“A Few Haiku (46)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#271)

blurred images and
a smudge of words on a page
is this all I am

…..

(#272)

puddle of cold wax
where my candle burned out
waiting for the light

…..

(#273)

thirty-six hours
between my tears and your death
a lifetime since then

…..

(#274)

fallow fields, dry ponds
fences in disrepair
long-dead memories

…..

(#275)

hope stretched thin and taut
across brittle bones of time
a dry husk of life

…..

(#276)

sorrow’s bedrock or
hope’s aquifer; either way
naught left but to dig

74 thoughts on ““A Few Haiku (46)”

    1. Thanks, Cindy. Oh boy, this batch of haiku languished in a folder on my desktop for nearly a month and a half. I just couldn’t think clearly enough to write for the past few weeks. Tonight I was able to finish off half of them and wanted to get them published so I could feel as though I’d accomplished something. I’m happy you like them. Trying to declutter my mind (as my friend Saima puts it), gathering up the detritus and putting things back in their places in my head. Writing out the despair and sadness helps so much, although I worry about being known as a one-trick pony (“that guy who writes depressive poetry”), but all I can do is write what matters to me and hope it resonates with others. Anyway, I’m rambling. Thanks for your wonderful support, my friend. It’s invaluable to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 6 people

      1. and here I thought you were basking in your glory as a Published Poet on Mastecadores racking in those likes and you did get to 100 and I loved every minute!
        Darn I wish it was this my friend. You are truly gifted and your poetry is beautiful no matter how dark it might feel to you. Someone needs it always because there are many more people in the world struggling. I do know that feeling tho of sounding like a broken record… like me trying to get this project done and the frustration etc and lack of committed people who do what they say they will do and do it properly. But you know that’s just true for this moment and tomorrow it might not be. We have to keep remembering this Mike and then poof like magic it lifts. I do like the decluttering trick your friend talks about.
        From one pony to another…. let’s go make hay and search for the carrot.
        You’re very sweet and you can ramble any day to me! I might not get it but who cares. I tell that to my clients too. just call and vent. It helps. Awww you’re friendship is important to me as well!
        ๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–๐Ÿ’–

        Liked by 2 people

    2. “From one pony to anotherโ€ฆ. letโ€™s go make hay and search for the carrot…” This made me smile way too much, Cindy! ๐Ÿ˜€ Brilliant stuff. Thank you for your kind thoughts. Your words always contain nuggets o’ wisdom, and you share them so freely. I’m so glad to have you around, my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh that makes my heart happy to hear that Mike. You’re so welcome and thanks for floating my boat tonight. I’m happy to share them with you and glad you appreciate them. That’s so sweet.. Have a good night! ๐Ÿ’–

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Xenia. I read an interesting thing about “ma” where it’s described as “dreaming room,” a silent space where the reader “fills in” or “completes” the haiku with his or her own feelings, memories or experiences. It’s a fascinating thing, and I’m still trying to improve in this regard. I really value silent spaces in poetry and photography (and in music, too, before deafness took my guitars away from me), and often times I have difficulty getting it right, but sometimes the words just fall into place and there’s a sense of something special, you know? I really appreciate your critiques of my haiku and I try to learn from reading yours (sublime in all instances, yours are). Anyway, thank you so much. It means a great deal to me when my haiku connect with people. Much appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you much. I had that image of a pool of candle wax on the surface of a rough old wooden table near a paneless window for many weeks but just couldn’t find the words to finish it. I have this “haiku house” in my mind where I go to visualize haiku. Well, it’s a little plot of land, actually, an imaginary place where many of my haiku and other poems have been born. It may sound weird, but I see it as a sort of meditative place where I can let my mind relax and be open to whatever it is I see in my mind’s eye. A safe place. I close my eyes and I’m there, walking near the red footbridge that crosses the stream by the lotus pond. There’s a flower garden, a stand of bamboo across the stream, a heron that visits regularly along with a kitsune (fox). I can hear the cicadas in the willows by the stream. There’s a narrow footpath that leads up the mountain. A little hut. So much of my poetry has originated in this imaginary place, including this haiku about the candle that burned out. I don’t know how other writers find inspiration, but this is an effective way for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 4 people

