True love – self-love (haibun)

“There is beauty in truth, even if it’s painful. Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak. But lies only strengthen our defects. They don’t teach anything, help anything, fix anything or cure anything. Nor do they develop one’s character, one’s mind, one’s heart or one’s soul.”

- José N. Harris

Today’s Prompt:

Do you think it’s ok to tell a lie if it’s for the greater good?  What about if it’s just to spare someone’s feelings?  How about simply making a story more entertaining for your friends? – embellishing the truth.  If you knew your favorite politician did something wrong, would you want them to lie for the good of the party or the nation?  Is truth your only option or do you sometimes find reasons to lie?

True  Love (senryû) 

eyes raised with love
pure, honest devotion
suckling at her breast

© Tournesol ’14


I am not sure there is beauty in truth but it is what it is, the unadulterated truth. Some would say, “So deal with it.” Way before I started blogging at WP my very first blog was at Blogger under the name “Life Happens”. That was a prettied up title for the truth is, I wanted to name it “hSit happens”. Now THAT is the truth.

This prompt is about exploring “What would you lie about?” Well, does lying by omission count? I won’t go up to someone who has a new hairstyle that I don’t like and say it is pretty. If she asked me, I would probably say the following: “It really is different. It gives you a new look. How do you like it?” And that usually works…what IS important is that the person likes it and who cares if I like it or not? Why should I rain on her parade?

Now if the question was about a colleague’s work and I was asked if I agreed with the information or was supervising a new employee, I would be honest…no, I would not lie but there is a way to be truthful so that it can help the person learn.

I deal with truth at work daily. I have had supervisors monitor my work and some were great teachers and I have had terribly inappropriate supervision as well. The latter happens usually when there is 1) a hidden agenda 2) the person feels insecure and inadequate and projects the emotions that go along with that on me.

I first learned how the “truth” can hurt unnecessarily as a youth. Do you tell the truth to be honest or cruel? Think about it. Even though my father was around for fourteen years of my life, my mother worked hard to support all of us. So when she purchased an “IN” garment it was a great sacrifice for her. It meant she had to work longer hours hairdressing and often eat her fried mushroom sandwiches and give my sister and me the steak dinner. When I was twelve, she bought my sister and me each a mohair sweater. It was the “in” thing when the Beatles came out. I visited a friend down the street and I was so proud of my sweater, with cable stitching at the front. My friend did not have such a garment; her parents were very strict and frugal …okay, truth be told, her brother was favoured because he was a boy. She smirked looking at my sweater and bluntly said, “What an ugly colour! How on earth can you wear such a thing?” I was so hurt. I meekly replied, “Well, I like it.” I was hurt for myself and for my mother. She added, “Well, I’m just telling you the truth.”

If she were 6 it would make sense to be so boldly honest but at twelve, we do know the difference and I felt the sharp pain with her unsolicited “truth”. I suppose that is how I learned to be kinder with the “truth”. Is that a lie? I don’t think so especially if the intention’s to spare the feelings of someone.

Several years ago I moved back to Montreal to be closer to my immediate family. One of my children was giving me a hard time, speaking to me in rude and hurtful manners; she was demanding and projecting much of her rage on me. I struggled with this and a few colleagues at work knew I was. One day, I was discouraged and shared that my adult child did not respect me and it hurt me. One colleague looked at me and blurted, “Well, you have no respect for yourself, so why should she?” I still feel the sting from that slap in the face with this colleague’s honesty. I never shared openly again there and had one counsellor who was supportive and knew what it was to just listen and empathize. Granted this other colleague had ulterior motives. She harboured lots of bitterness and ill feelings towards me.

I am pretty transparent, so people know by my body language. I do not spare saying how much I love my friends and family. Everytime I speak to my children and my mother, I end our talk with “I love you” because I truly do.

I have lied like most people have. I have lied to myself which was not the greatest idea, kidding myself that I was still in love with my husband because I was in love with love but much more in love with my family. It hurt me however and it was a slow, painful death until I had to be honest after 24 years. So lying to yourself is probably more detrimental than helpful; lying can slow the process of growing spiritually and emotionally. Acknowledging my faults and accepting me for who I am is the hardest truth I have had to accept. How can I improve and grow if I don’t accept what needs to be changed?

Lying by omission is still lying, right? Sometimes it is needed. Years ago, someone from my extended family sent me an email after a family gathering; I had met distant cousins I never knew I had on my father’s side of the family. She asked me if I had any dark secrets about my father’s family. She wanted to get together. My gut told me she may have also been abused and she was dealing with the outrage of the secrecy. I never wrote her back. I knew on my father’s side of the family the “secret” is never discussed and that is their problem. I have worked through my past and my truths with myself and people who matter.

I have my grandmother…chère GrandMaman to thank for being so forthcoming years ago when I shared the “incident” with my father. She did not lie to me when she said, it was not my fault and I was a good person. She did not lie when she said she believed me and understood how I felt. And she did not have to share a “truthful” and very private “incident” when she was a child but it helped me survive the impact of my experience and wrapped me with the comfort of her love and transparency.

It is not as important what is a lie or what is the truth. Truth can be ugly and hurtful when spat out to hurt someone. Truth can be the beginning of a total makeover, stripping all the masks of selfhood and finally getting on a journey of self-discovery to reach that destination of self-acceptance and self-love. Which truth matters to you? What truth are you able to handle? What truth would you rather not know?

Posted by Oliana 2014/08/31 for The Seeker’s Dungeon Season 3, Week 5, For what would you Life?

tears (haibun)

© OK 14

chanting or praying

when I picture their faces,

brings me to tears

© Tournesol ’14

I don`t get it…at first I thought when I visualized the face of Amma when I chanted my mantra, it meant some form of connection, spiritual and blessed. Since my return from my July retreat, I try to chant my mantra every day. When I was driving to work I found that my mantra calmed me, kept me focused on the road and prevented road rage. Alright, I do get impatient on the road like the majority of Quebec drivers. I had managed to control this much better living in Ontario but moving back here within a few years, it all came back. We are very aggressive drivers here so I guess I got caught up in that toxic contagion. My mantra seems to have calmed that a lot.

Walking to work as well, I might be thinking of the office and worrying about things before even getting there. So I would repeat my mantra to calm me. It works!

In the past two weeks I noticed when driving if I visualized seeing the face of Amma smiling, remembering being embraced, tears would spill and I had to stop so I could drive carefully. I tried to picture my GrandPapa and GrandMaman and the tears spilled over again. And so I realized that it was chanting or praying and imagining the face of special people in my life moved me…now Amma was included in these special people. What does it mean? I am not sure. I don’t go to mass often but when I do, when I come back to my seat after receiving holy communion, I usually weep…so I suppose there is a connection…feeling the grace of G-d, Amma and my dear departed grandparents (surely, they are in heaven!) and there is some connection.

Tears mean so many things. Many girls and women are known to cry when they are upset and angry. I think I am better with the anger part but sometimes it is mixed with disappointment in human nature, yes, some people’s behaviour or words not only hurt me but I feel disillusioned. And I weep.

Listening to youths who call crying with their pain, I feel for them. But sometimes there may be a phrase, a word and tone in their voice that touches my heart and I listen, and feel tears rolling down my cheek.

Writing has helped me to shed these tears and transform them into words, poems, stories. And this has relieved my heart.  I do believe that crying is healthy…shedding tears releases chemicals from our body.  For years I believed that one must cry to relieve the toxins from your body but it has been scientifically proven our tears contain stress hormones.


abundance of passion

flows in ocean salt water

wind dries my tears


wind dries my tears

looking up at the geese fly south

weep happy tears.


weep happy tears

belly aching laugh

fly teases my cat.

© Tournesol ’14

Posted by Oliana, 2014/08/31

Submitted for Carpe Haiku Shuukan, #20 Tears

Our host at  Haiku Shuukan  quotes from “Sand and Foam” by Khalil Gibran,  on “tears”:  [...] “There must be something strangely sacred in salt. It is in our tears and in the sea”. [..

Here are two haiku, Chèvrefeuille, our host has written on tears.

with tears in my eyes

I see how the wind is ruining

fragile beauty

fragile beauty

a gust of wind tears apart

Cherry Blossoms

© Chèvrefeuille (2013)

I have written  also at Tournesol dans un Jardin

tears of joy

finally after seven years

our son is born.


our daughter sings

chorus of angelic peers

awe illicit tears

© Tournesol ’14

 to read more about "tears" click here to read Tears of Joy by Tournesol.








Eviction (haibun)

Soon we will be entering autumn which is so colourful. But it is also a last warning to less fortunate people who see the cold winter months drag on and on here in Montreal.

When I used to travel early in the morning, I would see many homeless people setting up for a few hours of warmth in Métro (subway) stations. Berri Métro is close to the downtown core, it is also next to the city bus terminal where you see many homeless persons.

