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Moonlight Serenade

Blindfolded, he takes me from the car through the humid air of August. He holds my hand, and then surrounds me with his arms, when small obstacles appear. He brushes the hair from my forehead, gentling me like a shy colt. The silk rectangular scarf, I had folded and tied about my breasts clings to me. My cutoffs ride up further exciting me, as he lifts me onto a wall. Shushing me, he says. “Sit still, honey.” I have no idea where we are but, his voice and footsteps have a slight echo.

the wail 
of a harmonica:
moonlight serenade

Vibrations tingle across my skin, raising the down on my arms. A bead of sweat mixes with baby lotion and follows a shiver down, from cleavage to navel. Seconds become minutes, as the song caresses me. Oh, how I love him, this long tall drink of water with his huge hands and slow drawl. As the last note hangs in echo, I hear him approach. He lifts me high and traces the droplet down to the top of my hip-huggers with his tongue. I am still blindfolded when he places me on the ground. I feel his breathe upon my mouth. The tip of his tongue plays across my teeth. Ah, I remember him, his face, his hands, his taste, and that night at the empty skating rink…but, sadly, not his name. 

the scarf 
falls from my hands:
the drawer closes

First Published by Contemporary Haibun On-line Winter of 2013

Copyright © Debbie Guzzi | Year Posted 2015

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The train was slowly gliding down the railway track. The treeless strip on both sides of the railway marked the border which I crossed for the first time. The tree line of the forest cast a shadow on the open field as the sun was setting on the western horizon. The silence inside the carriage and the slow, quiet motion of the train, made the scene nothing short of eerie. It was as if time stood still. To my mind it brought a vision of ghosts from yesteryear, when battle raged between the neighboring countries some seven decades ago.

	in fading sunset
	aspens swaying in the breeze
	eerie is the night

That open field marked the border to where it was moved after world war II had ended. In my mind I heard the echoes of war: the silence of anxious waiting, the deafening noise of heavy artillery, the rattling of machinegun fire, the cries of pain of the injured. Although Karelia had been lost, the freedom of the nation was kept. I looked quietly at the stillness of the twilight and in my thoughts I gave thanks to all those brave men and women who had fought for freedom and independence for the country, its people, its children and the future.

	as dusk settles in
	darkness engulfs the forest
	silence of lost souls

26th June, 2018

Haibun Poetry Contest: sponsored by Mick Talbot

Copyright © Teppo Gren | Year Posted 2018

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I Slipped On A Tear Drop

I s l i p p e d on a teardrop and landed in her arms. She never knew how much I needed her. I s l i p p e d in a puddle and I died in her soul. She never knew how much I needed her. Between yesterday’s old coffee and today's bright doom I broke in half. My heart slipped away into the hell of her death and my mind created LOST memories. So many moments of despair she held, and so many times of loneliness I lived. Beneath the darkness of the moon I drowned in a river created from her pain. It engulfed me into oblivion and I shall never be the same again. Sisters need each other and I needed her. Life seems over and death seems so FINAL. teardrops in her arms- woe brings rivers of d r o w n i n g DEATH by suicide I s l i p p e d on a teardrop and landed in her misery. She never knew how much I loved her. I s l i p p e d in a puddle and I died in her heart. She never knew how much I loved her. After the downpour of anguish I fell asleep. Nightmares of our final hug GOODBYE. If only I had held on longer maybe she would have felt more love from me. Maybe enough love to keep her alive. For she never realized how much her pain caused me heartache. She bled in sadness and I bleed in regret. No time to heal because healing is no more. Life seems dark and death seems so BLEAK. one final goodbye- not enough pure love from me two dead souls bleeding I s l i p p e d on a teardrop and landed in her remorse. She never knew how much I longed for her. I s l i p p e d in a puddle and I died in her essence. She never knew how much I longed for her. Before she was born she was already gone. A lifetime of sorrow and feeling different. It was hard for her to be a lesbian. Too hard. RIDICULED and damaged beyond repair. No more light at the end of her tunnel and the lessening of sunshine during her days. It’s depressing to think about what she felt her final moments of life. Her goodbye letter was awful. Full of pain and too much grief for me to read. I keep it in a journal tucked gently away. One day I will pull it out and read it again. Life seems wrong and death seems so BLACK. suffered from regret- too flawed and b r o k e n to heal sister’s forever ~She s l i p p e d on a teardrop and landed in her grave~ I Slipped On A Tear Drop N/A The Creative Collective Anthology Series Date Judged: 7/9/2017 Date Written: June 21, 2017

Copyright © Lu Loo | Year Posted 2016

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Sand Dollar Dreams

It's quiet here - quiet in a way that catches me off guard. The tranquility is almost tangible, something I can touch and hold and wrap around myself. I can hear the pulse of faraway waves, the faint hum of the wind, the nonsensical call of distant seagulls. I can hear my own heartbeat, pounding along with the waves. 

