I dream here in this place of ancient magic, listening to the humming telephone wires. Oil wells beat like a thousand hearts. My roots stretch beneath the hill, into the frozen past. The dry desert sands cannot warm the hidden place where the Garden of Eden still flourishes, hidden from man these many thousand years. I was blown to this hill as a seed, more than 400 years ago.
mother lost in time
father wind threw me from her
alone in this place
A child fell, cutting his knee on a pottery shard. His blood watered the sand, pushing me into the soil. In his brief pain, he called to Enki, the Water God, who granted a year of beating rain. Was I blessed by Enki to outlive my kin or cursed to burn in the sun, gaped at by tourists?
symbol of forgotten time
outliving all loves
Himba Tribal Woman, Namibia, Africa Photo by Dr Agnieszka Wojtecka, Gdansk, Poland
I was born in Namibia in the heat of the summer sun, outside a homestead beside the Kunene River, many miles from the Skeleton Coast. Mukuru blessed my beloved Namibia with music, dancing and poetry.
homestead in grasslands
waters flow like gold blessings
river meeting sand
My young mother glistened with the traditional red ochre called otjize, which she made from the Omuzumba shrub in the way her mothers and sisters have done since a time beyond memory. Grandfather, the headman, tended the okuruwo, the sacred fire, feeding it Mopane branches. He had not let the fire die for sixty years. Over the fire, he spoke to his ancestors. Nearby, his daughter sat quietly, her braids shading her face, listening to music ripple like heat waves. His music drew my spirit down, and I sang my song to her, her braids sliding along her neck as she lifted her face to the sky.
red braids, shining face
your magic called me to earth
my song filled your ears
Sitting in stillness beside the Mopane in the meagre shade, she first heard my song. Her face shone with the light of the powerful desert sun. She listened carefully, and with her natural musical talent she quickly learned my song. I returned to my long dreaming, but she continued to sing my song. She called my spirit from the dreaming land back to the earth. The women welcomed me on the day of my birth, singing my song through the long hours of her labor.
first gasp of hot air
I cried from surprise, alone
watery world gone
You nourished my spirit, Mother of my earthly body. When I was sad, my mother sang my song, and my spirit remembered the dream land. I joined my song to the songs of the villagers and those of my sisters and brothers. I learned to tend the cattle among the men, but I thought often of my mother. When a lion came for the cattle, it scared me. I held my fear tight until my mother and the villagers sang my song, and my spirit soared high again. In dry years, the cattle grew thin in the high reaches, but the river sustained us like my mother sustained me. Always the cattle could find grass by the Kunene.
water is precious
waters draw grassland from sand
liquid sky, god’s gift
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham
Written for the weekly Ligo Haibun challenge (making Fridays more beautiful for us all).
Baby Coyote lived in a den with his mom and dad, deep in a wood surrounded by the roads and houses of big folk. Mom and Dad Coyote hunted at night. In the early morning, they woke Baby Coyote. They fed him, played with him and kept him safe. They usually slept away the long hours the big folk were walking the trails, but sometimes they would hide and watch them pass by. The big folk seemed to see nothing at all that was not on the trails. Baby Coyote thought they were funny, especially when they would exclaim over dragonflies or poison ivy.
One morning, his mom and dad had to go visit the faraway woods. On the sunshine oak next door, hidden in the nasturtiums behind a round door, lived a happy gnome. His name was Iron Hair, for his stiff, spiky gray hair. Continue reading →
“The world is mud-luscious… [and] puddle-wonderful” e.e. cummings
My neighbor greeted me mournfully with these sad words: “Your house always has that large puddle in front of it,” and she pointed. Sure enough, I could have laid down in that puddle, and it would still have been longer than me and wider, too.
“That’s okay,” I responded with a smile. “I have two small boys who will love that puddle.” She looked taken aback, but I was the kind of mother to take my boys puddle-stomping on a whim. We named that puddle Alligator Pond. Many times, we stomped there, in water shoes and rain boots, and found ourselves anointed with the magic waters.
