Category Archives: The Whirligig

Four Aphorisms for a Time of Plague


1
Unforeseen disasters wait
Just outside the garden gate
 
2
Pity those who lose their smiles
On the heartless COVID miles.
 
3
Comfort for tormented eyes
Is what doctors all advise.
 
4
If you let your lungs get wet,
You may drown in deep regret.

 
 
Rhyming couplets © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #277
 
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Dementia: A Haibun


Tonight my longtime friend will try to explain to me why her dementia (still in the early stages) sometimes makes her incoherent. She’s tried this before. She knows that halfway through her explanation she will find words getting harder to form, and she will quit in mid-sentence. She doesn’t want me to give advice. She just wants someone to listen, someone like me.


Midsummer mishap—
I stumble on the pathway
leading to the gate.

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #276
 
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Intimations of Mortality


What you’ve stolen fades away,
Nothing made of gold can stay;
All your silver turns to brass,
All your diamonds into glass.
 
Look at your reflection fair
In the mirror hanging there;
Peer again, though, and you’ll see
You’re laced with mortality.
 
Cruel payment’s coming due;
You will have to pay it, too.
All the games you like to play?
Death will snatch them clean away!
 
Until then, however, know
That you’re free to come and go,
Doing what you like to do—
But on Judgment Day, you’re through!

 

Poem © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #275
 
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In This Sizzling Heat: A Haibun


In this sizzling heat we feel as though we’re descending into hell. The river has shrunk into a thin sliver thread. Our grapes are turning brown. They need water. I cannot tell you how eagerly we look for a cloud—one cloud!—to bear even a few drops of rain to the grapes. The neighbor boy flies his kite. It casts a shadow over the dying grapes. But I’ve had enough of watching for clouds that never come. I dig out our passports. “Come on,” I say to my beloved, “we’re going to Norway where it’s cool and it rains. Oh, wait! Americans aren’t welcome in Europe these days. What a clusterf*ck!”


I can’t remember
the last time I quenched my thirst
from a mountain stream.

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #274
 
More Writers’ Pantry #28 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Finding Bliss in Change


Let’s make a parade, and march through the gate;
These times are trying, but we cannot wait.
 
Grace has gone swimming, and things are amiss—
Who in her right mind would argue with this?
 
See how old prejudice rears up its head?
Cut it off quickly! Make sure that it’s dead.
 
There’s beauty in yellow, red, white, and black;
Joy’s in the middle, the front and the back.
 
It’s simple, my friend, to bring a new day.
Old braids of hatred? Just snip them away!

 

Poem © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #273
 
More Writers’ Pantry #27 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Say Yes


Say yes to everything:
the moldy bread, the empty kettle, the dying fire;
yes to the anvil on which your life was forged;
yes to what you have wanted, but not gotten;
yes to what you have waited for, but not seen;
yes to the tattered edges of your cloak,
and your belly bloated with hunger,
while swallows feast on insects near the temple gates.
To everything say yes.

 

Poem © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #272
 
More Writers’ Pantry #26 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Who Do You Think You Are: A Haibun


If you were to ask me, “Who do you think you are?” this is what I’d say: I started dancing when God said, “Turn on the lights!” I made music when the first corn grew in dusty places, and the weight of a single kernel was heavier than all of Moctezuma’s gold. I attended the wedding at Cana of Galilee where Jesus said, “Forget the cash bar. I’m turning this water into wine, and it’s free for everyone. Come and get it!” I fiddled all night for the guests as they drank wine, rolled joints, and danced. And in the early hours of the morning I saw how Jesus took that poor, bruised woman with the split lip, laid his hands on her head, and said, “Daughter, be healed.” And she was! So who do I think I am? Why do you even ask? I think you know.


I can’t remember
the last time I quenched my thirst
from a mountain stream.

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #271
 
More Writers’ Pantry #25 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Is God Asleep


1
I choke on soot, my homeland shudders;
“Is God asleep?” the prophet mutters.
 
 
2
With fire on my tongue, how brave can I be?
Braver than ships exploring the sea?
 
 
3
Mine are the questions that no one answers;
At half past midnight, I join the dancers.
 
 
4
With reverence and gratitude I pause—
The white wolf takes me gently in his jaws.

 

Couplets © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #270
 
More Writers’ Pantry #24 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Seven Couplets to Ponder or Ignore


1
Wisdom comes from roots and stones,
Often from the sparrow’s bones.
 
 
2
Sending healing thoughts to you!
Hope you’re better, yes, I do!
 
 
3
Lines unfolding one by one—
All too soon my work is done.
 
 
4
In the realm of string and twine,
Will you be my valentine?
 
 
5
Lessons near the frigid coast
Are the ones I hate the most!
 
 
6
If your foremother should come,
Toot a horn and pound a drum!
 
 
7
Spirit wide and Spirit deep,
Do not make me, Spirit, weep.

 

Couplets © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #269
 
More Writers’ Pantry #23 at Poets and Storytellers United

 

Praise the Lord: A Haibun


This is my morning ritual, taught to me by the elders—women I met on holy ground. Turning to the east, I place a poem on my tongue, as though it were a communion wafer. Like the wafer melting in a faithful person’s mouth, I know the poem on my tongue will die if I do not sing it aloud, whether anybody hears it or not. So I sing: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” Five times I sing the ancient words. And after the fifth time I laugh, for things all round me have joined the song: chickadees and caterpillars; butterflies and blacksnakes; mosquitos, mergansers, and marigolds. Everything with breath is praising the Lord. And the song is glorious.


Unexpected rain—
the old stone Buddha’s broad lap
now holds an ocean.

 

Haibun © 2020 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More The Whirligig #268
 
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