This poem is in approximate haibun style. Haibun consists of haiku interspersed with short prose pieces. This poem consists of Haiku-like poems interspersed with verses written in the rhythms of ordinary speech.
2012 year in review
(Actually beginning from December 15th 2011)
Thanks to TS Eliot for verse 15)
Five birthday cakes
A total of sixty candles
In Britain I would be a pensioner.
It was the year I knew I was growing older,
A year of struggles and triumphs
As perhaps all years are
But more remarked
Because of the sixty candles.
Menorah kindling at Rhoshelyg
Caroling in the mud
Christmas pudding flaming.
It was the year I went carol singing in a Welsh village
The year I saw a mother grizzly bear with two cubs,
The year we were pulled over by the Washington State patrol
Going five miles an hour over the speed limit
And Sarah was thrilled, because it was like the movies.
Willow tree of life and death
Springs anew and green
Beside Goose Creek.
It was a year when trees befriended me.
I stood inside a hollow redwood,
Camped amid sitka spruce and mountain hemlock
And meditated beneath an ancient English oak.
Brilliant Mars with Mercury and Saturn
Venus and Jupiter conjunct in Western sky
Night falls on Bluestem trail.
It was a year of celestial events.
The perihelion of Mars lit our evening hikes.
We watched the transit of Venus in the alley
With binoculars, printer paper
And our physics graduate neighbour.
Dormant for years
White orchid awakens
Delicate, breathtaking bloom.
It was the year I worked late nights and early mornings
Compiling twenty years of herbal studies
And the year the first white-robed students
Flowered as Ayurvedic doctors.
You have received everything.
Lama's last words.
It was the year Tenge Rinpoche shed his nirmanakaya form
Meditating for three days after death
And the year Juba and Julie exchanged vows
Witnessed by squirrel and vulture.
Scent of pine smoke fills the air
Flames leap on the mother mountain
Beloved home of bears.
It was the year winter was like spring
And Summer was an inferno
Fires blazing to North, South and West,
Smoke burning throat and lungs.
The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art.
It was the year I sprained my ankle
Five days after the doctor told me to exercise more
And the year I travelled to Hammersmith hospital for thyroid surgery
At the height of the London Olympics.
Rose perfume in my hands
Rose quartz around my neck
Unbidden, unforeseen generosity.
It was a year graced by the kindness of stangers;
The family who shared their Ramadan fast-break food with me,
The Arab woman who filled my hands with perfumed oil,
The Jesus tower builder of Antonito,
Who gave me a rose quartz Navajo necklace.
Winter Solstice twenty twelve
World didn't end
Or did it?
It was the year the Mayan calendar ended
Polar ice caps melted
And New York subway was flooded.
The year we began to notice
That our fate lies in our own hands.