition involved, etc.
•a preview of coming attractions for the next kō

In addition, there are images of artwork, drawings, photographs, etc. of the highlighted”

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mum’s hairdressing salon II

It was 30C and humid here today – and try as I might I couldn’t channel coldness for Frank’s dVerse Haibun Monday prompt, “winter“. Maybe if we had air-conditioning I could have done better. 

 

She carries spring in her step, so what need could she have for its green in her hair? What need, when her hair is yellow-brown as a summer wheat field, and her skin stores the sun and the boundless, cloudless sky is in her eyes?

I offer pink, mauve, blue (roses and lilacs, summer blooms under clear skies).

But no, it has to be green. So, I take the small bottles from my own (winter defying, winter denying?) palette: apple green, electric lime, sweet mint. I twine the colours (tendrils, vines) through the summer of her hair. And in the end it is not so much like spring come to awaken winter fields (as I want to believe it is in my hair), as like rain-wakened ground after the drought ends. As she waits, I do my own.

 

The snow in my hair

will not melt away in spring.

But it holds apples.

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one perfect moment (with fish)

Silver fish flashing,
a thousand bright darts rising
in a green-glass wave,
scattering, none touch, but the
wave pats my head in passing.

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five red tulips in a white pot V

I’m revisiting my “five red tulips in a white pot” series to finish it, and in response to Tuesday’s dVerse prompt  “songs of unreason“.  The challenge is to use one of the specified lines from Jim Harrison as an epigraph. I chose: 

“After last night’s storm the tulip petals are strewn across the patio where they mortally fluttered.”- Church, Jim Harrison

 

The flame-filled cups have fallen
scattered and spilt
like drops of blood on the porch,
soon dried and scuffed away.
The Persian-green foliage,
bleached to palest straw,
was carried off
by the summer wind.
Now just the five pale bulbs remain,
safe-hidden for their nine month wait,
forgotten
in their russet-brown wrapping paper
soil-slumbering in the white pot.

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just one more

From a current and long past 30C summer day in Australia, a response to the dVerse quadrille prompt “shivering“:

 

Swaddled by the oven-breath air,
but shivering,
lips pale against sunburned skin,
we stare out to sea,
asking for “just one more”
“please, just one more”
as we watch the rollers
waiting for the perfect
XXX swell
XXXXXX rise
XXXXXXXXX curl
XXXXXXXXXXXX break
to carry us to shore.

 

When we went to the beach when I was a kid, which we did a lot, we’d stay in the water until we were freezing – which actually didn’t take that long in the cold waters off the south coast of Australia, even on the hottest day. My mother would have to yell at us to get out of the water because our lips were turning blue and she could see us shivering.  The water is a lot warmer along the east coast where I swim and body surf with my kids now, but they still usually have to be told to come out. 

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