The pin

My mother

was not one for symbols

poetry, flowers, song

Life was survival

drawing within the lines


avoiding illness, death, disgrace

She loved in a quiet way

I love you, not said

was to be understood

shown in service

in food prepared

in time given

in a kiss goodnight…

She offered her token

with shyness

surprised to discover

it would be treasured

(did I not show my love?)

an ornate but simple pin

of her mother’s mother, Catherine

C Mc K,

entwined initials

of a mother who died young,

a connection in my hands to

to touch

to wander with

into invisible realms.


Inspired by dVerse Tuesday Poetics: Threads of Feeling

a trend in chaos


I throw open the drapes this cold morning. Local harbingers of spring are out inspecting the yard. I haven’t seen robins for several days. Today they have left high places in the trees…despite gale force winds, snow and freezing temperatures, grubs must be rising to the surface. I peer at the tree next to the house. It’s still grey. I take a photo and enlarge it with my fingers. The bare limbs are knobbly, spears at the tips lead into the light.

counting days…
above shifting shadows
branches look dormant
nothing seems to change
yet spring unfolds.


A haibun for dVerse.

©2018 Ontheland

In like a lion

Early March winds cleaned off the porch last night…threw the empty greenhouse into the yard. Now it lies on its side pinned…kept in place.

Spring’s rival roams

dashing hopes of early thaw

hurling gusts of chill


©️2018 Ontheland

The greenhouse event was a potential haiku that I almost bypassed. Frank J Tassone’s Haikai Challenge: “first spring gust” nudged me to write this haibun.

A letter to a book called Forgiveness

A0CCC8A2-E69E-4080-8934-5EFC8135CA5FYou rest on my lap
open at the last page
one dog on my left
one dog at my right
like bookends
(as when the boys slept
beside their mother)
I say goodbye
your stories were
not of heaven
they shifted
puzzle pieces
under my skin
and so, dear book,
“Forgiveness—a Gift from my Grandparents”,
I’ll abandon all pretence
of worldliness and confess
you astonished me
with brutal history and
personal honesty
you moved me
with a memoir of a young man
your grandfather
his life nearly ended
before and during
the prison camp in Japan
a place of unimaginable terrors
you moved me
with a memoir of a young woman
your grandmother
on Canada’s west coast
her family’s banishment
(for the crime of being Japanese)
to a shack on the Prairies
they suffered
poverty, heartbreak, humiliation
details that stick
their lives under pressure
they persisted
no matter how much
lice, bed bugs, fleas…
And through it all, choices were made
to reject shame, to not cast blame, to forgive
choices guided
by temperament, love, spiritual wisdom
Thank you dear book…
may you be read by many.


Bjorn at dVerse recently invited us to write letter poems.  Intrigued by the form, it took me a bit of time to settle on to whom my letter would be addressed.  My recipient is a book, “Forgiveness: A Gift from my Grandparents” written by Mark Sakamoto and published in 2014 by HarperCollins.

©2018 Ontheland

troiku of early spring

After the melt,
beside pale stubbled fields
sandy roads climb


After the melt
mountains of black crusted snow
stacked by the plows

Beside pale stubbled fields
memories of summer crops
in breaths of spring

Sandy roads climb…
tree buds begin their journey
into uncharted sky


February 26, 2018

In response to Frank J. Tassone’s Haikai Challenge #22: Barely Spring.

(Roads are sanded to increase traction on winter ice. The debris is eventually washed away by spring rains.)

©2018 Ontheland

recipe for coming out of winter hibernation

Drink hot soup tomato red
this February night.
Burn a candle flame.
Winter blood still
bathes chilled joints.
Newborn microbes
dance unseen.
Wear wool to hug the skin,
Breathe to clear dry lungs.
We are defrosting,
departing from winter hibernation.
Spring barely has begun.


A message from 44º North, 76º West for dVerse Poet’s Pub. We are quadrilling “burn” tonight.

©2018 Ontheland



Two fledglings take flight,
young monks in search of wisdom
Soulmates since childhood,
Siddhartha and Govinda

Together in dreams,
apart in the waking world
feathers in their hearts
buffeted by winds of time

Rivers feed the sea
raindrops fill every stream
listen to the sounds
rivers speaking many tongues

Do rivers chant “Om”,
sacred mantra of Brahmins
mirrors of being,
perpetual becoming?

Siddhartha listens,
hears union in water flow
Govinda feels love,
his heart reawakes with joy

Spring rivers overflowing
singing then, now, what will be


In response to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Weekend Meditation #21 Out of the Box #3 , I have attempted a Choka, a Japanese form of any length in a 5-7 syllable pattern ending with 7-7.  I chose Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse as the theme, a beautiful spiritual fable translated by Hilda Rosner and published in 1951. I paired the poem with a picture of a local stream that I took at this time of year in 2016.  Siddhartha has been featured in several posts this month at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

©2018 Ontheland