When will there not be anguish that curls

in restless coils in the deep dark of flesh,

never still, sleeping the sleep of cats?


When will the day just grow in its own time

at the pace of cloud and wind, not ticking

to the hollow rhythm of deadlines?


Sky spreads high blue, so dense it leaves

smears in the meadow; shadows beneath

the trees flicker with wings and fluttering songs.


No calm falls when the wind

blows, and the snake shifts,

and the clock ticks.


Only in sleep does it stop,

the nagging amorphous fear

of failure, unhappiness, disappointment;


only because we hope, is the edge always

just before our feet, the cliff yawning, and beneath,

the ocean pounding on grinning rocks.





We break up time

not into minutes and hours

but into waitings

and the swift brief passing of the end of waiting

chain reactions of deflation or elation.


Even within the waiting

there are waitings

in the nine months waiting

the milestones passed achieved are only the prelude

to the lifetime of waiting that never ends.


Waiting is longing or dreading

the knot is the same the squirming.

Will he phone will she come?

And the waiting with the cord around the neck—

are they all right?

Haibun for a departure


On the telephone lines, the swallows gather, preparing their things for the departure, meeting old friends perhaps, rounding up children, chattering quietly of this and that and the nature of water. In their midst, a single turtle dove perches, enthralled by their stories of the great rolling sea, the rolling sky and the rolling clouds, the desert rolling bleached and bare and beyond, a place where the winter months of cold would be a cruel memory.

Is she tempted, the gentle bird, or is it he? Does he dare to imagine winter warmth and no guns? Probably not, the wild grey sea and the parched desert, shadowy images behind her anxious eyes, as she scans the meadow for fallen seeds.

an ending

an ocean of anguish

the call of home

drawing in the threads

another turn of the wheel

All through the night


All through the night the voices spoke

and the pictures jittered past like images

trying to escape from ancient celluloid.

All through the night the sky was dark

with here and there a star

where wind had scraped the cloud away.

All night.

And when the dark began to fade

the voices silenced and the film run down

nothing had changed.

Nightingale’s furious tireless song

swept through the emptiness

bridging yesterday and all the todays

and tomorrows that are left

with a thread as tenuous

as unwritten verse.

No cloud in this sky

Painting ©Alex Akindinov


No cloud in this morning sky

filled with hunting swifts

and the scent of the roses,

hanging heavy beneath damp leaves.

Sparrows squabble over greenfly,

chasing tiny moths,

and the slightest breath of breeze

sifts through the birch leaves.

Behind the softly falling sounds,

the scents and sighs of spring,

I hear the dull tread of tomorrow,

the dark hounds that hunt in the night,

their shadows clinging, black rags,

to the morning rose bushes.