Thursday, December 1, 2016

December Diary: #haikuforhealing

"Zen" by Justice Beitzel

Last Friday, Mary Lee Hahn invited readers to "light the lanterns" and heal creative spirits with a haiku each day in December. She's calling the challenge #haikuforhealing.

Officially, Today's Little Ditty will be on break until February to recharge and tend the home fires. Unofficially, though, I'll be participating in #haikuforhealing. 

I've always wanted to see if I could be successful doing something like this. In the past I've backed away from such challenges because they make me feel pressured and vulnerable. The thought of putting less-than-polished work out there for the world to see is not a comfortable one. Will this time be different? I hope so! While haiku are deceptively difficult to write well, they are short. And I've taken two steps to help encourage my success:
  1. I'm going public for accountability.
  2. I'm not going TOO public.
My haiku diary will be housed right here, on this blog post. Instead of publishing a new post each day, I will be updating this one. That means if you're a TLD subscriber and you're interested in following along, you'll have to remember to stop back from time to time. (You won't receive notifications in your inbox.)

Would you like to join the challenge, yourself? Your company is always welcome! Feel free to share your haiku in the comments.

If you would like to read others' haiku this month, you can visit:

          Mary Lee Hahn at Poetrepository
          Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche
          Heidi Mordhorst at my juicy little universe
          Linda Mitchell at A Word Edgewise
          Buffy Silverman at Buffy's Blog
          Jone Rush MacCulloch at DeoWriter
          Diane Mayr, posted on Thursdays at Random Noodling
          Julie Johnson at Raising Readers and Writers
          Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core
          Carol Varsalona at Beyond LiteracyLink
          Carol Wilcox at Carol's Corner
          Linda Baie at TeacherDance

(Leave me a note in the comments if you'd like to be added to this list.)

December Diary

All poems © 2016 by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes. All rights reserved.


behind the clouds
a blank blue slate . . .
beginning again


new moon—
finding my way
without directions


staying awake
till the last box is filled
sudoku night 


the morning after—
her memory
one size too small


cars and clouds
on parallel highways
morning commute 


weaving through traffic . . .
Dylan dreams of Bellatrix
Miranda draws cats 


my daily stroll—
stepping out of the mind
and onto the page 


layers today—
orange leaves on blue sky
gainesville autumn


endless night
listening to the tick-tock-tick
of his heart


sleigh ride—
the blue-maned girl
plays the tuba


chasing the gardener
from spring to autumn . . .
first frost 


the old man
could still use a penny
Christmas is coming


silent night
fog blankets the lawn 
with cotton


the ornament
the cat couldn't reach—
full moon


ghost moon . . .
she's grown accustomed
to the haunting 


piano whispering
the pieces
I've never shared 


winter solstice—
will the glass be half empty
or half full? 


their eyes rest on me
peacock feathers


by the light of my phone


jolly santa
sways but won't be swayed . . .
waits for a sign. 


full as bellies


sugar cookies—
a dusting of snow
on my plate 


in my dreams
I hear carols 


in the powdered sugar—
Christmas eve


become comets
Christmas magic


the score:
one hit, one exchange
no returns 


old man
winter sleeps
at the wheel 


year's end—
the rose bush needs pruning


364 days
crossed off the to-do list
running tally


2017 . . .
setting the table 
for uninvited guests


closed door
between me and you

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

In other news . . .

I'm honored that Irene Latham is featuring The Best of Today's Little Ditty, 2014-2015 at Live your Poem today with a short interview and a few of her favorite poems. Thank you, Irene!

Thanks also to those who are including this collection on their holiday gift giving lists. Not only is it great reading, but with thirteen different poetry challenges, it's also a useful resource for anyone who enjoys practicing different verse forms. Purchase at or send an email to TodaysLittleDitty (at) gmail (dot) com if you would like a signed copy.

And speaking of poetry challenges, I've never before seen such an incredible last minute showing for a DMC challenge. After Friday's wrap-up post, more than a dozen poems were submitted in the last five days of the month! I do hope you'll take another look at these poems about places of refuge and solace. With thanks, once again, to Ann Rider for the challenge. has determined that a copy of BEFORE MORNING by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Beth Krommes (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) will go to . . .

Jone Rush MacCullochcongratulations, Jone!

Bridget Magee has something special waiting for you at wee words for wee ones. Join her for this week's Poetry Friday roundup.