Past and Future, Touched

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”

–Stephen Hawking

she once had

a mortal body

long ago–

or was it?

Unbound by time, she’s unsure

drifting in moonlight. . .


and starlight

and in brightest sun–

it is all

part of her

and she of it. Wandering,

she touches your heart–


you feel it,

a shock, fear–and awe,

but also


for knowledge. Look at the stars–

time and space folding


Embed from Getty Images


This is for dVerse. We were asked to write a shadorma with the prompt “phantom.” I’ve done a series of connecting shadorma stanzas.










Love Token

My husband leaves in the snow,

it’s light at first, but then it flows



in thick heavy flakes

without breaks

it covers the ground

like a great white lake,

or. . .perhaps, I think,  like thick frosting on a cake.

And so, I decide to bake him a treat,

his favorite cookies, not too sweet–

a love token from me to him—

not exactly a whim. . .

but ephemeral as tokens go–

not unlike this springtime snow.


Welsh Cookies


Grace asked us to write on love tokens for dVerse. 







Gusts and Buds: Haibun

On the day of the nor’easter, I finish reviewing the page proofs of my book. The sun comes out. I ponder new projects, while watching birds perch and peck at the feeder hanging at our kitchen window—finches with their red feather patches demonstrate the feeder’s pecking order. A tufted titmouse, nuthatches, and even a woodpecker fly in for a snack. Robins congregate in the street, discussing the weather and current events before flying up to a tree to chatter at the squirrels. The days grow longer, and despite the wind and snow, the daffodils are rising from the ground. They are not deterred by icy gusts. Momentary setbacks. They know spring is coming. So do I. I simply have to get through the next snowstorm—it’s coming, too.


March’s lion roars,

frost-breath lays a filigree—

budding branches bide



We’re supposed to get another nor’easter tonight into tomorrow with several inches of snow expected.

I was writing this for

Frank’s Haikai Challenge #23—Spring Gust

But then I saw Victoria’s  prompt for Haibun Monday: tree buds.







Letter to My Ancestors: Haibun

You who came before me–how I wish I could ask you about your lives. My mom tells me stories, but there is so much she doesn’t know, and now much she has forgotten. Of course, I want to know what it was like to live in what was then Russia, to be a Jew there—the terror of pogroms and the ordinary day-to-day problems you learned to live with, until you no longer could. But I also want to know what did you eat? What did your house look like? What games did you play as a child? How did you feel leaving your homeland, traveling first to England, France, Germany, or Italy before finally reaching Philadelphia or New York? You had so much drive and determination. In my mind, I see the many generations that came before me. I see practical, no-nonsense individuals, and yet, I wonder how many were also full of artistic vision or musical talent. Somewhere lost in time, you, my ancestors, must have journeyed from the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and each time you had to learn so many new things. I wonder what else you experienced? I discover my great grandfather had grey eyes. My daughters have grey eyes, too–a gift from the past, a look to the future.


Endless storms weathered

again winter turns to spring—

young birds fly from nests


I’m combining prompts again—Björn at dVerse asked us to write a poetic letter. I hope this fits.

Colleen asked us to use synonyms for energy and knowledge for her Tanka Tuesday.

We’re also in the midst of a nor’easter with rain, snow, and wind!

I’m also adding this to Frank’s Barely Spring Challenge.


Barely Spring–Haibun

The weather seems more unpredictable than usual–open windows one day and heat on the next. I wake listening to rain. It is dark and dreary. Then I hear the birds begin to greet the day. Each morning, the sun rises a bit earlier and sets a bit later. I know we could still have a blizzard, but hope is in the air, rising with the crocuses. Spring is coming.

February sun

hides light under grey covers—

yet mockingbird sings


Watching for birds in the rain.


This is for Frank’s latest Haikai Challenge.

February Birthday Roses: Haibun

A memory. His birthday falls over the long Presidents Day weekend. We wander through greenhouses where orchids and roses bloom, scenting the air with summer perfume. We stroll about the gardens without jackets, enjoying the taste of spring. The next day it snows.


February moon

hovers with uncertainty–

mist turns to snowflakes


This year, the morning sun gleams on the bare and budding branches. Birds flock, seeking sustenance, as the skies grow cloudy, and in the evening white flakes drift down to cover the emerging green sprouts. We wrap ourselves in blankets, eat birthday cake, and laugh.


Hands together grasp

wine and roses, youth and age

following the heart


At Longwood Gardens, February 2011.

Sunny Day; snow at night. February 17-18, 2018.


