Weekend Sky: have I met you before?

After years of absence I remember former zeal in taking part in a photography enthusiasts’ group like this. Here is my impromptu sky shot last February after a sumptuous meal celebrating a birthday. As a lifestyle, I hardly attend such occasion. There was zero attendance in the last three years. This was a special time and I enjoyed the fun and noise with everyone speaking at the same time, and no one listening. For a change someone called from the balcony, “behold the sky!” And here is my shot of that moment (unedited).

Here is my little haiku to go with it:

a sky speaks, behold,

come sup with me, beloved,

fill your plate, be bold.



2021-12-11 sound mind’s poem -the same rain for tears

Looking through the old photos and archives of my blog posts, here is a find of a poem named “cheeky rain” (12-11-2017). It tells of how the old and the new intermingling in a person’s mind, made of memories neatly categorized by the brain, often mixing up the occasions and meanings. Enjoy and have a mindful year end reunion with your loved ones.

the same rain from the heart to the mind

He wants to share the beautiful newly painted white Pearl-Glo wall
all ready for Christmas and the New Year toll
instead his phone chooses to display a mind
dropping rain drops on his file
why it’s not what I want to send to my love he cries
no it isn’t but this is far better, the phone replies
what, even rain drops on my window pane cliché?
long ago i saw a drama performed on stage called rain drops keep falling on my head
i didn’t understand why my ma sang in swimsuit with pa dressed in sailor uniform pouring buckets of cold water on her head. no, it’s mixed up with i’m singing in the rain with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. not that, you nit, she says, I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out Of My Hair. (South Pacific)
Whatever you say. he says. She says, rain rain go away.
Since I miss the moment of capturing the beautiful white glistening in the rain I just have to send this picture from a mysterious phone and say I love you rain don’t go today. Last word he says. Rain rain go away last word she says.

Note: (2021-12-11) Here is a haiku from the heart to go with the mind.

the same rain for tears,

wet on cheeks dripping with smears,

here, love, I am here.

mind-man, 2021-12-11

a poet’s two ways to dispel an unwanted feeling

on an Amtrak train

When we put our feelings in the boxes of perspective we feel safe. I just read some poems by a favorite poet in past gone years, and this is one stanza that I picked at random,

Don’t go far off, not even for a day, because —
because — I don’t know how to say it: a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station
when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep. (by Pablo Neruda [1914-1973] )

Feelings are really one of the least safe things in life. How to stop a feeling that disturbs and even hurts? There are two ways. One way is to write a poem, or in my case, write a haiku, short and terse. Then I put away my unwanted feeling into the 17 sounds/syllables. For example, here is my haiku based on the above stanza from the famous poet.

go not a day long

vacant stare waiting forlorn

train not arriving

Another way of stopping an unwanted feeling is to pack it into a box. Label the boxes into perspectives. A dictionary’s definition (not exhaustive) of perspective includes: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. A picture drawn in perspective, especially one appearing to enlarge or extend the actual space, or to give the effect of distance.  A true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion. You can name it whatever (just fill in the blank). And then put it aside.

Actually the key is “put it aside”. Can you do it?

Can I? Well, I have the haiku as a backup plan B. So one day if I find it real hard not to hear from you for a long long time, I may choose one of the two ways like a DIY dispenser of feeling numbing/removing fail-proof actions.

Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Challenge 346 SLIP and Time. (acquaintance answers back)

re your wintry slip*

makes me laugh and makes me weep

tis time for goodbye


Note: this is the second part of my previous haiku (slip for an acquaintance)

a haiku and a prose for 2021-02-14

A Haiku

Because love hangs on

patiently adorns each hope

undaunted beyond

A Prose

He has no idea how she has felt after all these decades, 29 years in all. He once thought they would have a long long time together and be happy ever after. In real life their time does not work that way. Time is not exactly a master but it influences. Like the fashion influencer today in the digital virtual realm. It would take herculean efforts to conquer the insurmountable hurdles set in the race of time across oceans and mountains.

Unlike today’s generation, communication was costly then. They could hardly meet or even talk on the phone. He wrote a letter daily after a long day’s work and posted it the following morning through his office boy. She later told him that her postman only delivered a stack of outdated mail once in a while. He spent his daily travel allowance calling her long distance and burnt away cold cash just for a few minutes of hearing her voice. He can still recall the time after each call. He would walk to the bay beach outside his hotel, sat on a rock and watched the sunset. He would hope, as he scanned the distant horizon, to sight a seabird or two, often in vain. The city was one of the most developed in the world, and there was hardly any space or free sky left. The bay was beautiful but it was not a home for any wild creatures.

What was on his mind? He cannot remember now. Perhaps he was imagining that somehow a strong courageous sea bird had flown to her window, perched there in the warm sunshine, at the other end of the ocean, and now came to him with a touch of her fresh air, carrying a slice of her vibrant life for him in that cold, misty, gloomy city of the lonely. Yet, today he suddenly remembers a quote about a higher kind of love. “There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.

All in all, he has no regret. Whatever they have spent together and held on in time for each other. Today is an ordinary Sunday. He stands in his garden and thinks of the time that he still has. The garden is fresh and sparkling in life after a Spring rain. Yes, Spring is here. And the day is February 14. So he decided to write this missive and like old time, post it by snail mail. She likes to hear the ring of the postman. He remembers.

Kainotes, 2021-02-14

Challenge 331 FIRST, Heal: gender perspectives (one story three haikus)

heal, first, one haiku challenge

(Haiku one: Reconciled position)

distant rumble “heal”

who goes “first” he smiles she laughs

and they dance as “one”

(Haiku two: competitive position)

distant rumble “heal”

who gets “first” he asks she laughs

alas none no “one”

(Haiku three: neutral position)

distant rumble “heal”

who cares “first” not me (blank stare)

and thus not a “one”

#timesquare: the time of a dog traveler

#timesquare: the time of grace

Time to cross the square

heeding gentle beckoning

of time calling grace

This months photo challenge in square format from Becky is #timesquare

time travel haiku and back: just timing

sometime ago when in an interval story zone
long ago in another story zone

just timing my time

and yours to savor and chime

preparing our climb

This months photo challenge in square format from Becky is Time

another letter I shall not mail: a picture and a poem

Without the weekly-Photo-challenge some of us are feeling a bit lost regarding where to hang out and what to take a photo of. Admittedly many of us have lots of photos in our stock so we are not exactly all dry up and out of ideas. I have discovered that the world is not all that big and soon one traveler just runs out of a new place to go. Maybe I am just not motivated to move…(LOL) Of course I have the excuse that I have been busy with a practically round the clock project during the interval between the end of the daily/weekly prompt and now when I realize that my project is over and I do have an empty space in time into which I may slot a photo or two. Alas, the photo is just nowhere to be found.

So here I am looking at my old stocks. In my farewell post (weekly photo challenge “all times favorites) I inadvertently titled it “don’t look back, she says, I am not there.” A love story in suspense. Yet, here I am, looking back a bit. Maybe a picture and a poem to continue…a story.

