March Madness

A haibun for  https://dversepoets.com/2019/03/04/haibun-monday-march-madness/

Today is the first cool day in ages.  During the past week the temperature have been over 38 degrees Celsius day after day.

Across this southern Australian State bushfires rage.  Not down here on the coast but through the forested hills to the east where I lived for many years.   I hear the names of familiar towns on the News and feel for the people still living there.

Ten years, when I lived there, the fires burned quite close to my home.  The worst day of those fires is seared into my memory.   The sky above my house turned a vile sickly orange and burnt leaves fell on my lawn.   The firefighters warned everyone to watch out for burning embers for the fierce winds were carrying them many, many kilometers from the blaze.    Around 3 in the afternoon I heard on the radio that one of the fire fronts was raging up the mountains towards the TV and radio transmission towers.  There was nothing anyone could do to prevent their destruction.   About twenty minutes later transmission stopped.   Only one television station that used a different transmission tower still worked so for over a week the only TV News we got was focused on the extreme fires that had burnt closer to the state capital.  The area I lived in was barely reported on.   One item that was broadcast though was the rising death toll from all the fires across the state.    The final toll was 173 plus countless animals.

Now, in these current fires, most people are not staying to defend their properties.   They evacuate instead.   I see them weeping on the News when they learn their house has burnt to the ground.  “I have nothing,” they say.  “Nothing but the clothes I stand up in and the car I drove to safety.”   One distraught woman spoke of staying to defend her house for as long as was safe.   She described the fires as sounding like a fire breathing dragon roaring through the bush.

Wild dragon days
torrid heat, blazing fires
– praying for rain

An aerial view of a house exploding in a massive fireball in Tonimbuk in the Bunyip State Forest. An aerial view of a house exploding in a massive fireball in Tonimbuk in the Bunyip State Forest.CREDIT:NINE NEWS

 

 

The light of truth

Yesterday we Australians learnt the Catholic priest, Cardinal Pell has been found guilty of child sex offenses.   The nature of the offenses that convicted him were explained carefully on the TV news.   The evidence presented revealed the man to be extremely perverse.

This morning I saw a News item which claimed some Catholic Priests have been involved in the sexual abuse of nuns.   I have no idea if these claims are true but I hope there are investigations into them around the globe.

A piercing light
revealing hidden abuse
– truth triumphs

unnamed – photo prompt –https://iwriteher.com/2019/02/26/i-write-her-weekly-haiku-challenge-8/

Inner spring

Although it is late summer over here in Oz there is some ancestral part of me that remains connected to the seasons in the northern hemisphere – even after all these generations of Australian born family.

So here I am – betwixt and between seasonal cycles and bio-rhythms.

Seeds within me cry for nurture, for nourishment – the seeds of new dreams – the seeds of ideas – the seeds of creative expression.

The shaman drums
the seeds of new ideas 
spring to mind

003collage made with National Geographic photos

prompt:  https://frankjtassone.com/2019/02/09/haikai-challenge-72-2-9-19-first-spring-gust-haru-ichiban-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga

The invisible becoming visible

 

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A while ago I made a spirit doll of a female shaman with horns.   This morning she caught my eye as I walked past the shelf she stands on.

Questioning me,
the antlered spirit doll
becomes archetypal

Why has she manifested in my life?

Going online I did some research.   Horned goddesses appeared in several ancient cultures but most, like the Egyptian goddesses Hathor and Isis, had cow horn headdresses.   These days images of magical females with similar horns are turning up in contemporary art and popular culture.   The Disney fairy, Maleficent is one.   Online I read a Jungian analysis of Maleficent.

“So this story of the Sleeping Beauty deals with what happens to our feminine feeling consciousness when it is repressed, ravaged and rejected by both our society and our own ego-consciousness.  When we reject this feeling and imaginative aspect of life, it gets twisted and becomes the negative mother—the witch who wants to kill us or curse us.  And we are left cursed with our masculine, left-brain thinking that cuts off our feminine wings and power, grounding us in a masculine reality that hates and fears the Divine Feminine’s beauty, freedom and power.   

But the negative mother doesn’t just make our lives miserable: she pushes us to become more conscious. Her curse ultimately becomes a blessing, since it makes each of us face our fate and live our purpose.  That’s the purpose of archetypal stories—they show us a path to travel that will bring us to greater consciousness.”  emerging archetypal themes

Maleficent is the 13th fairy – the forgotten one.   She represents the connection of women to nature.   In our patriarchal cultural this connection has been ignored – it has become invisible.

Re-appearing now
rewriting Sleeping Beauty
– magical healing

Maleficent is healed by love and the natural world around her is restored to health.    In this way the movie becomes a metaphor for reclaiming our forgotten relationship with nature – a sacred relationship of interconnectedness.

