A haiku moment

Who is to say where a poem comes from.

Sometimes a poem sneaks up on me and knocks me in the head. It’s always a surprise when it does. Which isn’t very often . I smile my thanksgiving, knowing what a gift the poem is. And when it’s a haiku, it’s even better.

This one came out of nowhere. I had just poured hot water over the teabag and let the cup of tea simmer in the warm water. Staring into the tea, there were a number of things reflecting back at me: my face, a pond I had swam in when I was in my early teens, a teacher who had dispensed wisdom the way a vending machine dispenses chocolate. Then again, sometimes I stare into a cup of tea, and all I see is a cup of tea.

Trying to think of what it meant–this moment that stopped eternity–I found this poem come into my mind.

a cup of tea
just a cup of tea
and nothing more


Near 500 words: TW and the Existential Threat

Episode 19 of The Writer.

TW (aka The Writer) wasn’t sure why he had said, “Soon.” The word just tossed itself out of his mouth as TW stood beside Cat’s graveside. As he carried his shovel, his lantern and his Bible back to the house, he wondered about what Cat would think of the word. Surely she would have something to say about it. She always had something to say. And it would have been brief. Though the words came out in meows, TW always had the drift of her comments. It was almost as if they could read each other’s mind.

He sat the shovel and the lantern inside the shed and headed inside the house. The clock on the stove said one a.m. Sitting the Bible on the kitchen table, he grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator. His eyes hit upon Cat’s food and water bowls. He should have placed them beside her in the grave.

Then he dropped into a chair in the living room, facing the TV. He let the TV be and closed his eyes to listen to the quiet and clear his head from the discombobulation of the day’s events.

He had gone to work early, then seen the director. The director had given him a year’s sabbatical beginning that afternoon. He went over to H.R., filled out the paperwork, then came home. The door was unlocked. He heard a meowing at the door. It was Cat. She was bleeding. He rushed her to the veterinarian hospital. Helen had been the vet on duty. She had gently let him know that Cat was…dead.

It was ten p.m.when he made it home. He buried Cat. And now here he sat in the living room in the dark.

The curtains to the front window were parted. As if in a dream, he saw Cat lying on the back of the couch, looking out at the half lit street. Her tail was moving like a windshield wiper. Her focus was amazing. She’d lay there for two, three hours at a time, looking. He’d lay his head next to her, trying to see what she was staring at.

His eyes moved around the thinly lit room. Everything reminded him of Cat. Her toys. The scratch board. The wadded up paper he threw at her and she kicked back at him, like the two playing soccer.

Then the loneliness hit him. His only friends, other than Cat, were his colleagues at work and a few of the faculty. And he wouldn’t have them now that he was on a sabbatical. He had never been someone who needed or wanted a lot of friends. He’d fallen in love with the idea of the writer as a solitary creature.

An idea came to him. He would write Cat’s biography. He had dozens of pictures. He was good enough of a writer to make it a book people would want to read. People would discover the person he’d spent his last eight years with.

The next thing he knew the doorbell was ringing.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Song: September Of My Years

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Song is Frank Sinatra singing “September of My Years“:

Of all Sinatra’s songs, this is the one I seem to like most of all. And as many of you know, I love Sinatra’s music. He’s the singer I keep coming back to again and again.

Sinatra was turning 50 when he released this one in 1965. It’s Sinatra par excellence. There is not one bad song on the album. By this time, he had been on top for twelve or thirteen years. He had done his share of movies. He had performed with the Rat Pack for quite some time. He had achieved super stardom. He had accomplished so much. With this album, he was sending out a message to the world that here was a man who didn’t need to prove anything.

This one calls me to take some time out and reflect on the past good times and the times ahead. It’s autumn soon and then winter. Soon the colors will turn from the greens of spring and summer to the reds, the yellows, the browns of fall. Soon the trees will shed their leaves. Soon there will be a chill in the air. Soon the holidays will be upon us. Halloween. Thanksgiving. Hanukkah. Christmas. Then another year will be gone.

It’s good to remember the good times of spring and summer. Now is the time to appreciate those good times. So take a moment out of your day, reflect on friends, family and those who love us. And be thankful for the wonder that is our lives.