Saturday, December 3, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxvii

white picket fence
the plump smoothness
of the prickly pear

9 April 2003

Hee. I *knew* you were going to make this pedantic point, and I almost included an explanation with the haiku.

You do not disappoint.

Anyway, that "plump smoothness" is the whole haiku. It caught my eye and insisted that I write this haiku.

It's the end of the rainy season (or close to it; we have another storm coming this weekend). Like most succulents, the prickly pear inflates itself with water during the rainy season. In Arizona, overwatered saguaros sometimes explode like water balloons. During the dry season, the succulent uses the water, shrinking in the process. Many succulents have corrugated skin to accommodate this yearly expansion and contraction.

Anyway, this particular prickly pear (which has not flowered yet this spring, and so has no fruits) has stuffed itself so full of water that its spines have disappeared. The prickly pear is plump and smooth and succulent.

So, I like the image of the prickly pear so fat with water that its spines have disappeared. I also like the fact that the very plumpness of the prickly pear pinpoints the season.

The picket fence was serendipitous.

If the prickly pear should explode, I promise to write another haiku about it.

white picket fence
the prickly pear so fat
that it has no prickles

I like the first one better.

9 April 2003

Friday, December 2, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxvi

Is less always more?

In this case, what struck me was the blind hope and futility of dogwood flowers opening in the rain. Flowers don't open all at once. They take their time about it, and it's perfectly possible to drive by and catch them in the act. So perhaps this haiku needs more rather than less:

blind curve
dogwood flowers opening
in the rain

blind curve
dogwood flowers unfold
in the rain

blind curve
the creamy bracts of dogwood unfold
in the rain

(An attempt to be botanically precise here. Dogwood flowers are practically invisible. The "petals" that we admire are bracts, modified leaves that direct pollinators to the tiny flowers. Also, Easterners tend to think of dogwood flowers as pink. Our Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) has large bracts the color and texture of whipped cream.)

Or perhaps Tim is right and my attachment to the word "open" is a drag on the haiku.

blind curve
dogwood flowers
in the rain

I think I write a variation on this haiku every year. I love Pacific dogwood, and they are rare around here. There are only three trees on my regular routes. Two of them are located on the inside of a blind curve, where the road demands so much of my attention.

blind curve
dogwood flowers unfold
in the rain

7 April 2003

Thursday, December 1, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxv

mirror lake
their fists destroy my reflections

republican guard
steel-toed boots trample my dreams

4 April 2003

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxiv

concrete wall --
forsythia stiff
against the breeze

2 April 2003

blind curve
dogwood flowers open
in the rain

3 April 2003

storm's end
a shower of fir needles

4 April 2003

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxiii

wind and rain --
wisteria blooms entwine
the barbed wire fence

2 April 2003

march skies
dust motes and spiders fill
the woodshed

2 April 2003

potted pansies
carpenter ants mill
in the shower

2 April 2003

Monday, November 28, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxviii

swallows return --
a small boy roosts
in the oak

8 April 2003

first drops of rain --
a backhoe parked
among the hyacinths

10 April 2003

clematis buds
the cracked lights
of the old trailer

10 April 2003

haiku retrospective cclxxxii

empty stands
the roar of the crowds
in the batter's mind

27 March 2003

golden poppies --
the small boy wears shorts
under his umbrella

1 April 2003

blue and gray --
their eyes meet before they
pull the trigger

2 April 2003

Sunday, November 27, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxxi

popping gum
the vacant look
in her eyes

27 March 2003

naked sycamores --
the horse's ears twitch
in different directions

27 March 2003

riverside tryst
box elder bugs mate
on the outhouse walls

27 March 2003

Saturday, November 26, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxx

march rain
the tight twist of wool
in the skein

27 March 2003

false spring
the minty freshness
of his kiss

27 March 2003

stacked plates --
the gurgle of water
from the dishwasher drain

27 March 2003

Friday, November 25, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxix

distant bombs
a thin wisp of smoke
from the chimney

26 March 2003

country road --
pounding the dents
out of the mailbox

26 March 2003

granite in the sun
a marmot makes off with
my wool sock

27 March 2003

Thursday, November 24, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxviii

march skies
wood chips and spiders
in the woodshed

Does this haiku give you the idea that there's not much left in the woodshed except wood chips and spiders? Would it help to state it more explicitly? I've tried a few different ways, and every one has made it less of a haiku rather than more of one.

26 March 2003

march skies --
the rumble of trucks
on the distant highway

26 March 2003

war news
dead bean vines rustle
in the breeze

26 March 2003

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxvii

stifling dissent --
with enough heckling,
we'll do it for them

In my small town, someone shot out the windows of two shops because the owners had signs supporting peace. At $800 a pop, these small business people cannot afford to keep replacing their windows. They've had to move their peace sentiments inside and out of the public view.

shotgun justice
keep free speech inside
where it belongs

20 March 2003

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxvi

remote control
i can turn off the TV but
not the war

Now that the chickenhawks have ridden roughshod over world opinion and the desires of the U.S. peace community, they want us to stifle our dissent. It was okay to argue against the war before it started, but now we should support our troops by silencing ourselves. To dissent in the midst of a war is to “give aid and comfort to our enemies.”

This reminds me so much of what the Southern gentlemen said to the abolitionists before the Civil War. “You may disagree with slavery, but, as long as slavery is in existence, you must put your consciences on the back burner and help slaveowners retrieve their property.”

Dissent, and even civil disobedience, are not merely the right of citizens in a free society. Dissent and civil disobedience are our responsibility to our society. Crimes of conscience have always stood on the front lines of the struggle for freedom.

For more than 350 years, Quakers have believed that war is morally wrong, against God's plan for humanity, against Jesus' commandments to his followers. We will not stand silent now.

dark nights
stand firm
in the Light

20 March 2003

Monday, November 21, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxv

saint patrick's day
an order of genocide with a side
of famine

17 March 2003

spring cleaning --
news of tomahawk strikes
on the radio

20 March 2003

news of the war
i knit my worry
into this sweater

20 March 2003

Sunday, November 20, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxiv

We are peace vigilantes, taking peace into our own hands.

Saturday, we attended a peace march in San Francisco, starting at the Civic Center and taking the march into the black community.

direct action
the peace march heads
to the fillmore

babies in backpacks
police helicopters circle
the marchers

Yesterday, we joined the prayer vigil in Ben Lomond (population 3000). 125 people with candles gathered on the corner to witness for peace.

candles in the wind
many voices join
in song

17 March 2003

Saturday, November 19, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxiii

A series of haiku built around places:

june dusk
the golden gate bridge vanishes
in the fog

fog off the coast
the painter switches rollers
on the golden gate bridge

direct action
the peace march heads
to the fillmore

summer drought
the pinyon pines
of el paso

autumn clarity
the rough face
of mount saint helens

sudden toothache
an unexpected gap in the lights
of manhattan

15 March 2003

Friday, November 18, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxii

war on the horizon
in the rain

13 March 2003

lowering skies
cherry blossoms painted
on shop windows

13 March 2003

president's speech
the radio suddenly
falls silent

17 March 2003

Thursday, November 17, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxxi

march warmth
a tie-dyed water balloon
hits the deck

12 March 2003

spring warmth
she draws another bug face
on her algebra

12 March 2003

the scent of new grass --
moonlight scatters
through the clouds

13 March 2003

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxx

evening news
a scowling old man
in my husband's chair

12 March 2003

new book --
the hands of the clock move

12 March 2003

march warmth
the taste of curry
on his lips

12 March 2003

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxix

heavy thoughts
this thick mud
in the spring rain

9 March 2003

silver branches
the maples open their leaves
to the sun

11 March 2003

greening garden
she scatters rapeseed
for the birds

12 March 2003

Monday, November 14, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxviii

march sunshine
forget-me-nots in the chinks
of the brick pile

9 March 2003

broken shovel
forget-me-nots sprout
from the brick pile

which I think is better.

This brings back memories of the aftermath of the '89 Loma Prieta earthquake, which destroyed downtown Santa Cruz.

wrecking rig
black willows push
through the rubble

....which doesn't do justice to the willows. After 100 years beneath the stone foundations of large commercial buildings, the willows sprouted and covered the gaping holes of the downtown with exuberant greenery.

