This sequence was composed after I met Shirley at the Liberty Theatre in Bend, Oregon where she was one of the artists for a presentation we did for the Haiku Society of America's annual meeting in 2011. Shirley is a fine friend and fantastic sumi-e brush artist artist as well as a poet.

Wildflower Chains

100 Verses (june 2011- june 2012)
by an'ya, USA and shirley sachiko kishiyama, USA
(Published February 2013, lynx)

in celebration
of an artistic weekend
a picnic for two

celadon sage tenders green 
nourishment is light but sound


South Dakota–

a Sioux child born during
the calves grow hair moon


a river cuts the earth

salmon swim to their birthplace

carving her pumpkin
she releases the demon

hidden within

seeds drop to the ground and wait
for the next incarnation

period of peace
the kingfisher goddess nests
for its second week

because the pipes have frozen
stream water must be gathered


dearly beloved

the white limousine pulls
slowly away

a chariot is built

by connecting the stars

7-year itch
fallen from grace

both of them

the father of her daughters
has shattered her world

matching palm prints
on prison glass

an octopus captures prey
the seahorse battles for its mate

hippie chicks

wildflower chains
around their necks

humpty-dumpty sits upright

on the vernal equinox

stone quarry
a giggling gelatinous

mass of eggs

opalisque gibbous moonrise
waxing through the film of fog

harvest festival
beneath a stiff mustache
grape stained lips

walnut skins stain the paper
swirls of cream in coffee

initials scribbled

on a ferris wheel seat–
departing carnival

traces of breath in the air

crystalline icy stasis

emergency room–
this recession much worse

than the wound

low tide in the afternoon

sucks energy from the soul

party crowd–
butterscotch brownies make
everyone high

and today
a warrior in the past


still thriving

albeit harsh conditions
little lichen

a facsimile of change

the creek begins melting

during courtship
a turtle dove stretches

tall and bows

ribbons on gay packages
hold a secret under wraps

blind date
straightening the cushions
on his sofa

he loved the doomed chanteuse
but he could not keep her safe

piece by piece

we discard a wood
jigsaw puzzle

visiting the continents

as if they were Pangaea


airplane cargo–
harvested bones and oil

from the catacombs

in the glow of tsukimi
poets write into the night

Japanese squid
protecting its hatch
releases its ink

black strands across the pillow
and dreams of waking with him

fifties couple

mooning over Kay Starr
on the phonograph

she fell spraining her right wrist

and cannot throw the frisbee

loud keening–
the Irish peasants

wear arm bands

our lady of Paris pets
her pack of thirsty gargoyles

tallest building
a window washer waves
at the crowd

surf scrambling across tide pools
refreshes anemones


a familiar pause
between sips

french fries with mayonnaise

cheese burger with everything

crossing the tracks–
a herd of hungry cattle

head for the barn

unseasonable flooding
train travelers are delayed

coping with drought
for nearly fifty years–
a farmer and his wife

tissues dry after chemo
only loving kindness left

welcome back

slobbering kisses
from a st. bernard

walk her down the aisle

a parting hug ends the psalm

race track
an announcer's blessing

starts the cars

plump gourd round as the moon
quietly waits to be pie

autumn evening
loud-colored squares
in her quilt

the town plaza promenade
deserted in november

city to city

a traveling salesman

knocks on doors

today they are side by side

stepping over the threshold

ain't got no money
to speak of and yet

we harmonize

a barrel cut in half
blooming lavender

waking of insects
a chillable red box
in the recycle

he believes death is final
yet the bare branch is budding

spilling over

into the afterworld
her gray locks

at long last the void

suffer those who resist

giving in
to fate or coincidence

hunter's moon

indigo to midnight blue
a curtain drops on the fields

corn shucking
Mennonite hands
in motion

I stared into your darkness
johnny I hardly knew you

strangers mourning

for a beached whale
washed ashore

it's a tradition to break

in the seventh inning stretch

gopher mound
a crocus pushes

through the dirt

digging in the garden
she doesn't hear the phone ring

southern spring
an iced tea glass scars
the mahogany

another hemisphere
the whirlpools are backwards

frequent flyer

my circadian rhythm
out of balance

still asleep hardly awake

a newborn starts the journey

mother's holiday
another fuschia basket

for her porch

hard to be happy in may
after last fall's falling out

fond memories
the soft breasts I used
to rest my head on

land once under the ocean
emerges like painted hills

solar eclipse

through welding glasses

third season moon

the arctic tern surpasses

those of us who seek warm climes

sudden aloneness
not a single goose

graces the pond

the pavilion is golden
whole ryoanji is plain

the suiseki
cannot find any as
perfect as you

please meet for tea before
it snows on the lake tai rocks

late supper

Christmas carolers
for dessert


coming back to the people
opera night in the taverns

the class clown
makes a fool of himself
college reunion

not too much sadder than
when there’s no one around

departing birds

it seems so early
to say farewell

the first day of painting class

I bring scones she brings mooncakes

flies and guys hang out

in the beer garden

a revival tent went up
so the sinning might go down

skunk cabbage
we lift our noses
in the air

coyote pups need feeding
lost cat posters near the parks

easter service

a large brim hat looms
in front of me

no more human sacrifice

let us put a stop to war

a long distance from start

to finish

in the end the beginning
promised all that was to be