And now that I work later and come home closer to midnight, I see many homeless people sleeping the last few hours they have in the warmth of our subways.  I always have to take my coat off, it is THAT warm.  Our subways open at 5am and close between 12:00 to 1:00 am. depending which stations.  So when I get off the Métro Bonaventure (which is also another bus terminal centre I have photographed and talked about here with the indoor skating rink two flights above) to catch my bus home, I see several people sleeping on the sides, in corners, soaking up the warmth and shelter until they are asked to leave.

Recently I was listening to my favourite radio Talk show station and callers were asked to give their opinions on the new park benches the city had installed with an iron separation in the middle preventing homeless people to lie down comfortably. The city maintains it is to held older persons to get up, and that could be partly true, since I am starting to need help with my bad knees. But many people are outraged for it was the only safe place away from vermin, bugs and dampness a homeless person could rest.

Where else can they go at night? A shelter? It is not for everyone and many have mental health problems and staying in a shelter can be pretty scary.

I am always saddened seeing in big cities where there is so much wealth like San Francisco, Vancouver, Toronto…the streets are filled with many homeless people of all ages. In Montreal there are a lot as well and I guess I am relieved that our subways are warm.

Last Thursday evening, as I was walking towards the Métro Laurier after work at about eleven, I saw a man searching through the garbage bin at the corner of St-Denis. He passed me later on the subway…one does not have to be homeless to be hungry.

nature’s landlord
kicks tenant out in the cold
a beggar

thankless season
beggar’s lodgings
Berri Métro

saison ingrate
logement d’un sans abri
métro Berri

© Tournesol ’14

Posted by Oliana 2014/08/30

Submitted for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai #550 Beggar

This video is narrated in French by some Montreal youths but please watch it…they collected food from one youth’s uncle who has a bakery and delievered over $500 worth of food to homeless people in downtown Montreal. Most of it is filmed inside subway stations and it is heartfelt to see this…no translation required.

Warning triggering images


Give to others – homeless persons

spices and herbs (haibun)

This prompt at Carpe Diem has me thinking a lot today. Reading some of the outstanding offerings of these poets inspired me.

Day dreaming has always been my favourite pastime since a very young child. Reading became a passion so I could drift off and take on the role of one of the characters in the book. I think daydreaming probably kept me sane during difficult times growing up and as an adult.

The prompt is “dreams” and our host has quoted several verses from Khalil Gibran.

[...] “How can I lose faith in the justice of life, when the dreams of those who sleep upon feathers are not more beautiful than the dreams of those who sleep upon the earth?” [...]

[...] “The flowers of spring are winter’s dreams related at the breakfast table of the angels”. [...]

[...] “I would not be the least among men with dreams and the desire to fulfill them, rather than the greatest with no dreams and no desires”.[...]
As a young child I used to dream of being an actress like Marilyn Monroe. Then thought I wanted to be a nurse; I read romance novels about nurses, watched Dr. Novak and Ben Casey ( I am surely dating myself here) but then experienced fainting at the mere sight of blood or seeing someone in pain; I realized I really wanted to sit on the patient’s hospital bed, holding their hand and comforting them…so I learned that was what a counsellor did. I dreamed of being a lawyer and defending the rights of people. Well, the closest I got to that was working several years for a lawyer and when I was a stay at home mom for five years, I did court transcriptions…close enough and gee, it including writing!  The dream of counselling however was delayed awhile; life happened. Returning to college much later I fulfilled my dream.

Telling stories was something I always enjoyed since a young child. My sister and I would write plays in grade school and we took on the role of director and actor.

I always dreamed of writing at a typewriter in the attic of a house facing a lake. The closest I came to that image was setting my typewriter on the patio at our camp typing my court transcriptions…but still it was a dream yet to be fulfilled.
Now I  write for pleasure. Writing does for me what daydreaming and reading did and of course, they are all related.    We all need to dream…it’s what keeps us going and many times, they do come true. I am not an actress but I do media interviews for our help line. And, in my dreams I AM a starlet…always.
Dreaming is one of my favourite pastimes…it can be soothing and put me to sleep, entertaining and make me smile or it can be embellished memories of times passed…life would be such a bore without my dreams…

Our host wrote these two haiku for this prompt:

breakfast with angels
as spring is starting after the cold -
flowering trees

after the dark winter
cherry trees are blooming again
Ah! what a joy!

© Chèvrefeuille

Here are my offerings:

© C.L.R. 2014

angels smiling
sprinkling sweet-smelling dreams
budding lilacs

Dreams are scattered spices and herbs making life palpable and fragrant.

© Tournesol

Posted by Oliana, 2014/08/30 for Carpe Diem #549 “Dreams”

Mother Nature’s Loom (tanka – American sentence)

© Tournesol 2014 October Masterpiece
© Tournesol 2014 October Masterpiece


toiling with patience
a chef d’oeurvre was created
muse des beaux arts
etched meticulously,
ages before the Big Bang

(An American sentence)

Trees stood in reverence at a masterpiece woven with magenta threads.

© Tournesol ’14

Originally posted at Tournesol dans un Jardin

Inspired by the prompt at Carpe Diem Haiku Kau was Tapestry and how life is like a tapestry.

Summer loves (tanka)


©  2014
© 2014

summer’s end
lovers say goodbye
summer flings
some will surely cry
promised things
another could not comply
but stop!
don’t weep
reminisce the sweet times
the passion, lust and desires
times your hearts were on fire
sweet, hot, erotic souvenirs
they will never get faded
never ever go astray
unless your heart, jaded
and hurt takes them away
memories of past loves
are intricate poems
filed in corners of your brain
always to comfort you when
life gets cloudy or might rain
memories that change
a sad frown
into a happy smile
from time to time.


remember caresses
on hot summer nights
pure moments of bliss
engraved image of two hearts
trapped in passion and desire.

© Oliana, 2014/08/28

last blossoms (haibun)

Now that I no longer have a car, I have to walk to work from the subway. It is a 15 minute walk but with my slower leg and cane lately, it hurts less if I walk slower. So yesterday I left extra early and decided to walk nice and slow and stop along the way to take photos of the flowers that are in full bloom. I love this time of year…correction, this time of year is bittersweet…sweetness of watching flora at its peak, so lush and colourful; bitter in that it is soon the end of summer, warm weather will cease and autumn will soon introduce us to shorter days, colder days and very long dark nights.

Yellow lilies in full bloom but as I looked closer, there were some wilting already…even closer and so many buds not yet blossomed…So sad to see they may not have a chance to see the sunshine before the colder weather.

What struck me were a few lilies that told me a cute story. Okay, I’m a hopeless romantic and for those who have been following me at Traces, know that I am passionate about love…

© OK 2014
© OK 2014
yellow lilies
separated at birth,
found each other

 © Tournesol 2014

© OK 2014
© OK 2014
found each other
their love spurred a new custom
till death shall they part

© Tournesol 2014


Here are other shots I took on this walk to work…

gazing at colours

flora in full bloom, so did
a bumble bee


© Tournesol 2014


As I crossed the street to look at the daisies, I had company…good old bumble bee called on another buddy, so I decided not to get too close.

In a few weeks the petals will wilt, fall and blow with the autumn winds…so enjoy it.


© Oliana 2014/08/28

Silence profond (haiga)


© Tournesol '14
© Tournesol ’14

The quest today is “Deep silence” and our host has written his for inspiration:

evening walk
the sound of a wind chime
deep silence
© Chèvrefeuille

Silence profond
au centre de la nature
une feuille tombe

© Tournesol ‘144


Submitted for Carpe Diem’s Vision Quest 1 day 3 (the last day) “deep silence”

Who is Tournesol anyway?


© Tournesol 2014

Who is Tournesol? Well that would be me  and it is my nom de plume for short form poetry like haiku, tanka, senryû.  I have started a blog just for this form at Tournesol dans un Jardin (sunflower in a garden).

So now and then I will be copying posts from that blog here.

Why am I separating this form of poetry? Well, it IS different and it is so much more than just writing a poem. Reflecting to compose such poems is a process I am learning more and more from various sites that offer prompts. The blog that teaches so well and guides you through the process AND encourages you so much along the way is at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. Chèvrefeuille will offer daily prompts, as well as weekly prompts.  I have learned so much from several of his followers…what amazing, spiritual paths you cross …

Why did I choose blogspot? I had a blog there several years ago but found WP was more community oriented and well, I enjoy WP. Since I have been following more and more haiku writers, I noticed at least half of them are on blogspot and of course Chèvrefeuille, mentor par excellence is at blogspot too.  He also has a blog with WP Chèvrefeuille’s Haiku.

In the past I have added a haiku with a photo ( haiga)  because I just found it described  the moment best.  But now I am learning more.

Eventually I would like to choose my favourite poems at Tournesol and publish them…procrastinator as I am, that may be  still in a while.

I have  often mentioned that I had other WordPress blogs and I do at Stigmahurtseveryone and CherShares . Cher Shares will be closing soon so I can concentrate on blogspot. Stigma will continue as it was my very first blog I started to talk about issues that are important to me…you know, like standing on my soapbox, pounding my chest with my fists and shouting at injustices and especially talking about the stigma of mental illness and chronic pain.

