Grand-Maman’s tales (Cherita) #1 – #4

© clr Grand-Maman 2014

I have just discovered the Cherita (A haiku/tanka inspired form created by ai li on June 22, 1997. Now this must have been calling me to pay attention. I had noticed a few of Celestine’s beautiful contributions both on Facebook and on her blog Reading Pleasure and she write the cherita as if she is singing ever so softly. She does have a way with words and metaphors that I truly admire.

Now the reason, I am more drawn to this form after reading the source of this(Celestine is generous enough to highlight after each postin), my mother’s birthday was June 22nd…that is one majour attraction; in 1997 I made a majour move away from family and friends, starting a new single life. And, lastly, the word Cherita is the Malay word for “story” or “tale” and I have been looking for a way to write les histoires ranconté by my grand-maman.


So I am going to try and write a cherita more often in my Daily reflections similar to what I have been doing in Waka (haiku, tanka, haibun). Thank you, Celestine, for sharing this form with your readers.


So for my first try I am simply going on a tale spin (not tailspin) but for my first time, this is a “spin off of tales” raconter (told) by my grandmother. Des histories Grand-maman m’a racontait autour de la table de cuisine avec une bonne tasse de thé. (Stories my grandmother shared at the kitchen table over a good cuppa tea).

Cherita #1

no sterile beginnings for me

twisting and turning
in a hurry to see your face

in the comfort of home
two generations holding me
my first bain d’amour

Cherita #2

Grand-maman was the town mid-wife. Doctors called upon her to stay the long hours, usually at night while expectant mothers were in labour. My grandmother would phone the doctor just when the mother was dilated enough so the doctor had little wait time to deliver the baby.


We would hear all sorts of stories about how some households were sometimes ill prepared for the birth of a 2nd, 3rd or 4th child. Growing up in a predominantly French Canadian and Catholic town, the church encouraged procreation and condemned birth control.


If you wanted to receive absolution for your sins at confessions and the priest got wind of avoiding copulation for fear of getting pregnant, you would have to forgo absolution for your sins on that day.

an unhappy husband hummed and hoed

needs not having been met
he actually told on his partner!

with a sign of the cross
tongue wagging on how to behave
his wife was not given absolution

Grandmaman told us this story how she found a way to get around “not refusing” her husband but still not being exposed to the chance of getting pregnant.


Ma Tante Rose comes for a visit every month

Sometimes this relative makes
unexpected stopovers

no one would question
that extra layer
husbands simply sigh and roll over.


Cherita #3

hot summer night

sitting by the riverbank
cicadas and bullfrogs compete

shrill of the musique à bouche (harmonica)
stepping and jigging to the beat

cutting through the thick
Grand-Papa bringing life
summer air


Cherita #4

finding perfection out of imperfect moments

There is something so ordinary
and yet so extra-ordinary

with family
on hot summer nights

no rules of behaviour

young or old
everyone’s engaged

telling tales of this and that
laughing and singing
foot tapping for sure

©Cheryl-Lynn Roberts 17/017/20

My first Cherita attempts…I am not sure if it is okay to include prose within the tales but for a first try, it just fit well.


On the road to the Holy Grail (haibun)

Suzanne has asked us to write about the Road to the Holy Grail, and quotes from “Reflections on the Art of Living” edited by Diane K Osbon:

“What the Holy Grail symbolizes is the highest spiritual fulfillment of a human life.  Each life has some kind of high fulfillment, and each has its own gift from the Grail…   It has to do with overcoming the same temptations that the Buddha overcame; of attachment to this, that or the other life detail that has pulled you off course…   In the Grail legends, the land of people doing what they think they ought to do or have to do is the wasteland.”

I am not sure if I have interpreted this well but have tried interpreting a journey to engulfment.


So much time seems to be wasted when we all seem to think that time is plentiful. Is it? Really? In the past decade,  she has returned to her path of spirituality. Usually strife and hopelessness draws her there and in time, she feels at peace. She is astounded at how often she rereads a passage of wisdom and spiritual growth twenty to thirty years later as if it were the very first time. What does that mean?

There are times when she was in her  early twenty’s she may have digested words intellectually rather than emotionally. That is the only answer that makes sense to her. Life happens and too many times attachment to things and persons cloud our vision but the path is always there, waiting, forgiving and embracing.

Nothing can be rushed…it is not like spring cleaning with a power wash but letting yourself go and be.  Emptying your mind and allowing to be filled with light.

visions of white doves
inviting her home


For those who know me, also know my late mother’s name is dove in French, Colombe.


path to nothingness (haibun)


From On the Road, Suzanne has chosen the following quote to inspire us to write in our favoured waka form.

“As we turn every corner of the Narrow Road to the Deep North, we sometimes stand up unawares to applaud and we sometimes fall flat to resist the agonizing pains we feel in the depths of our hearts. There are also times when we feel like taking to the roads ourselves, seizing the raincoat lying near by, or times when we feel like sitting down till our legs take root, enjoying the scene we picture before our eyes.” – Soruyo

Thinking back when her children were little and stress had a way of creeping into the household. So often she would pack up a blanket, a healthy lunch and off they walked (her son biked) and she pushed the stroller for the younger one to the fort by the rapids. It was a mile to get there or 1.6km and if the children had behaved, they would walk to the wading pool half a mile away and maybe get a sundae at MacDonald’s across the street. The road taken then was to “stay above float” and it happened to make everyone content.

Sometimes, at the end of the day when the children’s father returned from work, they would plan a family bike outing, but before, she would take a “mommy run” to check on her bike she would say. What she actually did was ride very fast, wind blowing in her face, removing the “dust of her day” and by the time she was by the rapids, she was cleansed and became a person. She was not a mother, a wife, a daughter, a woman, a friend, a volunteer, a counsellor…she was one simple person.

roar of the rapids
inhaling every woe
announcing hope
water splashing at her feet
droplets giggle with joy

Once the stress of the day had dissipated into the current, washed away and moving on to the basin of the river, she felt lighter. Her shoulders rose naturally and she sat with her spine straight without a thought in the world…no dreams were necessary…

rolling white caps
just sitting – not wanting
contentment infused

©Tournesol ’17/07/18


Daily Moments    reflections in the dark  July 15 2017

At Virtual Haiku on Facebook, we are asked to write a haiku to the photo shown This inspired me to write several and so I decided to use one of my photos and add the haiku and one tanks below. Also the prompt at HaikuHorizons this week is also dark.


stored in dark corners

dusk revealing
untold secrets
another time

twilight mysteries
alluring and entertaining
hoot of an owl

embrace your fears
attune to uncertainty
insights may appear

childhood secrets
hiding in the dark – away,
from their happy place
carved into the crevices
of their soul

©Tournesol ’17/07/15

Daily Moments    reflections in the dark  July 15 2017


a lover’s muse (senryu + free verse)


Gazing from afar
in soft whispers – a favourite
love story unfolds


“you are the blue
of skies
that make me dream
of your eyes

you are the pink
of blush
warming my cheeks
when I think
of you

you are the green
of meadows
us – melting into one
a perfect lovers’ scene

you are the wind
off the sea
breathing life in my lungs
you are the red
of blood
running to my heart
you are light
of my life
illuminating total bliss

you are the fire within
that makes me wince with joy
so pure and enduring
left longing for more

you are a vision
just a dream
yet still fills
my whole being
for just a moment
this rumination
still surviving
will always be
forever thriving

as I close my eyes
I lay in wait at night
our secret rendezvous
I long for you, my knight
and as I drift away
I see you clear as day

you are the blue of skies
that lost horizon found
held together… bound,
until the sun doth rise.”


Daily moments of sweet reflections – a lover’s muse July 13, 2017



guiding light (troiku)


Just before dawn
life seems to be on pause -still,
the north star shines bright

just before dawn
restless fledglings peep
mother eyes the worm

life seems to be on pause – still,
with bated breath –
baby’s first step

the north star shines bright
both on sea and land,
earth’s guiding light


Haiku Horizons: Bright





spring blossoms (troiku)



June blossoms
wings coming back to life
stealing their hearts

June blossoms
painting shades
in living colour

wings come back to life
honey bees and butterflies
falling in love

stealing their hearts
monks chant at sundown
bowing their heads


Haiku Horizons: steal



unpredictable muse (free verse – tanka)

staring at the screen
nothing happens
what is wrong with me?
I want to scream!
not a word comes
not even a phrase
from my empty head.

when that moment hails
and inspiration does not fail
what a feeling to be had
poetry in motion

alas it’s not tonight
the words will come
another day
until then I shall walk
around the parks
and search among the trees
to my muse they may talk

I feel a tanka brewing
in the back of my mind
yay, a line or two or three or five
to finally end my day


wind at my back
riding on my bicycle
taking in the view
shops, bistros and patios
summer’s around the bend


Daily Moments June 7, 2017 unpredictable muse