At the time, walking the downtown streets with a grieving heart looking at the wreckage of my city, I thought "War is worse than this."

A WWII image from the London Blitz that haunts me:

september sunshine
children play four square
in gas masks

11 March 2003

Sunday, November 13, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxvii

first daffodil
ah, here we are

7 March 2003

willow buds
the sound of rushing water
beyond the thicket

9 Match 2003

birthday party
a big, black dog stretched out
on the sofa

9 March 2003

Saturday, November 12, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxvi

february clouds
an ant on the cup I use
to wash ants down the drain

22 February 2003

bare trees
mourning doves still
against the fading light

25 February 2003

cloud hands
her frosty breath drifts
past her mitten

7 March 2003

Friday, November 11, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxv

white narcissus
sunlight through the slats
of the new fence

18 February 2003

spring gale
raindrops on the raw wood
of the new fence

18 February 2003

winter's end
another bite
of green curry

19 February 2003

Thursday, November 10, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxiv

pacific storm --
a sprouting yam
on the windowsill

american pie --
pumpkin peels everywhere
but the compost

winter storm --
tater tots sizzle
in the toaster oven

winter storm --
the three-year-old howls
outside his sister's door

sudden chill --
my aunt corrects
the children's manners

winter weekend
the splatting of raindrops
against the skylight

dinnertime conversation --
picking the crumbs
from the cornbread pan

15 February 2003

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxiii

orange alert
the children surround the bowl
of tangerines

15 February 2003

spring cleaning
cumulus clouds pile up
against the ridge

18 February 2003

spring starlight
she adjusts the frames
on her new glasses

18 February 2003

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxii

roses and glory
tonight on fox

not yet delivered
osama's valentine
to george

korean missiles in flight
now i lay me down to sleep

15 February 2003

Monday, November 7, 2011

haiku retrospective cclxi

roses and glory
for the masses

blood and roses
a heart-shaped wreath
for the hero's casket

red hot candy hearts
with the enemy

15 February 2003

Sunday, November 6, 2011

haiku retrospective cclx

hard frost --
the cast iron gate burns
my hand

9 February 2003

autumn reflections
her face in the back
of a soap bubble

10 February 2003

break in the storm
six small zucchini
in her grocery cart

13 February 2003

Saturday, November 5, 2011

haiku retrospective cclix

a jet of blue flame licks
the oak log

6 February 2003

lost teacup --
wandering through the house with the teapot
and a handful of sugar

8 February 2003

sensuous lips
the young man tells me
about his fresh fruit

9 February 2003

haiku retrospective cclviii

winter clarity
sunshine on one side
of the trees

6 February 2003

smoke above the lawn
the same measure over and over
on the piano

6 February 2003

I found God
among the trees --
blowing his snows

6 February 2003

Thursday, November 3, 2011

haiku retrospective cclvii

A tanka:

rays of light dance
on the taut spiderweb
with no thought of beauty
I turn my attention
to today's headlines

5 February 2003

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

haiku retrospective cclvi

lingering heat
a long dust plume behind the pick-up

3 February 2003

quaker to-do list:
sit in silence and stillness

5 February 2003

the road to rack and ruin 

straight and narrow under our feet

5 February 2003

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

haiku retrospective cclv

I've been reading a lot about Basho recently (and some about Buson, Issa, Shiki, and other Japanese poets). For the poets of Basho's era, poetry was very much a social vehicle. The more skilled poets might later pretty their pieces up for publication, but most poetry arose out of human relationships.

fishing limit the trout at the bottom of the pool

I'm coming out of a rule-bound, restrictive period in my haiku-writing. I am feeling more experimental, and more prone to break rules that get in the way of what I want to say.

This might or might not be progress. I've written some really bad haiku lately. They've scratched a certain itch, and unleashed other, better haiku.

Juxtaposition, though. I do not find juxtaposition easy. I don't think I truly understand juxtaposition. I keep finding little bits of the puzzle, but I don't have a complete picture.

I don't think juxtaposition is something that can really be understood intellectually. I think it's more like balance. I have to read and write a lot of different haiku before I have the sense of juxtaposition.

Maybe I'm not even talking about juxtaposition. Maybe I'm talking about what makes a haiku sing.

danse' sacre et profane another false note on my viola

In my trip backwards through Japanese time, I'm turning up heresies. Basho, for example, liked to stand poetic phrasing and images on their heads. That was his juxtaposition, and it suited the time in which he lived. Shiki preferred shasei, and condemned Basho's little parlor tricks. Haiku, however, contains both of them, and also Issa, who was capable of flashes of insectoid brilliance in the midst of his moralizing.

I know nothing about haiku. Better to stick to my beginner's mind and just play the way I feel it. I might learn, eventually.

dead lilies the children's hair bright in the sunshine

There's a new form, called the gilklue. Written in three lines, containing an accusation, with elements from 20th century parlor games and tv series.

back in the bottle
it was jeannie in palm beach
with her harem pants

true or false? smoke blows through the sun-dappled trees

2 February 2003

Monday, October 31, 2011

haiku retrospective ccliv

columbia falls
the first golden poppies bloom
along the highway

2 February 2003

a fatty piece of lamb
in the roasting pan

2 February 2003

muddy yard
the girl pirouettes in
forget-me-not blue

3 February 2003

Sunday, October 30, 2011

haiku retrospective ccliii

As a Quaker, the subject of pacifism is central to who I am. I struggle with the difficulty of following the path of peace all ways in my life. I experience a lot of ridicule because, even though pacifism might be morally sound, people think that it's impractical.

I've been thinking of John Woolman lately. Woolman was an American Friend in the early 18th century. He was a strong witness against the practice of slavery, and he opened many hearts to his concern.

indigo dye
the lash of the whip
on the slave's back

I also think of George Fox, who refused to take part in the British Civil war almost 350 year ago. Yet when William Penn asked whether he should resign his commission in the army, Fox said, "Carry thy sword while thou canst." By this, Fox meant that Penn's conscience was not in his keeping.

nuclear arsenal
carry thy sword
while thou canst

I look forward to sharing what we can, disagreeing when we must, and learning from our differences.

open hearts
is every step

31 January 2003

Saturday, October 29, 2011

haiku retrospective cclii

blue winter sky
the forest hidden
behind the trees

30 January 2003

grandmotherly kindness
the sound of ducklings
hitting the pond

31 January 2003

columbia falls
the first golden poppies bloom
along the highway

2 February 2003

Friday, October 28, 2011

haiku retrospective ccli

As a diversion from making the "blacklisted" web page, I collected the following middle lines from a number of my haiku and rearranged them into the following new haiku. I added prepositions and adjusted cases when necessary, but left the lines as untouched as possible.

Enjoy the surrealism.

trees glow green
a hippopotamus opens
the sound of an ornament

bumpy flight
guatemalan security checks
the blur of insects

the woodcutter shaves
a large raven rummages
on the beach freeway

storm clouds gather
every trail leads
to reflections of children

a dead leaf spins
the old woman stretches
the silence between ticks

layers of sunlight
the bean vines climb
on spider silk

the red poppy buzzes
tree branches toss
the sine wave's scamper

the child climbs on my lap
a red m&m melts
roses explode

yellow leaves among the green
sun glints off the tail
of a swallowtail butterfly

all colors fade
the truck dumps asphalt
on the out-of-town guest

layers of color
tooth marks in the frosting
of the vegetable feast

a single willow leaf spins
dumping the water out
of the puzzled haijin

a blackberry stretches
reflections from the water
the duck's neck extends

the ripples of their footsteps
a jet roars across
the spout of the teapot

a fingerling leaps
the sedges' leaves dip
into a swarm of sand fleas

the duck family emerges
a leaf detours
around the rock-throwing boy

green kingfisher
the diving boys climb
a craggy oak branch

a rock skips through the reflections
a wave of cirrus clouds breaks
so many dreams left

a boy cannonballs
two streaks of silver and
the smell of sewage

the hiss of the ocean
the dragon princess growls
at red, white and blue bunting

speed bumps
a corona around
the frayed american flag

three ravens circle
the stars and stripes hang limp
against tarred road felt

a storm of yellow leaves
the old man drills bolt holes
in his twin horns

the prelate dawdles
his open hand cracks
the mountain ridge

upturned garbage carts
women exchange soup recipes
carved on fallen branches

29 January 2003

Thursday, October 27, 2011

haiku retrospective ccl

Five different takes of a snail crossing the road or five snails?

the earth turns
a snail crosses
the road

warm front
a snail crosses
the road

early robin
a snail crosses
the road

snow melts
a snail crosses
the road

morning pastry
a snail crosses
the road

29 January 2003

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxlix

winter picnic
another orange peel
hits the compost California, where it's a sunny 60F today and the children have decided to eat their lunch outdoors.

oranges and sunshine
he runs his bare toes
through the grass

too early for dandelions
the cat finds another
place to nap

28 January 2003

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxlviii

One might try:

enron's america
“in greed we trust” 

I think that tolerance of bad haiku is necessary to the development of good haiku. Many haiku don't work, but we have to do the best we can. If we're going to learn how to write haiku, we need lots of practice, and some of that practice will produce flops.