Ah gee, I just told you who I am! Well now you have it.

Traces is a blog where I have always felt comfortable to be MOI, writing uncensored, spilling my heart many times and that is why I keep this blog under my pseudonym Oliana Kim and who knows, if I become a famous rock star that name will come in handy {chuckles}.

Thanks for listening…reading.

© Oliana Kim, 2014/08/27


Dear Emma (Kyoka)


Photo: OK
Photo: OK  Summer 2014

A funny thing happened to me on my way to work yesterday.  I was driving along the Jacques Cartier Bridge just minding my business, following traffic…it was a good day. Hot and sunny for this time of the year…it was the first day of school for many college students and most teachers were back at school preparing for students’ return in the next few days.  In Quebec school usually starts before Labour Day weekend…Why? Just to annoy parents so they have to close down their summer camps a weekend earlier…{ooops, did I say that out loud?}

Anyway, I digress…when I got on the bridge I was pleased that no one cut me off from my left lane as I merged onto the bridge. Life felt pretty darn good.  Suddenly my car just STOPPED with the sound of tires kissing asphalt. I realize now that was not my car burning rubber but the cars behind me slamming on the breaks and NO ONE hit me. I am so lucky!  Anyway, I thought I must have either a flat tire or the wheel slipped off…it just felt odd!

Now in the middle of a bridge, Emma, you do NOT get out of your car. You breathe in, breathe out…I pressed the safety flashers twice out of nervousness…meaning once it was one, twice, I turned it off. But I noticed it and turned it back on. The car behind me stayed there…I was relieved the car did not swerve out of impatience and leave me vulnerable to get hit by oncoming traffic.

I fumbled with my phone. I knew the police would come soon. I called CAA and they told me to sit tight and wait for police. And within about 5 minutes that felt like an hour, the police arrived.

“Gee, did I get a flat, Officer?”

“No, Madame, your whole wheel fell off…don’t move, a tow truck is on the way.”

The tow truck did arrive a minute later and the Police officer was directing traffic…I climbed on the truck from the driver’s side as the driver warned I could get hit on the other side.

You see my car was on the 2nd middle lane, so oncoming traffic facing me was the next lane to my left.  I called work to say I had no idea when I would be in as my car broke down on the bridge and I’d call back but that I was safe.

The towing usually brings you to the nearest garage but I requested we go the garage close to my apartment.

With the car lifted up we could see the problem…the wheel was ripped off the frame due to rust.  I was so lucky I was not on a highway driving fast causing an accident to other people. I am so happy I never sold this car for it would probably have been a young man with his first car cos this one looks pretty cool, 5 speed stick shift and V6 motor. Yep, I had always had that eerie feeling about selling this car.

I asked the garage owner for advice. “What would you recommend to your son if this was his car?”  His face was blank, eyes wide open. I remember he told me his son had a Tiburon V6 like mine last year.  He said, he would check to see if the car was safe to drive.

He had already told me it would cost at least $1000 for the frame plus all my other problems I knew would have to be fixed soon, so he went back with his mechanic and they inspected the car. Gas line and brakes were corroded, again that was not including my front disc brakes that had to be changed, rear shocks (our lovely man size pot holes here), one rear wheel drum…I shook my head and asked, “Where do I sign to hand it over to the scrap yard?  It’s time to lay it to rest.”


new moon
cosmos shift
scrapped my car
metal doctor diagnosed
its terminal fate

(American Sentence)

let us all bow our heads in silence
as we mourn this pack of metal.

© Tournesol


© Oliana, 2014/08/26

All short form poetry such as Haiku, Senryû, Tanka, elfje, etc will be written under my nom de plume Tournesol. I will explain more later. You can see posts on my short poetry blog at blogger Tournesol dans un Jardin

Summer jog (haibun)

I rarely have the opportunity or privilege (I should really say) of dining with a colleague from work.  Since we work on a 24 hour crisis line, our breaks are never together.  Yesterday by chance, it was.  I introduced my friend to my favourite vegan restaurant, The Green Panther. I have written about this place before and even taken photos with my notebook next to my plate of yummy falafel.
My friend was telling me about how she had gone out for a run the other day and came back with bites on her legs and it swelled tremendously within a short time.  The next day when the swelling went down, she noticed 4 little stingers all in a row by a very hungry wasp.After reading Chevrefeuille ‘s lovely introduction to Carpe Diem’s prompt today #523 Basho (5), ”How Rare!”, I thought of my friend’s running incident.I also enjoyed the background of Kristjaan’s blog name.  Honeysuckle was his seasonword chosen in his very first verse 25 years ago.  Translated into French that would be Chevrefeuille and the rest is history.


That inspired me to choose a title for my Blogspot blog. I had originally chosen le jardin de Cher and then I thought about flowers that I love. Daisies are my favourite because they are also easy to purchase any time of year. But I have always loved sunflowers. I remember the giant sunflowers that grew next to our garden shed at our family home when my children were little. Golly!! They were ginormous! And so with jardin still as the theme of my “short form poetry” blog, I chose Tournesol dans un jardin…so Tournesol will be my nom de plume on that blog.  Merci, Kristjaan, for the inspiration!

{ Basho was host of a renga party at the home of Nagayama Shigeyuki, a military man of the Shonai Clan. This was the greeting verse and it was used as ‘hokku’ for the renga.     He had visited Mount Hagura for seven days and was glad that he could finally eat fresh vegetables. It was published in his ‘Narrow Road to the Deep North’, his most well known haibun. © Chevrefeuille }
mezurashi ya   yama wo ide ha no   natsu nasubi
how rare!
on leaving the mountain
the first eggplant
and Chevrefeuille’s offering:
the sweet perfume
of the Honeysuckle
makes me drowsy

Now for my humble haiku with the image of my friend in mind travellingrunning.

Parc la Fontaine
Parc la Fontaine

cool spray mist

dreamlike beachy feel

city park


smell of fresh-cut grass

running through parc la Fontaine

a wasp stings

©  Tournesol ’14/07/24


© OK Montreal Sunset Aug.24'14

silly thoughts of mine

© OK August 24th Sunset '14
© OK August 24th Sunset ’14

On the roof I bowed…
sheer wonder all through
me, pink and yellow clouds,
and then, just stared at you,
lovely enchanting sky,
saw jets and planes fly
across a closing sunset
felt cool and calm…
and still not met
that special someone
before summer’s end…
Oh! this wistful realm
I sit in wait,  refuse
sad thoughts  this time,
in the end I’ll find my muse
as she helps me find a rhyme,
these silly thoughts of mine.

© Oliana 2014/08/25

Old-man tree (haiga)

On my visit to my hometown, we stopped to eat at a chipwaggon that is as old as me…We sat at picnic tables enjoyng our Poutines by the river and this humongous old tree. Doesn’t it look like the tree in the Wizard of Oz?  I looked up to see if there were birds setting up for the night but noticed two squirrles playing “catch me if you can”. Unfortuantely they were so high, my camera couldn’t catch them clearly that far up.

© OK  2014
© OK 2014

 squirrels play tag
in the old-man tree,
by the river.

© Tournesol ’14

Oliana, 2014/08/25

silence speaks (haibun)

I remember for several months last Spring, my car was out of service most of the winter and I dread driving on country winter roads with my car anyway; it is a sports car, low and the tires are so wide, I find they never fit quite right in the grooves of heavy snow falls. I had not visited my mother in at least two months. I was obsessed with guilt and shame. I know my sister, aunt and step-father see her almost daily, but still the penitence weighed me down. She was in her geriatric chair; I pulled a chair next to her and kissed her forehead minouching it gently, “Hi Mum, it`s me, Lynn”. Glazed eyes stare at the ceiling…Sitting next to her, I hold one hand and continue minouching gently her hand with my right hand. I lean my head near her shoulder and we sit in silence. I keep thinking of times I missed with her way back when…her smile, her boisterous laugh, her fluttering eyelashes flirting with life.

And then I think of times I did not visit and am drenched with sorrow. I feel tears rolling down my cheek…suddenly, my mother’s face gets tense, her lips tighten and she starts hitting my hand hard and tried to scratch me with her nails! I quickly reverted to thinking good thoughts, shushing her gently and learned an important lesson that day. My mother could sense the angst, the tension through the silent touch. Just like a baby fusses at her moms breast if mother is tired or nervous. They dont know what it is but they feel that there is something “wrong” and they want to feel “right”.  I have always been careful to keep my sad thoughts in check now.


This was taken last spring…Mom has changed too much now.


My silent tears
slapped her painfully
betrayed her.

Last night I visited my mother.   My son sat in a lazy boy at the corner of the room leaving me a chair set next to my mother’s bed. I had not visited in two weeks and was shocked to see a butterfly at her upper chest ready to infuse something or other. I was quite anxious what the “other” was. I went to the nurse and she explained that the morpine patch for her back pain was nolonger enough and she had difficult takingmedications (Good Lord, she can hardly swallow yogurt!). Returning to her room, I explained to my son and then took my mother`s hand and sat silently. She looked so tiny in her frail body and weak. She squeezed my hand tightly,  clutching.

At her bedside,
her breath told me “there, there!”
clutched my hand.

*to minouch is an expression in French meaning to stroke gently.


© Oliana 2014/08/24

Submitted for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai #546, Silence

Thankful Sunday

(c) OK '14
(c) OK ’14


Thankful Sunday:

for having the health to still work at what I so enjoy;

feeling physical pain only means my body can still “feel”

being sensitive only means I have the courage to show my feelings.

having adult children who care about their parents

that there are workers who care about my mother and ensure she is not suffering too much

thankful for the glorious sunshine, azure sky and summer heat confronting autumn in the face to take it nice and slowly makes me smile

that I can still find words to write and enjoying my new art of writing haiku

that my eyes can still catch some beauty here and there

grateful being part of WordPress community and Blogger as well, young, old, all over the world, it is beautiful how we all connect!

just for being alive on this glorious day.

© Oliana 2014/08/24

just one day off

daylight calls
oh must I?

come on now
the world is waiting
so much to see

one day of rest
just leave me alone…

curtains make room
sun peaks through
writing will do
story to resume

ring ring
let’s get together…
are you game?

ah shucks,
a son will always claim
the heart of a mom

Sure! see you
in a bit!

may see lovely mountains
sit by the river
may even revisit
my old home,
they say that
life can change on a dime
but today it changed on a chime
just one phone call
a plea of affection
a human contact
pouring love and devotion.

© Oliana 2014/08/23

life is a game (senryû)


(c) OK 2014 Windsor Station
(c) OK 2014 Windsor Station

At SoCS, Linda has given us the prompt, “start with a preposition”. And here I am, just arrived about 45 minutes ago from work.  It is  2:35am and I have already completed my task.


At the notary’s office she read the document thoroughly.   “This will do just fine,” she confirmed to le Notaire LeBlanc. He had his secretary come in to  witness  his client’s signatures.

So many pages to sign made her feel she was signing for the mortgage on her former condo. “Oh my, that was a lifetime ago,” she thought sadly. At that time she was so excited, scared yet open to new adventures. Now this was twenty years later and she was signing something that would be her last adventure.

She shook hands with Notaire LeBlanc and drove back home. She had so much free time on her hands since she stopped working. This was supposed to be her earned time, her free time and yet it was hell on earth to her.

She loved working and feeling useful. Now the only thing that kept her sane was her writing. “Sane” she mocked. That was a farce. She would be losing her lucidity soon enough and now she was prepared.

I wonder why they call this a “living will” when it should really be called a “dying will”. Oh, well, she sighed and fired up her laptop to immerse herself in her last love.

life is a gamble
throw the dice and play

life is a game,
following the rules
means shit.


© Oliana 2014/08/23

Written for The Friday Reminder of SoCS August 23, 2014




mask of false courage (haibun)

Mask of happiness – stigma of mental illness

At Carpe Diem #544 the  prompt is Mask/masque.  I wrote one post but thank goodness I have Tracesofthesoul so i can show the raw, real, dark side that is too often stifled, masked.

Am I sad that Robin Williams took his life? Yes, of course. But mostly the message it gives to those suffering from depression.  Every day those suffering depression forces themselves out of bed, push their way to the breakfast table, get to their therapist, reassure family and their doctors they have no thoughts of ending their lives…and yet, every day there is a fleeting moment…some days a long dangerous lingering moment…and the struggle continues.  They don’t give up, try to be patient and wait for “hope” to smile right back at them some day soon…

morning cries
dreads crawling out of bed
show must go on

night arrives
sleepless, tear drenched cheeks
hang tight `til morning

morning does call
make-up does wonders
depression hurts

sunflowers, daisies
laughing, giggling life is so grand
petals wilt

mask of false courage
puts off sad endings
think of the children

wasting for naught
modeling compassion
false intentions

life is a show
role playing we’re happy
behind the scenes-not



© Oliana 2014/08/22

© OK 2014

Dear Emma,

I had a long shift, and once I got home, I decided to check my blogs for messages. Karuna made a nice comment about photos I took by the river 2 nights ago and that touched me. So I thought, it’s time to have a visit and I saw her photo for Wordless Wednesday. That flower inspired me and this is not a regular Dear Emma post because the rest is what just gushed out of me that I am sharing here, so bear with me, Emma.
Who am I, but a simple being?
I am me, despite my past;
I am me despite my sins;
I am me despite my faults.
I am an ordinary simple sinner.

Why sinner?
Because I am oh, so imperfect!
I lust for sweets and rich foods,
still have thoughts of sexual intimacy…
is that all so bad?
I love to eat good food,
I enjoy sexual pleasure
and even if I have not enjoyed the latter in a while,
why is it wrong to daydream of times past?
I am proud (another sin)
to have some experiences
I can draw on when I lull myself to sleep
nights with oh such sweet carnal memories.
Why is this sin? What is a sin anyway?

Years ago my ex husband and I met as teenagers. I was 15 and he was 17. We wed…I was 19 and we were very very green in the art of making love. We fumbled, we read books, we even watched movies…yep, I remember tilting my head to the side and wondering sometimes, “Oh, my is that how it’s done!” and when we finally “got it” to mutual pleasure, I remember sighing in bed and thanking G-d for giving us this treasure…this spice in the life of a couple, marriage or partnership…so many nights, I would actually thank Him.

There were some advantages of getting married so young, both so inexperienced…we learned, grew (in some aspects) together. Our children were our pride and joy…we are still proud of them, love them as well as our grandson…
So after 24 years of marriage, separation, divorce, living life as a single woman (in sin) for 21 years,
who am I?
Have I changed?
Yes, I am less judgmental.
I am more open and flexible.
am not as vulnerable to being “used and abused”
and I have shed my wounds
and my scars have healed
and I have forgiven
and mostly forgotten but not all.
Sometimes I feel to remember keeps me hostage.
But I remember some things to protect me, I think.

In the past 2 years I have grown, I have healed, I have forgiven myself for many transgressions because I have accepted that I am a mere human being still learning…a student of life until I die. And I thank the heavens for awakening my muse these past years…she has inspired, healed and enlightened me with grace. Namaste


love with all your heart
live with an open heart
give with compassion.


© Oliana 2014/08/22

A poem I wrote in June:  I am but me

© OK 2014

Trees spoke to me (haibun)

I can’t help but think about how nature has kept me sane, even if I do live in a suburb and work in a city. I have written about how for almost twenty years I raised our children in a city of 12,000 population near the Richelieu River which was by Fort Chambly  next to the Chambly canal. So it was a great place to cycle on the canal path, have picnics at the Fort by the river which was next to the rapids known where brave-hearts surf the rapids.

When the children were small, I used to cycle to the rapids after supper, alone, just to refuel…unwind to get through the rest of the evening. How those rapids listened to my screams (all in my head of course).
Last night I went to a nice park, by the St-Lawrence River and watched the sunset; I saw so many ducks swimming with the current and coming so close to shore. I had never walked through this park in the past on my trips to take photos. I usually simply parked next to the few fishermen who were there for bites at dusk and I would lean on a tree and take photos and just inhale the moment.
I noticed how tall the trees were and walked slowly to the end of the park, stopping now and then to take a photo…and walking back, I noticed the contrast, opposite the sunset was dimness and the Champlain Bridge. Surprisingly, my smart phone has a setting for “night” photos as well as “sunsets” etc. I am quite pleased with this night setting. It is funny, last night there were so many people at the park but they were all silent too…I hardly noticed they were there. I usually go on a Friday or Saturday night when most young people are out with friends.

© OK 2014
© OK 2014
the trees spoke to me
 “come closer
 rest awhile”
 I did, the sunset
 made me smile

© Tournesol '14


© OK 2014
© OK 2014


dusk enters softly
sun exits sublimely
ducks paddle

© Tournesol


Posted by Oliana, 2014/08/20

© OK  2014

riverbank – la rive (senryû/tanka)

tu ne sais pas
tu sais juste
tu ne connais pas
mais seulement,
pour faire le plein
pour tes fins…
je ne donne plus
je vais mettre fin
à tout jamais
moi aussi
je vais faire le plein
pour moi
et non pour toi…


assis sur la rive
les rapides envalent mes



you don’t know how
to listen
you only know how
to speak
you don’t know how
to give
but only how to take…
so you get your fill
never has an end,
this is your trend
I am no longer
putting an end
me too
I will take my fill
for my own satisfaction
and not your gratification.

on the riverbank
rapids swallow
the river always listens
drinking my tears away.


Nature has a way of giving back what the greedy have taken…inner peace.  i am at one with nature, the river replenishes.

© Oliana 2014/08/20

Submitted for: Carpe Diem Tackle it Tuesday #3 Absence of vanity.

We all fall down (senryû)

Sarolta Ban


“Elaine, hurry, the parade starts in twenty minutes and it takes ten minutes to get downtown.”

She sat at her vanity staring at her reflection. “Where did those dark circles come from?” she thought. She dabbed some foundation under her eyes and sighed. No way could she hide those lines…so many lines around her eyes, her mouth. She forced a smile and half the lines disappeared; she frowned and they all came back. “Oh, yes, that would be where they came from.” Her husband cleared his throat as he came upstairs to join her in their bedroom. This was his diplomatic way to say, “Last call, get a move on.” She ran her fingers through her short naturally curly snow-white hair.

She looked up at her husband, “Okay, Sean, sweetheart, show time.” Her husband and she had to be on the city float…he was Mayor of Elliot Bay, had been for 25 years. He usually won by acclamation. No one wanted to run against Sean O’Donnell, an honest, kind-hearted fair man and especially since…the incident, people felt responsible in some way…

The float was decorated with a Southern Ireland theme…lots of green, crosses and shamrocks. The float ahead were children under eight years old dressed up as leprechauns. There were floats with Disney themes, anti-bullying and other educational themes along with floats of various workers such as miners and steelworkers, the Elliot Bay Credit Union and several local commerce . This was the Labour Day Parade and all proceeds from the after parade picnic and fair went into a fund for a children and safety programme. This had been a tradition for the past 30 years.

The float for the mayor and his lady had comfortable arm chairs decorated in emerald-green velvet. The sky was blue, the sun glowing and only white puffy clouds floated above Elliot Bay the entire day.

Children were dancing in the streets, police officers were disguised as dancers, jugglers and even clowns…Elliot Bay was safe!

The day was a success. By eight in the evening, Elaine and Sean were chatting with old friends in the park gazebo by the lake. They were both tired but pleased with their day. They sat quietly as they watched in reverence at the sun setting on the bay…some fishing boats were coming in. Some other smaller boats and catamarans were already docked…most of their owners were here celebrating the last long weekend before school started.

Some lucky children would be going to kindergarten this week, thought, Elaine. She turned her head and looked sadly at the  saw that had never been used since the incident…Joshua never made it to kindergarten…

© OK '14
© OK ’14


Josh held on tight
chanting Up, down, Up,
we all fall down!”

Submitted for MindLoveMiserysMenagerie, Photo Challenge #22 “Seesaw”



A real smile remembered (triquain)

Photo credits: MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie


my mother
pretends to be happy
her words are soothing, almost convincing
tries to reassure “you know how much he loves us”
“then why are we always scared , Mommy?”
she sighs, her lips quiver,
tears escape.

my mother
so beautiful and kind
never did deserve to be betrayed
her face showed me more than words could ever teach me
one fine day, she learned to smile for real
no inked happy faces
on her hand.


real smiles are felt inside
not spoken,

© Oliana 2014/08/19

Submitted for: MindlovemiserysMenagerie – Photo Prompt #68

I had never seen this form before and Rainbow’s offering to this photo prompt inspired me. Thank you.

A Triquain
A non-rhyming seven-line poem with a
syllable count of: 3 – 6 – 9 – 12 – 9 – 6 – 3


Summer’s end (haibun)

At  Carpe Diem our task is to write a haibun on “Departing Summer”.  “Kamishibai” means “storyteller”. I did not know that. I have often shared or rather disclosed a bit of moi as well relate a story to fit photos I have posted in the past year. A few blogs had posted lovely haibun and that`s when I was drawn to learn more about that since it does fit “mon moi” in many ways.

I have not been writing as much here at Traces as I have been busy trying to improve and write haiku more. I have recently chosen a nom de plume for Japanese form poetry and micro-poetry which is Tournesol, meaning sunflower. This is on a new blog at blogspot Tournesol dans un Jardin (sunflower in a garden).

I like the idea of a nom de plume representing nature and ironically when I had made up my name here at Tracesofthesoul, Oliana, it was to always keep Oli (my son) and Ani (my daughter) in my heart. And of course my last name, Kim, which is my sister`s nickname. When searching to see if there was a meaning for Oliana, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it meant Oleander (another flower) in Haiwian. I believe I did write a post about this last year here. The reason I am so pleased is that Oliana can continue to be my nom de plume here as I do love that name for many reasons, for poetry especially and it represents flora…cool!

Why would I separate any Japanese forms with Oliana and Tournesol? (Gee this is beginning to sound like a Dear Emma post!)Well, many of my poetry on this blog is raw…uncensored and very personal, and that is why this haibun is published here. The haiku is not so blatantly personal and so I can keep that under Tournesol. Am I confusing you yet? That`s okay, I am a bit scatterbrain at times…

I have been following Chèvrefeuille’s prompts on several posts, Heeding with Ha at MindLoveMiserysMenagerie and Haiku Horizons are keeping me busy. Do I manage to write all of them? No! of course not! I get confused as to what is due, when and then forget where I first saw a prompt. Am I organized? Heck no! I blame that on my wacky creative and artistic persona…haha. Well, it sounds good, right?

Okay, now back to this prompt. Our host has asked us to write a story under 100 words! Yikes, moi, having to shut up at 100 words. Oh boy, it is like Flash fiction where I rarely would write for I just love to talk. Well, let me tell you, I have improved over the past few months. Yes, indeed, I have. Concentrating more on writing more meaningful haiku and reading so many amazing poets that follow Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and his other blogs, I am learning from real live artists. So feel free to check them out sometime by clicking on the Linkeys.

A haibun is a story (in this case under 100 words) accompanied with a classical haiku which is 5-7-5 syllable poem. The first line would be a  “season word “(kigo), second line, cutting word (interpunction) and the third line would be interchangeable with the first line.

For those whose mother tongue is NOT English, our host has asked us to also translate into that language if we wished. So I am going to have a go in French as well. Granted I am fluent speaking but not written, since my education has always been in English and I still think and dream only in English. Yet, it is the language of my mom and this province in Quebec.

Our host’s offering is a lovely tribute to the end of summer as well an homage to his grandson. As grandparents we are ALL entitled to brag brag brag because…we can!

“Look granddad”, my grandson yells. He shows me a red leaf from a tree which I don’t know. “Where did you find it?”

“It’s from a tree I have discovered”, he answers. He takes me by the hand. “I will show you were I have found it”. He points at a painting of Van Gogh in the garden of our neighbours.  

“Look granddad, the red leaf fell from that painting”. 

first red leaves fall Van Gogh’s painting comes alive in a child’s hand

© Chèvrefeuille


I have composed this in my first language, English, hence the French is a translation and not my original composition (thoughts).


© OK '14
© OK ’13 parc à Montréal (MileEnd)

Summer’s end (haibun)

She could feel a flood of emotions bathe her soul, remembering bittersweet moments when summers end. Over the years she still struggled with the bitterness of endings; her parents’ divorce and losing their house, in October. The end of summer loves that had been fleeting romances, the naiveté of adolescence! But the joys of her first-born November 15th after several fertility tests and her second child, August 31st honeyed many autumns for future years, until … she grew up, left home again at 45 and met more lovers that were meant for just one season…summer.


trees proudly stand

leaves shelter parks and gardens

for one season


trees proudly stand

exit in concert

shedding handsome hues


trees proudly stand

embracing broken hearts

shedding tears
© Tournesol ’14

Elle sentit une vague d’émotions inonda son âme, se souvenant de moments doux et parfois amers à la fin des étés. Au fil des ans, elle a lutté l’amertume des tristes fins; le divorce de ses parents et la perte de leur maison, en octobre. La fin des liens simplement des amours passagers … la naïveté de l’adolescence! Mais, les joies de son premier né le 15 novembre après plusieurs essais de fertilité et de son deuxième enfant, le 31 août invita nombreux automnes heureux, jusqu’à ce que … elle grandi, quittant la maison à nouveau à 45 ans, rencontre plusieurs amants, mais, destinés à juste une saison … l’été.

les arbres demeurent dignes

parrainent les parcs et jardins

pour une saison


les arbres demeurent dignes

terminant en concert

versant teintes gracieuses


les arbres demeurent dignes

embrassant des cœurs brisés

versant des larmes
© Tournesol ’14

Posted by © Oliana  Kim 2014/08/19

for Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, Kamishibai #10″Departing Summer”

Such is life

©  '14
© ’14 View from Oli’s  kitchen

my son’s visit last night
was a mother’s delight
until he revealed
a secret had been concealed.

his somber face
written with lines of distress
had again, won a race
he sat with an air of unrest;

he tells a tale
in such detail
like a writer pens,
yet, in his mind
his tale is all mapped
a beginning,
a plot
a tumultuous climax
and a sad conclusion
with no ending at all;

such commotion
and havoc,
one could feel the pain,
accounts of such friction…
as he quizzed his emotions

I felt his confusion…
sat and listened disheartened
dismayed by his list
events leading to this place
of failures and disgrace…

as his heart bled droplets
of illusions of life
I could only sit,
and listen,
heart hung near my lobes
could feel my heart beat
resounding thumps in my ears…
I sighed numbly…
and listened,
wishing I could do more,

I know I can’t erase it,
simply, sit and embrace it
in my heart, I did grip
words escaping his lips.