2015 October

doesn’t ever glance backward
yet i stand here gazing forward
as if she may chime
a bell

no matter the distance
i shall keep my stance
in position
in case this station
will be called to mail

her call
i shall not refuse
or bid adieus

to love: this is a song I will not sing to you

a song of winterspring song


this is a song i would not sing
because the song has run away in sync
with other days i shall not bring

this is a song i should not sing
because its lyrics have bloomed into an early spring
here here i call in the midst of freezing
into a laboriously sculptured thing

there there replies the happy song to dare
unyielding crusty earth to break forth today
to quench upon the outpouring heavenly dew
that refuses my lingering sad adieu

much as i want to tell you about a cold alienating bland ordinary winter
my song rebels and sings of a fiery bonding love in many resplendent splendor
instead of decrepitating into ashy ice
my hibernating heart wakes to early rise
by your twin spade of starry eyes

no i will not say goodbye you say
no you will not say goodbye i say
yet this is a song i will not sing to you
the song is rewriting its lyrics anew

as i go
you grow

favorite poem rambling song to end 2017

summer snow

2017 Favorites.
they call to compose an official song
to cherish entrance of wintry solace long
why they never know it’s an impossible task
anyone with brain would always ask

how long is winter to be long
haha you must be joking all along
how wide is winter to be white
is he the old guy with snow whiskers uphill hiding a wife

she’s beautiful so so much
to be goggled at by many eyes
old guy loves wife so so much
he vows she’ll not be seen by any more disrespectful, aye

you want to hide Winter with her light
brilliantly glistening deep at night
or reverse her silky white waterfall
Nay, even Spring won’t do impossible chore

he cannot remember now
how she grows her pure white snow
when his matching whiskers start their show
It seems just yesterday they were both stage-fright-voices
so simple in love in spring in songs in dances

Rumors say of late a celestial laser show persistently brews on them
with dazed drooping eyes he now lisps new sounds
decked in red digital coat and virtual hat and geeky boots and all
i give you the official winter solace rap
nothing more nothing less on
eight foot long
as my elementary AI sleigh tap
with laser beaming Reindeer Day
begin our show show show
starring L E D Pivot Stel and Winter Wanda La La La

Note: Towards the end of 2017 I switch to write funny/dramatic/satirical experimental poems telling a story. Is it a new direction? Or is it just an intermission? I would like to think it’s both.

sometimes we just have to go

Sometimes we just not go the Serene way. a way ahead
sometimes we just have to go
often both of us could know
it’s a season to let go
behold all love must forego
for a way ahead
a watershed
not a tear is heard
nor a sound is smeared
because we wear mascara
to celebrate the last gala
dancing to end our tango
no pretense
not perchance
lest we should cross each other’s way
lo beyond and faraway
still in pain
all in vain
deep in love
that won’t just go

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters 46: how to define love? (2017 Revised)

1 Corinthians 13:5The spirit-mind man realizes he does not know many things about love and God. Love ties with pain. Here is a word that God uses to describe Himself. Love. What is love? Let us read about love again.
This is what he attempted in this blog before: (with 2017 up to date mind man’s deliberations in human terms and thoughts in brackets)

A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters: chapter ten -how to define love? 07/22/2013 (Quoted below in excerpts)
“the most difficult word: love”
Today we read the most difficult word in the whole Bible, ‘Love’. (Most difficult outside the Bible too)

Love: This is not a shallow, superficial common word as the mind man had thought in his reckless days. There is richness, depth, breadth, width, height here. …
If he attempts to define this word with his human mind, emotion and senses, he knows he would be insulting the word.

The only way to give love justice is to define this word in the Spirit (spirit).

The next question is who is qualified (in terms of supreme authority) to define love?

Not this mind man, however spiritual he (thinks he) has turned into. The only thing he can do is to find his definition in the word of God, and let each reader find his own.

__________Here the definition goes:

The plumb-line of love: sacrificial. For example: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God should be receiving man’s sacrifices, but He gave His own Son as a sacrifice! John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. This is how God views love and has demonstrated (unconditional) love to us. God has freely given so we need not try to earn it.
(God’s kind of love warrants one-sided sacrificial giving without the other party favorably responding or wanting to receive your love. A person in love may think he or she can give that kind of love without regret. But believe me, when human love fades, regret becomes a glaring color in your black and white life.)

Here is one verse that has persuaded the mind man (and impacted his personal decision) about love:

“Love does not demand its own way.” This is what the mind man received from the Lord (1 Corinthians 13:5) when he was on the verge of making a real big decision…
What more can he do but to let go? …Indeed, the heart has its reason that reason cannot comprehend. But, God’s way (of love) can convince and convict one’s heart…

Can one become whole again when one chooses to love in God’s way? The answer is definitely ‘yes’! …Abraham…David…Jesus’ giving Himself was the supreme example.

What motivated them? The mind man could not think of better reason than ‘love’. Love of God…O yes, love of your loved ones too!

‘Love’ indeed is the most difficult word in this spiritual dictionary, and it is also the best word anyone can lay hold of.

October 28, 2017 spirit-mind-man’s update: This was written four years and three months ago. The human pain felt then can still be felt though much less in intensity and frequency today. Giving up/letting go is the hardest thing to do for anyone. Yet the supreme power of the supernatural love of God gives all the strength one needs to overcome a feeling called pain which ties closely to love. Does anyone lose out because of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:5? No. Nobody loses out when God’s love becomes the uttermost plumb line in your life. No loss but gain. I pray all who want to encounter God’s kind of love find the peace and security only His love can give. Love means you do no harm to others or to yourself.  Love others in the way God loves you. This is the best ever commandment to keep.

a transient Christmas eve in 2007

It was a Transient  moment in time in 2007 and we were in a tourist bus.a transcient mountain moment We were on a tour bus. The mountain seemed so near all of a sudden. So were you. I thought for a moment that time had stood still and we would never age, or that we would slowly grow old together taking our own time. We went to the usual tourist attractions. Good food, drinks, hot springs, gardens, night life in the cities etc. Why do I dig out this ten year old picture and try to recall the mountain today? After parting for so long? I have been pondering on a word lately . It is called, “lingering”, and it means “lasting for a long time and slow to end.” But sadly it does end in the end. Time sets a limit for phases of life, no matter our perception and determination to hold fast, and in reality its name is called, “transient”, which means lasting only for a short time, fleeting, passing, impermanent. Someone may say that a mountain is unlike a man. It will remain after the human travelers are gone. Yes, for a time. Yet, if you consider the real age of the creation you will agree that a mountain too has a limit in time. I still keep the pictures of you smiling and posing with the beautiful snowy mountain in the background. It was such a clear day. You looked so young and happy. Ten years. So soon. So transient. Today you told me in tears that you could not bear to have me vanishing from your life, living alone somewhere…Yes, we both need a miracle. We both believe in miracles. Memories are miracles. Like the lilac bedroom paint you liked so much, with the name “Forget-me-not”.