 Sometimes, when a person posts a bad haiku, someone else will post a variation that's positively brilliant. I find that process highly educational. Thus I encourage people to post the haiku they can't get to work, as well as their masterpieces.

joe's diner 
“in grease we trust”

29 January 2003

Monday, October 24, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxlvii

mission town
cracks in the stucco wall
on paseo padre parkway

27 January 2003

state of the union
shadows of chains
beyond the swings

29 January 2003

picture books
all the ideas i wish
i thought of

29 January 2003

Sunday, October 23, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxlvi

double vision
seeing middle earth through the eyes
of my daughter

26 January 2003

for the kettle to boil
no flame

27 January 2003

wasted food
the runaway shopping cart

27 January 2003

Saturday, October 22, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxlv

a redwing blackbird's song
fills my heart

25 January 2003

midnight hush
the afterimage
of the clock's luminous dial

26 January 2003

superbowl sunday
a slice of cold pizza
straight out of the box

26 January 2003

Friday, October 21, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxliv

greening hills
the neighborhood live oaks
a little more gnarled

25 January 2003

city sidewalk
a small child walks
in the gutter

25 January 2003

bay view
the breaking waves of clouds

25 January 2003

Thursday, October 20, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxliii

old hometown
the corner soda fountain
now a starbucks

in berkeley
they spell "milky way"
MLK jr Way

Martin Luther King Junior is a saint in Berkeley, both for his dream of racial harmony and his use of nonviolence. Berkeley was one of the earliest school districts to practice busing for the purposes of racial integration. Most of us went into integration with high ideals, which were tested by the reality of trying to mix two cultures by force.

king junior high
color wars
hiding my telltale face

Race relations weren't always amicable in the first years after integration, but most of us tried. Most kids were nice, and wanted to be friendly, but we were also scared, and knew that you couldn't rub the color off your face.

the nice black girl
tells my japanese friend
they won't attack the chinese

When I was in the Berkeley schools, the population was 45% white, 40% black, and 15% Asian. In that time, in the 70s, there were uneasy relations between Asians and blacks. Asians were a minority, so there was some fellow feeling, but they emulated white customs, so they were often called "bananas" (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) by people to whom "oreo" was the worst insult in their vocabulary.

old hometown
a rainbow of faces
on the streets

Going back to Berkeley, I feel like I'm home because there are people of every color on the streets. I don't realize until I go back how much I miss living in a diverse multi-cultural community.

25 January 2003

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxlii

dinner argument
that cold stew

22 January 2003

americans in paris
my mother tells them
she's canadian

25 January 2003

crude star map
a few haiku scribbled
around the margins

25 January 2003

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxli

fuzzy slippers
his dreams on the silver screen
a little tarnished

19 January 2003

winter mindscape
the open curtain reveals
the fog

20 January 2003

first light
my dreams

22 January 2003

Monday, October 17, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxl

At first I wrote:

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the fog

Then, remembering the brush fires in Costa Rica, I decided to try:

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the night

Then I read it to my daughter, and she suggested replacing “night:”

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the wasps

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the mist

And I tried a few more:

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the gnats

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the stars

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the dawn

But I think I like this one best:

cracked work gloves
the smoke from the brush fire
mingles with the trees

19 January 2003

Sunday, October 16, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxix

winter moonrise
waiting for the right kind of dishes
to fill the dishwasher

19 January 2003

director of marketing
curried beef stew
on his tie

19 January 2003

jackrabbit in the lupine
a haiku writes me

19 January 2003

Friday, October 14, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxviii

flu epidemic
internal censor on strike
for better working conditions

16 January 2003

another fallen oak branch
he says i used to smile more

19 January 2003

sunlit crocus
beside her sickbed
a thin smile

19 January 2003

Thursday, October 13, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxvii

afternoon lull
i left my brain
on google

13 January 2003

haiku by the fire
another beetle
in my knitting bag

14 January 2003

strip mall
a sluggish line of ants
collecting crumbs

14 January 2003

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxvi

winter sleep
at last! a break
from the vomiting

13 January 2003

late night chill
the sick child too still
on his pallet

13 January 2003

limp paper snowflakes
a flash of sunshine
on the redwood's new fronds

13 January 2003

Monday, October 10, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxv

every morning
an hour of sleep
lost forever

10 January 2003

winter flame war
it's entirely their fault
as usual

12 January 2003

hard at work
i gaze out the window and
sip my tea

13 January 2003

Friday, October 7, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxiv

withering wind
your eyes in the face
of a stranger

8 January 2003

shattered fir branch
my hood muffles
the sound of rain

9 January 2003

no wind
raindrops outline
the redwood's needles

9 January 2003

Thursday, October 6, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxiii

morning light
her clothes in a heap
on the floor

5 January 2003

first light
i reach over to turn off
the night light

6 January 2003

obsidian arrowhead i think i get the point

7 January 2003

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxii

morning prayer
the fire flares
to life

3 January 2003

improvised dance
tap a few lines
and the rest of us will fake it

3 January 2003

after lovemaking
we pee
in separate stalls

5 January 2003

Monday, October 3, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxi

I no longer experience the wonders of Christmas; I engineer them.

My childhood Christmases were big, fancy events with lots of relatives, lots of big meals, lots of alcohol, and a feeding frenzy under the tree.

dancing with excitement 
the tinkle of broken glass 
from the fallen tree 

Yes, one year, I knocked the Christmas tree over in my excitement. I managed to stand it back up by myself and never, ever told my parents.

rich foods 
rich colors 
playing with my fork 
while i wait for the adults 
to finish their coffee 
so we can open our presents 

christmas morning 
only my grandfather awake 
when we tiptoe downstairs 

christmas afternoon 
the men play 
with our new train set 

christmas evening 
playing aggravation 
with a side of pie 

Times of transition.

Most of the men in my family of origin have problems with alcohol and substance abuse. The women work their fingers to the bone and throw their annual holiday tantrums. I want something simpler, more meaningful. I want to spend my holidays with my children rather than in the kitchen.

