“A Few Haiku (52)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


dry gourds rattle
among cautious deer hooves
the forgotten garden



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



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



let go the acorn
trust the earth
to keep its promise



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



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

“A Few Haiku (38)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


sorrow begets joy
from the ashes of my soul
a columbine



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



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



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



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



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

“A Few Haiku (37)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


clarity sundered
in the swelter and the din
of scorched memories



fitting denouement
thoughtless birds and bitter breeze
signify the end



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



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



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



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

“A Few Haiku (31)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


three chickadees…
winter’s ellipsis as earth
pauses in thought



winter cattails
frozen tiki torches glow
in silver moon-fire



in night’s cold silence
old snow-laden branch succumbs
too many winters



warmth and light and love
all the world’s hope resides
in my glowing hearth



messenger moon
conveys hope to my lost love
through the years and tears



light in the darkness
dawn of hope or setting sun
I cannot decide

“A Few Haiku (29)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


my unsettled thoughts
blanket my winter world
in restless stasis



winter’s bitter dirge
prelude to spring’s soliloquy
hope waits in the wings



from womb to tomb
winter’s ever-present shroud
white cloak of despair



heaven’s secrets
whispered in the hiss of rain
on elm leaves



to those whose stories
go unheard by dearth of care
nature lends her ear



all hope is not lost
though harsh winter batters me
the golden suisen

“A Few Haiku (15)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


Fruit rots on the ground
In unattended orchard
Our love slowly dies



I plant hopes and dreams
In the fertile soil but I
Still must pray for rain



Sly kitsune slinks
Among magenta kiku
Shrewd white-tip-tailed imp



Thirsty tamarisk
In its drunken reveling
Drains oasis dry



Let the bitter plum
Remind you to cherish the
Sweetness of the pear



Those old stars above
Whisper of antiquity
And enduring hope

“A Tanka Trio (3)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


My eyes hear what my
Ears cannot see I wash my
Mouth of bitter taste
Of memories long past and
Chase scent of elusive hope



Distant memories
Hide like frail columbines
Shade-bound ‘neath the firs
Fragile petals woe-dappled
In the meadows of my mind



To open my heart
Is a mighty task I am
Not prepared to do
I no longer hold the key
To what’s locked inside of me

“The Flower”

“The Flower”
© 2014 by Michael L. Utley

A flower grows in distant land
Whose sweet perfume anoints the soul
Whose silken petals soothe the hand
Of he who seeks to understand
And reaches outward to console

This flower fair whose beauty hides
Such painful mem’ries of the past
Whose leaflets tremble in the tides
Of raindrop tears that course the sides
Of crying blossoms overcast

By fearsome thunderclouds above
And zephyrs cold that beat and rend
All things this flower’s come to love
With nothing but a mourning dove
To lament flower’s bitter end


A gentle hand, a warm caress
On melancholy flower’s face
A touch of simple tenderness
By miracle can convalesce
A heavy heart and can replace

A broken soul with life anew
And joy that was there once before
May dapple petals in the dew
Of mornings bright with strength renewed
With blossoms glowing evermore

A flower grows in distant land
Whose sweet perfume anoints the soul
And any rainstorm shall withstand
And live in peace in meadowland
No longer lost; in hope made whole

(for Lizzy)


© 2013 by Michael L. Utley

The kid was too young
This distant uncanny boy
Face absconded
Into the murky depths of his
Drenched and threadbare
Crimson hoodie
Eyes mere pinpricks
Of sentience in the shadows
Where his face should be
On this pouring midnight
Sidewalk where even the rain seemed
Exhausted in the scornful cones
Of streetlamp illumination
And unseen clouds sighed above
Too tired for the bluster and pretense
Of thunder
And he sat there in this mess of a night
On a bench where no bus would ever stop
For anyone at anytime for any reason
Staring into the distance at both
Something and nothing at once
Moveless save for an occasional shiver
Waiting for someone or something
Or perhaps nothing at all

His shoes were soaking wet
Those black hi-tops iridescent
From rain and gutter filth
His dark spidery fingers
Loomed together in some
Cryptic pattern on his lap
Where rainwater pooled and eddied before
Dispersing first through his skinny legs
Then between the filthy slats of the bench
To merge with the noisy gutter rill
And then with the sewage below
And then the poisonous river
And then the darkness of the ocean
Of some other universe

And I passed him in the rain
Of that eternal night as I made
My own way into my own darkness
And I thought of some worried mother
Sitting at some rickety kitchen table
Bathed in the sickly yellow glow of a naked
Tungsten bulb
Haunted eyes fixed somewhere
Beyond the weeping window panes
Hands wringing in some unconscious
Talismanic effort of projected protection
For some lost child some prodigal son
Out there alone in the rain
And I couldn’t decide if she was
The boy’s mother
Or my own

And then my blackness
Was interrupted by a voice
Behind me
Not that of a man
Yet not that of a child
And I stopped and turned
And the kid was there
And in his outstretched hands
He held a soaked and faded
Red hoodie and a pair of
Sopping black hi-tops
And his eyes were calm
And his face shone in the rain
And he didn’t say a word
He just pointed at my own
Bare feet and my freezing body
And then he was gone
His own bare footprints
Lingering momentarily on the sidewalk
Before the rain took them away