©2014 Beret Olsen
I grew up in the Midwest, as far as possible from any ocean.
I might have withered in the parched heat of the Plains, but my family headed East for the summers, where a day without a dip in the lake bordered on shameful.
Still, as close as we were, we seldom made it to the seashore, but if and when we did…
I wandered along the water line, icy water creeping unexpectedly underfoot,
The undertow sucking sand from beneath me;
Greedy surf clearing the shore of footprints, emptying the mind of everything but the present.
I looked for shells with perfect holes bored in their bellies from countless trips across the sea floor.
I looked for bits of seaweed, and crabs, and little fish trapped in tide pools.
But what I gathered and hid in my pockets were the stones which had been worn smooth by the relentless drive of the tides,
From being tossed and raked across the beach,
But honed and solid,
Warm in my hand,
Ready to skip.
It reminds me through the long winter chill
That the elements conspire to make us beautiful and strong.
This tom could use a “manssiere.” -Photo from wikipedia commons.
“You know,” the spouse mused,
“This bird’s the double D-cup
of the poultry world.”
The haiku challenge is over, but I am unable to dismantle the machine. Though it may look as if I am listening to you intently, I am probably just counting your syllables.
©2003 Beret Olsen
At two, she clings fast
And then she is twenty-two,
calling once a week.
One for the Road
We’re pulling away
Laden with baggage and snacks
heading for elsewhere
While I Try to Work
The man next to me
thumps the bench and sings along
then reads this and leaves
Nirvana plays on–
without Kurt or anomie–
in waiting rooms now
Weekly Writing Challenge.
The Daily Post issued a
challenge to write five haikus this week. Yesterday’s post featured my first attempt. Here are #2, 3, and 4. They are–as you will soon see–completely unrelated. The first is about the book I just finished, which was terrifying.
I read this book fast
like pulling off a bandaid
to lessen the sting.
to see possibility
in the status quo
One finds anything
with a touch of a button
and targeted ads.
©2012 Beret Olsen
The Daily Post issued a haiku challenge for the week: five haikus in five days. Please be kind; I’m a little rusty. I haven’t written one of these since puberty.
from bare rock like cone-shaped swords
A land with no trees
©2012 Beret Olsen
This post is for http://www.redterrain.wordpress.com! ©2012 Beret Olsen
I was shell-shocked, sleepless,
mostly numb for three days straight.
On the fourth day, I was holding our tiny creation, mesmerized by her miniature, spastic gestures,
when I felt a sudden rush of sorrow and overwhelming futility.
Who am I to invite someone new into this crazy world?
Though fierce when provoked, I am so small, my shell hopelessly permeable.
What protection can I offer this perfect and vulnerable creature?
I wept for the confusion in store for her, for the first time she will be disappointed–perhaps by
And for the first time her heart will be broken.
Tiny girl clutched her raggedy rabbit
in a very particular way:
one bunny ear tucked in her mouth, keeping her thumb company,
the other poked partway up her nose
in a warm and vaguely comforting way.
She teetered on the edges of the room,
saucer-eyed and silent,
watching chaos unfold.
caustic blasts of incomprehensible rage and frustration,
and at last, a primal bleating
made her customary nighttime monsters seem benign and predictable.
My eighth grade English teacher made us memorize poems and recite them in front of the class.
“Someday you’ll thank me,” she said. “What if you’re sent to prison? How will you make the time pass?”
Two years later, we stopped for tea with relatives before starting a 200-mile drive.
I gripped my warm mug and eyed the drifting flakes, tuning out my aunt’s cheerful banter.
Then, rolling at last,
The heavens opened
And deposited a great wall of snow in front of our Chevy.
Piled atop each other, we spent the next cramped hours
Edna St. Vincent Millay
I went to a party this weekend–the kind with save-the-dates and RSVP’s.
A twenty-four hour party, in a house full of favorite people.
We had long conversations,
and random, hilarious exchanges in the kitchen, doubling over and holding the counter for support.
As the light faded, a surf band materialized…
and a truckload of barbecue,
margaritas in mason jars,
ping pong, dancing,
and heat lamps on the giant patio.
Then, around 10 pm, I started thinking about that great book in my bag,
and the pile of pillows on my fuzzy blanket
and I wondered:
am I a little under the weather? Or just old?
Special bonus! One of my favorite poems of all time:
Was it for this I uttered prayers,
And sobbed and cursed and kicked the stairs,
That now, domestic as a plate,
I should retire at half-past eight?
– Edna St. Vincent Millay