We usually have Christmas at home, just us. We open presents slowly, over Christmas Eve day, and take time to enjoy each one. We sing together, and read special stories together. Everyone hangs a stocking (even us parents).

christmas tree hunt 
our youngest child finds 
the perfect pine 

nat king cole's carols 
the children hang ornaments 
any way they want 

december 23rd 
giggles, scampers, slamming doors 
another awkward parcel underneath the tree 

christmas eve 
a cup of cocoa 
by the fire 

christmas morning 
chocolate on his face 
before breakfast 

christmas night 
fifteen-two, fifteen-four, 
and a double run for twelve 

 3 January 2003

Saturday, October 1, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxx

winter night
the steady ticking
of the cuckoo clock

2 January 2003

evening solitude
tea strainers drying
on the drainboard

2 January 2003

midnight solo
drawing a moonbow
across my viola

2 January 2003

Friday, September 30, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxix

“what do you want
for your birthday?”
“a divorce”

“i know what it's like
to feel depressed”
“yes, you do, don't you?”

face to face
two mortals accept the fact
that they're donkeys

another word
for a sense of humor

flat on my back
things are looking up

haiku retrospective ccxxxviii

lost love
the heart still beats
in my chest

1 January 2003

day after new year's
she dusts off
her geometry book

2 January 2003

busy day
there's always room
for another haiku

2 January 2003

Thursday, September 29, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxvii

stocking feet
the wash of scrabble tiles
by the fire

30 December 2002

moonlit tears
washing out the sorrow
of the old year

31 December 2002

drug store sale
tie-dyed blow-outs
six for a dollar

31 December 2002

Monday, September 26, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxvi

alone into the night coyote voices rise in song
a sudden gust of wind calls forth the sleeping spirits
she walks into her fears armed only with her courage

30 December 2002

This is a sijo, not a haiku. It's the only sijo I've ever written.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxv


leafless tree
on the weathered white post


nature's palette
a selection of greens and yellows
on that tree


27 December 2002

Saturday, September 24, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxiv


swarming flies
primary colors
on the clothesline


clay oven
the smell
of burning bread


october beetles
a few stalks of grain
stand still


fading light
a redtail hawk flies low
over the cotton field


crawdad pond
a thick cloud of dust
behind the pickup


church potluck
the toddler asks
for a fly swatter


farm country
the flies don't bother me
until I get them home


annual party
the children all
one size bigger


27 December 2002

Friday, September 23, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxiii

october clouds
the gleam of suntan oil
on the old woman's legs


children shriek
the old locomotive
builds a head of steam

working up a head of steam
children jump on the platform


clear blue sky
a touch of green
in the red berry leaves


long wisps of cloud
my hair


tangled bushes
red berry leaves
amongst the toyon


train bell
she clips the leash
to her dog's collar


happy birthday
why do we celebrate
the forward march of time?

27 December 2002

Thursday, September 22, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxii

december storm
the kids plead
for one more video

winter holiday
dad makes another trip
to the hardware store

even drizzle
is it time to make fudge

27 December 2002

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxxi

winter storm
paper snowflakes flower
on the window

27 December 2002

spaceship earth
the bus driver hollers
"move on back!"

27 December 2002

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxx

It's been a dark and stormy week. The power has been off more than it's been on. We've spent several evenings sitting in the dark by the fire listening to the rain and wind outside.

At night, I try to think of things the kids can do by candle light.

lights out
watching the rain
through a paper snowflake

We dust off our musical instruments, sing, and play games. The kids play flashlight tag and stage tumbling shows in the bedroom.

candlelit viola
playing “good king wenceslas”
by touch

I play Scrabble with my older children. The wash of the tiles brings back memories of stormy nights spent with my grandmother.

Last night, a thunderstorm started while I slept. I dreamed that someone up the road was playing Scrabble. The tiles thundered through my dreams.

“Oh why can't they be quieter?” I fretted in my sleep.

I woke to a tremendous roar of thunder, my mind still tangled in the dream.

thunder clap
god's word earns
a triple letter bonus

20 December 2002

Monday, September 19, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxix

frosty morning
the teenager wears thermal boots
with her shorts

5 December 2002

family reunion
she drives through her hometown
without stopping

7 December 2002

november wind
the news of each friend's death
less unexpected

12 December 2002

Sunday, September 18, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxviii

funeral train
a parade
without music

11 November 2002

autumn night
i don't care why
he wants to do me

26 November 2002

thanksgiving morning
do you really want to fight
over this turkey?

thanksgiving stuffing
reaching for another piece
of pie

28 November 2002

Saturday, September 17, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxvii

veterans day
the children dye yarn
with koolaid

armistice day
a rainbow of wool drying
on the clothesline

feet to the fire
the old woman knits
new socks

turning the heel
those chilblained toes no longer need
any socks

winding yarn
do the poppies still bloom red
in flanders?

11 November 2002

Friday, September 16, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxvi

autumn forest
through a raindrop

(I keep trying different versions of this, but it always comes out just a little too figurative.)

november geese
a fine rain covers
the fallen leaves

7 November 2002

haiku retrospective ccxxv

halloween night
the small witch's eyes

31 October 2002

cotton candy clouds
pink at dusk

31 October 2002

shopping for a husband
to match her decor

10 November 2002

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxiv

raining cats and dogs
watch out;
you might step in a poodle

coming down pitchforks
jagged lightning
in the west

raining buckets
trying to turn the wipers
up past high

catching my breath
under the overhang

31 October 2002

Sunday, September 11, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxiii

manicured nails
picking at the scab
from a hangnail

18 October 2002

the honey
inside her

20 October 2002

halloween sunshine
the frantic whir
of the sewing machine

31 October 2002

Saturday, September 10, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxii

desert canyon
acres of windmills
white against the sky

18 October 2002

green tea
peasant virtues
in a cup

18 October 2002

turning leaves
blue veins marble
the clouds

18 October 2002

Friday, September 9, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxxi

a 22 casing
by the dead skunk

30 September 2002

october heat
cobwebs thick
with dust

6 October 2002

splitting a banana
a spoonful of hot fudge
straight from the jar

18 October 2002

Thursday, September 8, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxx

sudden gust
the scraping of the rake
a little faster

28 September 2002

grandma's chocolate cake
shuffling cards for
another round of go fish

28 September 2002

afternoon tea
the small boy spoons sugar
into his mouth

30 September 2002

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxix

final brush stroke
it's the lopsided grin
that makes it perfect

5 September 2002

last light
a pinwheel spins
on the child's grave

7 September 2002

early riser
the spider curses
the dew

7 September 2002

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxviii

autumn sunrise
her shrunken lips mutter
"Damn! I'm still alive."

4 September 2002

conceptual art        i think

5 September 2002

the sun rose
oh! the fragrance
of this autumn morning

5 September 2002

Monday, September 5, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxvii

cold august evening
maple leaves falling
on the first amaryllis

29 August 2002

august work day
raking in the leaves
to the smell of toner

29 August 2002

darkening bruise
a continent in relief
on his hip

4 September 2002

Sunday, September 4, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxvi

eating all those mosquitoes
the colony of mother bats
in our chimney

besides the point
the tears on my youngest child's face
as he gets his rabies shot

fourth rabies shot
the hospital receptionist
greets us by name

summer of the bats
i open the window
to let out the fear

28 August 2002

Saturday, September 3, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxv

august night
another bat 
in the house 

4 August 2002 

steamer's lane 
a wavy line of foam 
on the beach 

4 August 2002 

august heat 
a grasshopper
on the bottom of the pool 

 4 August 2002

Friday, September 2, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxiv

heat lightning
his bare legs hook
around the sheet

hot flash
the curtains sway slowly
in the summer breeze

19 July 2002

lost in space
my foot reaches for the step
that isn't there

2 August 2002

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxiii

high summer
a cloud of flies
over the road kill

17 July 2002

and four try-ku inspired by silk slips in summertime:

summer heat
the white curve of his hip
against the silk sheet

summer stars
even this thin nightgown
holds in the heat

cats in heat
only a sheer silk slip
between her and the stars

midsummer dawn
greeting the sun clad only
in the sky

19 July 2002

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxii

fresh tea
the warmth of his lips
on mine

6 July 2002

the crowd whines
runners take a base
on the balk

13 July 2002

thrift shop
abandoned dreams
half off

14 July 2002

Monday, August 29, 2011

haiku retrospective ccxi

summer evening
scraping leftover curry
into the disposal

24 June 2002

summer doldrums -
not the faintest whiff
of haiku

I can't believe so many people are complaining about the heat. Here in California, it's been cold, cold, cold. We're having early spring weather, with a lot of brisk breezes. Lovely, but not June.

last week in june
making the bed again
with flannel sheets

25 June 2002

Sunday, August 28, 2011

haiku retrospective ccx

summer wind
the heavy thwock-thwock
of the fire copter

Heard the first tanker helicopter of the year this morning. These large dark copters carry water from local reservoirs to fight wildfires. Every fifteen minutes or so, I hear the tanker fly overhead. Fire season is here.

charred sign
only YOU can prevent
forest fires

ashes to ashes
the black slope thick
with baby trees

24 June 2002

Friday, August 26, 2011

haiku retrospective ccix

trains of thought
marginal notes
in an old manuscript

clean copy
mistakes vanish
with the flick of a mouse

24 June 2002

car radio
the off switch tunes in
to silence

24 June 2002

Thursday, August 25, 2011

haiku retrospective ccviii

prickly pears in the sand
around the still

My grandmother's dad had to support his family by tending a still. Her mother was a teetotalling Carrie Nation sort, but times were desperate. My grandmother remembers running barefoot over prickly pears to tell her dad that the Revenuers were on their way.

