Tag Archives: Poems

Haiku of Summer, month 3

I was planning to do a haiku per day for the whole summer. And I made pretty good progress: see month 1 and month 2. But in the third month … well, to paraphrase Alan Jackson, who was paraphrasing Eddie Cochran:

Sometimes I wonder
what I’m gonna do
’cause there ain’t no cure
for the summer haiku.

Life gets busy, time gets short, the poetry backlog gets long, and eventually you just gotta cut your losses.

Still, I completed 74 of a planned 94, which is 74 more than zero. So without further rambling ado, here’s what I wrote in the third month of summer:

#63 — 8/27/18
Concrete is cracking,
inch by inch, year by slow year.
Nature is pushing.

#64 — 8/27/18
Luminous, gibbous
globe wider than Kazakhstan
hangs in the treetop.

#65 — 8/28/18
Dawn light drips over
brick-and-vinyl horizon
and evaporates.

#66 — 8/28/18
T-shirt to be washed
lies limp on cool bathroom floor
dreaming of sunshine.

#67 — 8/28/18
Razor scrapes my skin,
once more rebuking nature’s
tiny excesses.

#68 — 8/30/18
Headlights plow darkness
like snowplows clear away snow,
piling shadows deep.

#69 — 8/30/18
Warm dusting of rain
taps out softly on my skin
messages from clouds.

#70 — 8/30/18
Old routine, routine:
worn thin, rearranged, re-trod.
Trails change; same old dirt.

#71 — 8/30/18
Lightning like anger
flashes distantly, thunders,
and gives meager light.

#72 — 9/7/18
Tonight I can see
why this pitted white crescent
was called a goddess.

#73 — 9/7/18
Turn signal, little
heartbeat, reminds its master
that a path can change.

#74 — 9/7/18
A long, jagged rip
in the cloudfront exposes
imperial gray.

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Haiku of Summer, month 2

A continuation of the Haiku of Summer challenge (see first month here).

#34 — 7/24/18
House full of darkness
before dawn, warm and waking,
murmurs of night’s end.

#35 — 7/25/18
To the spider who
overnight spun a nest tied
to a parked car: Sorry!

#36 — 7/26/18
The wind stomps around
slapping flags, shaking their stripes,
tugging them to life.

#37 — 7/27/18
Motions of routine
inaugurate each sunrise,
put each moon to bed.

#38 — 7/31/18
Cool cantaloupe sky
opens ripe and clean, over
roofs and brick chimneys.

#39 — 7/31/18
Now I hear my wife
upstairs: hair dryer, footsteps.
Geese go by outside.

#40 — 7/31/18
Daytime miracles —
having good work and good food,
inhaling the breeze.

#41 — 7/31/18
Wires and LEDs
slither and flash like pale vines
and clouded starlight.

#42 — 8/1/18
Early afternoon
settles uncomfortably
on a floating house.

#43 — 8/3/18
Evan points upward
and shouts “Mmm!” Sewn on the sky,
bright button: the moon.

#44 — 8/3/18
Empty coffee mug.
Empty yard awaits the rain.
Patience for fullness.

#45 — 8/5/18
Snow-ribbed mountainside
naps serenely over trees;
desktop wallpaper.

#46 — 8/5/18
Storm of joy and gifts,
thunder of barking and tears.
Weekend winds recede.

#47 — 8/6/18
Voices in the car
flow calmly from radio.
Crickets when I park.

#48 — 8/7/18
Ten thousand small tasks
clamor like minnows for time.
Whales dive deep, unseen.

#49 — 8/8/18
Child cries: four-forty.
Overcast. He clings to me.
Love dawns before light.

#50 — 8/10/18
Below horizon
or behind clouds? I can’t say
where the moon’s hiding.

#51 — 8/10/18
Beep, beep! Toast is done.
Brittle and crunchy and brown
like deep-August grass.

#52 — 8/11/18
Yesterday raindrops
fell in the sunshine, scattered
and bright, striking me.

#53 — 8/14/18
Map of the planet
hangs from wall — five billion years
summarized in ink.

#54 — 8/14/18
Small trees, leaning trees,
wait spring to fall, fall to spring:
sighing obelisks.

#55 — 8/14/18
Meteor plunges,
dies in the dark among peers.
I watch silent fire.

#56 — 8/15/18
Low, fluttering bird
circles strangely … now I see.
Low, fluttering bat.

#57 — 8/16/18
Indecisive rain
dampens yard, sputters and halts.
Sleep calls me back in.

#58 — 8/21/18
Waking at midnight,
not sure why, or what to do.
Shadows thick as fog.

#59 — 8/21/18
Room of sleepy ghosts.
Pale reflection in window
obscures the peach tree.

#60 — 8/21/18
Restless, my son stirs
on gray monitor, goes still
again. Cricket-song.

#61 — 8/21/18
Starlight races down.
Multitrillion-year journey
thwarted by shingles.

#62 — 8/21/18
Flowers in glass jar
lean on each other mutely.
It is time for bed.

Haiku of Summer

Back in 2015, at my mom’s suggestion, I wrote 365 haiku for 365 days, and she did the same. (Here’s January.)

This time, she suggested the same challenge, but just for the summer (June 21 – September 22).

Here’s the first of a planned three months of summer haiku. This time, unlike before, I tried to include some element from the human world and something from the natural world in every poem. I’m  happy with how most of them have turned out so far.

#1 — 6/21/18
Beneath my sandals
tree roots live, deeper than graves
and more numerous.

#2 — 6/22/18
Morning sky is here,
covered in paper-gray clouds,
yet to be unwrapped.

