Mixing haiku and work

When I first stumbled on haiku as something other than a practice of strict adherence to the 5-7-5 syllable count, I felt a curious sense of freedom. Over the years, I also found that haiku’s discipline has helped me get to the core cause of an experience, while allowing space for the other person’s reflection, learning and voice.

daisies in bloom ~
what work we do to
grow with families

It seems to me the world could stand a good dose of haiku writing practice if it helps us cut past the proverbial “BS” and “filler” and get to the heart of what really matters. Too often, we get stuck in petty quarrels over perception and politics and turf wars. What if we were able to share that inner seed or kernel of what we hold most dear through a simple poem that left room for the other?

my golden koi ~
a tsunami crests
with just one pebble

glutton’s game

Hummingbirds are interesting critters. Their ability to fly not just forwards but backwards and upside down is captivating. Put their flying capacity together with combativeness in defending their territory, add a hot summer day, covered porch, easy chair and cold beer, and voila! Quite the show. But, that’s not what this poem is about. Hummingbirds also hover. They hold their place in space and time. As symbols of eternity, hummingbirds can be hopeful or hopeless. You decide.


The wind drags silken wisps across clean skies and I,
like so many before me, make
no protest, no outcry; a
perfect image of complicity, I clear
the path for days to come, I hold a cup
filled with the bitter dregs of
broken dreams and stormy sky.

I tweak clothespins to loosen the tattered garments of dreams we
dare dream, of journeys to take and songs to sing – of books we have
yet to read — and what of our unwritten stories, you say? Tales extended
over time and bound by spiderwebs between the
fractures in our hearts? We live on the edge
of what could be, what is, what was, of
fears, of fantasies, of our imperfect expectation
that united, we can stand by
and watch our brothers and sisters die, merely
for the hopeful crime of living.

The wind drags silken wisps across clean skies and I,
like so many around me, wear
ignorant disregard -- my
fear hidden beneath a veil.

Another try at a golden shovel poem, in which the would-be poet chooses a line or lines from another poem and uses each word as an end word in the new poem. The end words must be kept in order, and the original poet is credited.  I selected the following three lines from Girlfriends, by Elizabeth Woody, Oregon’s 2017 Poet Laureate:
Stanza 2/Line 2: I make a clear cup of sky
Stanza 4/Lines 2-3:  We have extended the edge of expectation by merely living
Stanza 6/Line 4: I wear my veil.


One Thousand Stars

She scatters a lifetime’s collection of curios on a frayed carpet
rather like the spray of amniotic fluids at birth
a woman’s journey into the wilds of Africa
hazy descent into a long dream
the never-ending night
with one thousand stars to light her way through an empty gallery.
With one thousand stars to light her way through an empty gallery
her bare feet slide on threadbare carpet
called by the stars at night
to throw caution to the winds and birth
the silver thread of her dream
to follow her treasure map through the wilds of Africa.
To follow her treasure map through the wilds of Africa
she picks her way slowly towards the moon at the end of the gallery
and stops from time to time to admire curios quarried from a dream.
She digs her toes into frayed carpet
afraid of that final push into birth
balanced on the edge of night.
Balanced on the edge of night
she is called to enter the wilds of Africa
and the salted, bloodied tsunami of birth
carries her to the end of the gallery
flooding the threadbare carpet
with holy water to bless the curios of her dream.
With holy water to bless the curios of her dream
she sees where daylight promises to end night
and arches her feet against sodden carpet
hoping to find sun in the wilds of Africa.
She looks back to the darkened gallery
swollen with the pain of birth.
Swollen with the pain of birth
she slowly wakes from an enforced dream
of crooked pictures and dusty curios housed in a starlit gallery.
Setting free her fear of never-ending night
she follows the yellow-billed stork into the wilds of Africa,
soars over grassland carpet.
On the grassland carpet she rests from giving birth
and dreams of dancing in the wilds of Africa
before walking the gallery of never-ending night.
Brought to you by the challenge of creating a sestina using the NaHaiWriMo prompts from November 4-9. Simply put, to write a sestina, pick 6 words, rotate them as the end words in 6 stanzas and then include 2 per of the words per line in your final stanza.