I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

30 April 2014

Last Night in Cusco

We waited for Wendy in her hotel foyer. It was an old hotel, just off the city centre — cool stone walls; plants on balconies; polished tables; graceful stairs. I tried on the cone-shaped black felt hat I bought at the market — not the tourist market; the people's market where Wendy took us, down near the station. As soon as I put the hat on, I saw pulsing flashes of light all around the walls and the high ceiling. I took it off. The lights vanished.  

a slender woman
walks up a slender staircase
tall green plants in tubs

Wendy arrived, all in black as always, with her own hat of high white straw, wide-brimmed, and her big smile. We were to meet three of her Peruvian friends. Just as they arrived, she received a message. The President's daughter was ready to take her to meet the President. Wendy's mission in Peru was to set up shelters and trade schools for homeless kids. She couldn't miss this opportunity. A brief apology, and she left us with her friends. She introduced them by name, but always spoke of them collectively as the Angels. They were a thin young man and two women: one young, shy, quietly pretty; the other older, full-figured, dignified. 

she dresses in black
with intent: the uniform
of the grandmothers

The Angels wanted to meet us because we were Reiki Masters. A man had come to Cusco only a few weeks before, and taught them hands-on healing. They were still thrilled, and wanted to compare. After a quick discussion with each other in Spanish, they took us to the young man's home, in a tiny old car that chugged alarmingly up the steep streets. We piled out at a high, blank wall. He opened a small door in the bottom right corner. We bent our heads to go through to a courtyard. Doors around all the inner walls. One was his; he let us into two dark rooms with weak overhead lamps.

rooms without windows
the blue of the Cusco sky
is legendary

They told us about their way of healing. "We pray," they said, "And light comes into our hands. May we show you?" 

We stood in a circle. The older woman prayed in Spanish. I don't know what she said. We had no Spanish much, beyond "Hola!" When she finished, she invited us to look at their hands, at little sparks of light dancing all over the palms. Then we all noticed Andrew's and my hands sparkling too. Everyone got very excited, pointing and gabbling. 

she stands in prayer
her speaking voice is music
on our last night here

They told us the light was a gift from the angels. I asked if the angels could explain what happened when I put on the black felt hat. She took the hat in her hands and closed her eyes. At length she told me it had belonged to a humble shepherd who prayed a lot to Jesus. She said I could summon Jesus whenever I put on the hat; it was full of blessings because of the goodness of that humble man. I supposed that the light-giving angels told her this, into her mind, while she stood with her eyes closed.

We felt nothing, no sensation; but the sparks of light continued for hours until gradually slowing, fading. We left Cusco next day. We never found out what words were used in the prayer.

in a small dark room
we meet with angels of light
farewell to Peru

April Poem A Day Challenge 2014, day 29: magical realism
(a realistic poem and a magical one, or both in one)

Also submitted for dVerse Meeting the Bar — the haibun


  1. The light responds to other light,
    there is very little in a dark room,
    some are blessed with an abundance
    that leaks from the edges of their words.

  2. This is magnificent Rosemary, this series of connected haibun made me breath aloud each time you added depth with your haiku.. i think this reads like a much deeper and longer story.. and you have proven the true strength of the haibun. The subject matter is so close to what Basho could have written I think.. a true adventure and mystery with that old felt hat..

    1. Thank you — and you're right, it is part of a longer, deeper story. I have been wondering about creating a whole book that is an extended haibun. Would it become irritating after a while? I guess I won't know until I try!

  3. nice....so cool...and the little verses pull the story along nicely...i am fascinated by the women and the sparks in their hands....do the words in the prayer really matter after that? ha. what an experience...

  4. Well, if this is waht a haibun can do, I'm sold on the form. Wonderful combination with the haiku nudging the story along.

  5. now that sounds like a very cool encounter... fascinating and maybe not so important that you didn't understand the words

  6. Both in one, I would say. I see how healing light, whether using Reiki or the anger's prayer, is so powerful. When I worked hospice, we had the privilege of receiving the three levels of Reiki attunement. Unfortunately, I've not used it as I could.

    1. How wonderful, Victoria, that the hospice makes this available, benefiting both workers and patients! You know, once you are attuned it is for life, so every time you touch anything the energy is activated, however briefly. I hope you still use it on yourself if needed - your first aid kit in your hands!

  7. This was so interesting to read Rosemary ~ I was enthralled with the story of the angelic light on the hands ~ Wonderfully told, the haiku folds in effortlessly ~

  8. What an amazing story! The haiku add magic to your tale.

  9. Rosemary, your story is beautifully told and I like interspersing the haiku with the story. The prose and haiku are as filled with magic as the story itself.

    This is my first try at haibun and I'm gradually getting all the entries read. What a wonderful group of writers/poets! I'm excited about trying to do more.