All Souls Tributes . . .

the whole family
all with white hair and canes
visiting graves
                         –Bashō (trans., Jane Reichhold)

As Halloween and El Día de los Muertos approach, once again I look to Bashō for inspiration on how to best remember those who’ve traveled down the ancestral road before me so that I might, one day, find my way back to them with humility and grace.  For all of them–the souls who’ve raced ahead to pass me on their journey–here are three tributes, the result of looking up, rather than down, for spectral sightings:

Count each fallen star.
Recall the names of your lost
loves, traveling this night . . .

Count the stars like coup.
They fall freely, rapid-fire
through our outstretched arms . . .

Count the stars: 13.
White hot as they pass–diamonds
falling from the sky.

And, from readers, come these moving haiku eulogies:

Te Deum—
counting the hymns
before the last kiss

after ten years
the whiff of his shaving lotion
from a stranger

from memory his figure
rises and stays mute
                                                                     –Alegria Imperial, jornales

my father’s disappointment—
the first frost
melts beneath my finger
                                           —Melissa Allen

The old mockingbird
Still imitates his whistle–
How many summers?
                                                                  —Abigail Parker

Three dead in five years.
Is this what old is about?
Passion’s reveries?

A dead rabbit by the roadside,
sunlight turning its ears
into rosepetals. 
                           –From “Driving at Dawn” by Van K. Brock,
                              Lightered: New & Collected Poems

A gringa observes
El día de los muertos;
Marigolds in hand

In Memoriam: Michael Glen Gauldin
Magnificent man
Gone all too soon, gone for good
God! Not good, just sad
                                                                           –Katherine Shurlds

Memories, frozen
Caught entwined in silver blue
Forever alive
                        –Lynda Roberts, bookstains







About Margaret Dornaus

I’m a writer and a teacher, as well as a haiku-doodler. I live in a beautiful woodland setting, surrounded by native oak forests, that inspires me to record haiku snapshots of luna moths and our resident roadrunner, and even an occasional black bear as it hightails it across the top of my road, my mongrel dog barking at its heels as I watch with wonder. My work as a travel writer has appeared in publications from The Dallas Morning News to the Robb Report. You can find examples of my travel writing–as well as excerpts from a travel memoir I’m working on–at my other WordPress site, Travelin’ On. What more than that do you need to know? Only that I started this blog with an eye toward collaboration. Got a haiku? Send it my way. . . . I’m all about new visions & voices. Best, Margaret
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7 Responses to All Souls Tributes . . .

  1. MLA says:

    This is such a wonderful idea, Margaret, and I love so many of these — especially, of course, the Basho. 🙂 But also your “Count the stars like coup” (what an amazing image), Alegria’s “Te Deum,” Abigail’s “old mockingbird,” Van’s “dead rabbit” — so many of these will be staying with me for a while …

    • Thanks, Melissa. I loved doing this, and I was surprised, when putting the page together, how many of the poems referenced each other in ways that flowed from one to the next . . . I feel honored to be in the presence of so many kindred spirits–past and present. Happy All Saints Day . . . Happy Halloween!

  2. alee9 says:

    What a treasure of a page, Margaret! Like Melissa, I like your “spectral sightings” of fallen stars–13 in my mind make a tiny pyramid (6,4,2 stars from the base) with the 13th pointing to infinity.

    It’s true how the haiku all seem to flow into each other: from the fallen stars, to the mourning, reflections of sorrow and death in an old mockingbird and dead rabbit that bring about reveries, to a gringa “observing” the day with marigolds (so Hispanic influenced as I know we do offer this flower, too), and back to focus on the dead risen bigger than life when they leap back in “silver blue” to “forever.”

    Thanks you so much!

    • Thanks, Alegria. I was moved by all your images. I especially love the concreteness of them: the “whiff of his shaving lotion”; “counting the hymns” . . .

      I wish I could take credit for your insight into the number “13” pointing to infinity. I was being literal; I actually did count 13 falling stars during a recent meteor shower–counting them as lucky . . . But I love your epiphany.

  3. Oh, these are all so lovely I can barely begin…my throat is full of tears yet my heart is full of the joy we’ve all felt knowing our loved ones. (Yes, here come the tears to my eyes.) I’ll return to comment more on the vivid images and lingering language, right now I’m still on a cathartic high from so much poignant beauty!

  4. Dear Margaret,

    I linked to your site from Melissa’s blog and will visit again. For now, thank you for this Post which expresses so much.

    Blessings, Ellen

    • You’re welcome, Ellen. Thank you for visiting . . . and for commenting. I’d like to make this blog as interactive as possible, so do visit again. I’m aiming for posting at least twice a week; alas, one-a-day isn’t in my regimen.

      Best, Margaret

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