As I kick off my sandals, my spirit steps out of my body, leaving behind the material baggage of city life. The sand is soggy beneath my feet and I know my footprints will disappear when the sea rises, as if I were never here at all. 

It's low tide, that magical time when the sea recedes to reveal the ocean floor. Grooves of sand catch pockets of water that are half-buried mirrors, reflecting pale blue sky and slices of violet sunlight that glitter like chipped diamond. 

a vocal seagull descends toward liquid skies – reflections ripple
At low tide, a second beach emerges, stretching all the way across the bay to the opposite shore. I walk slowly, tasting salt on the breeze as it runs invisible fingers through my hair. Strands sweep across my face, catching in my eyelashes before fluttering free once more. The beach is a dream catcher, snagging small treasures when the sea withdraws. And I am a child again, fascinated by the hermit crab retreating into his shell as I approach. I spot the dimpled surface of an urchin’s shell peeking out from wrinkled sand. Other shells are scattered across the beach, some upside down, exposing smooth, pearly souls.
a tiny starfish drifts beneath placid water – lost constellation
When I find a sand dollar, my breath catches. It’s perfectly whole, with smooth, rounded edges and clean, ivory skin. It’s heavy and light all at once, the flawless design at its center subtle and brilliant, like a delicate floral tattoo. How many hours had I spent here as a child, searching for this transitory coin? My eyes fill with unexpected tears as my vision wavers behind distorted pools of grief. I’m half-blind until I blink, releasing salty rivers down my cheeks. Even then, my sight is murky. My tears taste like the ocean and I think, suddenly: Whose tears fill the sea? Written: November 4, 2015 For Charlotte's "Creative Haibuns" Contest

Copyright © Heather Ober | Year Posted 2015

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It's so dark outside, my eyes can't distinguish where sand meets water. Somehow, dusk has come and gone, plunging the evening into darkness. 
But even as my eyes yield to this opaque absence of light, my other senses heighten. I can hear the crash of waves as they abuse the shoreline, sending foaming water up the beach in icy streams. I'm lulled by the sound of polished pebbles colliding like marbles as they recede with the waves. I can feel the sea's cool mist against my face, taste its salt on my lips. The scent of seaweed drifts on the breeze in gentle wafts - and then, slowly, the faintest whiff of smoke.   

I glance over my shoulder, where a tiny dot of light penetrates the darkness. It's a beacon on this cool night, and I walk slowly toward it, digging my toes into the soft sand with each step.

dim moonlight peeks through thinning clouds-- fire crackles
He's still there, stoking the fire, feeding the flames until the heat is tangible. The air wavers between us like a veil - a line I want to cross. He stirs up clouds of smoke, stirring feelings within me as I watch his busy hands. I wait patiently for him to notice my approach, and when he does, my breath catches.
rainbow flames burst from seasoned maple-- blue eyes sparkle
I watch golden light flicker across his skin, softening the lines of his face. He abandons his task, moving around the fire until he stands before me, smiling as if he knows my heart is thundering in my chest. He waits for a painstaking moment to pass. Then he kisses me with toasted marshmallow lips, pulling me down into his lap to watch the sparks rise like fireflies into the breathless night.

Copyright © Heather Ober | Year Posted 2013

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The Lady Of The House

It’s siesta, yet one can hear from the second floor of the house the animated sharing of juicy news some visitors have brought to the gracious host, the lovely widow of a wealthy sugar planter.  The sound of laughter is carried over the charming veranda bordered by lacy cast-iron grillwork, with its delicate oak leaf and acorn design and colorful, overhanging ornamental plants and flowers.  

Three Creole society matrons in their typical 1840s long dress fashion despite the sultry heat are being served their tea and fanned by the owner’s black slaves. They are talking about the strange happenings at what used to be Dr. Louis and Mdme. Delphine Lalaurie’s grand house at 1140 Royal Street, a few houses away from the where they are having an afternoon gossip. Apparently, the last tenant abandoned the Lalaurie house not only because of some ghost sightings and agonized sounds that were heard from within.  His furniture business inventory was also being mysteriously destroyed at night. 

The lady of the house remembers how Mdme. Delphine Lalaurie used to be a respected member of New Orleans society.  After the fire in 1834 and the subsequent discovery by firemen of seven emaciated slaves at the attic with obvious traces of abuse and torture, the couple and their four grown-up children had to flee in the middle of the night, or be lynched by the angry townsfolk.  

