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


Richard R. Powell

I climb up Seventh Street, enter the park, puff up the trail, open my coat, take off my gloves, let the heat out, the winter air in, suddenly aware that I am dizzy. I wish my particular affliction was different. But which affliction would I rather have? I turn, cross the stream, notice a disk of foam spinning in a back eddy next to the smooth curve in the sandstone. A flock of creepers whistle to each other high in the trees; simple black dots against the white sky.

I pass my prophecy bend, the place God speaks to me; well, the place God spoke to me once. I pause to listen, and then walk again, but slower, think about my doctor's prescription to get more exercise. I stop altogether; look at the lake, the reflection of a snag zigs like a cardiogram in waves from where a branch drips dew. The lake is calm, except for this steady pulse.

Further down the trail I stand still as a small group of loosely aligned Kinglets peep and groom silence from the grey winter branches. Their movements appear deliberate but gentle; whispers of a shy virtue.

A man in a dark blue nylon jacket approaches, bearing down on me, no place to go but the narrow trail. I'm momentarily concerned; his dark eyes, his thick moustache. But as he passes, the glimpse of a soul rubbed into burrs by some inevitable season, seeding the future with his barbed thoughts.

birds slip into the bush
the man doesn't return
my hello

Richard R. Powell lives in Nanaimo BC Canada with his wife of 22 years and his two teenage sons. He is the author of Wabi Sabi Simple, and the forthcoming Wabi Sabi for Writers, a book of lessons for writers from the life of Basho. His Haiku have appeared in the Heron's Nest and Haiku Canada Newsletter. He received honourable mention in the 2004 Betty Drevniok Awards. Richard is Executive Secretary for Island Crisis Care Society, a non-profit organization which provides emergency and crisis housing on Vancouver Island.