Ganga. Painting by Beata Wrzal.

      Ganga. Painting by Beata Wrzal.

      – 5/02/18

      Hosted by Kathabela Wilson

      This is a brave theme, and one which resonates with all of us. Life is not always gentle, but reveals the resilience and creativity we have. In holding hands with one another, and sharing words and emotional strength, we weather these storms and bring out our own rainbows that heal and revive us. Thank you especially to Marta for giving us the gift of her experience, her own storm, and the friends who shared it. This helps all of us to keep on the road to recovery, and to make it as beautiful as possible.

      ~ Kathabela​​

      Sunrise in Sarangeti National Park, Tanzania (Photo - Beata Wrzal).

      Sunrise in Sarangeti National Park, Tanzania (Photo – Beata Wrzal).

      Marta Chociłowska

      Last August I spent a couple of weeks in one of Warsaw’s hospitals. It was a beautiful, hot summer. After my surgeries, I liked to spent hours in the roof garden of the hospital. On this roof, my friend Agnieszka and I wrote together these Japanese inspired renku, called haikai no renga.

      Out of time

      lions disappear
      and roars die away
      august thunderstorm
      (Marta Chociłowska)

      in every raindrop on the window
      billions billions suns
      (Marta Chociłowska)

      for the discharge home tomorrow
      sunrays sunrays
      (Agnieszka Umeda)

      in the roof garden
      swaying grass among the rocks
      (Marta Chociłowska)

      the moon blinks
      just for her
      (Agnieszka Umeda)

      thuja and berberis
      spread in the pots
      (Marta Chociłowska)

      and at the kerb
      like a tiny signpost
      the thymus
      (Agnieszka Umeda)

      door opens
      and at the threshold open arms
      (Agnieszka Umeda)

      purring cats
      on a patterned tablecloth
      young wine again
      (Agnieszka Umeda)

      on the white card
      first shy sprouts – haiku
      (Marta Chociłowska)

      (Translated from Polish by Beata Wrzal)

      This photo was taken at the Rooftop Garden. Olga and Marta shared a room at the hospital (Photo - Olga Chrost).

      This photo was taken at the Rooftop Garden. Olga and Marta shared a room at the hospital (Photo – Olga Chrost).

      Throughout November I was going to the Oncology Institute for radiation treatment. I met so many people there, more or less sick, older and very young. One day…

      The Gift

      It’s late evening at the XRT ward and only two people are waiting for the radiation session. Reading a newspaper, out of the corner of my eye, I notice a patient in striped dressing gown. He shifts towards me and clearly wants to talk.
      I put away my newspaper and give him my full attention. He tells me his wife’s story who had breast cancer. He says his wife is well again…but now he has lung cancer.
      “The doctor thinks I have a great survival chance, but I’m not sure if I’ll make it” he tells me.
      I look him straight in the eyes and say firmly “You will!”
      “Do you really think so?” he asks hesitantly.
      “Yes I am sure!”
      When it’s my turn to be called inside the XRT bunker, I look back at him and smile.

      no metastasis
      autumn’s first
      sunny afternoon

      long cut
      frees from the alien
      my breast

      XRT’s ward
      I met true angels there
      last November

      long recovery . . .
      I promise my bicycle
      no slack this year

      Ο Ο Ο

      Haiga by Beata Wrzal

      Haiga by Beata Wrzal

      Beata Wrzal

      seasonal depression
      I plan an escape
      to the land of spices

      charged encounter
      in the ice cream container
      some comfort

      waiting for the rainbow
      after the storm

      rainbow after the rain…
      I allow myself
      to dream again


      Wild flowers at Banyan Bliss, India (Photo - Beata Wrzal).

      Wild flowers at Banyan Bliss, India (Photo – Beata Wrzal).

      Marta Chociłowska lives in Warsaw.  She’s a cat lover and a cyclist. Co-author of many domestic and foreign haiku anthologies, winner and judge of domestic and international haiku contests. Has publications in international haiga and haiku journals. Author of “Seasons in Polish kigo”, member of the founding committee of Polish Haiku Association, editor of the Almanac “Migratory Birds”. Participant in the Polish school of classical haiku “KUZU”. Agnieszka Umeda lives in Warsaw. She’s a Japanologist, translator interested in poetics, semantic layers and aesthetics and the ethics of space between the sender and receiver in the Japanese literary tradition. She translates Japanese poetics and prose, Chinese and Korean poetry. She collaborates with the Japanese School of KUZU and since 2007 has run the Polish school of classic haiku. Member of the founding committee of the Polish Haiku Association. Beata Wrzal lives in Hertfordshire, just outside London, and works in London as a district nurse. Her poems invoke a new day, new hope, new life after the treatment. The sunrise, the rainbow dance, dresses, river and the fresh wild flowers are a symbol of happiness, beginning of something new and beautiful.

      Ο Ο Ο

      We welcome and encourage your response especially in the form of short poems. You may reply by leaving a comment below.

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Terri French says:

        Just now reading this. Thank you dear ladies for sharing your stories— the struggles and triumphs— and your wonderful poetry. Love and light.

      2. Grace says:

        It is nice to know more about real people behind beautiful poetry, their struggles in life and yet there is nothing stopping them to write for all of us who enjoy to read. Wishing you all the best, keep writing.

      3. Maureen Sexton says:

        Thank you Kathabela, Marta and Beata for sharing this with us. It gives me hope and I can appreciate rainbows,flowers and rivers even more.

      4. kathabela says:

        Thank you dear poet friends! Yes, this sensitive topic, at first I was surprised and wondered how to do this! I asked Marta if she would send me poems because I felt her generosity to other poets and her own beautiful writing. But I knew nothing of this story. And so this is what developed, by careful communication and lyrical grace, we were able to address this important topic, because it is indeed something we all go through, in many ways during each of our lives. It shows the beauty of sharing and encouraging one another as part of the process. I saw that poet Beata was the translator, and so wrote and invited her poems too! And yes, she had her own stories to tell. and so beautifully illustrated. The poetry corner is a natural development each one, and the true surprises and spontaneity, unexpected qualities of life come through here too! For me, as well as everyone else. I thank especially Marta, of course for her decision to share her story and the poems of recovery that were the impetus for all of this.

      5. Marta Chociłowska says:

        Thank you dear Readers for your nice comments!

      6. Taura Scott says:

        Thank you for addressing this sensitive topic. It is inspiring to hear so many positive stories.

      7. radhamani Sarma says:

        To read all the poems featured here, and the artwork, needles to say, – simply words beggar description- a path of rejuvenation or rebirth for sick soul. Thanks Cathabela, congratulations dear Marta and Beata.

      8. Pamela Shea says:

        I’ve always said that poetry is my therapy; I see I have many brothers and sisters who know this truth intimately. Thanks to all for the beautiful words and images.

      9. alex nodopaka says:

        For a Second

        I am a giant lifting a ton.
        Suddenly a crushing pain
        in lower back.
        From that moment
        I become less than an imp.

      10. susandiri says:

        Thank you, Kathabela and Poets, for addressing this part of life with lyricism and hope
        and the delicate, cyclical life of flowers!

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