Biography in 12 Poems – May 2, 2016

Biography in Twelve Verses



menacing challenge

a drifting figure
like a storm or summer breeze
– father

all-pervasive night

whimsy and horror
kaleidoscope of events

blocking the exit
growing up

pin-point and bright
wavering uncertainly
saving light

the inner voice commands
the silence

throwing off fear
trusting once again
or no

this closed window
keeping out the weather
and the sunshine

plain truth –
equilibrium isn’t
balancing stones

momentary dazzling light
in monotony

at sixty-four
a rocky stability
after the tears flowed

© G.s.k. ‘16


Whirligig 57: THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “Weather” by Linda Pastan: menace, father, black, childhood, blocking, light, speak, throwing, window, plain, dazzling, after 

Poets on the Page – MONDAY, MAY 2, 2016 Poetry Prompts

Poetry Prompts:
Write for ten minutes asking what balance means to you, how balanced or unbalanced your life is, and/or what feels balanced to you.


Write about balance in nature, where you see it and/or feel it.

Word Prompts:


The Narrow Road (17) Farewell – Haiku and Tanka – December 31, 2015


in the sea
bobbing on the waves
a passing story


through sun and tempest
this infinite sea reveals
mysteries of life

each tiny shell a secret
each new wave a story

© G.s.k. ‘15

Carpe Diem #887 Returning home: between the waves, a clam

between the waves
small shells mingle with
bits of bush clover

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

a clam
torn from its shell
departing autumn

©Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

Birthday – solo no renga – May 22, 2015


her small hands
touching the temple bell –
an imprint of innocence

© Anmol (HA)

the gong vibrates at dawn
monks light joss sticks and candles

ritual prayers
echo through the air
she listens calmly

among the ancient trees
a single ray of light shines

who is the lady
she never names her name
though she walks with all

familiar but nameless
companion to one and all

visiting all
she makes her presence felt
leaving her imprint

the temple bell now tarnished
these white hairs have grown overnight

another year gone
she walks on another path
touching one and all

© G.s.k. ‘15

Written for Ha’s birthday – Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie – Heeding Haiku with Ha!

Morning Haiku and Waka – priest and morning-glory (the Way) – May 5, 2015


bonsai pine
every twist dictated
by the gardener


contemplating life
morning glories and priests
in a bonsai pine
both beautiful and sad
this is often the ‘Way’


the bonsai
never free never chooses
each leaf created
thus even the gardener
is often shaped by life


Basho’s ancient pine
growing for a thousand years
over ‘Taima’ Temple
morning-glories and priests
pass but leave no echoes

© G.s.k. ‘15


This morning Carpe Diem Haiku Kai‘s post was very rich speaking a little about Basho’s personal life before introducing us to today’s haiku.  

Today’s haiku gave me much to think about … below you will see both today’s haiku and  a mondo or teaching conversation between Chuang Tzu and his disciples about the ‘Way’ as Tao is often called.

Visiting Futakamiyama Taima Temple, I saw a pine tree about a thousand years old spreading its branches over the garden. It was so large it could have covered up the cattle as Chuang Tzu said in his story. It was very fortunate and precious that the pine, under the protection of Buddha, had escaped the penalty of being cut down with an axe.

priest and morning-glory
how many times reincarnated
under pine tree law

© Basho

(The above haiku and its introduction lead us to a lesson by the great Tao master Chuang Tzu.)

CHUANG TZU WAS WALKING in the mountains when he saw a huge tree, its branches and leaves thick and lush. A woodcutter paused by its side but made no move to cut it down. When Chuang Tzu asked the reason, he replied, “There’s nothing it could be used for!” Chuang Tzu said, “Because of its worthlessness, this tree is able to live out the years Heaven gave it.”

… “Yesterday there was a tree on the mountain that gets to live out the years Heaven gave it because of its worthlessness. Now there’s our host’s goose that gets killed because of its worthlessness. What position would you take in such a case, Master?”

… “I’d probably take a position halfway between worth and worthlessness. But halfway between worth and worthlessness, though it might seem to be a good place, really isn’t – you’ll never get away from trouble there. It would be very different, though, if you were to climb up on the Way and its Virtue and go drifting and wandering, neither praised nor damned, now a dragon, now a snake, shifting with the times, never willing to hold to one course only. Now up, now down, taking harmony for your measure, drifting and wandering with the ancestor of the ten thousand things, treating things as things but not letting them treat you as a thing – then how could you get into any trouble? This is the rule, the method of Shen Nung and the Yellow Emperor.

“But now, what with the forms of the ten thousand things and the codes of ethics handed down from man to man, matters don’t proceed in this fashion. Things join only to part, reach completion only to crumble. If sharp-edged, they are blunted; if high-stationed, they are overthrown; if ambitious, they are foiled. Wise, they are schemed against; stupid, they are swindled. What is there, then, that can be counted on? Only one thing, alas! – remember this, my students – only the realm of the Way and its Virtue!”

(The above is only a very tiny part of a long conversation, the rest can be found HERE)

Travelling Through Life (Sestina)

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Along the road I daily travel,
Alone sometimes, sometimes with friends.
There are no sign posts which I can follow,
Just a trail upon which I can reflect
Upon each emotion each curve will bring
Hoping for happiness or at least not regret!


Silly to even think, I won’t know regret
At least upon one turn, as I travel.
I know not what regret may bring,
Perhaps, I’ll meet some steadfast friends.
So, it’s much wiser that I ponder and reflect,
And walk carefully on the path of life I follow.


Walking independently does not mean never follow,
There are somethings on that road I wouldn’t regret.
Wander-lusting, walking along a path, as I reflect,
Is an interesting way I think to travel.
I’ve met so many people, some now are friends,
This is what audacity can often bring.


Each day as I walk my path could bring,
(Though I never know which path I’ll follow)
Wonderful adventurers,  foes and friends,
New lines to write into my story without regret,
This is the miracle of the roads we travel,
So I tell myself,  as I wander on and reflect.


Yet if I should stop to contemplate and reflect,
On some of the sorrows, some choices bring.
I might well hesitated before I began to  travel,
Or more careful choose whom to follow,
There could be troubles for which I’ll regret
Losing sight of those I’d call my friends.


Oh my dear and loving friends
Let not this world separate us, reflect
So that we might not someday regret
Whither the pathway leads us, ask, will it bring
Yet more adventures for us to follow?
Such are the pathways on which we travel,


As one thinks of friends and the happiness they bring,
It helps that we reflect which roads to choose afore we follow.
For our life is short, regret has little value, where we will travel.


I wanted to try the sestina once again, and try to get a little looser with it.  It actually become less complicated once the mechanism of the poem becomes clear.  The photos in the poem were taken yesterday when I decided to go walk in the misty oatmeal mush that is our winter weather.  I guess it too has it’s beauty as well see today. 😉