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:

Beyond His Depth ~ haibun

Beyond His Depth

Steve showed up at the dive shop in Saint Ignace early in the morning, looking for a chance to board a dive charter to one of the wrecks in the Straits of Mackinac, so they rented all of the necessary gear to him and sent him to the dock with the boat captain. When the captain asked if he could join our charter, my friends and I decided we could make it work. He had been a diver in the Navy, so he was no novice. So he said. He would buddy with one two-man dive team for the deep wreck, then join the other dive team for the shallower wrecks we would see after lunch. At least he was certified for deep diving, or the shop would never have rented the gear to him. How bad could it be?

Our first dive was to the Cedarville, a 588 foot wreck lying at 106 feet, upside-down at a 45 degree angle with the rail of the ship 25 feet from the bottom. When our new partner had trouble descending, I waited at the rail while my buddy, Pete, kicked toward the cabin just below us. It was clear that Steve was having trouble breathing when he finally joined me. I checked his tank gauge to find that he was nearly out of air. I wrapped his arm around the rail and kicked off to get Pete. Steve was having even more trouble breathing when we returned, and his eyes were large with fear. 80 feet deep, and he was out of air.

I shared my octopus (spare) regulator with Steve, and we made a slow ascent to our first decompression stop. The remaining air in his tank had expanded enough that it registered on his gauge, so he dropped my regulator, took his own into his mouth, and shot to the surface. We surfaced ten minutes later. Fortunately, Steve did not suffer from an embolism, a high risk occurrence in rapid ascents.

The second dive of the day occurred without incident, but after the dive we learned that it had been several years since Steve’s last dive. As for the first dive, the whole reason for our 10-hour trip, Pete and I chalked it up to experience.

out of cold water
warm sunlight before next dive
gulls circle the boat

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 10-25-21: Fear, the prompt
from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub. I’ve also written about this incident here.

Image source: Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Preserve

Waiting for the First Leaf ~ haibun

Waiting for the First Leaf

Frank J. Tassone, American Haijin, provides a prompt that addresses an issue I have faced many times over the years. Days, sometimes weeks, have passed without poetry making an appearance, either through pixels or pen. And I’m faced with it once again, today.

Write a haibun about writer’s block? When my mind is filled with thoughts about the directions a tree branch might take, or the last days of hummingbirds at my feeder, I don’t know that I have the words that could describe the frustration I face right now when trying to meet the prompt. A leaf floating on a stream as I paddle beneath low hanging branches, spinning with its reflection as it does in my wake, could sooner bring words to mind. Or a sunset casting the trees in a golden light, offering a preview of what is to come when their leaves take on an autumn hue, comes to mind sooner than words about words that refuse to appear.

Give me those moments, and I may have the words to capture the beauty of nature. At the moment, the words to address writer’s block escape me. And so I wait.

brings milder weather
first leaf falls

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 9-27-21: Writer’s Block,
the prompt at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Lemonade In August ~ haibun

Lemonade In August

This late summer month, when the wind seldom gusts and the heat clings to the skin with an air of resignation, the knowledge that its persistence will not last, this month was your favorite. In your retirement you spent more time outdoors than in, as you gardened, tended to your animals, and prepared for the coming change in weather. Shirtless while mowing your acres of lawn or relaxing with a game of horseshoes, you wore that warm sun like it was your own. You were born to this month, and I always did see it as yours. You are always on my mind, but most especially in this month.

beneath a hot sun
the still air

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 8-2-21: August,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: PNGITEM

Solar Separation ~ haibun

Solar Separation

The sun rises and I embrace the warmth. I tan evenly over the course of the summer, but mindful of the power of those rays on my fair skin I limit my exposure and use sunscreen. Meanwhile, I spend my days making pickups and deliveries for a trucking company. Half of those hours are spent behind the wheel, often with the sun shining into my cab. I give little thought to that sun exposure. After all, there’s no sunburn. In fact, there’s no irritation, at all.

In my fifties, I learn the error in that assumption. I have some precancerous cells on the left side of my face frozen for removal. Two separate times, I have cancerous growths removed from my upper chest and shoulder. They can appear anywhere, even areas that get less exposure. The left side of my body seems to be the most affected, that which would have received the most sun exposure through the driver’s side window.

Dry patches on my face, primarily on the left side, are misdiagnosed by a dermatologist as a form of psoriasis, but they are correctly diagnosed as precancerous when I visit a cancer center for skin screening after moving to Missouri. Daily application of Efudex cream over several weeks gives me a face fit for a Star Trek alien when all of the precancerous areas are exposed, until the dead skin sloughs off and my face returns to normal.

That was six years ago, and there has been no recurrence. Summer has arrived, but my days in the sun are a thing of the past.

sun high overhead
shortest shadows of the year
days now grow shorter

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 6-21-21: Solstice I,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Solar Separation

mid-treatment for precancerous skin damage

Silently Waiting ~ haibun


Silently Waiting

Driving at one in the morning, I look up to see Venus, bright at first, then dim as thin clouds pass before her. I think to write a poem about this as I sit in the waiting room of the ER with nothing more than my phone. As I compose an email to myself, my thoughts are pulled away from planets and stars by the replay of a basketball game from the previous day. The room remains nearly empty, no more than a patient at a time entering or leaving the room, leaving me the lone planet filling the space. But my mind keeps going back to the game, and it works its way into my poem.

Concerns for the wounded are allayed, and it’s time to head home. At three in the morning, the moon sits high in the sky, hazy but unwilling to let the clouds keep it from offering comfort on the drive home.

nearly full
silently waiting
flower moon

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 5-24-21: Flower moon, the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

An injury at work meant a trip to the ER for my stepdaughter. No broken bones, but a muscle strain means rest for her. Ron. is right – hospitals have a way of inspiring poetry. This one gave me a haibun, as well as a poem I wrote while in the waiting room. Unfortunately there is no photo of that moon, as I was driving.

Rustle in the Breeze ~ haibun

Rustle in the Breeze

Rustle in the Breeze

A strong breeze brings to my ears the sound of a lawnmower two blocks away. Its dull drone is punctuated by the “Thud, Thud” of a sledgehammer slamming into my neighbor’s driveway retaining wall as a stone mason removes the last obstacle before him. Bags of cement sit beside a pallet of stone blocks waiting to take their place as a replacement for the long crumbling wall. A coworker starts the mixer to prepare the mortar, its low hum one more sound in a mechanical chorus. Water hisses as he sprays the inside of the hot metal drum. Sounds of nature are still evident to those who listen closely.

backlit green oak leaves
crowded with drying catkins
rustle in the breeze

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 4-26-21: The Present Moment,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, with the challenge
to write a haibun about the moment we are currently experiencing.

~ Day 26 ~

Parting Clouds ~ haibun

Parting Clouds

Parting Clouds


It’s been a year-long winter, this period of isolation for many, with seasons blending as one while the world’s population held its collective breath waiting for the passing of the coronavirus. But shelter, by definition, is confining, and cabin fever soon set in. Guidelines to prevent the spread of the disease were ignored, with many gathering, crowded and unmasked.

Those in the know gained their pleasure from the outdoors while maintaining social distancing, fearful, still, that those less wise, the many they encountered as they shopped for necessities, those who were unmasked while ignoring distancing, would bring them into contact with the scourge that had taken millions of lives around the world.

But at last vaccines have been developed, and infection rates are falling as more people obtain them. The storm has not completely passed, but there is hope that this long winter is finally over.

parting clouds
sunlight on pink and white
cherry blossoms

This is my response to Haibun Monday: Cherry Blossoms,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.