Friday, May 22, 2009

Dew Haiku


Dawn mist arising
Grass heads sagging heavy dew
Meadowlark sings clear

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Monday, April 20, 2009

Haiku for Spring Beauties


Tiny white flower
like snow on a sunny day
spring won't be denied



These images were taken on Easter Sunday at Camp Tupper, a park in Marietta, Ohio. The hill in this last image is ceremonial mound called the Quadranaou, built by the Hopewell Indians sometime between 100 B.C and 900 A.D. Growing up in Marietta, we kids in the neighborhood surrounding Camp Tupper called it the turtle mound because it was vaguely turtle shaped. It got the name Camp Tupper during the Civil War when Union soldiers used this park and Sacra Via nearby as camping and parade grounds.

Every April, the spring beauties carpet Camp Tupper—a reminder that spring is here and soon the trees will be full of migrant birds and the air full of their songs.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

Dreams of the Old Oak

Standing alone, exposed,
the forest around since carved away
the lone oak thinks upon its life,
two hundred years and this still day

when ice and snow have everyone
and every creature small and great
hunkered down or holed up tight
waiting 'til the weather breaks

How did all this come to pass?
On these fields once forest stood
a thousand saw teeth cut a swath
reducing tree to pile of wood

The soldier coming home again
did shelter from a summer shower
shivering children bound for school
meet the bus, ungodly hour

Horses reins loosely tied
around my trunk much thinner then
while high above the red-tailed hawk
screamed his love in April's wind.

Scars of plows that bit my bark
love-torn farmboys' crude-carved hearts
shotgun slugs and hatchet lines
all of these have left their mark

the woodcock's nasal serenade
harvest moon on hayrolls gleam
hooting owls and howling wolves
all of these are in my dream

an autumn day so long ago
my leaves all red and orange-brown
the air held promise of a snow
a million wings came whirring down

fat pigeons came to eat me bare
the acorns heavy on my limbs
birds so focused are unaware
of danger nearby, creeping in

One secret thing I still hold close
twelve feet above my largest knot
deep in the heartwood an arrowhead
from a young warrior's first pigeon shot.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day Haiku


Cold this Boxing Day
Wrapping paper smoke billows
Almond burr oak sky

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last Night I Smelled Spring


Last night I smelled spring
alive once more from frozen torpor
wetness seeping through sodden ground
peepers hail at edge of earshot
woodcock twitter-peents around

swollen creeks brown frothy roaring
bearing off the earth's loose, cloddy skin
tree buds swell anticipating
yellow sun, warm kiss of wind

It was no dream this earthy scent
of soil and grass and winter death
of leaves now rotten moldering
I filled my lungs with spring's sweet breath


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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Winter Neverending


Now again upon us like some old musty horse blanket
Winter's bland embrace smothers the land and its inhabitants
no spring swirl of swallows or even a twittering of redpolls
can yet break the trance in which we plod.

Bare branches of ash trees look like witches' brooms
stuck into the frozen ground handle first.
Would there were a witch hereabouts
because I'd barter with her to break this spell.

Oh Winter you've been harsh this year
wielding all of your power yet sharing few of your gifts
I'd like to curse your blinding whiteness,
your gray slush and clinging clay mud, your knifing wind and stinging sleet,
yet what good would that do?

Instead I'll wait you out
'til spring comes 'round to wrest control
when the tiniest zeeee from the first gnatcatcher
sends you scampering to hide behind Autumn once more.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

This January Day


Though winter's demise has been foretold
since pagan solstice last month passed us
We're still shivering in the cold
with bitter winds that do harass us.

Red-winged blackbird has lost his song
yet epaulette still lights up his shoulder
and each of us still slogs along
through day time cold and night time colder.

Sounds of spring, I hear your ghosts
the cardinal's cheer in his throat sleeping
frost-killed grass like day-old toast
I strain to hear spring peepers peeping.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Along the Edge of the Woods


Appearing like a rusty apparition
along the edge of the woods
the red-shoulder sits
waiting for a noisy skitter
of cottontail or squirrel.

He shiver-shakes snowflakes off his back
pulling one foot up
into warm belly down,
slowly settling every feather back into place.

I admire this bird
living by his wits, patience, and killing skill
through afternoons of wet snow, rain
and nights cold enough to crack trees.

Make it through this winter
and let me hear you
screaming keee-yah! keee-yah!
right into the the sun's face.

Then I'll know that spring has finally come
and another winter has passed.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Poem for a False Falling Star


Before the storm's gray-cloud fist
could blot out winter's shy sunset
I thought I saw a falling star
tho' the day was upon us yet.

A squinted eye, a closer look
revealed a rosy contrail
jets fly high, but are not stars
and wishes made upon them fail.

Do not lose heart for two nights hence
the Geminids dance across the night
true meteors can grant a wish
so make your wish with all your might!

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