In falling snow

Tips of black spruce, pine and winter-bare ash

soft pierce the shallow white sky.


From the forest’s edge an eagle watches

stone-still December waters,


and a man passing. Over the fishway,

onto the snow covered dam


with his dog. A thousand sea ducks

drifting in the bay, dissolve like clouds.




Old Seed

Modern Japanese Haiku


Chunks of pages. Tattered spine, torn and broken. Masking tape repairs in various stages of disintegration. I bought the anthology “Modern Japanese Haiku” by Makoto Ueda, at the Queens University bookstore in 1977. We’ve lived together ever since.


I close the gate,

and sit alone with the stones

this beautiful night.

              by Mizuhara Shuoshi






Where are you now?

For weeks the Words were everywhere.

Creating their own syllabic rhythm and take.

Landscape to letters. Look up. Write down.


Suffering of the would-be-mindfully-aware.

Static of muse on the still morning air.

Cackle of grackles and barking of dogs.


Stillness is not a word. Emptiness either.

Look and listen. Cormorant glide?

Frost in the shadow of a curled brown leaf?


Now they are gone. Just when I was beginning

to understand. Words are nowhere to be found.




Studying detail

Just stand there.

Eyes open without a word,

close around nothing.




He would write poetry

So close to sleep when the light went out.

Before the boy with the pocket knife

got on the crosstown bus.


Folding, unfolding the two inch blade.

Ringing the bell but never getting off.

Just sitting there, looking out the window.





It’s there. On the frozen shore

of Big Gut. In the dead grass


above the ice-coated tangle

of driftwood and rock.


Nothing, really. Emptiness.

An eagle. Feathers and bones.