Ancient stories 
of goddesses and fairies
finding new forms

As fascinating as these ideas are they still don’t answer my question as to why the doll I made has antlers.    Following link after link online I eventually found an article about the deer goddesses and female shamans  deer mother  While I am familiar with the ancient horned god, Cernunnos, I didn’t know that there is archaeological evidence of horned females deities and shamanic figures that date to neolithic times.

Landesmuseum Halle (artist reconstruction of neolithic headdress found in Germany – image source here

These ancient female shaman are associated with the deer and reindeer of the far north.  Their sacred significance was about connection to the tree of life, motherhood, fertility, birth and rebirth

Returning to us
images of the sacred
spirit of nature

 

prompt:  Today’s d’verse prompt gave me a way into writing about something that’s been on my mind all morning.  https://dversepoets.com/2019/02/05/poetics-invisible/  My response stretches the idea of poetry and of haibun  so I hope that’s ok with Merrill – the creator of the prompt (and with the rest of the poets who write for d’verse).

 

Solitude

Living alone I’ve become used to the patterns of nights where the wind in the trees shushes and the ocean roars in the distance.   The possums are a nuisance when they crash land on the roof after jumping out of the trees.   I don’t like their growling but then  I’d dislike it no less if there was someone to complain to about it.

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prompt:  https://dversepoets.com/2019/02/04/haibun-monday-solitude/

Climate Change Summer

January in Oz and the temperature’s rising.  Hordes of tourists gather on the coast.  The beaches are covered with their gear – surf boards, paddle boards, boogie boards, jet skis, sun shelters, deck chairs, bright towels and clothes.   They say it’s fun.

On the roads cars crawl bumper to bumper through dusty roadworks – highway duplications designed to bring yet more tourists to the coast.  Abutting the roads new housing estates are being constructed for those who desire a permanent sea change.    Shopping malls too.  Today in my neighbourhood residents are advised to seek alternate routes for a mass clearing of trees is taking place on the main road.  The clearing is to make way for another vast shopping mall.

In the mall constructed last year babies bawl and toddlers scream with rage as they are denied the toys and sweets they were showered with at Christmas.

They call it fun,
progress on steroids
– it’s getting hotter.

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prompt:  https://dversepoets.com/2019/01/07/haibun-monday-january/

Towards the new year

So much of my creative energy during this past year has been spent reworking old ideas and finishing up old projects.  I haven’t been able to fully move on from them even though they have ceased to nourish my creative spirit.

Although events in my outer life have shifted I’ve been feeling stuck between the old and new.   Mid year I moved to a cottage in a part of the State I haven’t lived in before.  Although I’ve been out and about seeing new sights I haven’t really engaged with this new environment.  In private moments I find myself wishing I could go to the empty beaches and bush tracks I walked for so long and which are now so far away.

On lonely beaches
drumming in the solstice
– windswept prayers

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Such a strange contrary urge for the old area had gone stale for me and doors were closing in my face left, right and centre.   I was totally ready to move on…

yet here I am – still not fully embracing the new.

Yesterday I got utterly sick of doing the same old same old.   During a break in the rain I jumped in my car and drove out to a nearby seaside town.   It is a town rich in history.  The streets are lined with beautiful old Victorian mansions and there is an atmosphere of grace and elegance to the place that is missing in many Australian towns.

Several galleries are dotted along the main street.   I visited one after the other.   In one I saw exquisite prints local artists had created in the printmaking studio behind the gallery.    In another I saw very commercial art that didn’t appeal to me yet was inspiring in its competence.   In the third I came across an exhibition of contemporary landscape painting.  Very small oil paintings in one uniform size lined a long wall of the gallery. The rest of the space contained one large painting, the gallery owner’s desk and a large storage area.

Walking the length of the gallery I stopped in front of each painting.   Because of their small size each little painting invited intimate inspection – a slowing down and taking the longer look.    By the time I retraced my footsteps and left the gallery I felt I’d had a meaningful and soulful conversation with a sensitive, creative soul.

In a reflective mood I returned to my car.   Rain was approaching and the first drops splattered across my windscreen as I drove to a lookout.    There I pulled out the new Smart Phone I got last week.   It was time I figured out how to take photos with it.

IMG_20181215_161456_278  The colours of the rain soaked landscape and unusual shapes of the old buildings captured my imagination.

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The visual art I’d just seen had loosened something in my mind and the veil of the old that had been clouding my perception began to lift.   For the first time since moving here I began to get glimpses of how I can live and create in this new environment.

Moonlit solstice
lighting the way forward
– the old year ends

 

prompt:    https://frankjtassone.com/2018/12/15/haikai-challenge-65-12-15-18-solstice-ii-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga/