Today – a haibun

Today in the supermarket, masked and santitized, I pushed the trolley up and down the aisles grabbing what I needed. People around me did the same. Not many made eye contact except for an old lady looking for a friend. ‘Hullo Lesley,’ she said from behind her mask.

‘I’m not Lesley,’ I said. ‘I’m Suzanne.’

‘You’ve got a double,’ she said, ‘but then it’s hard to be sure when we’re all in masks.’ Her rheumy eyes looked tired – confused.

At the check out the cashier said, ‘I’m starting to feel too scared to come to work.’

Omicron surges
no one knowing what to do
conversations falter.

Pandemic – oil on canvas – 2021

prompt: https://godoggocafe.com/2022/01/05/haibun-wednesday-january-5-2022/

New Year’s Eve

-a haibun

Here in my corner of Oz the temperature soars – 38 deg. C predicted today. I draw the curtains and work on the final edit of my eco-novel – resolve to publish in February 2022.

Beyond that – the next year stretches out into the unknown. Rental shortages, omnicron, supply shortages – maybe I’ll have to stay on here a bit longer – hoping for a miracle…

Somewhere in the distance – maybe May or June I see crystal beads glittering – a business idea – half formed yet shimmering…

Hope for the future –
light shining in the darkness
– inner peace the goal.

prompt: https://godoggocafe.com/2021/12/29/haibun-wednesday-december-29-2021/
This week, let’s write about our goals for the new year. What lead us to this decision, this juncture in our life and what do we want to see happen in 2022?

Every Day Moments

So its December Aussie style. Already this coastal town is filling up with city people. The traffic drones/roars. As on most days here in 2021 the late afternoon sky is overcast. Grey and flat. The wind off the sea is cool to cold. Many people are stressed. Tired. Over the Omicron Comic Con thing before it even really starts.

Everyday moments
and life is what you make it
– is that lemonade?

reflection – pen and ink drawing

prompt: https://godoggocafe.com/2021/12/01/haibun-wednesday-december-1-2021/ Write a haibun poem that captures an ordinary moment from your day. Incorporate the color, scents, activity you witness. 

Fear

Fear. It’s like a drug so many of us are mainlining now. Fear of Covid. Fear of Vaccinations. Fear of Climate Change. I don’t know anyone that doesn’t have some degree of fear about one or all of these things.

Then there’s the personal fear. Will the plumber come to unblock the drains behind my house today or will I have wait another day? That’s the problem with living in a rental. You can’t control stuff like that.

Blocked. Now there’s another subject I could write on. Blocked drains. Blocked options – are there no rentals anywhere in Victoria, Australia in my price bracket that are anything other than brown brick units set in a sea of concrete? Seems not. Rents went up with Covid. The fear is they’ll just keep doing that and I’ll have no option but to stay on in a rental with blocked drains. Then of course, there’s writer’s block and the fear I’ll never finish the book I started writing. The story has gone stale on me and I’m fearful it will never come alive again. But hey – then again – do I really even care? I fear no one will ever read it anyway.

The underlying fear of course is that I may have turned invisible. All these lockdowns – iso our State Premier calls it as if it’s some kind of game – the thing is – I fear I’ve disappeared from view so long it become habitual.

Fear of being seen,
fear of never being seen
– spinning on a dime

pen and ink with collaged elements

prompt:https://dversepoets.com/2021/10/25/haibun-monday-10-25-21-fear/

Looking for Beauty

-a haibun

In the late 90s I went through a rough patch. Luck was not on my side and my options were limited.

Walking down the street one day, seeing the cigarette butts in the gutter and counting the coins in my pocket, the words ‘Look for Beauty’ came into my mind. Surprised, I raised my eyes to see the triangular gable of a house jutting into a clear blue sky. The beauty of the form pierced the gloom in my mind.

And so it went, day after day from then on I looked for beauty in that poor, ugly racist town hovering on the brink of doom. Somewhere, somehow my luck turned and I found a way out of there riding on a wave of beauty.

Since then I’ve heard others say those words. It is as if they were in the air that day. I cannot say for sure, but perhaps I was just one of many to pluck them from the ether. All I can tell now is that they are words of power. Say them often enough, follow their dictates and your world shifts on its axis. Beauty lights your heart.

Opening to joy,
seeing beauty on the path
the world births anew.

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/10/04/earthweal-weekly-challenge-collateral-beauty/

Writer’s Block

I have been working on the second draft/structural rewrite/major edit of a novel. It’s exhausting. My brain turns to sludge and I look up synonyms for the simplest words. ‘What’s another word for boredom?’ I ask google.

Progress slows to snail’s pace but still I plough on determined to finish the thing by the June solstice… the equinox… now… years end… arbitrary dates I pluck out of the ether.

Reading through the manuscript I realize the writing goes flat wherever I push and struggle. I can barely be bothered reading to the end of the tortured sentences I’ve written.

Yesterday I decided to let the whole thing rest. I’ll finish it if the story comes alive for me again…

A morning sea fog
shrouding visibility
– a profound silence

prompt: https://dversepoets.com/2021/09/27/haibun-monday-9-27-21-writers-block/

A POSTSCRIPT; I wrote this post earlier then spent the day figuring out how to get out of this state of mind. I like to read ‘how to’ articles about writing on the internet. One thing I learned today is that a way through a stuck place in writing a novel is to give the problem to a character in said novel. It’s a great idea. Not only does it focus on the mind on the nature of the writer’s block it also creates a pathway out of the block. The novel writing continues…

Tree talk

We went back into a snap lockdown on last Sunday at midnight. This is lockdown No.8 here in regional Victoria, Australia. It is supposed to be a seven day lockdown but who knows. Before we were once again restricted by the 10k travel limit I met up with one of my daughters and her kids for a quick catch up. Seeking a place where the kids could run around freely we went to a steep wooded hillside beside a large lake.

The wind was blowing a gale and the kids ran around screaming with excitement at the sense of freedom it gave them. They’ve been cooped up for weeks what with all these lockdowns, remote learning, playgrounds being off limits for some of the time and the swimming pools closed.

My daughter and I braced ourselves against the wind. The force of it whipped our hair around our faces and made our jackets billow out from our bodies. The trees were bent at wild angles and the leaves were tossing about frantically.

The wind in the trees,
the sound of banshees singing
-change hurtles in.

I’m using the time in lockdown to work on my novel.


I’m writing an eco novel set at some unspecified time in the future. In the process I am delving into obscure areas of research. Here’s some unusual facts I learnt recently:-

Electricity from Trees
To extract electricity from trees and convert it into useful energy, researchers built a boost converter capable of picking up as little as a 20 millivolt output and storing it to produce a greater output. By hooking it up to a tree using electrodes, the custom-built device was able to generate an output voltage of 1.1 volts, enough to run low-power sensors… Using the electronic output to keep track of a tree’s health is another possibility. https://www.livescience.com/5711-electricity-harvested-trees.htm


A Finnish company recycles batteries by turning them into plant food

Globally, the disposal of alkaline batteries has become a major problem,” said Adrian Griffin, managing director of Lithium Australia, in a press release. “Our plan for repurposing the active components of the spent cells is not only a significant step towards worldwide environmental management of the issue but could also have a powerful influence on the sustainability of disposable batteries.”

Although some chemicals in batteries are toxic, this new method takes micro-nutrients present in alkaline batteries and turns them into vital food for crops. Zinc, which is present in many alkaline batteries, helps plants to make a chemical called chlorophyll. This is what makes plants green and without it they can’t use sunlight to turn water and CO2 into energy…

The batteries are first crushed, then filtration and purification processes remove toxic elements like mercury and nickel. It is important that these don’t end up in the fertiliser as they could make their way into the food we eat so testing of the final product is rigorous. Once removed, they are sent on to be safely disposed of by hazardous waste treatment plants instead of leaching into the soil as they would if the batteries were sent to landfill.
https://www.euronews.com/green/2020/05/28/don-t-throw-away-old-batteries-feed-them-to-your-plants-instead

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/09/20/earthweal-weekly-challenge-a-timbered-choir/

Did I miss something?

Over here in Victoria, Australia the State Government continues to pursue its objective of zero Covid cases. To do that they impose strict lockdowns and restrictions. It worked last year with Alpha variant but Delta is proving harder to eliminate. I live in regional Victoria. We went into our 7th lockdown with 90 minutes notice on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile the Federal Government has announced that Australia’s borders will re-open when 70-80% of the population are fully vaccinated. The way I read the figures we are now around 25%. They tell us that the 80% vaccination rate should be achieved by December. In response the Victorian State Government announced this morning they may not reopen the State even when we reach a rate of 80% fully vaccinated because their modelling shows 25,000 people will die if they do. Does that mean Victorians will be locked down until Covid is eliminated?

Did I miss the announcement as to where all these vaccine doses are coming from? Last I heard there wasn’t enough vaccine in the country to vaccinate such a high percentage of people.

I also must have missed the announcement about how the government is going to convince the anti- vaxxers to get the jab. I have family members in this group. They are adamant they aren’t getting vaccinated. They are otherwise rational people and I’ve learnt not to argue with them for they have an answer for everything. I must have missed the scientific proof that the virus is a hoax and that the vaccines are untested.

Rolling out the vax
despite logistic problems
– how’s that working out?


Of course it could be said that all this argy-bargy is just a smoke screen for Australia’s refusal to do anything constructive about climate change.

More machinations,
the big wheels keep on turning
– the world gets hotter

I’ve been thinking about all the things I hear and wondering what’s going on. I explored the idea that Australia has gone mad but then I got to wondering if something else is in play.

All these scenarios are based in fear.

The Victorian Government appears to be scared people will die of Covid and that they will be voted out of power as a result. The Australian Government seems fearful that if they do anything to change the status quo the economy will suffer, people will lose jobs and that their government will be voted out. I may well be missing some of the finer details here but the end result is the same – incompetent governmental bungling, mixed messaging and lack of compassion.

The anti-vax position looks to me to be fear based too. People are worried they will lose their freedom and that they are being manipulated by an insidious and powerful elite that seeks to control them.

The denial of climate change is also fear based. The fear is that recognizing climate change as a clear and present danger means that our current way of life will be threatened. People are fearful they will lose their jobs and that they will not be able to continue with their hedonistic, consumerist lifestyles.

A lot of climate action also seems to be fear based. Many activists fear that we’re all doomed, that’s it too late and that we have passed the tipping point. They are fearful their message won’t be heard and that governments won’t act in time.

I’m wondering if the way through all this is to acknowledge the fears as real but to move beyond letting them control us. Maybe the future lies in finding ways to live with fear and uncertainty. Maybe we need to move away from top down governments that impose their authority on the people. Maybe we need to put in place forums that ensure all voices are heard in decision making processes. Maybe we need free and easily accessible access to information so that people can make decisions based on objective facts. Maybe, maybe, maybe… Perhaps I’m missing something but…

all this fear based messaging coming from so many divergent viewpoints polarizes people. You can buy into brand A fear based messaging or you can reject that and embrace brand B fear based messaging. Then again you can reject both brand A and B as being mainstream manipulation and align with the alternate fear based messaging of brand C which is cleverly disguised as a non-brand. The end result is that no matter which fear based messaging you chose to believe you are opposed to other forms of fear based messaging.

All this polarization makes any kind of cohesive collective action for the betterment of all impossible. We are too busy being frightened and arguing with each other.

Climate change is bigger than any polarized position. To find ways to mitigate its effects we will need to work together.

Future realities –
dystopian or healthy?
– It depends on us

prompt: https://earthweal.com/2021/08/23/earthweal-weekly-challenge-big-wheels-turning/




An August Haibun

Here August hovers somewhere between winter and spring. The wind blows icy as it parts the thick grey clouds to reveal a clear blue sky.

Today is my brother’s birthday. It’s been years since I saw him. I sent him a birthday text but he’s yet to respond. Strange how we drifted apart when our parents passed. Or maybe not so strange when I think about the differences between us – those childhood rows over what to watch on TV becoming irreconcilable differences of opinion and diametrically opposed value systems.


Brother and sister
with no point of connection
– the clouds blow away

prompt: Haibun Monday 8-2-21: August | dVerse (dversepoets.com)

Hunting Worms

Outside my window a crow in a tree is making a ruckus pushing a twig to and fro. When it breaks off the bird holds it aloft in its beak and eyes it critically.

Not satisfied the crow drops the twig and goes through the process again. This time the stick meets with approval. Fluttering to the ground the crow struts around with the stick in its beak. The worm hunt is on.

The clever crow
creates the perfect tool
– I am humbled

prompts

Jane Goodall: On Hope | earthweal
For your challenge: let’s contemplate the world around us, in our various places on the planet.

https://pixtowords.com/2021/07/13/creation-pic-and-a-word-challenge-278/