I admit that sometimes I cannot help but recall the lingering lyrics from a song by Garfunkel,

When the singer’s gone
Let the song go on…

But the ending always comes at last
Endings always come too fast
They come too fast, but they pass to slow
I love you, and that’s all I know

A love called graceful and not let go (two poems)

star1jpg-6311515c13a99e7c(I translated, re-written and re-named this love song. I call it Gracefully love)

Even if I should come once to
this planet
in one dash
one kairos moment
in one billion years
joining you so brief
for all its sweet tears
and all its grief

Well, let all that must happen
happen in a flash
let me bow
humbly down
thanking all the stars
holding you  I won’t let go

penning this poem now
with an unseen hand
slowly growing old
holding you  I won’t let go

(1983 Taiwan Campus Folk Song) The original love poem was written by the Mongolian painter/poet/writer MuRong Xi , music by Su Lai  作詞:席幕容,作曲:蘇來




(Poem II) “Since we parted –2” (I translated this second poem, rewritten, but tried to follow the original pattern of her thought)

And now I realize
what we have slowly squandered off
is one life we both have loved
our whole life, my beloved!

别後——之二 ◎‪‎席慕蓉 (MuRong Xi wrote this poem during her grief for the demise of her husband)


Blogger’s notes: photo credit goes to La Center’s Greg Marshall who photographs a universe most never imagine. By training, Marshall is an electronics engineer and computer-imaging expert, but the stars have led him into art. He catches images many light years away. I got it at random while browsing.

The poems are about love and loss. Instead of choosing sentimental pictures I decided to use the stars of the universe. The first poem took on a new meaning…I then decided to alter the poem to a hopeful end. A happy and prosperous Lunar New Year for my Asian friends!

If I forget your name? Never

I too feel fascinated by some names, especially the names of shops or brands. Here are some Names which I found a year ago in my last visit to a shopping mall in CA. Shops are named: Pink in Life, The Picture People, Walking Company. I particularly like the idea of a shop named “Things Remembered”. We all have things we do not forget. There was an old song titled, “Don’t forget to remember”. Love is something hard to forget. Humans are by nature remembering creatures. The older we get the more we have accumulated things we like to remember in our memories, some vivid, some vague. Some real and some imagined. Some with sad endings, some good. I stumbled on a Tv program that helped long separated old friends to find each other after decades. Quite touching stories emerged. When I grow old enough perhaps I too write a letter to the long lost one and ask for an appointment with a poem.

If You Forget Me by Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me

I want you to know
one thing.

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.
Pablo Neruda

Listen to a reading of the beautiful poem at the following link:

Notes about the shop: Things Remembered began over 40 years ago as a small engraving and services shop called “Can Do”. And today, Things Remembered has grown into the nation’s leading, and most successful, retailer of personalized gifts. (online information quoted)

a resilient love letter after 8000 days and nights and is still counting

8000-daysMy Resilient love for you. I find it hard not to say I love you, and harder not to love you even in silence, with my heart saying I love you over 8000 days and nights. A thousand days seems a long time for some love. But my love for you, not even eight thousands days can be too long.

How did I first start to love you? Can I really remember? A young man asked today. Of course, I answered. I remember very well. I never forget. How can I ever forget that fateful evening when I stepped into a packed hall and saw you standing on stage and speaking, with your velvety black eyes so dark and yet so full of light? How can I ever forget the passionate love you spoke to my heart through your heart? I remember so well the jet black long hair blown under the ceiling fan, the lightly stirred white dress with tiny blue flowers you wore that day. I remember the voice. Your voice. I was a stranger, standing at the back, watching like a bystander. But your words of true passion and love touched my soul. Your words of kindness and compassion reached my core. I fell in love from that moment on and remain in love for eight thousands days.

No, I never forget.

The young man of 22 is facing a crisis. His loved one has gone faraway to study. His frequent short social media chat messages are becoming stale to her eyes. What is he going to do? He asks. He says that it’s futile to ask anyway because I probably have forgotten how to love when young at his age. LOL, how can I ever forget? We don’t forget. Not in a mere eight thousand days. Not even in eight thousand years.

How do I maintain and sustain my love for you? He asks. Well, I do one thing which few did then and even fewer do today. I write a letter a day to my love. Sometimes you received a weeks’ letters at one go when the postman went on leave. I became a resilient love letter writer. In those days we used typewriter and posted our letters through snail mail. Yes we managed, across oceans we wrote to each other. We did not have smart cell phone or email or any of the social media message channels then. We merely wrote in long hand or type with a manual Olivetti typewriter. The simplicity of our tools did not hinder us one bit.

How do I know you read my letters and not ignore them? He asks. Well, I persisted. I wrote by faith and not by sight. I wrote like you enjoyed reading them and indeed looked forward to receiving them. Somehow one day it all came true. What did I write about? I wrote about the you in my heart, the dreams and hopes for a future together, and my thankfulness for your life crossing mine as two stars meeting at the appointed time and space, even if only momentarily painting the dark night sky with brilliance of eight thousand sparks.

I tell him our 8000 days’ love story. He is the first person I tell. After listening he seems subdued and finally breaks his long silence and says he will start writing a letter to his faraway loved one.

That is why I am writing to you now, this letter of resilient love. 8000 days and still counting. Does old love not fade or perhaps die? This last question the young man thinks but does not ask. Well, I might as well answer his unuttered question. No, eight thousand days is but eight days young. Like the stars, our love is a young love.


Don’t look back, she says, I am not there

a Nostalgia look.
nostalgia-family-car-1953He likes to look at some old things, things of another era. Of course neither she nor he belongs to those ages. They are far too young to have any idea of what life was like in those times. But he has heard stories from parents and grandparents of the time they were. It is hard to imagine that these loved ones had been through another time and space of which he has no part. Like this old car, sitting calmly in a museum as an serene early retiree who has maintained herself well. Yes, 1953 is not really a long way away. Nostalgia is a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations. Somehow when he walks into this old car museum he seems to have met these cars before. He can feel a sentiment of something, like a long gone association which has come back. He has never owned an old car. Was it in a movie when he imagined him driving one with her beside him? Somewhere in time? No, she always says, don’t look back, I am not there.

a beautiful wordless reflection of a long gone memory

Mirror a wordless reflection one morning in winter. Wordless beauty.
wordless-reflectionLooking at this today brings back long gone memory of a time when he first had a glimpse of her in the mirror. She was getting ready to go to work. He watched her at the door. He could only see her back. But then he saw her smiling in the mirrored reflection. She has her way of smiling which captures heart. Many years ago. Sparkling eyes smiling. He never forgets that smile. Wordless and yet beautiful. He cannot forget.

Love’s riddle: a haiku

a complicated timecomplex paradox
enigma unsolvable
find the little fox
She is back. He is back. They are not relatives. But the two humans are not together. And yet they love each other.
It is like looking at this photo. You never know whether the photographer is climbing up the mountain or going down the slope. There is no clue. Perhaps you can detect the lonely depression induced by the season from thin trees with bare branches, the snow covered plants shaped like little animals scurrying on the ground, against a grey bland sky and the an overall mood of foreboding of the scene. But you will not know why the photographer went there and took this picture unless you were him. When he took this picture he was actually climbing uphill. It was mid-January.
They did not meet that time. She was too far away and otherwise engaged. He went alone and spent his winter like a lone wolf.
Now they are both back to one place. Same city. Same street. Same house. He is alone. She is alone. He is not married. Neither is she. They love each other. But they are not together. Why are they not together? A complicated riddle.
No clue.