Life, love,
things of the heart
never seem simple or clear
that’s what we most fear.

I just whispered
with love,

life can certainly be messy
and unsettling for sure,
and never quite clear…
give it time to settle
feel your anger and fears
so in time, may depart
and then maybe you’ll see
if you can still open your heart
to love and accept
someone back in your life.

Such a full day and night
eldest child left in fright
of what life will bequeath
with an omen beneath
hidden joy somewhere
veiled in drugs and sweet wine
still revealing despair;
I shall pray for a sign
that will help him discover,
love and pleasure again,
I sure sound like a Mother
wishing I could retain
hold some of his pain
but alas such is life
when our children grow up
they’ll encounter some strife
such is life…
such is life.


© Oliana 2014/08/16

Dear Emma,

© OK '14
© OK ’14
it’s Saturday!

for many it is Sabbath..

It is actually mine as well,

since I work every Sunday

hence, I’m sharing today

how I feel grateful

for my family on this grey somber day,

my grandson and his mother, my daughter,

and my eldest … my son.

I had company yesterday

my grandson and his grandpapa

savoured a home cooked meal,

I then relished desert

that they brought as a gift,

yummy chocolate cake

and with icing as well;

I inhaled the warm bliss

my grandson’s hugs and kiss

and then bid them farewell.

A mere text here and there

with my daughter so fair,

I still felt so much love

travel online out there.

and then, to my surprise

with such joy and delight

my son came for a visit

at half passed nine in the night.

This is longer

I must say

so I’ve written a poem

where I shall relay

this visit at my home

and of what

he had to say.

© Oliana 2014/08/16

Poem is “Such his Life”

Time moves fast (SoCS)

© OK '14 Windsor Station, Montreal, Qc.
© OK ’14 Windsor Station, Montreal, Qc.

Friday’s reminder for Stream of Conciousness (SoCS) is “Time”.  Thank you, Linda, for this.  It seems in the past 2 weeks I have had at least three prompts for haiku on “time”.  Interesting how that keeps coming up “time and time again”.  Okay, well, the odd thing about this, although I have written several poems on “time”, this exercise at SoCS is to just write and not stop, so THAT is the difference.  So here goes with my free verse:



What time have you got, Sir?

Oh no! is it that time again?

it’s time to deal with this now!

Some time I feel there just

is NOT enough time in one day!

Time is on your side!

Time is a wasting.

What are all these expressions for?

They are such a waste of time

time and time again, I hear them

It is time to stop repeating

clichés, platitudes or any kind of saying

in this free verse, any way

anytime we repeat old clichés

WordPress corrects me on my posts.

I find that so darn annoying!

It is as if I don’t know the English language

and when it constantly corrects

my correct Canadian English spelling

…grrrr, sometimes it is just a waste of my time

checking it over and over to see if I made a mistake.

Anyway, it is time to end this verse

for I have run out of time and it is almost 2am.

Have a great time on your weekend folks!

Thanks, Linda, this was fun!

© Oliana 2014/08/16

Don’t weep for me (senryû)

© OK '14
© OK ’14

where are the children,

with carriers of white wings,

no longer weep


don’t weep for me

floating on white clouds above

I got my wings!

(c) Tournesol ’14

My first read this morning was a lovely poem, Wings at Mark M. Redfearn’s blog . I can’t help but think of children suffering lately. Not just the youths I speak to daily but children who have never known the luxury of being just a “kid” and have passed before their teens.  It is a somber thought for my first day off but, that’s what it is.

On a brighter thought, my grandson is coming over for dinner with his grandfather today.  Spaghetti sauce (his request)  is simmering…have a blessed weekend everyone, Oliana

© OK 2014/08/15

Where are all the flowers?


© OK '14
© OK ’14

where are all the flowers

the sunshine that used to glow

where are all the flowers

the blue sky disappeared

where are all the flowers

the billowy white clouds

where are all the flowers

the soft ocean breeze

where are all the flowers

the multicoloured arch

where are all the flowers

the birds sing good morning

where are all the flowers

the fish that swam away

where are all the flowers

they’re up with all the angels

awaiting all the masses

innocent children, their families

needless terminations

barbarian abominations

flowers adorn the arches

multicoloured rainbows

welcome them on lofty clouds

angels escorted

by singing birds

where are all the flowers?

in heaven, but of course!

© OK ’14

What works for me (Dungeon Promts Season 3, Week 2, The Healing Arts)

This week at The Seeker’s Dungeon, Week 3, Prompt 2, we are to write about The Healing Arts.  The video included in the prompt reminds me of a staff development day a few years ago. Every year we plan a full day of something different to unwind, get connected with self AND with our colleagues. With the work we do we do need a way to just chill out. If it were for me, I would insist on an hour a week but that’s just me. I designed a workshop to prevent vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue and so hopefully we all practice this in the meantime.

That staff development day we went up North in the country to a resort and our facilitators were drummers. All we did was drum.  Without being musicians we formed a band that created beautiful music and our spirits were lifted. So that video does remind me of that good feeling.

I used to read vicariously to unwind but then I discovered writing last year. I realized that reading stopped worried thoughts, ramblings in my mind but it just put it on hold. Writing, especially poetry or narrative fiction got me in touch with my inner soul without realizing it. So it helps me to unwind, work on difficult feelings that can be related to me, processing my own stuff or just sorting out difficult calls or stories disclosed from youths with whom I work.

I went through some difficult personal issues especially last spring and summer and I am amazed how writing helped me grow through it as much if not better than counselling.

I used to speed walk and bike a lot to vent but my legs are not in good shape lately so I continue to write and driving to work, I listen to music which truly uplifts my spirit. I listen to music until I get into the downtown core and turn the radio off and start changing my mantra. Dancing was also cathartic but that to is on hold until my legs are in better shape.

Laughter is extremely therapeutic and cathartic. I joke around at work with colleagues when the lines are not so busy and when I get home if I need to totally disconnect from a heavy night, I will listen to 2 or 3 sitcoms, like The Big Bank Theory, Roseanne, The Jeffersons…anything silly and yes, I laugh out loud alone in my apartment. Years ago I had done a presentation on laugh therapy in the early 90’s before Laughter Yoga started later in India.  Now this is a practise even in Canada and getting more and more popular.

I like to laugh until my belly muscles hurt, then I know I have had a good laugh.  Rather than explain the benefits of laughter, I will end later with a video that explains it in a few minutes and YOU just may have a laugh as well.

When I was younger if I was really worried about something, I would pray but  more like a meditation not really paying attention to the words. And when that stopped helping, I turned to books. I rarely can get to sleep unless I have a book in my hands to nod off eventually and then turn the lights out. But now with writing to work things out…I find that my  mantra I was just given at a retreat with Amma in July, seem to be sufficient for now.

Every day I  start chanting on my walk to the bus and at least 5 times I was sure I had missed my bus but for some reason, the bus always left a few minutes later…the chanting calmed me on the way to the bus and my bonus was I had not missed it.

Driving into work in the city I chant my mantra and it seems to prevent  road rage (not uncommon in Montreal) and so I chant now until I get to work. Why not? I get to work in a calmer and better mood with no accidents.

my sanity’s
usually maintained
when I write
stress may still claim
and so I fight
with mantra chanting
and also reading
all aid in ridding
preoccupied thoughts
but mostly I love,
writing poetry
and photography
blending them together
paints my world
oh! so much better.

© Oliana, 2014/08/12

 Laugh your stress away…fake it until you make it!

Benefits of Laughter Yoga with John Cleese

Here is another more detailed video on laughter yoga from The Discovery Channel

Life is a mystery (haibun)

© OK '14
© OK ’14

hot muggy day
spider finds a cool safe place
took a bubble bath

© Tournesol

My mind keeps wandering today.  I have a lot of time to think since I took a discretionary day from work. My legs feel like someone took a baseball bat to the shins and knees, ouch! I can’t describe it any other way.

Three weeks ago, my friend and colleague lost his fight with cancer. Yesterday the world heard of Robin Williams who also lost his fight with mental illness…so sad to lose such a great person. He was so real and we felt it! I loved his humour, his eyes that spoke, his voice that soothed or startled us with laughter. He has left a legacy just as my friend has. I could not help but imagine my friend greeting him at the pearly gates with his boisterous roar of a laugh and Elvis impersonations.

Tonight, my to-do list, is to watch Mork and Mindy on Netflix and just keep watching comedies in between writing.

Just before supper tonight, I phoned my aunt in Ontario to wish her a belated happy birthday and she announced that her cousin died last week. He was like her brother and my uncle. My paternal grandparents raised him and his sister. I was shocked because his family is here in Quebec.