17 June 2002

california gold
dying oats bleach
in the sun

17 June 2002

summer evening
crescents of cantaloupe
on a blue plate

24 June 2002

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

haiku retrospective ccvii

midsummer stars
the cry of a loon shatters
the darkness

8 June 2002

deep silence --
the bottom of the canyon
a long, long way down

10 June 2002

railroad tracks
summer shadows fade
into twilight

11 June 2002

Monday, August 22, 2011

haiku retrospective ccvi

seventh-inning stretch
the little girl keeps drawing
in the dust

bronco world series
the catcher fires another one
into left field

round pregnant belly
the jeering Mets fan lands
in my lap

shagging flies
swallows hover
over the outfield

sunday afternoon
the rhythmic ker-chunk
of the batting machine

chalking the field
starting line-ups flutter
in the breeze

pitching duel
lawnmower stripes
on the outfield

hometown dugout
the clear print of his cleat
in the dust

extra innings
the snack bar
runs out of ice

post-game show
the bees' buzzing fades
in the clover

1 June 2002

haiku retrospective ccv

drifting clouds
the butter on my yam
hardens again

26 May 2002

leftover meatloaf
we have an argument
about his ex-wife

26 May 2002

empty nest
the children's voices echo
in her head

8 June 2002

Sunday, August 21, 2011

haiku retrospective cciv

too sweet for words

soda fountain
she holds a striped straw
between her brown teeth

brain rot
she changes channels
on the tv remote

diabetes test
she cranks up the brightness
of her smile

southern smile
won't you have another coke,

9 May 2002

haiku retrospective cciii

morning tai chi
my form wavers
with the barking dogs

(a moment from yesterday)

silent worship
the sudden clatter
of teaspoons

(a moment from this morning)

30 April 2002

spring funeral
the pink fringe of her shawl
outlines damnation

17 May 2002

Saturday, August 20, 2011

haiku retrospective ccii

summer night
the child tosses and turns
on the haystack

28 April 2002

looking around
from this side of the world
rain-splattered roses

29 April 2002

long summer night
the sound of our drums
under the stars

29 April 2002

Thursday, August 18, 2011

haiku retrospective cci

spring playground
the scampering and chattering
of squirrels

27 April 2002

idling engine -
she licks the drips
from his ice-cream cone

28 April 2002

dry haystack
the muffled sound
of rain

28 April 2002

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

haiku retrospective cc

spring storm
the slumped man mutters
on his cell phone

25 April 2002

lofty thoughts
the crowns of the redwoods
lost in the clouds

26 April 2002

spring mist
she swirls her tea mug
to stir in the sugar

27 April 2002

Monday, August 15, 2011

haiku retrospective cxcix

forest path
he stashes his shadow
in the violets

25 April 2002

incubator lights
the flabby flesh
of my empty belly

25 April 2002

april abstract
ben lomond mountain lost its head
in the clouds

25 April 2002

Sunday, August 14, 2011

haiku retrospective cxcviii

tax morning
my undrunk tea cold
in the cup

13 April 2002

school daze
the ants teach the crickets
how to sing

19 April 2002

school auditorium
cows show the wildebeests
their feedlot options

19 April 2002

school orientation
pond turtles tell the ducks
how to use their wings

19 April 2002

Saturday, August 13, 2011

haiku retrospective cxcvii

a soap bubble caught
in his hair

30 March 2002

lazy afternoon
a cloud of soap bubbles
over the bluebells

30 March 2002

for a dying friend ~
azaleas in bloom

30 March 2002

Friday, August 12, 2011

haiku retrospective cxcvi

march darkness
the scent of garlic toast
in her hair

22 March 2002

soft spring rain
tight cherry buds bob
on slender twigs

24 March 2002

cherry trees in bloom
two large diamond rings
on her gnarled hand

30 March 2002

Thursday, August 11, 2011

haiku retrospective cxcv

white faces
the border patrol
waves us through

12 March 2002

falling petals
all the men who have fluttered
my nerves

13 March 2002

gated community
the whock-whock-whock
of border patrol helicopters

13 March 2002

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

haiku retrospective cxciv

another miscarriage
the petals of the daffodil

12 March 2002

grand canyon vista
a coyote panhandles
in the parking lot

12 March 2002

desert solitaire
no cars for fifty miles
along the interstate

12 March 2002

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

haiku retrospective cxciii

Often, my haiku arise in response to the work of other authors. On the shiki haiku list, haijin would riff off of each other's work. The second haiku in this set was in response to a series of spring haiku about tree frogs.

the muffled tap of raindrops
on redwood duff

19 February 2002

spring cold
trying to get the frog
out of my throat

21 February 2002

gray afternoon
an open suitcase
full of summer clothes

23 February 2002

Monday, August 8, 2011

haiku retrospective cxcii

night moves
the music too loud
to hear your heart

15 February 2002

february clouds
a raindrop at the heart
of the first violet

17 February 2002

shadowy trees
the horned moon close behind
the setting sun

17 February 2002

Saturday, August 6, 2011

haiku retrospective cxci

early spring sunshine
a leaf shadow stretches
across the pond

13 February 2002

february 15th
a broken heart
in the cookie box

15 February 2002

mostly overcast
varied thrushes pick
through the compost

15 February 2002

Friday, August 5, 2011

haiku retrospective cxc

hard frost
the first sign of buds
on the maple

31 January 2002

record highs
god doesn't dance the same dance
every day

10 February 2002

evening chill
dye spreads over the pleated cloth

12 February 2002

Thursday, August 4, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxix

revival meeting six more souls on the preacher's scalp belt

31 January 2002

late friends
the stream of cars
blurs together

31 January 2002

january clouds
birds chatter softly
in the sycamores

31 January 2002

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxviii

oh gull, look!
too late! the children
are gone

28 January 2002

reflecting the moon . . .

30 January 2002

moonless night
stars drain from the nets
of herring

30 January 2002

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxvii

macarthur park
someone left the snow
out in the rain

28 January 2002

snow on bricks ~
drifts of wood smoke fall
with the rain

28 January 2002

zen calligraphy
the tracks of the shorebirds
brushed by the waves

28 January 2002

Friday, July 29, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxvi

sinus headache
the rain falls
too loudly

16 January 2002

north wind
young eyes fill the clouds
with snow

19 January 2002

drifting woodsmoke
walter's soft voice invites
us to quaker center

19 January 2002

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxv

the mist gives substance
to the sunlight

13 January 2002

tear tracks
the sunshine dissolves
the frost

13 January 2002

baby lust
she wipes the strained carrots
off the floor

14 January 2002

Monday, July 25, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxiv

economic downturn
my bus fare skids
into the sewer grate

12 January 2002

arguing poets --
basho sees only
the frog

12 January 2002

fireside chat ~
cold feet
in spite of my slippers

12 January 2002

Sunday, July 24, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxiii

grandpa in his coffin
she sings a lullaby
before they close the lid

9 January 2002

sun on bare branches ~
when you take away the words,
where is the haiku?

11 January 2002

feathery clouds
your death magnifies
my life

11 January 2002

Friday, July 22, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxii

too hot to handle
he takes a fresh slice
of pepperoni pizza

9 January 2002

church bells
she leaves her good intentions
in her hymnal

9 January 2002

meeting-house door
the silence ends
in birdsong

9 January 2002

Thursday, July 21, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxxi

New Year's at the Madrones'

brisk breeze
the coals in the fireplace

new year's eve
the death of rats'
black cloak

by Iris Matisse Madrone, age 9

new year's bubbly
a mixing bowl full
of dish soap

Garry Madrone, age 50

drawing a 4-leaf clover
my pen breaks
year of the horse

double luck
i cut a 4-leaf-clover
out of red paper

Morgayn Madrone, age 13

my name
the new year

Merlin Madrone, age 2

new year's eve
i make a maze
out of mega mags

Malcolm Madrone, age 6

11 pm
waiting for the earth to spin us
into the new year

Heather Madrone, age 40

31 January 2001

haiku retrospective clxxx

A kukai is a themed community haiku series, often as part of a contest. Sometimes, the kukai start spontaneously in response to a particularly moving haiku. Other times, someone announces the theme and everyone takes off from there.

In this case, there were two themes: New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Two themes makes it a double kukai. In some cases, kukai specify particular kigo (season words), but in this case, the writer was free to choose from many possible New Year's Eve and New Year's Day kigo (champagne, baby horses for year of the horse, old snakes and
snakeskins for year of the snake, firecrackers, crystal balls dropping, countdown, paper hats, confetti, noisemakers, auld lang syne, red paper, last night, first morning, midnight, etc., etc., etc).

My sub-theme this year was laundry.

new year's eve --
wondering what to wear
to the funeral

last load on spin
a sweatshirt and three socks
in the hamper

empty diaper pail
the dryer buzzer
rings in the new year

31 December 2001

haiku retrospective clxxix

boxing day farewells
my grandfather closes his eyes
for the last time

26 December 2001

all those gifts
not a single scrap of the love
was wasted

31 December 2001

january sunshine
a cloud of steam rises
from the tree trunk

3 January 2002

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxviii

chocolate santas --
do you bite the head off
or nibble the toes?

25 December 2001

christmas eve
one last hand of cards
before we hang the stockings

25 December 2001

california dreaming
a white christmas
inside the snow globe

25 December 2001

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxvii

a plume of wood smoke
on the mountain

12 December 2001

winter night
the sound of an ornament

12 December 2001

christmas carols
a flock of blackbirds
over the parking lot

20 December 2001

Monday, July 18, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxvi

lowering skies
leaves and persimmons
the same shade of orange

23 November 2001

winter dawn
he burrows deeper
under the quilt

30 November 2001

no rain
the cat's tail disappears
around the fence

12 December 2001

Sunday, July 17, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxv

grocery shopping
i turn down the radio
to hear the rain

10 November 2001

moving day
a wet maple leaf sticks
to the mattress

10 November 2001

drought's end
she scribbles haiku on the back
of her grocery list

10 November 2001

Saturday, July 16, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxiv

I seem to be in a period of cautious, tight linkage, just-so shasei (sketches from life). The juxtapositions don't hop very far, the relationships between the two parts are too obvious, and the twist might be too obviously staged.

Oh well, having said that, they still give me a brief smile.

november rain
a rainbow of peppers
in the produce section

10 November 2001

winter birkenstocks
the wool toe of her sock
skims a puddle

10 November 2001

weekend traffic
the "Road Work Ahead" sign
turned sideways

10 November 2001

Friday, July 15, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxiii

samhain night
another wreath
goes up in smoke

3 November 2001

first rain
the moss on the oak tree

6 November 2001

pitter patter
a green polka dot
on the dusty leaf

7 November 2001

Thursday, July 14, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxii

crumpled leaves
the haiku at the end of the page
scrunch together

3 November 2001

autumn shower
the prickle of wet hair
dripping down my back

3 November 2001

maternal caution
don't butter
the dog

3 November 2001

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

haiku retrospective clxxi

artistic streak
she dips a green crayon
in her tomato soup

3 November 2001

all souls day
the scent of smoke lingers
in my hair

3 November 2001

library day
she dips her nose in the cream
on her cocoa

3 November 2001

Monday, July 11, 2011

haiku retrospective clxx

autumn deepens
women exchange soup recipes
by the gourd display

19 October 2001

woodland graffiti
a fallen branch carved
by bark beetles

19 October 2001

rose garden
yellow leaves
among the prickles

3 November 2001

Saturday, July 9, 2011

haiku retrospective clxix

war on terrorism
a storm of yellow leaves
from the honey locust

15 October 2001

setting clocks back
his open hand cracks
against her temple

15 October 2001

retirement community
speed bumps
in the cul-de-sac

16 October 2001

Friday, July 8, 2011

haiku retrospective clxviii

calm see
the prelate dawdles
over his coffee

2 October 2001

autumn clarity
upturned garbage carts
along the road

3 October 2001

a flattened possom
in the road

5 October 2001

haiku retrospective clxvii

firehouse barbecue
the stars and stripes hang limp
at mid-pole

october haze
a frayed american flag
on the new pickup

turning leaves
red, white and blue bunting
covers the mailbox

2 October 2001

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

haiku retrospective clxvii

not a haiku...

foggy afternoon
in capitola

i cross the parking lot
with a handful
of candy fruits
for my children

a uc berkeley sweatshirt
walks by
on a forty-something man
with cropped silver head and beard
and a deep scowl on his face

as he walks past
i see the bare back of his neck
tender and vulnerable

i want to jump him
and bite his neck
but why?

20 September 2001

haiku retrospective clxvi

Something happened between the first and second haiku.

autumn leaves
the mountain ridge crisp
against the sky

6 September 2001

half-mast --
september sunshine streams
through green maple leaves

11 September 2001

day of mourning
three ravens circle
the grocery store

18 September 2001

Sunday, July 3, 2011

haiku retrospective clxv

no moon
the hiss of the ocean
against the cliff

25 August 2001

lichened tree trunk
two streaks of silver
at her temples

25 August 2001

labor day
the old man drills bolt holes
in the concrete

2 September 2001

Saturday, July 2, 2011

haiku retrospective clxiv

clear cut --
the twin horns
of a dilemma

20 August 2001

nothing --
less is

21 August 2001

years spin by
faces blur around the edges

24 August 2001

Thursday, June 30, 2011

haiku retrospective clxiii

alone on the carpet
wooden people spill
from the train crash

31 July 2001

night swim --
a corona around
the streetlight

10 August 2001

traffic jam
cirrus clouds pass

16 August 2001

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

haiku retrospective clxii

sunday morning --
the mirror reveals
every flaw

29 July 2001

thinning fog --
the dragon princess growls
good morning

31 July 2001

broke-down paver --
the tarred road felt wraps
around the car's axle

31 July 2001

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

haiku retrospective clxi

opening scene --
a large gentleman sits
on my popcorn

25 July 2001

the basketball bounces all the way down
to the creek

25 July 2001

summer twilight --
the clock ticks twice
for each cricket chirp

28 July 2001

Monday, June 27, 2011

haiku retrospective clx

A haiku master complained about the ho-humness of this haiku:

old gym shoes --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

I heard the bounce echo in my son's freshly-inflated Gertie ball and suddenly I had 2/3 of a haiku (she's working with 2/3 of a haiku, folks), so I started casting about for a first line. I immediately thought of:

distant thunder --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

This seemed overdone in a metaphorical sense (the echo of the bounce
might sound like distant thunder, but the comparison would make a
tawdry haiku, IMO).

Next up was sultry evening. I first typed it like this:

sultry evening --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

This is the story of my haiku life. I really would appreciate
some hints on finding good opening images.

lighted fishtank --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

last dance --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

weaving drunks --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

empty bathtub --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

sidewalk chalk --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

mosquitoes whine --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

loaded derringer --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

symphony program --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

But I like the gym shoes. They were right there against the Gertie ball: Dad's old shoes and his sons' new ball. I didn't deliberately make a connection to basketball although it's likely that I was doing so subconsciously.

