A Week in Haiku

There are certain things one has to give up in order to experience the wild beauty of the remote areas of coastal Maine, and one of them is cell service. As a result, I’ve been missing my participation in a variety of writing groups that I typically join several times a week.

In the summer of 2019 I took an online course with Natalie Goldberg called “Writing Down the Bones” based on the writing method she popularized in her eponymous book. Hundreds of attendees were inspired to organize themselves into writing groups in order to continue writing practice together, following Natalie’s method—meditation, timed writing to prompts, and silent, non-judgmental listening as we read aloud what we have written. The singular companionship of my writing friends during these long months of pandemic isolation has been a source of deep connection and discovery.

My regular writing groups include a loosely defined east coast group dubbed “Writers Without Borders,” a west coast group of Western Writers, Poetry Bones and a group that uses the Japanese poetic forms of Haiku and Tanka as writing prompts. With deep appreciation to Marilyn, organizer of the latter group, and a bow to my friend Shirley, a Haiku master, I offer these Haiku as an impression of the past week.

Tall spruce trees stand watch/ in silent contemplation/Of human sorrow

Slick black bobs swim by/Quick dives as I paddle past/Such curious seals

Gravesite or garden/I pass through the iron gate/A stone path beckons

Osprey swoops and dives/Strikes an eagle in mid-flight/keeping death at bay

Let’s slog through the bog/Plucking berries as we tread/Forest medicine

Racing wooden boats/Soft pillows of billowed sails/No one owns the wind

Bony cloud finger/Is that you pointing at me?/I reach up for you.


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