Hourglass haiku

Kids grow parents die
Looks jobs bosses partners change
In this dance of time

It’s true normal’s just
A dryer setting meaning
Tumbling in hot wind

So we all need things
To hold onto — tumbleweeds
Are so hard to hug

Friends dogs coffee God
Things that don’t just blow away
When storms are brewing

Spaces inside, out
Spaces life can’t rearrange
Unless we say so

We all need our rocks
To build our peace on, knowing
The sands will get in

AE haiku

Amelia Earhart, July 24, 1897 — July ??, 1937

Nikumaroro
75 years later
The search continues

Mystery, adventure
Derring-do, lust to take wing
Amelia Earhart

Her birthday today
Incarnate in Atchison
Baby girl inspired

From first shed-roof “flight”
To last over Pacific
Spirit blazed, undimmed

And then she vanished
Landing on the wrong island?
Ditching in the sea?

The search continues
Hope they find what they’re seeking
If even they know

Perhaps it’s all right
When a dream runs out of gas
To keep chasing it

But I think she would
Move on, lay the dream to rest
Beneath waves and sand

“Last call for Monet” haiku

A YouTube clip of rare Monet footage reminded me of these verses, from the last day of the Monet show last summer at the Nelson Gallery in Kansas City.

Stock markets crashing
A brave helicopter, too
Death and destruction

Monet’s exhibit
Beckons, one last day of peace
Amid the chaos

Cleveland, St. Louis,
KC rejoin their triptych
Of water lilies

Yes, Monet beckons
Grainy black and white film clip
Of a smoking bear

Museum writings
Talk of history and technique.
Soul, they can’t explain

Pure tranquility
Spotlights on the canvases
In dimly lit room

Pure tranquility
Flows across the canvases
42 feet wide

Pure tranquility
Reunites the canvases
Three friends breathe as one

I sit, stand, kneel, rest
Immersing myself in them
From every angle

Can’t see from afar
Without people in the way
They’re part of the show

Round-faced baby girl
Stooped man in tourist-plaid shorts
Three handsome siblings

The Nelson’s garden
Blooms with these human flowers
Shapes, colors, ages

Monet’s panels each
Have a shimmering center
Of yellow and green

Each draws you, calls you
To get lost in reflection
As Monet once did

Clusters of lilies
Give each panel its own life
Different from the rest

Wisps of peach and rose
Deep red here, darker green there
Cream saucers and swirls

Beloved garden
Monet’s refuge from a war
That ravaged his time

Beloved garden
That became his obsession
To paint and rework

Beloved garden
A peace we magically share
Across time and space

“Last of the True Believers” haiku

Nanci Caroline Griffith, July 6, 1953, Seguin, Texas

Cracked my heart open
The first time I heard her sing
Still does, every time

You see, we all have
This problem, and it’s called love
Nanci Griffith knows

And for some of us,
Heart on sleeve fools, no one else
Sings it quite like her

From Kerrville campfires
To the London Symphony
Nanci’s played ’em all

And tracing romance
Or tugging hatred’s hood, she
Sings about what’s real

Nanci pays tribute
To her strong-women heroes
Love isn’t weakness

Has her causes, too
From the death penalty to
Equal marriage rights

Been through life’s wringer
Death of young sweetheart, divorce,
Cancer twice, friends lost

Years of writers’ block
Came too, but that’s over now
Her muse has returned

“The Loving Kind” said
Nanci’s back; new CD says
She’s staying awhile

Happy birthday, girl
You take the cake, and our hearts
It’s all frosting now

June 1 haiku

1926
Star who will be Marilyn
Makes her first twinkle

Born into madness
Dies in loneliness, despair
In between, magic

In ’67
The Beatles get serious
With Sgt. Pepper’s

Rock stars turn artists
Tap all that’s within them
Music ever changed

1968
Helen Keller breathes last breath
Of unique journey

Deaf, blind, not yet 2
Alphabet unlocks genius
To inspire the world

June 1st, quite a date
For magical history tour
Birth, release, passing

Zimmy haiku, redux

Last May 24th, Bob Dylan turned 70, and I wrote these.

The short-version tribute:

Two words: Bob Dylan
For decades in his music
He’s said all the rest

And the longer one, with thanks to Joyce Carol Oates for her description of Dylan’s voice, and to Dylan, for packing almost 12 minutes of the most mind-bending music onto one 45: “Like a Rolling Stone/Gates of Eden.”

Haiku for Dylan
Like outhouse built in tribute
To cathedral, but …

Let’s give it a try
And hold it to seven more
One for each decade

Woodie Guthrie passed
The torch and Dylan produced
More U.S. classics

“Blowin’ in the Wind”
“The Times They Are a-Changin’ ”
Timely and timeless

He took us on trips
(With and without tambourine)
We’ll never forget

Torrents of words, voice
“As if sandpaper could sing”
Cut straight to the heart

Fierce independence,
Shifting styles that confounded
His fans and doubters

He sliced up the world
In 3 minutes — one time 6!
And changed everything

“Just music,” he says
But Bob, you’re gonna make me
Lonesome when you go

“Finishing the” haiku

Stephen Sondheim born
This date, 1939
Musical master

Stephen wasn’t born
A master, of course, though he
Caught the bug at 9

Passion sustained him
Through divorce of his parents,
Mother’s cruelty

Hammerstein friendship,
Mentorship showed him the ropes
Taught him to compose

Soon he wrote lyrics
“West Side Story” and “Gypsy”
He was on his way

Music, lyrics flowed
And “A Funny Thing” happened
“Company, “Follies”

And “Send in the Clowns”
From “A Little Night Music”
Was Top 40 hit

Impressive awards
For show tunes: Oscar, Tonys
Even Pulitzer

From difficulty,
Math-to-music mind, much toil
He fashioned genius

Clever, biting words
And complex polyphony
Told stories in song

“Sweeney Todd” stripped bare
The mad human appetites
Fed by life’s tortures

“Sunday in the Park”
Extraordinary picture
Vision’s fevered grip

Ambiguity
In all its splendor and pain
Hearts cracked wide open

All so delicious
And so outside-looking-in
Sondheim to the core