September 2013

This afternoon I spent several hours in a quiet place on the cliffs above incoming waves looking out to Mana island with clouds swelling up from the horizon. For some of that time an aging Maori couple sat nearby also lost in silent contemplation of their own sublime emptiness. No words were exchanged but the depth of connection between us, the sea, the land, the birds and vegetation brings a stillness that the wind, the sound of birds and the relentless movement of the sea only deepens.
The wife of a close friend is in the inexorable process of the last stages of metastasized cancer of the liver. Many of us are going through the process with her in the only way that we can be present to the abiding human loneliness she is now experiencing more deeply.
ebb tide . . .
the undercurrents
of silence

cattails  Premier Edition - January 2014
Editor's Choice - Haibun

Sometimes the most complex interactions we have with others revolve around birth and death. On the one hand, not one of us can avoid these two events, nor can they be experienced in a way that allows them to be fully shared with others. Yet, there we are in the midst of "the end", without words that matter, without explanations that truly have meaning. In the end it is the "silence" that most fully defines these moments, and completes the "sharing". This haibun brings this fact into sharp relief without a wasted syllable. Silence indeed takes a ‘form’ of it’s own, and fills the spaces in and between.

—UHTS Haibun Editor Mike Rehling, USA


mosaic eyes . . .
a dragonfly assembling
God's likeness

all the things
that make me go hmmm ...
music break


awake again —
just the wake again
of Charon's boat


blinding light!
knees bloody the road
to Damascus


spring rainbow —
the colour of light
finds its voice

gas clouds

spring fever . . .
flesh flexes still
over bones


between stars . . .
my eyes


winter sea . . .
an ancient silence winces
towards me

sinking deeper
and deeper into it—
the moon pond


navel gazing . . .
a young monk unravels
the wound


deep space . . .
tonight its emptiness
fills mine


by the moon. . .
a bushcrawler too
dons the divine

spring surge . . .
night presses out
its dark wine


light flight . . .
Icarus blazes
a white path


dusk birdsong . . .
from branch to branch
in lament


rising sun —
ashen shadows sear
into concrete


dying day . . .
prayer beads ignite
to her touch


flickering darkness. . .
the aftertaste of lightning
rumbles through my words


matins . . .
weary hands become
tulip blooms


ancient frog,
for whom is your time
running out?


before dawn . . .
a lone bird enters
my insomnia


step by step
our paths merge together
as water and wine . . .
in these unplanned moments
we sip eternity

against the southern cross
my arms strain for yours
while I chant through the hours
my liturgy of silence


somewhere between
seeing and not-seeing
the loss of words


a frog grown old
is pastured high and dry
in its past


baton charge . . .
the red squad of dawn
opens heads


the lost day . . .
I pore through the pages


under the basho
dreamers, too, are writing —
blossoms and the moon

Mishima . . .
a tanto stands
on honour

second coming . . .
creation groans along
its birth canal


endless night . . .
a harp wails for the woman
no longer there


after dusk —
chalk absorbs the last
of the blood

this winter . . .
another fine line
I tread

giggling child . . .
the butterfly effect
stays beyond her

river source . . .
sparrows peck away
the way back


empty sky . . .
a morepork pierces
my darkness


rank paddock . . .
a token scarecrow
for old times


piece by piece
a rifleman feathers
its nest

summer death . . .
see how the rice
now moves


rainbow . . .
my eyes seek out
the keystone


mine is not
to reason why . . .
not mine


hill country —
the forest above
and below


sunset —
the horizon
rusts away