“A Few Haiku (49)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


burning leaf piles
a taste of smoke
the flavor of melancholy



a handful of
broken promises
last autumn’s acorns



Fuji’s shoulders bear
the weight of sorrow



ragged sheaves
my old rusted sickle
nears harvest’s end



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



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

“A Few Haiku (45)”

(c) Michael L. Utley


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



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



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



in this endless night
even eternity flees
from my broken soul



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



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

“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 Tanka Trio (11)”

(c) 2022 by Michael L. Utley


my exhausted faith
flows just as the drift ice flows
breaks and melts away
heaven’s reflection blurring
in the sea’s saltwater tears



I catch the water
dripping from the icicles
in a mason jar
as a gentle reminder
that I do not weep alone



moon paints snow angels
on forgotten midnight fields
only clouds can see
sleeping souls oblivious
to shy winter’s artistry

“A Few Haiku (21)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


old rain barrel
dark waters of
forgotten dreams



first snow
white kiku on
autumn’s casket



stone cairns
mark my future; stone heart
marks my past



no more songbirds
nest in my heart
your voice fades



old mountain’s silence
questions answered
as I climb the path



rain turns to hail
my heart takes a pounding
from my tears

“A Few Haiku (20)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


where once was laughter
now only bones
the burned forest



does the mantis pray
for long life and happiness
it receives neither



some live some die
I plant the seeds



slender-fingered hands
reach through trees, caress my face
the rising moon



heron on the bridge
watches incuriously
as my tears fall



as a boy I knew
the sun; as a man I can’t
recognize his face

“A Few Haiku (16)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


How can hope survive
Solitary kitchen chair
And the empty bed



These old feet are numb
Memories are bitter cold
I must watch my step



I sought from the fox
Wisdom; he gave me instead
A flash of his tail



Breeze in bamboo grove
Sake choko clattering
Empty memories



Who has spilled the sky
Into the pond? Sunset fire
Burns lotus blossoms



Once, in the forest
Autumn taught me of sorrow
What will winter bring

“A Few Haiku (12)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


Regret stills haunts me
Even though my heart tells me
I did all I could



When I am in need
God responds to all my prayers
“Return to sender”



The days come and go
But sometimes inside my heart
The night never leaves



Summer sun has gone
That impostor in the sky
Only leaves me cold



Autumn’s thievery
Has left more than trees barren
Summer leaves no heir



Seasons’ edges blurred
Snow on flowers, freezing rain
I seek clarity

“A Few Haiku (5)”

(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley


Fronds torn by the storm
Willow bathes her wounds in tears
Heaven cries above



In konara copse
Broken axe is silent now
Entombed by the ferns



In my sorrow I
Doubt that even sparrow’s joy
Can restore my heart



In chill autumn rain
Memories of sakura
Memories of you



There is bird-song when
I see my bare-footed love
Smiling demurely



All I wish for you
Is that you are happy and
You’ll remember me

“It’s Not Lost”

“It’s Not Lost”
(c) 2021 by Michael L. Utley

It’s not lost on me
How this coral-tinctured eve
Tempers morning’s joy
With sadness and coos of doves
Grieve dying light’s somber end

It’s not lost on me that I
Never got to bid farewell
As sun languishes
On melancholy verge of
Day’s bitter demise

It’s not lost on me
That no matter how I tried
I could not reach you
My arms were not strong enough
To save you from siren’s song

It’s not lost on me that I
Could not give you what you sought
To slay your demons
Could not be your shining hope
In your darkest hour

It’s not lost on me
That I mourn what never was
What could never be
How I wish this night would end
How I wish for you again