Were all the stories true?  Six years later, no human bones were discovered at the backyard, nor actual records or reports thereof, negating further accusations of slave murders, including that of a young girl who allegedly fell from the rooftop trying to escape her lady’s wrath.  If Mdme. Lalaurie was the inhuman monster the press accused her of that time, then all of her contemporaries were also guilty, including all plantation owners, for the practice of slavery was fundamentally immoral and depraved.  The lady of the house tells herself it is best to keep silent and let one person take all the condemnation.  This removes the attention of the press and the restless community away from her social circle and her own guilt. 

privileged mindset 
and undue exploitation -
cancer cell takes root

Inspired by A House in New Orleans Contest 
27 January 2016

Note:  The Lady of the House is a fictitious character, but relies heavily on historical background from:

1.	Mad Madam Lalaurie: New Orlean’s Famous Murderess Revealed  by Victoria Costner Love and Lorelei Shannon
2.	Old New Orleans, a History of Vieux Carre, Its Ancient and Historical Buildings by Stanley Clisby Arthur
3.	Mdme. Delphine Lalaurie, Wikipedia

Copyright © KP Nunez | Year Posted 2016

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The Devil Made Me Do It

It had been a long night, an hour drive just to be with my sister. One must stay in touch with family; it’s the right thing to do. I don't even know what movie we saw. Here she was again in all her glory whining, and whimpering, about her conditions. Confined space is the wrong place to be with someone bi-polar. Sometimes, I think the family should mark her eruptions on a calendar, maybe there’s a pattern? She was hungry; her blood sugar was low; hurry, get her home! 

“Geez Sis, if my life depended on carrying peanuts, I'd make damn sure I had them with me!” I my replied. 

the sleet fell
through the headlight beams:
fog inside

“You bleeping self-centered witch!” Her reply.

And on and on, enumerating all my faults at the top of her lungs. Her face was darting back and forth across the stick shift like a viper. The weather was so bad, and her screaming so loud; I almost drove us up a telephone pole. The back road to her house was serpentine through a pinewood, and over narrow, slick, bridges. Well, about fifteen minutes into my dissection, I burst a gut.

“You need to have some control. Your diet is horrible. I wish you could see yourself eating. Your plate might as well be a trough.” There now I’ve gone and done it, I thought to myself. The little devil in me was all smiles. When we pulled into the driveway; she leapt out.

the car door
slams rattling the glass:
eyes wet as rain glass 

It only felt good for a moment. It was true; she did deserve the comment. She’d felt free to butcher me, but, it was wrong to try to hurt her. The momentary release, which felt so good, has given us months of anguish. 

Published in Dead Snakes Magazine Winter 2014

Copyright © Debbie Guzzi | Year Posted 2014

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where barren branches touch newborn leaves

Scurrying on my way home, a little leaf catches my eye, and I am compelled yet again to slow down.

a whirlwind of thoughts
compete with swaying of trees~
lone leaf on my shoe

I am not sure exactly when my fascination for falling leaves started, there is just something so beautiful and artistic in which they drift to the ground....I recall one particular moment in my college literature class when my professor inquired into my choice of the word "wither" in my leaf metaphor for a dying old couple. 

My explanation involved telling him that for me, that particular word had a certain gracefulness to it, and that was how I saw that couple in their twilight years. But I deviate, for I merely intend to write about the interesting tree that I saw the other day. I do not know what species it is, but it bears its berry-like fruits on its branches and it has cordate leaves.

barren branches touch
newborn leaves on other side--
a paradox tree

A smile languidly forms together with my memory of seeing that same tree six days post double-faced state. It proudly donned a full crown of leaves in less than a week. With this image in mind, I can’t help but feel mystified, with the constancy and dichotomy of change….It seems like everything around me is continuously evolving, revolving. I can’t help but feel lost.

Almost in defiance to this line of thinking, I shake the leaf off my shoe, and trample on it. Instead of feeling satisfied, I feel guilt. I never did forget that Enid Blyton tale of how dried leaves were actually fairies. 

littered autumn road
I stomp on the frail fallen….
my feet crushing death

Rolling my eyes with my melodramatic thoughts, I continue my walk home. It’s crazy how leaves can make me go philoloopysical. I am tempted to actually stop in the middle of the road and simply sit there—be among the trees as the wind serenades them, with the leaves swaying gently, some choosing to pirouette, some doing the salsa dip.  

Being the practical person that I am, I just run my fingers along my wind-discoed hair. If it were possible, I would like to be a leaf. I find such nobility and grace to it. Imagine being able to capture light, transforming energy to create nourishment. Giving, breathing life. There is a delicate artistry with the changing of its colors—a complex, fascinating chemistry in each blade that I’m sure God is so proud of.

eyes gently follow
  dying trail of withered leaf;
wind sighs its mourning

I pick up one leaf to remind me...