Here's another question: How much separation does there need to be to juxtapose two images? Can you sometimes have related images or is it important that the juxtaposed things always be a mismatched set?

haiku retrospective clix

tag was such an easy
game to play

19 July 2001

batter up --
swallows chase flies
over the outfield

23 July 2001

evening coolness --
a pool of juice
on the cutting board

24 July 2001

Sunday, June 26, 2011

haiku retrospective clviii

drooping sunflower ~
so many dreams left
at summer's end

18 July 2001

cold summer day --
the deer's teeth prune
the bean vines

18 July 2001

old gym shoes --
the echo of the bounce
inside the ball

18 July 2001

Saturday, June 25, 2011

haiku retrospective clvii

beach sand --
an ant reverses

14 July 2001

summer break --
the old woman stretches
her bare toes

16 July 2001

morning fog --
the spout of the teapot

17 July 2001

Friday, June 24, 2011

haiku retrospective clvi

summer mantra:
i am not food
for insects

14 July 2001

wide ripples --
the tree's reflection
rises and falls

14 July 2001

swallows feeding --
the trees down river

14 July 2001

Thursday, June 23, 2011

haiku retrospective clv

summer fog --
layers of color
in the sand

14 July 2001

time ~
the paper shredder of

14 July 2001

summer river --
a rock skips through the reflections
of the trees

14 July 2001

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

haiku retrospective cliv

peaceful river --
a boy cannonballs
from the cliff

12 July 2001

slow river waves --
a single willow leaf spins

12 July 2001

river rapids --
a leaf detours
around a rock

12 July 2001

Monday, June 20, 2011

haiku retrospective cliii

first stars
the green kingfisher cups
his wings

Okay, another question: If you always use weather/atmospheric
phenomenon as a first line, how do you keep the first line from
becoming a throw-away? How do you keep it fresh and immediate?
Or doesn't it matter? Is "distant thunder" such a good opener
that you can pair it with anything and have it fit? Is it good
to collect a bunch of undemanding opening lines so you'll have
something to go with all of the great endings you come up with?
Are the opening lines like old shoes that always fit when you
need to run out to the garden and look at the spiders?

bowling ball --
the puzzled haijin
chews her hair

distant thunder --
the puzzled haijin
chews her hair

grandmotherly kindness --
the senior haijin
swings his stick

distant laughter --
if you're not having fun
you're not doing it right

12 July 2001

haiku retrospective clii

dank water --
a craggy oak branch
against the sky

12 July 2001

slow river --
a wave of cirrus clouds breaks
across the sky

12 July 2001

poetic mood --
a swarm of sand fleas bites
my leg

12 July 2001

Sunday, June 19, 2011

haiku retrospective cli

depth charge --
the diving boys climb
a little higher

12 July 2001

uneven footing --
a rock in the hand
that holds his shorts up

12 July 2001

beach towels packed --
the duck family emerges
from the thicket

12 July 2001

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

haiku retrospective cl

Colour me impressed.

I thought this haiku retrospective might take a couple of months, but it's been 5 months and I've still only gotten to the middle of 2001.

I've written a lot of haiku.

swaying spiderweb --
layers of sunlight filter
through the trees

11 July 2001

long-legged wader --
the rock-throwing boy
holds his fire

11 July 2001

termite-eaten snag --
the green kingfisher cups
his wings

11 July 2001

Monday, June 13, 2011

haiku retrospective cxlix

wading children --
the ripples from their footsteps

10 July 2001

birdsong --
a jet roars across
the blue sky

10 July 2001

rushing river --
the sedges' leaves dip
into the water

10 July 2001

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

haiku retrospective cxlviii

willow island --
the duck's neck extends
as she swims

9 July 2001

two ducklings --
reflections from the water
ripple on the trees

10 July 2001

gnarled roots --
a blackberry stretches
across the path

10 July 2001

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

haiku retrospective cxlvii

heat spell --
a swallowtail butterfly
amongst the alders

9 July 2001

full summer --
yellow leaves among the green
in the laurel

9 July 2001

slick rock --
dumping the water out
of his river shoes

9 July 2001

Sunday, June 5, 2011

haiku retrospective cxlvi

river silt --
a fingerling tries to leap
up the falls

8 July 2001

backlit tree --
the sine wave scamper
of a squirrel

8 July 2001

finished compost --
the vegetable garden feasts
on chocolate cake

9 July 2001

Friday, June 3, 2011

haiku retrospective cxlv

time ~
the paper shredder of

7 July 2001

slug trail --
the truck dumps asphalt
in the paver

8 July 2001

cloud trails --
sun glints off the tail
of an airplane

8 July 2001

Thursday, June 2, 2011

haiku retrospective cxliv

afternoon nap
the hippopotamus opens
its nostrils

25 June 2001

summer dusk
the trees glow green against the clouds

27 June 2001

fourth of july ~
a mosquito waves its striped leg

4 July 2001

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

haiku retrospective cxliii

cannery row
bluefin tuna circle
the big tank

23 June 2001

the out-of-town guest
at the block party

23 June 2001

fog lifting
the bean vines climb
a little higher

25 June 2001

Monday, May 30, 2011

haiku retrospective cxlii

city playground ~
one red m&m melts
on his hands and face

7 June 2001

brake lights
on the beach freeway ~
heat rises

12 June 2001

summer solstice ~
the bubble caterpillar
sheds his skin

21 June 2001

Sunday, May 29, 2011

haiku retrospective cxli

same old moon
the blur of insects
against the stars

3 June 2001

tropical sunrise
guatemalan security checks
the overhead bins

7 June 2001

hot morning
a bright red poppy buzzes
with seven bees

12 June 2001

Friday, May 27, 2011

haiku retrospective cxl

temper tantrum ~
the ring of the axe blade
on redwood

15 April 2001

mountain thyme
the bumpy flight
of a hornet

3 June 2001

a large raven rummages
through the compost

3 June 2001

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxxix

restless night ~
tree branches toss
in the wind

29 April 2001

sunday deadline ~
the child climbs on my lap
in tears

29 April 2001

creek canyon
every trail leads

10 May 2001

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxxviii

ocean dusk ~
reflections of children
in the wet sand

4 February 2001

four am ~
the silence between tick
and tock

29 April 2001

unsettled weather ~
storm clouds gather
in my sinuses

29 April 2001

Saturday, May 21, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxxvii

old pickup truck ~
the woodcutter shaves
in his rear-view mirror

Up here, there are a lot of woodcutters. They often park their loaded
trucks downtown with signs that say things like "Oak $220 a cord."

This fellow looks dapper and fairly prosperous. He's around 50. His
truck has definitely seen better days. He likes to park right outside
the health food store. I've seen his truck
there a lot.

I don't think he lives in his truck (although I could be wrong). I think
he was just sprucing up for a Friday night date while waiting to see if
he had any customers during the evening grocery rush.

Another strange thing was that he had a short, cropped beard. He was
using his razor to trim around the beard. Like I said, he was dapper.

On the way home from watching the woodcutter shave, I saw the emergency
strobe in my rear-view mirror, so I had two rear-view mirror haiku out of
one trip to town.

26 January 2001

haiku retrospective cxxxvi

weekend wind shift ~
two magpies beat their way
to work

“Beating” is one of the ways of sailing upwind -- a rough and
unpleasant way to get a nasty job done. Shifting winds can
presage a storm.

29 November 2000

haiku retrospective cxxxv

abandoned dredge ~
a wattle-and-daub home
for osprey

21 November 2000

weathervane ~
the dead leaf spins
on spider silk

8 January 2001

four am ~
the silence between tick
and tock

29 April 2001

Friday, May 20, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxxiv

strong hint ~
the baby moves the spoon
to her left hand

When I was a baby, my mother placed my spoon in my right hand.
I took one look at the situation and switched the spoon from
my right hand to my left. My mother got the hint.

Later, after many attempts at teaching me to tie my shoes
the orthodox way, my mother gave up. She showed me how to
make two loops in my shoelaces and cross them over one another.

playground joke ~
she can't even tie her shoes
the right way

Later, as an adult, I found out that the unorthodox way of
tying shoes lies flatter and holds better.

shoe-tying lessons ~
she teaches her children
the wrong way

16 November 2000

haiku retrospective cxxxiii

republican moon ~
the hole in the guillotine
where you put your neck

I read once that the French populace called the hole in the
guillotine "la lune republicaine" during the French Revolution.
Shine atop the gallows, O Republican Moon!

