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Miscellaneous waka/haiku, by season

Verses composed on particular occasions:


None remain to see,
under pouring skies, the first
strawberry ripen

Long after petting
the armies of black insects
march across the floor
as my cat wages fierce war
for hours on clumps of fur

With a sudden swear
lifting my tea mug; for there
—even more cat hair!

The sun will rise, yes,
but the mayflies live today;
cold comfort is it
that the storm flies tomorrow
and the sun will rise again

fireflies flashing
fulgently in furrowed fields
an old vet shivers
the scars of love, life, and death
soon laved & lifted by death

Blossoms are not new
to the world of men, it’s true;
but now and again,
they ought to be reminded
(again, again, and again...)


Down on the grasses,
I gaze at the summer sun—
And it gazes back!

“It is not injust
to take that which none complains”;
so I tell myself
behind the abandoned house
where ripens the green apple

The party over
beer bottles and fireflies
duet in twilight

Our revels over,
gleaming bottles remain;
and beneath full moons,
the summer fireflies dance—
flaring, sparkling, redoubled

Cooling and ceaseless,
some rejoice in summer rains
—earth worms’ worlds’ ending

This full August moon
Is the only they will know
So go on, cry on,
You cicadas in the trees!
I will wait for the next moon.

After passing through a tiny Midwestern town, out where the Signal too fades:

Rustling wind tosses
Tow-headed corn this way, that;
Then still the tresses.

“Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge”:

Ivory arcing
Over river scales shining—
The Caroboros!

Sudden squeal and stop—
Was the sky always so blue?
Laying back, thinking.

Fearful fireflies
Twinkle in the distant dark,
But driving at night
At sixty miles per hour
I meet none along the way

Bright lights ahead swerve;
seeing nothing, I too turn.
Thus it is for men,
through the ages—the leader blind,
the follower blinded.

On a sudden shower in the gloaming:

Looking up from work,
we see dark clouds of the rain,
a summer storm starts.
We stop, free, guilt-less, sin-less;
cares drop like the rain.
All is silent, all is cool
—we can’t work in wet.
No blame descends but the rain
and shining sunlight
and green leaves in the bright-dark.
Dust, go with the rain:
let no one think or worry
but have calm clear minds
sitting, waiting on the rain,
content, for once, in
a life of clouded choices
hidden by the rain.
Somewhere someone is slaying,
dying, or crying—
none are bitter in the rain
—a worm eats an eye,
a blood vessel bursts a brain—
here under the rain,
but here it is green, and kind,
and time does not pass
until work returns to mind
and we leave the rain
for the dust of desires.
Only drops remain,
And the world, us defiled,
Us, the world defiling;
each of us working to bring
that last rainstorm without end.


Autumn leaves floating
on the white-crested waters
slowly, the trees send
year-end letters home to
their mother, the sea

Water raising moon
into the sky as of old...
And they felt this too?
—all symbols are reflections,
they wept for it and for them.

With the autumn sun
my birthday comes, and it goes;
and the leftover
presents’ discarded wrappings
remind me of my own fate.

Death poems are all just
falling blossoms and nonsense:
dying is dying

Papermachine wrote:

What zeal!
the wild nights spent burning
running up mountains,
churning through paper


With such zeal and joy
did I burn those wild nights
in the candle light,
bounding up paper piles
and scaling mountains of thought


Now decade the third,
and what do I have to show?
A pile of words
whose value I do not know—
and the cold autumn winds blow

“Where has the time gone?”
I wonder in my study,
rain on the windows;
and the years drip down on me
as yellowed papers


Keener sorrow than
the cherry blossoms of spring
is today’s snowfall—
weeping to the ground, leaving
not even a flake behind.

With the melting frost,
this winter my dog departs.
Only snow returns
again and again; and we
too must vanish like the dew.

A stroke of lightning—
none are guaranteed a spring.
Like mountain fires
are the griefs of others:
beautiful, from a distance.


Our lives are rivers
that endlessly flow into
quiet seas of death

Less bitter by far
is tea steeped overnight than
sudden betrayal,
and a life filled only with
the dregs of disappointment.

Cold as the ashes
of the fire now gone out
is a man’s shadow
staring at nothing at all
with nothing left he can do.

Sharper than snake fangs
and shards of stone on the floor
is a son leaving
a suddenly silent room—
never to be seen again.

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