Copyright © kabuteng P.iNk k. | Year Posted 2015

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Out in the middle of a large farmland, I become a girl of old charm and unexpected songs again. Past the flanks where cluttered rows of hyacinths and ferns quiver, disarranged huts begin to shake as the rough wind wheezes. And on this late July, mounds of dust remind me of summers back in my grandfather’s hometown. Yet, a different vanishing overtakes me.

a season passes…
carrying all its flowers
to emerge as buds

Watching for thrushes that grow moist from dusky froth , my heels trek along deepened clay. As I lay on haystacks listening to stars chiming, the inky moon sinks its riddled face through a veil. Somehow, I feel alone...abandoned  like the  opera of a heart which seems to fall into a tragic ending. Yes, Grandpa isn’t around any longer, as a eulogy of tears swells.

on this barren field…
a solitary twig cracks
from one glittered tree

The nightfall drools looking for the yellow among clouds. For a while, the hazy outlines of strangers--native women and children ---disturb my old revelries  when Grandpa would linger by the porch dipping tunes from his violin. Through calm intervals of laughter, we sway together;  fire to air, salt to honey. Much as I need to inhabit this space, it no longer belongs to me, or to him. But twilight comes brimming with all the glistened jewels of our own world.

between two lifetimes
is a haunting melody…
like a song unsung

Creative Haibuns Contest
For Charlotte Jade Puddifoot

Copyright © nette onclaud | Year Posted 2015

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Her reveries slant the compass of time: 1970s. Minefields now roar through blurred visions. She retreats into dots of space to live in the moment, as emotions fling to a gray sky. While curtains blow unceasingly, hours freeze. Again, love passes; leaves, while a young wife’s heart crushes in tears. 

bouyant clouds wander
in the expanse of night time
to gather shadows

There is delicacy in pain. Letters from Nam change the dark of winter to a glitter of December lights. As she sets the table, the flaming candle waxes through a kitchen filled with sweets and almonds . He is the breath touching musical tones in the quiet rhythm where carols are sung together. Feeling his presence,
she regales in a lone dance of fond remembering.

pines in crimson gold
waltz across the starlight
etching mellow notes

Somehow, a woman begins to droop beside a half-closed window. In the cold of duskfall, she longs
for her soldier husband, quietly. Then wiping her cheeks, she is refreshed by those who need her, now. In a joyful play with daughter and son, Aunt Jamie finds her true north. Such is the luster of more tomorrows, 

moon glimmers, dust fades
a balm of healing renews
fresh discoveries

For SKAT : Any Poem You are Proud Of Contest
Reposted 5/14/2016

Copyright © nette onclaud | Year Posted 2015

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The Gravedigger

He never did see a face though only a board width away,
yet remembers feeling privileged, spending those last few moments
while trying so hard to find the softer soil to lessen the impact
upon the brass plated permanent encasement; in this final resting place.

beneath the old oak
neither sun nor moon perceived
a veil of shadow

He’s mindful of the susceptible sensation within when the last 
shovelful that completely covered the coffin tenderly placed,
then the license to use the coarse fill of heavy clay and stoney soil.

to become apart
at one within holy ground
the grass grows each spring

A phenomenal pride when to barrow away the surplus soil,
leaving the mound trim and tidy, a monument for the deceased;
also a monument for him, his very first dig, all with his own hand.

a mark of respect
for three score years and nineteen
entity forgone.

© Harry J Horsman 2015

Copyright © harry horsman | Year Posted 2015

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Nana's Garden

You won't find a yard like this anymore. You'd think it would seem smaller now that I'm an adult, but it doesn't. It's still enormous, stretching far beyond the house like a grassy sea. The hills roll like the tide, dotted with patches of melting snow that remind me of cresting waves. All around me, the gardens wake from a wintry slumber.

tiny buds cling to naked branches-- a robin sings
Time stands still here in Nana's garden; the ghosts of childhood haunt every inch of the yard. There's my brother, climbing the ancient apple tree, throwing crab apples at my sister as she plucks daisies. Even as she dodges apples, she plucks away - asking no one in particular if she's loved or not, leaving a trail of petals in her wake. And there I am in my grass-stained skirt, twirling and twirling, falling dizzily to the ground, oblivious to my sister's shrieks of protest and my brother's triumphant laugh. I shake my head and the vision clears. Now the garden is empty - still overflowing with trees and shrubs and flowers, but lacking in laughter, mischief, and innocence. Innocence has been replaced by wistfulness.
two robins glide across the sky-- a door creaks
"Tea's ready, dear." I glance over my shoulder at Nana. She stands on the back porch wearing her favourite apron and my favourite smile. Like her garden, she hasn't changed. A few more silver strands in her hair, a few more lines around her eyes - but she is still the same woman who took care of us, tending to us just as she tended to her gardens. She smiles at me now, as if she knows that garden has cast a spell over me. With another glance at the apple tree, I follow Nana inside the house - and I swear I can hear echoes of laughter behind me.

Copyright © Heather Ober | Year Posted 2013

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In the Bleak Midwinter

In the bleak midwinter,
frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow,
snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter,
long ago.

- Christina Rossetti


My mirror-face is pinched pallid as, colourlessly, I go over and over his last journey, and shudder like a train on a track. His last tracks...tracks in the snow...train tracks. Tear-tracks damp-bead my ashen cheeks, but tears, though summer-hot, don't thaw the bone-chill of alone.

his snowflake letter
cold on an empty car seat -
no explanation

Just sorry and people don't always understand, I only hope you can and goodbye.

I took to my bed as the ripped days bled, pulled the duvet up over my head, shaken by a blizzard of dread. Fingers in ears, didn't want to hear about last movements, CCTV footage, forensics. My words fell snow-silent, and, as people have pointed out to me since, now I only speak through poetry's voice, its mediumistic mouth.

I'm reading a book Coping With Suicide, well, I'm trying to read. But each page is a snowdrift muffling my mind, each word is a curled black whorl of hard-iron earth. I've stopped counting the days and nights, they've merged into a blizzard blur of winter-white. And the hoarded condolence cards all cry winter in snowflake whites and star silvers: In Deepest Sympathy ivory-traced, With Sympathy silver-etched.

Who would have thought grief had so many shades of winter? That death had a colour? Whilst others died with a heart attack's red squeeze or cancer's black rampage, he died with suicide's expanding white, its barren blank.

Poking food around my plate, staring sickly-numb, dumb, at the mounded happy orange of carrots, the yellow smiles of corncobs. Ashen faces in sifting ashy light, voices ermine-soft in empathy.

friends coax-feeding me
at a table set for one -
his chair is empty

Sleeping with his photograph, well, feigning sleep, through each silent night. Nothing holy in loss and lonely, just a hole blown through the heart.

Remembering: winter woodland walks hand in hand, plans we made, foundations laid. Frost-framed photos, snapshot days: a memory mural. Each shared moment freezing to a cold grief-pearl. Blanched branches window-tapping, and I'm thinking it's him.

filigree window
vista of Christmases past -
heart-held memories

Copyright © Charlotte Jade Puddifoot | Year Posted 2015

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Raindrop Butterflies

The snow slowly morphs into rain, a thousand cold cocoons that release raindrop butterflies into the frosty air. They glisten in the morning light, clinging to soft leather like tiny diamonds as he drapes his jacket across my shoulders.

The jacket smells like him: fresh soap and spicy aftershave--and that spearmint gum he always keeps on hand. It's way too big on me, but he zips it up anyway, pulling the hood over my head to shield me from the rain.

dripping icicles bleed beads of liquid light-- fingers intertwine
He's soaked, but he doesn't seem to care as water slides down his rosy cheeks, dripping from his frozen nose. He brings my hand to his lips and whispers, "Happy New Year." Even his lips are cold, but I lend him my warmth. As we stand there together in the soft tranquility of winter rain, I realize I'm happy. I want to stay here forever, in this life-sized snow globe of frigid weather and smooth, warm leather. For Giorgio's "Leather Jacket" contest

Copyright © Heather Ober | Year Posted 2013

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An Autumn Farewell

Going out of his way, the obliging taxi driver drives to the top of the hill.
      A young man gets out, walks a short distance to a vantage point
                where his gaze falls upon the village down below, 
                the old cottages and farmhouses, sprawling fields,
                        winding lanes, and the clustered trees
                                where the stream skips by.

                                       an overcast sky
                                 scent of rain is in the air
                                     a lone robin chirps

                  His eyes roam slowly, taking in little details,
                       keen to save them in his mind, fresh,
             like the morning dew clinging to the swaying grass.

                                 the cool autumn breeze
                               ruffles hair and memories
                                     stirring emotions

                           Time is pressing. One last look.
                    Then he reluctantly goes back to the car.
            Soon, it’s speeding along the asphalted country road
              heading to the station where a steam train awaits.
                     A new chapter in life...The city beckons.

                                   sudden drops of rain
                                spatter on the hazy glass
                                    sad eyes turn misty

Written: 15th November, 2015

Contest: Any Poem Written in 2015
Sponsor: Laura Loo (2016)
Placed 1st

Contest: Creative Haibuns (2015)
Sponsor: Charlotte Jade Puddifoot
Placed 4th

Copyright © Paul Callus | Year Posted 2015

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Tattered Pages

In the recollections of my journey thus far, the tattered pages of my life flutter
in my mind.  Like snapshots of times and places in black and white and color.
Haunting faces and glimpses of places.  Sad narratives come to mind along with
stories and the history of family. Happiness entwined with sadness is all mine.
I often open the rusty old gate and travel a winding path to a place of weeping.
And I stand trembling with the wind in my hair . . . 

the wind takes my hair
tangled branches creak and groan
whispering my name

And the tattered pages flutter.  I find myself in a church, ornately beautiful.
I am a little girl praying on my knees.  The hum of a thousand candles flicker.
Then I am holding my fathers hand as we stroll a lush green park.  We laugh
as we walk along, just me and my father.  We are going to feed the swans,
oh the beautiful floating white swans of my memory . . . 