(I decided to post this blog after leaving the unfinished draft for a month or more. The shape of a lone wolf is too striking to be ignored. Other shapes of animals too. I like seeing living things in shapes formed by nature. I also added a little riddle here to ponder upon on sleepless nights.)

sometimes we only see half

Apologyapology dawna seed life  Dearest love, this word is difficult to say, but I must say it, my apology to you after all these years. This morning as I wake and pick up my mobile I realize I have missed a call. Not that I care. It is not from you. When I look at this picture of a dawn I took in a hurry last January I see how much I have missed over all those years with you. The happiness and pain. Being too engrossed with things to do and others to serve I have neglected the one who really cares and gives so much of her life to me. Yes, I was unable to see the other half of my life. Like this picture, the half that is hidden is part of the picture to make it whole. I tend to omit this half when I am in a hurry driven by the grandeur of achievement for the larger audience, the larger demand, the larger issue out there. Yes, I apologize. Late, but not too late. Will you forgive me? Will you come home? Yours ever. AJ.

p/s: remember the avocado plant they cut down because it was growing too tall for the high tension wire? I have put some seeds in water and today I see a sign of life coming forth from a brave one that opens itself to a drastic change and transformation first. There is always hope for new life after all. It’s another narrow way, but together we shall pull through.

Notes: I just found this instruction online.
“Wash it. Use 3 toothpicks to suspend it broad-end down over a water-filled glass to cover about an inch of the seed. Put the glass in a warm place out of direct sunlight and replenish water as needed. You should see the roots and stem start to sprout in about 2-6 weeks.” Growing avocados.

this is a letter I will not send.

Cherry On Top
2007 Fuji Mt n treeYou know this is a letter I will not send. It is an ordinary letter about how things are with me. The summer is ending and the last blooms outside my window have just withered. Soon it will be autumn and winter again. Today I looked into a drawer which I have not opened for a long time, perhaps years, and found this photo hidden in a memory card. Remember that morning in December 2007 we traveled? You suddenly wanted me to stop the coach. I asked the driver to stop. We got down and took this photo and others. I never sent this card to the studio for prints. Somehow I put it in the drawer locked together with many other precious and happy memories. Digital camera was popular then and I was using a Nikon Coolpix 7900 with 7.1 megapixels. The photos came out well for that journey. I found many portraits of you too. Long hair blowing in the gentle breeze of winter. Radiant smiles. I can even smell the fresh, cold and crisp mountain air when looking at the photos. Pity we didn’t go to any winter sports destination after all. The best photos are those of mountains like this one. I am not sending this because you have taken your own photos too. Perhaps after all these years you would not want me to send you the photos in this long forgotten memory card. Yesterday someone came back from the faraway land and told me that you have not changed much. But you no longer keep long hair. The mountains, they said, are still beautiful.

Left alone: a haiku (and a prose)


footsteps on snow

alien here I dread
print upon print I now thread
deserted I read

(After I wrote this little poem of a scene I took in US last January, I suddenly realize now of somewhat similar perspective in terms of man and nature left alone, expressed in two previous movie stories, both of which I had not watched. I googled and saw their brief reviews. The Revenant and Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. I would add that the ‘loneliness’ can also be felt in virtual space perspective. The word ‘thread’ is deliberate to bring out another kind of desert effect. Not a misspelt.)

it has to be love: a Haiku (and a Prose)

has to be lovegood explanation
none better than love-passion
seldom with ration
“It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?” “What lasts? Is there anything you’ve made in your life that will still be here 150 years from now? What does not last, if they are not retold, are the stories.” How true these words from a recent reading are. He ponders. When he thinks of all the events that happened before in his young life and hers he knows there is no explanation except love. Love binds their two hearts and spurs them to do things beyond their wildest dream. The union of their hearts and minds crystallizes into something dazzling and brilliant. If he is not telling their stories now whatever that they have together accomplished for which they have given so much of their lives would not last after they are gone. He wants to leave a legacy to his loved one. A legacy of their story.

Love and pain: a haiku (with prose)

white snow n black rock
Concealed and revealed
interspersed with love and pain
compelling unveiled
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He decides to dedicate today to the subject of LOVE. On waking this morning he observes that the snow has melted and revealed dark foreboding jagged black rock, like he is suddenly going through a lesson on the description of rocks, including their color and surface shape, plus characteristics such as size, shape, and arrangement of the grains or crystals in each rock. The partially melted snow has cleansed the rocks. It is as if a giant painter has walked through this patch of the mountain and used his gigantic brush and drawn a pattern for the snow to turn into liquid and flow away so that the rock may appear and assume its place in time. He think of his own life that it too has been drawn and brushed and patterned by an invisible hand from birth to this dawn of the melting snow. He wonders what each rock had been before it becomes a rock. He wonders why he had not found a love patch in his own heart until he was twenty and met her, a young smart mature precocious girl of ten. He thinks of the eight years they have had mostly on an intellectual and spiritual connection and comradeship, relying mostly on technology to link up. She lives with her very exclusive folks and travels extensively for her study of draught and underground water. He lives with the convention, also traveling extensively round the globe to all premium conventions held and hosted by the Midas hotel chain. His friends deride him, “What kind of love is that? Love in the virtual world?” He has taken her advice and started to study building. The two of them are going to take care of two major concerns of the world’s poorest and most disaster-hit people groups: water and shelter. His boss taunts him by singing the Impossible Dream from Man of La Mancha with daily rendition in full*. Is he taunted? No. Remember? He is a star gazer. He sees and focuses on one star and he is going after it, and he knows it is not unreachable. The name is called LOVE.

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

Love’s equilibrium: a haiku (and a prose)

Oppositessnow river
Tranquility snow
come rest upon my heart now
gentle tender flow
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything is something it isn’t. He read this somewhere. People feared the unknown and worried about uncertainty of changes. A wall might not be a wall. A door might not open at all. Yet he knew in chemistry there is a state in which a process and its reverse are occurring at equal rates so that no overall change is taking place, for example, ice is in equilibrium with water. The boss worried that he had gone over his senses when he decided to quit his successful career and go after an illusive dream. “You only see the tip of the iceberg. You never know what lurks beneath the enchanted emerald ocean. Use your superb grey matter, young master, weigh the pros and cons.” The boss warned (possibly quoting from some oriental movie scripts which became his latest craze). He looked at the snow on this mountain and indeed he could not summarily conclude what really lied underneath the white cloth. Should he step on it? There should be a scientific way to gauge the reality of things hidden or supposedly revealed. On the other hand how can one judge love by scientific way? How would the trees know that the snow was coming and would cover the empty ground? But the trees continued to stand their boundary position when the snow came in the night. When the dawn arrived the mountain was demarcated by two colors: white and black, a beautiful natural equilibrium. No, he would not worry about the unknown. He knew her worth. She knew his too. Their love was in a state in which opposing forces or influences were balanced. (to be continued)

Landmark for love: a haiku (and a prose)

Purea snow landmark
snow clothing with might
authenticity that tied
love so pure in sight
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space.* He suddenly recalled how he used this line and wrote his first prose. He did not have access to this book then and read it as a quote somewhere. It invoked imagination now of what he would do when he re-visited his own life in time in the different dimensions of space like a layered cake through which he sliced, exposing its various perspectives, colors, smells, textures and ingredients: sound, sight, touch, feel, appearance, love, hate, happiness, sadness, success, disappointment, fulfillment, failure, good, bad, loving kindness, mercy, charity, selfishness, delusion, indifference,  warmth, coldness, passion, hopefulness, disillusion, credibility, integrity, wretchedness,  lowliness, lacking luster, mediocrity, grandeur, majesty, magnificence, clarity, excellence, stupidity, brilliance, despondency, desolation, elation, jubilation, celebration, melancholy, exuberance, blissfulness and contentment. At twenty-eight he had gone through far more than many of his peers. He was at least happy. He sometimes wondered what was beneath the thick cloth of snow on the mountain. What the snow tried to shield and protect. His life too had been a shield for many things. The convention service too was a shield for many. The participants came and allowed the artificial environment and near real technological simulation give them a pretense of greatness and well-being. Then they left and went home with a fully charged life battery for another year on their respective fast track. He never looked for reality in the convention hall. His verisimilitude was in her. There was no need for simulation or artificial intelligence. Life was not simulation despite the money bags in that game. Life to him was authenticity. Often he and his love exchanged audio recording of each other. He listened to her laugh. They were fresh and sparkling like the mountain spring that rushed down the steep ravine as he trekked up the mountain. He could hear her smiling as she talked, exulting optimism, expectation, expectancy, confidence, faith, trust, belief, conviction, assurance; promise and possibility. Love was a reality between them. (to be continued)

(*the one line quote is taken from Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye).

Eminent love: a haiku (and a prose)

snowy mountain and trees
Celebrated snow
conspicuous sheer renowned
crystal clear for now
~~~~~~~~He did not know whether his story was going to be celebrated or regretted when it happened. it was certainly a love story which had a noble beginning. As a child he had always dreamed of grandeur, the austere grandeur of mountain scenery. That was why he became an amateur mountaineer when he was not conferencing and conventioning (his coined word). He bought his first set of mountaineering equipment at ten even though he was not allowed to use them. He did not get to climb a mountain until he was fifteen. By then it was a bit late as he was already involved in a distant uncle’s booming business of catering for large hotel chains. He graduated with an undergraduate degree in economics and took a second bachelor’s degree in physics. Instead of pursuing a phd in astrophysics he changed course to food science while doing a master degree in business management. That was how he landed himself in the convention profession. What had his first love astrophysics got to do with mountaineering? He was a star gazer. When he first met his love, he had the feeling that he was gazing at the brightest star, ever. Here are the adjectives that filled his mind when he thought of how she imprinted herself on his heart: graphic, evocative, realistic, lifelike, faithful, authentic, clear, detailed, lucid, eloquent, striking, arresting, impressive, colorful, rich, picturesque, dramatic, lively, stimulating, interesting, fascinating, scintillating; memorable, powerful, stirring, moving, telling, haunting. (To be continued)

what loneliness means to him: a haiku (and a prose)

a still snow ride
Hitching a ride up
windy snowy mountain camp
needing fellowship ~~~~~~~He knows he cannot be alone for long. That is why he joins his friends sometimes as they drive up the mountain. They do not really understand what he tries to express in his words, photos, or even the actions of continuing to climb mountains. They retain their own perspective. He his. Does this mean he gets more lonely? He asks himself. The team efforts in camping and the warm fellowship, do they not mean something to his feeling? Yes at night after a hard day’s work he enjoys a beer or two sitting near the camp fire with pals with similar mountaineering interest, all sharing the goal of climbing up to the highest peak and nothing more. But he cannot expect more, like understanding why he is leaving their company soon and launching into the deepest and furthest wilderness alone. They do not mind the goodbye as they too travel often and a lot. But they cannot share his goal of a travel without a firm destination and away from any civilized help. “How can we ever reach you in time to help you?” They query him, and he just shakes his head. He has no answer. In a place with no modern electricity power it is impossible to connect. He will know how to reach his friends when he gets there, perhaps. But he does not want to give them false hope. It is indeed lonely when he ponders this thought of isolation over unknown uncharted waters. Will his love fail him if ever he gets stranded somewhere in the middle of nowhere? He asks in silence. His heart’s reply, “NO.”

Many-Splendored Thing: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowy view on mountain
magnificent grandeur of a mountain covered in snow 

Majestic grandeur
aesthetics for raconteur
lonely connoisseur ~~~~~~~~~~~Many misunderstandings avalanched and snow-balled from all angles. He got tired of repeated explanation which he reserved for the very close ones and there were not few due to the nature of his profession. “Unbelievable.” Many shook their heads. His closest friend warned him, “AJ I wish you success in your new venture whatever it is, but you must remember you are not getting younger.” In his glittering world 29 approaching 30 is considered getting old. No one in his sane mind would start an entirely new field of study unless he was a failure and had no other option. Scientific study was so different from his management background. And he was already rising so fast and running so well. Why bother to change track? Being a mountaineer he knew of a different perspective that could only be viewed standing on the highest peak. Those who stood on the flat land could never see the majestic splendor and awesomeness of the beauty up there. He would not waste his time explaining anymore. He just had to forego even their friendship. He felt lonely at times studying after midnight poring over textbooks on calculus and analytic geometry, building technology, environmental technology etc. But he knew she would be studying too and her subjects were even more difficult and unfathomable to the laymen. The boss summed up nicely, “The things you do for love.”

bedazzled by love: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowy lane
a snowy lane up the mountain

dazzling ascend
esoteric love transcends
snow melded with sand ~~~~~~~~She gave him three years to complete a plan. “You need a plan.” The plan demanded him to pay a price. The price of time and efforts. He enrolled in a post-graduate study to learn how to make living shelter that can shield human (and other living creatures) from the fiercest winds, rain and flood. “Where we are going there will be wind and rain storms which you have never seen in your life.” She told him. Whilst she learned how to uncover water underground he learned how to build cover above ground. It was costly. He worked in the day and studied at night. Why did he agree to such a proposal? “Princess Turandot has charmed you!” The boss exclaimed. Because of the study, AJ no longer attended any night functions. He handled the day conference and convention and trained someone to do the night duty. Time was running out. He was 28 and she was 18. His mother was surprised and delighted. “At last you are doing something about your life.” She remarked with a smile. Interestingly the boss and AJ’s mother held two opposite perspectives. The boss looked at the power and glory that the world craved. AJ’s mother looked at the inner man her son was going to become. She had seen the hidden darkness that robbed the luster of his eyes despite the glitter of success in the material and fast tracked corporate business scenario. She had observed a change ever since the day he started a course on a new direction. He put on a new sail. His eyes positively gleamed with hope. He was in love. (to be continued)

she has a passion for hope: a haiku (and a prose)

sunny day and trees
a sunny day up the mountain

Beloved come now
Sail away to blue beyond
Many fields to plow ~~~~~~ “How do you know you know her?” Boss asked. He didn’t answer. How does he know? He just knows. He didn’t give her the right answer the last time because she was called away before he could answer her. She shouted, “See you next time!” He returned the next year. She was there. She had grown a bit. She was seventeen. This time she stayed longer and they talked. Some names were exchanged and he discovered that she was his mother’s private student! His mother was a freelance private teacher/tutor who worked exclusively with those who could not go to the usual school. His mother had taught very exceptionally bright students. “What? You are that girl who is doing PHD study on four billion people with severe water scarcity on planet earth?” They exchanged email addresses and promised to keep in touch. Before she left she asked, “Do you want to play that guessing game again?” He shook his head. He said, “Maybe next time?” She nodded. She remarked before she left, “you know, you look old. Why are you so burdened and wearied?” He had no cause to feel old but he did. He thought about his life, all the 27 years. He could not remember a day when he was relaxed and happy. He thought of how in his childhood he had to move from place to place as he followed his parents. They lived in exotic places round the world where his dad was posted as a missionary. They put him in an English boarding school when he reached 13. Later his parents became settled in their respective second professions and by then he was already staying in college far away from home. Because he was a special child he graduated earlier than others of the same age. Perhaps that was why he felt old. He thought about what she said. The golden girl. She had a passion he could not understand then. She talked of dreams. She asked him to dream dreams beyond what he was doing then in the Midas Convention. “Look around you. What makes you know you are doing the right thing for your life?” He went back to the Convention and looked around and thought about his life. He could not sleep for many nights. She mentioned the 100 million homeless in the world too. “What are you going to do about it?” She asked. She was thinking about four billion people without water and she still looked radiant and fresh and full of hope. He suddenly started feeling cheerful and hopeful. There had to be ways to overcome. He wanted to be real too. Like her. That was how it all started. Their relationship. (to be continued)

against all odds: a haiku (and a prose)

a winter day by rail
a winter day on snowy mountain

He does not lose heart
burning flame consuming might
overcoming odds ~~~~~~~~~Against all odds, their love was. He did not see her again for five years. Meanwhile he worked day and night for the corporation without distraction. He did not have his own private life. The convention-conference business boomed as they partnered with tech-digital gurus who revolutionized the way people connect. Connection was no longer hindered by geographical-location constraints. The key word became connect, connect, connect. It still is today. The guests and participants came armed with their own social connecting machines in their palms, on their laps. Yet the gold continued to pour in because the modern corporate players mix business with pleasures. The Midas still had the edge over any virtual holiday resorts because it offered physically tangible reality of places and food and social connections. The boss was elated, “AJ, we have the best of both worlds: The location. The connection.” But AJ had his mind elsewhere. On the first anniversary of the encounter he went back to the beach to see if she was there, the little princess. But she was not there. Her folks took her elsewhere. On the second anniversary he went again but she was not there. Year after year he went, hoping to meet her again. He had found out that her folks were one of those oldest and rarest families who remained on earth after thousands of years. There was otherwise no information about them. They came in their own liner and private jet. But he did not see her with them. Yes, he waited for their landing every year but she was not in their midst. He could not explain why he went back every year for an appointment which was one-sided. He could not in his rational mind understand what he was trying to do and what he hoped to get in the end. All he knew was the first encounter with her impacted his deepest soul. Maybe he knew his life was to tie with hers.

On this March day when he was a month from his 26th birthday, he walked to the deserted beach again. The sea was calm and still. Gulls were feeding. He closed his eyes and listened to the wind. “Ahem.” She said. He turned and saw a young girl of about sixteen standing behind him. Her large eyes watched him with the seriousness of their first encounter. He recognized her. She held out her hands to him and asked, “Can you tell me what are inside my hands?” He thought he was prepared but he knew she would not expect the same answer. (to be continued)

No river too deep to cross: a haiku (and a prose)

no river too deep tht cannot be crossed
No river too deep to cross

Aiming for the sky
Crossing rivers and mountains
None too deep too high ~~~~~~She is not Princess Turandot but She has given him three riddles just as the boss has warned him. “Turandot will finish you off. Off with your head. Feed to piranhas. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, AJ.” The boss was now misquoting the playing card Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland). Boss also thought he was going to the Amazon. But AJ knows better. First, his princess is not Turandot. Second, he knows all riddles can be solved. Third, she loves him and it matters. She will not put him through a risk greater than what he can bear. When the riddles come he will be ready. He believes Love is on his side. On the other hand, he has to find and train a successor and hand over the business of the Midas Convention Hotel chain. He remembers the first time he came to this corporation which was conservatively named Goodworth Hotel chain. Convention hosting was only an auxiliary service for corporate or other organizational visitors who came in a group and might want to have their own official meetings. When AJ joined the group he saw the potential of a more focused and faster growing niche market. Studying the global trend in corporate training he saw what he could develop into a major hospitality market utilizing strategically located hotel he acquired. Like someone said, hotel is all about location, location, location. He did just that. Business boomed and they became a major player in the convention scene. Gold poured in. Their name was thus changed.
On the day AJ met his little princess he had already been with the company three years including part time as an intern whilst doing his postgraduate degree. He was chronologically young. But his real age was older and wearier of the drudgery of life. She said, “Ahem.” When he turned and saw her for the first time he knew he was entering into another world. That stretch of her family’s private beach was shinny and gleaming under the sun like they had been overlaid with billions of tiny specks of gold particles. Her hair, her eye-lids, her cheeks and her skin were covered with gold dust. He didn’t know whether this tiny golden girl was for real. He lost his words. “How old are you?” She asked. He had to answer, “21, this April.” “Old enough.” She said. She held out her two clenched fists and said, “Guess what I put in each hand.” He could see tiny bits of shinny gold dust stuck to her hands. “Golden sands?” He made his guess. She shook her head sadly, “No, in my right hand I carry honor, and in my left, wealth.” As she walked away, she said, “Try again next year.” (To be continued)

he knows her heart can melt snow: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowing mountain scene
a snowing mountain scene

depth and height of love
beyond his comprehension
life long wild passion ~~~~~~~~~~
One thing she does well. She makes him think of his life. Is he really living the life of the greatness he is meant to become? Night after night he wakes and asks himself. The boss sums up a physical/material perspective, “You have come this far, don’t throw it away. None of us will be there to help you if you fail.” The glitter, the popularity, the high living, the nearness to the highest society ever in human race, the social and financial rewards, the admiration and praises, the power, all. So familiar and so much a part of him after ten years of pouring out himself into a profession at a time of many changes and practically with the right people with power and wealth crashing gates to become part of his world. The boss remarked with frustrations (and obsession with opera), “Don’t go and marry the princess Turandot.” (In a legendary time, at the square in front of the Forbidden City in Beijing, China, the Princess, Turandot, is a woman of great beauty, but has a cold heart that is as cold as ice. She said, “Any prince seeking to marry me must answer three riddles. But if he fails, he will have to die.” This opera is the last opera by Giacomo Puccini.) How little does the boss in his ivory money-making tower know the depth, width, breadth and height of true love which can never be bought with cash. He has thrown away his own golden years since graduating with an Economics degree and later a Master of Science. Others call him a “golden boy”. It means he has the Midas touch. Their convention is no ordinary convention. It generates significant monetary income for all who participate as many successful spectacular business dealings happen in their midst. Suppliers and consumers alike. At 31 he has reached the peak of global corporate success. The first time they met she came with her dad and grandad. he was 21 and fresh from university. She was a precocious child of 11. Her folks were not part of the convention. They stayed in the same golden city but in a posher and more exclusive area. They had their private golden beach. He trespassed without knowing. This stretch of the beach was beautiful and deserted. He congratulated himself for having the good sense of looking beyond what everyone else looked. The bustling convention tired him and he needed a rest by himself. While he removed his tie and unbuttoned his Armani dress-shirt, he heard this loud “ahem’ behind him. He turned and saw her, a real-life princess, and yet there is  something about her like a celestial being, out of this world. He turned red. (to be continued)

Only way is up: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowy slope 3
a snowy slope 3

decision valley
gaping mouth hungry belly
no time to tarry
~~~~~~~~~He has no regrets. “Come. Marry me.” She says. All the exterior signs say, “Don’t go.” His big boss summons him to HQ and offers, “Listen, you are making a big mistake. You can pick and choose a station if you want to. Why don’t you stay and be a partner and still marry that woman?” Pointing to the golden globe on his polished redwood table the boss says, “We have many cities for you to choose from. Anywhere on this globe. Top hospitality-convention centers. You have been to all. Just pick one nearest to her if she doesn’t want to relocate.” It all sounds nice, he thinks silently. But the boss does not know her. She has demanded a full time job with her and not with the boss. Besides, she is not going to stay in any city. She is going to the poorest of the poor. In fact, she has already been there and laid her ground work. She will leave for the deepest jungle and furthest place on planet earth thousands of miles away from any city with or without him exactly one year later. Don’t talk to her about money. She is leaving her folks’ palaces, oil fields, liners, privet jets and all. An author says, “Love comes and takes away your world.” Indeed, he somewhat understands this now. Love compels. Love demands. She is a woman who loves with fierce love. She loves to give love to the loveless. Looking down this snowy slope he now sees the long way down. But then when he first loved her he looked up and not down. Only way is up. That’s the direction he will henceforth look. She is always up there, not down.

