Staying in Focus: Sunrise, Sunsets and the Days of Our Lives on Vacation

We will be taking a vacation over the next ten days, and my internet access may be limited.  We are heading into hurricane country ( the northeast) but right now the forecast is for rain mostly, some wind, but we don’t care.  The resort we stay at has a huge indoor game room filled with ping pong and pool tables, video games,  a miniature golf course, a gymnasium, a lounge where trivia games are played during the day, and  a theater where bands, comedians  and magicians entertain us at night.  The cafe and the dining room are in this building as well, so we’ll have fun despite the weather. If we choose to stay in our room, we have  a silk blush bed, a bathtub for two and our own heated swimming pool. So as you can see, plenty to keep us busy! I’ll try to check in if their free wi fi is functioning.  The goal of this vacation is really to relax and destress from all the pressures we are facing.  I have my appointment with the oncologist on November 5th, to find out the results of the CT scan. I plan to rest, relax, meditate and prepare for whatever comes. I have some poetry ideas bouncing about in my mind, so I probably write as well.  Anyway, see you next week  if possible, by Nov. 1st for sure.

As you know, my trip to Alaska had  a profound effect on me. I’ve always loved nature, mountains especially, and I guess I didn’t  realize how much I missed it.  I mean, we have mountains in North Carolina, and we pass through them on our way to visit my pal in Alabama, and we travel to the Poconos in Pennsylvania, but these are domesticated mountains (ah, the line or title of a poem), not the wild, mighty snow-capped beauties of Alaska.  Walk through the capital city, Juneau, and you could almost expect to see  a bear rambling down the street. Juneau itself looks like  a frontier town. And arriving in Alaska by sea was an equally moving experience.

I know I’ve mentioned that incredible sunrise I witnessed on our first dawn aboard ship..   My husband was asleep as, seemingly, was the rest of the world.  It was just the sea, the sun, the sky, and me.  I could have stood watching that sunrise forever. But as if often true with beauty, it is fleeting, and the moment passed.  But the memory, remains, and taking this poetry class has helped me find away to better voice these experiences. Our teacher has asked us to see if we can find our niche in poetry by reviewing all we’ve written and I have two central themes, nature and family/memories, which recur most often when I write.

Anyway, I wrote this sestina poem about Alaska and the series of  seven haiku poems about the sunrise.  The goal of poetry is to paint such a vivid picture of your subject or experience with words, that the reader feels he or she is experiencing it firsthand. I hope this takes you, for a moment, to a different place.

And Did I Mention the Water is Aquamarine   (Sestina)

a pristine wilderness, wild and untamed, a place called Alaska
a land of bears and  bald eagles, graced with icy glaciers
and did I mention the water is aquamarine?
our ship slowly starts passage into the fjord, a slim slice of paradise
we pass the silent sentinels,  the mighty mountains,
a disturbance in the water, we are in the company of whales

we spy a spout of steam,  a telltale sign, we watch for the whales
in summer, they come to feed on small fish off the coast of Alaska
fresh water runs in rivers from the melting snows of the mountains,
slowly they move, ages old, ever-changing,  grinding rock and ice, the glaciers
glow on a rare sunny day in July. We are thankful to be here in such a paradise,
enchanted,  we watch the sunlight sparkle on waters of aquamarine

this is a color rarely seen – a translucent version of aquamarine
so pretty when it swirls, and suddenly,  there appear two killer whales,
azure skies, the brilliant sun, running waters, crystal ice, this is my paradise
and a dream come true – long have I waited to come to Alaska
to see blue ice glowing in the fissures of the glaciers
and marvel at the snow capped peaks of lofty, rugged mountains

beaches are fine, but take me to the mountains
especially those that surround waters of aquamarine,
crack! the sound echoes, as ice splits from the glaciers,
in the gold of the setting sun, the breach of a whale,
I’ll forever remember the unrestrained beauty – Alaska
has all the facets of a true paradise

I walk in the beauty of this wilderness paradise
where wisps of fog conceal the tops of the mountains,
the leaves strung with pearls of morning dew.  Of Alaska,
I’ll always remember that incredible shade of aquamarine
and that sound in the night – the exhaling  breath of a whale,
with those blue icebergs sailing by, spawned by the glaciers

despite their age, there is a fragile beauty in the glaciers,
which is woven in the fabric of this natural paradise,
I can hear it calling to me in the singing of the whales
as it  echoes through the canyons of the waiting mountains
and reflects in the waters of aquamarine
it’s a song of the wilderness,  – the song of Alaska

I came in search of whales, and the snow-capped mountains,
which rise in silhouette above the glacier icefields, in a paradise,
a dream taken form in aquamarine – Alaska.

Note: in the six stanzas of the sestina, six words are used to end each sentence, and they vary in  a precise order.  My words: glaciers, paradise, whales, mountains, Alaska, and aquamarine. In the final tercet 2 of the 6 words appear in each line, also set by a precise form.

Sunrise , Sunset at Sea (Haiku)

we watch the sun rise
light vanquishes the darkness
and color returns

the calm sea reflects
ribbons of orange and pink
we stand mesmerized

as the sun rises
it paints a path of gold light
for us to follow

as the sun lowers
bands of dark purple and blue
bruise the evening sky

rays of pale sunlight
reach out across the water
the sun bids farewell

we watch the sun set
the shades of night seep in
the sky veiled in gray

the calm sea darkens
a weary sun now at rest
color fades to black












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