crystal clear water
the swans silently drifting
they come to greet us

Like wings whirling the pages move.  I am me just a few weeks ago.  I
hold a single red rose and place it at his headstone.  I trace the words with
my finger.  Baby, son of . . . he never got to see the sky.  I never got to hold
him in my arms. I must turn this page for it is ripping out my heart and soul.
He the family secret not adopted but dead . . . 

and gentle rain falls
on a bright red rose bleeding
clouds darken the sky

July 11, 2015


For the contest, Haibun, sponsor, scott thiryseven

Third Place 

Copyright © Dear Heart | Year Posted 2015

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The silent alarm

For some reason, this morning her alarm clock failed to sound. With eyes half closed,
 she glanced at the clock.  It was around 8 AM. She got dressed as quickly as     
she could,  hurried to the train station. When the train  arrived; she managed 
 to get a seat . She  put on her glasses and took out her crossword puzzle.   
  She  became lost in the clues. She had finished  one puzzle,  was on to the next,  
when the  voice of the conductor interrupted her thoughts. A delay was announced.   
 As it turned out, the train ahead had derailed.  Many were seriously injured. 
  It was then,  she appreciated the silence of her alarm clock.

a peal of thunder
  shatters the peace of the day
 rain comes crashing down



Copyright © Joseph May | Year Posted 2014

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a thawing of hearts - for contest

I sat quietly and waited, making the noises he had come to know, calling him in his newly given name.  His face would appear, cautiously calculating my intent, he would approach.  The promise of food and gentle touch too much to deny.  And so we did the “Little Prince’s” taming dance, each aware of the other and the possibility of betrayal.

cold eyes, empty heart frost forming on life’s edges winter’s numbing kiss
Our meetings continued, less cautious greetings, more welcome contact, minimal conversation. His coat was becoming more ragged in spite of attempts to keep it up, his gait slowing as our good-byes became short walks together. He could not leave his place, his home, even though it had left him – alone, to fend for himself.
hoarfrost in retreat sunrise gently awakens friendships warming blood
He withdrew – I would wait, quietly, whisper the name he had come to know, make the sounds that signaled “all clear”. I searched for him, stood silent and listened for his weakening call, shed tears in the cold rain of November. His last call, a feeble attempt at good-bye, led me to him. Alone, cold, hungry, he lay there, rolled his eyes as I cradled his cold and fading spirit. He shivered – and left.
winter’s cold cradle ice encasing a friendship a thawing of hearts
10/20/2015 submitted to – Creative Haibuns – Poetry Contest sponsor – Charlotte Jade Puddifoot

Copyright © John lawless | Year Posted 2015

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Inspired by Gaia

Rays of sunlight awaken and skies of sapphire inspire, when mother lies back with eyes veiled, breathing out life and breathing in spirit. She is the fertile earth and boundless sky. She glides through eternity, rising and falling. Her hair, once the color of midnight, now shines silver like beams from the full moon, and the stars encircling her, illuminate creation, igniting dreams and enchanting sleepless nights. As we, who no longer walk barefoot upon the earth, busy ourselves, forgetting to lift our eyes in witness to her majesty and her beauty and her grace. Our hearts still beat in unison with her essence. Beneath the stars, we walk upon the same dusty earth as our ancestors. The sky rumbles all around us with echoes of the past, and in stillness, she feels the knees of the forgotten pressed against her chest giving thanks for her nurturing breath. 

spirits veil her eyes -
drifting through sapphire sky
constellations align

*Haibun form inspired by Susan Seddon Boulet’s Gaia 
(for Debbie Guzzi’s Free Verse, Prose, Haibun Contest, 11/1/2014)  

Copyright © Rhonda Johnson-Saunders | Year Posted 2014

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Since I was a tiny baby I was brought up by my grandparents and had a very happy childhood. I knew that they were not my real parents but they gave me such love that I didn’t ask any questions for fear of upsetting them. Grandma’s eyes would mist over any time anyone mentioned my parents so I knew something bad had happened to them Whispers in the hall The child is too young to know They passed so quickly I left home at 20, married and moved to a small town about 50 miles from where I grew up. I was always in touch with my grandparents, but over time old age crept upon them and I recently cleared the family home when grandma passed away. I discovered yellowing newspaper cuttings, which told of how my parents had been killed in a horrific car crash, it also detailed their final resting place in the local cemetery. Family secrets Scrapbook of old photographs My parents smiling Dawn is breaking and dappled sunlight streams through the trees. A veil of grey swirling mist shrouds the cemetery. I pull my shawl closely around my shoulders and begin my search. Strands of ivy hang down from the towering yew trees, its dark green tendrils wrapped around the grey granite graves clinging so tightly as if it was trying to hold up the graves like a puppet on a string. The fallen gravestones remind me of decaying teeth with many gaps where stones had crumbled with age and neglect. I walk slowly, reading the names of those who now had eternal rest. Eventually I found their grave at plot 142, where a marble angel watches over them sleeping. I scrape off the thick lichen, which obscures their names. Tears fall and I hug the gravestone wishing I could embrace my parents for real. I greet my parents Stone cold grave gives me closure Heartbroken child cries 09~26~16 Contest Overgrown With Vines Sponsored by Broken Wings

