Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring Break - a Haibun

                Nineteen 7th graders, three mothers and a teacher board the snub-nosed Blue Bird school bus early Tuesday for a two-hour trip to Honors Contest, the highest level of choir competition in south Arkansas.
                At the edge of town, we turn south onto Highway 35, a winding state road to Sheridan.
                          around a curve...the petrified store...its green foliage background 
                Close to the fences, bushy pines--like caged animals begging--stretch branches to passersby. Further back, shrouded crowds of slender trunks reach for sun’s sustenance, green only at the tops. Dogwoods spatter shadowy trunks with winter white; holly bushes brighten the somberness.

curves through timberland
many shades of green

                Neat homes with barns and gardens break up the miles of trees. In one yard, wood is already cut to fireplace lengths—a stack of parquetry curing for next winter.
wisteria still...sleeping in weathered frame...redbud shatters
                 At Sheridan, we turn east. The browns and grays of oak, elm and gum are flecked with chartreuse tints of hackberry, the fuschia of redbud, pink of peach, apricot of early maples. Orange-red sawbriars cling to lower branches, as if jealous of the new growth.

fractured deer stand
standing over the burned field
new ochre buds

                 We pass a Christmas-tree farm. Farther on, a pine—trimmed from the high-wire right-of-way—stands--an ancient bonsai giant. Furrows of freshly plowed garden spots stand ankle deep in rainwater.
greening pasture
school bus carcass
behind the feed shed

                 A two-story house rises from the woods, the cleared brush used as fencing. An old Cotton Belt train car now hawks used trucks.
                This side of Pine Bluff, a large white sign reads:  PENITENTIARY AREA/ BEWARE OF HITCHHIKERS
of driver's C-W station
haiku hitchhiking
 * * *
[PL, from windfall persimmons; also published in CALLIOPE: A Writer's Workshop by Mail, Spring 2013, Issue 139]

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Once more, tanka

The following tanka of mine were published in red lights, a semi-annual tanka journal that began publication in January 2005. Titled after Shakko, the 1913 seminal work of tanka sequences by M. Saito, red lights publishes English-language tanka, tan-renga, and tanka sequences. Originally edited by Pamela Miller Ness, NY, under whose auspices my works were published (and paid for), the present editor is Marilyn Hazelton. If interested, red lights has a Facebook page.

January 2006:

for eighteen years--
yet for the past two nights
I've dreamed about
each husband

June 2006

deathly hot
in the rooms where you spend
your last summer withhold permission
   to turn on the ACs
out of the classroom
and into the barn
for a whiff
of the manure-scented life
ahead of them

January 2007

the field
and the roadway
a tiny pond
with no purpose

June 2007

and pear blossoms
all of a sudden
   and just as quickly
   our love has lost its bloom

January 2008

seeing you again
at the conference~
after a hug
my name tag
on your shirt

June 2008

snagged on the bare branch
a red-tipped
of a house finch
   its lightness

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Different Landscape -- in the Ozarks

[picture from Google Images--not the scene described]

a wall of rock
topped with a canopied
woodbox still filled--this April day--
with leaves

and twigs.
Only two logs
cure, one a-lean against
the other outside the cover.

blue blooms
top vinca's green
carpet. The gentle slope
of Ozark hill plateaus enough
to hold

a chair.
So a writer--
in warmer weather--could
move outdoors, breathe in mountain air,

morning's springy
ambience. Yet here I
sit--inside looking out: forty

[PL, written April 5 as a resident at the Writers Colony at Dairy Hollow, Eureka Springs AR]

Friday, April 5, 2013


"Blackberry Winter"
(a cinquain sequence)

A vase
of lead crystal
purchased at a Piggott
flea market for many dollars
holds not

white narcissus
but also a round leaf
from a broken begonia knocked

by a
cat. A purple
wisteria cluster
graces and perfumes the entire

[PL. written in April of 2012. No such bouquet this colder-than-usual spring. But later, the plants will replicate the scene depicted.]

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