He’s white. Like snow. A neighbor calls him Casper. Though he moves like a small ghost, slinking through the vineyards, he’s not friendly. Maybe he was once, but life has dealt him a weak hand, and he has to play it where it lays.

Like any good hunter he’s familiar with every tree, and rock, every fox den, and squirrel drey in his travel radius. He has his landmarks. I see him resting by the cairn of flat rocks my niece constructed last summer. She buried a treasure, the feather of a blue jay. The cairn marks the spot. Out of the path of the vineyard tractors I imagine it staying in place until she’s grown. She’ll forget it ever existed. Until one year while she is in the midst of a life-altering decision, I’ll lead her to it. Seeing it again will flood her with memories, all those carefree days of childhood. Miraculously, her decision will be made clear. These things happen.

By then, by the time she has set aside her stuffed animals, and taken on the demands of adulthood, the white feral cat will be long gone from his hunting grounds. But, she will remember him. She’ll remember how we tried to adopt him, how we left him offerings of food, how we spoke soothingly hoping to coax him to come near. But, he was too far gone, his fear of humans too pronounced.

in the wild
the hunter and the hunted
memories of moonlight


Bjorn at dverse asks us to write a haibun, and Hamish Gunn asks the same every week…

Thanks for reading!


At the Exhibit (Ligo-Haibun)

For the Ligo-Haibun Challenge hosted by Pirate, Penny and Nightlake.

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve been busy this summer. Finally I get a chance to take up the practice of writing with renewed vigor, and get back to these challenges. This is a good one: a short narrative with accompanying haiku. (I think the haiku is the most difficult.) Some fine writers in this group. Give it a try!

We had two photo prompts to choose from. I chose this one.


It was the odor that propelled her to the penguin exhibit. She had no need to consult the building’s directory. A collection of sea brine, fish, and stabled livestock, the smell was at odds with the cuteness of the tuxedoed creatures.  She loved them nonetheless, possibly more, for the juxtaposition. It had been her idea to meet here. He was always late. At least she might distract herself watching the playful antics of the penguins as they slid on their bellies down the curved slide the Academy had constructed for their pleasure.

Standing at the railing she considered their pleasure trapped as they were behind enormous plates of glass. She listened to the giggles of the small crowd as the flightless birds Charlie Chaplin walked to the attendant who had entered stage left. One by one their handler tossed them small fish that they swallowed whole.

She toyed with her wedding ring, and thought about what she swallowed whole.

among the penguins

on the other side of the world

a lone female

Sweet Nothings

click for credit

click for credit

“The earth has music for those who listen.”  [George Santayana]

The wind talks to me. Everyday at the same time, twilight, he makes an appearance. The sun lowers on the horizon, the day cools, and he wakes from his nap. Some days he whips through the backyard taking me in his arms, and we waltz across the brittle grass. After our sashay he spirals away, into the mimosa tree murmuring sweet nothings among the laden branches. The tiny pink blossoms cascade like snow at his feet. He retrieves them, tosses them skyward where they meander in his updraft, and finally settle like old friends into my hair.

On other evenings he catches me off guard. Suddenly he’s there by my side, lifts a tendril of hair, tucks it behind my ear, whispers my name, and scampers off to entice the songbirds with his easy currents, allowing them to drift in his wake with little effort. They sing him their thanks.

On the evenings he doesn’t visit, when the air is heavy and still, when the effort to rise is hampered by the accumulated heat of the day, I miss him. I listen, and long for his approach.

the wind
arrives in stealth
sweeps me off my feet

For the Ligo-Haibun Challenge presided over by Pirate, Penny and Nightlake. Click on any link to read the entries, or better yet, submit your own.

Thanks for reading!

Life Lessons (Ligo-Haibun Challenge)

courtesy: Penny Howe

courtesy: Penny Howe

I am twelve or thirteen. I sit across the small card table from my mother. Between us is a chessboard. I marvel at the solid weight of the thing, the chestnut brown squares alternating with creamy off-white. I listen carefully as my mother explains how each piece moves: the pawns, the bishops, knights, and the all-powerful Queen. Their identities feel exotic. I imagine that my mother and I have time-travelled to Medieval Europe. In the years that follow, a handful of times, my mother lets me win.

The exhibition of the famous twelfth century Lewis chessmen arrives at the New York Met, and I am in line to see it. I am in awe of the craftsmanship, and first consider the walrus that contributed the ivory. But then, the whimsical expressions of the figurines make me smile, and suddenly I am transported to that card table all those years ago. I see the concentration and focus in my mother’s blue eyes. I see her sturdy hand toying with my captured knight. I see her place a hand to her face like the figure of the Queen. It’s as if she stands beside me, and I suppose she does. I smell her perfume. I hear her laugh, and I laugh too.

in the museum
white queen advances
captures the night

For the Ligo-Haibun Challenge. Click to read the entries of a very fine group of writers.

Thanks for reading!


Anticipation (Ligo-Haibun Challenge)

click for credit

click for credit

Days before the monsoon rains unleash their torrents the city grows indolent and irritable in the sweltering heat. The humidity builds, becomes like an anvil of air pressing down upon the heads of the restless residents. They move through their day with their eyes on the changing firmament. Clouds billow and roil; cerulean churns to dark blue, then charcoal, until finally the sun is blacked out. The anticipation is both welcome, and fraught with foreboding.

Sitting at the bedside of her mother she strokes her hand, and remembers that year she studied in India, the approaching monsoon, the trepidation, the subsequent relief, and then a whole new set of concerns as the water flowed fast and furious through the city streets. Her mother smiles, but she doesn’t know if it is for her, or at the fragment of a memory. When her mother closes her eyes and, at last, lets go, she knows she will manage as she did when the deluge threatened to carry her off: careful of her footing.

in the wild firmament
emotions clash
she pays her respects

For the Ligo-Haibun Challenge. Our prompts this week were monsoon or haze. Join us! What a terrific exercise for writers and poets. Click the link to read the very fine entries.   5934002

Thanks for reading!

Palimpsest (Ligo-Haibun Challenge)


Like a tree, arms outstretched, she stands amid waist high grasses warmed by the sun. It is her first time outside the city limits. The thrill of it is so much more than she imagined. Her books couldn’t have prepared her for the sublime touch of the reeds that nestle against her calves and thighs. The music they make as she wades through them is like a whisper of welcome. In lieu of the ceaseless sirens of her city’s streets, she listens to the songbirds chatter in the trees. She wishes that one might alight on the branches of her arms. She would give the bird her name, so he might echo it through the valley.

She is reborn. Not in religion, but in tense. Her past is distant, the future undetermined. Only the present has meaning, this moment. The trees glow, backlit by the sun. The breeze ushers the scent of eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender. She feels gratitude to the women who brought her here, those who taught her the names of the flowers: narcissus and peony . She understands that she will never forget this meadow, the trees, and the blossoms for as long as she lives. They are part of her now.

braided blooms
of nature’s oath


This week is the Līgo Haibun Special – The Ligo Festival occurred this year on June 23-24. It is the world’s largest festival of nature and takes place in Latvia. Click on the link above to visit Pirate’s page and read more about the festival and this week’s challenge.

Thanks for reading!