Carolina Blue Sky

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Blue sky embedded on flat rocks

Mountain stream gurgles over

wet stones

polished and shaped

during ten thousand summers and winters.

*****

Native Americans sat on these rocks

drank from the stream

enjoyed the beauty of the falls

long before we arrived…

to claim it!

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Today the d’Verse group is back from summer break, and our prompt is Blue!  We are to write a Quadrille of  exactly 44 words using the prompt. Skies have be extra blue this summer, as pollution and smog are reduced due to Covid-19 stay at home orders. There is nothing more beautiful than the Great Smoky Mountains. The photos above are from our trip to the Pisgah National Forest in 2012. This is Looking Glass Falls near Brevard!

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

Tears Remembered

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Today, in the US, we are celebrating Columbus Day. To me, a conflict arises, as I think of the Indigenous People who were affected by this event. The arrival of white Europeans meant the beginning of the end of the lives of the Native American people. In North Carolina, the Cherokee people were force off their land and driven to the Oklahoma desert land to live. It became known as the Trail of Tears. Many died on the long march west. Some hid in the North Carolina mountains and a refused to leave. There is still a Cherokee presence in the Great Smokie Mountains.
When we visited Banner Elk a couple of years ago, we saw symbols of Indian heritage in the stone walls erected in the center of town. This was very interesting to me, since I read that there are numerous gated communities in the Banner Elk area. I would guess that very few, if any, of those residents are Cherokee.

Banner Elk stone walls
Remind us of tears shed
Fall brings bright colors

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Photos: Dwight L. Roth

Frank Tassone, at d’Verse asked us to write a poem for Haibun Monday using the word indigenous. I decided to take the viewpoint of the displaced Cherokee people who once lived in the NC mountains.

In 1977 participants at the United Nations International Conference on Discrimination against Indigenous Populations in the Americas proposed that Indigenous Peoples’ Day replace Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day recognizes that Native people are the first inhabitants of the Americas, including the lands that later became the United States of America. And it urges Americans to rethink history.  While Columbus day remains the Federal Holiday, many communities in the US celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day this year.

Join us at: https://dversepoets.com

 

Sturgeon Moon

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The Full Moon in August is referred to by the Native Americans as the Sturgeon Moon. It is thought that it was due to the large numbers of sturgeon that were available in the northern lakes and rivers at this time of year. Sturgeon are thought to be prehistoric remnants of the ice age. They are bottom feeders that live much longer than most fish. Their boney scale-less bodies and long pointy noses make them look quite different from most fish. Today, Frank Tassone asked us to write a Haikai poem that refers to the Sturgeon Moon. The painting above, of the moon over the mountains and the flowing river, is one I did a few months back. Yesterday, I went back and added more details and color to the original. It is a recycled painting from the Habitat Restore.

Sturgeon Moon rises

Like a boney reflection

Ancient survivor

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This is my little corner of the garage where I do my painting!

Join us at:   https://frankjtassone.com/2019/08/10/haikai-challenge-99-8-10-19-sturgeon-moon-haiku-senryu-haibun-tanka-haiga-renga/

 

Fourth of July

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When I was growing up the Fourth of July was our time to go visit grandparents and relatives who lived four hours away. It included an extended family picnic in a field along the back mountain, where wonderful dishes of food were spread down the extended table. Home-made ice cream, hand cranked in a wooden bucket filled with ice and rock salt, topped off the meal. A softball game in the pasture field included young and old. It was always a grand time.

A few years ago it occurred to me that Independence may not mean the same thing to all Americans. In America’s past, all men were not created equal in spite of what the was written in the Declaration of Independence. Amazingly,  people are resilient and rise up from slavery, hardship, bigotry, and pain to become the people we are today. There is no going back to fix the wrongs that have been done. But we can determine how we will live from here on into the future.  It is an ongoing lesson for all of us. This poem originated from those insights.

Fourth of July

When all the fireworks fade into ashes

And the Bar-B-Que grills have cooled

When the wide eyes of the children close in blissful sleep

Do you ever wonder

what Independence Day really means

to the ancestors of African slaves

brought here in the holds of ships

who look back at our forefathers

who bought and sold them

Forefathers who wrote “all men are created equal”

And realize the dark ones were not included

In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “less than human”

Or perhaps to the Native Americans

Who loved the free and open spaces

Only to be run off their lands

Herded like cattle into the desert

Left where summer heat scorched them

and winter snows chilled them to the bone

Where animals were few and crops refused to grow

Were they a part of “All men are created equal?”

No, in the words of our former Presidents

“They are just savages… they were less than human”

Or perhaps to the “Illegal Aliens” who scrub our floors

Pick our fruits and vegetables build our houses

Mow our lawns and mulch our shrubs

Are they part of “All men are created equal?”

No, in the words of many of us

“They are just ‘wetbacks”

“Nameless illegals”

“Who should be sent back where they came from”

Though we may not say it some of us think

They too are less than human

How quickly we forget the dark side…

How soon we lay aside our guilt insult or pain…

We rise as a flower in the sidewalk crack

Stepped on over and over again

Yet we rise and bloom from the strength of our roots

Independence Day is a time to “Bloom”

To draw from the strength of our roots

Not to forget but to move on

To all that we can become

In a land where in God’s eyes

“All men are truly created equal!”