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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

November 2, 2008

Day of the Dead lets us remember with a smile and a sigh

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 9:31 am

.. We’ve featured the Mexican feast of the Day of the Dead — Dia de Los Muertos — a few times here at f/k/a.  It is celebrated on November 2nd (in connection with remembrance November 1st of children who have died, on Dia de Los Angelitos).  The Day of the Dead commingles Roman Catholic devotion with Pre-Hispanic traditions and beliefs. As we said last year, quoting graphic artist Ladislao Loera (whose artwork graces this post):

“Pictures of the deceased are placed on Dia de los Muertos altars with their favorite food and drink. Candles to light their way home, and soap and water to freshen-up after their long trip back are also often placed on altars. Trinkets they were fond of, symbols they would understand, and gifts are left to communicate to them that they are always in the hearts of those they left behind, and that they are still part of the family even though they aren’t physically with us any longer.”

This approach to death seems far healthier than the fearful ways in which Euro-centric peoples relate to death and the afterlife. You can learn more about the feast at “Day of the Dead in Mexico,” which has pictures, recipes, poems and much more. Day of the Dead is, of course, celebrated in the southwestern USA and other places with large numbers of people of Mexican descent.  (See, e.g., articles in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News and Sacramento Bee.)

Day of the Dead –
grandma passes grandpa
the olive platter

…. by dagosan [Nov. 4, 2005]

..  The Day of the Dead means more to me this year, because my father Arthur P. Giacalone died in January at age 88.  (see my post “papa g’s night train“).  I missed him, when I visited my family home in Rochester last weekend.  The feast is a gentle reminder to remember his love and his continuing presence.  So, I’m going to do a few things to make my home — a place he never got to visit — welcome to Dad’s spirit.

funeral dirge –
we bury the one
who could carry a tune

……… david giacalone – Frogpond 31:2 (2008)

I just clicked on this link and listened to the Louie Prima-Sam Butera version of the song “Night Train.” It reminds me of the music he loved, his dancing skills, and sense of humor.

moonlit serenade
fireflies appear just beyond
the jitterbugs

…………………………………………. ed markowski

Sunday dinner will be pasta with tomato sauce (cooked a little softer than I like it, because Dad never appreciated al dente), red wine (chilled), plus the olives and bread that was a staple of his Sicilian-American up-bringing.  I wish Mama G. or Ed Markowski were here to bake Dad a pineapple upside-down cake, but he’ll surely enjoy a good Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream.

Later today, I’ll watch a John Wayne western (probably Rooster Cogburn), in memory of his favorite way to spend an evening, and some of the best moments we shared in his last two decades.

comparing aches
before the show –
senior organ recital

.. by dagosan

.. I hope Dias de los Muertos will bring your deceased loved ones closer, too.  My poet friends are urged to leave a haiku or two in the Comment section to celebrate their own loved ones.  I’ve come to appreciate the work “bittersweet” much more the past few years — with the sweet becoming more apparent.

photo albums
and dessert —
the chocolate bittersweet

sunset stroll –
searching snowbanks
for butterflies

………. by david giacalone
[in mem., Arthur P. Giacalone]

.. The second of Upstate Dim Sum‘s issues for 2008 arrived a couple days ago. It’s the hardcopy Biannual Anthology of Haiku and Senryu published by my haiku friends in Upstate New York’s Route 9 Haiku Group — Hilary Tann, John Stevenson, Tom Clausen and Yu Chang.  I especially like sharing UDS poems, because they are not otherwise available online.  Here are a few from UDS 2008/II by Hilary that seem to be in the spirit of the Day of the Dead:

evening walk
settling into the rhythm
of my father’s cane

airport lounge
looking for a hot spot
to tell you i love you

discarded shirt —
I save
the buttons

late in life
mother asks for blue sky
and a horizon line

summer wind
a dandelion clock
releases the hours

hospice visit
glimpses of her
in her other friends

late autumn
the flower arrangement
is mostly leaves

…. by Hilary TannUpstate Dim Sum (2008/II)

p.s.  Hey, Counselor, If we’ve got you thinking cross-cultural thoughts, you might want to head over to the new issue of The Complete Lawyer (Volume 4, no. 6), which is focusing on “Doing Business Internationally.”  For example,  John Friedhoff asks “What’s It Like to Do Business in Latin America.”  And, Fernando Rivadeneyra writes about “Mexico: Working With The “Manaña” Culture.”  There’s much more, covering other continents and general cross-cultural issues.

aftershots (Nov. 20, 2008): No, the cranky Schenectady Gazette columnist Carl Strock is not a father-figure for me.  But, he is often an inspiration for punditry here at f/k/a.  I never thought of Carl as a photographer, too, but he demonstrated his prowess with a Powershot on a recent trip to Mexico, which overlapped with the Dead of the Dead. You’ll find the Fire Department display for Dia de Los Muertos and a cutie with a calavera, and many more interesting photos, by starting at his weblog post from Nov. 18, 2008.  Carl, like myself, tries to avoid merely going for beautiful scenes, but sometimes he can’t help himself.

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