Haibun: My Tree

A haibun for the theme of solitude at dVerse. This is in the style of the original haibun created by Basho – not a lot of description and words. Just the experience.

My Tree
“Love the trees until their leaves fall off, then encourage them to try again next year.”
― Chad Sugg

Being alone in a tree is heaven to me. There is one in our woods I climb on a regular basis. I sit there enthroned in his branches watching the clouds, listening to the sounds of woods creatures around me. In any weather I love sitting alone. Sometimes I take my violin and play for the tree. I think he likes it.
birds fly and make nests –
a fox passes at the base –
seasons pass in my tree.



For Kerry’s Prompt Art Flash over at Real Toads.  Jamuary 27 was World Holocaust day.  I began writing this poem before that and finally finished it for this prompt.  The thinness of the man and his bald head put me in mind of many of the pictures of those liberated from the Nazi imprisonment.  The story of the communion is real, told me years ago by a priest who was liberated.

The Turning Point
David Bülow
Used with Permission

“The vilest deeds like poison weeds Bloom well in prison air; It is only what is good in man That wastes and withers there.” Oscar Wilde

we were herded together like cattle –
all of us –
cows, pigs, horses –
together and loaded onto a train to be shipped off
to who knows where.
We stood in our feces and urine and endured
the bitter cold. I wasn’t even Jewish.
I was Polish. I was Catholic.
The village priest was loaded along with us.
I remember that last day before we were liberated.
A bunch of skeletons rattling around.
One of the guards had in his kindness
obtained a small vial of wine and a communion wafer.
the priest broke the wafer into bits
and cast them upon the snow.
He splashed the drops of wine upon the snow.
We scooped up the snow with our hands
and took in the body of Christ.
I remember that day.
The ashes falling from the sky like bitter snow.
I rattle around in my closet now.
A skeleton remembering that day
and the bitter snow.

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.


A poem of tribute

For Kerry’s Prompt on Real Toads – Instructions for Living a Life – A tribute to Poets of our Time. Write a poem in tribute.She gives us several names but of course, we are free to choose our own still living poet. I chose Shay Simmons as my contemporary living poet, posting two of her poems as an example of her work and my poem of tribute.

My Poem of Tribute
Imagine finding a jewel in the dust –
a glowing ruby red and rich
or a sapphire – blue as the autumn sky.
Of course you would bend down and pick it up
dust it off, hold it to the sun,
put it in your pocket filled with lint
and pencil stubs.
Take it out of your pocket to
watch it sparkle by starlight –
The inner fire still showing.
Would you leave it in a birds nest
and wait for it hatch?
Would you take it to the ocean with you?
I would. I would hold it in the waves
letting them wash over it again and again.
I would hold it up to a candle
and watch the blue red green lights
decorate my bare white walls.
Yes I would.
In a heartbeat.

What would you do if?

What would you do if the sky gave up its birds
on an afternoon
made of the name you used to use?

Could you go home?
Would you even want to?
Appearing there, could you sing white dust and 8 bar blues in equal measures?

A Love Poem for K
My house is small.
If I buy an orange,
And bring it home in a canvas bag,

I have to decide what to get rid of;
What object it will replace.

If I lose something–
My book of Whitman poems, or
The card from my friend in New York,

It’s bound to be right there,
As close as coffee to the cup.

Should the postman drop me a letter,
I must then send one out.
I dream only once each night, but richly.

There would seem to be no room
For Another
In my life,

And yet,
The sun comes through my window
Each morning,

And seems to belong there.
What about that?


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: Canoeing in the Pine Barrens

For Mish’s prompt at dVerse. Today is Quadrille Monday. A quadrille is a poem of exactly 44 words using the word prompted for the day. The word today is “steep” or variants of the word. I have taken you all to my beloved Pine Barrens in New Jersey. The creek and river water is colored with the tannins leached from the roots of the pine and cedar trees.  I have done a haibun in the manner of the original created by Basho – brief and to the point ended with a seasonal haiku.

Haibun: Canoeing in the Pine Barrens
Canoeing through the Pine Barrens is peaceful – floating on crystal clear water the color of tea leaves steeped in a glass pitcher. Silence. Slight shush of the canoe on water soothes us.
sounds of birds and wind –
umber colored water flows
through the Barrens

creek in the Pine Barrens

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




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