Now we can see all the world in a puddle, earth, sky, trees and ourselves.
Puddle splash laughter,
Muddy knees, arms windmilling,
rainwater in boots.
Copyright 2013 Brenda Davis Harsham
Note: If you like the haibun poetry style (prose followed by haiku), and want to dip a toe, you can find this week’s prompt at Ligo Haibun.
Further Note: The puddle in the photograph is not Alligator Pond, which is much dirtier and much closer to the sidewalk.
Friendly Fairy Tales is delighted to offer fairy tales by and for kids!!
Here is the first, a terrific tale by K.H., Age 9
“Get out!” shouted King Dusk as he banned shape-shifters from his kingdom. Shapeshifters not only can shift into another form of any size or shape, but they can control the weather as well. King Dusk was frightened of the shapeshifters, and wanted them to be as far away from his new baby daughter as possible.
That day in the Land of the Lights, two children were born on the same second of the same minute of the same hour. The first was named Princess Sunlight, daughter of King Dusk. The other, Prince Moonlight, heir to the throne of the shapeshifters, was orphaned when his mother succumbed to a fever right after he was born.
The Finale of Clan Destined, the latest Adventurous Fairy Tale, is here!
The adventures of Darvin, emerging shaman of the Dwarvish Mountain Clan, concludes with a final confrontation, in The Clan Meeting. Darvin’s stiffest opposition for saving his clan from danger will be Granite, Sillette’s father, but he is not without allies, including his foster brother and Sillette herself. If you’ve missed Part I or Part II, they are already up and ready to read.
Gregori and Darvin fell into step on the rocky climb to the Great Cavern where all clan meetings were held. Darvin stepped three times for every one of Gregori’s long legs. Yoli remained behind to care for Wizen, unwilling to leave him in case the antibiotic did not help. The silence between the foster brothers was the consistency of clotted cream: thick, opaque, but oddly sweet.
“I was a goner.” Gregori said into the silence. He carried a lantern to light his way, not having dwarvish eyes, canny with night sight.
“Nah,” Darvin said. “You’d have farted, and they all would have run away.”
“Oh, Darvin!” Gregori groaned, although he couldn’t help laughing at the same time. “That hail hurt.” Gregori rubbed his head, his long legs taking him easily up winding path. Most clan longhouses were down the mountain, only the Great Cavern entrance was higher than the shaman’s longhouse.
“Lucky you have a hard head,” Darvin joked, giving Gregori a shove on his waist. He wasn’t sure that Gregori even felt it. He was happy to have such a big, strong ally in the upcoming meeting, but sometimes Gregori made him feel small, which he didn’t like.
Part II of the newest Adventurous Fairy Tale, Clan Destined, has arrived! In Gregori Returns, Darvin’s foster brother returns injured but alive. Together, they must find a way to stop daylight smelting or the clan’s safety will be endangered. The last part is written and will be published in a day or two.
Darvin drifted as part of the clouds for a long time, enjoying shoving them this way and that with his will. He forgot why he was there in the clouds. The ground looked black beneath him.
“Darvin! Darvin! Darvin!!” Darvin heard the call, and he became confused. Where was he? Why could he not move? He remembered he was scrying, and he remembered controlling the clouds. He tried to find his body, but he had lost all sense of direction drifting.
“Darvin!” That sounded like Sillette. He drifted along the water, particle to particle, moving toward the call, his consciousness moving along the water bridge as quickly as sound travels. He let go of his urge to control the clouds. They started to break apart.
Friendly Fairy Tales has a new Adventurous Fairy Tale!!
Clan Destined will take you on an adventure to Clan Mountain, home of Darvin, son of the Dwarvish Laird. Darvin discovers new powers in Part I, Flight in the Clouds. Parts II and III are written and will be published over the next few days.
Top 5 Sunrise by Vit Peyr
Excerpt of Flight in the Clouds
Darvin treasured the quiet moments of dawn. He was crouched among the rocks on the shore, and anyone looking would mistake him for another rock. Cold from the rocks and sea spray seeped into him. As the dwarvish do, he embraced the chill after a night of warm dreams.
