Bill Waters ~~ Haiku

Haiku + Tanka, Haibun, Rengay, & More

Archive for the tag “haibun”

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

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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Discovering America

In the adult world, feelings of patriotism can be complex but in kindergarten half a century ago such feelings were simple and spontaneous. One day, as the teacher led the class in singing “America,” it occurred to me like a revelation that the United States was my country, too — that even though I was little, I had a personal right to be here and that no one, not even a bully, could take that away from me. I felt a swelling in my chest — I literally puffed up with pride — as I sang along, my voice growing stronger with each note.

In a slightly embarrassing postscript to my epiphany, the teacher asked me to not sing so loudly in the future. She didn’t perceive that I had just undergone a subtle life-changing experience — that I had made my first discovery of what it means, in part, to be a citizen.

rattle of muskets
and peals of victory
echoing in my ears


Published in Haibun Today: A Haibun and Tanka-Prose Journal (http://haibuntoday.com/ht94/H_Waters_Discovering.html), 11/28/15.

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Bam!

The mourning dove slammed into the glass patio door hard enough to leave a ghostly imprint of its body and wings. Those birds may act the buffoon strutting around the bird feeder, but they’re tough as an old army boot! This one shook the impact right off and flew away while I stared in amazement.

who has the
nine lives now?
cats in the window


Published in Prune Juice #17, page 98 (https://prunejuice.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/prune-juice-nov-15-rev-4.pdf), 11/8/15.

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