Haiku is the new …

Haiku is a type of short form poetry that originated in Japan. Traditional Japanese haiku consist of three phrases composed of 17 phonetic units (called on in Japanese, which are similar to syllables) in a 5, 7, 5 pattern.*

Might Haiku offer a simpler, more fun way to express the thoughts and feelings that flow through a poet’s veins? Perhaps. This kind of writing-as-game offers one the opportunity to enjoy the craft of writing in a new and fun way. Can I make the 5-7-5 pattern into something interesting, meaningful, funny, poignant, and if so, why not try? Wendy has given it a go, and we think you might enjoy journeying though a few months in the life of a practiced poet who decided to try something new. If you feel moved to join in, leave your Haiku in the comments below.

In January

Sky remains lighter later

As day is ending


Scarlet azaleas

I see them from my window

Winter’s gift to me


No sun this morning

Yonder hill is obscured

Is it mist or fog?


I would have a gown

Color of the azaleas

Deep scarlet are they


Heavy rain pours down

Pounds against my windowpane

Kettle drums drumming


We will not complain

The azaleas are blooming

The full moon rises


Daylight savings time

Weird     heard the cows are to blame

No     blame the chickens


Our children are grown

Memories of their childhood

Forever in my heart


Don’t mind being alone

Because I know you’ll be home

All year Thanksgiving


Help     loud music plays

Please CVS Pharmacy

Answer     save my ears


Blue sky vanishes

Clouds you are beautiful

But please go away


Morocco Michael?

With your sketchbook in cafes?

You never came home


Night owl from day one

Janitor hears her howling

“Wendy, go to sleep!”


Mama wears fox tails

Head too     ugh ugh horrible

Her high fashion stole


The sound of his voice

Gives me the heebee-jeebies

Gift him to Putin


Mourning Dove calls calls

Keeps calling     no one answers

I would if I could

Of a Sudden

As we stood looking through

The glass

Of the sliding patio


Into the night


There she was

A perfect roundness

Of white light

The Moon

Risen above the distant


And it seemed

She lay resting from her


Against a smooth blanket

Of blackness

And as we stood


Into her full-faced


Of a sudden

Out of her stillness

We heard the hoot

A soft mournful


From an owl

It had to have


An owl

On a high branch

Of a Sycamore tree

An owl

How can this be

There are no owls


And yet a


Only an owl would



It excited us

Delighted us

And although we looked


Into the darkened


We could not find

The owl

Although again the


Again     again

Then      silence


For the next two nights

Moon retained her


For the next two nights

Owl hooted softly

From the Sycamore



On the third night

Moon had begun her


On the third night

No hoot from the


On a high branch

Of the Sycamore


It was gone

Flown away

Only a silent night


Image Credit


I will not mention names

What good would that do


What is done     is done


So many

If I could write down

Their names

In memoriam

Their names would fill

The pages

Of a giant encyclopedia

The one country so brutally


Has the right to defend



When does defense become


Desist     desist

Allow those who are


On either side

Live in peace

Yes     yes

Let those left

Live in peace

Where for Art Thou Mourning Dove

The call of the Mourning Dove
Three times Three times Three times
Then is silent
I listen for its calling to begin
As it does time after time
But now Silence
Just far off rumbling
Of traffic
On El Camino Real

In my craving
To know all of everything
The thoughts and feelings
Even patterns of behavior
Of people I know
I love
Do not know
Only read about
In blurbs of news
From my iPad
And so I do not find it
That in the natural order
Of things
I want to know
The Mourning Dove calls
Three times Three times Three times
Is silent
Then either calls again again again
Or I would guess
Flies away

Halfway to May

It is the middle of April
Nearing the month of
The memory I hold
Has us on the beach
Sand under our bare
Watching the sun descend
Behind the Santa Monica
Clothing all we see
In the glory of

Is the middle of April
Fifty some years have
Michael is gone
My children    themselves
Are grandparents
My Beloved and I
In a place
Michael never visited
Never had been

When April is halfway to
Michael     my childhood
Friend      returns
With sand under our
Bare feet
As we stand watching the sun
Behind the Santa Monica
Clothing all we see
In the glorious colors of

Is There a Poem?

Is there a poem

Hiding in one of my
Is this a memory
Of hearing
In the distance
The Wild Geese
Create     migrating
To their winter

I Love them

Every fall
To see them
To hear their
On the wooden
Outside my bedroom
For them to arrive
With their familiar
As I stood
My head raised to the
My eyes following them
As they flew
One by one
In a straight line
Over the Eucalyptus
The Mountain Ash
Away   away
From my sight

I would call to
Bless you     Bless you
Be safe on your
Wild Geese
Safe on your
While their honking
Grew fainter    fainter
Until the silence of the
Wrapped around me


The Day King Died









It is 7:30 in the evening      a Wednesday

And the children have finished their supper     yes

It is April 4, 1968

The television makes a noise from the den

Behind the laundry room

He and I sit alone at the table

Bones from lamb chops

Splay over the plates

Empty milk-lined glasses

Stand on the landscape of the oilcloth

Like tree stumps in a meadow


I get up from the table finally

I want to wash the dishes

Put the kids to bed

He sits on at the table

Weary from riding to Chicago

On the 6:19

And out to Waukegan again

On the 4:39

And all the things that happened

In between


I carry dirty dishes

Over to the sink

And look out the kitchen window

My neighbor whose name

I can never remember

Stands above his galvanized tin garbage can

Holds a bag of garbage in his arms

Like a baby wrapped in a receiving blanket

And I let the water run

And stare at my neighbor

As tears roll down his face

I am shaking now

And lean on the white porcelain rim

Of the kitchen sink

Because a man whose name I can’t remember



Then my eldest son starts to yell

Words at first I don’t understand

Until a name becomes clear

Martin Luther King Jr.

As he runs back into the kitchen


My knuckles are white

From my grip on the white porcelain rim

Of the kitchen sink

While in my head I hear

A dream explode


Written in 1983, inspired by a Frank O'Hara poem, "The Day Lady Died"

“Feed my Lambs” -JC










My day is almost over

Light lingers on far off


But cannot hold the sun

That moves below the sea’s


Leaves a clue of its descent

In a small pink cloud


Supper comes

When day is closing

Thoughts of those

Who won’t have this


Rise inside my mind

Fill my heart with a living



“Gather ye the harvest”

Of wasted food

Do not throw away

What does not sell

What isn’t ordered

Off a menu

Sold by dates

Not long past

Give to the homeless

To shelters

Where the unwanted


Wasted food     so much


Enough to feed the hungry



Image credit

Miss Mouse







An aura of judgment

Surrounds me

Invades my growing years

Settles into my consciousness

I take it as truth

It is who I become

Hesitant     shy

Afraid to take chances

Holds back     holds back

Cringing at judgmental words

Spoken around family dinner


Between Father and Mother

Words critical of other people

Known     unknown     of me

I live my nickname

Miss Mouse

Hear a voice

Inside myself

Tells me over

Over     over

Don’t try     don’t try

What if you fail

What if you fail


I listen to the voice

Play life safe

Unadventuresome     fearful

Of everything


I blame no one

There is no one to blame

Save my own self



Only remnants of the aura

Remain in my consciousness

Like wisps left from a morning


They pass through my awareness

Are gone


Aura—“a distinctive atmosphere surrounding a given source” –New Merriam-Webster Dictionary

—June 2015


Sister Moon


Tonight a crescent moon

Thin like a strand of silver


Wisps of cloud move around

Her gentle shape

That disappears as a marine




Comes to command the night



Waking in early hours

After midnight

I look for the moon

Look for Orion

Out the bedroom window

Earth’s rotation

Brings them to me

Different hours

Different nights

Orion with reddish mars


Sirius below

Her brilliance shimmering

In the dark


Many times

The moon is come

Is gone

Before I wake

But many times

Its light falls on me

Through the window

Many times

I see the moon

Go down

Behind myaporum

Its face fractured

Like broken glass

By the branches

Made whole again

When it rises



There is an energy

That connects me

To all of them

My spirit sings

In the night

Claims the moon

As sister