As the sun rose higher, the yellow sky was garlanded by purple and orange blossoms. Some dwarvish cousins spend their lives underground never seeing a sunrise, but Darvin’s Mountain Clan live above ground. Darvin could not imagine life without sunrises to center him.
His father, Wizen, lay gravely ill. The peacefulness of the sunrise helped Darvin face his fear. If his father did not pull through, his childhood would be over. He would be Laird of the Mountain Clan. He was only 16. All the responsibility would be his. He told himself to breathe, just breathe. He let the cold bring him back to himself, then he headed home, climbing far up Clan Mountain.
His family longhouse was made of stone, blending seamlessly into the mountain. His uncle Forst was sitting on a boulder plucking a chicken.
Jonas walked up a hill behind the soccer field where his parents were watching his brother’s game. Being only six on his next birthday, he was not allowed to play.
Jonas pushed through thick bushes, stumbled and fell. When he got up, he felt as though the world had tilted and then righted itself. He shook his head, and opened his eyes. His vision blurred then sharpened. A strong, salty wind brushed his hair back from his forehead. He could hear surf in the distance.
Before him was a stone ruin, and he walked around it. He walked inside, and admired the thick walls. He had never seen any ruins near the soccer fields before. A tall window was set in a partially standing wall. He looked through, and as far as his eye could see stretched rolling hills and bright blue skies. He stepped through, and the air shimmered.
Satri knew that walking deep into the mangrove forest by himself was not allowed. Sometimes the noise of his six brothers grew too loud for him to hear his own thoughts. He was careful not to let Raksasa or Manu see him going. The twins were the eldest, and always acted as if they were the bosses of the other 5 brothers. All of them except Manu called the oldest Raksasa behind his back, because he was huge and tall, like a towering giant. He also had the quickest fists, so the brothers were careful to call him Jay to his face.
Satri slid away while Raksasa and Manu were fighting with Ragawan, the second youngest, who had taken out a trumpet and was blowing it as loudly and discordantly as he could. Widagdya and Lintang were beating drums. Wijah was laughing and dancing on his hands, a trick all the boys could do. Wijah, third youngest and three years older than him, was his best friend amongst the brothers, but today he really wanted to be alone.
Deep into the mangroves, Satri wove his way along narrow paths, leaving behind him the din of his older brothers. He stepped carefully over tree roots, skirting pools of water washed up from the Java Sea, never far away on this island. He ducked under low branches, moving softly in hopes of seeing a monitor lizard or a golden ring snake. The sun was shining, the light dappled under the trees, and the sea breeze blowing across the Thousand Islands cooled the air. The birds were silent. He saw nothing. That should have given him pause, warned him of what was to come. However, he was too grateful for the quiet to heed its warning.
Two children surprised a fairy. Mona, the fairy, was of the Swallowtail Fae. In the twinkle of an eye, she shifted to her butterfly form. She fluttered to a butterfly bush, then to a high hosta bloom. She watched the children.
The little girl pointed at her, “Stephano! I saw a fairy!” Mona wondered if she should flee.
Stefano laughed. “Isabella, that’s a butterfly,” He shook his head. “But we’re here to do a rain dance, remember?” He clapped his hands and stomped rhythmically in the grass. He danced in a circle, widdershins, and Isabella joined him, also clapping.
“We need to ask the Great Spirit for rain,” Stefano said. Mona was surprised the children knew of the Great Spirit.
Together the children chanted: “Great Spirit in the sky, the garden’s way too dry. Begging your pardon, please rescue our garden. Let rain clouds form and bring on the storm!”
Nothing happened. The sky stayed blue, and no clouds came. Stefano was crestfallen, but Isabella giggled about their prayer. “Mommy! We sang to the Great Spirit, and I saw a fairy!”
The air shimmered as Mona shifted back to her fairy form. Blue Iris petals formed her dress. Fairy magic kept them as fresh and soft as the day they unfurled. Mona was as disappointed at Stefano. She had been using her wand to keep flowers alive, but what they really needed was rain and lots of it.