“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 (40)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#235)

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

…..

(#236)

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

…..

(#237)

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

…..

(#238)

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

…..

(#239)

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

…..

(#240)

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

(#187)

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

…..

(#188)

in the end
my heaven could not redeem
your hell

…..

(#189)

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

…..

(#190)

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

…..

(#191)

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

…..

(#192)

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

“A Few Haiku (30)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#175)

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

…..

(#176)

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

…..

(#177)

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

…..

(#178)

does she remember
in her tropical winter
my world of snow

…..

(#179)

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

…..

(#180)

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

“A Few Haiku (27)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#157)

memories of her
drift on plains of sorrow
the driving snow

…..

(#158)

the withered forest
cruel winter shames the trees
into submission

…..

(#159)

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

…..

(#160)

clear winter night
moon tends her silver garden
of star flowers

…..

(#161)

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

…..

(#162)

cracks on pond ice
kintsugi heals frozen earth
as lotus slumber

“A Few Haiku (26)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#151)

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

…..

(#152)

fallow field
without love and compassion
there can be no hope

…..

(#153)

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

…..

(#154)

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

…..

(#155)

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

…..

(#156)

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

“A Few Haiku (25)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley

(#145)

whispers of the dead
desiccated teasel stalks
haunt the winter field

…..

(#146)

fuyu no shika
scornful mountains echo
mournful stag’s lament

…..

(#147)

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

…..

(#148)

jade remembrance
the hitch in my chest
as my heart shatters

…..

(#149)

barren winter field
this heart of mine
bereft of yours

…..

(#150)

in silence in shadows
cold earth trembles beneath
blanket of regrets

“Exhale”

“Exhale”
(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

“A Few Haiku (19)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley

(#109)

I cast my old net
But time swims by so swiftly
I can’t catch my breath

…..

(#110)

Silver waves arrayed
In blue moon-hued solitude
In both sea and sky

…..

(#111)

These old woods have felt
My grand-father’s father’s feet
Walking through the ferns

…..

(#112)

Hoarfrost memories
Moonless midnights freeze my soul
Crystallize my tears

…..

(#113)

There is warmth inside
Near the hearth so why must I
Choose the frigid night

…..

(#114)

Snow covers my tracks
I cannot go back again
All things lie ahead

“Winds of Sorrow”

“Winds of Sorrow”
(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley

My beloved kiku lay in withered waste
Yet their ivory tears still fall
Drift against the sides of my heart
Winter’s woeful weeping

In the northernmost climes
The bitter wind howls in my soul
Frigid lamentations haunt me
Hokkaido’s kanashimi no kaze

Winds of sorrow have frozen me in place
My mind flees on grey heron’s wings
Far away from this futile life
From this land of sadness

There is only whiteness
The aimlessness of a long life
Poorly lived, poorly loved, a life
Bereft of meaning, bereft of color

I can no longer remember the sun
The green of konara copse gone
Faded as the ferns have faded
Spring grass now dusky dun

Memories of flowers
Cause my heart to seize in my chest
There are no more lotus blossoms
Only shifting shadows on lifeless pond

Past the willows, past the stream, bamboo groves
Stand dead and haunted as yurei
Beat strange tattoos on hollow husks
Disappear in darkness

My hut is deserted
Now a silent chill resides there
Only empty bed and one chair
At the table where I broke bread alone

No matter where my mind takes me there is
A sense of a world in mourning
Earth comes to a stop, all life gone
Naught left but winter’s tears

And yet I still endure
Wake each day to a barren world
Pass my time in haze of regrets
Wait for callous night with its numbing dreams

And yearn for winter’s end
Which never comes