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a little help from my friends

haiku, etc. by readers of Red Dragonfly

12 January 2011
introduction: in which I pause briefly for breath
I started a daily haiku blog called Red Dragonfly in May 2010 under
the mistaken impression that I could write haiku. I quickly realized
that maybe someday I would be able to write haiku, but not until I
learned a whole lot more about it. So I set out to learn. But I found it
hard going, and a little lonely.

Fortunately, pretty soon all these people started showing up and

hanging around the blog and saying kind and intelligent and funny
and helpful things. That made things a lot easier. And a lot more fun.
Before I knew it the comments on my blog had become more
interesting than my actual posts.

I now feel that my most significant achievement as a blogger is not

my poetry but the creation of this lively, supportive community. I never
cease to be amazed at and grateful to the stream of visitors who stop
by every day to keep me company and cheer me on as I stumble
through the long, slow, awkward process of becoming a poet.

To honor them, Iʼve started a tradition of taking a day off every one
hundred posts to breathe -- and to let my readers show me how itʼs
done for a change. These are the poems that they contributed for my
400th post.

Thanks, everyone. And hereʼs to the continued pleasure of your

company in 2011.

-- Melissa Allen
The Contributors (in the order they appear)

Bill Kenney
Stacey Wilson
gillena cox
Mariu Moreno
Dan Collins
Fiona Robyn
Joe Sullivan
Alan Summers
Margaret Lane Dornaus
Ashley Capes
Peter Newton
Don Wentworth
Juliet Wilson
Alexandra Crampton
old pajamas
Carlos Gesmundo
Eva Wojcik
Matt Morden
Alegria Imperial
Steve Mitchell
David Marshall
Angie Werren
Aubrie Cox
Abigail Parker
Rick Daddario
Andrew Phillips
Johannes S.H. Bjerg
Gene Myers
an empty laundromat
at dawn

(Pub. Frogpond)

pinochle and bocce

on an autumn evening
the old men gather

Bill Kenney
a veil of frost
on johari's window;
a different moon

(Photo of found haiku cut from 1800's
children's reader affixed to natural stone. This
is one of my favorite finds. Although maybe
not a haiku in the traditional sense to some, I
find the process I use to "find" these
involve an openness to noticing details and a
similar spirit to "write" haiku.)

Stacey Wilson
first gulp of morning air
sunrise has already
been here and gone

crossing the street --

in between traffic
a ruffle of pigeons

a mocking bird~
hops on the wall
mango leaves fall

gillena cox; Trinidad and Tobago
I wait for you full
like an empty bowl
filled with dreams.

Mariu Moreno
We waited for rain
and the rain refused to come.

Only Dust shifted.

Sun fell as bitter

jests were told by little winds;
some ducks were laughing

Lit aureate, limb and leaf

high, overlong shadows played.

The splinter removed,

I forgive the axe handle
avenging the wood.

Dan Collins
blackbird waits in the frosted bush

the bright stab of his beak a match for the berries

across the ploughed field 

trees sing their luminous yellow

great mounds of cloud, illuminated.

a pared sliver of moon.

Fiona Robyn
Light of morning
on your breast
I hope you never die

Early morning
footsteps mark
sand that glistens

Joe Sullivan
sky shift
a Chinese lantern 空の変化 中国のランタン 月を打つ
hits the moon

(Japanese translation Hidenori Hiruta

International Haiku New Year's Festival 2011, Akita, Japan)

virgin snow

the fox making prints

for the morning

(Pub. Icebox,
Hailstone Haiku Circle Japan, 2010)

Alan Summers
400th post—
red dragonfly lights
the way

Margaret Lane Dornaus
in a thousand cigarette butts
not one breath of magic
left behind

a Pink Floyd
retirement home
the nurses do not smile

Ashley Capes
two swimmers in a lane
the turbulence
of passing bodies


It’s been a long time now but I think the bell would ring around 7
pm. We would all march over to the chapel and get in line - high
school freshmen first, then sophomores, and so on with the priests
and brothers at the end. They are in cassocks and look solemn and
formal. With the line formed one of the older students begins the
rosary.The procession walks toward the Blessed Mother’s
shrine. Along the way is a mimosa tree; and being May in the intense
south, the tree blooms. The fragrance is pervasive and still the
murmuring continues “Hail Mary full of grace. . .”

