Haibun for midsummer storms

For the dverse prompt

Another night and day of storm and picking up the battered tomato plants. Another day of light that changes with lightning rapidity, booming with the drum roll of thunder. No fire this longest day and shortest night, the sky too charged. Who would tempt the force that draws up wind and tempest with our puny defiance?
an ocean of clouds
sails the sky all the shades
of the storm
and we watch and wait for the deluge, the rattle of rain and the detonation of thunder echoing in the attic, sending the cobwebs flying while
cats cower
no mice-dancing matters when
the sky is unchained
In the dog chamber, a sleeping hound, deaf to the bombardment, sleeps. Night is night is night, a time to let the bones rest and dream dreams of those young days of the wild hunt
the balm for old age
a moon sighs.



morning bales

The year has turned from rampant growth

of green, climbing flowerburst and seedset,


from tangle of tendrilled vines, fruiting slowly,

slower than warm eggs in nests already empty,


from riot of crowded, clouded meadow,

meeting deep hedges, birdfull and singing


and the fresh cool beneath the trees, first frogs

plopping from muddy banks and celandines,


the flow has ebbed from foaming froth to dead calm,

the year receding, neatly baled and wrapped,


and we plant parasols, play with planchas, peeling,

burning sweaty red, and think the best is yet to come.


Gogyohka for a midsummer pause

west raked

Hay lies waiting

beneath the sun beating

and an oriole is fluting

his endless questions

that have no answer


bees swarm loud

in the hot silence

heavy as honey

sweet as syrup

and the brazen blue throbs


with a brazen beat

cicada hiss sssss

among limp leaves

while water runs slower

dying and drying as its bed shrinks


spring is life in movement

floods and rising green shoots

now we hold hot breath

thinking of the crisping of leaves

and the first cold shadows.

Haiku for midsummer

The white bird is an egret. We usually see them in flocks, but this solitary individual (weirdo maybe) was flying with a great flock of red kites. The kites were after the hot-blooded creatures disturbed by the mowing, the egret was after grasshoppers.




beneath drying stalks

once gold

green ribs shine


waves of heat-shimmer

on the meadow break

with poplar-hiss


shade pools

dim as ocean depths where

bramble flowers wink


all these months

the thrush has sung dawn to dusk

through the dark days


light glitters now

damselfly-bright on the last

wave tip of spring


Haiku for the longest day

For Frank Tassone’s summer solstice prompt.

before mowing

the longest day

a day for mowing cutting

the year in half


all the golden stalks

the meadow

a battlefield


the gyre narrows

hawk objective probes beneath

the fallen grass


how did they know

before the engine’s rattle

that death was coming?


feather swarm glides

in untouching pattern

through the blue

Microfiction: Midsummer dancing

I found this painting by Thomas Wilmer Dewing on Wikimedia Commons, and beyond the pretty effect of the hazy grass and the fairy-like girls fading into it, I was intrigued to know the story behind it. I don’t know what it is, so I wrote one.


The woman pushed Flora roughly to the ground in a rustle of silk. Her arrogant gaze didn’t falter. Flora bowed her head in confusion. The master’s daughter was not used to this kind of treatment.

“I want to go,” she said finally, aware of the tremble in her voice, fearing it sounded petulant. “I want to see the dancing.”

“You want to see young Derby, more like.” The woman sneered slightly.

“Mr Derby to you!”

The automatic reaction only made the woman laugh aloud.

“Want to see the dancing?”

“It’s midsummer. Why shouldn’t I?

“Because it’s not for you. No more’n the kind of dancing young Derby does with the farm girls is for you.”

Flora felt the blood drain from her face. “Mr Derby­—”

“He’s had every one of them. Three o’ them’s carrying his bairn.” The woman’s tone changed, softened. She jerked her chin in the direction of the girls, disappearing into the evening mists. “Leave ’em be. Leave ’em to their dancing. While they can.”

In the distance, beyond the hazel copse, Flora could see the bright flames of the midsummer fire. The dancing girls had gone, but she thought she heard the bright sound of laughter in the breeze. The mist thickened. Dusk crept across the meadow. The woman dropped a bouquet of hedge parsley into Flora’s lap and followed in the tracks of the farm girls. Flora watched until night fell, and the sky filled with up-flying sparks, then she turned for home.