The Return of the Gnome King – #Tanka Tuesday

The actual gnome tree. About 9′ around.

A Haibun/tanka for Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge. We had to use synonyms for Spring (newborn) and Song (squawk). Okay, maybe a stretch, but here goes:

The Return of the Gnome King

(A True Story)

The Dragon Wood awakens with the returning light. Our meadow greens beneath winter’s withered grass, and spears of horsetail stand at attention, stalwart sentinels lining our path. They await the guardian snails whose slimy pilgrimage to the gnome tree is a slow one. Deer twitch their ears, alert for the gnome king’s return.

We fear not the witch in her uprooted stump. Rusty barbed wire holds her captive, and her mosquito hordes still slumber. Instead, we pause in awe to listen to newborn dragons skritch and squawk from the hollow stumps of ancient firs, this year’s fledglings still too young to fly. We’ll seek them among the moss-wrapped alders when spring’s marsh has dried, but now, other duties demand our attention. With our magic sticks, we must dig for treasure around the gnome tree’s roots.

I stand on the summoning-rock at the edge of the bog. An orange salamander gazes up, eager for my call. “Oh, mighty gnomes,” my voice soars into the forest. “Spring is upon us, and the gnome king has returned. Emerge from your winter home with gold and gems. For many months, the king has protected you and the creatures of the forest. His promise was kept. It is time to pay him tribute. Oh, mighty gnomes, heed my call.”

The gnome king nods his approval. “That was a good one, Grammy.”

“Thank you, my King.”

Dream, my little child
Of dragons, gnomes, and kingdoms
Treasure and witches
Forgive your silly grownups’
Misplaced imaginations

Caught #Writephoto

photo from Sue Vincent

She is bruised on the outside.

Broken on the inside.

And her feet stretch up over her head into the air as the swing reaches the height of its arc. Bare toes blot the daylight rustling through the canopy, and the sun winks through a hole in a tree. A kaleidoscope of light sparkles across her eyes, a vision of angels, a flash and gone.

The swing descends, legs bend, and she leans in, sailing backward.

Long ago, her father had shimmied along the high branch to knot the ropes. When he’d loved her. As a father. As a child.

The ancient maple creaks beneath her weight as she flies forward. Its branch bends and lifts. A rhythm, steady as a heartbeat, slinging her so high that for a moment she is weightless, suspended in green, stretched long, head back, the world upside down, crazy and dangerous.

Then the inevitable fall. The curl inward and backward into another opening, a weightless inhale.

These trees once gathered her dreams. When she was whole among them, a wisp and wish of the world in girl form. She belonged. They are unchanged, sheltering, safeguarding, inviting her to swing. Only she is different. The swing rushes down, catches her, and propels her forward and up. The sun flares through the tree’s round eye.

She lets go of the ropes and flies into the light, a flash and gone.

***

This is a piece of fiction is in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday #Writephoto prompt

#Tanka Tuesday Challenge: Inspiration and Plan

pixabay image

When I was eleven years old, I somehow got the idea that my family (and my best friend) should homestead on one of the uninhabited Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska.

Committed to my inspiration, I perched behind my dad’s old typewriter and with one finger, tapped out a list of everything we would need from 7 chisels and 50 hinges to 100 lbs of tuna fish and 30 sheep. Yes… sheep.

The four-page list is pretty funny. Apparently, I thought 15 rolls of toilet paper were sufficient for this adventure but wanted 200 bars of soap!

A few other items from the list (with conversions):
2 big bells
6000 packs of seeds
20 hair brushes
4 dog sleds
2 dogs
52 lbs of instant chocolate  (23 kg)
400 lbs of chicken noodle soup (181 kg)
1000 lbs of tea (453 kg!)
140 books

The plan never got off the ground, but I saved the list all these years. You never know…

Colleen’s #Tanka Tuesday challenge was to create a poem using synonyms of inspiration and plan.

~*~

Childhood’s fantasies
rewrote a commonplace life
plotting a passage
my sails filled with misspellings
my dreams charting windswept isles

Sunday Blog Share: The Flower Girl

This flash fiction piece by Richard Ankers was so poignant and beautiful that I asked for more… and he acquiesced and gave me Part 2.
Comments are closed; please read part 1 here and click through to part 2 below.

The Flower Girl

by Richard Ankers

She’d braided daisies into her hair with the skilled fingers of a seamstress.

“How old?” I’d gasped.

“She’s five.”

“Where did she learn?”

“Not from us. One day, she just wandered into the meadow behind our house and started picking flowers. We watched from the garden gate with smiles from ear to ear. She left us dumbstruck when she began weaving them into her hair.”

Colleen placed her cup back on its saucer as the little girl laughed and danced and sang her chirping songs.

“Well, I’m staggered,” I said. And I was.

“Everyone says the same. She’s a very talented child.”

“You must be very proud,” I commented.

“Oh, we are. The best thing that ever happened to us was planting her.”

“Planting! I’ve never heard it called that before.”

“She still sleeps in the same pot,” Colleen continued as though in a dream. “We fear for her every frost.”

I don’t know what it was about the little girl but whenever the weather grew cold, I feared for her. The sun never seemed warm enough after that.

(Continue Reading: The Flower Girl, Part 2)

Sunday Blog Share: Steel Venom

I thought maybe I’d start sharing why I picked a certain piece for the Sunday Blog Share. In this case, Almost Iowa gave me a hysterical reminder of the crazy, dangerous things I did as a kid.  Prepare to laugh (or cringe).

Comments are closed here, so click through and enjoy.

Steel Venom

by Almost Iowa

Every summer my wife tries to get me on an amusement park ride called Steel Venom.

She loves the contraption – about as much as I hate it.

Last summer was no exception and one afternoon we found ourselves bickering in the shadow of a half roller-coaster half catapult.

“You’re chicken,” she taunted.

“Not at all,” I said.

Overhead, the ride flexed and moaned as a trolley corkscrewed its way up a high tower. When it reached the top, it paused for one heart-thumping moment to dangle its riders above a flock of confused birds – then it plunged into a wild spiral that ended only inches from the ground.

The riders flashed by us, howling in terror. A few wore faces whiter than death and I thought for a moment that I recognized an old friend among them.

Without the slightest hesitation or remorse, the trolley fired up a companion tower then repeated the process over and over – until everyone, rider and observer alike, was nauseous.

“Don’t look like much fun to me,” I observed.

“Chicken,” she repeated.

Believe me, Steel Venom did not frighten me. I’ve dodged bullets, survived a car wreck and endured an audit by the IRS and not one of those things even quickened my pulse – because nothing, absolutely nothing will ever come close to the ride I took on a Radio Flyer wagon when I was six years old.

***

At first, I simply put things into my wagon and towed them around the yard. But I soon discovered it was more fun to hop in the wagon and roll down our backyard hill…

(Continue Reading: Steel Venom)

Sunday Blog Share: Photograph

Photograph

by Michelle Cook
Putting my Feet in the Dirt

Hidden away

In the recesses

Of a forgotten room

There lies a young

Misplaced soul

Fair and bright-eyed

With an angelic smile

She awaits

An unexpected admirer

Sheer panels

Of wispy white fabric

Flow fluidly

From a bare window

Gently reassuring her

That the breeze

Has not abandoned her

Tiny elbows rest firmly 

(Continue Reading: Photograph)

Sunday Blog Share: Love Letters #35

Love Letters #35

By Lenora of Ocean Bream

I didn’t know I could feel that way. That reckless abandon. That absolute peace. It felt like I was in a small bubble, and I knew it would pop at any moment, but I didn’t want to think of that until it happened.

I just wanted to enjoy the now most thoroughly.

We walked on the mountain for hours every morning, as the sun climbed higher and higher in the sky. I could feel its malignant beam on my back, scorching through my clothes, making my skin prickle uncomfortably before it broke down and wept rivers of sweat. My feet were sore by the end of the day.

We ate whatever we could get our hands on. Pineapples chopped, mangoes until the orange stickiness dribbled down our chins and under our shirts. Strawberries by the bowlful. Fruit in abundance.

We jumped in the lake straight after, with all our clothes on. You swore loudly because the water was deceivingly cold, and we glanced back at our parents, our relief palpable when we saw them laughing on the lake’s edge, oblivious to our transgression.

We cycled on old rusty bikes found in the garage, the wheels patched and pumped, the chains oiled

(Continue Reading: Love Letters #35)