Category Archives: The Sunday Whirl

One More Whirl with Basho

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Each haiku or senryu begins with a phrase culled from Basho: The Complete Haiku.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
the lingering moon
tests my patience this evening—
my room is too small
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
in a rice paddy
your words coming to fullness
with the harvest moon
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
fading temple bell
the seeker’s anxiety
slips into silence
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the smell of young grass
untainted by blood and gore
this April morning
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
four gates and four sects
one of them the hospital
at the ocean’s edge
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
to the wooden clogs
in the center of the court
setting up a shrine
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
still served with flowers
rosettes of orange Jell-O
blooming in my bowl
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
how pleasurable
holding three words on my tongue
until they mingle
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the lay-monk’s thinness—
we know he won’t be with us
after the first frost
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
snow-covered mountains
sharing a meal together
fifty miles away
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
first wintry shower—
fluff from shattered milkweed pods
drifting from the north
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
an early winter
beggars pester passersby
for a few spare coins

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #218
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 178

In the Soul’s Pasture

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~~ 1 ~~
 
in the soul’s pasture
three dappled horses grazing
on errant starfire
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
in the soul’s pasture
a signal from the horses
that smoke will follow
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture
a rose of hope is blooming,
nourished by God’s grace.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
in the soul’s pasture
a plant of boundless mercy—
food for hungry ones
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture
the dismal and forsaken
find themselves again.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture
tiny, meandering streams
quench the pilgrim’s thirst.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture
bombs and bullets melt away—
plowshares take their place.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
in the soul’s pasture
a spot where tumbleweeds thrive
threatening to spread
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture
a ball of mud is lying
mid the sweet grasses.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture,
although some locks are rusted,
others turn with ease.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture
three pilgrims thrust and parry
with their wooden swords.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
In the soul’s pasture,
somewhere near the edge of time,
pipers play a dirge.

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 177
 
More Sunday Scribblings 2: “In the Soul’s Pasture”

Another Whirl with Basho

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Each haiku or senryu begins with a phrase culled from Basho: The Complete Haiku.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
upstream and downstream
the dismal washerwomen
beating clothes on stones
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
the tide’s salty crests
signal an end to summer
and my discontent
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
whose old singing voice
moves into the empty spot
where the oak once stood
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
those who like to drink
rose-petal tea at twilight
sipping at their prayers
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
gotten by praying
to the goddess of bullets
an untimely death
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
from an unknown tree
at the edge of the forest
the cry of water
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
even coming twice
the horses seeking sugar
do not get enough
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
a bamboo thicket
where no other plant can thrive
rictus of the moon
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
without rain or snow
the empty meandering
of mountain streambeds
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
year-end housecleaning
even the locks on my doors
deserve to be brushed
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
the cicada’s voice
curls into a tiny ball
just before sunrise
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
from all directions
my foes thrust their spears at me
shafts of pampas grass

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #217
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 177

Whirling with Basho

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Each haiku or senryu begins with a phrase gleaned from Basho: The Complete Haiku.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
gazing at buckwheat
seven crows collaborate
on a thieving plan
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
a singing skylark—
I listen without breathing
to the joyful sound
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
the melon flower
after the children throw stones
who will care for it
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a year of troubles
lived without compromising
her integrity
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Are you the butterfly
that will serve to guide my steps
on the long journey?
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the source of sadness
in their small community—
receding river
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
a white azalea
blooming in a state of grace—
my neighbor’s garden
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
the muddy melon
they chat about its sweetness
in the market stall
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
to admire the wind
she must have had no contact
with it since childhood
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
by winter showers
decades of matrimony
washing down the street
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
a vendor of greens—
concerns about the collards
make for sleepless nights
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
souvenir paintings
no time to buy one before
the next train departs

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #216
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 176

An Ernest Whirl

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Each little breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase purloined from A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
stretch of river bank
near the precipitous cliff—
her quavering heart
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
a bleak, windy stretch
with nothing to sustain her
but some cheap red wine
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
this cold afternoon
even the pigeons stutter
as they try to coo
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
Even the false spring
baffles the chestnut seller
on the rue Ampère.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
pitiful old man
pushing a rickety cart
filled with rotting grapes
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
crowded market street—
her longing for fresh scallions
draws her to one stall
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
all of the sadness
leaking into her old bones
with the autumn rain
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
in the clear sharp wind
crows practising a language
to mock passersby
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
a cold windswept street—
running down a flight of stairs
to meet her lover
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
saddest part of town—
the absence of a taxi
to whisk her away
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
the public bathhouse—
through a rift in the west wall
old men ogling her