He was a Jesuit priest and a lovely person. He was one of the last persons visiting my father in Toronto when I lived there, trying to offer him some help. Yet, my father was a proud man and was insulted at the offer. Father Michael O’Donnell leaves a sister with her 6 children and I lost count on the grandchildren. I must call his sister later. Fortunately, she is a night person like me.

How time flies. I am reminded of my childhood summers.   Our families would get together at the family cottage up North. It was a huge cottage with 8 bedrooms! A lovely covered porch surrounding the house.  The most fun was the creek at the side of the cottage. I spent many hours hopping those rocks, freezing my feet in the frigid water. My great-great grandfather built it not long after he came here from Ireland. I wish I could have met him. I would have loved to ask him to tell me more about life at Ballybunion in those days.

© OK Killarney Cottage, Shawbridge, Quebec
© OK Killarney Cottage, Shawbridge, Quebec, artist: Mae Giroux, Oakville

I realize as I am getting older that I may be hearing of the death of someone I knew more often than I would like to admit. In my 30’s I thought this was such a natural occurrence but when it hits this close and so often, it seems surreal. It’s not scary per se, just feels so unreal, and yet…

I think of all living things and it all has a lifespan, an expiration date and then there are sudden unexpected endings…unforeseen but never unheard of. Life is unpredictable in its humdrum way. Does this make sense? Well, I know where I am going with this…so bear with me.


August sailing
gusty winds tense the jib
crow kissed a windshield

fly fidgets
buzzes around his arm.

spider spins
all night long diligently

children’s park
swings, teeter totters, slides
barbarian invasion

children giggling
bright coloured kites catch the sun
string floats silently

© Tournesol



(free verse)

If I were an insect,
who knows how my life would end?
If I were a bird,
who knows how the wind would blow?
If I were a child living in the wrong part of the world,
who knows when my life would end?
Life is a gift for some,
a puzzle for so many,
an affliction for too many…

© OK 2014/08/12

Dear Emma (haibun)

© OK '14
© OK ’14

Oh boy do I need to talk to YOU!  I feel I am at a crossroad today. I read up on the ISIS massacre in Iraq last night on a blog. I stopped reading the news, watching the news on the tele since 9/11 and try to avoid any news on facebook…well, I just don’t go on fb much anymore except to share my most recent post.

Last night I fired up my laptop late in the evening. I had spent the day and evening with friends celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.  I scrolled through my reader and saw on Dr. Rex’s blog a reblog of an account of these monsters from ISIS;  looking at the photos and I tried to just skim through them quickly, I could not help but imagine the father of the girl who was beheaded. I could not help but visualize how it might be if I lived there. Would I have been the mother or sister? Would I have been the girl’s playmate or would I have been the girl for have the “sin” of having Christian parents. How totally unbelievable to see such horror?!!

I did not sleep well. This morning I tried to catch up on some writing promtps, write some haiku for Chèvrefeuille at CarpeDiemHaikuKai and looked at MindLoveMiserysMenagerie and I could not concentrate on anything beautiful…nothing poetic came out…I was stained with the visual blood of that girl. I felt shame for North America not getting involved and even if they did…would it be for ulterior reasons or for the rights of human being?

My heart bleeds for the lost souls and weeps for the survivors. How can one continue living with such turmoil?  How do people continue? I have no clue how I could sustain each breath in such a situation.

So I wrote a story and a senryû. That helped a bit.  Then I cut and pasted the same story with a different senryû in my other blog. Sooner or later readers are going to get the hint who I am. I am slowly slipping in clues. Anyway, it helped to vent and this fantasy story was my way of working through my feelings because I need to be positive and comforting for youths who call me.

I have not come out and said directly who I really am because I am still waiting for my work to eradicate my name Oliana and then once that is done, I can come clean.

Anyway, Emma, that is of little importance.  I am slowly trying to simplify my life.  I want to write Japanese poetry and micro poetry under one name, or maybe it would be easier to have a poetry blog and an “everything else” blog. But this blog does have my most deepest thoughts, my uncensored feelings about many issues and I am still not prepared to go public on some of those…yet. (to protect family and friends…okay, mostly family).

Tonight on my way home, I almost hit a cyclist with my car.  Two youths ran across Sherbrooke Street at corner of Cherrier,  in the middle of the street, lots of cars turning onto them. They were dressed in dark clothing and they were far from a crosswalk or traffic light.  When I saw the two go by me, I slowed down a bit and kept looking to my left to see if another pedestrian was going to whiz right  by me but suddenly, I heard cars honking and I saw a cyclist flash by me, I slammed on the breaks, looked behind me in case I was going to get rammed in and swore the “F” word several times.  What are these kids thinking?!!

Just minutes ago, I had a cyclist cut me not far from my work. Another cyclist cut me off on my right (blind spot). Do they not know we cannot see them?!!!

I had to pick up my prescription for thyroid medication and as I was  backing out of the parking spot, another cyclist just whizzed by BEHIND me…another person I could have maimed.  He did not have any reflectors, lights or a helmet on. Why don’t the police stop these people or warn them of the dangers?!!!

Last Thursday, at the same intersection where I almost killed a cyclist, two youths on skateboards cut me off on MY green light…dressed in dark colours…not a care in the world.

I think there is a pattern here and I seriously feel I need to call the police to maybe put some officers around that area for a few nights between 10:30 pm. and 11:30 p.m.  My heart was in my throat and my mind is boggled  just thinking of what could have happened.

I have been  chanting my mantra Amma gave me last month every day and mostly when I am driving downtown in the city. It seems to calm me and prevent road rage. Let me tell you, it is hard to keep calm when people drive STUPIDly but the mantra helps. I may have to chant it at night as well…it seems to still keep me alert but calmer. I seem to take thinks more in stride even when people do STUPID things.

When I have a minute, I want to list some of the things that have happened that amaze me since I have been chanting my mantra.

Maybe I should jot down some of these before I forget because I am starting to just accept them as the grace of G-d or some special connection with Amma, maybe it is both.

Thanks for listening, Emma. I want to read a few posts and then turn in. It has been a long day!

Best, Oliana xx

 people act crazy
not a care in the world
full moon

© 2014/08/11

Innocents die (senryû)


Photo: Phoenix – desktop nexus


Innocents die,
barbarians thrive
spreading despair

Phoenix had only thirty-six hours to finish his work. His world was in a Gehenna. Seeing his people tortured, tormented and massacred with dirty warfare at the hands of hedonistic madmen, crushed his soul. His heart was bleeding at what seemed to be, yet again, a cursed legacy. His ancestors suffered, and no one then, thought it would ever get to this point of madness. And yet it did.

His people were good souls who struggled to live, not much to get by yet always willing to give to whomever was in need. They prayed for the souls of their own as well as the world around them. They believed in the Golden Rule and never went to sleep at night unless they had offered a selfless deed to someone.   THIS was their true legacy…to spread the word of love and compassion worldwide.

Last week, when Phoenix was kneeling in prayer, tear streaked face, pleading to the Great Spirit for peace, he was filled with despair.  He leaned on the rock near the precipice and was planning to give up.  He could no longer face the mayhem.  suddenly, he saw a shadow behind the rock moving. At first he thought it was a vision but wiped his eyes and saw it was a shaman. He held a package in his arms and spoke briefly to him.

Phoenix was absorbed by what this wise shaman was telling him.  He listened silently and with reverence. The shaman asked him if he had any questions. Phoenix asked, “Why me?” The shaman simply smiled and left.

That was twelve hours ago and he was given strict instructions to douse the special syringe in the bottle the shaman had given him. Only 3 cc’s it would take, the shaman had told him, to do the job. And when the liquid in the bottle went down to ¼ of the bottle, he was simply to add water and it would continue to multiply its special powers. It would never lose its strength but he must start by August 10th at the fullest moon of the year for it to proliferate. Whoever would touch a person who had been pricked by this needle would contaminate anyone who breathed within a ten foot radius.   If this was so, thought Phoenix, “there would be hope. Finally this madness would disintegrate as well as the thoughts of this militia of maniacs.”

Now was the time. Phoenix, disguised as a warrior of this militia joined the officer in chief and served him his wine. Everyone was partying, celebrating their victory.   They bragged at their barbaric deeds.  Phoenix started choking and fought back his anger and sadness for he had to keep up this role for the greater good.

That night most of the fighters passed out around their festive table that was a shamble of food rotting like their souls.  Phoenix injected everyone and knew it would only be time before there would finally be an end to this plague of misery.


