“Hana no Niwa” published at MasticadoresIndia

I’m happy and humbled to announce that my poem “Hana no Niwa” has been published at MasticadoresIndia. Much gratitude goes to Terveen Gill and her staff for their kindness and support in accepting my poem for publication. Terveen’s unwavering encouragement is a wonderful inspiration, and I’m honored to have my poetry included at MasticadoresIndia. Many thanks, Terveen!

“Hana no Niwa”

In the restless nights
In the small flower garden
Spider lilies weep
Mournful beneath midnight moon
Dreaming higanbana dreams

They cry in silence
Do they know for whom they grieve
Do they remember
It was you who planted them
It was you who gave them life…”

I’d be grateful if you would check out the rest of my poem by following this link. Also, be sure to follow/subscribe to MasticadoresIndia—it’s a wonderful place for those who love writing.

“Shinrin-yoku” published at MasticadoresIndia

I’m pleased and honored to announce that my poem “Shinrin-yoku” has been published at MasticadoresIndia. Many thanks to Terveen Gill and her staff for their kindness and support in accepting my poem for publication. Terveen’s wonderful encouragement knows no bounds, and I’m delighted to have my poetry included at MasticadoresIndia. Thanks so much, Terveen!


I have bathed in forest’s em’rald essence
I have nestled, secreted away, in
Jade konara copse
I have placed my palms
Soft upon the scabrous skin of giants
Whose slowly beating hearts have shattered stone
Whose deeply delving fingers grip the earth
In lover’s embrace
Eternity is far too brief a time
For such a love as this, for such a love
Trees have for the earth
I have for the trees…

I’d be grateful if you would check out the rest of my poem by following this link. Also, be sure to follow/subscribe to MasticadoresIndia—it’s a wonderful place for those who love writing.

“A Few Haiku (46)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


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



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



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



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



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



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

“It’s Not Lost” chosen for collaborative Poetry Partners project at The Skeptic’s Kaddish

I’m pleased and honored to let you know my poem “It’s Not Lost” has been chosen for a Poetry Partners collaboration on The Skeptic’s Kaddish website. Many thanks to David Bogomolny for including my poem in his collaborative project. Please check out David’s blog to read the collaboration here. David is a prolific and amazingly talented poet whose work I admire, and I’m sure you will, too. Thanks, David! 🙂

“You There”

“You There”
(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

I can only bleed so much
but it’s never enough
to satisfy you, is it
nevermind my shattered soul
and flesh flayed wide
no secrets left
no shadowed clefts
to hide what’s left of me
just the cold glare of reality
and the medicinal stench
of silent eternity

you there
who wields the hammer
of sanity
whose blood-caked hands
crush worlds
whose vacuous eyes
speak of
distant crimson suns
and blue corpse-light
you there
who rends flesh from bone
blackens sun and moon
you there
whose wretched grin
devours universes
vaporizes souls

you there

what is it you want from me

my essence torn
cell from cell
bones a useless armature
not even a sigh left
in my lungs
all that remains is my mind
and that’s what you want
isn’t it

I have known you
all my life
your honeyed lies
and soothing growls
drain existence of
hue and humor
your breath upon my neck
fetid and abominable
your raging roars
shake my skull numb

but you shall not have
my quicksilver trees
and lavender skies
my sickle moon dozing
above autumn wheat fields
my green silence
in konara copses
my humming leas
of flea bane and lupine
and forest-carpet ferns
these are mine

you there

you will destroy me
in the end
but my world
will live on
free of your rage and
blight and bluster
and that is
all that matters

“Koto no Yume” published at MasticadoresIndia

I’m honored and humbled to share with you that my poem “Koto no Yume” has been published at MasticadoresIndia. This is the fulfillment of a life-long dream for me—to be a published writer—and I’m deeply grateful to Terveen Gill for her unwavering support and encouragement. Thank you, Terveen, and everyone at MasticadoresIndia, for your kindness in making this happen.

