“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

“A Few Haiku (45)”

(c) Michael L. Utley

(#265)

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

…..

(#266)

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

…..

(#267)

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

…..

(#268)

in this endless night
even eternity flees
from my broken soul

…..

(#269)

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

…..

(#270)

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

“A Few Haiku (44)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#259)

fallow fields
granary of memories
not fit for planting

…..

(#260)

mackerel scale clouds
and silver shark fin moon
eventide rolls in

…..

(#261)

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

…..

(#262)

evening rain
I break bread alone
in the dim stillness

…..

(#263)

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

…..

(#264)

summer zephyrs sail
the green grain ocean
wheat waves

“A Few Haiku (43)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#253)

your shadow remains
in the nest of my heart
long since you took wing

…..

(#254)

let me rest my soul
in the cool shadows of the
north side of your heart

…..

(#255)

thoughtless koi in lotus pond
I hover above, god-like
and go unnoticed

…..

(#256)

take the dappled path
through the green konara copse
there I’ll find my way

…..

(#257)

evening mourning doves
will never let me forget
day’s death and night’s tears

…..

(#258)

I arrange the stones
into cairns of memories
lest I lose my way

“A Few Haiku (42)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#247)

barren apple trees
culled from orchards without thought
so many regrets

…..

(#248)

in the desert
all pretense is stripped away
only truth survives

…..

(#249)

wooden ladle and tin cup
and a bone-dry well
life’s futility

…..

(#250)

take the empty cup
drink my fill of nothingness
let me live in peace

…..

(#251)

dragging the river
somewhere in the murky depths
I may find myself

…..

(#252)

leave the stones unturned
let the clouds drift where they may
live in harmony

“A Few Haiku (41)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#241)

semi-auto god
bestows eucharist of lead
solemn school bells toll

…..

(#242)

school halls echo with
screams of dying children and
NRA’s black sins

…..

(#243)

white men with black souls
and guns—God, so many guns–
MAGA paradise

…..

(#244)

bend them ’til they break
then suck the life out of them
my father’s parenting

…..

(#245)

my life etched in runes
incomprehensible script
I can’t decipher

…..

(#246)

creosote bushes
and alkali hardpan
I have no more tears

…..

(Author’s note: some of these pieces were inspired by the recent deadly spate of gun violence in the U.S., including an elementary school massacre in Uvalde, Texas, where nineteen children and two teachers were gunned down by a heavily armed young man who recently purchased AR-15 rifles on his 18th birthday and who had posted on social media his desire to do this act. Reports have now surfaced that police officers responding to the incident chose to wait outside the door because they “didn’t want to get shot.” Welcome to America, where there are more guns than people and more mass-shootings than days in the year…)

“A Few Haiku (39)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#229)

snap-beans in a wooden bowl
and tears on her cheeks
my mother’s sorrow

…..

(#230)

pre-dawn mourning
her eyes on the horizon
searching for the light

…..

(#231)

in konara copse
my soul seeks solace
in the still shadows

…..

(#232)

my reflection gone
even the stream forsakes me
as I drift away

…..

(#233)

these numb fingers
I can’t feel the difference
between hope and despair

…..

(#234)–(for Eivor and Pearl)

beneath verdant trees
joy and peace walk side by side
on the dappled path

“A Few Haiku (38)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#223)

sorrow begets joy
from the ashes of my soul
a columbine

…..

(#224)

what can harsh words rend
that kind words cannot assuage
the healing rain

…..

(#225)

under starless skies
my heart sings a silent dirge
night wind in the trees

…..

(#226)

my regrets are mine
my shame wears my haggard face
my soul weeps alone

…..

(#227)

vagaries of life
my heart’s buoyancy in doubt
on my soulless sea

…..

(#228)

what my heart demands
my mind cannot comprehend
and my soul rejects

“A Few Haiku (37)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#217)

clarity sundered
in the swelter and the din
of scorched memories

…..

(#218)

fitting denouement
thoughtless birds and bitter breeze
signify the end

…..

(#219)

I behold the stars
through the blurred prisms of tears
hope is beyond reach

…..

(#220)

holes in the pockets
of my soul; I lost myself
somewhere on the way

…..

(#221)

aloof stars shine on
while constellations of lives
perish on the earth

…..

(#222)

take my hand, my friend
do not cry, do not despair
you are not alone

“A Few Haiku (36)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#211)

the empty cistern
my poetry garden dies
in this wordless drought

…..

(#212)

that cur depression
skulks on the periphery
hyper-vigilant

…..

(#213)

thoughts bereft of words
prisoners inside my head
silent penitence

…..

(#214)

desiccated soul
slakes its thirst from murky meres
roams my sunless mind

…..

(#215)

mental exhaustion
I can no longer pretend
everything is fine

…..

(#216)

parts of me have died
that no one will ever know
nor will ever mourn