Look Up

perhaps he waited too long: a haiku (and a prose)

a snowy slope 2
a snowy slope

heart melts like spring snow
waves of love surging and flow
in rhymes chimes and awe ~~~~~~~He waited too long perhaps to leave. The boss would not release him until he found and trained a successor. He could hear the clock of his heart ticking like a time bomb as he was running out of time. She had given him a year and no more to settle his affairs and go to her. The business at hand in the convention-conglomeration corporate fast-lane was booming and jam packing every bit of his life, now that every one knew he was leaving. “How can you?” They accused. They sighed. They shook their heads. “No, you are not leaving us!” His best clients begged. suddenly orders and bookings door-crashed and piled up and everyone was asking to jump queue and put ahead of the pack in time before he left. It was a nightmare as he knew there was no way he could handle all the engagements to satisfy everyone no matter how he juggled the list. “No, I am sorry, sir.” That was all he could say to each disappointed client at the other end of the phone line. One day the boss called him into his suite and made an offer which could not be refused, “Look, we are making you a partner. You do not owe us anything. We offer you 25% shares without any conditions and you do not have to pay a cent.” But he declined. His heart said NO. She said no. She was not going to wait for him. She gave her offer. She would leave exactly at one second after midnight on the 366th day if he was not there by then. Thus his and her story began. He wishes now he has not missed. Or did he ever miss? (to be continued)

No place to stop, so begin again: a haiku (and a prose)

no ending of a pathassuming ending
reaching snow peak up this lane
beginning not end
~~~~~~~“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.” He hears this quote in his heart. His story has not ended and he is still writing his life and hers. That phone call from her has started a journey in which the two lives like two streams decided to merge and flow into one mighty river. The year of re-scheduling his life, her life, was not easy and they had to juggle lots of stuff out of the window of heart in order to have room for another soul. The looming obstacle was the self who refused to budge not even for a most loved one. Many times he said, “Ok, I am getting out of here!” He meant to pack and leave for good. One big decision he made was to leave his profession. The corporation. Everyone was shock when he tendered his resignation. “Why?” They could not fathom why a rising star was to dim so soon. Little did they know he had seen another light, much much brighter. He had to travel to another land, leaving this bustling harbor behind, the five-starred hotel living, the hospitality-convention industry, the meeting with thousands of people who came for the high-flying time of their own lives, the mingling of great minds and dissertations, the nights and days of battering with words and thoughts, the eating, the drinking, the laughing, the talking. “So sad you have to end this!” His boss said. “You know, I am retiring soon. You will get your chance.” The boss was hinting that he would be the successor if he bothered to hang on for awhile. But his heart had made up and he was not going to look backward. “No, thanks. I am happy leaving, goodbye, sir.” So he left, and began. No, his story and hers have just begun, not one story but two, alas.

she proposed: a haiku (and a prose)

a hopeful tomorrow
a lake with gleaming mountain

a hopeful morning
distant mountain gleams with snow
good omen coming~~~~~~~~It was her phone call that started it. It came in the middle of the day, right after lunch or before? He can’t remember now whether he had lunch that fateful day. The five-star hotel dining area was crowded with festive faces, limbs and trunks, meandering around piles of exotic dishes that surfaced during particular yearly festive events. It was not a place to receive her call but he had nowhere to hide as it was jam packed with heads and toes in every corner of this room. He stood still despite being pushed and crushed by shoulders and chests all around. He shouted at the top of his voice, “Yes?” He heard something shocking, he thought. “I can’t hear you, please repeat!” He heard again, clearer, one specific phrase, “Marry me.” He thought he was hallucinating. “What? Please say again!” He did not mean to be rude but it was an unbelievable phrase and he thought it had to be his own imagination. He checked himself, “Am I drunk? Or am I daydreaming?” Neither, his clear cool rational head assured him, putting a tether (alas, in vain) at the same time to thousands of hooves of horses running wild in his mind right then. “You have to marry me. I can’t stand this anymore.” This time he knew there was no mistake and it was her asking him to marry her. She was vacationing in her parents’ home at the tip of a tropical peninsular and he was thousands of miles away at the tip of a great continent somewhere, at a busy city harbor on duty indefinitely until he was scheduled to move on. “Ok, when?!” He replied. She said, “As soon as you can!” He remembered the thousands of times he proposed and she had rejected. “OK, please give me a bit of time to re-schedule my life! Meanwhile, here is the key to my heart, please handle with care!” A year later, they got married. Today, after many years he suddenly remembers this scene. Why? He is on his way up a mountain on this continent and she is again separated by another great ocean. He has never asked for his heart’s key to be returned to him. She is still keeping it, perhaps in her memory treasure chest. The snow has stopped and the distant hills are gleaming. Somehow his heart lightens and feels cheered as he watches them and he thinks to himself.

“Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get her back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” (last line quoted with a slight modification from “Gone with the Wind“)

Dictionary word:
omen noun
the torrential rains on day one of their journey were an omen of things to come: portent, sign, signal, token, forewarning, warning, danger sign, foreshadowing, prediction, forecast, prophecy, harbinger, augury, auspice, presage; straw in the wind, (hand)writing on the wall, indication, hint; literary foretoken.

snow tracks for the remains of love: a haiku (and a prose)

snow mountain continues
snow tracks up a mountain

Not beginning’s end
tracks of white so pure and light
heavy on my heart ~~~~~~~An ice storm, following three days of snow has turned the tracks into sheets of glazed ice that shine and shimmer blue in the distant horizon. He begins another climb up the snow covered mountain. The tracks are unseen and he just has to follow by memory of another day, a day of sunshine and green trees. There are holes on the ground made by others’ footsteps. In some he sees water. The trees seem unreal with their green color sticking out of the otherwise empty wilderness. Some are rather young trees, even saplings. He knows he is in the woods. Distance changes when he walks up this slope. He knows where he is heading but he has to make some effort to get there. It does get lonely. After some years of traveling this life, he has asked himself, “Why am I doing this? Why am I not settling down like many others? What am I hoping to leave behind?” He recalls the first line of a book, “I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I’m old, and you said, I don’t think you’re old.”(Marilynne Robinson, Gilead) He is leaving a legacy for her. They do have a significant age gap between them though not as huge as that between the couple in the book. A gap of fifteen years. When they first  met she was 29 and he was 44. He, an established successful senior executive in Wall Street, and she a young medical surgeon posted to a rural farming community. Their first meeting was impossible, like the meeting of aliens, like climbing this mountain on this Winter day. He knows he is not hoping to accomplish another miracle though he believes in miracle. Do not get him wrong, the mountain itself has no magic portion which can give him back his youth. Has he regrets over the life he has with his love? He seems now to have no words of his own. He recalls another quote from his favorite:

What is pertinent is the calmness of beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.
What is the point of worrying oneself too much about what one could or could not have done to control the course one’s life took?
― Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day

the remains of the day

how to say goodbye to her: a haiku (and a prose)

a silver mountain
a distant snow-covered mountain on the last day of January

How to say goodbye
when he has not even left
many tears and sighs ~~~~~~~~~No, he cannot say goodbye. He has left too many of himself behind. On this particular day he climbs many thousand feet and sees this distant white mountain, so beautiful and enchanting part hidden by the cloud. The scene is most unusual as it is the last day of January and they are supposed to have snow. But the ground is dry and brown and bare. The river T. is still like a dusty long forgotten discarded old mirror. The distant mountain is gleaming white, covered in snow. But the mountain saves the day by its view from a distance. It is too late to go the other side and he has to satisfy himself by viewing from afar, imagining what it is like on the other side. He remembers once he went to her house, not exactly there, a distance away from her house, separated by a park and a lake. He parked his car at the lakeside, under the cool shed of a lone tree. It was an off day from office and he had nowhere to go but to be near her somehow somewhere. So he went there, knowing she was on her off day too after her 48 hours of duty as an assistant anesthetist in the operation theatre. She would be sleeping off the effect of the gases. So he merely stayed under the tree and thought of her. They had newly met and she hardly had time for him. But he was happy and in love. Even though he had to love her from a distance then. It was a wonderful day after all. She woke later and they went for a meal, just the two of them. How can he say goodbye now? He has left his jogging shoes behind. Or perhaps he has left his baseball cap? Or maybe he has left his many half-read books on her shelf? Or his unfinished manuscripts which she has been editing? Yes, he definitely cannot say goodbye. He has left his heart behind.

he still cannot say goodbye: a haiku (and a prose)

a journey up the snow mt
a journey up a snowy mountain

a silent goodbye
forgetting how they abide
snow covers his hers

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~He still cannot say goodbye, even though he has packed resolutely and steps out and goes up this snowy mountain alone and in silence. Why begin another journey when he knows it will end anyway sometime in future? Often people ask those who travel. Why travel and spend your life there when you know you still have to leave the peak one day and return to base? He has no answer. He likes silence. When he has no words he stays in silence. It is like an invisible shield that covers him and keeps him safe. Sometimes he wishes he can become truly invisible. He can blend into the snowy scene and become a background to the trees. The trees are quite tall up the mountain. He feels so small like he has returned to his childhood again when he stands next to a tree trunk. Do trees talk? Or are they like him, silent? Well, he likes to think he hears them talk. When he is alone and the snow has stopped he can hear them sometimes. They talk in another language, as if they use code that sounds like the wind or the sound of water rushing in an invisible mountain river, tripping over hidden rocks protruding from the river bed. He talks back sometimes. Often he stays silent. He does not have words for them. These days when his heart hurts so much his words have deserted him and hidden in locked chest. His love has taken the key and he can no longer access them. No, he just cannot say goodbye because his love has locked up the “goodbye” word too.

saying goodbye again to dawn: a haiku (and a prose)

a morning in February
a morning in February

leaving her behind

pondering saying goodbye

trees witness untie

