When a Friend Goes Missing…

He’s not exactly a friend.  We’ve never actually met in person.  He lives across an ocean, and we do not share or know the details of our daily lives.  And yet, when the news of his disappearance circulated, it hit home – with a fury.

Martin is the well respected editor and poet of “Presence” –  a British journal of haiku and related Japanese-influenced poetry.  He is a leader and author whose critical thinking and essays lend weight to our ever evolving discussions of haiku from the traditional to contemporary and avant garde.  His essay “Haiku as Poetic Spell” resonates and informs my own work and has a place by my bedside of most beloved and thumbed books.  He argued for a rhythm, ambiguity and reflectivity that transform words and fragments into a “spell or charm… Words that chime; words that beat; words that flow.”

Martin’s own argument for poetic spell is poetic in its own right to my mind: “Poetic spells don’t tell us anything, they are something, they exist as objects of fascination in their own right.  You can hold them in the light and turn them about and watch each of their facets gleam.  They begin and end each reader’s unique reflection.”

As I write this Martin is still missing, however it is my hope that he is blazing still another trail and that leads him home wherever that may be.

The following poems were accepted by Martin and published in Presence  (2007 – 2011) and are still some of my best work to date:

nowhere the wren song everywhere twilight

twilight settles the quiet beauty of seaglass

one wren shifts twilight into song

long grass hazel to the horizon insects sing

warm moon on the rise pulsing fireflies

trailing dusk the great blue heron skies


a fleeting feeling
of madness

with gratitude and prayers for Martin on his safe journey.