Category Archives: The Poetry Pantry

Stripping Flesh from Bones

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~~ 1 ~~
 
What am I to do
with this blank sheet of paper
and an empty pen?
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
A dream at midnight—
someone mumbling Basho’s name
imitates a frog.
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
three clay pots—
white chrysanthemums
in full bloom
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
three stolen plums
stuffed in his left pocket
to eat later
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
wild roses
blooming on roadsides
in Georgia
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
She speaks in tongues
that no one understands
except her god.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
lying down to sleep
in different beds each night—
her long loneliness
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
powers of darkness
gathering near the hedgerow
disguised as egrets
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
As the signpost burns,
I take off my tattered shoes
to walk barefoot home.
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
at my journey’s end
laying down my faithful staff
to take up a cross
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
stripping flesh from bones
through every kind of weather—
Dr. Death at work
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
Beginnings are hard—
ask the chick trapped in the shell
or the child in school.

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Pantry #244
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 204

Conversation

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Cache la Poudre River, Fort Collins, Colorado
 


among river stones
a lengthy conversation
lasting to the sea

 
Text and photo © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More SkyWatch Friday
 
More Our World Tuesday
 
More Poetry Pantry #243
 
More Carpe Diem: “Santoka Taneda’s ‘There Is Buddha'”

Whirling in Baja California

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase taken from The Forgotten Peninsula: A Naturalist in Baja California by Joseph Wood Krutch


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
to adorn the tale
she attaches a red string
to one paragraph
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
romantic story
its sensual images
titillating her
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
forlorn and empty
except for a wayward wind—
house on the corner
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
another ghost town
where we begin to trample
spirits in the dust
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
an English sparrow
making excuses at dusk
for having no nest
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the great sparkling sea
lurking below the surface
a deadly stingray
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
no longer flowing
where she hoped to plant orchards
the underground streams
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
an English sparrow
kneading the morning with song
until it rises
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
So many mountains—
which will she begin to climb
before the day ends?
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
a long history
of brandishing his war club
near his neighbor’s house
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
The hard way will come
if we drive or take the train—
the same old story.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
the journey’s mishaps—
despite the pain that lingers
planning one more trip

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #242
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 202

Whirling for Good or Ill

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~~ 1 ~~
 
her passport photo
veins bulging in her forehead
from the night before
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
ocean on the floor
the toddler’s howl of dismay
as she spills her milk
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
tangled old orchard
filling her with fear and dread—
the fruitless plum trees
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a secret language
spoken only by bruised flesh
women understand
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
a silver whistle—
the weight of it in my hand
greater than my life
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
in the stone circle
waiting to welcome the moon—
the owl calls my name
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
empty begging bowl
not a single grain of rice
gracing the bottom
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
on a blue table
bouquet of yellow roses
dropping their petals
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
ghost of a corn stalk
blasted by hot winds and drought—
this crop of ruin
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
smashing a spider
with a granite paperweight—
the terrified child
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
names of the war dead
chiseled in a granite wall
stray dog lifts his leg
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
old haiku poet
sadness drifting through her words
still she dips her pen

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #241
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 201

Another Whirl with Fay

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Each haiku begins with a phrase shamelessly purloined from various haiku in Fay Aoyagi’s In Borrowed Shoes. (The first whirl with Fay Aoyagi is available here.)
 
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
hole in my sweater—
yearning for a scrap of yarn
for mending the gap
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
shadow with no name
perched atop the robin’s head
daring it to sing
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
snip of the scissors—
desecrating the blue dress
he gave her last year
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
a custody case—
burning the uncut transcript
seven years later
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
day for flying kites—
tiny specks in the distance
fighting their restraints
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
heat of the stone wall—
even my white umbrella
is wilting today
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
first dandelions
going to seed in my lawn—
delicate subject
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
for the butterfly
a post for a resting place
till the next milkweed
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
a praying mantis—
matins under the petals
of a yellow rose
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
red quince blooming
until the drunk gardener
misses with his shears
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
morning glory seeds
their plight remaining hopeless
while they lie on stone
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
a story inside
one dark stone in the river—
druidic voices

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #240
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 200

