“A Few Haiku & Senryu (56)”

(c) 2023 by Michael L. Utley

(#331)

dusty stew pot
her memory lingers by
the cold hearth

…..

(#332)

a tiny sun
in this cold dark hell
golden suisen

…..

(#333)

strings of koto
from beyond the bamboo grove
my heart breaks again

…..

(#334)

don’t look at me, moon
I’m not who you think I am
dark night of the soul

…..

(#335)

from my window
the mountain; from the mountain
eternity

…..

(#336)

green silence
and the end of all things
sea of trees

(Note: A bit of a title change for this series. I’ve been writing senryu almost as long as haiku and I figured it was time to clarify that these little collections contain both. Haiku pertain to nature and seasons, while senryu address the human condition. The formats are virtually identical; the subject matter differs.)

“A Few Haiku (55)”

(c) 2023 by Michael L. Utley

(#325)

to write is to breathe
and I am suffocating
in silence

…..

(#326)

speak again of joy
and the warmth of summer days
your lies are comforting

…..

(#327)

pond ice
stretched thin as hope
and equally deceptive

…..

(#328)

some write of joy
I write of experience
would they were the same

…..

(#329)

pardon my sorrow
and forgive my weeping soul
a poet’s lament

…..

(#330)

hope comes and goes
and lasts for but a season
winter snow

“A Few Haiku (54)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#319)

the trees believed once
before they lost everything
the lies of winter

…..

(#320)

for whom do you seek
there’s no one here but me
long night moon

…..

(#321)

fetch the sickle moon
let us harvest ice blossoms
winter star fields

…..

(#322)

sorrows of autumn
kindle the warmth of winter
the blazing hearth

…..

(#323)

this bitter cold
reminds me I’m alive
and why I wish I weren’t

…..

(#324)

in each flake
a brief eternity
the grief of winter

“A Few Haiku (53)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#313)

my world begins and ends
at my window
lonely winter moon

…..

(#314)

blood and feathers
the sky falls into my palm
a young boy’s shame

…..

(#315)

calligraphy of sorrow
etched on her wrists
autumn’s demise

…..

(#316)

fast asleep
in the heron’s belly
the stilt hut

…..

(#317)

one cup one bowl one spoon
and a thousand silences
winter’s bitter feast

…..

(#318)

when it’s time to laugh
I will laugh; until then
let me cry

“A Few Haiku (52)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#307)

dry gourds rattle
among cautious deer hooves
the forgotten garden

…..

(#308)

sing loudly, moon
for my heart is deaf
and my soul yearns to dance

…..

(#309)

there is peace
in the aftermath of tears
the joy of sorrow

…..

(#310)

let go the acorn
trust the earth
to keep its promise

…..

(#311)

an eternity
from your eyes to my heart
a tear’s journey

…..

(#312)

dull silence
a stone flung at a post
a summer’s field in winter

“A Few Haiku (51)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#301)

in sleeping woods
the scent of burning bark
the fragrance of memories

…..

(#302)

the tilt of her head
as she looked at me
the burned bridge

…..

(#303)

cairns of river stones
lest the stream forget
its sorrow

…..

(#304)

these old coins
both priceless and worthless
a wealth of emptiness

…..

(#305)

swift, swift the stream
and all it sweeps away
the torrent of the years

…..

(#306)

among the rushes
the blur of silent koi
and dreams of oblivion

“A Few Haiku (49)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#289)

burning leaf piles
a taste of smoke
the flavor of melancholy

…..

(#290)

a handful of
broken promises
last autumn’s acorns

…..

(#291)

Aokigahara
Fuji’s shoulders bear
the weight of sorrow

…..

(#292)

ragged sheaves
my old rusted sickle
nears harvest’s end

…..

(#293)

these tears
it’s the bitter autumn wind
that’s all

…..

(#294)

in a field of sage and lupine
a young boy dreams
an old man weeps

“A Few Haiku (47)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#277)

my soul’s tourniquet
staunches words but not the pain
I weep in silence

…..

(#278)

strip me of my layers
to my core of nothingness
then you’ll understand

…..

(#279)

an errant snowflake
drifts through my paneless window
and freezes my heart

…..

(#280)

yuki no hana
coldness blossoms in my heart
my endless winter

…..

(#281)

I am not afraid
to say I am terrified
of what lies ahead

…..

(#282)

I am shamed by fear
my coward’s heart quails in the
shadows of my soul

“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

“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
forever

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