Milestones . . .


lace-curtain Irish . . .
hand sewing the hem
with a blind stitch
I measure the distance
between mother’s last breaths

Just north of St. Louis the August heat is oppressive, the rich riverbed giving way to a monotonous play of farmland stalked by endless rows of ripening grain.  Somewhere along the road a simple metal marker fractures the flattened landscape.  I squint to read the words on the small, sun-burnished sign: MOTHER JONES HOME.

 who is this spirit
who won’t stay down?
rising phoenix—
the dust and the ashes
 no longer earthbound

I had assumed that “Mother” Mary Jones—Irish immigrant and union organizer—had been bred with coal dust in her bones.  Teacher.  Dressmaker.  Fire stole her livelihood.  Yellow fever, her family.   Reinventing herself one last time, Mary became the voice of striking miners, their wives, their children.  Some dubbed her the “grandmother of all agitators”; others called her “the miners’ angel.”

 copper and gold
flocking the evergreens
at day’s end . . .
an unexpected sign
shining light on the road

Alone in my borrowed car, I pledge to follow the marker on my return.  But I never do.  I look for but can’t find it.  

north by northeast
a splinter of geese flies
far from this heat
I too ponder
how I’ll leave this earth

Haibun Today, vol. 6, no. 1, March 2012

I am so honored to be included in the new issue of Haibun Today, featuring a wonderful variety of haibun and tanka prose by an array of fantastic writers.  Thanks especially to my friend, Claire Everett, the journal’s new tanka prose editor, for her wonderful voice, keen insight, and unwavering enthusiasm.


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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6 Responses to Milestones . . .

  1. Merrill Ann Gonzales says:

    Congratulations, Margaret… It is INDEED an honor and I’m so very happy for you.

  2. Jenny Angyal says:

    Congratulations on your publication–but most of all on penning such a wonderful reflection on the fascinating figure of Mother Jones.

  3. Alegria Imperial says:

    Milestones, indeed, not only this haibun or with this haibun but every one of your published poetry you’ve shared here, mi hermana!!! Such lovely ‘corazon y anima’ you’re sharing! Deeply deeply honored, I say it again, to be ‘su hermana de alma’ Hugs…

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