A Blushing Haiku

late spring freeze shocks bloom

snow falls on tender petals

patient blush persists

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff 

On Reading, Writing, Gardens, and Chickens

In these crazybusy times, I have been keeping myself sane with the crazy business of reading, writing, gardening, and raising a new flock of chickens. Those of you who have been with me for a long time know that I also homeschool my children, a thing that used to set us apart from most of our friends and family. Now, everyone is doing it. How surreal!

(Side note: If you or any of yours have found yourselves suddenly faced with homeschooling and want to chat, complain, or brainstorm solutions, feel free to email me. We have been homeschooling for 18 years. Been there, done that, still learning.)

On Reading: Please join me here on Wednesday for more about that.

On Writing: I have been busy with several writing classes to help prepare for entry to an MFA in Creative Writing. As a part of that effort, I have been working on the craft of short story writing. If you are curious, hop on over to the Writer’s Workshop at the godoggocafe.com to read more (https://godoggocafe.com/2020/05/02/writers-workshop-iii-may-2020-story-structure-difficult-choices-and-birds/). For May’s workshop, I have shared one of my shorts and the assignment prompt that it was written in response to. For now, we have changed the format of the Workshop to a single prose prompt a month without the editing challenges. Everyone is busy, and life in the midst of Covid-19 is crazy. That said, I would love to have you join me in the Workshop for some fun writing challenges!

On Gardens:

On Chickens:

I have been a bit behind in my Monday posts. As these weeks go on, I will post some of my new poetry, a few of my short stories, and more posts like this, sharing a bit of what we are doing to make our lives at home as rich as possible in a day when we aren’t able to do much else.

Stay safe, healthy, and creative everyone!

©️2020 Tanya Cliff

This Tree – Revisited

This week, my family will be welcoming the first of a new flock of chickens. Those of you who have been with me a long time might know that we used to live out on acreage, complete with chickens, ducks, turkeys, and a large garden. We had relocated to the Madison area a few years ago and bought a house in town. While it had its conveniences, we all missed the land and the birds.

Last fall, we moved back into the country on ten acres in the beautiful Driftless Region of Wisconsin, land untouched by the last glaciation. In a few days, we will welcome the first of our new flock, three Cuckoo Maran hens. For me, it feels a bit like welcoming old friends home.

When the threat of coronavirus passes, we will all come out of our homes and reconnect with family and friends, strengthening our deepest bonds, breathing the fresh air, and revisiting familiar places. We will pick up where we left off, albeit with the changes that life demands. Still, we will pick up and carry on.

Stay safe and healthy, everyone.

This Tree

I’ve hiked this trail before
winding through a wooded wonderland
in awe
today,
air sweet with the detritus
dampened
by spring’s morning mists,
I breathe
lost in a tree-born revere
my soul plays in the canopy
my toe, earth bound,
snags the arching twist
of an exposed root
hiding under last fall’s rotting leaves
I stumble, startled
catch myself against a tree
its rough bark—a finger hold—
steadies me
I rest my back against this strong friend
yes, this one
whose rude root
tripped me
I trace the root back to this tree
Guilty!
Old Confidant!
this friend
responds with shaking laughter
as the wind rattles
bare limbs
just stretching from
winter’s rest
this tree chuckles
and
breathes me

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

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A Patient Haiku

silver-lined clouds drift

latent plants, contained in buds

wait, through winter freeze

~

#staysafe #stayhealthy #stayhome

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

A Grateful Haiku

larval-shaped Monarch

shows Milkweed deep gratitude

with devouring bites

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

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No Turning Back

There is no turning back
Each push,
this birth a struggle
we will win
you and I,
my winsome child
Each push
a little closer
as you cross this swaying bridge
tethered
I’ve got you
almost in my arms
Let there be storms
I will hold you
comfort you, guide you
Each push
we’re almost there now
There is no turning back
to womb’s warmth
Fight through
the pain
the fear
and
cross
Welcome to your life
There is no turning back

my response to the following prompts from these awesome humans:

Beth’s “there will be storms”

Eugi’s “winsome”

Sadje’s photo prompt

Stephen’s Level UP Challenge that combines them with a twist

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

 

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An Inviting Haiku #2

hand-held wand crackles

casts sparkling, inviting spells

on warm summer nights

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

The Sun Melts

The sun melts
Crimson pools spill across the horizon
staining clouds
oranges, pinks, purples
A beacon?
Welcome, Night
The moon
waxing, waning,
in a perpetual dance with an ever-jumping cow
A harbinger?
So long, Day
Sands
through the hourglass
falling, passing
“hush-a-bye baby on the treetop” time
A promise
Living art
rendered in warmest hues
broad strokes across the cool sky
Time
passes by

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Cardinals

The sun travels along the arch of a low horizon—the short path
of a winter day
when cold air aches
pressing into our bones
Later, ice-glazed tree limbs crackle
in the midnight winds
heard outside our shut-tight glass
Snow falls, covering
paths, dead leaves, and seeds
In the frigid morning, the birds seek
a meal to sustain them
They gather on our deck
where the filled feeder hangs like a beacon
juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice
jostle with their larger brethren
the hairy woodpeckers with their zebra-striped backs
and the hungry cardinals,
their flaming feathers, a florescent highlighter against the snow,
marking the places where the seed falls
They write their stories in footprints as we watch them:
the male cardinals wait while their partners eat their fill,
then battle with each other for the choicest remains
Chivalrous? or cavalier?
Crimson heroes to their girls
Red villains to each other
Can a man be both things?
Do the history books tell?
For the cardinals, the chronicle of this winter journey
will melt, the empty seed shells scattered
will dissolve
into fresh earth and green grass
But we will remember both hero and villain,
their footprints transcribed in letters
of our poems and prose

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Did I Say?

Did I say that I want you?

Alice enters the room and stares at Jimmy, waiting. How can he not remember? He yelled her name three times a few minutes ago. Her knees need replacing, and the hallway—stacked with bins of her half-finished crafts and quilts—requires negotiating. He had sounded afraid, almost panicked. She responded as fast as she could hobble, but, now, he looks up at her, baffled.

Alice’s children had warned her about getting involved with a man that late in life. Her daughter had complained, “He just wants someone to take care of him.” Her son had been less tactful, “He is broke. He needs your money.” What money? Her mortgage had been paid off a few months before her husband died (eleven years ago, but it feels like yesterday), and she is the sole the beneficiary of the modest life insurance policy he left behind. It covers the property tax and puts food on the table, not much more than that. She had heeded their warnings for two years, but Jimmy’s persistent pursuit had proven charming. Or maybe she had just grown weary of driving herself around town and pulling the garbage to the curb once a week.

Jimmy takes the garbage out now, at least if she reminds him; and he is a good driver, provided she pays attention and tells him where to go. When the kids ask her about Jimmy’s driving, she ignores them. (She doesn’t tell them about the woman he nearly hit in the parking lot of the grocery store last month or how she had to grab the steering wheel last week when turned the wrong way down Highway 35.) She hides the car keys from him, so he can only drive when she is with him.

Did I say that I need you?

He had told her that he was going to rake the leaves out back and then watch the golf tournament on tv. His shoes sit on the mat by the back door, clean, empty. He looks at Alice, vacant, the television remote upside down in his hands. The tv is off, the leaves, not raked. Jimmy turns away and stares at the blank tv screen.

Alice wants to yell at him, no, to scream, but Alice loves Jimmy too much to raise her voice. She walks over to him without saying a word and presses the power button on the remote control. He grins as “Wheel of Fortune” lights up the screen. As he fist pumps a correctly guessed letter, he shreds her dreams in a dignified air of victory.

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

This is my response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge that combines several prompts. Thanks to all these talented humans for the prompts:

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/level-up-writing-challenge-2-11-moves-to-the-cafe/

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-february-11-2020/

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/10/what-do-you-see-16-february-10-2020/

https://amanpan.com/2020/02/10/eugis-weekly-challenge-love-february-10-2020/