“A Few Haiku (20)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


where once was laughter
now only bones
the burned forest



does the mantis pray
for long life and happiness
it receives neither



some live some die
I plant the seeds



slender-fingered hands
reach through trees, caress my face
the rising moon



heron on the bridge
watches incuriously
as my tears fall



as a boy I knew
the sun; as a man I can’t
recognize his face

22 thoughts on ““A Few Haiku (20)”

  1. Note: I’ve decided to relax my stranglehold on the western interpretation of haiku and try to write more in tune with the authentic Japanese style. Perhaps at some point I’ll have separate sections for haiku and senryu; as it stands now, I have both in these haiku collections. Just a FYI for whoever is interested. 🙂

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    1. Hey, David. Yeah, I was in a bit of a sad mood tonight as I wrote these. I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of my head and onto the screen, I just felt the urge/need to write. That last one…yeah, it’s quite somber. I had an image of myself as a young boy out on the farm on a hot summer day, just a happy kid with a baseball mitt and a striped shirt. I don’t know what happened to that kid. Just seems as though I’ve gotten lost somewhere along the way and I don’t recognize anything anymore, you know? (Sorry for rambling there.) Anyway, thanks for reading as always, and thanks for the comment. I appreciate it. 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Mark. I was at a place called Caney Lake in Louisiana back in 2005. It was evening and I was walking around and found a small pier with a guy fishing…and there was a heron standing just a few feet behind the guy as he sat on the end of the little pier. He didn’t know the heron was there, and I don’t even know if the heron realized there was a dude fishing. The heron just appeared totally disinterested in the guy and just stood there. It was sort of hilarious but also quite majestic, seeing that huge bird up close. Anyway, with #119 I was painting a picture of indifferent nature and how we can feel so incredibly alone when even nature turns its back on us. I appreciate your kind words and thanks so much for reading. 🙂

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    1. So true. I find there’s such a sense of futility in so much we do and hold dear, but we do it out of a fear of…not doing it? Ritual? Tradition? Even when there’s no guarantee it will bear fruit? I was in such an introspective mood when I wrote these, just pondering the impermanence of all things. I think it’s noble to fight in the face of overwhelming odds, but the end will be the same no matter what we do. Certain things provide comfort to us and perhaps that’s enough. With that said, I do believe in hope and the chance that happiness and contentment may be ours if only for a moment. There’s such beauty in the world, but I think that beauty is tied directly to the very impermanence of everything. It’s fleeting, and that makes it rare and therefore desirable, so we keep trying to achieve it even though it doesn’t last. Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. I’m so glad some of these spoke to you. 🙂

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      1. You’re welcome! I have some of your posts, I really like your haikus. They are really perfect for how short our attention spans are nowadays. Mine is still pretty good but still, pretty refreshing and they must be challenging to make. It’s “easy” to write without a limit, writing with such limited amount of words and making it interesting is challenging so kudos!

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    1. I think the brevity is what really attracts me to haiku. That, and my deep love and respect for Asian culture. I grew up on a farm so I have that bond with nature, which is invaluable when writing haiku. it can be challenging to come up with something (hopefully) profound in so few words, but I love that challenge. These little slices of life, these moments in time…their stark simplicity speaks volumes. I’m so glad you enjoy them, and I thank you for your kind words. I’m glad my writing connects with you. 🙂

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