Category Archives: The Poetry Pantry

Small Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
a coatless woman
shivering under the bridge—
the scent of jasmine
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
slices of white bread
arranged on a blue platter—
the homeless shelter
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
memo to herself
scribbled on an envelope—
cigarettes and cream
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the roadside barber
clipping shaggy pilgrims’ locks
a penny an inch
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
At first light of day
she bows before the mountains
in adoration,
while a dozen cactus wrens
sweep away leftover stars.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
Time to say good-bye
to birds hidden in the bush—
one is in your hand,
one is nestling in your hair,
one is becoming a star.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
It is not yet dawn
and already the old shoes
clamor for a walk,
their wrinkled tongues chattering
of paths they took long ago.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
how the gods play games,
breaking open the bundles
of rye and oat straw,
while the farmer and his wife
take up their lamentations
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
breezy autumn day
tattered prayer flags on a fence
flapping crows away—
farmer’s unspoken longings
for a bumper crop of corn
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
exhausted pilgrim
thinking of another way
to make this journey
so that her threadbare tunic
will last another six months
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
in her small kitchen
a sip or two of cocoa
from a broken cup—
savoring the memories
of more than seventy years
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
one more touch of myrrh
to burn the tip of her tongue
with mortality

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #262
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #17

Destiny’s Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
tangled in the tree
two crimson kites with white tails—
seven startled wrens
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
old paper, fresh words
torn envelope the canvas
for brushing haiku
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
a brown paper bag
clutched in a child’s fist holding
all of creation
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
addled gardener
dropping her gloves in the path
as the wild goose calls
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
In her new language
she sings of running naked
through the April rain.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
hoisting new lumber
onto his bruised right shoulder—
the builder of dreams
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
caught in the headlights
of a passing patrol car—
fumbling teenagers
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
On green park benches
old women wearing purple
celebrate the sun.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
Far from the suburbs
an old woman is striding
toward her destiny.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
walking through the woods
on her way to somewhere else—
rumblings of thunder
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
To open the book
she needs only a moment
and a trembling hand.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #261
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #16

Twice-Told Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
breeze beneath the stars
making prairie grasses prance—
mustangs on the move
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
the icy river
where she comes to bathe at dawn—
falling kimono
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
a skein left behind
after the wrathful weaver
abandons his work
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
on her back porch bowls
filled with drifting lakes of cream—
treats for feral cats
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a thorn at the end
of the long-stem yellow rose
piercing her fingers
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
To the forest glade
two women come at midnight,
shattering the peace.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
As the raven flies
over shady canyon lands—
the sound of weeping.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
desert oasis—
from deep within the waters
the thrumming of psalms
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
three cups of coffee
as they loll through the morning—
afterglow of love
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
dialing the number
of the taxi cab service—
journey into night
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
a wicker hamper
with dirty clothes poking out
spilling to the floor
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
a month of blog posts
scheduled for publication
before she checks out

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #260
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #15

Tattered Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
discarded boxes
sheltering homeless people
down by the river
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
journey into night—
your heart at the beginning
fluttering wildly
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
In a perfect world
there would be no mosquitoes,
neither rats nor lice.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
an autumn morning—
walking a misty pathway
wet leaves underfoot
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
Everything depends
on rain, a red wheelbarrow
and some white chickens.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
a long journey to
nowhere in particular
and then back again
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Beyond the back fence
a world I have never seen
is waiting for me.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
a short siesta
in the silence of her room—
insomniac’s dream
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
coffee for the guests
pouring again and again
until the last drop
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
rainy afternoon—
finding a place of refuge
in the library
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
finding a table
where we can talk till midnight
nursing our whisky
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
summer afternoon
the head of one sunflower
drooping toward the earth

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #259
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #14

No Idea

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She had no idea
that merely sitting
with a book in her hands
on the bench
outside the shop
where records were sold
would be her invitation
to go elsewhere
along a way that she could
neither walk nor run—
as if she were a letter
dropped in a mailbox
sorted by a hundred hands
until at last she
reached her destination
slipped through a narrow
slot in her
lover’s front door, and
announced her presence.

