Haiku Adventure–Part Three


What I learned from these poems:  what is usually considered good writing for other types of poems may or may not apply to haiku.  Alliteration provides an example.  Generally, in poetry alliteration merits a plus.  Not in haiku.  Regardless, I decided to leave the alliteration in this poem.  When I eliminated the alliteration, the effect I wanted disappeared.

red roan horse runs

rain roars

deep depression in mud

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Generally, I teach senior English–British literature.  However, one short class twice a week contains all freshmen.  My assignment:  teach them what they need to know to pass the state STAAR for ELA.  This poem illustrates what occurred during the class this past week.

teaching freshmen English class

What is a pronoun?

they stare; no one knows.

Book Signing and Rescue Horses


Tomorrow is a big day!!  First, I will get up and bake my second set of brownies.  It may be totally ridiculous, but on She Writes, taking food to your book signing was recommended so I made one pan of brownies tonight.  The other pan will bake in the morning.  Although this is not my first book, it is my first signing event.  Tomorrow at three at Hastings on Georgia I will be by the front door greeting and selling.  Because people actually get books signed and then do not buy them, just leave them somewhere in the store, Hastings will require buyers to pay first, then get the book signed.  I keep wondering just what sort of person does such a thing as get a book signed and then leave it randomly anywhere.

Since Cool died, I think Rosie is lonely.  Tomorrow morning Dove Creek Ranch Horse Rescue opens their doors for an annual event to show off their rescue horses, trained and ready for adoption.  At least I want to look and see who ( I see a horse as a who, not a which) is available.  Some of the horses have been so badly treated that it takes months and sometimes never to regain their trust and decent behavior.  Others just needed a home after their owners could no longer care for them.  The least I can do is look.  I will post photos of the ranch and horses tomorrow and report on the book signing.  Sleep currently seems a good idea.

 

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Getting rid of junk mail


The amount of junk mail seems to endlessly increase.  Once recycling ceased here for all practical purposes, I became a bit distressed and somewhat obsessed about what to do with all this useless paper.  It took me more time than I planned to discover where and how (hopefully) to at least get rid of some of this useless mail.  Now that I have done all this opting out, they claim I may have to wait several months before the junk mail quits showing up.  I will let you know what happens.

In the meantime if you want to try this for yourself and you live in the US here are some options:

-To remove your name from all catalog mailing lists, email optout@abacus-us.com and give them your name and mailing information.  You will receive a return email explaining that this will opt you out of all catalogs.

-To remove your name from only certain catalogs you do not want to receive, go to catalogchoice.org.  You will have to create an account and can unsubscribe to those catalogs you specifically do not want to receive.

-To opt out of other types of junk mail, you go to http://www.dmachoice.org.  They provide various choices for different types of junk mail you wish to quit receiving.

After doing all this, I decided to take a little hike in the new land of green in which I reside.  I discovered a tree, which I thought the drought killed, slowly leafing out–a rather strange sight in June.  Usually, this occurs a month to six weeks before.  Black foot daisies are blooming everywhere, their small snowy faces showing up boldly in the emerald grass sea.  When I opened the gate to let Rosie out to graze–finally there is enough grass to let her out, she ran and ran and ran and bucked.  Nothing is more glorious than a happy, running horse.  The prickly pear are near the bloom stage and some other cacti are starting to bud magenta blossoms.  When they come out, I will take photos to share.

 

 

 

Rosie

 

Rosie–photo taken by my friend, the photographer, Anabel McMillen.

The Sound of Silence


For years I puzzled over what this phrase means.  This evening I discovered the answer.  Unlike the first part of the week, today was sunny, little wind, high 70s, what most consider a perfect day weather wise.  I ran home from work, gave Rosie, my horse, some food, let Isabella, my dog out for a bit, and then ran back to town to see my grandson perform.  He attends Wolflin Elementary School.  The physical education teacher selected a group of students called the SWAT Team who perform at different functions.  The last time I saw them, they performed at a local high school’s basketball tournament.  Today they executed four routines at their school’s annual gala, a fund raiser with games, food, a silent auction, dunking in the water, that sort of thing.  It really astonished me.  I have no idea how much they practiced, but these routines were not short and everything was perfectly choreographed.  First, the boys performed using basketballs to do various tricks and movements in unison to music.  Then  the girls did this complicated sort of dance over these long bamboo poles that other students clicked together.  The only other place where I have seen anything like this is in Thailand at the Rose Garden near Bangkok.  The third routine included both boys and girls and they used this giant circle of multicolored cloth to dance around, in and out, make the cloth into a sort of yurt like shape.  I have no idea how they kept it up like a giant circular tent one minute and flat the next.  Finally, they competed with hoola hoops to see who could keep going the longest.

After I returned home, I hosed off the front entryway, planted some flowers in pots, and watered other flowers, all in preparation for a fund raiser tomorrow night at my house–to raise money for a local senior citizens center.  Rosie is shedding her winter coat and seemed miserable itching so I brushed her.  Now tufts of pale rose colored hair lay everywhere in her corral.  Finally, a bit after eight I came inside for a late dinner.  Then I noticed.  No sounds, no wind, no appliances humming, no coyotes howling, no birds singing, no dogs barking, no sounds at all.  Nothing.  The patio doors are open; I walked outside a few minutes ago.  Nothing.  I sit here before the computer and hear the sounds the keys make when I hit them.  When I stop, nothing.

Rosie

 

Rosie

 

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Isabella on the patio in winter.

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They started blooming today.

Intelligent Beings


Tonight the program Nature on PBS asked questions about animal intelligence as compared to humans.  This list portrays some of the things I learned, some new, some I remembered from past readings or other Nature programs:

-A few other animals besides humans recognize themselves in a mirror.  This list includes elephants, dolphins, and chimps.  Actually, humans do not demonstrate this ability until they are about 18 months old.

-Only a few species studied demonstrate a sense of social justice.  If they think they are being treated unfairly, they get mad and sometimes have a little fit.  This includes monkeys and dogs.

-Only one species studied demonstrated overt altruistic behavior and a sense of social justice toward others, the bonobo.  Of course, others may but have not been studied yet. Notably this is the same species that resolves social tension and conflict with sex rather than fighting.

-Humans grieve.  Many other mammals grieve immediately after the deaf of a loved one, e.g. their own young offspring, but few recognize the bones of long deceased members of their species.  The exception is elephants.  Elephants not only recognize the bones of other elephants, they frequently nuzzle them with their trunks and stay with them a while.

-Dolphins may seek out help when they need help.  The program showed a diver who was not looking for dolphins at all.  A dolphin who had a fish line and hook stuck in his side approached the diver and managed to stay very still while the diver removed the hook.  This took nearly ten minutes.  Of course, no one knows whether the dolphin was actually seeking help or simply stayed still when help was available.

-Chimps possess another behavior similar to humans, the ability to purposefully deceive.  A less dominant chimp was shown where a banana was hidden from a window outside an enclosure.  She and a more dominant female chimp were released into the enclosure at the same time.  The first chimp did not rush to the food.  Oh,no.  She waited and watched, played it cool,  and when the other chimp wandered off to the other side,  ran and ate the banana.

It is difficult to get inside of the mind of other animals.  Anyone who has pets thinks they are smart or at least dogs and cats seem to demonstrate considerable intelligence.  Horses do as well.  And yes, I have seen horses grieve.  When one of my horses died in a terrible and rather bizarre accident a few years ago, the other horses stood for hours in the place where the deceased horse had died.  They did not even leave to eat their alfalfa, a food they loved and always ran to.

I even think animals, in particular mammals,  know when they are headed to slaughter.  I think those who kill them know this but to admit it would be too painful.  They certainly know the smell of blood.  It incites terror.  Certainly animals can suffer at the hands of cruel humans.  Do animals besides us deliberately hurt others for the sheer, sick pleasure of it?  If there is a study regarding this topic, I have yet to see it.  I wonder.

 

The Farrier


He looks like the typical cowboy

with no cowboy hat.

A cowboy hat would get in the way

up against a horse.

Pale blue eyes,

grey, handlebar mustache,

pack of Camels

he chain smokes,

Australian shepherd, Chili, by his side.

After the trimming

he sits and talks to me

for two hours.

He tells me a story

he told me the last time.

I listen as if it were the first time.

People call him from Oklahoma City.

They want a shoer.

He tells them,

“Too far unless

there’s ten head at 85 a head.”

They agree.

He gets there with Chili,

a pup then.

He starts to tie her up.

“No need;

let her play with our puppy.”

He does.

They invite him out.

It is New Year’s Eve.

“The dive they took me to

was real rough, real rough,

so rough I’d worry about

my safety even with two 45s.

They had a friend singing there

somewhere in Southeast Oklahoma City.

Real rough.

Next morning I’m ready

for the other six horses.

There’s none.”

He packs up,

comes home.

Chili won’t eat,

won’t play.

He sits and waits at the vet.

It’s parvo.

She’s had the vaccine

but not enough time.

“The people in Oklahoma City

lied about the horses

about the parvo.

Chili stayed on IVs for five days.”

Today, Chili’s a dog dynamo,

no longer a puppy but

with puppy energy.

She and Isabella play

constantly for the two hours.

He says,

“You must be rich to build this place.”

I laugh.

“Rich, I’m not rick.

Lucky maybe,

no, not lucky.

I don’t believe in luck.”

A person makes her own luck.

Smart helps, sometimes.

Star


The phone rings.

“Star’s dead.  There’s blood everywhere.

He’s hanging from the gate.

Blood is all over Rosie’s face.

It’s dreadful.”

A tear choked voice.

“You can’t bring D’mitri home.”

D’mitri’s nine.  Star belongs to him.

Shock, tears, disbelief.

Last night he ran, bucked, reared,

chased around, playing.

How?

The pen’s all pipe, no sharp edges,

nothing harmful, consistently inspected.

D’mitri goes home with me.  He says,

“Nana, I have to see him;

I have to know what happened.”

Slowly, in dread, we walk behind the barn.

Star’s hanging by one hoof in the three inch

space between the gate and fence,

ankle broken.

The blood covered fence, gate, and ground

stare at me.

It’s hot, his body’s stiff.

He must be moved.

The coyotes will come in the night,

drawn by the smell of blood, of death.

The neighbor brings his big, red tractor;

a wench pulls Star’s young body free,

and gently lays him on the cold, grey, barn floor.

His shining copper coat no longer shines.

D’mitri and I remember bottle feeding him

after Miracle died, teaching him to lead.

We stare at Star’s body in disbelief.

Kindly, the neighbor says,

“He died quick, femoral artery cut by bone,

bled out.”

For hours Rosie and Cool stand at the spot

where Star died.

They do not even leave to eat alfalfa.

It takes me hours to wash away the blood.

It took D’mitri ten months to go back to the barn,

to ride Rosie again.

Miracle and Star as a newborn

 

 

Note:  This is a photo of Star and Miracle in July 2010 shortly after Star’s birth.  Miracle died of colic three days later.  Star died last May.