Sticking

Cholla.February.2015 photo AnzaBocholla2015_zps0e10ba17.jpg
Cholla cactus, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Southern California
 


not even a scream
can dislodge desert shadows—
a fine sticking point

 
Text and photo © 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Blue Monday
 
More Poetry Pantry #239
 
More Shadow Shot Sunday 2
 
More Carpe Diem: “Scream”
 
More Haiku Horizons: “Point”

Bits

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~~ 1 ~~
 
another country
without a single border
touching the Black Sea
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
fleece of the black sheep
tossed on the shearing room floor
among the white ones
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
Fill the empty cup
with your broken promises
and your hollow words.
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
seal beneath the pier
keeping out of the limelight
till the tourists leave
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
glass jar of pickles—
summer captured in a quart
for the winter feast
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
clown on the corner—
no one pays him any mind
except on Sundays
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
wound round her forehead
a crimson strip of muslin
stained with her own blood
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
sound of glass breaking
in ten thousand Jewish shops—
Hitler’s thugs at work
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
burst of energy
just before the finish line
claiming victory
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
tumbleweeds rolling
down deserted avenues
heralds of despair
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
(instill)
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
(emit)

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Pantry #238
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 198

Pilgrims Awhirl

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~~ 1 ~~
 
her knitting needles
ticking out a little tune
on the sweater neck
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
a small hymn of praise
too small for mice to measure
except crumb by crumb
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
crimson kimono
worn by her erstwhile patron
now a tattered rag
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
even in the heat
the urge to spend consumes her
emptying her purse
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
inns along the road
tables spread with bread and wine
hungry pilgrims, come
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
the path before her
uncertainty and raven
her sole companions
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
the arduous trek
a cloud guiding her footsteps
to her journey’s end
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
setting out alone
in a tattered state of grace
for her odyssey
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
prowling holy ground
looking for the host to come
with some bread and wine
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
a sacred story
told by day and dreamed by night—
the pilgrims’ footsteps
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
fifth year on the road
still hoping for a rescue
from the stones and snares
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
votive offering
a race to see who gives it
to the holy one

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
More Poetry Pantry #237
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 197

Whirling On

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Each haiku begins with a Wordle word.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
Maybe a raven
knows more about nasturtiums
than ever I will.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
miles beyond this place
thirty or forty or more
a ruined garden
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
words lost long ago
under bison bones bleaching
on Kansas prairies
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
scorch marks on his shirt—
first signs of her defiance
of his tyranny
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
chime and tambourine
and incense in the temple—
bridges between worlds
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
trite conversation
over day-old glazed doughnuts
at the sad café
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
spell of cold weather—
taking out of the closet
her wool kimono
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
land covered with snow—
corn hidden from hungry geese
and foraging mice
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
spirit of the quilt
wrapping her in dreams of peace
though she sleeps alone
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
aim of the hunter
sighting a mandarin duck—
how his bow trembles
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
mind of the pilgrim
distracted by the bedbugs
in the wayside inn
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
sign of good fortune
the year’s first calligraphy
brushed in crimson ink

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #236
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 196

Whirling with Fay

 photo 195_zps0ed3b3f0.jpg
 
 
Each haiku begins with a phrase shamelessly purloined from various haiku in Fay Aoyagi’s In Borrowed Shoes.
 
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
Hole in my sweater—
the shopping list I scribbled
slips between loose threads.
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
shadow with no name
in a channel of the shelf
holding holy books
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
snip of the scissors—
her seven-years-long ennui
resisting the cut
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
A custody case
condemns their children to death
by separation.
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
day for flying kites—
an inky one soars higher
than all the others
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
heat of the stone wall
still warming the lone fly’s wings
long after day’s end
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
first dandelions
and the smell of fresh-mown grass—
snow-day memories
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
For the butterfly
a single open blossom
will suffice for lunch.
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
A praying mantis—
will he soon capitulate
to the bumblebee?
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
Red quince blooming—
further delay makes no sense
to the hungry bee.
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
Morning glory seeds—
one of them will generate
a thousand blossoms.
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
a story inside
to render children speechless—
pomegranate seed

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #234
 
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 195

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