 

© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #258
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #13
 

Stargazing

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~~ 1 ~~
 
Who can separate
the stargazers from their quest
for the perfect light?
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
familiar story—
for love of all things starry
gazing in her eyes
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
gazing at heaven’s
architecture—the planets,
the comets, the stars
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
never forgotten—
the stars the elders gazed on
giving each a name
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
The old stargazer—
she holds her head in her hands
as the last star falls.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
Who will remember
the stars we gaze at tonight?
Perhaps the ravens.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
Mayan stargazers—
the old traditions live on
at the pyramids.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
one woman
gazing hungrily
at the stars
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
unpredictable—
the customs of stargazers
on a windy night
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
gazing at the stars—
old man with tremulous hands
raising them in praise
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
gazing at the sky—
blotted out by city lights
every single star
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
a separate star
upon which no one can gaze—
the diffident light

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #257
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #12
 
More Carpe Diem: “Stargazing”

Timeless Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
feeble old woman
attempting to bathe herself—
soap slips from her hand
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
finding a table
where we can sip tea and think
about the next steps
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
in his little shop
the sharpener of razors
stropping the last one
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
outside her window
the tinkling of bronze wind chimes
as darkness descends
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
bowls on the table—
in the azure one a storm
brewing in the broth
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
a wicker hamper
filled with sweet and sour dumplings—
lovers’ picnic feast
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
humming to himself
as he reaches for the hose—
thirsty gardener
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
longing to partake
of sweet and juicy gossip—
the famine women
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
a bowl of olives
alarming the residents
of the nursing home
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
A bag of poems—
the apple seller hides it
behind the last bin.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
I share this secret
with you and with the north wind—
autumn is coming.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
An almond wafer—
if it could speak my language,
I would not eat it.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #256
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #11

Little Ditties

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~~ 1 ~~
 
leaning on a stone
late into the afternoon—
Thoreau at Walden
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
even in the heat
setting a kettle to boil—
daily ritual
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Startled by the cry
of a ripening cherry,
the old man stumbles.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a place of refuge
where only those dressed in white
find a welcome mat
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
everyone singing
a sequence of off-key notes—
the cacophony
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
murmuring a prayer
taken from an old straw hat
found in the gutter
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
hidden in darkness
a 14-carat gold ring
duller than a stone
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
outside the bedroom
something indiscernible
lurking in the dark
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the can full of nails
wrapped round and round with a chain
everything rusting
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
after fire and flood
not even a single thought
of starting over
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
into the bookshop
one shoe off and one shoe on
for a reading fix
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
the other story
about the nifty gadget
no one can invent

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #254
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #9

Wrapped in a Straw Mat

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~~ 1 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat
one small square of bleached muslin
still stained with his blood
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
humming gratitude—
beggar wrapped in a straw mat
pulled from the dumpster
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
her peace offering—
an olive and a ripe fig
wrapped in a straw mat
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat—
an old method for praying
when nothing else works
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
an old photograph—
two boys wrapped in a straw mat
trying not to laugh
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat—
broken sets of dominoes
swept up from the floor
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat—
three smooth stones from the river
ripe with autumn’s chill
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
morality play—
a fool wrapped in a straw mat
addressing the king
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
in the high country
old women wrapped in straw mats
to ward off the chill
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat
to mend her broken courage
after last night’s storm
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat
the shepherd guarding his sheep
on a frosty night
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
wrapped in a straw mat—
some intricate needlework
from a far village

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #253
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #8
 
More Carpe Diem: “Basho’s ‘Wrapped in a Straw Mat'”

Beginnings and Endings

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~~ 1 ~~
 
A night with no wind—
the novice lights three candles,
dreading the first gust.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
the sun for a while
hovering over the oaks
then plunging earthward
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
a night with no wind—
the sound of gravel shifting
on the garden path
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
The whore’s rose perfume—
for a while the prodigal
misses his mother.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a night with no wind—
grieving the loss of the last
white chrysanthemums
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
for a while at dusk
an unexpected longing
for him she once loved
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
a night with no wind—
hoping to find a willow
for a resting place
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
For a while at dawn
the tavern at the corner
shuts down for cleaning.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
a night with no wind—
the young monk hoping to learn
something from the stars
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
treasure for a while—
three golden melon blossoms
melting in the sun
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
a night with no wind—
mice rushing through the melons
music in their feet
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
for a while the roar
of the melons in the field
startling the farmer

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #252
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #7
 
More Carpe Diem: “Basho’s ‘For a While'”
 
More Sunday Scribblings 2: “A Night with No Wind”

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