  1. Mike, your haiku move me deeply and connect me to you, what you’re experiencing, the world, and myself. Until I read the comments I did not know about “ma”. Your description of it, and later, your description of the “haiku house”, were both beautiful and helpful. I am learning so much from you and I am grateful for your blogging presence.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, Joan. I’m so humbled by your words. I think this is what it’s all about: connecting with people. And this is something I have a lot of difficulty doing in real life due to deafness and depression and being so introverted. If it weren’t for words and photos (and art in general), I don’t know where I’d be.

      Like I mentioned in another comment, I worry that my poetry may be too gloomy for anyone to appreciate, but then I’m reminded of a discussion I had many years ago with my late mom (whom I wrote about in #273). We were discussing writing and my failed efforts to get my short fiction published. I was being terribly hard on myself (as usual) and she said, “Why don’t you just write what people like to read? Maybe then you’ll get published.” And I said, “What makes you think I have a choice?” I explained to her that I can only write what I feel, what I’ve experienced, what I hope for and dream about, my worries, fears and regrets. I don’t think she ever understood since she wasn’t a writer. I eventually gave up on writing for twenty years, then began writing poetry one night out of the blue in 2012. Those twenty years away from writing were filled with life experiences that allowed me to actually have something to say, and I embraced poetry like I never had before. And it was all painful, but cathartic, poetry, much like what I write now. It took me years to accept that this is who I am and this is what I write about, and that it’s okay. When I began writing haiku in earnest last fall, it was like the sky opening up and god-beams shining down on me. I was suddenly drawn to this curiously brief poetic form that dealt with nature and fleeting moments, glimpses into the secret corners of the universe, and contemplative peace and quiet. It was just what I needed and I’ve loved the format ever since. Haiku and senryu lend themselves so well to a wide array of human emotions. I found joy in the distillation of emotions and painting tiny, intimate portraits of my love for the natural world. This is my way of being me. And to know it resonates with you and other folks has been a revelation to me.

      I’ve gotten long-winded here and I hope you’ll forgive me, but I just want to say thank you for your kindness. I’m so glad my words mean something to you. I’m so glad for this connection with other people. There’s a sense of validation and acceptance and camaraderie and community here, as well as friendship and sharing. I’m so impressed by your poetry. You’re an amazing writer. There are so many wonderful writers here. I’m just glad to be part of it. I want to keep learning, keep improving, and keep connecting. As reclusive as I am, I know I need this. So, thanks, Joan, for your nice comments and for being a part of this community. I appreciate it so much. ๐Ÿ™‚

      In case you’re interested, here’s the post where I read about “dreaming room,” the concept of “ma” in haiku. It’s really interesting. ๐Ÿ™‚

      https://simplyhaiku.com/SHv6n4/features/Garrison.html

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Wonderful collection Mike. Your emotions are so vivid, like I’m a shadow to your words. ๐Ÿ’• #271 stands out to me the most. I’ve asked myself this too before.

    Thank you for sharing๐Ÿ˜Š

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks a bunch, Kirsten. Glad to know these spoke to you. #271 came about while pondering my reclusiveness and wondering if anyone really “sees” other people online, or do they only see what’s posted? Images and words, but not the human beings behind them? We all want to be seen and heard, even the Boo Radley-types like myself ( ๐Ÿ˜€ ). Acknowledgment as a person rather than just our words and images on-screen is difficult sometimes in this world, but I hope people can recognize the humanity behind the pixels. I appreciate your kind thoughts, my friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. In this fast paced world sometimes we see or read things online and build our own perceptions from there in seconds then move onto the next thing to hold our short attention spans.

