as if a sun were
immanent beneath dim skies
season’s first grapefruit
-Its antecedent haiku here
It is only the beginning of autumn so perhaps it is a bit odd to present a poem on winter. But on Sunday night as I took out the garbage, with an impeding frost warning, there was pinch in the air. It felt very much like like a winter night in Sialkot, Pakistan where I was born, where we might get several mild frosts of a winter but never any snow. On such mornings the mountains from across the border in Indian Kashmir, which for almost half a year would appear as dim white smudges hovering above the horizon, would appear sharp and white, clearly delineated, as if they had been boldly drawn in overnight with white and grey pastels.
The poem below, though it captures some of the sense of our holiday celebrations in Sialkot such as going to Christmas dramas and eating special treats, is principally about dear experiences with my cousins in Rawalpindi. Many dear times were had with cousins in Lahore and Sialkot, too! And, yes, this poem does rhyme and have an archaic cadence
-for my cousins in Rawalpindi
There’s Christmas plays on crisp, cold nights
In halls aglow with candle light.
Or paying well-loved friends a call.
Perhaps a trip to Sadar* mall.
Then home we go through darkened streets.
For, after all, home is most sweet.
And then comes the expected plea,
“Dear sister, will you make some tea?”
We’ll get the cake and Christmas treats
And light the fire to warm our feet,
And pull our chairs and gather in
And then the real fun begins.
We’ll sit and talk and laugh and joke
And some of us will blow our smoke.
And when we’re running short of drink,
“Dear brother, it’s your turn I think.”
And then we’ll talk and joke some more
Till weary eyes get red and sore.
Then cross the chilly courtyard stones
To thick razais** to warm our bones.
And in the darkness left behind,
The peanut hulls and orange rinds
Fill dirty cups and bring to mind,
“Praise God above for joyful times.”
*downtown shopping mall
**thick Pakistani quilts
Well, it has been far to long since this blog has held a contest of any kind, so it is high time to do so. So, though most of you come here for the photography I suspect, we will begin with a haiku contest which was the first contest I ever held here.
So, if you are interested, check out the details. Pay attention to all the instructions if you would like to win!
Also, Lord willing, coming in November will be the second iteration of “A Christmas Carol: A Photography contest.” Check out the first contest here.
The haiku below first appeared on the blog and then were imagined graphically by a talented friend of mine for inclusion in 17 syllables : one thousand words.
I think the first and last two haiku in these three pieces are my favorites. Oh, I am so hoping that winter in St. Louis will be cold and snowy, but I am afraid it will not be so.
As Fall approaches, my thoughts turn toward haiku. Here is a watercolor piece I commissioned Joan Kluba of Paper Birds to do to illustrate four haiku I wrote to liken the seasons to the life of Christ and the church. Yeah, it is kind of abstract and high-concept, but it works in my head and I was very pleased with the watercolor as well. Click on the image for a larger version on my Flickr account.
unnurtured by snows
the weary earth exhales; now
the riot spring
sitting under trees
in march, i pen haiku, sigh,
and feel unseasoned
It suppose it is pretty clear that I am a bit of sucker for cattails. This is the same pond from the post last week, but the lighting was so nice this evening as I was riding by and the cattails were starting to break apart, so I had to stop again.