on the highway

Yesterday I was driving on the 401 to and from Toronto—it was no picnic, in sweltering heat and hours of bumper to bumper traffic crawling next to lines of towering trucks. There were pleasant moments—beyond nibbling buns from a Chinese bakery. Squirrels were everywhere at the downtown park…one boldly snacked in the middle of the roadway…too tame for its own good.

On the highway I contemplated leafy canopies of deciduous trees.

September treetops

leaves slowly changing colour

like my hair


©️2018 Ontheland

“show me the way to the Ocean!”

who is it?

who thirsts for all this

these transient things

that bind the spirit?

Take me to the sky

wrap me in music,

the gentle silence of dawn

false spring?

it’s the fire of life

the roar of the sea

©️2018 Ontheland


Today I respond to Carpe Diem #1391: A Great Silence featuring an ode of Jalaluddin Rumi…perhaps one could call my piece an experimental haibun. Rumi’s poem has so much to savour:

I don’t get tired of You. Don’t grow weary

of being compassionate toward me!

All this thirst-equipment

must surely be tired of me,

the waterjar, the water-carrier.

I have a thirsty fish in me

that can never find enough

of what it’s thirsty for!

Show me the way to the Ocean!

Break these half-measures,

these small containers.

All this fantasy

and grief.

Let my house be drowned in the wave

that rose last night out of the courtyard

hidden in the center of my chest.

Joseph fell like the moon into my well.

The harvest I expected was washed away.

But no matter.

A fire has risen above my tombstone hat.

I don’t want learning, or dignity,

or respectability.

I want this music and this dawn

and the warmth of your cheek against mine.

The grief-armies assemble,

but I’m not going with them.

This is how it always is

when I finish a poem.

A Great Silence overcomes me,

and I wonder why I ever thought

to use language.

© Rumi, Coleman Barks translation


for Haibun Monday

My hair silvers at the temples and falls out in long white strands. It was brown, then dark dark brown and now…I wonder if my hair is thinning…..my mother’s hair was always blonde….different shades of blonde…she made sure of that.  And now my plumage changes. What will leave and what will stay?

old robin flies

in late winter grey

white down catches light

©2018 Ontheland



In this haibun I blend a story about hair with my recent sightings of robins.  Reading about these birds I discovered that some robins live five years or more if they survive their first year.  I am fairly certain that the robins in my yard stayed here for the winter, perhaps feasting on the abundant juniper berries. Their signature red breasts and white plumage on throats and under tails brighten up the landscape. The above photo, from Pixabay, is an American Robin.  Many thanks to Bjorn at dVerse for his Haibun Monday prompt: The beauty and the misery of grey.

Only the first line

Today I tackled Carpe Diem’s “Only the first line” challenge creating the following four haiku from four given first lines. In Ontario, Canada, where I live, there is no sign of spring yet—as is normal in January. The first line prompts hint at warmer days, but I stayed within my local experience:

hot summer day

pine scents bear sweet memories

in mid-winter thaw


a walk through the city

in winter obstacle course

towering snowbanks


the passing spring

these cautious steps were once bold

muscle strength fading


steel blue night

only in photo albums

this winter


©️2018 Ontheland