~~~~~~~~~~~~~He does not know how to say goodbye. Packing is one way to distract the tinge of sadness and an unnamed uncertain feeling. He packs and unpacks. His room filled with stuff and gifts. He travels light but is still stuck with stuff which mean something to him, reminding him of precious memories. So he ends up packing, unpacking and re-packing. He tries to use the Reebok exercise steps to distract himself while listening to an audio book (Gilead, a novel written by Marilynne Robinson that was published in 2004.) He cannot still his heart because he knows he may not come back this way for a long long time. For months he has been walking and watching lives in this country like she has become part of him, the scenery, the people, and the lifestyle. Because of the cold he longs to leave this place. Yet he knows the cold mountain as a friend by now. It is such irony. He likes to stay and at the same time he wants to leave. So this morning he decides to take this walk to say goodbye to his friend. Whilst there are so many unresolved things in his life, he has learned to live the present moment with gratitude and a sense of resolution to move on that only a traveler may know.

my journey of love: a haiku (and a prose)

cross road direction

time for reflection
heart’s compass has not failed us
true love’s direction

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Direction can be confusing even for a seasoned traveler. For a European continental driver like him traveling in US is more so as he is compelled to drive on unfamiliar lane, opposite to what he has accustomed to do. He has found the same with relationship. For years he has been on an old comfortable familiar pattern and now he is being asked to travel on an unfamiliar path for the remains of his days. There is no roadmap in love. A superior decision has been made for them. There is no option except to obey and go on this new and separate way, to the same destiny. He can choose the mode of travel but he cannot choose the company. He can choose the direction at a junction but he cannot choose the destination. He cannot even choose the time to get there as he has an appointment that cannot be changed. What can he rely on? His heart compass. Because this is a journey of love.

the colors you wear: a haiku (and a prose)

color green and blue

colors green and blue

always your favorite so true

a dress for my heart

~~~~~~~~~~~~~He remembers her in her blue and green dress. She dresses well. The colors of nature: the green grass, green plants, green trees, and the blue sea, blue mountain, blue sky. Often there is white space in between, like a white canvas background on which an artist has gently and richly added splashes of the colors of his heart, the blue and the green. Blue is for spirit. Green is for life. Spirit and Life. His love is so beautiful, filled with life and spirit.

Verses: John 6:63 New Living Translation (NLT)

63 The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

Where I planted my heart: a haiku (and a prose)

planted my heartHere is my heart’s plea

forever planted like tree

Never shall I flee
Where have I planted my heart? You ask. There was an old story that said a man left his hat wherever he went. It seemed to be his way to mark his past. It did not serve any purpose except perhaps to make the former loved one remember him. What a vain hope. She would at best cut it into pieces and throw it to the dogs.

I suddenly remember this story when I look at the trees planted on high ground. I am on this train journey to meet with you. Trees do not move. They stay where they are planted all their lives. I shall not plant my heart like a hat. No, I shall plant my heart like a tree. It will mean I have not really left. I have been planted. My heart fixed on my one love-you, no matter where I shall go again. My heart will not be moved.

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