Out of the Shadows – Haiku!

I have not written a blog post since before Thanksgiving, and even then it was haiku and not prose commentary. I have been busy. I have been tired. The country is upside down and so many struggle daily to not believe we are in a post-optimistic world I fall prey to this just as much as the next compassionate soul and frantically cling to my belief that we as a world can weather anything and that good can come from bad. If only it would come sooner than later. Until I choose to write again (which I also hope will be sooner than later) here are some haiku from the vault – from 2016 – to post and to keep me, and hopefully you, going. To hanging in there!



If you’re reacting
Rather than acting on life,
You’re not in control.

If you’re struggling
Look for ways to change your life,
Not someone to blame.

Curb your addictions.
They are pathways to disease
And unhappiness.

May the winds of change
Blow in support of freedom
And enlightenment.

Do the best you can,
Knowing that probably you’ll
Crash and burn most times.


Across from Independence Hall at a magnificent wedding reception

Light hides in darkness.
Also, the reverse is true.
Darkness hides in light.

Know that each person
Is living the best they can
By rules they’ve been taught.

A sin in private,
That nobody knows but you
Still affects your soul.



Cultivate wonder.
There’s so much to see, do, know,
How could you be bored?

Alone with my thoughts,
I contemplate life, death, love,
Peace for all mankind.


John Adams and Shadow posing along Lee Drive


Pre-turkey Haiku

It’s been several months since I did a purely ‘haiku’ post. I’ve been taking a bit of a hiatus from poetry writing since June, but, hopefully, now that’s done. There are so many things to be thankful for in the Michael household as we head into Thanksgiving – a well-stocked fridge, good health for our son, a loving, giving, spiritual community where we all work – ordinary, significant blessings all. Perhaps a gratitude post is forthcoming , but today I’ll just focus on the poetry, intentionally empowering, since so many people struggle at this time of year. I hope something in the next ten haiku brings you up, gives you strength, makes you laugh, let’s you know that you can do it, and you’re not alone. Hang in there and good living.



My optimism
Is what wakes me up each day;
Expecting better.

Which road will you take?
Run the race or eat the cake?
It’s your choice to make.

Lead by example.
Clarify with your words, but
Lead with your actions.

Inspire to greatness
Those who can’t find that power
Within their own hearts.

Walk into a room
And raise the consciousness of
Ev’ryone present.

We all know some friends
Who prefer the dark clouds to
The silver linings.

Dog butts are funny.
Walking wagging heiny cheeks.
How can you not smile?

You must make choices.
They’re a part of living, but
Try to make good ones.

Failure or success.
Your life’s your choices, actions,
And recoveries.

Don’t quit on your dreams.
Their achievement takes longer
Than you think it should.


My corny son!

Some Solstice Haiku

Hi Everyone,

We’re at the midpoint of the year today and I’m alone at home, while my wife is in London at a symposium and my son is visiting his grandparents. It’s been an interesting year so far to say the least, and that has me thinking about what I may or may not have accomplished, and also waxing somewhat poetic on this long day of light. While I think up what to say about my own life and progress in a subsequent post, here’s some haiku to chew on, meditate on, or just plain read, digest, and pass along. I hope your year is bringing you the Light of Truth, Love, and Abundance that you both need and deserve.



You are a hero.
Your life’s a great adventure.
You’re up to the task.

When God is ready
That which He has planned for you
Will be made quite clear.

I believe that God
Is both the source of all things,
And lives within us.

This student’s ready.
Pray, let the master appear.
Guidance is needed.

May all souls in need
Find most what they seek tonight –
Food, Rest, Peace, Joy, Love.


Bink and I contemplating the future.


Keep your goals in mind.
When daily problems arise
Know why you’re fighting.

Do not be afraid.
The Source of All is with you,
Offering you strength.

Find your still, small, place.
Search both within and outside.
Visit it often.

The world’s faith in you
Means absolutely nothing
If you don’t share it.

Be compassionate
Towards those less fortunate.
You could be them soon.


Happy Solstice, Everyone!!!

Haiku in Bloom

A busy week, a trip to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington D. C., and the first day of spring made for good memories and the necessity of sharing some more haiku this month. Whatever your needs are, I hope they are being met. Whatever ails you – mental, physical, spiritual – I hope it is being managed. Know that you are not alone. Know that you are loved. Know that whatever your present state, it can be bettered.

Peace, Love, Spring, and Cherry Blossoms to You,



The Jefferson Memorial across the Tidal Basin in D.C.

Your authentic voice
Is what people want to hear.
Let them hear your heart

Your priorities
Must be kept in order if
You wish to succeed.

