Weather Doesn’t Wait ~ haibun

Weather Doesn’t Wait

Thirteen times since early May, our weather has flirted with – no, made out with – temperatures of 90ºF or higher here in mid-Missouri. Since the beginning of the year, 83 days have had daily high temperatures that exceeded the normal range, with 4 record high temperatures set. All of this, while waiting for tomorrow’s start of summer.

weather doesn’t wait
for notes on a calendar
waiting for solstice

This is my response to Haibun Monday 6-20-22: Solstice,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image: Black Shire Distillery, Hermann, Missouri 19 June 2022

Always in Our Hearts ~ haibun

Always in Our Hearts

Though some would call it midsummer, it’s just three days past solstice, and here we are celebrating the start of summer with a wedding on the shore of Lake Erie. There is as much poetry in the lighthouse towering above us, framed by beautiful blue skies as it waits to send to the world a signal of the joy that fills our hearts, and in the sound of the waves beckoning us as they have over the years, as there is in the vows that we share, the words that are spoken. Afterwards, there are words more solemn, spoken of our love for you and our sadness at your passing before you could be a vital part of this joyful day. We can feel your presence, as I know we will when we celebrate this day in the coming years.

great blue heron lands
watches from the shore
always in our hearts

This is my response to Haibun Monday 5-23-22: Summer,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Our wedding, a self-uniting ceremony held at the Presque Isle Lighthouse in Erie, Pennsylvania, was in June 2017. The ceremony consisted of poetry that I wrote for the vows, as well as for readings by my children and my granddaughter. A very dear friend was going to “walk the bride down the aisle,” but, sadly, that was not to be, as he passed away four months earlier. When we celebrate that day, we think of him as he was when times were good.

Unrelated to the prompt, I wrote this following his passing:
Message from a Death Metal God
I think of the great blue heron as his spirit animal.

Birdsong ~ haibun


“Wake! Wake!” Robin calls. “Today will be a hot day. Get an early start if you want to be on the water!” I rise as first light slips through the blinds. After morning coffee and a light breakfast, I go to the garage and put the kayak on the roof of my car.

An hour after my wake-up call, I paddle on the water of a smooth stream, the surface broken only by my bow and turtles startled by my passing. Repeated chirp of tufted titmouse scolds me for my presence. A hawk wheeling overhead responds with a scree.

eyes turn left
at sound of chirrup

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 4-26-22: bird songs,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: ~ Great Tit and Robin, by Kitagawa Utamaro

Shared with Day 26 at

Summer Day in Spring ~ haibun

Summer Day in Spring

On a bright, summer-like March day sandwiched between the forty degree norm of rain and clouds, I walk the paved and cedar-mulched trails that wind around and over the hills of this conservation area known as Runge. Trees marked with blue paint, some cut into segments, lie beside the trail, felled by state crews that, during winter, had marked those that were either dead or waiting to topple. Healthy trees are plenty along the two miles of trails in this hundred-acre preserve, with an occasional firmly-rooted, long-dead oak lending its graceful lines to those waiting for the arrival of green. As always, cedars show faces that seem to peer from trunks that bear the scars of severed limbs.

I cross a hillside meadow that shows new green within the black of a controlled burn before coming to a pond with its own green emerging from the water along banks of reeds flattened by winter ice and snow. A turtle watches warily as I pass to enter the forest once again. Along the path that takes me out of the preserve, I walk beside a small stream and stop to gaze at details in the limestone bed that are miniature examples of the Karst formations found here, in central and southern Missouri.

small splash of dull green
frog startled by intruder
stone that does not skip

Such a pleasant afternoon invites me to spend more time outdoors. Four miles away lies an island that is not an island. Sixty years ago, the US Army Corps of Engineers constructed wing dams on the Missouri River. Stone dikes that extend at an angle into the river are meant to prevent shore erosion while maintaining a steady current down the center of the river to provide a channel for commercial navigation. The slight curve that was in the river below the State Capitol soon began collecting river sediment, and the area that briefly becomes an island during high-stage floods now covers thirty acres of wooded terrain. A pedestrian bridge curves 765 feet from the riverside bluff, crossing railroad tracks that parallel the river to reach the new city park established on Adrian’s Island.

I leave the paved trail to take photos of tangled trees that have been carried downriver, then continue along a gravel road that extends to the end of the park. High in the trees that are likely fifty to sixty years old are two eagle’s nests. One has not seen any activity this year, but bald eagles often perch in the other, with reports that young eagles have been seen. I look up to see one of the parents overhead as it soars above the treetops and banks as it drops low over the river. It rises again and turns sharply before settling into the nest with its mate. As I leave the road, careful to maintain a safe distance from the tree that holds the nest, the eagle watches intently, sometimes moving to a nearby branch for a better view of me, while its mate stays behind. Taking what photos this angle allows, I then turn back to the trail and bridge to leave the island, knowing my photo opportunities will decrease as leaves appear, giving the eagles the seclusion they deserve.

cool days grow longer
warm breeze brings a welcome change
branches wait for green

This haibun is my response to Colleen’s #TankaTuesday Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 267, #ShareYourDay, in which we’re asked to take a photo and write a syllabic poem about our day.

It’s off-prompt, but I’m also sharing it with Day 3 at
for National/Global Poetry Writing Month.

Cold Mountain ~ haibun

Cold Mountain

Do not mistake the bear’s stillness for hibernation. Cold and calculating, it will grow larger as it rises on its haunches to maul and swallow any prey it encounters, until it is bigger than any mountain. Always be wary of the bear.

counting icicles
high upon the mountain peak
waiting for a thaw

I was hiking at Runge Conservation Center this afternoon when I read Haibun Monday 2/28/22: Cold Mountain, the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. The temperature was 67º F, but this ice on a small limestone formation was still waiting for a thaw as it sat in the shade. Thus was my haibun response born. (I will admit that thoughts of Ukraine also played a part.)

Snow in My Rear View Mirror ~ haibun

Snow in My Rear View Mirror

Growing up and living for nearly sixty years in Western New York, I’m familiar with inclement weather. From the Pennsylvania border to Buffalo and northwards, lake effect snowstorms are a regular occurrence. Until Lake Erie freezes over, west winds will carry moisture inland from the lake, sometimes burying the area in snow. Once the lake does freeze, snow that accumulates on the ice can be carried inland by the wind. Gusts over 75 miles per hour during the Blizzard of 77, on January 28, 1977, left snowfall up to 100 inches in some areas and drifts as high as 30 to 40 feet, burying some homes and bringing the region to a standstill for five days. Of course, not every storm is that severe, but I’m very familiar with driving in unfavorable conditions.

I left all of that behind (sort of) when I moved to Missouri in 2012. Here, a heavy snowfall is four inches or more, something that might be seen twice a year. Temperatures are always fluctuating, sometimes into the forties and higher, so freezing rain or black ice are just as likely. Barely a week will pass before accumulated snow melts and is gone. It’s 61 degrees as I write this, but there’s a winter storm watch from Tuesday through Friday, and the predicted high for Wednesday is 26 degrees with six to twelve inches of snow expected to fall. Temperatures in the forties by Sunday will take care of that.

I said I left those lake effect storms behind, but that’s not quite true. I still drive back to visit family, and my route parallels the shore of Lake Erie for 200 miles, from Cleveland to Buffalo. Any trip from late-November to March holds the potential for lake effect conditions. Some of my worst white-knuckle driving experiences have been on those trips. Once a year is more than enough for me.

whiteout conditions
on congested motorway
deer watch cars crawl past

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 1/31/22: Winter,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: YouTube (Blizzard of ’77)
~ click image for larger view in new tab ~

Ashes in the Air ~ haibun

Ashes in the Air

Our county has an open burn season for brush, etc., that runs from the first of November through the first of March, provided high winds are not a factor. Our city does, as well, and resident are encouraged to be considerate of neighbors. In fact, they are encouraged to take broken tree limbs, leaves and brush to the city’s yard waste site where mulch is made available to residents. Why burning is allowed in the city, where up to five houses may be within an acre of land, is beyond me. Even the slightest breeze will carry smoke hundreds of feet. With the mild winters and temperature fluctuations that we have, it’s not unusual to have an occasional fifty to seventy degree day with open windows as an open invitation for that smoke.

smoke slowly rises
as dry leaves and branches burn
ashes in the air

This haibun is my response to Ronovan Writes #Weekly #Haiku #Poetry Prompt
#Challenge 391 BURN(ed/ing/s) and Old.

Image source:

Far from Maddening ~ haibun

Far from Maddening

Our holiday celebration this year, from Christmas through New Year’s Day, was fairly quiet. Of course there was music for most of Christmas Day, from the “classics” of the 1940s into the 1960s, to a Little Steven’s Underground Garage Christmas playlist. And music from John Coltrane to Yo-Yo Ma to Brian Wilson, all Christmas gifts, played through the week. We had our traditional dinners and exchanged presents, and we even had a Secret Santa Zoom session with family members in different parts of the country. But this holiday season seemed to be more low key than in years past. Perhaps that was a conscious effort on our part to compensate for the past year, with a hope that the coming year will bring good fortune and not be so maddening.

at the bird feeder
as seeds fly

This haibun is my response to dVerse – Haibun Monday – Celebration,
the prompt from Lisa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a haibun
about this year’s holiday celebrations.

Broken Wing ~ haibun

Broken Wing

Before I retired, I worked as a driver and dock worker for a trucking company. My job was to drive a truck called a yard horse. I used it to move trailers in the terminal yard, including moving them from door to door or pulling full trailers from the dock to be hooked later to road tractors.

One night, I was all caught up with moves, so I walked onto the dock to check on the progress of a trailer that was nearly ready to pull. As I walked onto the dock plate to look into the trailer, I bent down to pick up a broken piece of pallet wood, so the dock worker wouldn’t have to drive over it with his forklift. As I bent down, Juan glanced over his left shoulder to be sure the way was clear. I stood up and proceeded towards his left as he looked over his right shoulder. Seeing the way clear, Juan backed into my right side, knocking me to the concrete dock. The eight-thousand-pound forklift then rolled up my boot and stopped on my ankle. They say I screamed like a little girl before Juan realized what was happening and pulled forward. I believe it! Juan was especially apologetic, although the accident was my fault as much as his. In fact, probably more so.

I was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where my broken ankle was fitted with a cast. Waiting for me were two coworkers, Dennis and Jim, who had finished their shift and were concerned for my well being. Dennis even took me home, twenty-five miles in the opposite direction from his home. I was thankful to be working with such good friends.

bird in nest
watches falling leaves
broken wing

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 11/22/21: Giving Thanks,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: