March 8: This Is Not a Haiku



March: It’s not just about the wind.
Light from the sun reaches us
and keeps going.
Raindrops flow like glass on glass.
My son is tracing circuit diagrams
on the back of a page from Hamlet.
We all dream that way sometimes.

When you climb a mountain
it divides the day.
Spring at the bottom and
winter at the top.
I pick up the phone, put it down again.
It’s not the right season to go backward.
I wish some year I’d remember
to write down the date
I hear the first bird sing.

Once a red-tailed hawk
moved into our neighborhood
and surveyed the chipmunks for days
before deciding to move on.
Don’t tell me you’ve never been tempted
to stay too long.
I’m sure there’s a song about that.

The equinox is coming:
are you equal to it?
This is when we realize
that snow is water.
That ice is light.
That every day the sun reaches us
at a slightly different angle:




So I’m really busy this week. Really. Insanely. Busy. Right now I should be doing six other things. Going to bed being one of them. Every minute for the last week I should have been doing six other things. A lot of those minutes I spent writing poetry instead. I’m hopeless that way.

At one point I guess I decided that it wasn’t enough to jot down a haiku or two in my off minutes, I needed to write a longer poem instead, one that would require some concentrated effort and allow me to put off my much more boring tasks for as long as possible. So I wrote this.  Sorry.


9 thoughts on “March 8: This Is Not a Haiku

  1. Damn Melissa

    I didn’t know you could do that. Not surprised though. This is a fine poem worthy of many readings. I’m on my fourth helping. Thanks for sharing this one . . for its dreamy wisdom come to so honestly through birdsong, through moving on.

    The writers’ conference poet in me (I prefer the haiku poet but hey) says cut the word “March” from L1 and the last line. Maybe call the poem March or some such reference to it. But the first line “it’s not just about the wind” is a great opener. And the last lines “every day the sun reaches us at a slightly different angle” has the simple genius of a well written haiku. Let them shine alone without the ‘marches.’ You don’t want to step on some of your best moments. Okay, there’s the haiku poet . . .
    Thanks again, Melissa.
    Where can I buy your book?


    • Thanks, Peter, that means a lot. Writing poetry other than haiku is kind of a parlor trick for me, I can produce a decent one every few years if I’m lucky. I feel like I’m driving blindfolded whenever I do it. I really don’t understand what I’m doing. It gives me a panicky feeling. With haiku…well, not like I’m really in control there either, but I feel like I at least have some vague idea where I’m headed and can get a grip on the steering wheel.

      Ha on the “March.” I really like it there. I’m sure you’re right and I’m wrong and maybe in a few years I’ll be ready to take it out. Not now, though. I’m stubborn and resistant to guidance that way. (Also really, really glad I’ve never taken a poetry workshop. I’ve taken fiction workshops, some with Really Famous Authors [though they weren’t famous at the time]. This may be why I have recurring and ongoing writer’s block when it comes to fiction …)

      Book. By the time I’m ready to produce one they’ll probably be obsolete. 🙂 But thanks for asking.

  2. your hopeless minutes are our gain. apology unaccepted.

    i agree with Peter on both “Marches” and wow the beauty here.

    (okay, i really dont want you to get behind on all the other six things you should be doing. …this is worth 7 things you should be doing, only it should be near the top of the list, and first on most days – imo)

    • Wrick, I really wish you would have a little talk with all my employers and professors and explain to them about your vision for my priorities. 🙂 Either that or track down a billionaire with a haiku fetish who wants to enable my habit. 🙂

      • ummm… i’d rather the second one, but i dont know any billionaires. that i know of. so… yeah, okay, just tell your profs and employers to get on over here, i have something to tell them. tell them to make reservations for a week at least.

        hey. Pele is making a statement. may be we could nudge them up there where she is speaking and ask her what to do with your employers and profs. may be they should have a talk with her.

  3. Excellent poetry, Melissa! Like Wrick, apology unaccepted. For me almost all lines in this long poem is exquisite non-haiku (because in poetry you’re allowed what you aren’t in haiku like the use of simile and personification.) It’s in haiku though that sharpens the senses so much so all around sparkles, waiting to turn into poetry.

    See? A haiku ‘writer’ cannot but be a poet, I truly believe.The haijin-s were called haiku poets, weren’t they?

    A long poem in free verse and maybe a rhymed one later from you was just waiting to burst! I knew this day would come…and more will come!

    • Thanks, Alegria. 🙂
      I’ve written plenty of both free and rhymed verse in my time (started way before I started writing haiku), but most of it I wouldn’t inflict on the world. 🙂

  4. This is beautiful! Sparkling with original imagery! I am so glad you wrote it – but then maybe you didn’t have the choice! Some poems demand to be written and take the choice out of our hands! In any case, thank you for this beauty.

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