Bill Waters ~~ Haiku

Haiku + Tanka, Haibun, Rengay, Shahai, & More

Archive for the category “Haibun & Tanka-Prose”

Seventeen

In New Jersey, 2021 was the Summer of Love — for the 17-year cicada. ;- )

My wife Nancy Fischer Waters and I collaborated on a prose / poem piece that captures a moment from that crazy-short time when the air was abuzz with cicadas. Talk about speed dating!

(The prose part is by Nancy. I supplied the title and the tiny poem at the end.)

Seventeen

I really love the 17-year cicadas. After living all but a few weeks of their lives underground, they emerge to fly around like crazy in their frenzied efforts to find a mate and lay the foundation for the next generation. They are a memorable sight, zipping through the air wherever you look!

Another memorable sight from the Brood X “invasion” of 2021 was me: a middle-aged woman screaming, wiggling, and swinging my purse in the Whole Foods parking lot in an effort to escape the attentions of a cicada that had singled me out to become its new best friend. (And yes, it did land in my hair!)

nothing to lose!
the way we danced
when we were 17

Published in Drifting Sands Haibun (https://drifting-sands-haibun.org/09/2021/seventeen/), September 2021.

Growing Up with G.I. Joe

In the 1960s, G.I. Joe was a proxy for the me I wished to be. Physically fit, self-reliant, and battle-tested (that facial scar!), he was armed and ready to defend American ideals. Loaded like a pack mule with equipment and supplies, Joe had all he needed to deal with enemies of any sort.

For me, G.I. Joe was not a figure of aggression. Like America itself (the romanticized version), he was as ready to extend a hand in friendship as he was to throw a punch in self-defense. He was part adventurer, part warrior, and part superhero — all that I was not.

Maybe I was too “into” G.I. Joe; I don’t know. But I was just a kid, and Joe — one of the true good guys in a boy’s life — helped me feel better about myself.

“it’s not a doll!”
ready for anything
his action figure


Published in Contemporary Haibun Online (http://contemporaryhaibunonline.com/pages144/Waters_Growing.html), 12/30/18.

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Getting schooled

One Sunday long, long ago, I went to religious school and got roped into an impromptu play. One more person was needed to fill the ranks, and that person – despite my protests – turned out to be me.

It wasn’t much of a play, really, which was good since I wasn’t much of an actor. We said our lines from sheets of paper – a staged reading of sorts – and as for costumes, it was strictly ‘come as you are’. For me that meant a favorite albeit somewhat old pair of trousers, a button-down shirt, and shoes that were only a little in need of polishing.

Being thrust headlong into a play was disconcerting, but once the play was over, I felt vaguely euphoric. It was done, and I hadn’t made a total fool of myself in front of my classmates!

When I got home, filled with the glow of accomplishment, I ran inside to spread the news. “Mom,” I shouted, “I was in a play!”

My mother spun around from in front of the kitchen sink, looked me up and down, and said, “You were in a play in those pants?”

“cut!”
the tragicomedy
of childhood


Published in Contemporary Haibun Online (http://contemporaryhaibunonline.com/pages133/Waters_Getting.html), 10/2/17.

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Reblogged: In times of trouble, by Annette Makino

My “virtual guest-blogger” today is the outstanding artist / poet Annette Makino, who expresses a positive way forward in these trouble-laden times with a heartfelt haibun.  _/|\_

The news has been so tough these past few weeks. Wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes. Reckless taunts between nuclear-armed leaders. And Monday in Las Vegas, one of the worst mass shootings in US history.

aftermath
a pair of cowboy boots
lying on their side

In such dark times, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And just as easy to go numb. Facing an unending stream of suffering and horror, how do we maintain our humanity without losing our minds?

There are…

Source: http://makinostudios.com/in-times-of-trouble/

Burned

Death has gotten personal over the last few years, taking loved ones, colleagues, and friends. I said “Hey Death, slow down!” and he said “Step aside. Be back for you later.”

And he will be, too.

ouch!
where I dropped it
smoking match


Published in the Bacopa Literary Review, 2017 edition, 9/2/17.

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Turtlesong

The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
—from “The Song of Solomon”

When I was a child, I yearned to hear the voice of the turtle. Would it warble like a miniature French horn? Would it growl like a tiny tuba?

My mother, who knew something of the Bible, told me the turtle of the poem is actually a turtledove, yet still I wondered whether turtles — always silent (in my presence, at least) — ever make a sound.

daybreak by the pond . . .
listening
listening


Published in Miriam’s Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com/2017/08/10/haibun-by-bill-waters/), 8/10/17.

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Just Passing Through

Summer birds visit our bird feeder as individuals, pairs, or small families. Spring birds, though, come in flocks — two dozen, three dozen hungry beaks at a time. They shovel down the birdseed and strut around like they’re at an airport food court . . . which, in a way, they are.

chatter of starlings
— WHOOSH —
and then silence


Published in Hedgerow: A Journal of Small Poems, issue 108, 3/3/17.

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Beam-Walking

When I was little, I asked my brother what was in the attic. “Nothing,” he said, and added that you had to keep your feet on the beams or you’d fall through the ceiling.

The only beams I knew of were sunbeams, which filtered through the air vents on each side of the house. I wondered how they enabled you to walk without falling through, and I worried about what would happen if the sun went behind a cloud while you were standing on them.

don’t look down!
this high-wire act
called life


Published in Miriam’s Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond (https://miriamswell.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/beam-walking-by-bill-waters/), 1/25/17.

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The Phoenix

Buttons the cat “goes away to die” most days now. Living in genteel confinement in my home office and wanting for nothing, this 18-year-old trickster tries to convince me that the end is near by leaving her heated bed and squeezing herself into odd spaces of the indoor landscape — behind the desk, between the filing cabinet and the wall, into a nook in the closet. Her daily swan song has done nothing to diminish her zest for life, though, and she “returns from the dead” refreshed and alert. Somehow I think she will outlast us all.

from the window
a bright red bird . . .
the cat’s twitching tail


Published in Haibun Today: A Haibun and Tanka-Prose Journal (http://haibuntoday.com/ht103/H_Waters_ThePhoenix.html), 8/30/16.

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Only you can prevent…

When I was younger, my best friend and I liked to go hunting for bog iron, deer antlers, and other curiosities in the New Jersey pine barrens – particularly in the winter, when there were no biting flies or mosquitoes to bother us. We didn’t mind the cold especially; we’d keep moving to stay warm, and at the midway point of our hike we’d build a little fire to heat up some food.

I remember one time when we’d made a fire and were a little short on water to put it out. The ground was too hard to bury the flames, there was no groundwater or ice nearby, and our drinking water was mostly gone.

While I was still thinking about how to put out that tiny little fire (because hypothetically speaking even a match flame could be enough to start a blaze if it spread), my buddy took his stout walking stick, stood it in the center of the fire, and pushed it – flames, twigs, coals – deep into the ground. Poof! Gone. It was like turning out a light.

It never occurred to me that the heat would thaw the frozen mud beneath it.

snow on the wind . . .
we set our sights
for home


Published in Contemporary Haibun Online (http://contemporaryhaibunonline.com/pages121/Waters_OnlyYou.html), 3/29/15.

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