#3 — 6/23/18
Early afternoon;
wary rabbit sees my son
watching her; a breeze.

#4 — 6/24/18
Small rapid footsteps,
long grass, furnace takes a break.
Essence of summer.

#5 — 6/25/18
My mind, strong old ox,
plows in all seasons. Great ox,
you are slow today.

#6 — 6/27/18
Soft warmth, morning dark.
Child on my lap gulps his milk.
Windows shake with rain.

#7 — 6/27/18
Bleak day. Grumpy thoughts.
Grass embraces blade and storm;
I fight, I retreat.

#8 — 6/28/18
Pain is a dark dog —
faithful, persistent, hungry.
He knows just one trick.

#9 — 6/30/18
Fresh-cut bell peppers
crowd the tray. Carrots, mushrooms.
Noon sky burns the deck.

#10 — 6/30/18
Three children sleeping.
Intermission: adult sounds
emerge like rabbits.

#11 — 7/1/18
Heels in kiddie pool.
Day is heavy with slow heat.
Still the robins sing.

#12 — 7/3/18
Jaw aches and buzzes,
still half-numb after dentist.
Tree limbs sway and shine.

#13 — 7/3/18
Parcels of nature,
bounded by curbs, sidewalks, boards,
wriggle past their lines.

#14 — 7/4/18
Early July sun
washes trucks and apple trees
in its boundless bath.

#15 — 7/5/18
Headache, pain in back:
small complaints. Gentle weather,
coffee, peaceful heart.

#16 — 7/6/18
Hour before sunrise.
Stars fade — ghosts of yesterday,
omens of today.

#17 — 7/8/18
Sun sinks, quiet house.
What will the clouds do all night
while I sleep below?

#18 — 7/8/18
Hearts, like rivers, grow
polluted, and are only
cleaned by flowing on.

#19 — 7/9/18
Sun sinks, quiet house.
Busy brain searches and sorts
and sorts and searches.

#20 — 7/10/18
Quick fireflies at dusk
weave and rise among shadows,
crossing my window.

#21 — 7/11/18
Too much time inside.
Sunlight through glass panes is like
a roarless lion.

#22 — 7/13/18
Bristling with needles,
green backyard-monster keeps watch,
nodding at my roof.

#23 — 7/13/18
Apple’s leafy nest
stretches skyward, lifting it
above the white fence.

#24 — 7/16/18
Sidewalk-chalk jungle:
loops and letters on driveway
know nothing of rain.

#25 — 7/16/18
Bird crosses my path
as I drive, reddish brown blur
on secret errand.

#26 — 7/16/18
Trash bags by the curb
recline like early pumpkins,
ready for harvest.

#27 — 7/17/18
Crowds of dandelions,
bald, lanky, uninvited,
gather and survive.

#28 — 7/19/18
Gladness of being
waves hello like an old friend
or a flowing tide.

#29 — 7/19/18
Washing machine sings —
strange bird, flightless and hungry,
loyal to its mate.

#30 — 7/20/18
Rain comes round again,
gentle and taking its time,
darkening the street.

#31 — 7/23/18
Deer sits placidly
on a low hill near daycare.
Evan waves to it.

#32 — 7/23/18
Magic of morning
gives each room fresh potential
nestled in shadow.

#33 — 7/23/18
Where is happiness?
Which limb, on what tree, offers
this elusive fruit?

The reason for my silence

[A peaceful image of trees and mountains.]

Not empty of heart
nor empty of time to type
but only of words.

Thursday haiku

Snowless, not yet spring.
Bleak branches murmur of green.
Blanket of blank air.

A poem for Monday

Someday they will ask you what love is,
those quiet voices.
Maybe you will say:
That love is boundless and blistering
as the first day of August,
wrapping all trees and chimneys
in its light.
Or maybe:
That love is a long afternoon indoors,
cool blessed air, an icy glass of anything,
bare conversation and bare feet up.
And you cannot forget:
That love is ragged toil,
heartbeat to heartbeat and day after day,
till the weeks run raw,
till your spine shifts from the years of it.
And you know, too:
That love is a blade without a handle
that gleams like galaxies in the dark,
cutting through coffins and entropy
and your palm as well; and the dark
in which it gleams is also love,
patient, silent, perfect, and broken,
an embrace that needs and has no name.
But maybe
you will only say:
That love is right now,
it is right now,
it is right now,
and so disperse, you quiet voices,
and stop asking what love is
and I will practice
what it does.

Ode on a Martian Urn

I wrote this in May of 2014. First time it’s seen the light of day. I tend to be very critical of my older work, but I’m actually still pretty happy with this one.

Thou Art, what art thou?
No clay-fingered potter wrought thee;
no blushing poet will sing thy praise
to an enchanted crowd:
child of the god of war,
color of rust, ancient as asteroids,
bold hypercubes writhe
rough upon thy surface.
What tesseract lies empty in its
stable, bereft of children
that they might decorate thee?
Brim-full of portent,
tick-tock-ticking unabated by
ten thousand thousand years,
what clock lies in thy shivering heart?
What crystal quivers for thy sake,
counting bright femtoseconds like fireflies
from the moment of thy creation?
And what doom draws thee near,
O Martian urn?
Barren waste lies where thy home should be,
thy rivers sere, thy valleys
choked with dust, thy mountains
scraping thin atmosphere
to grope at stars.
Wilt thou bring this fate
to fledgling Earth
when this thy clock expires?
And when all is done, wilt thou
lie close and say:
“Truth is terror, terror truth;
that is all ye know on Mars,
and all ye need to know.”