not winking: a quadrille

Closing one eye

I am not winking

I am blinded by sunlight

Posing on one leg

I am not avian

I am practicing yoga

Singing the blues

I am not downhearted

I am indigo

Closing both eyes

I am not tired

I am listening

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©️2018 Ontheland

The Monday afternoon dVerse challenge from WhimsyGizmo is to write a quadrille (44-word poem) using the word “wink”.

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on votes and pixels: haibun musings

October 22 was municipal Election Day in my home province, Ontario…we voted for mayors, councillors, and school trustees. Before voting, I set out to gather information about the candidates. I was dismayed when I found how little information was available for the election in my rural township. The small newspaper of the nearby town featured only its candidates. I saw an ad for a local all-candidates meeting a few days after the event. In our mailbox we received a few pamphlets and postcards with bulleted points of policy on the back. 

The only resource left was the Internet. All of the candidates currently in office (the incumbents) had profiles on the township government website. Some politicians had campaign websites, but most newcomers to the municipal scene remained in darkness. No excessive spending for this election!

Making a valid choice is challenging, whether there is no information or a torrent of rhetoric. For national elections, an illusion of enlightenment is woven by colourful newscasts, radio phone-in debates, and endless social media. On the national scale, rather than facing zero information, I feel inundated by unhelpful propaganda. To make a thoughtful choice I want to know policies, issues and proposed solutions.

An idea occurs to me…probably not original: Democracy is like an engine…the mechanisms meant to sustain it were set up and protected in the past, but need ongoing maintenance, repair, and upgrading to keep running in an ever changing world. A democracy is not eternal, destined to continue forever without efforts to maintain it.

:

our votes

like millions of pixels

portray a nation

:

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely…

~Franklin D. Roosevelt

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©️2018 Ontheland

Haikai Challenge #59 Election Day/Democracy

travelling back in time: a haibun

It’s early morning, my half awake middle aged mind returns to grade nine, an opaque blur: no faces, no objects, just a sense of door, teacher, the front of the classroom being next to the door, windows at the back…I hand the teacher my scribbled line “if they don’t care why should I?”…all is in shadows except her response: “of course you care.”

The debate led by “M” was in the same classroom…she said “he” had a superiority complex…I thought perhaps the boy discussed felt inferior…my head mulled over this question many times…decades later I ponder it once again…not remembering the “he” we were debating, only that he was troubled, troubling, or both. Perhaps feeling superior or inferior are similar modes…both mistakes about self, both experiences of precipice. And then the final fragment of memory: in the hallway, just outside the classroom door, the tall shadow of the girl who would be the leader in this new school.

lost in an ocean

just learning how to swim

adolescence

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©️2018 Ontheland

cold winds: troiku

cold wind

through our torn paper doors

in the month without gods

©️Yamazaki Sokan 1465-1553

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cold winds

paper tigers tear to shreds

under a new moon

:

cold winds

raze the landscape

winter is near

.

paper tigers tear to shreds

ribbons scatter in the wind

tangling in treetops

.

under a new moon

eyes wide open in a storm

lend a helping hand

:

©️2018 Ontheland

Background: Carpe Diem’s Leafless Tree #2 episode invites haiku inspired by the haiku of Yamazaki Sokan, quoted above, and a troiku formed from each of the lines of the haiku. Sokan’s haiku was written centuries ago in Japan, addressing the cold conditions of a lunar month known then as ‘the month without gods’. His words made me think of violent acts in North America in recent times and how people sometimes rise to such occasions forming broader and stronger communities.