Tribute: Rachel Sutcliffe

Recently Rachel Sutcliff died.  She was a consummate artist of haiku.  She was a member of the British Haiku society and often featured on Frank Tassone’s site about Haijin and writing of haibun, tanka, haiku.  She suffered from an immune deficiency disorder and died a little every day.  Her voice will be missed.

Tribute:  Rachel Sutcliffe
bitter winter day –
the sun comes out briefly.
pond ice melts slowly.



For Sarah’s prompt at dVerse: Harbingers.  During the olden days in Japan and today actually, cherry blossoms are important.  They are signs of beauty in the spring but they are also part of death.  A tree will be full of the blooms and a week later, all the blooms will have fallen to their death – cherry blossom rain.


“As you move through this life and this world, you change things slightly; you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life …-leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks–on your body or on your heart–are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.” Anthony Bourdain

An owl ghosting through the darkness,
A hawk sailing on the thermals.
A small cat giving birth for the first time
In the freezing rain,
My mother holding up her hand,
Reaching for her long dead mother
That only she can see.
Harbingers of death –
It comes for us all
Sure as the cherry blossoms in spring.

Haibun: The Woodpecker

For Kim’s Prompt over at Real Toads.  Based on a book she is reading, she became entranced with the words “sarcastic percussion”.  She wants us to write about an instrument or sarcastic percussion.  LOL.  We had a perfect example of this last Sunday morning – early!

Haibun: The Woodpecker

Silent Sunday Morning – suddenly – BAP! BAPBAPBAPBAP! BAP! My husband rolls over and mutters, we may as well have a cat. Again – BAPBBAPBAPBAPBAPBAP! Like a snare drum. It is the woodpecker, I mumble. I pull on my robe and stagger outside. The woodpecker is hanging on to the vinyl shutter for all he is worth and begins again. Hey! I yell at him. He stops and looks around at me. I shake the suet feeder so he will see that it is full. He flies to the suet holder as I go back inside. I crawl into bed and snuggle up to my husband. BAP! BAP! BAPBAPBAPBAP! We move into the guest bedroom where it is quieter.

woodpecker restarts –
sarcastic percussion drums again –
no sleep this Sunday




Haiku 1/19/19

For Magaly’s prompt at Real Toads ,  poem in the manner of Mary Oliver. We lost a great poet and a better person

Haiku 1/19/19

icy scabbards hang
from the forsythia bush –
wintry arctic blooms

The Devil is in the Details

For the Out of Standard Prompt today on Toads. We are to write a poem about a cryptid – a creature that exists but doesn’t exist and is rarely seen. I have chose the Jersey Devil from my beloved and oft times spooky Pine Barrens.

“photo” of the Jersey Devil

The Devil is in the Details
Tea colored water flows through the Barrens.
Pine scented water flows through the Barrens.
Don’t be there at twilight or later.
The Jersey Devil will get you
If. You. Don’t. Watch. Out.
You won’t hear him coming.
He spreads his skeletal batwings
and swoops on you from above.
Bones of animals ….
and humans lie scattered about under the pines.
and in the tea colored water.
Dogs have disappeared from backyards.
Babies have disappeared from cribs.
People have lost their way in the Barrens
and disappeared.
You won’t hear him coming.
The Jersey Devil will get you
If. You. Don’t. Watch. Out.

Jersey Devil

Double Confession

For Anmol’s Confession prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub.

Double Confession

“In my midnight confessions
When I tell all the world that I love you” The Grass Roots

A smoldering hot August night,
Cicadas sawing and humming bird moths
circling the cleomes.
End of season honeysuckle perfuming the air
and gardenias gleaming in the moonlight.
You came over for dinner and I spilled lemonade
in your lap because I loved you so much
and my hand refused to be steady.
We had been to a kendo demonstration
and you were one of the demonstrators.
In the living room your katana rested on the coffee table.
I loved you so much.
I wanted to tell you but I was afraid of losing you
as a friend –
I loved you so much.
We sat in the glider desultorily moving back and forth
When you said to me,
as if in an afterthought –
Watashi wa kokoromara anata o ashitemiasu*.
I thought I understood you but…
What did you just tell me?
I love you with all my heart,
you whispered.
I sat up straight and glared at you.
You laughed and pulled me close.
I have been wanting to tell you that since we met.
I leaned against you.
I loved you so much.

old snapshot taken in Duke U Medical Library 1979

*Japanese for I love you will all my heart

Hectic Snow

For Sunday Muse #38

Hectic Snow
The wrong time –
The wrong tune –
Stars swirl around like hectic snow.
Their songs lure you
And you float up and follow.
The music follows you
Until they freeze and fall
Like hectic snow.

Sunday Muse #38




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