Copyright © JAN ALLISON | Year Posted 2016

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Discomfort Notwithstanding

hanging in the air
humidity’s heaviness . . .
the river’s slow crawl

On the Mississippi lies the beautiful little city where I once lived. How many times I trudged up inclined streets; or leaning forward, red-faced and panting, pressed up slopes with all my might, feet on pedals of my purple Sting-ray bike, urging myself not to dismount prior to reaching glorious level ground! The damp beneath my clothing in those days was a given. Simply stopped to rest. . . sipping pop underneath a tree, I would often feel rivulets of sweat that  trickled down beneath my underarms, a surfeit which caused circle stains to appear beneath the arms of short-sleeved shirts or on Sundays, beneath the flowered dresses that I wore to church. However, despite the heat’s discomfort, it was summer, after all! 

counting down the days
until the school bell’s last ring -
a fling with summer

Released from stifling classrooms for vacation, I eagerly embraced the sun. . .and how I played! Kickball with the neighbors, visits to the city pool with my sisters and friends, bike rides to parks or into town, where I spent my allowance on records and treats, and hours racing eagerly through the pages of Nancy Drew books in front of a cooling fan - all these things consumed me. 

It was in the month of August, and more than a decade of muggy summers later that I found myself transplanted in a desert. As if thrust into a giant pre-set oven with a noose about my neck, I learned firsthand the meaning of “slow roast.” Here, in the new and different place where I've now lived most of my adult life, the heat can leave one with a burn like acid watered down, a deep sensation lingering in skin long after sun has left the sky. Perspiration may just evaporate before it has a chance to wend its way along the body’s contours. Discomfort notwithstanding, there’s no pain.  Acclimated to these summers now, I find that it is easier for me to breathe in August heat than it was the first time I’d ever encountered it. Released from stifling work, I go outside into the oven,  pen in suntanned hand!

sunshine reflections
so many summers have passed
writing till twilight

Copyright © Andrea Dietrich | Year Posted 2015

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                                  Last time it rained was in April.
                                      It did not rain that much, 
                            but it was enough to dirty everywhere. 
                             You see, it was a south easterly wind
     and the clouds arrived laden with sand from the north African desert.
  That was nearly five months ago, and the farmers are already up in arms,
                   bemoaning lack of water as they till the arid soil.

                                         dust flies in the air
                                    the sun blazes overhead
                                      sweat drips profusely

                             Prayers have not gone unanswered!
                          Dark clouds creep from behind the hills
                   fast multiplying, ominously, obliterating the blue.
           The calm hot air is ruffled by a timid breeze which soon turns 
     to gusty wind. A sudden horizontal flash followed by drawling thunder 
            precedes a few big drops of rain which testily hit the ground.

                                          increase of tempo
                                     deafening cymbals clash
                                           erupting deluge 

                  Water gathers then flows steadily down the streets;
            thirsty fields drink greedily; trees bathe in delight, relishing
    heaven’s kiss of life on their moribund leaves, roots breathing in relief.
    Then, worn out, the wind slowly abates; so do the thunder and the rain. 
The clouds shyly disperse, permitting an unobstructed view of the sky above.
                 Satiated, the sundrenched land savours the afterglow. 

                                            sensual appeal
                                        petrichor emanation 
                                       veins pleasantly throb 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Contest: Rain Rain Come My Way
Sponsor: binibining P.iNk
8th June 2016

Copyright © Paul Callus | Year Posted 2016

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Pearls Beneath the Harbor

Our bank accounts nearly emptied so we could afford a vacation; two young working girls who'd never been far from home. We were looking forward to finding love on a romantic tropical island. Maybe someone in our group would cast his smiling eyes our way. How exciting it would be to be swept off our feet before we'd even left the ground! But when the tour guide said, "We're all here. Let's go," we were surrounded by eighteen fellow tourists who looked like they'd escaped from the geriactric ward. We saw smiling eyes, but they were all magnified behind bifocal glasses.

walkers and canes  
ambling down slanted ramps: 
no young men around

An overnight flight to Oahu, left little time to say more than 'hello' and "where ya from" before it was lights out for the elderly ones. Soon we heard the snores of those who were to be our companions for the next ten days. Alayna and I giggled as the snoring grew louder. We whispered, trying not to wake them, finding the humor of our plight. We managed to doze and in the morning, eighteen happy faces greeted us as we headed to the loo.

faces blushed in shame
from wrong conclusions drawn

Delightful confidants, the geriatrics turned out to be. They sang and danced and made us laugh at their antics. We learned that age is not a deterrent to having fun, and we became protected daughters of eighteen doting mothers and fathers who chaperoned us as if we were their charges. Not lacking in energy, despite limps and arthritic knees, they were fun travelers through every tour we'd booked.  No complainers among them, and always the most eager to be underway.

