Not Quite Rain: NPM #13

Today was one of those gloomy, gray days. There wasn’t quite rain, but the air was saturated and left a fine mist of droplets on everything…including me. A busy work day left me leaning on a short form for today’s poetry: Haiku (with some literary license).

Not Quite Rain

Extra-ordinary

paper-thin blossoms tipped with

tiny wet kisses

®Douillard

Tag: NPM #12

Inspired by this blog post, I had my students write a slice of life poem this morning. They had plenty of fodder, coming off our spring break. And while they wrote, I wrote too. Here is my slice of life poem.

Tag

“You’re it Grandma”

they squeal and I chase them

“chase me” “and me too”

“you have to tag both of us!”

Spring green grass

tickles my toes

5-year-old giggles

fill my heart

I run

they run

We chase each other

until we collapse

in a pile of

hugs!

®Douillard

Yellow Bird: NPM #11

Today I decided to use Georgia Heard’s 6-room poetry strategy as preparation for writing my poem. This is something I have used with great success with students in the past, but hadn’t thought about it in a while. I happened upon this beautiful yellow bird (apparently some kind of an oriole) who posed for me while I was exploring along La Jolla Cove this morning, and knew I wanted to try to capture something of that experience for today’s poem.

Here’s my poetic effort for today:

Yellow Bird

Waves crash, swoosh, hush in the distance

background music

ambiance, Sunday’s soundtrack

A flash of yellow

banana

lemon

Tuscan sun

in the local brush

wild mustard waving

nasturtiums covering

and you

regal in your bright brilliance

trimmed with black epaulettes

Waves crash, swoosh, hush

steel gray skies and seas

a monochromatic backdrop

for your golden brightness

my eyes drink in your honeyed sweetness

sunshine on a cloudy day

Is that tiny hummingbird on a nearby branch your friend?

Do you make your home nearby

or are you stopping by on your migratory path?

Waves crash, swoosh, hush

and I wonder

®Douillard

LA Traffic: NPM #10

I have a love/hate relationship with LA freeways. They are constantly unpredictable, predictably overcrowded, unnecessarily complicated, outdated and constantly under construction…and they connect me to my children and grandchildren.

Maybe this poem begins to capture some of those contradictions.

LA Traffic

The stutter-step of LA traffic

inches along

ribbons unspool

crisscrossing the city

braided twisted snarled

Arteries, veins, capillaries

lifeblood of connection

flows along miles of roadways

lub-dubbing in time

to the city’s breath

You can hate it, avoid it

or go with the flow

especially when family

is at the other end

®Douillard

Photo by Tamara Menzi via Unsplash

Climbing Poems: NPM #9

Climbing Poems

I climb

rung by rung

collecting words

wearing them like necklaces, strung together like pearls

I stretch higher

one foot pushing

one hand reaching

the blues:

cobalt, cerulean, azure

sing to me

a poem painting a layer of calm

a soothing lullaby reaching my ears and eyes

waves hush and roll onto the shore

step, reach, step, reach

breathe in the blue

and sing out nature’s wonder

as I climb poems

®Douillard

Circles: NPM #8

A walk on the beach also means noticing all the ways that people use the beach. There’s recreation, meditation, entertainment, sun bathing, fishing, castle building, rock stacking…and art. Today I came across some temporary art, raked into the sand. And later, farther down the beach, came across the artist creating another piece. And these circles, carved by an artist, became the basis for today’s poem.

Circles

Circles and circles and circles

around, round, rings

no beginning no end

bubbles bursting

balls bouncing

concentric layers

measuring time

scraped into sand

a canvas smoothed

by wave after wave

running up, retreating

an offering, a gift

space for imagination

to bubble and bounce

just a glimpse

at circles and circles and circles

until the sea

wipes it clean

to start fresh

with the next turn,

the next circle around the sun,

coming full circle

®Douillard

Cloud of Birds: A Slice and a Poem (NPM #6)

After more than a year of staying close to home, we ventured out this week, spending several days away from home. This morning represented our final leg–knowing we would land at home later in the day. We didn’t have a concrete plan when we woke up. We knew we had about 4 hours of a drive–and were in search of an adventure somewhere along that path. We considered some lakes (up in the Grapevine) and even talked about walking on our local beach once we got home. The beach! Why not explore a beach that is not close to home?

We decided we would head off to Malibu. A beach everyone has heard of, but so many people have not visited. We programmed the navigation and set out through the mountain pass. Clearly there are others who are also itching for some travel. LA’s freeways, while not at peak gridlock, were plenty full. Midway there, Google maps offered another route–one that would save us 11 minutes. We took it.

Once parked, we set off to explore the beach. Right away we heard the shrill sound of birds. What was that? Seagulls? What was going on? We watched as a huge cloud of birds lifted, screeching and calling. It happened again and again.

Cloud of Birds

A high pitched cloud

swirls up from the beach

whirling, cartwheeling

somehow sensing each wing

each beak

flying high, flying low

over the surfers, above the shore

moving in synch, as one

a crowd in perfect unison

terns turning

Is it murmuration?

®Douillard

A bit of investigation on our drive back home led me to discover that these are likely least terns, a tern variety recently at risk. I really don’t know if murmuration is specific only to starlings, but it was fascinating to watch these birds rise and fly and move as a group.

We loved our morning in Malibu. The weather was perfect, the crowds minimal, and the traffic manageable. A perfect ending to a bit of a spring break.

3 Haiku: NPM #5

Faced with a long drive back home, we decided to detour and find some mini adventures on our way. It makes for a long day…but was filled with small surprises that provided the perfect fodder for some Haiku.

Wildflowers

Transitory sprites

conjuring springtime dreamscapes

also known as weeds

®Douillard

Wetland Walk

Basking in the sun

pulling me to look closely

turtle or a rock?

®Douillard

Geese

The gaggle gathers

lunch counter or wetland spa?

pause in reflection

®Douillard