July 18, 2014
When you read my poem

When you read my poem

you thought that the I was me,

that you was you, we was us,

then was now, the home was ours.

If you assume that the poem’s future

is our present, there is no future.


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July 12, 2014
"Tonight I can write the saddest lines
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too."

Pablo Neruda

The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems

Today is the birthday of this Chilean poet, born July 12, 1904 as Neftali Ricardo Reyes Basoalto. He chose his pen name after the Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971, Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Filed under: pablo neruda Poetry 
July 12, 2014
Guest Post on ‘The Music In It’

Guest Post on ‘The Music In It’

I wrote a guest post for Adele Kenny’s poetry blog, The Music In It, about my daily writing practice this year and the ronka poems.

It is a good exercise to get “meta” about your writing once in awhile and think about what you write and why. Treat yourself as an assignment from that poetry class and look at the themes that run through your poems, the language etc.  (I didn’t realize how many…

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July 10, 2014
What dogs are thinking about?

Two poems by dogs, channeled by Billy Collins

July 7, 2014
"Not that I want to be a god or a hero. Just to change into a tree, grow for ages, not hurt anyone."

Czesaw Milosz

New and Collected Poems, 1931-2001 (Penguin Modern Classics)

Prolific poet, essayist, and historian Czesław Miłosz (born June 30, 1911) was also a diplomat, who served as Poland’s cultural attaché to France and the United States.

July 6, 2014
The Tenth Muse

Insomnia can sometimes be the tenth muse,

but not after this day working outside.

Muscle ache and sweat makes cold water

taste better than anything mixed or brewed,

and turns off the mind to poems.

writer's block II

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Filed under: Poetry sleep work 
July 3, 2014
"(let’s go said he not too far said she what’s too far said he where you are said she.)"

  E. E. Cummings ("May I Feel Said He" )

He wants you to pause and think about it.

Erotic Poems by E.E. Cummings

(Source: violentwavesofemotion, via iamcharliesangel)

July 3, 2014
Firefly Revision

Basho considered a Kikaku haiku as cruel:

A red firefly / tear off its wings -

a pepper.  A pepper / give it wings –

a red firefly, was Basho’s simple change.

Revision as a Buddhist act of kindness.


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June 21, 2014

A summer river being crossed
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands!

Evening breeze -
water is slapping against the legs
of a blue heron.

Short summer night.
A dewdrop
On the back of a hairy caterpillar

In the summer rain
The path
Has disappeared.


4 haiku by Yosa Buson  (1716 ~ 1783)

Collected Haiku of Yosa Buson

more online

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Filed under: Buson haiku poetry summer 
June 15, 2014
On Issa’s Birthday

On Issa’s Birthday


if my father were here–
dawn colors
over green fields

Today is the birthday of Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa, born in Kashiwabara, Japan in 1763. He was a lay Buddhist priest of the Jōdo Shinshū sect known for his haiku poems and journals. He is better known as simply Issa (一茶?), a pen name meaning Cup-of-tea[2] (lit. “one [cup of] tea”).

He is regarded as one of the four haiku masters in Japan,…

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June 14, 2014
"Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance."

Carl Sandburg

(Source: rabbitinthemoon, via iamcharliesangel)

June 12, 2014
Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Neither a borrower nor a lender be

Reading Shakespeare for seven-word lines of ronka.

No legacy is so rich as honesty,

fits the glovemaker’s writing hand nicely but

The course of true love never did run

reminds that things are not always smooth.

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June 8, 2014
The Way Hope Builds His House

“The way hope builds his house”, Amherst Manuscript # 450

Detail from currently the only authenticated photograph of Emily Dickinson in existence, taken by William C. North ca. 1847 when Dickinson was 17 years old –

June 6, 2014

On of my favorite poems. I got to hear him read it several times and hear him talk about that job, those days and how it helped him set a path.

via writersalmanac.publicradio.org

Hay for the Horses
by Gary Snyder

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
— The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds —
"I’m sixty-eight," he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that’s just what
I’ve gone and done.”

"Hay for the Horses" from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. How is it possible that this book is more than 50 years old? Dammit, my own copy is 40 years old.

June 3, 2014
"I often write poems in my head to distract myself during hard times. … Years ago, after a car crash, while I lay waiting for the ambulance, I actually finished a poem I had been working on, determined not to die before I had it right."

—   Linda Pastan

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