Haiku for a day in January

magic oak

I wake at 4:00
but my right thumb keeps twitching
as if in its own dream.


On the plowed driveway’s
hard-packed snow, three dark cigars:
Coyote was here.


Winter palimpsest:
inside each white-tailed deer track,
a coyote print.


Rabbit tracks
go into the laurel thicket
& don’t come out.


A rubbing sound
on the underside of the floor
as something turns over.


Hurtling down the hill
while seated on a sled —
I feel so sedate.


“Transparency.” “The rule of law.”
Never before have I wept
at such dull words.


Nothing has disturbed
the snow on the old statue
of a setter at point.

13 Replies to “Haiku for a day in January”

  1. I needed these poems, and the photo – both the words and the image bring the moment into heightened relief. (I took the GRE today, after a twenty year hiatus from university. Ugh.)

    Very good – Winter palimpsest:. I’ve never used ‘palimpsest’ in writing or speaking, although I’ve read it a few times. You capture the essence of both the snow and the word in your haiku. But I think my favorite is the first one, because it’s so funny.

    I love the photo. The branches look like snakes winding around the air and the trees.

    And thanks for linking to my dog/yoga poem, *smile*.

  2. Nice collection, Dave.

    I especially like the disappearing rabbit tracks and “the old statue / of a setter at point”. I think that last image will stay with me for a while.

    Haiku seems to flow quite naturally from your daily practice of short-form poetic descriptions on “Morning Porch”.

  3. christine – The GRE? Wow. I can’t conceive of taking a standardized test again. In fact, I came close to applying for an MFA program a few years back until I realized I’d have to be tested again.

    “Palimpsest” is actually in Rana’s URL, I see, but no, it’s not a common word, and could easily start to seem pretentious if it were overused, as happened to poor “plethora.”

    Glad you liked the photo. That’s one of my favorite trees.

    Ken – Thanks for the feedback. Those two might be the purest haiku in this bunch. The dog statue is at the opposite end of my small front yard from the porch, and the French lilac is slowly enveloping him.

    Dana – Not too many hedgehogs on this side of the Atlantic, so I’m going to go with porcupine. Other critters possibly under the house right now include an oppossum, a feral cat, a rabbit, and at least one hibernating groundhog.

  4. I like the slight understated menace of the rabiit tracks not coming out!

    ‘Palimpcest’ is, I fear, becoming a little too handy; I rather like the falsely analogous ‘palimpcestuous’ though.

    Loved the sled run, but what a long walk back!

  5. I liked the surprise of this one:

    “Transparency.” “The rule of law.”
    Never before have I wept
    at such dull words.

    Funny, we both ‘kued. I found haiku this week in a very old diary of mine.

    (every time I see your “speak” button i want to go “woof!”)

  6. Lucy: I like the slight understated menace of the rabiit tracks not coming out!

    As I understand it, a rabbit warren always has at least one back door….

  7. True, although eastern cottontails don’t live in warrens, strictly speaking – that’s a European rabbit thing.

    Thanks to all for the comments. Danika, that’s a funny reaction! I think that wording came with the theme and I never thought to change it. Not sure what I’d change it to if I did. I kind of like it now.

    Lucy – I love “palimpcestuous,” though I’m not quite sure how to use it in a sentence.

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