Friday, January 13, 2017

Tanka Sequence

                                                               WHEN DISASTER COMES

                                                            (Hurricane Sandy, October 2012)

                                                                   snug in my home
                                                                   with after dinner coffee–
                                                                   is it luck or fate?
                                                                   that we are here not there
                                                                   with just each other and hope
                                                                    day after day                       
                                                                    the mundane things I do
                                                                    with barely a thought
                                                                    until I remember
                                                                    the speed in which life changes

                                                                    bleak images
                                                                    the fodder of nightmares
                                                                    the truth of now;
                                                                    helplessness prevails
                                                                    hopelessness bores deeper
                                                                     day becomes night
                                                                     and becomes day again
                                                                     with still no answer
                                                                     why some were chosen
                                                                     and others spared

                                                                     from home to market
                                                                     all my wants granted
                                                                     how easy to forget
                                                                     those with neither home nor food
                                                                     and only sky for shelter

                                                                     thanking God
                                                                     for keeping family safe,
                                                                     guilty with relief
                                                                     I accept each day
                                                                     as a slippery gift
Cattails, Jan. 2014

Saturday, January 7, 2017


                                                         this grip of cold
                                                         icy winds from the north
                                                         freezing all they touch
                                                         a time to recollect
                                                         the warmth of you in my life

                                                         the coldest month
                                                         each day a variation
                                                         on the theme of winter
                                                         I sense nuances of change
                                                         both in mind and body

                                                         frigid morning
                                                         my breath leaving traces...
                                                         like memories of loved one
                                                         is the soul just a vapor?


Monday, January 2, 2017


                                                      A SWISS VILLAGE CHRISTMAS

On a Saturday before Christmas, Kris Kringle visits our village.  Tall and slender in a dark red suit, reminiscent of pictures on old European Christmas cards.  He carries oranges and peppermint sticks and lumps of coal.  The children wait quietly.  Well mannered, there is no pushing and no whining.   Their last chance to prove how good they have been. 

                                                             gently falling snow—
                                                             a child whispers to Kris Kringle
                                                             and holds out his hand

Holiday decorations are few.  Wreaths in shop windows or colored lights.  Nothing elaborate.  Snow provides the best decoration.  And the moon, illuminating snow covered fields and woods.

                                                              Christmas Eve—       
                                                              searching the stars
                                                              in a blue-black sky
There is a midnight Mass, and the small wooden church is crowded.  The responses in prayer are smooth and in unison.  No laggards here.  We all sing or try to.  Familiar hymns in Latin or English become unfamiliar in French.  I hum along.

                                                               flickering candles—
                                                               the joy of Christmas
                                                               in a foreign tongue

Bottle Rockets, spring 2006 #14

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


 A Hundred Gourds

Monday, December 5, 2016



                                                              ANOTHER WORLD  

Where do we go when we dream? Do we enter another world of unexplainable time, where past and present mingle?

 There is pleasure in seeing loved ones no longer alive, nostalgia and amazement in visiting places from my childhood.

                                                      summer porches
                                                      the nightly click of glasses
                                                      and neighborly talk

There is fear and anxiety as events unfold not as they happened, but jumbled and disastrous. Failure in school, missing the last bus at midnight, driving alone and hopelessly lost on a dark road, an intruder in the house. There is confusion when I appear as an adult with husband and family in my hometown. No one has died and the neighborhood is the same, only I have changed. What does it mean when I must walk in the ocean to reach my destination, drive along a road with a steep precipice on either side, walk barefoot and coatless in snow or climb mountains of mud? Where am I? Where do I go?

                                                   the trip back
                                                   on a foggy road
                                                   remembering nothing

Contemporary Haibun, Oct. 2014

Monday, November 21, 2016


                                                       KINDERGARTEN–THE FIRST DAY

Outside the classroom door, I hesitate, unsure, anxious.  Softly crying, “I want to go home.”

Inside, a young teacher.  Slender, soft voice, pretty hair, pretty dress.  Still… “ I want to go home.”

“All mothers must leave.  It will be fine.” 

No.  Not fine.   “ WANT…TO…GO…HOME!"

"Stop that or you'll get a spanking."

 I don’t like her.  She’s shaking me and she’s not pretty.   My new shoes slip across the floor as she pulls me to a place on the rug.


The other children, all looking.  Beginning to sniffle, whimper, cry.  Getting louder.  I’m louder still.


"Come here!"

 A different voice.  Deeper.  Older.  A giant in a dark dress.  Stiff gray hair pulled back and steel gray eyes behind steel-rimmed glasses.  She’s pulling me to the front of the room, to a chair where she sits.  Lifting me up and over her knees.  A brown leather strap in her hand, like Grandpa uses to sharpen his razor.   One Whack! Across my bottom.

"Are you going to stop that noise?” she asks, “Or do you want another spanking?"

Silence from the other children. The giant and I look at each other. I don’t like her, either, but I say nothing.  Sniff back the mucus and rub tears from my face. And still say nothing.  All morning, I say nothing.

Just before school is over, a summons to the principal's office.  The giant again, sitting at a large desk. "For being a good girl the rest of the morning,” she says.

                                             bouquet of flowers –
                                             small hands hold tightly
                                             the wet stems

Presence, 2008

Sunday, November 13, 2016


Daily Haiga
Daily Haiga
Simply Haiku