“Koto no Yume”

In dreamland forests of my soul I hear
What deafened ears in waking cannot know
A yearning in konara groves
That lilts in silent soft-edged shadows calls

The stream conversing with the hart has hushed
Its liquid-silver voice now mute…

I’d be delighted if you would check out the rest of my poem here. Also, be sure to follow/subscribe to MasticadoresIndia–it’s a wonderful place for those who love writing.

“A Few Haiku (45)”

(c) Michael L. Utley


scrub my memories
hang them on the line to dry
before the storm comes



summer thunderheads
the past tears a swath across
the plains of my soul



post-rain gloaming
ghost-light from an unseen sun
sorrow’s harbinger



in this endless night
even eternity flees
from my broken soul



sepulchral silence
as the stars spin overhead
in the dead of night



when my soul awakes
will I see the dawn of hope
or hope’s dying light

“Big Indian Rock”

Big Indian Rock, Lisbon Valley, SE Utah (c) Mike Utley

I was raised on a farm about an hour from Lisbon Valley in southeast Utah. It’s an out-of-the-way place of red rock formations and sage-sprinkled canyons used for cattle grazing and open-pit copper mining (and yes, both activities have damaged the land considerably). I photographed this scene one summer evening in the late-1990s as the sun slanted toward the horizon and shadows encroached upon Big Indian Rock (upper left). I was intrigued by the strong diagonal slope my vantage point provided, as well as the bold blocks of color. It was a contrasting scene due to the brightly lit rock formations and the shadows, and because I was using slide film (which has a significantly narrower exposure latitude than negative film), I was unsure if I could render the scene properly exposed and still capture shadow details. The motto for photographers who use slide film is “Expose for the highlights and let the shadows fall where they may.” My goal here was to focus on composition and color, so I decided against using a graduated neutral density filter, which would have created more balance between the highlights and shadows. I thought that allowing the shadows to block-up a bit simplified the image and helped it adhere to my philosophy of quiet contemplation in nature. Busy photographs are chaotic and cause tension, and I sought peace and stillness here, so the fewer distractions, the better. There is still detail in the shadows, but not enough to distract from the tranquil feeling these rocks convey. I like the composition here, with the two rock formations standing near diagonal power-points in the scene against the brilliant blue sky and dark shadows. The rocks glow with the warm tones of the lowering sun and contrast well against the cool blue and black hues. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50)

“A Few Haiku (44)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


fallow fields
granary of memories
not fit for planting



mackerel scale clouds
and silver shark fin moon
eventide rolls in



cool moist predawn air
condensation in my heart
stillness in my soul



evening rain
I break bread alone
in the dim stillness



memory garden
I hoe every living thing
just to kill the weeds



summer zephyrs sail
the green grain ocean
wheat waves

“Peaks & Waterfall at Sunset”

Peaks & Waterfall at Sunset, Glacier National Park, Montana (c) Mike Utley

Mount Oberlin and Cannon Mountain can be found along the Going-to-the-Sun Road which traverses Logan Pass in Glacier National Park, Montana. These two peaks cradle the remnants of an old glacier that feeds Bird Woman Falls, visible between the two peaks. In this 1996 image, I was on a very rushed one-day tour of the park with a friend when we spotted this sunset scene. I had no way to compose the image with a strong foreground object as I would have preferred as I was on the opposite side of the steep valley from the peaks, so I utilized the two trees seen here to act as a sort of framing device and to divide the image into thirds to create a more pleasing shot in my mind. The fact that one tree is dead and the other thriving was incidental to my decision to include them, but they do provide a contemplative aspect to the image, especially how the waterfall seems to feed the living tree on the right, while the dead tree on the left signifies day’s end as it contrasts with Mount Oberlin’s brightly gilded face bathed in the dying day’s last light. (Canon gear, Fuji Velvia ISO 50).