concealed, then
in the feline stealth of time
mountains grow from dust


©2018 Ontheland

Amaya at dVerse has challenged us to write a shadorma (3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables) with hints of shadow, mist, enigma. I wrote this gazing at the sunset, first thinking about the tunnels under Rome where they discovered all kinds of refuse, and then about other dumps and secret disposals large and small.

The photo is in the public domain, courtesy of Pixabay.com (search ‘hidden’).


we are oak, our roots travel deep, our leaves rustle winds

we are birds, we surf the clouds, we dive far below

we are fish, we rule the ocean, we leap to the sun

we are seeds released by fire, born to rise again


©️2018 Ontheland

A quadrille for dVerse…a poem of 44 words…this week the challenge is to include ‘fire’.

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

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

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

drink to me

Drink to me with your eyes
I will be yours
but at your peril
My sea is vast.
Pools of magic fish
diver’s coral
aquatic gardens
and lost treasures
dazzle with mystery.
My inner confusions
flash illusion yet
my depths are true,
unexplored diffusion.


Remember the song: “Drink to me only with thine eyes?”  The dVerse Tuesday Poetics invitation to write poems about drinking reminded me of this opening phrase and then I wrote a quadrille.

© 2018 Ontheland