15 November 2000

haiku retrospective cxxxii

fallen oak branch ~
tufts of spanish moss fill
the hollows

4 November 2000

wind storm ~
a swirl of fir needles falls
from the oak

4 November 2000

splitting the bill ~
the ex-wives turn
to conversation

21 November 2000

Thursday, May 19, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxxi

all hallows eve ~
green glitter glue
on the carpet

31 October 2000

hazel fronds sway ~
a soft rain darkens
the path

4 November 2000

autumn deepens ~
redwood needles blanket
the fir stump

4 November 2000

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxx

bearded iris ~
the hues of the iguana's skin
in sunlight

I recently saw an iguana in the sunlight. The colors of the
iguana's skin were so delicate, so flowery. At the same time,
iguanas are somewhat grotesque.

I'm juxtaposing the iris to the iguana here because the iguana's
coloring and skin texture reminds me of a bearded iris. Also,
it brings out the flowery beauty in the iguana's skin. Bearded
irises also have grotesque little frills that recall the reptile's

rosebud on the vine ~
the new baby suckles
at his mother's breast

Rosebuds and babies are hackneyed, of course. That new baby's
rosebud lips, rose petal soft skin, sweet scent. I wanted to
highlight the baby's continued connection to the mother ("on
the vine") here.

funeral flowers ~
the refrigerated body
in the coffin

Line 1 was originally "orchid corsage." I wanted to show the
connection between the boxed, dead, prettified flower and the
boxed, dead, prettified body. Other possibilities for line 1:
orchid spray, lily spray, orchid wreath, lily pillow, etc.

I have this feeling that, with the right tweaks, this could
be powerful.

orchid spray ~
the refrigerated body
wears a smile

24 October 2000

Saturday, May 14, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxix

ruby slippers ~
maraschino cherry juice
on her lips

23 October 2000

october wind ~
the baby drops the leaf

23 October 2000

foggy night ~
the bridge lights tie the city
to the shore

23 October 2000

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxviiii

toes in the sand ~
the small boy draws patterns
with a stick

23 October 2000

autumn wind ~
a crooked oak branch
in the maple

23 October 2000

raking the roof ~
a drift of walnut leaves hides
the station wagon

23 October 2000

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxviii

first cold snap ~
opening a new box
of tissues

15 October 2000

push broom ~
a ridge of golden leaves
on the asphalt

23 October 2000

sand shower ~
the black cat opens
one green eye

23 October 2000

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxvii

scent of autumn ~
the first bite of an apple
crunchy and sweet

6 October 2000

three rocks
in the raked sand ~
a sip of tea

7 October 2000

untended garden ~
a child crouches to watch
a spider

8 October 2000

Saturday, April 30, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxvi

tree shadows ~
coyote song echoes
against the moon

6 October 2000

hunter's moon ~
the torn flesh of the pomegranate

6 October 2000

lightning ~
the small boy pounces
on a cookie

6 October 2000

Friday, April 29, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxv

hawk's cry ~
the stellers jay closes
its beak

1 October 2000

captive cricket ~
the creak of the swing
on the playground

2 October 2000

glass jar ~
the five-legged cricket eats
an apple peel

2 October 2000

Thursday, April 28, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxiv

steamy bathtub ~
the freshly washed toddler
dunks his doll

1 October 2000

sunday afternoon ~
the skill saw drowns out
the birds

1 October 2000

all the lonely people ~
the modem lights blink off

1 October 2000

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxiii

clouds darken ~
gusts blow the first leaves
from the maple

les nuages assombrent ~
les premieres feuilles de l'erable
soufflent par rafales

21 September 2000

haiku retrospective cxxii

after breakfast ~
the baby squirrel's tail
and the sleeping cat

7 September 2000

one-legged heron --
small fish dart from shadow
to shadow

9 September 2000

autumn twilight ~
an algebra book open
on the couch

26 September 2000

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

haiku retrospective cxxi

lockdown ~
the stellers jay eyes
the ice chest

sacked out ~
a morning's worth of dirt
on the toddler's overalls

crow hop ~
a bird in blue
patrols the campground

track meet ~
three squirrels race
to the picnic table

clean-up crew ~
squirrels and blue jays
followed by ravens

27 August 2000

Monday, April 25, 2011

haiku retrospective cxx

dust devil ~
an owl spreads his wings
on an old saguaro

14 August 2000

chain smoker
he blames hormones
for the tears in her eyes

14 August 2000

tilted fence ~
layers of shadows
on the ivy

15 August 2000

Sunday, April 24, 2011

haiku retrospective cxix

open suitcase ~
she reads the oncology report

13 August 2000

swift river --
speckled fish swim
in place

13 August 2000

spring monsoon ~
golden state museum
floods the landfill

13 August 2000

Saturday, April 23, 2011

haiku retrospective cxviii

three a.m.
she trips over the black

11 August 2000

almost dusk ~
the quarrel of children
in the treehouse

11 August 2000

south wind ~
leaf shadows scatter
across the tree trunk

13 August 2000

Friday, April 22, 2011

haiku retrospective cxvii



Giving Thanks for All the Middle-Aged Men I Didn't Marry

lush ~
the swell of his

lush ~
the fur on his

lush ~
the engine in his
sports car

lush ~
the beer on his

4 August 2000

haiku retrospective cxvi

untidy shelf
a stack of books waiting
to be put away

3 August 2000

wigged out ~
some men go bald but he
wears a toupee

3 August 2000

shady deck
two naked boys
turn on the hose

11 August 2000

Thursday, April 21, 2011

haiku retrospective cxv

compost bin --
volunteer potatoes grow
through the slats

1 August 2000

muggy afternoon --
mammatus clouds over
the parched earth

[Mammatus clouds are the pouchy clouds that are left after a large cumulonimbus (thunderhead) has dropped its load.]

1 August 2000

the high
that can be cooed
is not haiku

3 August 2000

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

haiku retrospective cxiv

I'm pretty sure I didn't write as many haiku on 27 July 2000 as the last several retrospective posts would indicate. They must have been collected in a notebook somewhere until I got around to posting them to the old shiki list.

petty theft ~
he takes a bite
of her poached egg

27 July 2000

midnight dusk ~
a navy blue sky full of
faded stars

27 July 2000

back porch campout ~
the tall trees darker than
the summer sky

1 August 2000

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

haiku retrospective cxiii

empty playground ~
a squirrel buries nuts
in the sand

27 July 2000

empty teacup ~
the laundry basket

27 July 2000

doll tea party ~
azalea flower hats
on unbrushed curls

27 July 2000

Monday, April 18, 2011

haiku retrospective cxii

rising sun
the baby sits up in bed
and crows

27 July 2000

lingering day --
the Mystery Spot

27 July 2000

three grains of rice ~
the mouse scurries
to its hole

27 July 2000

Sunday, April 17, 2011

introducing atticus

Meet the newest member of the family:

Atticus Jackson Graft

Here are his parents, Alex and Priscilla.

And his proud GrandDa and Uncle Merlin.

Lotsa little guy to hold here.

The whole wild and loving family coming out for the event.

Quite a cuddly armful.

Phoenix, demonstrating baby-holding prowess.

A beautiful day for the family at the park.

Definitely the light in his parents' eyes.

That man looks really good holding a baby, don't you think?

And Merlin's definitely off to a good start on his baby-holding career.

Malcolm's not singing the blues here, either.

haiku retrospective cxi

trombone solo ~
raindrops add a B natural
to the score

pomp and circumstance ~
raindrops contribute
the grace notes

25 July 2000

haiku retrospective cx

not the way ~
the way that
can be weighed

13 July 2000

haiku moment ~
the baby on my lap

25 July 2000

peach blossom ~
the toddler cradles
his doll

25 July 2000

Friday, April 15, 2011

haiku retrospective cix

hot pavement ~
a tadpole
in a jar

2 July 2000

summer house ~
the gate chain half-buried
in leaf mould

4 July 2000

after love --
the cries of a
hungry baby

13 July 2000

Thursday, April 14, 2011

haiku retrospective cviii

final draft
old barn siding
on the walls

26 June 2000

midterm ~
he sniffs the eau de heather
on his fingertips

1 July 2000

dry morning--
in the water bucket

2 July 2000

Monday, April 11, 2011

haiku retrospective cvii

summer solstice ~
frosting from his first birthday cake
on his chin

21 June 2000

back porch campout ~
picking the scabs on
his mosquito bites

23 June 2000

first birthday
his hand traces the curve of my hip

23 June 2000