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Volume 33.3
Autumn 2002

sample haibun




The elementary-school yard trembled with rambunctious kids making the most of their brief time in the sun: shouting, laughing, taunting, wrestling, dodging the ball, kicking the ball, catching the ball, skipping double-dutch, hopscotching; everywhere, flush lungs, bare knees, and elbows stained green. And all the while the youngest, playing tag, chased each other in and out of the shade of bordering trees.

As I walked the edge of the yard, my crepey neck refreshed by a sun-warmed breeze, I picked up the scent of the cracked bark pine that anchored one corner and was drawn to it. Under its rings of symmetrical, upturned branches were faded needles piled upon faded needles. Generations long gone.

Tempted to lay myself down, to gaze up through this venerable pine past the flame-shaped fruit on its tips, to stare into the vault of heaven, I was detracted by a sudden gust that twisted a splayed cone, thereby exposing to the sun a dark recess, in which I spotted very briefly two vibrant ladybugs, one mounted upon the other. Gust gone, the cone settled back. The exposed recess faded to black.

Carefully, I returned the cone a degree to the sun. Exposed again, the pair quivered ever so slightly as the one on top tightened its tiny forearm grip on the other. I turned it another degree to the sun. Without a sound, the male released its hold and reared on its heels, nudging its partner head first, with no apparent protest, deeper into the recess, then tightened its grip once again. As I gently released the cone, giving the lovers back to their darkness, the sun momentarily illuminated two orange specks chasing each other in and out of the shade of the recesses just above.

At the school yard
the breeze changes direction
a teacher’s perfume

by Guy Simser

Beach Treasures

She is full of surprises, my gray-haired friend. Our lunch date turns into an unexpected drive to the headlands, with folding chairs in tow. Her brown paper bag holds sandwiches and chips . . . and plastic baggies and plates for gathering gemstones. She shows me how to scoop up the coarsest sand from along the tide line and swirl it in the plate, winnowing small treasures from the sea. Perhaps it is the crashing surf and seagull cries, the stuff of New Age music, that brings to mind her hippie days. Remembrances of "catching" babies—dozens of them. I am astonished. "Girls wanted to have their babies at home," she says. "I was good at it. I could turn them with my hands."

winter beach
the midwife holds carnelians
up to the sun

by Carolyn Hall

April Itch

There’s nothing quite like the first warm day of spring spread-eagled in a bed of violets, clutching a cold lager in one hand and a soft pretzel in the other. Just being lazy listening to the trees sing. And through an open window the Phillies and the Braves on the boom box, score tied and the Phils at bat. Bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, no one out, and the pitcher pops a single.

rain drops
I chug-a-lug the last
of the lager

by Gene Williamson





©2002 Modern Haiku • PO Box 68 • Lincoln, IL 62656