I’ve combined challenges for this Haibun: Frank’s hazy moon challenge from last week, his current rose/Presidents’ Day challenge, and Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday challenge.   The words we’re supposed to use synonyms for are character and affection. I don’t know if it’s correct to use both a haiku and senryu in one piece, but I did.






In the Quietness of Everything

This is for dVerse. Björn asked us to be conscious of how we punctuate the silence in this poem. I normally do use commas and dashes and sometimes periods for full stops, but I did try to be extra aware of pauses here.


in the blue-white of a snowy morning

silence reigns. . .


winds brush all with feathered wings,

but hush the birds, who do not sing

as they huddle in their nests and wait. . .


and I, with cup in hand, sit still,

wonder if it ever will

get warm again. . .


by window side, there I bide,

I look outside on winter white,

the whipping flakes diffusing light,

I gaze, listening to the out and in,

and the quietness of everything






Song of Midnight Light

It’s still a bit of vacation week. I was going to take a nap, but I wrote this pantoum instead. This is  for Secret Keeper’s Weekly Writing Prompt. The prompt words are:



From birth to death and round again

through time and space, water and air

seeds to flowers, mice and men

cycles of love and those of despair


Through time and space, water and air

the moon journeys through the night

cycles of love and those of despair

she hums the song of midnight light


The moon journeys through the night

drifting, shimmering on a star-crossed slope

she hums the song of midnight light

dreamtime messages of floating hope


Drifting, shimmering on a star-crossed slope

beyond outstretched arms in shadowed phases

dreamtime messages of floating hope

rising high these prayerful phrases


until perhaps we cease to be

seeds to flowers, mice and men

human creatures, such as we

(circling) from birth to death and round again



Johan Jongkind, “View on Overschie in Moonlight,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



Sweet Stars of Christmas: Haibun

Monday Morning Musings:

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!”

–Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


On Christmas, I see the past, present, and future appear. Perhaps not as actual ghosts, but as memories, experiences, and wishes. As we decorate Christmas cookies, I think of all the times I did this with our daughters. My husband declares this is the first time he has ever frosted the cookies. Perhaps it’s true. My sugar cookies have stars with five points and stars with six points. They’re all equally sweet and delicious. The Hanukkah candles and the Christmas lights both glow in the winter darkness, symbolizing miracles and bringing hope. This year, I give one daughter Hanukkah presents with a Hello Kitty! Christmas card on Christmas Eve day, when we gather with my niece and her family. In the background, Christmas songs written by Jewish men softly play. We sit around a table in a room decorated for Christmas and discuss ancestors in Belarus and Ukraine, people who never celebrated this holiday.

How did they get here, my niece asks? How did they have the means to leave? When she was a girl, my father’s mother hid in a barn during a pogrom. Somehow, they—some of them–found the means to leave, and to come to a country where they were not persecuted for their religious beliefs and culture. Their ghosts appear briefly and stand around us. Perhaps they would not approve of these goyische celebrations, but I hope they’d sense the love. Here and now we eat and laugh together, even as we miss those no longer with us. We will miss our daughters on Christmas, and I will miss being awakened by hearing them sing “Christmas Time is Here” early in morning. But now on Christmas Eve, my husband and I drink mulled wine and watch It’s a Wonderful Life, and I think yes, it is.


ancient stars shimmer,

ghost light of winter’s hope

this scintillation

I’m linking this Monday Morning Musings to Frank Tassone’s Christmas Haiku challenge.

Wishing all of you a joyous holiday season filled with peace, hope, love, and laughter!


Winter Solstice Dreams: Haibun

Here’s another winter solstice poem. This Haibun is for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday. She asked us to use synonyms for the words cover and precipitation.


I’m tucked under the blankets. My big-eyed, grey-striped cat is cuddled against me. Our white cat has closed both his blue eye and his yellow eye on the pillow beside me. My husband, wrapped in a green-bordered patchwork quilt, has fallen asleep downstairs in his recliner. We all dream. Our dreams are shape-shifting creatures that fly high to dance together amongst the stars. I dream of winter snow melting in spring sunshine.  In my dream, there are green fields and blue horses in a silver mist. There is a building, where inside a dark room a woman slowly chews and swallows some strips of paper. She smiles because now she holds all the secrets–buried inside her like a seed. But someday they will sprout in light, blooming flowers of truth and beauty.


Dreams reign solstice night

soothed by moon’s lullabies,

slowly, the sun wakes



Franz Marc, “The Dream,” [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons