Swirling Leaves

        A kasen renku by Michael Dylan Welch and Francine Porad

Written 4 May 1992 to 2 November 1993 by postal exchange. First published in Point Judith Light 3:1, April 1994, page 10.



faded war paint—

red leaves swirl about

the wooden indian                                                                          Michael


            noncommittal face

            of the poetry juror                                                              Francine


blue notes

from old fingers . . .

the battered upright sways                                                         Michael


            change of tempo

            robins chirping                                                                      Francine


quarter moon—

a bent bicycle wheel

left in the trash                                                                                 Michael


            hardly recognizable

            cleaned-out garage                                                             Francine


            ~   ~   ~


stretched bars

and blank canvas . . . waiting

for inspiration                                                                                    Francine


            reflected in the stream

            —forked lightning                                                               Michael


children zigzag

through the park, slide to swings

to purple dragon                                                                              Francine


            along the garden trellis

            the cat’s path                                                                        Michael



in the afternoon

    our laughter                                                                                   Francine


            starlight through the window-blind

            . . . touching her breast scar                                            Michael


violet shadows

in the mountain’s outline

in sharp relief                                                                                    Francine


            vapour trail

            splitting the moon                                                               Michael


predicted flurries

the anticipation

of New Year’s Eve                                                                           Francine


            the morning after—

            confetti in the snow                                                           Michael


below the feeder

a squirrel searches

for sunflower seeds                                                                       Francine


            a trail of ants

            to the syrup bottle                                                              Michael


            ~   ~   ~


breakfast on the patio

    in spring sun—

smell of burnt toast                                                                        Michael


            “I just want to start

            a flame in your heart”                                                        Francine


crashing surf—

the imprint of your body

deep in warm sand                                                                         Michael


            covered with grit

            stranded seals                                                                       Francine


pelting rain—

a candy bar wrapper

on a bus seat                                                                                     Michael


            small town main street

            a flag at each store front                                                   Francine


out of step

with the marching band

the baton twirler                                                                              Michael


            ten loops as it climbs

            Blue Angel among the clouds                                         Francine


sultry night—

the barman wipes away

wet circles                                                                                           Michael


            summer rain

            patterns in the pond                                                          Francine


roar of the midway—

the toddler’s balloon

rises in moonlight                                                                             Michael


            large spiders

            gigantic webs                                                                         Francine


            ~   ~   ~


new mother

sings to the infant,

“Big girls don’t cry!”                                                                        Francine


            sealing my sister’s birthday card

            . . . first chill of autumn                                                      Michael


after the storm

on an incoming tide

shriveled jellyfish                                                                             Francine


            amid beach stones

            a piece of polished glass                                                   Michael


icy yard

cluttered with falling leaves

roses standing tall                                                                            Francine


            ringing the doorbell

            the florist                                                                                Michael