Tag Archives: haibun

Too Busy to Remember

Too Busy to Remember

 If she gave herself time to think, she remembered,
and when she remembered, it was too often with regret.

     My Grandmother kept too busy to remember—every minute filled.  Walking to town, she trained her eyes to scan the ditches for buttons, dimes, Crackerjack prizes, a ball some dog had chewed, orphaned jacks pieces, Popsicle sticks and bottle caps. Into her deep apron pockets each went, joining her skinned black leather coin purse and a tatting-edge handkerchief. Back home again, her radio tuned to the Back to the Bible Broadcast, her curtains pulled wide for viewing whichever neighbors might walk by, she kept her fingers busy with tatting, beading sequined felt butterflies, knitting baby booties in bands of blue, pink, yellow and white. She crocheted the edges of embroidered sheets and pillow slips—one set for each grandchild. She was almost 90 by the time she got to my sheets. Barely able to see, she sewed stitches that got messier inch by inch.

     Now it’s me filling every minute of the day.  At midnight, I lie writing just one more line with heavy eyes. They close.  I open them.  They close again.  When I finally fold the paper and turn off the light, I give in to the agony of delayed pleasure–Sleep. Awakening, I dress and drive to the gym.  I read on the treadmill, read on the stationary bike and thigh machine, read on the leg lift.  Read until my hands are needed and holding the book is impossible.  Then I do one thing only–lift the weights, pull them down, let them bend me over, bend myself back up again.

     Over breakfast at the Mountain Inn, I switch to the paper: news, comics, crossword.  Back home, I cook, pound, dip, form, and couch paper.  I run down to the garden to cut bamboo, climb back uphill to the studio to strip leaves, bend branches, sew them to the dried paper.  In my ears, is the constant company of the radio–the blues or Uncle Jr., “Arden’s Garden” or “Talk of the Nation,” “Fresh Air” or “National Press Club,”  “Garrison Keillor” or “Click and Clack.”  From everywhere come the waves that fill my mind and fill my day. 

     I work until seven, then move into the house to cook the evening meal.  The radio in the kitchen leaks McNeil and Lehrer and  this time I  catch different details from the earlier report.  With dinner, there is a talk with my husband Bob, a video perhaps, or more time for the Sunday Crossword. After dinner, a good book.  In this way, I fill every second.  There is no precious time to waste. 

     Sitting on the garden bench, eyes closed, I listen to bamboo.  Eyes open, I watch it.  I walk to it.  Let bamboo brush my cheek.  Keep listening.  Watch the light filtered by bamboo.  Watch the redwood needles dry and  fall to catch in swaying bamboo.  Watch them settle more securely, their rust-red dryness brittle against the subtle green. The black trunks of mature plants, mottled stalks of one-year-olds, yellow blades of new growth. A scrub jay perches on the swayback crosspiece of a simple oriental arch.  Above the redwood path, a Stellar Jay scolds the gray cat who sleeps on the bench beside me. 

     The water skimmers skate the abbreviated lower pool of our wine keg fountain with its wooden spouts decayed and fallen to the ground, its three tiers silent, its pump long removed.  Papyrus bends and shivers to the sparse wind.  A bay tree shadows the remains of ferns turned red beside this summer’s green.  There is the gentle hammer of the acorn woodpecker against the gray ghost of the long dead tree.  The drone of yellow jackets in their nest below the tree house—their journeys out and journeys back again.  The loud whirring of the hummingbird.  Frantic fanning of his wings, the delicate dipping of the beak, smooth probing of the plastic petals of the sugar water feeder, then the dainty glide to ginger flower, to the pomegranate and the goldfish plant. 

     All the world is doing doing while I’m not doing anything. Not keeping myself from remembering, yet still not remembering.  I’m in my garden without doing anything.  Too busy to do anything until the phone rings, its brrrrrrrrr flooding downhill to fill the bamboo grove, its shrill voice splitting air, spilling jays from tree limbs over head.  Awake again, I push off from the garden bench,  run up the hill, reach the stairs, climb half way up, then stop.  I turn, go down again, walk slowly down the hill, sit on the bench beside the cat who has not stirred.  I hear the phone, but silence swells around it, pushing it farther into  the distance as I let it ring and ring and ring and ring and ring and ring and ring.

Ours is a society that fears most the waste of time, yet in spite of our best efforts,
we’re always running out of it. The secret to finding more time
is to give value to it precisely by wasting it.


Not a classic haibun, but close enough, I hope, For Open Link Night at dVerse Poets 

A New World’s Morning

Click on any photo to enlarge all and view as slide series.


Ubiquitous networks of  highways crisscross the face of Mother Earth–lines that age her fresh face. Pockmarks of potholes question their durability, whereas Earth lives on, in one form or another.

Dams crack and spill their water freshly across lake beds parched for centuries.
Bones of dinosaurs peek out from eroded banks of clay. Plants spread from potholes in gouged pavement. Somewhere in the arctic ice, the past lies thawing, ready to be reborn.

Who knows but that the
nightfall of mankind may be
a new world’s morning?


I don’t know what I did this week.  I seem to have collected prompts from a different week for each prompt site.  Perhaps I’ve been at it too long and should retire. The prompt words  I somehow collected were highway, durable, ubiquitous and morning. The form is for dVerse Poets haibun challenge.

Darn! I now find even the comments and Mr. Linky for dVerse are closed, even though they say they are open all week.  I guess this just isn’t my day, or I am as cracked as the pavement above…..Here are the “wrong” links I used:



Rude Visitor


This year the rains came early, starting the day after the men came to begin stripping and resurfacing my roofs. The day after they were supposed to remove the skylight, hurricane-force winds and torrential rains made me glad for once, that they had been no-shows. A month later, the repairs are over and we’ve settled into the daily or nightly showers. I am snug in my house and the mountains behind me are covered with a vivid green. Soon water will be shooting in rivers down the arroyos and cobblestone roads that lead down to the lake from my house and every teja will serve as its own channel for individual rios streaming down from my roof into waterfalls that will arc down to the terrace tiles below.

The rainy season
breaks its usual habit.
A rude early guest.

For dVerse Poets.

Haibun Reblog: Dianne Hicks Morrow

Love the haibun by my friend Dianne. She doesn’t have a blog so wanted to insure this poem got the attention it deserves:

At 2 a.m. this morning son Jacob delivered us from the airport to our dark yard. Grateful to see no snow gleaming in the gloom, we staggered inside, even more grateful for the heat of the kitchen wood stove. Our three day return trip from the sunny hot Pacific coast of Mexico, our 2nd home for seven years, featured a snowstorm hello as our plane broke through the cloud to land in Calgary. While we’re mostly glad to be home on PEI, the sounds of silence are deafening. No morning wake-up calls from chachalachas, lorikeets, and doves. But this afternoon a sound surprised our ears—the wind howling.

Bathing suits blow on
Bare forsythia branches
We await their bloom



I awaken to the insistent music of the morning. The cacophony of bird voices is disrupted by the squeaking of gears of the gravel truck climbing the mountain road past my house. Steam rises from the hot pool echoing the venting of Colima volcano, peeking over the shoulder of the mountain known as Señor Garcia. He has on his cloud sombrero today, which promises rain.

Crisp air of morning.
Mournful chorus of dog howls
echoes siren’s wail.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today is to write a haibun that takes in the natural landscape of the place you live. The WordPress Daily Prompt is disrupt.

New Faith

I really started blogging exactly five years ago today, when I wrote my first NaPoWriMo poem, having little faith in my ability to make it for the whole thirty days.

In the end, day-by-day, I did it.  A year later, I did it again and when I came to day 30, I didn’t stop.  Since then I’ve exercised a different sort of faith by writing every morning—doing  a number of writing and photo posts, including at least one poem or story, every day for the past 1,460 days. (This post will be my 4,074th one.)

The pool exercises I once did faithfully in a water aerobics class three mornings a week at the clubhouse pool,  I still do at midnight in my own pool under the stars and moon, surrounded by the blossoms that fall from the tall Washingtonian palm trees that rise like giants in the night air above the pool.

I swim with the moon,
stars strewn like wedding flowers
in this midnight pool.

For dVerse Poets Haibun Monday, Faith.

Unopened: Haibun for dVerse Poets



Every situation, every human relationship contains a number of possibilities. No person could guess them all. When we are too hasty in our judgements and our reactions, we cut ourselves off from all of those potential realities.

Your face a closed bud
hiding what might have flowered
had I been your sun.


For dVerse Poets haibun challenge.