Back Roads Haiku

My back roads are unpaved, quiet, undeveloped, dusty in the summer and muddy in the spring. Walk along any of them and you are likely to see old family cemeteries, stone walls, streams, ponds, and a variety of flora and fauna. It's where I live, and the source of most of these haiku.

a few spring stars -

what have I lost through this hole

in my pocket


page after page

the quarter moon

again and again


this balance…

a silk smooth leveling stone

from the spring brook

my yellow cat -

how will it hide

in green fieldgrass?


Easter morning 

bright colored tulips

on their way to church

morning bird songs

from long ago

…a lingering moon

a pocket

where the stream eddies

- calling in sick




a dusken sky


a scattering of stars -

just a few words

over a late dinner

away for a night …

but I’ll bet we’re watching

the same moon


not a bright moon…

but…a few sheets forgotten

on the line


this back road -

the scrawled signature

of an old man

hawk flight forced

in the fading sun

 -  our safe harbor


midnight nearing -

a galaxy breathes

in and out



we, the spring sound

of cooing doves


a cloud’s shadow

on this barren field


a cardinal’s cry - 

learning patience

until it flies


the first spring kite -

seagulls frozen 

on an ocean breeze

warm spring wind -

the impatient 

soundless trees

the moon

almost white

 -  new linen sheets


tax day -

a raging spring stream

carries it all away

forsythias -

the dog’s

lolling tongue

spring mist


on a rusted bicycle



a woman’s body

where hills once were


hollow footsteps

on the wooden bridge

 - moonless


although I want to

- hazed moon


to the pine grove…

the chilled air

from a secret of snow


the long, slow flaps

of a heron’s wings

  - longer days

with no place to hide

a spring wind

this way and that


spring constellation -

almost time to peek beneath

the garden straw



this lone star

so well placed

spring rain -


in my Mazda


owing money

to the IRS again

- spring rain


the moon 

behind pale clouds

after spring rain

Trees of Youth

My home town.  With a few hours to kill, I walked the neighborhood, remembering childhood faces, the short cuts we’d taken through back yards and the fences hopped on our way to the local park by the school yard.  It all happened there.  My first cigarette, first kiss, first fight; that was our arena, where we all met.

                      jack-knifed chestnut

                     Joey and Margo forever

                     Joey went to ‘Nam

The elementary school is still open, although I doubt if the nuns are still around.  From a block away, I can see that windows are open, probably the first time since October, and there’s singing coming from the street level one closest to me.  Probably a third or fourth grade room.  Their song is hauntingly familiar, and they sing it over and over.  I never really thought what the words meant; I scribbled them down without the repetition.

                            row your boat gently

                           down the stream merrily

                           life is but a dream

The walk back to where I parked was bittersweet, at best.  Not one familiar face,  but many.  Houses of friends were gone, but still there.  The Catholic church wasn’t ringing the noon Angelus, but I could still hear it.  Nothing had changed.

                             the old sycamore

                             bark flaking