jornales

for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

shadows (my haibun at Notes from the Gean, March 2012)

shadows

how much longer

As a child, I searched for shadows. Under trees at high noon when the crown of an acacia tree from across our balcony covered its root space like a clipped parasol, I’d creep to it and hug the ancient roots, basking in its shadow. By the stream where my grandmother scoured the soot off the iron rice pot and skillet, I’d haunt the silken strips of shadows under bamboo groves.  I waited on the engorged shadow of a kingfisher that never failed to fly by.

My grandmother had learned from snoops that I sauntered alone at high noon by the stream–even took dips. Upbraided, I stopped creeping under the shadowed stream for a while. Instead, I began haunting shadows in the wooded orchard of a grandaunt. One afternoon, a buzzing shadow chased me. A swarming cloud, the bees I had disturbed raced me to the chicken coop. I suffered a few stings, which my grandaunt soothed with dabs of burnt molasses syrup.

These days, I’m hunting shadows again under ruins and buildings that block the sun off. Why this disdain for the sun, a friend once asked. What answer could I give?

half


of who we are

shadows

Notes from the Gean 3:4 March 2012

NOTE: layout for this page only with photo of  an old building in Montreal by eleanor angeles

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March 24, 2012 Posted by | haibun, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

first smile (haiga8 for Rick Daddario’s challenge at19 Planets Art Blog)

haiga 8 composed on Microsoft Publisher with my sister's first baby picture at 5 mos old

first smile nothing else

I remember that early morning light, which illumines the bedroom. It could have poured in through a window facing east where deep dark leaves of a star apple tree soaked most of it, leaving a young mango sprout pale in its struggle to grow. Or perhaps it was just uncared for. And why do I now blame the more luxuriant star apple? No one could pay much attention to the mango seedling then, since the birth of my sister and only sibling.

It could have been a Saturday morning. My mother could have been home that late and didn’t leave for school across the stream a block away, a post-deduction I’m making from the angle of the light. If it were a weekend, I must have been sleeping late. It couldn’t but be a Saturday or this picture wouldn’t have been taken by an uncle who also taught at the parish school. So why am I making a fuss this late?

Because I wish I could relate a more credible story as to how that first smile was caught. I remember my sister more as fretful. She cried when she felt sleepy or couldn’t sleep. She cried when she woke up and felt hot. When I carried her, I could not hold her facing me for long; I would have to make her face outward with one arm supporting her butt as in a seat, her legs dangling, and my other arm, bracing her close to me so she would not fall forward. She hardly smiled. She seemed to size up people as if already making opinions as they talked though she still couldn’t except to say, ‘Mama’. Which is why this smile for me sparkles as a gem.

I know that hand carved wooden bed. On it, I nuzzled on my mother’s side under a crook of her arm as deep as my memory dips. I watched my sister suckled from my mother’s breast, perhaps like I did, on this bed. I remember bumping my head on the headboard against carvings of huge blooms, hearts of gardenias in a swirl of leaves leaning away as if blown by their redolence. Lying on it felt like easing into silken strands, the hand woven rattan strips, which stretched and retracted with each un-recalled movement in dreams. I know that slightly creased sheet, too, which is actually a native heavy woven cotton blanket I had dived into as a child myself. It must have been really a Saturday morning because I see no pillows, which my grandmother would have gathered to put out under the sun to disinfect and deodorize.

The story I recall of this morning has to do with impulses. An uncle who lived on the other corner of our street, apparently just happened to drop by with his camera. He just suddenly wanted to take a picture of my 5-month old sister. My sister just then was learning to turn on her side. That morning, she happened to do a full turn to lie on her belly. She just happened to smile. Or maybe I was there to clown around when my uncle clicked his Kodak Field camera. But the truth is, I remember nothing else but this first smile.

Fifty four years gape between that morning and me today. I am now an elderly woman hankering for details I missed. But then again because I have none except this moment caught, I can spin webs around it to catch any morning light, and perhaps one like that Saturday morning.

September 25, 2011 Posted by | haiga, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

shadows (a haibun)

shadows–
how much longer
can we stay?

Shadows have always fascinated me. As a child, I chased them or rather searched for them. Under trees at high noon when the crown of an acacia tree from across our balcony but covered its root space like a clipped parasol, I’d creep to it and hug the ancient roots, basking in its shadow. By the stream where my grandmother scoured the soot off the iron rice pot and skillet, I’d haunt the silken strips of shadows under bamboo grooves and waited on the engorged shadow of a kingfisher that never failed to fly by; damselflies swarmed around that time, too. But by then, I’d be drawing on the dance of bamboo leaves on the steady current for a clue on which side of the stream is shallowest for me to swim. My grandmother had learned from snoops that I sauntered alone at high noon by the stream–even took dips, shedding off my clothes to wear her pandiling* or tapis** (sarong-like cloth) that when soaked weighed on my body and tended to slip off; I had by then showed signs of turning into a woman. Upbraided, I stopped creeping under the shadowed stream for a while. It was then when I began exploring the wooded orchard of a grandaunt and got chased by a swarm of bees I had disturbed. My granduncle had heard my screams and came with a mosquito net plus some kind of obnoxious spray. I suffered a few stings that my grandaunt soothed with dabs of burnt molasses syrup. I had since then, confined my fascination for shadows under ruins and buildings that block the sun off. Why this disdain for the sun, a friend once asked. What answer could I give for some things I have none?

half
of who we are–
shadows

(Prompt from a free-wheeling discussion with Rick Daddario, 19 Planets Art Blog that you can click on my blogroll, about a would-be no-goal project we have on ‘moon and shadows’.)

*Iluko, the tongue of the northernmost region of the Philippine archipelago I was born with
**Pilipino, native language of the Filipinos derived mostly from Tagalog, the dialect of the central plains in Luzon, the biggest of 7,100 islands, where Manila and also my region are located. Filipinos speak four major dialects of the 87 with Pilipino (and English in its varied adaptations to tongue and colloquial expressions) spoken in most of the islands. I speak but can’t write proficiently in Pilipino.

Copyright (c) 2011 by Alegria Imperial

August 23, 2011 Posted by | haibun, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments