Thursday, February 28, 2013


All the limbs of the oak trees bend and twist,
In the mist I can see
The future there before me
As in a mirror darkly --

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Clouds in the night sky,
Leaves on the streets and sidewalks,
A dog barks two times

Intermittently the light
Of the full moon permeates

The graceful branches
Of the blossoming plum tree
Moving in the wind

From the window of the house
She observes her neighborhood

A cat in the shade
Sleeping in the mid-day heat
Beside the old fence

They discuss their wedding day
And who they want to invite

Walking in the cold,
Passing the ice filled fountain
In the city park

Raccoons inspect the garbage
When nobody is looking

Behind the houses
And in all the alleyways;
Life is there as well

He writes a nervous letter
To an old monastery

High in the mountains
Accessed by a two-lane road
And a long footpath

Kyrie eleison
Kyrie eleison

Monday, February 25, 2013

Finding Form

Finding Form

Imagine that you grew up in another culture, a culture whose musical heritage did not include any music in triple time or anything resembling a symphony orchestra.  By some means (perhaps travel, perhaps through a friendship, it doesn’t really matter) you become acquainted with western symphonic music.

The third movement of most symphonies is a dance movement, the minuet (the predecessor to the waltz) in 3-4, triple, time.  The movement is written in three parts: A – B – A.  You are so attracted to it that you decide to learn how to compose this kind of music.

You write your first dance movement, your first minuet.  It has a perfect three part structure: A – B – A.  And it is written in 4-4 time.  When you play the minuet to a friend from the west, the friend points out that a ‘real’ minuet is in 3-4 time.  You respond that a ‘real’ minuet is in three parts, A – B – A, and that is what makes it a minuet.  So what’s the problem?

Then you discover that someone else in your culture has also found the dance movement inspiring.  You contact the person.  You get together.  This other person plays his dance movement, his minuet, and it is in 3-4 time, but it is not in three parts; instead it is a single movement of one theme and one part.  You object, “Where’s the middle part, the ‘B’ section?”  The person responds that the ‘essence’ of the dance movement is 3-4 time, not the three part structure which is merely incidental.  You respond by saying that the 3-4 time is what is incidental and the three part structure is essential.  The debate becomes acrimonious.

I believe that something similar has happened to Haiku in its transmission to the west from Japan.  (I am speaking specifically of English Language Haiku, or ELH, as I am not familiar with what is happening elsewhere.)  Different approaches to Haiku have emerged convinced that they have extracted the true ‘essence’ of Japanese Haiku, but what they have taken from Japan differs.

Here is an example:  In Lee Gurga’s review of Wright’s Haiku, found in “The Other World of Richard Wright”, edited by Jianqing Zheng, (Pages 169 to 180) Gurga evaluates Wright’s Haiku through the use of certain standards which Gurga asserts define Haiku.  There are four standards Gurga uses explicitly (page 170) and a fifth one having to do with poetic techniques such as metaphor, is added shortly thereafter.  I am going to focus only on the first standard: ‘form’.  Here is Gurga’s view of Haiku form, “First is form.  Taking the understanding that Japanese haiku is composed of seventeen syllables, some people somehow get the idea that anything written in seventeen syllables in English constitutes a haiku . . . [H]aiku now published in English does not follow a set syllabic form, but pay[s] greater attention to another aspect of haiku form, its internal structure.  Haiku are generally composed of two parts with a caesura or pause between them.” (Page 170).

For a certain kind of Haiku poet, writing in English, the syllabic shape, the 5-7-5 syllabics, is not central to the meaning of ‘Haiku’.  Instead, the two-part structure, and the caesura, become central to what Haiku means, or, as Gurga says, what a Haiku ‘is’.

This makes sense.  One can do this.  It is legitimate to extract this two-part structure and to use it as the basis for an approach to ELH.  I would argue, though, that it is also legitimate to use the syllabic structure, the 5-7-5 shape, as a basis for an approach to ELH.  Both approaches are mimicking the Japanese; but they are mimicking different factors of the Japanese Haiku. 

I refer to this kind of selection of factors as a process of ‘transmission and differentiation’.  In Japan the syllabic shape and the two-part structure are part of an overall esthetic whole (along with other factors such as the season-word).  But in the process of transmission to another cultural context, particular factors have become the basis for the transmission, while other factors have been marginalized.

There’s nothing regrettable about this: that’s how transmission from one culture to another happens.  For example, when the Sonnet first worked its way from Italy to England, certain aspects of the Italian Sonnet were picked up while others not so much.  For example, the Italian Sonnet uses an eleven-syllable line (in Italy it is a syllabic form).  In keeping with English metrics, that was changed to a five-foot line of iambic pentameter; usually ten-syllables, one syllable shorter than the Italian original.  And new rhyme schemes were introduced.  But the fourteen line length remained the same.

In a similar way, ELH has selected certain factors from the Japanese original and built on them.  In contrast with the history of the Sonnet, however, different factors of the Japanese original have been adopted by different groups.  The result is the appearance of different forms of poetry all rooted in Japanese Haiku.

I think there is developing an at least tacit recognition of this.  For example, at The Haiku Foundation,, they are conducting a Haiku contest.  Anyone can submit.  But notice how the Foundation has divided the contest into three sections: Traditional Haiku, Contemporary Haiku, and Innovative Haiku.  And the Foundation offers as guidelines for submission the different standards of these three approaches.

This makes great sense to me.  Each grouping has found certain formal elements in Japanese Haiku that they have used to build on and create viable English language poetry.  But because they have found form in different factors of the original, the result has been a multiplicity of types.  If you find the two-part structure to be the most significant, then other factors will fall away; free verse lineation, for example, will be welcome.  If you find the 5-7-5 syllabic shape to be the most significant, then other factors will fall away; the two-part structure will not be central, it will only be viewed as an option and single sentence Haiku will naturally come to the fore.

What Gurga has done is to focus on certain factors of Haiku, dismissed others, and then used those factors that he finds attractive to evaluate Haiku in general (including traditional Japanese Haiku).  He gets to do that.  But it is also possible for someone else to focus on other, equally prominent, factors (such as syllabic shape) and then use those factors to evaluate Haiku in general.  And such procedure would come up with different results.  Gurga has found his sense of form in certain factors, while syllabic Haiku poets have found their sense of form in other factors.  Both groupings have found form; but they have found a basis for form in different places.

I opened with an analogy, about the transmission of a dance form to another culture.  Such a transmission could give rise to a multitude of different musical expressions.  I believe that is what has happened to ELH; there are now a multitude of different expressions.  And I suspect that as time passes they will have an increased sense of their own place, their own history, and generate their own standards.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


One more sleepless night
The hum of the winter sky
And the alarm clock

Saturday, February 23, 2013


A slow sunset over the parking lot,
An angel hovers as the sky slowly
Slides into darkness she stirs a warm pot
Of stew while contemplating a holy
Psalm an owl speaks to the rising full moon
Near the bright disk of Saturn a comet
Sails past the window of the living room
Of the small, old wooden house, a tight fit
For all the possessions of a lifetime;
Reminders of friends, tokens of lovers,
Afternoons spent in radiant sunshine,
So many faces of so many others --

In the bright darkness of all of our dreams
We recall that the world's more than it seems.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Land's End

Where the Russian River meets the ocean
The tides motion defeats
The current which can't compete
With the endless ocean deep

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Syllabic Renga Day -- 2013

Syllabic Renga Day – 2013

Renga is my favorite form of poetry.  It is a challenge; a complex form in some ways it resembles learning chess.  In other ways Renga resembles putting together some complex recipe where certain ingredients are required in just the right measure; in addition the ingredients have to be added in a particular sequence.  If done correctly, you have a splendid meal.  If a Renga is done correctly, you have a splendid poem.

When I initially engaged with Renga I followed free verse lineation because that’s what everyone was doing.  My sense is that this style of lineation is followed because almost all of the participants in English Language Renga (ELR) have become interested in Renga from their practice of free verse haiku.  It is natural that they would apply to Renga their free verse approach to lineation.

The change for me came from reading translations of Renga into English which sought to mimic the syllabic shape of the Japanese.  Two translators in particular were influential: Earl Miner and Stephen Carter.  What I learned from these translators (in addition to specific procedures for Renga composition) was the value of following the traditional syllabic shape.  It’s not that these translators were advocates for following the traditional syllabics in ELR; but in their translations they made a strong effort to mimic the syllabics of the Japanese in English and that functioned as a demonstration of the efficacy of such an approach.

I was greatly encouraged last year when I discovered Edith Shiffert’s early solo Hyakuin Renga; a classic 100 Verse Renga in the traditional eight parts.  Shiffert’s Hyakuin Renga maintains the traditional syllabic shape of Japanese Renga.  I had not been aware of Shiffert’s efforts in Renga, but finding this remarkable example has really confirmed for me my intuition about the importance of syllabics for the Renga form: even in ELR.

The unique feature of Renga is its overall non-narrative structure and how the rules that guide the Renga poet are designed to undermine the tendency to narrative.  This is what gives Renga its unique esthetic place in the world of poetry.  But, then, what holds a Renga together?  What makes it feel like it is, overall, a poem?

My feeling is that a regular syllabic structure functions to hold all the images together.  Without a regular syllabic structure the tendency for the images of a Renga to isolate themselves from each other becomes stronger.  The 5-7-5 and 7-7 syllabic shape serves to function as a kind underlying framework upon which all the images hang.  Or, to use one of my favorite metaphors for Renga, the syllabic shape resembles a current of a river that the reader is gliding upon as the images flow past.  Again, without this current a Renga tends to have the feel of a series of isolated images rather than the unity of a journey.  Without the underlying unifying current of the syllabic pulse a Renga tends to read like a sequence of poems; with the underlying current the Renga itself has the feel of being a single, unified, poem.

At any rate, that’s how I have come to think about it.  So I have set aside this day to encourage the use of traditional syllabics in English Language Renga.  If you already know one of the 12-verse forms, try composing one using the traditional syllabic contours.  If you are a minimalist Haiku poet, this may at first feel awkward; but remember that Renga verses are not a series of Haiku.  Only the first verse of a Renga should have a Haiku-like feeling.  So allow yourself to add words to fill out the syllabic count.  I know that will feel like ‘padding’.  But what I am getting at is that adding words to fill out the count might be a good thing if by adding those words you create a stronger sense of rhythmic flow from one verse to another.  Try it out and see for yourself.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Dawn appears slowly
Breaking through the morning clouds
Rays of golden light

A few brown leaves remaining
On the branches of the oaks

Cars are briefly parked
In the strip-mall parking lot
With three stores for rent

Two teenagers in first love
Walking slowly home from school

A blast of cold wind
Someone closes a window
Some dogs are barking

The full moon high in the sky
A helicopter hovers

"What is that about?"
She glances out the window
And asks her husband

Neighbors peer over the fence
At the blooming cherry tree

Impermanent things,
Like mountains and galaxies
Speaking to our heart

From years ago a ballad
Sung today for her children

In the noontime heat
Under the shade of a tree
At the edge of town

He takes a well-deserved nap
The first one in a long time

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Call of the Hermitage

Into the great silence
There before time began,
Before all things started,
The everlasting land

Sunday, February 17, 2013


The morning fog's gone,
The sun has burned it away --
A monk starts to pray

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Nature nourishes and also threatens,
It slyly beckons us;
A garden that flourishes,
A pearl that soon perishes

Friday, February 15, 2013


A clear cloudless sky
The air is cold and dry
I am at peace in my room
In my silent hermitage
I sense the presence of God
The gentle touch of timelessness
Is so much more than I can grasp
I become inarticulate --

A coyote briefly trots by
A satellite is launched into space
Saturn is slowly turning direct
In Andromeda a new star is born
A sparrow appears on the windowsill
A new Buddhist Nun has her long hair shorn
An ocean wave becomes perfectly still

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Night It Began

Country-western tunes on the radio
And that long-ago moon
While a warm wind softly crooned
We both knew love would bloom soon

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Etheree Day for 2013

Etheree Day – 2013

Today is Etheree Day.  This is the day we set aside to celebrate the Etheree syllabic form.  Since learning about the Etheree I have had a lot of fun with it.  I find the simplicity of the form highly attractive.  The basic form is a 10-line poem.  The first line has 1 syllable, the second line 2 syllables, on up to the tenth line which has 10 syllables.  The overall structure is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10; for a total count of 55 syllables.

There is something really charming about this form.  I first started writing Etheree in earnest when I set the word ‘tea’ as the first line.  My day job is working at a tea shop and spiritual bookstore (since this blog don’t pay the bills).  I began writing a bunch of Etheree all starting with the word ‘tea’.  And about 25 ‘tea’ Etheree just tumbled out.  Lots of fun.  It has occurred to me that if I were to teach the Etheree form one way to do it would be to have everyone in the class compose an Etheree with a shared first line.  That opening one syllable line.  I could use ‘spring’ or ‘June’ or ‘moon’, etc.  Then everyone take off from there.  I think it would be interesting to see how different people would go in different directions from that first word/line. 

People who compose Etheree have experimented with form variations.  There is, for example, the reverse Etheree: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1.  And then there are various combinations of the forward and reverse types.

I found that in some of my Etheree I wanted to go beyond the last 10-syllable line; it’s like I was on a role and out came the 11-syllable, 12-syllable, and etc., lines.  I think the longest line I worked up to was 14 syllables.  But these longer Etheree still feel like the same form to me because of the gradual unfolding, syllable by syllable, line by line.  The pace of the unfolding stays the same.

Lately I have written some Etheree is which I hover over a particular line length before going on to the next longer line.  Something like this: 1-2-3-3-4-5-5-5-6-7-8-8-9-10.  This makes for an overall longer poem, but it still has the feeling of an Etheree to me; a kind of slowed-down version of the process of unfolding.

There is another aspect to the Etheree form which I enjoy.  Because the Etheree is a new form, I find there is a great sense of freedom in how to use it.  If I want to rhyme, I’ll rhyme.  Or not.  If I want to focus on subject X, Y, or Z, I’ll go ahead.  There is not a long tradition behind the form, so I don’t get the feeling of looking over my shoulder at what predecessors did.  At times that can be intimidating to a poet.  For example, when writing a sonnet, so many of our greatest poets have written such magnificent sonnets that it can feel kind of impertinent to try to find one’s own way in the sonnet landscape, so to speak.  With the Etheree I don’t get that sense.  And there is no National Society of the True Etheree Way issuing lists of do’s and don’t’s as to correct Etheree procedure.  All of this makes my experience writing Etheree very enjoyable.  And yet the Etheree is formal syllabic verse so there is a sense of discipline and focus in the form, just as in other syllabic forms.  It’s a captivating balance of freedom and focus.

My basic approach to Etheree is to think of the opening, very short lines, particularly the first line, as resembling a seed, a thought seed, out of which the rest of the Etheree emerges.  My tendency is to use the first three or four lines to write a list; and the list is the setting for the poem as a whole.  Words like ‘dawn’, ‘dusk’, ‘night’, ‘cold’, ‘sun’, ‘moon’, words the give a broad sense of place and/or time.  Then with each subsequent lines details are added, until the Etheree becomes a complete picture.  Here is an Etheree I wrote a few months ago:

In the sky
Between the clouds
Over a rainbow
A few angels hover
Gathering the pray’rs from earth
Pray’rs that come from green fields of grass
Pray’rs that come from the waves of the sea
Pray’rs on behalf of all humanity

So if you are inclined, compose an Etheree today, share it with some friends.  The structure is so simple anyone can learn it in a few minutes.  And it is always a good thing to share poetry with friends.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Past and Present Merge

The winter bamboo is covered with snow,
A crow above hovers;
Beauty's there to recover,
Faces of former lovers


Rainy afternoon --
Gray clouds and a fog-filled valley,
A beagle's long yawn

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Merchant's Contemplation

No customers in the store the last hour,
Quiet hours I've longed for
When I'm content, don't need more;
I close the shop, lock the door.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Soul of the Earth

At the corner cafe the sunlight's warm,
Last night's storm's far away,
In the wind bare branches sway,
The earth herself starts to pray . . .

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Review of "The Other World of Richard Wright", Edited by Jianqing Zheng

A Few Comments Regarding “The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku”

I have been reading a collection of critical essays on the Haiku of Richard Wright.  The collection is titled, “The Other World of Richard Wright: Perspectives on His Haiku”.  It is edited by Jianqing Zheng, a Wright scholar who is the chair of English at Mississippi Valley State University. 

In this post I am going to make a few general observations rather than comments on specific essays in the collection.  I hope to have time to make specific comments later. 

The essays are informative about the life of Richard Wright and the history of how Wright came to compose Haiku during his last years.  You learn a lot about how that happened and the processes Wright engaged with in order to enter into the world of Haiku.  There is also intriguing information about the editorial process Wright used to cull the 4,000 Haiku he composed down to the 817 for publication.  For example, I found out that Wright originally categorized the Haiku in accordance with a system proposed by Blyth.  Later Wright thought better of this scheme and reorganized his Haiku into the series we presently have.  I found this intriguing and it raised questions in my mind as to what criteria Wright used to finally place his Haiku in the order that they currently have.

For the most part the essays are biographical and sociological.  I mean that the essays focus on the biographical circumstances of Wright’s life and his interactions with society at large.  There seem to be two main views.  The first view is that with Haiku, Wright freed himself from the world of political engagement and at the end of his life entered into a larger context, particularly the context of the natural world.  The second view is that the Haiku of Wright are an extension of the political focus that his previous works embodied; but the Haiku are more subtle, at times almost coded in what they are communicating.  Personally, I don’t find the two views mutually exclusive, though I tend, for the most part, to favor the first view, the view of Wright entering into a larger context with his Haiku. 

For me, though, there was a dearth of appreciation for Wright as a poet.  I wanted to find discussions of how Wright used metaphor, personification, alliteration, etc., in his Haiku.  In my opinion Wright uses these poetic devices to great effect and I had hoped there might be something about these aspects of his Haiku in the collection; but there is not a lot that is focused on these aspects.  It's not completely absent, but it doesn't seem to be a primary focus.  

And what about Wright’s use of rhythm and meter?  I have discovered, for example, that some of the Haiku use meter effectively; for example in the Haiku where the concluding words for all three lines are trochees.  And there are other rhythmic devices Wright uses to good effect.

I would also like to see an examination of Wright’s approach to lineation.  My observation has been that there is almost always a consistency between line and grammatical unit and I think that is one of the reasons that his Haiku are so effective.  I think this is significant because free verse at the time Wright was working on his Haiku was moving towards a more arbitrary lineation, particularly among the beat poets.  But Wright doesn't seem to have been touched by these developments. 

In addition, I think there is insufficient appreciation for the contribution Wright has made to English syllabic verse.  “This Other World” may be the most significant collection of English syllabic verse published in English thus far.  I realize that could be a controversial statement and that there are other contenders; for example Marianne Moore’s collected verse would be a candidate.

My reasons for making the suggestion regarding Wright and syllabic verse are first, this is a collection of English syllabic verse in a specific form.  My observation has been that in cultures which have a tradition of syllabic poetry, the syllabic tradition is centered on a few specific forms, or even a single form.  For example, in Japan, Tanka is the central syllabic form for Japanese poetry.  Great Japanese poets are, for the most part, Tanka poets (Basho, of course, would be a significant exception).  In Welsh poetry, the Englyn occupies a similar place.  In China, the rhymed quatrain has this function.  And the Rubai serves this purpose in Persia/Iran.

Previous to Wright, English language poets who have written syllabically, such as Marianne Moore, have not centered their efforts on a specific form.  I think this is one of the reasons why a syllabic approach to poetry in English has had difficulty taking root.  Moore, and others, were strongly influenced by certain codes of modernism and one of the consequences of this is that each poem is supposed to have its own form.  Moore, in spite of her many talents, did not establish a syllabic form that other poets can base their own poetry on.  But Wright did exactly that.  In my opinion this makes “This Other World” a breakthrough for syllabic verse in English.

Wright made a choice to write syllabically at a time when English language verse was focused on a free verse approach.  Wright chose a ‘third way’ of composing English language poetry.  His poetry is neither metrical in the traditional sense (though, I think he does use meter at times), nor is it free verse.  I am intrigued by this choice.  It is the kind of choice an ‘outsider’ would make.  Someone more connected to what was going on in American poetry would, I suspect, have opted for a free verse approach.  I say this because American Haiku poets in general were systematically incorporating into their Haiku the norms of free verse at the time Wright was composing his Haiku and I think if Wright had been connected to American Haiku he would have been influenced by this.  On the other hand, Wright didn’t fall back onto traditional western metrics.  Instead he found his own voice, and his own approach (a syllabic approach) and in doing so demonstrated the efficacy of a syllabic approach for English language poetry.

A second reason I suggest that Wright holds special significance for syllabic verse in English is that Wright demonstrates how natural lines of 5 and 7 syllables are for the English language.  In general, it is easier to compose syllabically in odd-numbered lines because odd-numbered lines tend to undermine the tendency to fall back into iambics.  It is, of course, possible to compose syllabically in even-numbered lines; think of the Crapsey Cinquain which consists entirely of even-numbered lines.  But Wright’s focus on odd-numbered lines, and the way he makes them sound completely natural, broadens the basis for a syllabic approach to English syllabic poetry.  I think his usage is a real breakthrough in this regard.

It is true that there were others composing syllabic Haiku at that time; for example James Hackett has produced a significant body of work.  But Hackett’s influence and presence seems to be largely confined to the world of Haiku and his place in that world appears to be problematic.  In addition, the range of subject matter in Hackett’s Haiku is, in my opinion, more restricted than what one finds in the Haiku of Richard Wright.  Several reviewers, such as Higginson, remarked approvingly on the wide-ranging nature of Wright’s Haiku.  And I feel that because of this Wright’s Haiku have a broader appeal and a greater impact than others who were writing syllabic Haiku at that time.

I don’t want to overstate what I am saying; there are some essays that comment on Wright as a poet.  In particular Zheng’s essay, “Nature, the South, and Spain in Haiku: This Other World” contains insightful observations.  For example, on page 160 Zheng comments on this Haiku, 501, by Wright:

Autumn moonlight is
Deepening the emptiness
Of a country road.

Zheng comments, “The beauty of this haiku is that it uses the technique of narrowing focus that starts with a contrast between the sky and the earth: the wide-angle lens on the autumn moonlight switches to a close-up of an empty or down-hearted country road.”  This is followed up by noting how Wright was influenced by blues, and how Wright incorporates some of the imagery often found in blues.  This is a good example of the kind of analysis I would like to see more of; that is to say more about Wright’s poetic craft.

For the most part, with some exceptions, the essays in Zheng’s collection are embedded in the contemporary post-modernist view of what constitutes literary criticism.  For this movement the real meaning of a poem is always either political, autobiographical, or psychological.  I think this is why there is a relative absence of a discussion of the specific poetic features that make Wright’s Haiku so effective.  And post-modernism has an aversion to anything which hints at transcendence and I suspect that this aversion to transcendence is one reason why some essays in the collection want to turn Wright’s Haiku into coded political observations.  In addition, Wright lead a very interesting life; so it makes sense that those interested in Wright would want to weave Wright’s biography into discussions about his Haiku.  And, like I said at the beginning, I did learn much about the creative process that drew Wright to the Haiku form.  Still, I would like to have had more essays about the specific achievements of Wright as a poet.  Perhaps there will be room for such essays in a second collection.

Overall, though, I have found the essays well worth the time.  It is a valuable collection.  I even found Lee Gurga’s highly contentious and critical essay, “Richard Wright’s Place in American Haiku” a good read in the sense that Gurga is an articulate spokesman for a certain point of view and it is a view shared by a significant portion of Haiku enthusiasts.  Personally, I disagree with Gurga’s stance, and I plan to say more on that in a separate post, but I appreciate Gurga’s clarity and willingness to engage in a discussion regarding Wright and his Haiku.  So overall, this is a book well worth reading.  In particular, if you are attracted to Wright as a poet, or want to learn how Wright came to Haiku so late in his life, this book will be richly rewarding.

The Other World of Richard Wright:
Perspectives on His Haiku
Edited by Jainqing Zheng
University Press of Mississippi
ISBN: 9781617030222


The stars are singing on a cold clear night,
A calm, cleansed sight appears,
A vastness that's far and near --
By the stream are seven deer

Thursday, February 7, 2013


The furnace turns on
Full moon light through the window
And the brown dry leaves

They slowly draw the curtains
As a prelude to a kiss

The heat is rising,
The air is thick and muggy,
The sun is too bright

Lazy January days
A good time for a novel

As heavy snow falls
On a Monday afternoon
With the kids at school

She opens the internet
Visiting her favorite sites

What is a feeling?
What is the nature of thought?
Where do dreams come from?

Spring, summer, autumn, winter,
Dawn and day and dusk and night

He checks his calendar,
"Let's plan the meeting for spring?
Will that work for you?"

Three plum trees full of blossoms
In the office courtyard

While eating her lunch
She thinks about her sister
Who lives far away

Overhead a plane flies by
Headed for places unknown

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


All of those mistakes --
The past catches up with you
Like an avalanche

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Brewing morning coffee in the kitchen,
In the window I see
A blossoming cherry tree,
Children laughing and carefree


Brewing morning coffee in the kitchen,
In the window I see
A garden that is thirsty,
The wind blows dust towards the trees


Brewing morning coffee in the kitchen,
In the window I see
Fall leaves on a maple tree,
Red and gold in harmony


Brewing morning coffee in the kitchen,
In the window I see
Bare branches of the oak tree
While a wind blows soundlessly

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ice and Age

Patches of ice litter the forest floor,
The wooden door glitters,
In the old house she shivers --
The fire has become dimmer

Sunday, February 3, 2013


The afternoon sun
On the Psalms' open pages
Hope found in winter

Saturday, February 2, 2013


Morning sunlight on fresh snow,
Drivers are hesitant, slow,
Things easily slip and slide;
A new bride hopes love will grow.

Friday, February 1, 2013


The sun has set, dusk lies upon the land,
Upon the ground night vies
With shadows and creature's cries
As the day slowly subsides