When others succeed,
That doesn’t mean you have failed.
Stop comparing lives.

It is your duty
To give your life to the world,
Serving its best needs.

Focus heavenward.
The sun is beaming brightly
Above the storm clouds

At the Cherry Blossom Festival

Me and My Gal in the Blossoms

How should you respond
To the hatred in the world?
Why, with love, of course.

Give up all judgment.
Be a Citizen of Peace,
Enemy to none.

You are on the verge
Of an explosion of Art,
Thought, and Abundance.

Believe in yourself
And your ability to
Make a difference.

Be the example
You want your children to love,
Follow, and become.


Our own backyard.

March Into Haiku

It has been awhile since I’ve done a purely haiku post. But spring is around the corner, and I’m feeling like I need a real dose of inspiration to get me through the last of the winter woes.Whatever you may be struggling with, I hope you find some measure of assistance, uplift, guidance, or what have you in the next 10 poems. Hang in there, keep the faith, assist, resist, persist, and God bless.



Whatever happens
You must never surrender
To hatred and fear.

While you sit around
Complaining about the job,
Someone’s doing it.

Rise with the dawn and
Offer sincere gratitude
For the day ahead.

You cannot give thanks,
Too sincerely or too much,
But be one who tries.

Put yourself out there.
Without risk there is no life,
Only stagnation.

When you’ve been knocked down,
Look for anything to grab
That will help you up.

You want my advice?
Whatever you want from life
Go out and get it!

If you have a dream,
You can acquire the skill set
To make it happen.

How can you improve
The lives of those around you
Just by showing up?

Look for ways in which
You can make someone happy.
Seek joy for others.


Two Contemplative Cats

Healing Haiku

I haven’t done a haiku post in more than a month. These were written earlier this year, just after midsummer. Most in this batch are like mantras/little reminders to remain calm and centered as the world swirls around you. A lot is going on in the Michael household, and there’s no question that I need them just as much as anyone else. May these poems bring you peace, centeredness, joy, or at least a way back towards the good. Until next time…



I am perfect health.
I am ever increasing
Abundance and joy.

Stand on the sidelines
And you have no one to blame
For your apathy.

Don’t expect others
To make your hopes, dreams, and needs
Their priorities.

Be an oasis
Of peace, love, and non-judgment.
Welcome the world in.

Is life war or peace?
Is the universe hostile
Or friendly to you?

There’s no assurance
That one life can change the world,
Though many succeed.

There’s poop on the floor.
And there’s cat poop by the door.
No more poop, no more.

The secret of life?
Find a passion for something;
Commit to its care.

There will be down days,
But they don’t need to rule you
If you manage them.

All good things take time:
Babies, novels, omelets,
And well-designed lives.


First Fall at the Michael Ranch, Circa 2010

Hot, Hank, and Haiku

It’s the midpoint of August in Virginia, and it’s the hottest it’s been all year. My family and I are all mildly sick with a lingering bug, laying about the house for the weekend (to stay cool) and everything seems like a chore. Clean laundry is strewn about unfolded, meals planned have given way to the local sub shop, and naps are the best thing ever!

At this writing on Sunday morning I’m actively looking for supplementary work to compliment what I do at my church, I’m lining up premieres for new choral works I’ve written, I’m planning my next children’s book with the artist, and, above all, trying to make ends meet and pay bills. Tonight is the Virginia premiere of the new documentary Wild About Hank, the story of the cat that ran for US Senate, and my wife and I are hoping to be in attendance. If so, the night will certainly be a blog post in itself. Lots of balls in the air, lots of uncertainty, and lots of stress. It’s time for a few meditative haiku. Here’s hoping your world is filled with adventure, challenge, success, and some desired security, stability, and abundance. Till next time,



If One Truth exists
It is Love made manifest
In all disguises.

Own the reflection.
Your life mirrors your actions,
Inner and outer.

We should mourn the dead,
But then leave them to their rest,
Not play with the corpse.

Whatever your thoughts,
They will emerge from within,
Designing your skin.

Meditate daily.
Listen to the voice within,
Soothing and guiding.

Grieve for those who “know,”
For they have certainty, but
No authentic Truth.

Riches are hidden
Right under your very feet,
Waiting to be mined.

Stop wondering if
You’re worthy of happiness.
You were born worthy.

Arrive at life’s end
Unfettered by regrets and
Armed with good mem’ries.

You must not hate those
Who know no other pathway
Than what they’ve been taught.

IMG_1057 Ticket to WAH2

Nancy and I in the movie theater with our tickets to the US/Virginia premiere of Wild About Hank

Midsummer Haiku

It’s late July and, whether you’re inside or outside, it’s hot here in Virginia. My book signings went well, my family is reunited, and we’re trying to squeeze some collective summer memories into our lives before the craziness that is late August. And speaking of craziness, the presidential campaign season is in full bloom, and if you don’t duck you might get hit by a heap of slung mud. At the very least it’s easy to be brought down by all the negative rhetoric. I have some new ideas for blog posts coming up, but until then enjoy a few empowering haiku written well before, but seemingly inspired by or in response to, our present national dialogue.

Ev’rywhere you look
Possibilities exist
For a better world.

You can’t win them all,
But by staying in the game
You can win a few.

What is your purpose?
Listen to the God within
To hear your answer.

You have a calling,
To make people’s lives better,
To offer them joy.

Spread your light around;
Let people know they have worth,
That they are worthy.


Wildflowers at Shenandoah National Park, July 22, 2016

What does the world need?
More compassion, kindness, love,
Tolerance, and peace.

The world’s had enough
Hatred, bigotry, judgment,

Hey! You reading this:
You really can change the world.
One choice at a time.

For better or worse,
We all share the same planet.
Let’s try playing nice.

Relax, take a breath,
Center yourself, and intone:
Peace is the answer.




On our way toward a new adventure.

The View from Haiku

I haven’t posted any haiku for several weeks, and I thought it was time for a break from essaying and for sharing some poetry. In a related update, my first book signing at England Run Library through the Central Rappahannock Regional Library System went very well (yes, I did sell something, thank you), and I’m looking forward to the next one on June 25th. Until my next blog post, here’s some inspirational haiku to get you through the week.

When you’re living life
According to your own rules
Doubt not, you’ll know it.

Muster the courage
To take your first fearful steps
Into the unknown.

Have faith in yourself.
God lies within each of us.
Trust yourself, trust God.

Changes always come.
They are inevitable.
Your reaction’s not.

The you you once knew
Isn’t the you you are now.
Be the you you are.


Rainbow over Route 3 outside Fredericksburg, taken through my windshield

It’s time for changes,
Changes in outlook, manner,
And life’s direction.

Wallaby babies:
Just think about them playing.
Pure bliss, pure laughter.

You can do better.
Whatever level you’re on,
You can step it up.

What is your purpose –
Have you any sense of it?
Any directives?

There’s always a way
To make all your dreams come true.
You must just find it.



Book Signing0001

See: A Viking Funeral???

on the strand of web
a white moth wing

                                     – Soji (aka Gary B.)

A few weeks ago we buried a good man. Well, not so much buried as burned. Well, not so much burned as burned again. Gary was a member of the Unitarian Universalist church where both my wife and I work. He was kind, and fun, and beloved by his spiritual community. When he died it was his desire to have the closest thing to a Viking funeral: to be put in a ship on the water and set ablaze. His wife, and his UU community would have nothing less for him.

On Sunday evening, April 10, the day after a memorial service for Gary that included multiple moving eulogies, a tribute video presentation complete with nose-flute duet, and the singing of Gary’s favorite songs, “Blue Boat Home” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” many of his friends and family gathered again at the Little River boat ramp to watch Gary sail across the Rainbow Bridge into Valhalla. To the thunder of numerous percussion instruments (and guitars) Gary’s ashes – loaded into a beautiful scale model of a Viking ship – were guided via kayak out to a preselected spot on the water and set ablaze. At the moment of the ship’s final descent the instrumentalists organically fell silent, paying their final silent respects to their fallen friend. It was beautiful, unusual, sublime; and I’m glad my son was there to see it.


The miniature Viking ship  ablaze (photo credit:Nancy Krause)

After the sinking we casually walked back to the parking lot where wishing lanterns – tissue paper balloons that one sets a fire under – were being lighted. Nancy, John Adams, and I each lit one and watched it carry its light across the evening dusk as a final silently ascendant prayer to our friend.

moonviewing —
from across the sea,
neighbor’s voices

                                    – Soji (aka Gary B.)

I write this now, not just in memory of Gary, but also as an invitation to new people to get to know the man’s work of passion. For Gary was a haiku poet of significant talent. Writing under the name Soji, Gary’s website, Haiku Poet’s Hut, http://www.haikupoetshut.com/ is a treasure trove of his poetic legacy. I strongly encourage those of you who are interested in haiku (and I know many of you are) to check out the beauty, simplicity, and elegance that Gary has left behind for us.

Namaste, Gary. May we all live a better life through your example.



Gary aka Soji (photo credit: Nancy Krause)