Stone to Flesh

Stone to Flesh

Gather the darkness in these chambers,
flowing from one to the next.
Banish it. Winter has lived here too long.

Be my salvation. Know these walls were
not always stone. They have moved
with each beat, known the fire of love.

Ear to my chest, you will hear
the surge you bring, stampeding horses
rushing to meet you, greet you.

As moon goes from crescent to full,
so will these chambers, your touch
bringing them from stone to loving flesh.

The Sunday Writing Prompt at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, from Pat (wildchild47), is to find inspiration in “The Blind Leading the Blind,” by Lisel Meuller.

Image source: (edited here)

11 – 20

My haiku is featured today at Pure Haiku, where Freya’s current theme is PORTAL.


light shifting to red

on pathway to the unknown

event horizon

© Ken Gierke 2018

Lately, Ken finds himself focusing on Japanese poetry. He likes the way haiku and tanka offer an opportunity for subtlety in such few words. You can read more of his work at Rivvlogr.

This haiku made me think of red shift and space and time paradoxes – the words speak for themselves.

This haiku is part of our PORTAL theme!

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On Parting (visiting Tu Mu)

On Parting

I am almost alone in my loneliness
Drink in hand, it’s hard to smile
Like the candle’s flame, I long to stay
Like the candle, my tears fall at dawn

On Parting.jpg

Literal translations of classic Chinese poetry can be found at This is my interpretation of a poem by Tu Mu. The literal translation, as provided at, is as follows:

On Parting

Much feeling but seem all without feeling
Think feel glass before smile not develop
Candle have heart too reluctant to part
Instead person shed tear at dawn

Image source:
(Plum blossom and red candle, by Qi Baishi)
More Chinese interpretations can be found here.

Falling for Winter

Falling for Winter
(clicking any photo will open a larger image in a new tab)

The inch of snow we had last night never accumulated on our “warm” pavement and was mostly gone by this morning, with an overnight low of 30ºF. The weather forecast for the next week is for daytime highs bouncing between mid-30s and high-40s and nighttime lows back and forth between high teens and mid-30s. If nothing else, the weather fluctuations here can be entertaining. Here are a couple of views from my house.

From my back deck…

Falling for Winter_1Falling for Winter_2

From my front porch…

Falling for Winter_3Falling for Winter_4

And the same view three days ago…

Falling for Winter_5

Ken G

Fall Color, Finally

Fall Color, Finally
(clicking any photo will open a larger image in a new tab)

In late October or early November, I make a point of going to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, sixty miles south of my home in mid-Missouri. I’m seldom disappointed by the fall colors the landscape has to offer. I made the trip on Monday, with temperatures in the sixties and partially cloudy (wispy) skies.

Fall Color, Finally_1

The patches of red that are visible are dogwood.

Fall Color, Finally_2Fall Color, Finally_3

There may be few maples in our area, but they draw my camera like a magnet.

Fall Color, Finally_4

This view is one that I never fail to photograph. It’s the outflow from a natural spring found at the base of one of the bluffs. The water (56,000,000 gallons, daily) can have an amazing blue hue on a cloudless day.

Fall Color, Finally_5

I spent several hours walking 4.5 miles of trails within the park, with an elevation change of a couple hundred feet, from the Castle down to the water, and then up again along the bluffs.

Fall Color, Finally_6Fall Color, Finally_7

This tree, now bare, sits on the ledge visible in the photo above it.

Fall Color, Finally_8

The area has numerous karst formations, including this natural bridge.

Fall Color, Finally_9

Designed to be a home, later a hotel, The Castle at Ha Ha Tonka is bare stone walls, the result of a devastating fire in 1942.

Fall Color, Finally_10Fall Color, Finally_11

A great photo of The Castle in its prime can be seen here.
Meanwhile, within five miles of my home, this bluff always offers a spectacular autumn view.

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And in my back yard, this hickory.

Fall Color, Finally_13

Sadly, the colors don’t stay forever. This is the same tree, three days later, after rain and a couple of cool nights. I’m sure the other trees are soon to follow. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Fall Color, Finally_14

Ha Ha Tonka fall photos from the last two years can be found here and here.

Ken G

water lily glows ~ fusion troiku

The prompt for Carpe Diem Weekend Mediation #54 Crossroads Crystal Brook (troiku) starts with two haiku by Yozakura to be used to create a “fusion” haiku, which is then to be the base for a troiku.

crystal brook
reflects the willow trees
birds sing their song

sweet perfume
memories of a loved one
Jasmine bloom

               © Yozakura

crystal clear water
memories of a loved one
water lily glows

water lily glows_fusion

water lily glows

crystal clear water
flowing and unstoppable
from past to future

memories of a loved one
reflection bringing comfort
waking to sunlight

water lily glows
clouds of no significance
to captured sunlight

water lily glows_troiku.png

A troiku is three haiku, with each of the three lines from a suggested haiku as the first line of each haiku in the troiku. It’s not always possible to have a 5-7-5 format in the second haiku, due to the limitations of the suggested haiku. The name of the form is derived from “troika,” a sled or carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side, an iconic symbol of Imperial Russia.


Image source: Wikimedia Commons (troika)

monarch flying free ~ soliloquy no renga

Well into retirement, my life took a new direction when I moved half-way across the country to be with someone special. Perhaps that is reflected in my response to the challenge for Carpe Diem #1519 Junicho, the twelve stanza renga (Soliloquy No Renga), which is to write a solo renga. Junicho have stanzas of winter (one), summer (one), spring (two), autumn (two) – with no set seasonal progression – and non-season (six). Junicho also have a single blossom stanza and a single moon stanza (any season for both). “Love” is represented by a pair or so of stanzas, in any position. A traditional Junicho opens with the season in which its composition takes place, autumn here. I’ve attempted to keep a “closed chain,” last stanza leading back to the first.

monarch flying free_1monarch flying free
in search of new memories
above turning leaves

light found by following heart
beginning of a new life

days growing shorter
contentment under same moon
rising and setting

monarch flying free_2cardinals stay side by side
feeding mate a sign of faith

warm even in cold
dusting of snow on feathers
seed falls to the ground

even humble beginnings
have potential for great heights

tiny stalk appears
green of sunflower sprouting
raindrops touch the earth

monarch flying free_3

eyes brimming, hold no sadness
happiness too will bring tears

soft white touched with pink
cherry blossoms come to life
dry leaf feeds new grass

the past feeding the future
rebirth in dawn of new day

leaves bathed in sunlight
water lily opens wide
pond teeming with life

dragonfly encounters frog
unexpected turn in life

Wikimedia Commons – cardinals
Museum of Fine Arts Boston – Water Lilies, by Ohara Koson