Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Summer 2006, vol 4 no 2


Michael S. James

I remember a lady who lives in the southern Appalachian Mountains; we simply call her, Beetle. She is a tough, self-sufficient woman that, underneath her leathery exterior, has a heart of gold. She is also my friend. She lives in a two-story farmhouse that sits at the base of a hillock, overlooking fertile fields that grow tobacco. Much like its owner, the house looks weather worn, but the solitude it offers, is a treasure unmatched.

In the drive that leads to her house, a chestnut tree stands, leaning out to greet you. Are the chestnuts so valuable, that nature needs to protect them? When I was young, I hated the chestnut we had. I discovered later in life how rare they truly were. I heard last year that it succumbed to an icy death after a winter storm.

A short walk from her house is a meandering stream filled with sly trout. They make a fine dinner, if you can catch them. Standing in the stream, they ignore my flies, the water washing away all my cares.


the memories come back
. . . crackling fire

Michael S. James has always been a fan of good writing, but he did not actually try his hand at it until early in 2005 when he started writing short works in science fiction and fantasy. He has since completed several stories and is currently shopping them to appropriate publications.

He began writing poetry in October of 2005. He has always had an interest in Japanese culture, so his first inclination was to investigate and start writing haiku. From there, being curious in other Japanese poetic styles, he did more research and found the tanka, choka and haibun styles. Since that time he has endeavored to write as much as he can in all the different styles, as the inspiration hit him. Currently he has several tanka that will be published in the June 2006 issue of the tanka journal Red Lights.