        But oftentimes, words will resonate. Maybe the reader has walked a similar path (or know someone who has) and can relate to the emotions expressed in our words. That’s when they see the human being behind the post, through the pixels…

        I see you, my friend. ๐Ÿค—โ˜€๏ธ

        Liked by 2 people

  3. All of these poignant beauties resonated with me, too. I don’t know how any mortal can span years and entire stages of life in just 3 lines and a handful of syllables! Maybe you’re not mortal — maybe you are Super-Michael! Or, maybe the Lord wants you to say how He felt, too, that we might know that He knows, and so that He might glorify you for magnifying Him so expertly. ๐ŸŒป

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is such a wonderful comment and I’m honestly humbled by this. It’s kind of funny in a way because I feel like I’m just some random guy writing about my feelings, and somehow other people are able to connect with my words. It’s so fulfilling to me when my poetry resonates with others. It makes me feel like that incredibly shy little seven-year-old Mike all over again, not knowing what to say when someone compliments me on something (back then, I’d be inclined to simply run away and hide under the bed in such instances). I’m so glad these mean something to you. It makes the painful process of writing them worth it in the end. I write about melancholy themes not just because of my life experiences, but also with the knowledge that I’m not the only one who has felt these emotions, and that perhaps by sharing mine, others will realize they’re not alone. I’m just happy to know sometimes my words connect with other people. Seriously, thanks so much. Your kindness is priceless to me. Much appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Jeff. #275 was inspired by how sometimes hope seems to be stretched to the breaking point. In my area, archaeologists sometimes uncover mummified remains of Ancestral Puebloans in the desert, and the taut skin stretched over bones is such a visceral image. Sometimes, in our darkest hours, hope feels that way–thin and brittle and soon to disintegrate like dust in the wind Thanks for your kind words, my friend. I appreciate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Terveen. I’ll tell you, that image was so strong when it hit me, that red pool of cooled wax on a rough wooden table top as the moon shone through the paneless window. It held a lot of meaning for me. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Your enthusiastic support is so appreciated. Thank you kindly. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Mitch. There’s just something about the haiku/senryu form that’s almost magical as it requires you to distill everything down to the most basic elements. There’s a vulnerability that results when pretense is stripped away. I love the paradoxical urgency and peaceful contemplation of this form. So much can be conveyed in so few words. I truly appreciate your kind thoughts, good sir. I’m happy you enjoyed these. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Dear Mike,

    I have returned to read your evocative haikus and the comments submitted. I must confess that they are rather dark and sombre, though I understand from your comments that they have been completed in stages and they serve a cathartic purpose by clearing your mind and releasing your negative vibes. The following extracts are very revealing, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you have been so generous in revealing your vulnerabilities and demons, so to speak. This is highly admirable and commendable:

    I have this โ€œhaiku houseโ€ in my mind where I go to visualize haiku. Well, itโ€™s a little plot of land, actually, an imaginary place where many of my haiku and other poems have been born. It may sound weird, but I see it as a sort of meditative place where I can let my mind relax and be open to whatever it is I see in my mindโ€™s eye. A safe place. I close my eyes and Iโ€™m there, walking near the red footbridge that crosses the stream by the lotus pond. Thereโ€™s a flower garden, a stand of bamboo across the stream, a heron that visits regularly along with a kitsune (fox). I can hear the cicadas in the willows by the stream. Thereโ€™s a narrow footpath that leads up the mountain. A little hut. So much of my poetry has originated in this imaginary place, including this haiku about the candle that burned out. I donโ€™t know how other writers find inspiration, but this is an effective way for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I worry that my poetry may be too gloomy for anyone to appreciate, but then Iโ€™m reminded of a discussion I had many years ago with my late mom (whom I wrote about in #273). We were discussing writing and my failed efforts to get my short fiction published. I was being terribly hard on myself (as usual) and she said, โ€œWhy donโ€™t you just write what people like to read? Maybe then youโ€™ll get published.โ€ And I said, โ€œWhat makes you think I have a choice?โ€ I explained to her that I can only write what I feel, what Iโ€™ve experienced, what I hope for and dream about, my worries, fears and regrets. I donโ€™t think she ever understood since she wasnโ€™t a writer. I eventually gave up on writing for twenty years, then began writing poetry one night out of the blue in 2012. Those twenty years away from writing were filled with life experiences that allowed me to actually have something to say, and I embraced poetry like I never had before. And it was all painful, but cathartic, poetry, much like what I write now. It took me years to accept that this is who I am and this is what I write about, and that itโ€™s okay. When I began writing haiku in earnest last fall, it was like the sky opening up and god-beams shining down on me. I was suddenly drawn to this curiously brief poetic form that dealt with nature and fleeting moments, glimpses into the secret corners of the universe, and contemplative peace and quiet. It was just what I needed and Iโ€™ve loved the format ever since. Haiku and senryu lend themselves so well to a wide array of human emotions. I found joy in the distillation of emotions and painting tiny, intimate portraits of my love for the natural world. This is my way of being me. And to know it resonates with you and other folks has been a revelation to me.

    In a sense, the very trials and tribulations of your life as a writer and poet are both purgatory and therapeutic, and in some respects (much) more interesting than what you have considered to be (worthy of becoming) your professional oeuvres or publishable works, whether extant or forthcoming. I hope that I am making sense here.

    Yours sincerely,
    SoundEagle

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment. It’s true: I find more inspiration in pain and sadness than in any other life experiences. I like to think we write our lives out every time we put pen to paper to craft a story or a poem or a song (or any type of art). I’ve mentioned before that it’s taken me a while to accept that I write melancholy poetry, and it’s okay. It’s who I am. There are other aspects of my true self that aren’t defined by sorrow. It’s just that those painful memories and my current situation are more inclined to get me writing. One major exception is my love for nature, which carries a singular joy and occasionally results in some upbeat poetry. At any rate, when I write, I’m desperately trying to find meaning in my life, so even a tiny haiku, in all its brevity, can be deeply profound to me. I’m just so grateful that some people seem to appreciate my writing even though much of it is dark and melancholy. It’s cathartic, and there’s a moment of delight when I finish a piece and sit back and read it. It’s a magical, therapeutic practice, writing is. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Dear Mike,

        I just submitted a special and long comment at your latest post about your poem โ€œShinrin-yokuโ€ being published at MasticadoresIndia by Terveen Gill and her staff. My comment seems to have disappeared. If the comment has been mistakenly identified as spam, please kindly retrieve and approve it from your WordPress spam folder.

        To access your WordPress spam folder, go to the following URL:

        [insert your blog url here]/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=spam

        After unspamming the comments, you need to approve them by going to the following URL:

        [insert your blog url here]/wp-admin/edit-comments.php?comment_status=all

        Thank you.

