Desert

Take me to the desert
with mountains at our side,
walk with me in shadows,
let nature be our guide

We’ll stroll amongst the cacti,
pay homage to the quails;
take me to the desert
help me gather tales

The seasons are passing,
we’re running out of time;
take me to the desert
to heal this heart of mine.

***

By the time you read this, Ric and I will be on the road, headed south.  Texas and Arizona proved to be places of healing for me last year, and I hope that this journey will continue that process.

 

Mississippi

She flows,
unapologetic of her girth,
does not flinch
at barges scoring her surface,
nor paddle boats laden with curiosity.

Confident in her fluidity,
she bears the secrets of life –
the sludge of our humanity in her belly –
stirs the minds of merchants, and children,
tolerates those who gather at her banks.

The final word is hers; she knows
no boundaries can contain her wrath –
still waters rise and spill –
she is a dragon –
nature’s force,
and she is magnificent.

(Originally penned November, 2017. Edited here.   Image is a watercolour view of from our RV site. Linked to V.J’s weekly challenge:  river. )

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Independent, En-Masse

A familial gathering – rock balanced upon rock – stands at the Rideau’s edge, one amongst several such groupings, each a masterpiece unto itself, and yet one small, insignificant creation begs attention: a small duck-like figure, turned away from the rest, facing north rather than south, as if it hears a different call.   Even its companion, hesitant, looks back towards the family, for reassurance.  Body of fossil, head carved by erosion – he ponders other horizons. Even the artist – albeit working with spartan tools – could not bend the will of this little being, could not mold him into conformity.  He is childlike innocence and brash determination, and I imagine that as the sun goes down and the tourists disappear, he glides through the water, travels against the current and revels in the freedom.

At the river’s edge
figures rise, stoic families
hailing passersby.

(Written for dVerse pub, and for Ragtag Communities prompt: spartan.  The balanced rock sculptures are the work of John Felice Ceprano and can be found at the Remic Rapids in Ottawa, Ontario.)

 

Monday Tourists

Rain-drenched
roads kick up
blinding mist,
Eight hours –
construction,
accidents,
snarly traffic
ignoring
neon:
Adjust speed for weather

We arrive
at five –
multi-lanes
jammed –
Quick!
Wrong lane!
Merge right!
Weary commuters –
tourists
a rush-hour pain –
graciously acquiesce.

Welcome
to Ottawa.

(Inspired by today’s road trip and written for dVerse’s quadrille: quick, and Ragtag Community’s: grace)

Departure

He is the planner,
planning routes and stops,
measuring distances, researching
particulars, focused on specifics

I am the organizer,
organizing a mass cull,
distribution of worldly possessions
to kids, goodwill, or garage sales

He is the scheduler,
scheduling maintenance,
pre-departure inspections,
double-checking mechanical

I am the communicator,
communicating itineraries
answering emails, phone calls
reassuring family left behind

We lose each other
in the preparation scramble,
absorbed as we are in personal
agendas, anxious for departure.

The future is unknown,
we have committed to the leap,
replaced obligations with openness,
are setting sail on a new adventure.

We are questers,
questing after discovery,
retreating from a weighty past
leaving judgment in our dust.

We are travellers,
traveling off the beaten track,
chasing vibrant panoramas,
a close proximity to nature’s best.

(This poem appeared last November, as my husband and I, having sold our house and possessions, headed for the great beyond in our motor home.  The experience surpassed any of our expectations.  Not sure when or where the wind will blow us this year, but Manic Mondays 3 way prompt, departing, has sparked the memories and itch to hit the road.)

Moving

Outside, clouds hover,
heavy, threatening.

Inside, men haul –
china cabinet,
weathered couch –

accumulation
marking years,
exiting under duress

echoes fill in the spaces

scent of soured sweat lingers

kitchen counters
glare, empty

layers of our lives
stripped away

our vacated shell,
an emotional tug

Is it fear?  Sorrow?

What was it all about anyway?

closing the door behind us
locking memories in the past

we load our small boxes
essentials for a simpler life –
a home on wheels life

point our nose forward
and drive away
as the sun breaks through.

(A year ago, we sold our bricks and sticks house, along with its contents and moved into a motor home.  Now we are reversing the process – accumulating and setting up house again.  Apparently, we like change.  V.J’s weekly challenge is fittingly about home.)

Fisherman’s Wharf

Viewed from the shelter
of Fog Harbour’s luxury,
Pier 39, a serene snapshot

vessels tethered silently
waiting, a single gull
bobbing nonchalantly by

sea-inspired dishes satiate
appetites, as we ponder
the legacy of Alcatraz

watch the ferries line up,
load up and slip away –
robotic whale-like rhythm

on a far dock, a gigantic
mass of darkened bodies
indiscernible from this height

the pungency of their odour
and discordant bray of roars
unavailable from our perch

afterwards, we will join
the serried rank of onlookers
attempt to determine who

is gawking at whom –
the oily swarm of lazy flesh
or the camera-toting fans

fulfilling our contract
as tourists, memorializing
San Francisco’s wonder.

(Daily Addictions prompt is gigantic, Fandango’s word of the day: contract , Ragtag Community has offered serried.  Image is from personal collection:  Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, SF)

Complexity of Freedom

Freedom is four hundred and fifty square feet of moveable tin, wheeling down the highway, destination unknown.  It is long walks through exotic forests, where focus lasts only as long as it takes to capture an image.  It is the privilege of sleeping and waking according to whim, routine an estranged concept.  It is the breeding ground for creativity – passion unleashed – and it is tainted by the hue of loneliness, the stark awareness that ties are strained, and those left behind feel abandoned.

Freedom’s highway calls –
hearts follow, passions flow, flee
guilt’s far-reaching pull.

(Written for DVerse’s Halibun Monday:  Complexity of Freedom prompt.)

Oh, Canada!

Welcome to my country,
there’s so much to explore.
We really are a friendly bunch
but there’s a few things we abhor

So, we’ve written specific rules
for our visitors to keep in mind –
above and beyond the expected
these oddities are considered crime.

Please refrain from removing
a band-aid while in a public place,
and it’s more than just offensive
to fart when in another’s space.

Should you happen to encounter
our most coveted royal, the Queen,
avoid startling or scaring her, or
your arrest will cause a scene.

Driving a sleigh down the highway
may seem a ludicrous thing to do,
however; it’s actually acceptable if
your horse sports bells more than two.

Taking your feet off bicycle pedals,
is illegal in Ottawa, our capital town,
and riding through Sudbury with a siren
will elicit more than just a frown.

While sightseeing with your mother
in Toronto – our largest city by far –
no matter how much she provokes you,
save any expletives for inside the car.

Climbing trees, tying laces, and even
painting wooden ladders, all have laws
you’ll need to abide, so next time you’re
in Canada, before you act, give pause.

And for goodness sake, be sure to
visit our beauteous province of B.C. –
but leave your gun at home, for
killing a Sasquatch is illegal, you see.

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(The final prompt invites a little humour – to write about strange historical facts or laws.  These little known Canadian laws are courtesy of narcity.com)