I Also Am Mortal

Left Baby FootI also am mortal, like everyone else,
a descendant of the first-formed child of earth;

and in the womb of a mother I was molded into flesh,
within the period of ten months, compacted with blood,
from the seed of a man and the pleasure of marriage.
And when I was born, I began to breathe the common air,
and fell upon the kindred earth;
my first sound was a cry, as is true of all.

— Wisdom of Solomon 7:1-5

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Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it.

— Emily Dickinson

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these words from wise ones. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee

Comments

  1. Ash Wednesday comes this week, and with it the season of Lent. I chose these passages for March with Lent in mind. For me, Lent is a time to remember that I am just human … and that that’s a good thing.

    a rattle of hail…
    the silence here inside
    before and after

  2. longing —
    at the end of the bare branch
    a light green bud

  3. carolyn says:

    Margaret,
    Your new posting triggered memories of one of the first haiku that I wrote. It is still one of my very favorites. Here it is … again …with a slight revision. It stills seems pertinent to the spiritual season.

    prayers and petals
    blowing in the wind
    ashes and dust

    • Lovely, Carolyn. I remember that one, and I like this version very much. Don’t know why, but I like the parallel between prayers and ashes, petals and dust. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Brad Offutt says:

    crocus arrows pierce
    cold earth into warming air –
    shots from Gaia’s bow

    Robert Frost spoke of the need for dead leaves to drift down and form a blanket that new life would pierce from below. Guess I had him on my mind when I looked down to see what the Earth is up to in the garden by the walk. I know they’re going to appear, yet they always surprise me.

    • Thanks, Brad. You’re right, crocus do look like arrows piercing the ground … the idea of Gaia shooting them out of the earth makes me smile.

      • Brad Offutt says:

        You know, Margaret, now that they’re blooming, the crocusses look like arrows that stuck in the earth coming down, not going up. Like when I was a kid and would shoot a flu-flu arrow straight up to see how far it would stick in the ground when it came down. Glad I brought a smile!

  5. Marybeth Bland says:

    twelve roses
    ten dollars
    thorns prick my hand

  6. carolyn says:

    blooming daffodils
    in my neighbor’s garden
    thou shall not covet

    • Carolyn, I always have a problem with envy in spring, especially when I drive into town! Things come into bloom much earlier in town. Out here in the woods I am cherishing every red-flowering currant that’s coming into bloom, and still waiting for the first plum blossom. In town, the plum blossoms are out…

      Well, mine will last longer. (smile)

  7. Marybeth Bland says:

    The weather has been crazy here in thr pacific northwest As it has throughout our country. This morning Fridat and I awoke early due to the time change. I opened the patio door and we stepped out onto the deck. We were greeted by bird song. Junco, finches, warblers were all singing as the flittered around my backyard. Friday went off to do his dog thing, I assessed the day.. Spring seems to be starting early this year.around my yard. That makes me happy.l

    after the rains
    soggy daffodills
    open

    • Marybeth, I love those soggy daffodils!

      Wednesday I drove home in the evening from Ash Wed. service, and as I came down our country lane, there were frogs hopping across … I had to slow down and go carefully to avoid squashing them. Probably saw 5-10 frogs crossing the lane! By the time I got home, the peepers had started up. First night I’d heard them. Our neighbor has a pond, and the chorus penetrates our windows and walls, loud and clear. I love the spring peepers. Now they are with us every evening.

      spring peepers
      …….a high branch
      …….notches the moon

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Marybeth, I like how you did this! You had me cold and damp after a rain, along with the daffodils. Droopy and not very spring-like. And then – surprise! – “open.” The whole scene, and my part in it, changed. Margaret, no peepers out our way, but I remember them from the farm in Missouri as a kid. They meant spring was arriving. You knew it was really here to stay when the first bullfrog joined in. Are there bullfrogs in your neighbor’s pond?

      • I think we have mostly tree frogs around here, Brad. Little green ones. I remember bullfrogs from back in Ohio, but have never seen (or heard) one in our neck of the woods. At this time of year, the peepers are loud enough!

  8. three years three months

    love letters
    in a dusty box
    my former life

  9. a clear blue sky
    on a sunny afternoon
    a pale moon

    • Carolyn, I like the image of the daytime moon.
      “clear blue sky” and “sunny afternoon” are a little redundant. What do you think of cutting “sunny”? Then “on an afternoon” doesn’t really work … probably want to do some other things with the lines, not sure what. I think the time of day (afternoon) matters, and the clear sky with a pale moon. Not sure how they go together, or if that’s enough.