On the last day we visited Pearl Harbor. Alayna and I weren't interested in a monument over a ship that was sunk in WW II.  That was before we'd been born! With a little coaxing from 'Daddy' Glenn, we decided to tag along.  Something happened to us as we walked upon the bridge-like structure that spanned the USS Arizona. Several of the gentlemen in our group were veterans and began telling of their experiences in the war. We listened and learned, both rapt in awe of their memories. Goosebumps covered our skin when we looked into their solemn eyes. In eyes that had gleamed with laughter for the last nine days, we saw anguish as they recalled the horror of it all. 

sunken ship
for their burial tomb:
death beneath the harbor

There was an opportunity that one of us could have been romanced. The island boy who surfed the beach at our hotel was throwing glances our way. We decided to forsake the straight white teeth, handsome face, and seductive stares, and opted to spend our time with those who wore dentures and whose faces were wrinkled by time.

It had only been ten days that we spent on Oahu, but in that time we both grew up. We learned not to judge at first glance, and if given the chance, we would do it all over again. Over the years I've often wondered if the group had ever gathered for another journey.

Copyright © Lin Lane | Year Posted 2017

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It’s been many years since I’d climbed the wooden steps to my parent’s attic. The hinges of the trap door creak and a cloud of dust rises as I push the door open. I fumble for the light switch; it takes several minutes for the dust to settle and for my eyes to become accustomed to the gloom from the single bulb. I survey the small space, which is packed to the hilt with hidden treasures. I sit cross-legged in a cramped corner and delve one of the many boxes. relics of childhood packed in old cardboard boxes I find my old bear My mother had carefully packed away many of my old toys and keepsakes from my schooldays and high days and holidays. Oh how I laughed when I read some of the comments on my school reports and workbooks, it made for very amusing reading! I get quite emotional when I sort through photograph albums and see the faces of those who are no longer with us. cherished memories as I leaf through the pages I wipe away tears After several hours reminiscing I’ve selected a couple of items, which were once so dear to me; and then I finally close the door on the past. Picture 3 Photostory Contest Sponsored by Eve Roper 11-15-17

Copyright © JAN ALLISON | Year Posted 2017

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An Erin Adventure

It was an autumn day, fresh and crisp,
with a slight breeze blowing that made 
our cheeks rosy.  My Aunt Trix and I were
on the trip of a lifetime, one in which she
had been making plans for almost all
of her seventy-five years. Being of Irish 
heritage we both felt akin to that beautiful
country. Our first stop after seeing London
was to take a train ride through charming
Wales with its wet emerald hills glistening
after a light rain. Soon we were at Holyhead
at the Ferry buying our tickets to cross the 
Irish sea to Dun Laoghairie. The ferry was
a pleasant surprise. It was decorated with
intimate tables along side grand glass 
windows for a wonderful view. The center,
where different restaurants lured in hungry
patrons, was akin to the neon lights of the
Las Vegas strip. There was even an inviting
kid friendly area where children were elated
in seeking out adventure. After arriving in
Dun Laoghairie, we were told is pronounced
Dun Laorry, I rented an automatic compact
car and we headed for Galway. I had to keep 
reminding myself to keep on the left side of
the road. We found a lovely bed and breakfast.
Galway was a lovely rural village near the sea
with friendly folks. We each had our own room.
We delighted in hearing the lambs as we went 
to sleep.  After a wonderful full Irish breakfast
the next morning, we were on our way to visit 
the famous Blarney Castle. 

ancient castle walls...
the Blarney stone awaits our
precarious kiss

We arrived in the afternoon and were thrilled 
at the first sight of the castle with bright rust
hued ivy vining its way around the round 
tower that overlooks the River Martin. The 
current keep, a medieval stronghold in Blarney 
near Cork, was built by the MacCarthy of 
Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings 
of Desmond, and dates from 1446. The Blarney 
stone, reputed to gift eloquence of speech, laid
at the end on the top of the roofless keep with 
a line of eager tourists waiting to lie on their 
backs, head first, to kiss the well worn stone. 
I will never forget the ecstatic smile on my 
aunts face as she was helped up after kissing 
the Blarney Stone. I captured her joy with my 

charming autumn view...
the castle's steep steps were climbed
to kiss the cold stone

Visiting Blarney Castle and it's grounds was 
the highlight of our holiday. The memories and 
photographs still cause a smile and a tear.


Copyright © Connie Marcum Wong | Year Posted 2017