© OK – 2014/08/11

Submitted for Mindlovemiserysmenagerie Wordle 21

Write a poem or story using 10 of these words

  1. Delicate 2. Dirty 3. Legacy 4. Shrapnel 5. Gehenna (any place of extreme torment or suffering) 6. Douse 7. Hate 8. Syringe 9. Precipice 10. Hedonistic 11. Rot 12. Disintegrate

Pictures of ISIS brutal killings in Iraq


where are we headed
in a world that tortures
innocent men, women,
children for no reason?
where are we headed
in a world that exists like this?
ISIS represents something
too evil to describe
the devil is a sweetheart
by comparison
what kind of people
behave with such venom
in the name of their g-d
bullshit!! they lie!
no holy book teaches to slaughter
No higher power would condone
such atrocities,
what is the world waiting for?
why not intervene now?
I can’t believe our governments
make us believe it is a local war
it IS a world tragedy
violation of human rights
it is murder!
these are massacres
what are we waiting for
to protect these people
children dying so young
assassinated for what?
tell me one good reason
ISIS had committed such treason
to the human race?
Praying for these losses is not enough
I feel powerless
unable to make a dent
or take notice where it counts
Pathetic, useless,
weak, helpless.

© Oliana 2014/08/11

Originally posted on Lotenna Blog:


The ISIS militants have taken over many Iraqi towns and have committed horrible atrocities

    I’m writing this with a completely broken heart and a torn spirit. I’m so shocked and pained that I can hardly put my emotions into words. I am equally frustrated that I can hardly do anything about this situation that gives me so much heartache. I was shocked beyond words when I saw the horrific pictures of ISIS massacre in Iraq. I’m going to share some of them but let me first warn that these pictures are extremely distressing and discretion is adviced.
    The blood thirsty LUNATICS, ISIS in Iraq and Syria who have since declared an Islamic state after conquering large portions of the country have been uncontrollable in the extent of terror they have unleashed. My previous post was about the ISIS attack on religious minorities including the Yazidis and the Christians which caused thousands of the Yazidi minority to flee into…

View original 240 more words

I called on you

I called on you, Yesterday,
you always seem to have
clouds in your way;
I left a message,
did you get it?
I came by today
did you see me?
the day was glorious
blue skies with glowing sun
you used to love days like this
finding them so much fun
the clouds tried to cover
but that blazing star won over
all the clouds ,even the grey ones.
When I came by
I met your special guy
he seems so lonely
I should drop by some day
…I enjoyed my visit today
you got some folks worried
not able to eat of late,
good thing I came by
and fed you lots of snacks
Haagan Dazs, yogurt
portions of Ensure too
cos you did not eat dinner,
Yes, we had a good visit,
but this will only be filed
in your folder of Yesterday
with all the others.

© Oliana, 2014/08/09


Double your trouble (SoCS Friday reminder)

Linda has given us the words:  double two bi for our prompt of Stream of Conciousness (SoCS) This is the Friday reminder but I am writing it right away as I relax in my son’s lazy boy, the girls (dogs and cat) are napping and I have no clue what I will say but once I start it is like when I talk…you gotta shut me up!

Double Two Bi (or anything that relates to two)

Title: Double your trouble

The first thing that comes to mind when I see this prompt is double trouble and so, I may as well just go with that and see what comes forth.

When life is going well, I guess I could take a double double of that, wouldn’t you? And yet when things seem to be going  wrong, the world seems bleak and bad luck is tripping you a lot, that seems to come in three’s they say. Well, who the heck said that anyway? It must be a Catholic thing, one bad thing faces you and then another and low and behold you have a friend or relative that rushes to say well, “jamais deux sans trois” (literally translated: never two without three). Oh, I just though of another expression we say in English “double trouble”. So maybe it is my French upbringing that expects bad things to happen in three’s. I don’t mean any disrespect when I say Catholic thing, it’s just that I grew up feeling guilty if good things would be coming our way. Anyway I am sure that way of thinking has certainly changed in many circles by now…I sure hope so!

Whatever…now where was I going with this? Oh, yeah, when life is going well and we just want more where that came from., maybe we could expect a bi-weekly splurge of happiness that will carry you over with wonderful, fuzzy wuzzy feelings for the rest of the time when bleak times creep back in. And then again, why do we expect anything to begin with? Why can’t we just make our own happiness? A few minutes ago I was reading a post a blogger, Pavanneh, had reblogged from The Mirror Obscura  about expectations of happiness versus sadness. I read that article and kept bobbing my head in agreement especially when the writer talks about changing our attitude. The part that touched me most, becuase I actually practice this,  is to smile at people more, even a complete stranger, give them a seat etc….just be more compassionate towards people and you will feel real good because their joy comes back to you DOUBLE. Yep, that is for sure.

I have volunteered most of my adult life and if there is anything that can lift your spirit is to reach out and touch/help someone. You know that guy that told us many years ago…um, 2014 years ago (more or less) who preached to people to be nicer to their brother…to their neighbour? Yeah, that guy, Jesus. Well, I do believe that since then there have been more special people like that over the years that have taught the world to just give a bit of yourself every day…it is better than taking two aspirins, costs double nothing and it will leave you feeling pretty darn good.

When I say there are people who have preached all over the world about being more compassionate, I can think of many but don’t want to forget a lot so I will simply name the last person who has touched me with her grace, her love to humanity, her compassion that is felt…and when she hugged me, I felt the same love only GrandMaman gave me…that is, real unconditional love. You guessed surely by now, I am referring to Amma. (Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi)

As for sad days, I have to say that especially since I started writing last year, I embrace those grey, dark days. Living with chronic pain does bring on sad days sometimes because it is so draining emotionally as much as physically…so double your trouble when two parts of you (body and soul) are hurting. However, my muse is a bit of a sadist I think. She just goes nuts when things are chaotic, depressing and especially very painful days.

I  also feel that grey times are needed in order to appreciate and see the difference with good times. It is through pain and suffering that we learn so many important life lessons, that we grow spiritually…now I don’t mean to be a martyr…no, no, I am not saying either to seek and expect negativity. I am saying to embrace it when it comes your way and learn from it.

In conclusion, it is worth doubling your efforts to reach out and touch someone because then it will propagate. Gee that makes me think of pollination …ha! so if you are busy as a bee and spread joy and happiness, you will get back more than double your investment plus it spreads to other people. Now that is smart banking!

(c) Oliana ’18-08-08

Written for: LindaGHill’s FridayReminder StreamOfConciousness SoCS August 8, 2014

Pet sitting soon over

This morning I took some photos of the girls after texting my son to see when he will be back from his road trip, I have one more sleep here and then I am back home with my Bette. I stopped at my place on my way to work to cool the place and spend some time with Bette. Boy did she chew off my ear. Nag, nag, nag…but she missed me so that’s totally okay. It must be a bit painful for her smelling the scent of the girls on me too…soon, Bette, we shall be reuinted.

Heidi was playing with her sister and I decided to take a few shots…

Where have you been dear one?

Where have you been dear one?
I have missed you so much
thought you had left me and gone
but no, here you are once again
making my heart pitter patter
feeling my soul flutter
especially when you grin,
as if I’d committed
some outrageous sin
and you praise my bravery
my shocking behaviour
and I feel like none other
but your only true love.
Where have you been dear one?
how long will you stay…this time
before you flee and are up and gone
once again?



lovers reunite
do not cling, nor make promises
love is simply free

(c) Oliana ’14-08-08

Past sense of scents (haiga)

I know the prompt asks to write about childhood scents but it is summer and that evokes memories of childhood, yes, but also lovers …so these are memories I`ve written often here of my Black Knight.


Photo by David Cooper

baritone voice
football frame, spoons expertly
trace of sweetness

lost love
days pass, longing
pillow case recalls…

crowded bus
pushing, shoving, man leans close
sweet recall


(c) Oliana ’14-08-06

Submitted for Carpe Diem Haiku Ghost Writer 20, The Scent of Poetry. 

Photo originally posted in Love is to Me

A personal disclosure…sort of

A great person once wrote, “What’s in a name”?  Her words flowed in poetic prose and my post here, is a mere statement, explanation… a personal disclosure of sorts.

On my G mail account, I have added a “real” enough name for the Google Corporation to accept so I could have the Google+ as well…it is a great way to share blogs and information. I much prefer the clean look of it than Facebook but only a few of my friends have opted for this as well.  With Facebook, Google, twitter, tumblr et al how’s a girl to choose which mall is the best?  So I dabble in a few here and there.

The name I chose has been used many times in my past and I believe most who have read my blog several times, know that I choose and actually need to keep my anonymity due to the nature of my work…you know those CIA and  folks get quite feisty at times…I joke, but I hope you understand. Since I respect each and every one who as part of this WordPress family…community of loyal, caring people, writers, bloggers and all.  I wanted to explain to my friends here.

Oliana was created with letters from both my children’s name and so when I use this name, it IS personal.  Kim is what I used to call my sister when I was a wee child because I could not pronounce her name…must have been the earlier years when I was blabbing at such great speed that I would stutter.  I don’t  anymore but I still blab with various speeds depending on the speed limit.

And so there you have it.  OH! I almost forgot, when searching to see if “Oliana” in fact may exist somewhere on this planet, I was very pleased to learn that it means Oleander in Hawaiian (the flower…you know from the movie with Michelle Pfeiffer?).  So since I read that book and saw the movie several times, and I adore Michelle Pfeiffer, that name seems, to me to have been blessed.

Know if EVER I sign Oliana, my son and daughter are with me as they are always in my heart.

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