Sunday Things: Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines

A survivor cooks dinner in front of his damaged home in the village of Marabut, Samar Island, on Friday, November 15, 2013. Photography by David Guttenfelder

Hail and Fire
By Annette Marie Hyder

“This is the worst,” Cardenas said, taking a break from fixing a piece of damaged furniture. “We’re both victims and rescuers.” *

A hard rain pelted this island
and left a hard rain of bodies
littered on the ground
like a residue of frost
or even more — like hail.
Those bodies fell
like hail
in that they hurt and destroyed things in their path —
hearts like hopeful green shoots of grass
were pummeled and bruised as the hail came down
and families shattered like car windshields,
where the hail struck,
cracking from the center of loss
and  spider-webbing outwards.

Destruction was sown like dragon’s teeth
with sorrow cropping up like a million opportunistic
branches of creeping devastation cane.
And it seems like the only thing of good use against this
is fire. Fires crackle, as fires do, by shacks
as well as in the oil drums of many hearts
with the power to cleanse and clear the way
for — truly — I know not what.

I only know that there is much to do and grieving too
is part of the task at hand
as the wind sends smoke signals to those who are left behind
telling them to depart — whispering of
a mass exodus and many mass graves
and hail and fire and the way
that a path opens up for the feet of the weary
to follow each one their way —
a bitter hard path if they depart
and a hard bitter path if they stay.

How to help

Want to know how you can help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda? Here is a link to an ABC News article with tips on best practices when sending relief: The best ways to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan

*From “Typhoon Haiyan: More cadaver bags sent to Philippines as toll climbs to 3,633 dead”
By Jethro Mullen

What Friday told me about princess slippers

“Cinderella” by Catrin Welz-Stein

Princess Slippers and Friday’s Story
As told to Annette Marie Hyder

Friday told me a story in which shoes were paramount. Their importance was not diminished by the sheer number of pairs in the story. There were many kinds and there were many styles and there were, most importantly, a pair of princess slippers.

One minute Friday told me the princess slippers were made of glass and the next she said they were fashioned of fur. She mentioned velvet, silk, and satin. She digressed to talk of precious metals — of crithril, silver, and gold. She described delicate high-heeled slippers made from fragile autumn leaves and embellished with shiny polka-dotted red ladybug wings in the same breath as she hinted at shoes that chimed with each step as if a finger were being run around the rim of a crystal glass.

I interrupted her story to ask what the point of it all was? What does it matter that there is a penultimate pair of shoes (whose very description varies from story to story and indeed — even within the story she was telling me) whose perfect fit must be realized? Is it to groom the listeners of the story to learn to need to fit a certain shape or expectation? I did not like the thought of that at all.

No, Friday told me, and with this I can agree: the reason there is such a fuss made of finding the right fit — shoe and foot — is to illustrate the point and teach the lesson that there is a perfect expression of fit for form and that the princess (the central character in the story) need not lop off a toe, slice off a heel, to conform to the perfect shoe. She would be true to herself and by not altering herself to accommodate a certain predetermined shape or form she would find the right fit — slip her foot into the shoe — glass, fur, ladybug-winged or chiming with each step — and find the greatest fulfillment from being herself.

The princess slippers are for self actualization and finding oneself — not for conformity. The princess in her story kicked up her heels and put to use the old adage, ‘if the shoe fits, wear it’.

Excuse me while I go get my boots.

Happy Friday!

There is scholarly debate as to what type of shoe was described in the original French version of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella story. You can read a brief overview of the history of the debate at, Did Cinderella really wear glass slippers?

And here is a link to a most interesting article from The Atlantic, Do Folktales Evolve Like Biological Species?

En noir et blanc

Audrey Ann Smith, eating oysters at the telephone company’s year-end oyster feast in Coral Hills, Maryland with her mother-in-law, Edna Elanor Smith. (Late 1950’s) Copyright Audrey Ann Ruff

Sometimes I wish I could walk through the day as if I were walking through a black and white photo or film — wear a coat with the collar turned up around my face, cast my eyes down, looking mysterious in doing something as simple as eating raw oysters at an outside table — at a remove from the familiar by the peculiar glamor of scenes cast in old-timey-movie-star filter.

And yet, at the time the black and white films were being made and black and white photos were being taken, life was being lived in full-on color. Even the people leading the artful lives we see captured in cool, glamorous black and white moments were not so much living those moments as we see them but really making and becoming art in the simple exercise of being as they were being photographed.

And then there is this, “A photograph is not only an image …it is also a trace,
something directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death
mask” — Susan Sontag (1933-2004, American writer and political activist)

Autumn is winking at me

By Annette Marie Hyder

with her Frangelico* colored eyes
laughing with her wide open mouth skies.
Her closet has more boots than mine
but I would go toe to toe with her any day
that mine are just as cute.
In fact, I wouldn’t blame her
for being just a little bit jealous
of the ones I’m wearing today.
Autumn is winking at me
and I am winking right back.

Happy Wednesday!

*Frangelico, a noisette (hazelnut) and herb-infused liqueur tinted with caramel coloring, is produced in Canale, Italy. The bottle is shaped to look like a friar complete with a knotted white cord around the waist. Source

“When you open the bottle, wafts of hazelnut, vanilla and cinnamon
enter your nose, giving you a dynamic and strong idea of what is to
come. The body is more light weight then most liqueurs and also differs
in the fact that while its smooth, it doesn’t leave that feeling of
cream or syrup on your tongue after a swig. Its flavors sit on the
tongue quickly, producing chocolate, hazelnut and spice to your taste
buds. Again, the smell is so delicious that you’ll want to keep inhaling
this drinks aromas, even while you’re pouring some down your throat.” —

Poppies of pride

“Poppies and Stormy Mood” by Floriandra of Deviantart

Poppy Fields
By Annette Marie Hyder

In fields of poppies as red as the blood
of any nation bleeding in the course of war
(for we all bleed and bleed the same color too)
there are skies dark and filled with storm
whether the hard rain that will be falling
is finger pressed or drone driven.
The soldiers have a terrible beauty
in the way that they feed
and fertilize the ground of conflict.
They are beautiful with valor that shines
in lights that could be campfires
covering the ground like clover made of courage
but are really more like fireflies that carpet the field
in jeweled bravery/ephemera.

There is bravery, yes,
but such grand and flagrant waste and rubbish too
that right after my heart leaps up at the sound of marching
it falls to the ground in apprehensive sorrow.
What would grow in their place
if the poppies of pride were rooted out?
What type of rain would fall
if the clouds were not seeded with hate?
Gulls circle and cry out.
These gulls are feathered appetites, kites with teeth
and stand in well as surveillance metaphor
as well as for war-mongers whose wings are made of greed
and always wanting more.