        Yours sincerely,
        SoundEagle

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Diana. That’s what I love about haiku: they hint at something much deeper, sort of like the first yellow leaf that falls, portending a vast change of season to come. I like the expectancy of good haiku. They leave you still and silently listening for what may come. I appreciate your kind thoughts so much. Glad you liked these. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒป
        That day the big comment which I got from you. It was so good and I felt so happy after that, no one has ever appreciated me that much. I started posting all this on ig but I was always afraid that people might think of me as so many people are connected but now I literally don’t care.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. I certainly understand the fear with regards to putting oneself out there in public by writing a poetry blog. Every time I click the Publish button, a little jolt of fear runs through me and I think, “What if people don’t like this one? What if it’s not good enough?” That fear is deep and strong, and I I think it’s universal, as well. I believe even the most successful artists feel trepidation when putting themselves out there for people to judge. I spent twenty years not writing anything (1992-2012) because I had given up after trying so hard to publish my short fiction. That fear was so strong that it pretty much destroyed all my hopes of ever being published. I didn’t want to experience the rejection anymore, you know? But after all that time away from writing, a strange thing occurred one night: I had an uncanny urge to write something–anything–and it was such a startling feeling. I wrote a poem that night. It was such a liberating feeling because I wasn’t trying to write to please some magazine editor, I was writing to please myself. (I’m sitting here grinning as I remember that night. ๐Ÿ™‚ ) I think the lesson that took me twenty years to learn was to just be myself. Write things that please me. Write about my hopes, dreams, regrets, guilt, shame, joy…and write with brutal honesty, and with zero regard for what anyone else thinks. So it was an epiphany of sorts. I still feel that bit of fear when I post something new, but I know in my heart what I’ve written is true to myself, and if no one likes it, hey, so what? It has meaning for me, and that’s all that matters.

      I suppose that’s the message I wanted to convey to you in that big comment I left on your blog. Write fearlessly, confidently, and honestly, and never let anyone change your heart. Poetry is such a unique form of self-expression, so much more personal than prose. I really enjoyed your poem, and wanted to let you know. I hope you’ll continue to write boldly about what’s important to you. You’re talented, and you deserve to be read and appreciated. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ahh I am glad that you started writing again as you write so good and I ve a lot to learn from you because you are so elder like I am just 20 and you might have had many more experiences than me of course and you might have learned a lot from that, you have encouraged me a lot.
        Thank you again!๐ŸŒปโค๏ธ

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry to learn you’re dealing with sorrow. I hope things are okay. Sometimes I feel like I write about my own sorrows too often, but then I remind myself that perhaps there are other folks who may be able to identify with what I write and perhaps find solace in the fact that they’re not alone. Our shared humanity links us together. Sending you warm and hopeful wishes. Keep digging–you’ll find hope’s aquifer soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a bunch, Filipa. Honestly, I feel the same way about your poetry and photography, too. Your blog is so uplifting and optimistic. Plus, you have photos of lighthouses! ๐Ÿ˜€ (Man, I love lighthouses!) ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks, sincerely, for your kindness. I’m glad you’re here. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Hi Mike,

    Was wondering how you were going. I hadn’t seen any new things on your blog and hoped you weren’t feeling blue or lonely. Thinking of your work and great pictures as the weather finally warms up here!

    Take care,

    Anna

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much for checking in on me, Anna. I’m still here. Just mired in that old familiar emptiness of writer’s block, that creative desolation that is so familiar to me. My mind is empty–Hoovered of all inspiration–and I’m just trying to let it run its course. Depression can be a powerful adversary for a creative person. Just lots of stress at the moment concerning a lot of things, many of which are out of my control. I think of my blog and my blog friends daily, but can’t seem to muster the strength to comment or respo9nd to anyone’s posts. Just feeling mentally exhausted. (Actually, I think the problem is I just need a big bag of M&M’s… problem solved! ๐Ÿ˜€ )

      Anyway, thank you for this comment. I truly appreciate you and your concern. I hope the warming weather brings much happiness and inspiration to you. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. ‘Hoovered of all inspiration’ is definitely a familiar feeling – particularly in the last five or six months. The warming weather really has lifted my mood, though. I’m sorry you’ve got so much stuff going on – it’s always easy to say ‘Let it go’, but the implication is that you’re not smart enough to have seen that. However, I am glad that M&Ms work for you – my threats of adding a third cat to my stable of feline therapists are usually greeted with a firm ‘No’ and a reminder that mad cat-lady status begins at three ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Hope things start looking up – I’ll keep checking your blog!

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much, my friend. I love haiku but it’s been a while since I’ve been able to write any and I miss it dearly. So much can be said in so few words. I appreciate your kindness and support. Coming from someone with your masterful gift for wordsmithing, it’s truly an honor. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s