Thoughts on Your Birthday

I wanted to tell you
how I fell in love again
with the sun on solstice morning.
Her warmth pulled me back
to myself and all the living
I have yet to do.

I miss you most in these moments,
when I’d share
another ridiculous whimsy of mine
and you’d take it as seriously
as a selkie takes the ocean.

Maybe this is why you called me Joy.
That never made sense to me.
It wasn't as much joy as survival.

I know the limits of my moth-eaten memory
and no matter what well-meaning people say
it isn’t the same as you still being alive at all,
not even a little.

I am left making up stories instead
about the sun and the stars 
caring enough to watch me

scavenge strands of joy
from the little moments of living,
in the hopes of weaving something beautiful
enough to honor who you were.

Liner Notes for this Groove: Today is the birthday of a friend of mine who passed away. These were just thoughts I had about it. 

Aiming Towards the Sun

 Aiming towards the sun,

the hawk shows dedication.

Cultivating grace

in those who witness her flight.

She shows the path to follow.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This tanka was written in honor of a fellow student of Japanese tea ceremony. She recently got her tea name. What that means is that she has practiced tea for a long enough time at a high enough skill level that she earned a name that shows she is part of the Urasenke tea school lineage. My tea teacher told me that in older times tanka poetry was sometimes composed in honor of students who achieve a high level of proficiency. I decided to try my hand at it. She seemed quite pleasantly surprised at how well it turned out (she had no idea I wrote poetry at all).

I am years (and years) away from earning my tea name, but I do hope that if I do earn one, it will be as lovely a celebration as we had for her.