      • Even though the sun is out, there can still be clouds so I am not sure I agree with the redundancy thing. It is the clear blue that I should change. The moon was beautiful yesterday afternoon. It seemed as if I could see through it. I hope you got a chance to see it and enjoy the sun! I will play with the poem.
        Thanks , Margaret !

  10. the sun on my back
    a pale moon
    in a bright blue sky

    better?

  11. HAIBUN CCCXXXIII: a wall of rocks can help stop erosion
    Outside the window I see a mallard duck floating in the lake.  A fountain cascades in the center of the lake and there is a slight breeze.  It is an overcast day but warm and I am grateful for the quiet to start the morning.  The trees are responding to the movemement of this world as my fingers touch keys and try to collect the scene.  I hear the voice of a mother below but no response is audible; some voices are simply too small to carry over large distances.  An older man sits down on a bench across the way and lights up a cigarette, elbows on his knees, he hunches forward.  If only he knew his leaning was drawing him closer to another human being.  I now hear the voices of children below, as a group their song rises and they sing out, “ducky, come here ducky.”

    reflections
    upon the water’s surface
    ripples

    • Haikucircle, in this haibun I like especially how the prose circles around, from the mallard duck in the first sentence to the children’s song in the last. I also like imagine of the man lighting his cigarette, then hunching forward. Vivid and clear. Thanks for sharing this.

  12. Welcome spring!

    This week we’ve been in Peoria, AZ for sun & Mariners spring training. It’s been good. Home soon, and that will also be good.

    spring training
    the birdsong as well
    pleasantly unfamiliar

  13. Marybeth Bland says:

    My husband has always loved to play sports . As he has aged work took priority. The sport city leagues became filled with younger and better players. But last Saturday the city began a program for men just like my husband

    a field full of daffodills
    older men
    play softball

    grandkids watch
    dreams relived

    Thanks Margaret for sparking a haiku. What do you think about our mariners?

  14. Marybeth Bland says:

    Mistake it should read

    Older men
    Play softball
    In a field of daffodills

    grandkids watch
    Dreams relived

    • Marybeth, what a wonderful image! I have to admit that I like your “mistake” (first version) best, because I like seeing the field first, then the scene develops as I see the players. But both are wonderful, thanks for sharing.
      And what do I think of the Mariners? Well we saw just two games. The first was tied at the end of the 9th, and they decided not to play on. (I guess they do that sometimes in spring training.) And the second was a slug fest, which we lost, after gaining & losing the lead a number of times. But overall I thought they looked pretty good. Saw Miller hit two triples in one game. Ackerley lay down a perfect bunt. Cano knock in a few runs. The pitching was erratic, but what do you expect in spring training? And the sun was excellent. Now I can face another month or two (or three) of clouds & rain…

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Well maybe I should go with the first. Originally it read

        In a field of daffodills
        Older men
        Play softball

        Grandkids watch
        Dreams relived.

        But then I took out the word in and it did not seem quite right. Maybe
        Though it is ok

        • Marybeth, that’s actually one of the things I liked about the first version — that it has a more traditional haiku structure, with a grammatical break after the first line. So the first line sets the broader scene, tells me “where” I am, with an image from nature, then the 2nd and 3rd lines go together to focus in and complete the scene

          An even more traditional structure would make the middle line longer than the first and last , but with the 2nd and 3rd lines still tied together grammatically, after the break.

          a field of daffodils
          older men play softball
          while [something something]

          Or instead of “while,” the word that ties the 2nd and 3rd lines could be a preposition, like “through” or “under.” I can think of lines but you can probably think of better ones for your poem.

  15. a fly ball
    over the fence
    a climbing vine

    • Carolyn, this poem puts two pictures in my mind — the climbing vine, and also the outfielder “climbing” the fence by stretching up to catch the fly ball. Thanks!

  16. Marybeth Bland says:

    a yellow lab jumps
    the ball lands in his mouth
    birds watch from fence posts

    • Marybeth, I like it that the ball “lands” in the lab’s mouth … that’s more interesting phrasing than just that the dog catches the ball. And I like the fence post link to Carolyn’s poem, and the bird link to mine! This is great, a little string of ball games, birds, fences… Must be spring!

  17. Marybeth Bland says:

    crows pick garbage
    knocked over in spring storm
    we watch and sigh

  18. For those of you who follow only in the comment stream, this is to let you know that I have posted a new Lectio+Haiku for April. You’ll find it at the top of the list on the Courtyard’s main page: http://www.courtyard.com.

    To receive notification of comments to the new posting, make a comment on that post and click the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” box BEFORE clicking Post Comment.

    I look forward to new poetry!