“A Few Haiku (53)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


my world begins and ends
at my window
lonely winter moon



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



calligraphy of sorrow
etched on her wrists
autumn’s demise



fast asleep
in the heron’s belly
the stilt hut



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



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

“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

“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

“A Few Haiku (40)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


so much damage done
by such delicate fingers
and a blackened heart



how soothing the words
whispered to a shattered heart
by her serpent’s tongue



days of green silence
heart fern-bound in oak shadows
dreaming with the trees



I have not yet reached
terminal velocity
my life in free-fall



carved into the bark
of my heart, her initials
overgrown with grief



bright sun hurts my eyes
just as hope singes my soul
best to stay inside

“A Few Haiku (32)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


the forsaken vase
still stands where you left it
waiting for your flower



in the end
my heaven could not redeem
your hell



memories of you
litter the oak-shadowed grass
I tread carefully



coy spring tarries
just beyond my winter heart
how I yearn for her



strawberry spring
the false hope of redemption
as the storm draws nigh



my destitute mind
is as barren as my heart
all the words have gone

“A Few Haiku (30)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


the burning earth
raging sea and starless sky
nature’s broken heart



the blowing snow
winter’s children play hopscotch
on frozen fields



nine thousand miles
and years of pain lie between
my heart and my soul



does she remember
in her tropical winter
my world of snow



drafts have stilled the hearth
killed the fire in my soul
endless winter night



ice in wash basin
fingers too frigid to wash
cold thoughts from my mind

“A Few Haiku (27)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


memories of her
drift on plains of sorrow
the driving snow



the withered forest
cruel winter shames the trees
into submission



the blush of winter
cold flirtatious wind kisses
my cheeks and nose



clear winter night
moon tends her silver garden
of star flowers



my personal winter
heart too deep in permafrost
for love’s healing thaw



cracks on pond ice
kintsugi heals frozen earth
as lotus slumber

“A Few Haiku (26)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


drifting blizzard snow
not deep enough to inter
all the world’s sins



fallow field
without love and compassion
there can be no hope



the thresher’s flail
I am not yet able to
leave my past behind



iced boughs bend in shame
winter’s woe too bitter for
weeping willow’s tears



silent winter night
sound of my heart’s muffled cries
bereft of echoes



bitter reckoning
seeds of love in time shall meet
the harvester’s scythe

“A Few Haiku (25)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


whispers of the dead
desiccated teasel stalks
haunt the winter field



fuyu no shika
scornful mountains echo
mournful stag’s lament



in the end
my heart gropes in darkness
on life’s lonely path



jade remembrance
the hitch in my chest
as my heart shatters



barren winter field
this heart of mine
bereft of yours



in silence in shadows
cold earth trembles beneath
blanket of regrets


(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley

A handful of words hastily shaken
Thrown like dice against a filthy brick wall
Skittering across deserted sidewalk
Bouncing into foul gutter rill
Profound thoughts from a tired mind

Is this all I have to say and if so
Does it even matter when no one cares
These words buoyant as a waterlogged corpse
Sink slowly beneath the surface
Of a world bereft of conscience

I mix metaphor and stark imagery
Insert heart and soul, blood and torrid tears
Craft a paper boat to launch on oceans
Of antiquity and futures
Yet to be and watch as it sinks

Words fall like proverbial autumn leaves
Raked into pretentious piles of damp dross
To become compost to feed the dull worms
Of bitter earth and mindless murk
Where nothing echoes but darkness

I have shouted from the tops of mountains
I have whispered in sepulchral shadows
I have groaned in blackened pits of despair
I have lost my voice so often
I can no longer hear my thoughts

Sharpened edges of serrated starlight
A thousand vapid cuts my soul bleeds out
I offer up my penance to the gods
Ragged blood-soaked sheaves of parchment
Etched with runes of my existence

It is not sufficient for redemption
For what are words but empty utterance
The fetid breaths of wretched souls exhaled
As dying light slips languidly
Beyond aloof eternity