January 22nd 2016

There are a strange variety of plants in my house, many of them rescued from jobsites. Some of them were nothing more than cuttings thrown out in the dead of winter. If there’s still a will to live, I’ll save it.

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even
····frozen—the green of the abandoned
········cactus

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Every now and then my wife would appreciate a bouquet, but I’ll only bring her potted flowers.

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77 January 22nd 2016 | bottlecap

January 21st 2016

Today was a long day. I picked up my daughters at the music center after work. From the roadside, before going in, I could see a student practicing.

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windowlit
····snow—the girl playing
········violin

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January’s moon will be a ‘wolf moon’. About a week ago I heard the coywolves out in the back woods. They like check in once or twice during the winter—much more during the summer.

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76 January 21st 2016 | bottlecap

Snowballs

As I drove into work today, I saw some children at play. And now while I’m having a bite to eat, couldn’t resist this quick little diversion before I get back to the very serious business of haiku.

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blessèd
····are the peacemakers for they shall throw
········snowballs

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I understand that Basho, Buson and the others would often paraphrase Buddhist texts and sayings in their own haiku. When my appointed hour comes, I know Issa will defend me, or at least the poet Senryū Karai.

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January 21rst 2016 | bottlecap

January 20th 2016

I drove through Hanover and the Dartmouth Green today. I remember being at Dartmouth in the late seventies and early eighties when I was in high school, and recall it feeling much different then, smaller and more alternative. The students were still singing Vietnam protest-songs.

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unchanged
····even in winter—the college girl’s bare
········legs

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Some things have stayed the same.

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75 January 2016 | bottlecap

January 19th 2016

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icicles
····at midnight—the fragility
········of loneliness

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Sometimes I’ll go out on a January night and be terrified. It’s well and good having a warm house to return to, but there’s also something in me knows the beauty is deadly. There’s no sound, no comfort, and nothing human. The cold is the numbing cold of the universe just beyond the edge of the air.

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74 January 19th 2016 | bottlecap

January 18th 2016

I know I will write this again, but it seems like yesterday that I decided to write a haiku a day. Now I understand why Basho loved to travel. How many haiku can I write about snow, or the trees, or the moon? I try to write imaginatively, something different each day, but I also love each day’s little changes—alike yet different.

A haiku a day demands an awareness and mindfulness that’s new to me. Sometimes the haiku occurs to me in the moment; and sometimes, in the last minutes before midnight, I’m reliving the day in search of ideas and whatever moments remain with me.

This morning we enjoyed our first deep snow.

The evergreens collect the snow long enough for a wind to blow through, for the falling and curling sheets to burst in the air.

I spent a good part of my childhood in southeastern Ohio. That part of the state is rugged and beautiful—like Vermont in miniature, densely forested, steep hills and tight valleys. But almost all of the native evergreens were cut down decades ago. The beauty of the snow on evergreens is sadly missing.

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snow
····in the evergreen’s limbs just until
········I’m under them

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Written for every Vermonter who’s ever walked under an evergreen in a snowstorm. And then Frost’s perfect little jot of poetry:

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The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

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Now I look forward to one of those January nights. A crystal clear roof of stars, the moon, and the glittering snow.

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stars
····underfoot—afloat in a field
········of snow

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73 January 18th 2016 | bottlecap

January 17th 2016

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holding
···sun and moon together—the old oak’s
········roots

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One of the largest trees in Vermont used to be on our land—an old pasture oak with a trunk as large as a redwood. It finally gave out this past autumn. Easy to imagine that a tree that large might hold the earth and sky together.

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72 January 16th 2016 | bottlecap

January 15th 2016

Driving past the bookstore I almost stopped. I just like bookstores; have books I haven’t read yet; don’t need more books; and love buying books. I like browsing. The bookstore in Manchester, Vermont is one of my favorites, has lots of nooks and crannies with places to sit and hide with a book, must-have bric-à-brac, garden buddhas, café and snack bar. Used books are mixed in with new.

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longing—
····the girl absorbed by the book, the boy
········by the girl

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I fell in love once with a girl reading a book. Though I never saw her again, she was one of my most memorable love affairs. I almost made the first line ‘longing for spring—’, to keep the haiku seasonal. This is more of a senryu, I suppose, but I liked the mystery of simply—longing.

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70: January 15th 2016 | bottlecap