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Susan Palmer-

*It is not my intention to write “haiku”. However, I am fully in love with the basic concepts of haiku…that the poet presents an experience to the reader with a minimum of words and no personal emotions, each experience hinting at a season in which it is placed. I was never fond of the artificial modern rule of syllable counts, and will not indulge in such.

Here you find poems without titles, just as snatches of life are without title. Ideally, the Tao poem does not include any references to the writer….personal pronouns. “we, I, my, our, your,” Etc. The purpose is to immerse the reader into his/her own memories of the season, the embarrassment, the wistful sigh. It should stimulate without shouting or sobbing. As an observer, we come to see our experiences of the past are common to all humankind. *

On windy days
My front door whispers
The secrets of Life.
The cats listen to its wisdom.

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On the lake
Cloud and sky
A fish dashes through.

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Under the green elm
Ants explore silken fabric
Lovers sleep entwined

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Monday morning
Snap-crackle-pop cereal
Sighs tiredly in a milk bath.
Book-bag sags on the counter.
Even my shoelaces dread
Another week.

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How did this great plant
Fit in that tiny seed?

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Who can tell if fish cry?

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The kite dances over the ocean
Admiring its reflection
Dangling its tail
This way and that

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The Dodgers baseball cap
Takes advantage of the gusts
Whenever the front door opens
To swirl gleefully around
The top knob of the coat rack

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The horses gambol about
Drunk on fields of yellow dandelions
Laughing in horsey whickers

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The wild dun mare
And her summer colt
Touch noses

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Three on horseback
Feeling their way through fog
Is that a cougar?

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Cougar lapping ripples
Fish kissing top of pond
Disturbed barrier between worlds

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Trees droop in the heat
Yawning fills the office
Eyelids sag

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Here,
Trees and vines
Dining on the bones
Of a wooden house

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A few Old Woman Poems

Though I resemble an old tree
My skin rough and discolored
My roots disengaging from the soil
I may yet make one cherry
For one traveler

I am a book
Full of words
And fading photos.
Do not presume
The ending is dull
Until the last page is turned.

My boat has crossed the lake.
When I look back, I see
I have left no impression.

Now I am old
I wonder
Whatever happened to
My little red wagon

Like calligraphy
Done in water
On a hot sidewalk
Such is my life

I was never a beautiful flower
But now, in Autumn,
I am a brilliant leaf.

A silent white world
Footsteps three inches deep
An empty mailbox

A forest of pines
Snow suits glisten in the sun
One naked oak sapling

Butterflies never
Get to play
In the snow

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Susan Palmer lived on Maui for almost 30 years and was deeply impressed by the Japanese ways of understatement and peaceful quiet of the “elder” Japanese philosophers. It draws her still, to be peacefully quiet myself, to be the observer more than the doer.

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