Faulkner would have a field day with the rich smell of mimosa and cut
grass and sweaty youth and of course the twisting procession. Ten
hail marys, a decade, five decades, a rosary - long, repetitive, and full
of petition. Hail Mary… But to me the smell, the endless repeating of
muffled words, the prayers caught in the late sun all blend into a
hidden corner of my youth with only the scent of mimosa remaining.

a chain of monks murmuring

past a mimosa in bloom
the scent of Mary


(Pub. Notes from the Gean Dec. 2010)

Peter Newton
November cherry blossom —
what was I thinking?

Don Wentworth
a heron flies
across the gardens
the sound of windchimes

bare branches -
jackdaws gather
in pairs

Juliet Wilson
Higher Education

I live in a forgotten city, spend most of my time on a job most don't

care about (it's both necessary and obsolete) -- a curious state of
freedom within the last bastion of potential job security in the twilight
of empire

bicycle wheels
spinning in slush
first day of winter

Alexandra Crampton (prose)

Melissa Allen (haiku)
barking back
at birds in rental suits
we scarecrows
stalk the pasturelands
smoldering unloosed

Paris on junk
tightdress cobaltsuit
sway to Monk (1969)

old pajamas
ice skaters write cursive
I can't read

Carlos Gesmundo

all you found
you soap
me soap
we scent share
touch tender

Eva Wojcik
Autumn leaves of gold
decorate the trees
fall to the rake.

Winter storms hurry in the rains,

children drag home
mud in their shoes.

before the ferry
leaving a beggar
with all of our change

we begin to discuss
the things that really matter
a bowl of ripe cherries

leaving home
the children's bubbles
in spring wind

(All pub. in the collection A Dark Afternoon, 2000)

Matt Morden
sequence ILUKO* TANKA
English translations by the author
on the wall
moonlight washes into a bank 1.
–my mementoes ayuyang-limdo
diay aripit ballasiw
by the shore – ditoy a sumken
footmarks receding sinit a nalidliduan
let go of shadows nagtinnag nga anem-em

seagulls a haunt for sadness

a triplet on the harbor – the dried creek at the crossroad
loneliness here they recur
those untended flushes
pigeons whoosh up turned chronic fevers
spray the sky –
mud-soaked feet 2.
maruros manen
stone on my step rinemmengmo a rosas
but a sparrow – ipinas mo man
broken heart dagiti tidda ti biag
baet dagiti birri

petals in shreds
those bouquet of roses –
patch if you please
these remnants of life
between fissures

*Iluko, one of four major in 87

Philippine dialects, of the
northernmost edge of the
(Pub. LYNX XXV (June):2, 2010) archipelago. A dialect I was born
with but hardly ever spoke as an
adult and never written with until
three years ago when it woke in my
Alegria Imperial spirit among members of a yahoo group, mostly townmates I only knew
and met online.
grasshopper –
not in the grass
not hopping

evening stars
a cricket chirps twice –
still winter

Steve Mitchell

I remember winter
now that itʼs here—the next word
in a song, a plea

for love you forget

until a character speaks.
Now I remember—

outside this window

one leaf clung all winter. Wind

set it fluttering

like a hummingbird.

Its sociable flicker was

like life. One day

it flew away, and I thought—

itʼd never come back.

David Marshall
winter moon
even the white owl
has flown

Angie Werren
midnight snow
it's like you
were never here

Aubrie Cox
When the frog jumped in
Basho's venerable pond
Which one made the sound?

Rocky winter beach

Pebbles rattle with each wave
The sea greets the sea.

Abigail Parker
a bigger yard
four hundred haiku posts

fairy ring
a four hundred mushroom

Rick Daddario
his house and contents
walking away in her hair
- tangled web

a million songs
in the corner
dusty guitar

a kick in my back...
from the depths
of her womb

Andrew Phillips
on certain week days
the smell of sewer
all over town

peasant boys and motors unending loves

Johannes S. H. Bjerg
Footsteps in the rain

I stop -- 


Gene Myers

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