Archive for March, 2010

odyssey, a haibun by Donna Fleischer


just me and claude — big, longhair black cat dozing under the back porch. a poem or two and bird song in the air. on my second cup of dandelion tea. time out from too much work. glad to feel sunshine and rhythms different from the pre-packaged twenty-four.

neighbor’s compressor makes me jump. same feeling as when this trapdoor heart of mine drops into the past. my mother’s suffering, my pain now. yet feeling something new. compassion for myself. i’d learned as a kid that this was something people ought to have for others. but where does it start? putting both feet down on this sweet, dark earth i discover that in owning nothing, i belong to everything.

the earth knows us–
even as we turn
our backs

machine whine stops. this day resumes. the force of spring is everywhere. soundings—hammer and nail houses going up nearby; the chain-sawed trees and our dazed silences; highway pistons and gears dropping; helicopter rotors.


real work today–

doing my part

~ Donna Fleischer

in Presence, issue 35, 2007


natsu no hebi suiban no heri ni nodo o oki toki yawarakani mizu nomiteori

a summer snake rests

its throat on the water bowl’s edge

with softness of passing time

it drinks water

~ tanka by Takako Hitaka

Fay Aoyagi, translator

from “Gendai Tanka No Kansho 101

(Appreciation of Contemporary Tanka 101)

edited by Ken Kodaka, Shinshokan, 1999, Tokyo, Japan

the uncoiled, expanse of a summer day;

the safe repose of a snake drinking water

from a proffered bowl; the feeling of

peace and fullness, of balanced rhythms;

and finally, the sibilant sounds them selves. ~DF

KHyal Kouture DF: I saw this on the subway yesterday in NYC and wrote it down for you. It’s a series called SubTalk — “Train Thought”. Pretty great to see poetry on the Metro!

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 rued

~ Robert Frost

Sponsored by The Humanities Initiative at NYU

NY Public Library

Starts a smile to think of someone on a city train in March

taking down the words from a poem on a subway wall

to send to a friend . . . the world is all right, then.

and hope I said thank You.  ~ DF


Piscataqua River Sky

photograph by Stephanie Elliott

May the newest new

year of the beginning of

the spring just begun

today like the falling snow

the more heap up our blessings.

~ Yakamochi

[(4516) . . . dated on New Year’s Day 759 . . .

This is the final poem in the Manyoshu.

In the lunar calendar the first day of the year

inaugurates spring. Tanka translation &

annotation by Cid Corman, Peerless Mirror,

Firefly Press, Cambridge, MA, 1981.]

moving my head

the grasses

spring back

~ Donna Fleischer

in Ko

fish     clouds     birds

in a stream

how it goes on

~ Donna Fleischer

in CT River Coastal Conservation District 2009,

CT Environmental Headlines &

bottle rockets

snatching a jellied rice cake
in the mist . . .
~ Issa, 1814

On Usedom, a haibun by Donna Fleischer

On Usedom

We find our way, Betty, and I, to her beloved friends’ doorstep in Neeberg, a German village of 30 on the Baltic Sea island of Usedom. Once the summer home to Russian czars, German kaisers. Today Ruth and Werner, Tabea, ten, and four-year-old rambunctious Joram greet us in English and soccer scores. My first morning after sharing chocolate muesli I wander far afield in poppies with the drowned poet Paul Celan, writing this in my head. Time in waves; wild blackberry paths to the sea; East Frisian black tea with brown rum and a sugar cube; fish at night, netted each morning from the Baltic near our door by the village fisherman (also the mayor, real estate agent, emergency medic, and reporter), born, grown up, and still in his place

pulling the dark net

to his wee boat at dawn

September moon slips through

Treks on foot skirting deep, loamy furrows and rootstocks, gleeful, me and Moritz (elegant, like his neuroscience theories), from one end of town to another with far-ranging conversation and pockets of silence. Getting to know an other — hey! there’s Tom, the mayor’s sea-wizened black-and-white cat, looking to us and out at sea. I recite Bob Arnold’s poem SURE to him. He seems to relate

The cat hides away all

Day asleep and thinks nothing

Of coming out and wanting a kiss

Convergences for dinner, stories, laughter; new friends, Moritz, of course, and Bettina, a psychoanalyst; more poetry, running out of wine, fireplace ablaze, and politics of an unforgettable campaign year, 2008, these Germans reassured in Barack Obama, in America

Flying home. Over Germany, England, Ireland, the Atlantic. The world and our lives with it so vast and collapsible.

Donna Fleischer

September 11, 2009

Presence #40 (January 2010)

in between petals, a haiku by Donna Fleischer

in between petals

of a tiny white daisy

this shifting world

~ Donna Fleischer

in Seed Packets,

a bottle rockets press anthology, 2010