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #215
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 175

It’s in the Bag

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~~ 1 ~~
 
an old demimonde
brown paper bag in her hand
munching stale bonbons
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
bag of oranges
spilling on the kitchen floor—
mouse runs for cover
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
rainy afternoon—
groping for her knitting bag
in the grey half-light
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
in the asylum
inmates picking through a bag
of cast-off clothing
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
in a marketplace
somewhere east of Africa
wisdom by the bag
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
for her transgression
a silken bag of demons
slicing up her heart
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
abomination—
a paper bag of dog shit
tossed on my front porch
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
for wannabe men
seventeen rites of passage
hidden in a bag
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the old believer’s
unwavering allegiance
to God’s bag of tricks
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
everlasting shame—
nothing grand about the bag
that holds his jewels
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
candle in a bag
sending out a feeble light
on this holy eve
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
how she fears to be
reborn as a cricket’s leg
or an empty bag
 
~~ 13 ~~
 
(myself)

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #214
 
More Sunday Scribblings 2: “Bag”
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 174

Safe

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~~ 1 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
one straight line of a love note
hidden in a book
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
the limit of her patience
with its fraying edge
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
a lane ensconced in shadows
somewhere in south Wales
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
safe from prying ears
the sound of wasted water
dripping down a drain
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
all the pornographic parts
snipped and snapped and tossed
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
forgotten case of whisky
underneath the stairs
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
the old farmhouse east of town
where black widows weave
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
a single grain of sugar
underneath the bowl
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
children hidden in the reeds
near the river’s bend
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
safe from prying eyes
the way that leads from bondage
through a parting sea
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
safe from prying ears
the sound of Gaza’s mothers
weeping for their dead

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #213
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 173
 
More Sunday Scribblings 2: “Safe from Prying Eyes”

This, That, and the Other

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~~ 1 ~~
 
potter’s field at dusk
weed husks rattle in the wind—
sound of passing spring
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Did the Buddha laugh
as he lost himself in bliss
underneath the tree?
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
old men aspiring
to make one last pilgrimage—
voice of the donkey
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
From beneath a tree
Buddha rises with the sun—
sparrows call his name.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
For personal use
you need one small point of light
to pierce the darkness.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
too many late nights—
insatiable appetite
for silence and wine
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Why is the prophet
flaunting flamboyant blue robes
this day of mourning?
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
in Jethro’s garden
jumbled among the roses
jewelweed in bloom
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
The potato fields
never disclose their secrets
to the corn and beans.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
seductive side roads—
a major irritation
on the long journey
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
garlands of flowers
to signal weary pilgrims
that they have arrived
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
Easily they tire,
those who have no stamina,
on the narrow way.

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #212
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 172

Places

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~~ 1 ~~
 
A place of her own,
where she can dabble in words—
this is all she asks.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
Three blasts of the horn—
again she loses her place
reading Hemingway.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
She loses her place,
yet a new pathway unfolds,
tugging at her feet.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
In her stained blue dress
she is not sure of her place
among the sisters.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
In this hallowed place
she rests for an hour or two
before moving on.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
A place of shining
in the center of darkness—
this is all she asks.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
The thrill of the hunt
to find a place of her own
keeps driving her on.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
Knick-knack paddy-whack—
isn’t there another place
that she could call home?
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
She devotes her skill
to finding the perfect place
to keep her secrets.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
Her secrets in place,
she resolves not to reveal
them to anyone.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
In this shallow place,
where nothing is asked of her,
she has found a home.

 
© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #211
 
More Sunday Scribblings 2: “Place”
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 171

How Many Badgers

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How many badgers are wise enough to thrive on city streets?
Can things that hum and swarm in the forest live without tasting blood?
Are there passions storming the heart’s dark corners that no one dares mention?
It is enough, child, to believe in the magic of unicorns.
It is enough, old man, to walk through the desert at night, singing to the stars.
 
 
How will the bat that hangs in the belfry elude the tolling bell?
How will the creature with no legs jump to safety when the owl drops from the sky?
How can Jesus calm the surging sea with words when he has no tongue?
It is enough, child, while I am with you, to keep hunting the elusive unicorn.
It is enough, old man, to sing every night to the stars.

 

© 2014 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #210
 
More Sunday Scribblings 2: “Wise”
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 170
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