No way we could know
at this playful reunion,
it would be our last.
Notes: While there may be a later photo of my brothers and I all together, I do not know of it. Less than four years after this shot, Bill (third from the bottom) would perish in a scuba diving accident in San Diego bay.
John (second from the bottom) was an electrician who would touch the wrong wire in a Colorado coal mine many years later.
Larry (at the bottom) would die after a stroke in 2010.
I’m the last leaf on the tree.
Surely alder has
a purpose. But every spring
I sneeze and wonder.
Notes: I really thought I had a good plan this year. Take off for two weeks on vacation at the beginning of March and when I returned, the alder allergy season would be drawing to a close.
Alas, crazy winter weather persisted while I was away and I returned mid-March to a greeting of pollen bursting out in all its glory.
Maybe I’ll just arrange to be elsewhere for all of March next year. A pity because it’s one of the prettiest months here in the Pacific Northwest.
Give Maui credit
As for my wife, I must say,
She looks younger here
Back to Maui after four years and the place still works its magic.
Lone hummingbird comes
to poke our dying blossoms.
All the rest have gone.
NOTES: This summer we were visited daily by dozens of hummingbirds. We have four species native to Western Washington: Anna’s, Rufous, Calliope, and Black-Chinned. At first I was quite concerned for our persistent cold-weather guest, but I have since learned that the Anna’s Hummingbird is the only one of the four that does not migrate south for the winter. So apparently he knows what he is doing.
I wish I could take its picture, but I have neither the camera nor the skill to catch it. So an old print will have to do to illustrate today’s haiku.
The modest ginkgo
adorns herself in splendor
for All Hallows’ Eve.
NOTES: All Hallows’ Eve begins the 3-day observance of All Hallows’ Tide, dedicated to remembering the dead, including the saints, martyrs, and faithful departed.
According to current statistics from Open Doors, each month around the world, 322 Christians are killed for their faith,
When Canada burns,
smoke paints the sky with color.
But we’re all coughing.
Notes: I regret that conditions have made it appropriate to repost this poem from last summer.
Back at the Ballard Market
Made my second trip back to the Ballard Market this summer.
I’m always in awe of poets persisting in their craft and striving to earn a living. the Ballard Market has a couple of regulars who do just that.
Seven and Elliot show up for work with their manual typewriters and their signs that read: “Poems: Your Topic. Your Price.”
They are the improvisational performance artists of the poetry world. If you engage one of them, they will tell you to name a topic and then give them a few minutes.
When you return from sampling the goat cheese and perusing the organic vegetables, they will have a short poem to your theme.
I asked Elliot to write about writer’s block (since that is a topic close to my heart!) Here is his effort:
That’s pretty insightful. I couldn’t do that on such short notice! I love the insight about “the voyage inside.”
Elliot told us that he can make some decent money “on a good day.” But, then there are other days when the take is not so good.
I shared my favorite Hayden Carruth haiku with him. The one about the Japanese haiku master Basho.
Basho, you made
A living writing haiku?
Wow! Way to go, man!
I’m always happy to see poets making a go of it.
Ah! Midsummer sun.
Blonde girl walking a black dog.
All downhill from here.
NOTES: We’ve come to that time again. Summer has peaked and feels like it is beginning to slip away.
For thousands of years
others have walked this grey shore,
crows scolding them, too.
This whimsical scene at Seattle’s Ballard Market the other day made me smile. This pair of poetical hustlers are bittersweet reminders of the plight of poets everywhere.
They brought to mind the funny (but not-too-funny) little poem by Hayden Carruth, written when he was studying and writing about the Japanese haiku master, Basho, who lived and wrote in the late 1600s.
Basho, you made
a living writing haiku?
Wow! Way to go, man.
This pair at the market did not appear to be doing much business, but they were earnest and eager, and I wish them the best.