In Splendid Retirement by Miriam Sagan

“Retirement”—The First 9 Months

When I retired from my creative writing job at Santa Fe Community College last December, I made some firm statements about my plans. Those who know me well, however, will attest that I always sound definite even as I’m changing my mind. I said I would not:

1. Do home repair
2. Improve my fitness
3. Concentrate more on writing

That is, I wash’t retiring to focus on improving myself or anything else. I said I wanted

1. Adventure
2. To learn something
3. To understand death more

And, privately, I told myself to

1. Keep everything that was working
2. Add to that

I also wanted something contemplative, but I couldn’t explain what. I had started to think of myself as needing to be more of a “forest dweller.” In the Hindu approach, there are four life stages:
1. Student (check)
2. Householder (check)
3. Forest Dweller
4. Renunciate.
But what IS forest dweller? Me in my garden? Me and husband Rich in an RV? It needed exploring.

Some unexpected things happened. I’d decided to retire in August, 2016. By the following January, when the time came—

1. Donald Trump was president
2. My mother had died (so no more care taking or commuting)
3. Rich started to work “seasonally”—about half the year, with lots of overtime during that period.

So—what happened?

Well, I did do some home repair. I now have a pretty red concrete pathway and some hardscaping in my front yard. However, no new kitchen cabinets or much of anything else. I have been to one stretch class and 1/2 a zumba class—so I really haven’t improved my fitness. I’m writing per usual—emphasis on usual.
So I count this as—negative—goals met.

As to adventure…I’ve seen the total eclipse of the sun, the love fest of Twin Oaks commune’s fiftieth anniversary, the solitude of two weeks in a campground in Hot Springs, Arkansas National Park, and eaten the Chinese food of Vancouver.
I marched on Washington. I took a non-violence class. I had a riffle lesson. I lobbied at the Roundhouse.
I’m still learning to use a “real” camera, do suminagashi, monoprint, geocache, and install poetry text. And I’ve learned to knit a hat.
I’ve been working in hospice and teaching writing in that context.
And, I’ll be going to Japan.

However, I don’t really feel satisfied. That’s probably just because I never am. Should I be studying more in a formal context? Should some challenges be more physical (old and crippled as I am). Or maybe I should learn ancient Greek. Should could would maybe…

I took poster board and mapped out everything I was doing. And perhaps more important—everything that feeds me. It says: solitude, community, love, literature, nature and more. It says “Investigation.”

I joined a torah study group. The combination of prayer, study, and community has been challenging…yet elevating. It’s the Days of Awe. I could meditate more. I could write in my journal more. I could…

Go with the flow and see what happens. Ask each day what it wants from me. A few years ago I had an enjoyable practice: I gave each day a theme. It might be teaching or beauty or fiscal responsibility or fun or friendship.

I love my To Do lists. I found one from my teenage years that listed “tampax” and “Pablo Neruda.” That pretty much summarizes my approach to life. My current list has some mystery items on it. It says Detroit? and Start “Mosaic.” It says Chrysanthemums and Go to Ohio.

I’m on my way…to something or other…

Mexican Haiku

Christina Rascon Castro gave a wonderful presentation on this at Haiku North America. The translated haiku were a highlight.
These are from her selection of early Mexican haiku, which may present as much as very short Modernist Spanish poems as they do as haiku. Yet I get the haiku flavor as well.
I hope to post more of her presentation later.

Arturo González Cosío (Mexico City, 1930-2016)

Oculta el bosque
entre ramas y hojas
murmullos de agua.

The forest hides
among branches and leaves
murmurs of water

De Otras mutaciones del I Ching

59. Huan / La disolución

Viento sobre las aguas
boga el barquero
con la nostalgia.

Wind over the waters
searches the boat man
with nostalgia.

Enrique González Rojo (Mexico city, 1928)

Luna en el agua
Se empalaga la espuma
de albura tanta

Moon on the water
the foam gets sick
of so much whiteness

EDUARDO LIZALDE (Mexico City, 1929)
De Otros tigres

ALGUNOS HAIKAIS TIGRESCOS
(de métrica ortodoxa y no)

VI

Puede en su furia
pantera acorralada
rasgar su sombra.

In its anger can
a cornered panther
rip its shadow.

VII

Una pantera acorralada
puede en su furia
desgarrar su sombra.

A cornered panther
can in its anger
rip its shadow.

Blue

Alone in the cafe I catalog things blue. A boy in azure shorts runs out of the bathroom, whose stall dividers are a blue bordering purple. Above the fountain is a shelf laden with cobalt-blue glasses. A water-filled one on my table beckons. To its right my Carolina-blue bicycle helmet has three blue stripes right of center running front to back. Women comment they like it. They should — it is a woman’s model. But it fits properly, is visible, and the price was right, fifty percent off the manufacturer’s sky-high cost. I wear a red T-shirt. If I were to move towards you at lightspeed it would appear blue. A streetlight outside the second-floor window has a blue cap. For what purpose? Beyond, the sky is tinged brown by thick forest-fire smoke. The orange orb at sunrise and sunset is reminiscent of air-polluted Delhi’s midday one. I enjoy India, its predominance of yellows, saffrons, and reds, and wonder if behind the smoke choking this valley, the local mountains, and India, still exist. Dogen’s walking blue mountains remind us we abide in a re-creating flux we call the Universe. Suddenly, my catalog turns every shade of green.
– Michael G. Smith

More flash prose on this colored theme can be found at http://lostpaper.blogspot.com/

Kigo–Season Word

At a haiku conference for five days, and then slept upwards of twelve hours. This morning, it seems the season has changed without my noticing it. Our easy going house guest has gone, and instead numerous daddy long legs fill the corners of the room. All of the pots of mums have suddenly dried and died–I bought them past their peak to impress visitors that the garden was still blooming when it really wasn’t. Other spiders cluster, and something–predator or prey–leaves a tiny red smear on the wall.

I don’t think
just one word
can describe this

Brass Bell

This is an invitation to submit haiku for the October 2017 issue of brass bell: an online haiku journal.

Theme: body haiku
(haiku about parts of the body)

Include reference to some body part (or the whole body) in your poem(s). Could be related to your body, or to someone else’s.

I will consider one-line and 3-line haiku.

I STRONGLY PREFER new work but previously published poems are okay as long as they do NOT require a credit line (attribution).

PLEASE send more than one poem! I will be looking for variety and the more choices I have, the better. Send up to 10 haiku for consideration.

Deadline:
Wednesday, September 20, 5 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time.
HINT: it is better to send sooner rather than later!

Expected publication date: Sunday October 1, 2017

GUIDELINES:

Paste your haiku in the body of an email — no attachments — and send to:

zee@twcny.rr.com

Be sure to include your name exactly as you wish it to appear, as well as your country. The list of countries will be noted at the top, not with each poem. PLEASE don’t forget to include your country, especially if you do not live in the U.S.A.

If you haven’t been to the brass bell site before then I urge you to visit; read the current issue and browse through the archives. This will also give you a good idea of what I am most drawn to.
http://brassbellhaiku.blogspot.com/

Please do not post this invitation to groups, I don’t want to be overwhelmed! THANK YOU.

NOTE: I’ll acknowledge receipt of your submission. If I have questions or suggestions, or if I don’t feel I can use the haiku you sent, I will let you know. Otherwise, I hope you will be pleasantly surprised when you see what I have chosen, when the issue goes online. I’ll send you the link as soon as I publish the October issue.

I look forward to reading your Body Haiku!
Fondly,
Zee

http://www.zeezahava.blogspot.com/
http://lostpaper.blogspot.com/
http://paintedparrot.blogspot.com/