Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      firsts salon
      so good we have to
      do it twice

      ~ Kath Abela
      With thanks to the wonderful poets writing on my NaHaiWriMo (National Haiku Writing Month) prompts for January! NaHaiWriMo became so beloved that it now runs all year with a different prompter for each month, The page was created, and is is hosted, by poet Michael Dylan Welch.

      Ο Ο Ο

      a photo of a baby's first steps next to a photo of a child on a boat

      (R) Paul’s first steps outdoors in the Fall of 1960. (L) Paul’s grandson, Gabriel, on his first duck boat ride (Photos courtesy of Paul David Mena)

      Paul David Mena

      first snow
      unraked leaves

      year of the rat —
      campaign rally

      Sober January —
      a ghost takes my place
      at the bar

      harvest moon —
      a little boy’s
      first haircut

      lining up
      between the blinds
      rays of sunlight

      on-time departure —
      my first love

      Ο Ο Ο


      Haiga by Linda Papanicolaou

      Linda Papanicolaou

      burns through the overcast—
      first sky

      I become
      a believer—
      Parthenon at dawn

      morning commute—
      I recite a new poem
      to the sunrise

      snowflake on my sleeve
      that moment just before
      it beads

      daring the cat:
      the first spring robin
      full of attitude

      first tracks
      the pine squirrel
      shakes its tail

      Christmas tree farm
      a first light snow
      on the yearling pines

      dazzling sun
      on fresh deep snow
      first to reappear
      are the chickadees

      Ο Ο Ο


      Strawberries haiga by Babs McGrory

      Babs McGrory

      wild cherry
      first high school dance


      walk of shame
      sneaks down side streets


      new year blues
      in my soup bowl


      old housecat
      to dodge the mouse

      morning tea
      chirping at birds


      plum blossoms
      on my pale legs


      sun-burned tourists


      A purple flower in a water pond

      More Firsts (Photo – Kath Abela Wilson)

      More Firsts: Quotes and Credits

      Paul David Mena: “Thinking about firsts, I realize that after 60 years I’ve had quite a few of those – first child, first grandchild, first death of a parent – so many, in fact, that it’s becoming increasingly more important to take stock of it all. The topic of ‘firsts’, therefore, comes at a time of quiet reflection. One never knows, for example, when a ‘first’ might also be a ‘last’.”

      melting snow —
      one day it will be
      the last time

      Paul David Mena has been writing haiku for about 30 years. He has published four chapbooks and has contributed to numerous online and hardcopy journals over the years. He probably spends a little bit too much time on social media, providing unsolicited commentary on haiku and life in general. He lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with his wife and a dog, and works as a DevOps engineer for a non-profit marine research organization.

      Linda Papanicolaou: “I had been expecting to join NaHaiWriMo in February (the official National Haiku Writing Month) but when I learned that the prompter for January was Kath Abela, I jumped in a month early. As a member of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, I employ season in most of my poems because they’re such an important tool for accessing emotion in haiku. From the season lists I knew a handful of New Year’s kigo , but Kath Abela’s prompts this month have gone far beyond and much deeper into the tradition of celebrating first experiences in the new year. I enjoyed reading what Kris Kondo said about the Japanese belief that the first things we do in the new year set the tone for the rest of the year. My Greek father-in-law would never pay bills on New Year’s Day for the same reason, and our family continues the tradition.

      You’ll notice that in the haiku I’ve selected to represent my NaHaiWriMo postings, ‘first’ figures explicitly in some of the haiku but not in others. When I write to prompts, I try to internalize it meaning while letting the prompt serves kind of as an unspoken ‘fourth line’. For my favorite haiku this month, ‘first’ has become more than celebration of the New Year. I find that I am seeking to convey the awe—even the sacred sense—of truly seeing or experiencing something for the first time or with fresh eyes.”

      Linda Papanicolaou is a middle school Art teacher in Northern California. She has been writing haiku for about 20 years now, and is the editor of Haigaonline.

      Babs McGrory: “I’m amused by the arbitrary marking of time, and the abundant human folly which goes into drawing attention to it. First steps, first words, first kisses…we’re obsessed with past firsts; with being first, with new years; with starting over…or, at least the illusion of it. It’s comforting and sad at the scary time…maybe because it keeps us balanced on the tight rope between idealism and pragmatism.

      Babs McGrory is the current Delaware Beat Poet Laureate, and developer of Pi-ku Poetry – an annoyingly difficult form of contemporary haiku (but for a really good cause – #Piku314). She is also editor-in-chief for Pi(e)-ku Poetry (Bite-sized Poems to Help Fight Hunger) – a print-only throwback zine to benefit Delmarva-area Food Banks, and the SPCA.

      Kath Abela Wilson is currently the prompter on the inspiring haiku page on Facebook, NaHaiWriMo. You can see instructions here on how to join her and an interview about her haiku life.

      Send your submissions by midnight Sunday, Pacific time, on each week’s theme: “First Hint of Spring“, “First Love” or suggest your own theme. Send short poems, haiku, senryu, tanka, cherita haibun, tanka prose, short prose poems, etc., or your own unique approach, to Kath Abela by Facebook message or click here to email her directly. We can feature your work again after five months. Multiple Submissions can be saved to appear later:

      1. Send a short bio, comments on the theme.
      2. Send photos or artwork by you, if possible.
      3. No attachments except photos.
      End of article

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        • Kathabela Wilson

          Kathabela Wilson is a local poet/writer/artist and musician. Her Poets Salon has become an international respected must read in the poetry world. She's the creator and host of the Pasadena-based group, “Poets on Site.”

          Colorado Boulevard is your place for enlightening events, informative news and social living for the greater Pasadena area.
          We strive to inform, educate, and work together to make a better world for all of us, locally and globally.

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