Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Haiku #361

looking for a book--
cat near the end of its life
passes by the window


I was looking for a certain book today and found an old stationary box that I had kept because of its whimsical drawing.  The theme of the stationary was "The Art of Dreams," and I remember using that paper, sending letters to friends, picking out just the right image for each friend.  The box was crushed and I wondered if I should throw it away.  On impulse I looked inside and found a single note, written in purple ink.  I suddenly remembered this student always wrote in purple.  What struck me was the date and time of the note, its brevity, and its fullness in what it managed to say:

10:33 p.m.

A lot has happened lately...J. & I are divorced, I have a house and a regular Tradesmen Job???  Who woulda thunk it...

I'd love to talk w/ u ...

heart-- A.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Haiku #360

first autumn wind
the dead leaves

Haiku #359

first autumn wind
than expected

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Haiku #358

to leave in May
missing again the poppies
in bloom

Haiku #357

insect husk
wrapped in a filament
from the broken web

Haiku #356

first day of autumn
the grass
seems more brittle

Haiku #355

quiet afternoon--
our dog barks
at a garter snake

Haiku #354

the striped cat
not in his usual place
beside the door

Haiku #353

over my head
compost weeds
bending in the wind

Haiku #352

my cat
looks at me
night owl in the maple

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Haiku #351

from my footfall
tiny butterflies

Haiku #350

with the pears
an empty nest

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Haiku #349

both pink
the ham in her sandwich
her young face

Monday, September 13, 2010

Haiku #348

white hens
dashing in and out
of the cornstalks

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Haiku #347

autumn day
Issa's motherless sparrow
in the long grass

Haiku #346

give me the patience
of Issa

Haiku #345

Sunday shoppers
their reflections on the street
their umbrellas

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Haiku #344

toad in the rain
so much like the wet bark
of the aspen

Today and Yesterday

A Productive Couple of Days

1.  Two acceptances
2.  Revised and submitted three new poems
3.  Started new project, tentatively called Everwhere Else It Was the Sixties
4.  Put together a chapbook of poems, possibly to submit in the near future
5.  Finished a new creative nonfiction piece

Monday, September 06, 2010


Edward Thomas is one of my favorite poets of the Modern era.  He's often lumped in with the "war poets" of that time, and he could write convincingly of ugliness and despair.  But it's a sweet poem, "Words" that brings me to Thomas today. 

It's natural for writers to reflect on the sources of their inspiration.  Few have done it as gently and honestly as Thomas has here.  He speaks directly to "Words," not cajoling or begging or feeling sorry for himself.  He simply asks for the blessing to be able to say what he needs to say.

In speaking of writing, we often say that we "use" words.  It's as though words are a resource not unlike the oil we pump from the bottom of the ocean.  After reading Thomas's poem, the idea of "using" words seems coarse.  Thomas says the word "use," too, but, ah, it's the way he says it in conjunction with "choose" which has about it a sweet whiff of grace.

It's good to remind ourselves where it all begins, in the kind of glory that Thomas shows in his poem "Words," in the humility Thomas expresses, in his love for the words that patiently give themselves to us.


Out of us all
That make rhymes
Will you choose
Sometimes -
As the winds use
A crack in a wall
Or a drain,
Their joy or their pain
To whistle through -
Choose me,
You English words?

I know you:
You are light as dreams,
Tough as oak,
Precious as gold,
As poppies and corn,
Or an old cloak:
Sweet as our birds
To the ear,
As the burnet rose
In the heat
Of Midsummer:
Strange as the races
Of dead and unborn:
Strange and sweet
And familiar,
To the eye,
As the dearest faces
that a man knows,
And as lost homes are:
But though older far
Than oldest yew, -
As our hills are, old, -
Worn new
Again and again:
Young as our streams
After rain:
And as dear
As the earth which you prove
That we love.

Make me content
With some sweetness
From Wales
Whose nightingales
Have no wings, -
From Wiltshire and Kent
And Herefordshire, -
And the villages there, -
From the names, and the things
No less.
Let me sometimes dance
With you,
Or climb
Or stand perchance
In ecstasy,
Fixed and free
In a rhyme,
As poets do.

Edward Thomas

Friday, September 03, 2010

New Publications

I've had some new publications recently:

A short story
"The World in Red" in The Sun Magazine

Three haibun
"Memorial Day" in Contemporary Haibun Online
"Cairo, Illinois" in Haibun Today
"Spring Passage, May..." in Notes from the Gean

You can read an excerpt of "The World in Red" by clicking on the link above. 

Bruce Ross, one of the editors of Contemporary Haibun Online, chose "Memorial Day" as his commentary piece.  Drop by to read what he says.

"Cairo, Illinois" is based on my Ohio River River journey of 2005.  Friends of this blog will remember my preparations and hopes for that journey.  It is only now starting to yield results in my writing.  
What to do with this little blog?  It's gone through so many incarnations.  I think from now on I'll be publishing less original poetry.  I have another (private) blog I've set up for the purpose of organizing and archiving poems and another for haiku.  This one will probably revert back to writing about process and experience in my world of teaching and writing.  Some photographs and art from time to time.

To the future.



About Me

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Northwest Ohio, United States
"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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Epistle, by Archibald MacLeish

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Fave Painting: Eden

Fave Painting:  Eden

Fave Painting: The Three Ages of Man and Death

Fave Painting:  The Three Ages of Man and Death
by Albrecht Dürer

From the First Chapter

The Secret of Hurricanes : That article in the Waterville Scout said it was Shake- spearean, all that fatalism that guides the Kennedys' lives. The likelihood of untimely death. Recently, another one died in his prime, John-John in an airplane. Not long before that, Bobby's boy. While playing football at high speeds on snow skis. Those Kennedys take some crazy chances. I prefer my own easy ways. Which isn't to say my life hasn't been Shake-spearean. By the time I was sixteen, my life was like the darkened stage at the end of Hamlet or Macbeth. All littered with corpses and treachery.

My Original Artwork: Triptych

My Original Artwork:  Triptych



Little Deer

Little Deer



Looking Forward, Looking Back

Looking Forward, Looking Back

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