an autumn story: must be prepaid

a Pedestrian
mining town sale
nothing is free son
all must be prepaid
a voice from behind the wooden wall warns.

mind your step son
on real snow must be prepared
as he trips his foot over a thorn

the glassy bottles rattle
as he glides across and prattles
leaving behind many feet long gutter

clash, crash, clatter, smash
gliding rolling sputtering
not to worry ma’am stop hollering

i got cash to pay
boy looks up into dad’s face bathed in bright sun ray

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture in a mining town which had stopped operation. It is now for tourists and perhaps movies shooting. The autumn had long gone or was never there due to high altitude. But I like to keep the title as autumn story. Why? Because autumn gives a sense of forlorn beauty, a time to let go, mellow down and rest with a good warm cup of _________(fill in your favorite drink) and listen to random poetry reading, good and bad. Poetry writing is a personal thing. But reading is even better because the sound is part of the fun and you do not have to commit anything except some minutes/seconds of your life.

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autumn story: a man and a giant pan

old frying panHumboldt is a humble man
he lives alone with a giant pan
minding his business tending his sheep
never lazing or sneaking a peep

one night he counts and finds one short
leaving 99 behind with kind farmer Shultz
he calmly cleans his pan and drinks his port

he searches yonder with a daylight lamp
until reaching the darkest lair
of one ferocious beast that could prey
on his foolish simple little lamb

the monster may roar and paw while spewing names
brave farmer Humboldt lifts his pan and aims
once and twice and thrice he whams
the poor beast has nothing to defend against
this lopsided knock out match launched by
one humble man and a giant pan

(o what a heart-warming dawn, the Peeking villagers all rise and proclaim: humble Humboldt safely home with simple lamb and a giant pan)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture in an old mining museum. Somehow it turns out that the frying pan becomes the centre piece! So i decide to write a poem for it.

autumn story: land’s end, lonesome cafe, something orange.

poem for autumnShe says, No one passes here anymore;
You know, less is more.

Continuing chattering,
her eyes not engaging, hands fluttering
like butterfly trapped
on fake glass map.

You shouldn’t be here, Peter.
Her fingers deftly whittle
away a wooden kettle.

Too late now
we are closing down,
Peter. (She throws a bone across the table)
No one passes by anymore;
Less is more.
(Something orange Peeks, stirs and darts away from behind the door label, “Do not disturb”)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I took this picture on a beautiful autumn day in November 2015. You may ask me, is there a real story behind the above attempt of a “poem”? My answer is, you are free to find your own story. I am OK with any interpretation.

Incidentally, I just watched a touching, hour-long interview with an award winning old poet who started writing poetry in her teen, I realize how far away from poetry I have strayed since teen. I prefer Haiku because it is short. But it is not as satisfying as writing a poem.

As the poet urges, there is something one just needs to express. She enjoys painting and music but she cannot be good enough to be a painter or a musician. So she writes poetry to present her painting and music. To her, every poem is a precious creation and needs to be birthed with the best she has inside, to become a positive encouragement to others who read it. If I were to use one word to describe her, I would use the word, “Genuine”. She is genuine about her limitation and her giftedness.

I only came across her poetry yesterday while doing a research on a writers’ festival in another city for someone. After reading some of her work, I mentioned that I would like to buy one of her volumes. Today I received the good news that someone who attended the festival today has bought an autographed print for me as a gift! (I am looking forward to read it when it arrives).

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,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
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:
https://youtu.be/hWI9J5HFRfI

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)

another shore beyond

new-horizonNew Horizon Of course this horizon is familiar to many. It is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I took this picture outside looking at the blue beyond. There were few visitors outside that day at that time. One friendly oriental couple with a young child were around taking photos like me. It was a sunny day. I was alone. The others had gone somewhere else as they had visited this place before. I saw some gulls. A sailing boat at the distant horizon. I decided to present this blue horizon with hope. At the same time I also add a sunset horizon at the coast of San Francisco.

Meng Haoran 孟浩然, a Chinese poet who lived from AD689 or 691 to AD740, wrote a poem about the horizon. I quote below the poem and my attempted translation.
早寒有懷
木落雁南渡,
北風江上寒.
我家襄水曲,
遙隔楚雲端.
鄉淚客中盡,
孤帆天際看.
迷津欲有問,
平海夕漫漫.

My translation below~~~~
“The Winter comes too early to my heart”
Amidst falling leaves the geese fly south
over water chilled by a cold wind north
my distant home is up this river bend
in the Chu mountain’s cloud it hides
as my journey ends some tears are shed
Folks at home are yearning for this lone horizon sail
for I seem to have lost my way, my quest
while the sea remains as calm as the vast night veil

another-shore-beyond

a tiny goodbye with two poems

tiny-flowers
He said goodbye to this Tiny garden that morning as he did the usual round of walking solo before he left for another country.

Walking is a passion but it cannot be done with joy without the existence of the teeming lives on the way. This cluster of tiny flowers livens up his walk. They are like friends who are so used to each  other that they hardly need to talk. A gentle tilting of the head and a shadow of a smile at the tip of the lips, a slight lighting up of the eyes, and a mutual recognition in the heart…are all that requires. For good friends it is not hard to say goodbye. They update travel schedule by forwarding the airline email. Sometimes they text the other when they are onboard waiting for others to settle and the waitresses to walk pass and remind them to turn off the mobiles.

In the olden era in an eastern country the traveler is usually accompanied by the friend and they walk outside the city gate to where the meandering highway touches the foot of a mountain. They pause and toast each other a farewell drink and then part. The same for the waterway. They part at the quay and wait till the boat sails off with the traveler. Many beautiful farewell poems are written and I quote below two poems in the translated versions I found at random on the internet.

Wang Wei (701-761): Farewell (1- Here in the hills, I bade you farewell)

1 Here in the hills, I bade you farewell;
2 And by dusk I closed my twiggen door.
3 O grass will again be green next spring!
4 Might you, my lord, be back once more?

Farewell to a Friend
by Li Bai
Green mountains bar the northern sky;
White water girds the eastern town.
Here is the place to say goodbye,
You’ll drift out, lonely thistledown.
Like floating cloud you’ll float away;
With parting clay I’ll part from you.
We wave and you start on your way,
Your horse still neighs: “Adieu! adieu!”

define muse: a haiku

Muse
20160123_133542Neither you nor I
musing poets to define
sky water divide
I took this picture last January in Reno. The sun, the cloud, the water and the grass were in quite a spectacular harmonious formation. Narrow and yet broad in the limitation of my phone camera. Quite a poetic inspiring place. My hair turned to gold in some pictures. I did this little haiku only when I look at the pictures now and recall the solitary moment without adequate words to describe then.
Narrow