Day of the Dead III . . .

Day of the Dead altar by Katherine Shurlds



her altar set
for family and friends . . .
each calavera
flickering light that sparks
all of our memories

               –Margaret Dornaus

Once again, I’m privileged to share several images and small poems or calaveras (“skulls”) contributed by my friends and fellow poets for my annual Día de los Muertos posting.  Thank you all for the generosity of your contributions.  I hope you enjoy these offerings as much as I do.


cemetery pines
whispering among the needles
the gentlest of songs

this way and that
the oil lamp flickers–
unmarked grave

the last cigarette
before the aneurysm bursts–
pale moon

–Stella Pierides

this is no
ordinary prayer
that moves me to tears
of my mother’s death

     Pamela A. Babusci, The Temple Bell Stops , 2012

haiga by Cara Holman & Kirsten Cliff

 –Cara Holman, “morning mist,” Third Prize,
International Kusamakura Haiku CompetitionSeptember 2011

umbrellas open
to the sky
misty rain
the pink coffin

     —Pamela A. BabusciThe Temple Bell Stops, 2012

haiga by Cara Holman & Kirsten Cliff

to your favorite view
of the foothills
you are never
far from me

Cara Holman

planting a tree
in my family’s name –
of Italians
etched into the bark

     —Pamela A. Babusci, AHG 1:4, 2012





the cypress grove
bares my grief

pine sprigs—
discarded memories
on an old grave

candle drippings
on the epitaph—
a broken word

Alegria Imperial

deep autumn . . .
walking barefoot
on my mother’s grave

Pamela A. Babusci, White Lotus 9 (Fall/Winter, 2009)

haiga by Cara Holman & Kirsten Cliff

  Cara Holman, “winter grey,” Honorable Mention,
15th Mainichi  Haiku Contest, January 2012

autumn rain
on the stone virgin’s shoulders—
my tears

Alegria Imperial

S imple and
E legant – this
R emembrance of
E nola
N ow and in
E ternity

             Ellen Grace Olinger

never living up
to mother’s
now, i visit her grave
in silence

Pamela A. Babusci, Blithe Spirit, March  2004 

a passport
stamped long ago with characters
I cannot read
the mute Pacific ocean
of your gaze

     —Jenny Ward Angyal
        Ribbons 8:1, Spring/Summer 2012

haiga by Jayashree Maniyil

tide pool clouds the ghosts of Nagasaki haunt me

–Johnny Baranski

a still lake
the evening
he stopped paddling

    —Jim Sullivan

for his ashes
blue moonlight
across the river

Pamela A. Babusci, (In Memory of Bill Higginson),
7th Shiki Special Kukai (Toku), 2009

day of his death
a paddle of wings

     —Alegria Imperial

overbright sun
the golden hills
where I left my heart

     —Cara Holman

somber madrigals
coyotes harmonizing
high on the far ridge

Ward Chapman

my granddaughter
often mourns her dead father
in sad Facebook posts

     —Katherine Shurlds

Day of Dead altar by Katherine Shurlds

day of the dead . . .
homeboys jumpstart their
lifeless low rider

 —Johnny Baranski

If you’d like to see more of the work by these contributors,
check out the following websites:

Alegria Imperial, journales

Cara Holman, Prose Posies

Ellen Grace Olinger

Jenny Ward Angyal, The Grass Minstrel

Jim Sullivan, Haiku & Tales & Commentary

Kirsten Cliff, Swimming in Lines of Haiku

Stella Pierides


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
This entry was posted in All Hallow's Eve, All Souls Day, Autumn, Day of the Dead, Haiga, Haiku, Haiku-doodle, Halloween, Tanka and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Day of the Dead III . . .

  1. Margaret, thank you for putting together this moving and wonderful collection of poetry and poet friends for the Day of the Dead.

  2. this is a wonderful post-thanks SO much for including some of my
    poetry! great poems by great poets!! hugs, pamela

  3. kshurlds says:

    Thanks, Maggie, for using my altar photos. The altar gives me comfort and it’s nice to share.

  4. Cara Holman says:

    What a beautiful and moving tribute to those loved ones who have gone before. Thanks for putting this all together, Margaret, and for letting me be a part of it!

  5. Adelaide says:

    A lovely collection of poems for all the loved ones who have gone.


  6. dogear6 says:

    I came over from Ellen’s post and very much enjoyed reading this. I always enjoy thinking of my grandmother and great aunt at this time of the year.

  7. knot2share says:

    Dear Margaret
    What a lovely tribute and collection of thoughts. I thank you so very much for including me and for letting me be a part of this thought.

  8. So many moving poems . . . Thanks to all involved, and to Margaret for bringing us together.

  9. Jim Sullivan says:

    Good job, Maggie. I enjoyed reading thru the poems and thanks for including mine. But nothing from the chef.


  10. sanjuktaa says:

    Beautiful tribute with the gentlest of poems and images! Thank you, Margaret and thanks to all the contributors. I’ll be back many more times to read these.

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