a drawing of a mouse looking at a person

      Eye to eye – Year of the mouse. Ink drawing Kath Abela Wilson


      Hosted by Kath Abela Wilson

      months of burglary
      the caged little rat
      has charming eyes

      ~ Kath Abela
      (ephemerae #3, 2018)

      Ο Ο Ο

      a mouse statue on a blue bandana

      Mouse (Photo – kris moon)

      Giselle Maya

      the year of the Mouse
      healthy and wise
      the mouse nibbles
      my garden notebook

      gardening journals
      a family of mice
      waits for spring –
      time to open the cabin…

      the hush of winter
      bells ring the hour –
      rest well, dear mouse families

      the Year of the Mouse
      healthy and wise
      mice know precisely
      when and where to hibernate*

      *e.g. in the drawer of a wooden chest in my garden cabin where in past years papers were shredded and bird seed nibbled.

      Ο Ο Ο

      A mouse made of different colored leaves

      Mouse, leaf art by Corine Timmer

      Corine Timmer

      Who gnaws at my conscience?

      As a child, we moved house every five years or so. It was never easy to pack up and start again. As a result, I clung onto certain toys and ideas longer than necessary. They were a constant factor in an ever-changing environment. The last time I moved was in 2005. Alone. My childhood box filled with memorabilia moved with me. I stored it in the attic of the wooden house. Could there be safer place? I had never heard of or seen a tree-rat. The first time I encountered one was in the bathroom—but I didn’t know it. I thought it was a mouse, be it a feisty one. So I caught it and released it outside. It was a juvenile black rat! The rats, it turns out, like the wooden house too. Especially the attic and the air space in the roof. It’s warm, cosy, and damp proof. At times, I can hear the pitter-patter of little feet. I assumed they wouldn’t do much harm until I visited the attic one day. Half of the box had been shredded into tidbits. Some of the plastic items had been chewed beyond recognition. The doll’s clothes were ripped and stained with urine. Her hair had been pulled out. At the bottom of the box I spotted the remnants of almonds, acorns, feathers, electrical cables, and other things the rats had collected. My box had become their nest. My house, their home. At first, I was angry. Then I got sad—but not for long. In an existential kind of way the rats helped me free my mind—in more ways than one.

      the caged rat runs in circles your words over and over

      Ο Ο Ο

      A haiga written on window of a shop in Paris

      Cat’s whiskers (Photo haiga by Marta Chocilowska)

      Marta Chocilowska

      the jet beads-like
      mouse’s eyes

      coffee cream on the kitchen table cat licks its whiskers


      Year of the Mouse: Quotes and Credits

      Giselle Maya, ever the mountain dweller, fire maker, tanka poet, painter, and gardener, keeps living on a Provencal hilltop in view of the Luberon mountain chain with her tiger cat TORA and a new foundling maine coon cat called Snowpaws. She says: “My son lives near Pasadena, my daughter near Avignon, currently teaching the Tao in Thailand at Tao Garden. I will be in winter retreat, reading, writing, artwork, a rest from the garden. Tanka are finding their way to my kokoro and paper, ready to be shared.”

      Corine Timmer is an interior designer, animal lover, award-winning haiku poet, publisher, and a self-published author. She lives in the countryside in the south of Portugal with 10 street dogs and other animals, including her beloved donkey, Lolita. Corine’s haiku have been published in various respected print and web haiku journals and anthologies. She has recently published an anthology of pig haiku for charity in celebration of the Year of the Pig. Corine is a member of the British and American haiku societies. She also composes electronic music to haiku at Naviar Records in London. Visit Corine’s website to learn more about her. Look forward in 2020 to her upcoming anthology featuring Year of the Rat poems by many poets and more of her wonderful leaf art.

      Marta Chocilowska lives in Warsaw, Poland. She’s a cat lover, a cyclist, co-author of domestic and foreign haiku anthologies, winner and judge of several haiku contests. She has publications in international haiga and haiku journals, both printed and on line. Her haiku were translated into Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Dutch, German, Japanese and Russian. Author of “Seasons in Polish kigo”; President of the Polish Haiku Association and The Haiku Foundation’s Haiku Registry manager (2018); and editor of the PHA’s Almanac “Migratory Birds”.

      2 sculptures resembeling a mouse

      Mice (Photo – kris moon)

      A note from Kath Abela

      Send your submissions by midnight Sunday, Pacific time, on each week’s theme: “Firsts for the New Year“, “New Year Resolutions“, 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.

        • Latest posts by Kathabela Wilson

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      1. Alex Nodopaka says:

        The Invaders

        My home turned into a mouse colony.

        Sometimes I wake around 3AM
        and after 10 minutes sitting
        at the dining room table sipping ice cold
        whole milk there comes one, drum beating
        in the style of the battery commercial,
        waving its paw at me in greeting style.

        It crosses the kitchen threshold
        as if I were transparent.

        Besides, the smart little bastards learned
        to take the bait from the mouse trap
        without triggering it.

        Don’t tell me they have no brains!

        The few I murdered in the early stages
        of the hunt I baited with the best crunchy
        peanut butter on the market
        but in their dying seconds they must’ve told
        their buddies how to avoid the deadly

        A sh***y French invention they squeak!

        A few days ago my fief kingdom was cited
        for a variety of infractions having violated
        association rules and that my property
        needed improvements like I can’t keep
        an unregistered car in the carport.

        I have too many flower pots.

        I may not keep my lemon trees planted
        in the dirt because there are many
        crisscrossing underground electric
        and plumbing lines.

        There are too many weeds between
        the white gravel.

        Weeds are growing in the concrete
        and asphalt interstices.

        That I must not store unsightly bundles
        of recyclables in the carport and a few more
        infractions of less major consequences.

        So I asked did they want them in my bedroom!

        I also remarked to them that the weeds
        bore beautiful flowers.

        More beautiful than their faces!

        My four 30-feet tall pine trees are dying.
        The giveaway sign is that there is too much
        browning on the pine needles!

        I guess they also have a shelf life.

        Shit! Is 50 years too much for them to bear?
        Hey, at 500 bucks each it’s quite an investment
        in these sky-rocketing grocery prices.

        I wish my life were worth as much. But no!
        I feel it in my bones that having celebrated
        my 80th birthday a week ago
        I’m in the terminal stretch.

        Besides it’s the year of the mouse.

        Alex Nodopaka © Jan 2020

      2. Alex Nodopaka says:

        The Year of the Mouse

        The year of the diminutive
        rodent is cheesy enough.

        During the night they sing
        and dance forming a circle

        ’round the Victor traps.
        Their melody is simply:

        “We won’t call you Mickey
        if you don’t call us Sue”

      3. Thanks for considering my haibun and art, Kath Abela. Love your ink drawing and Poets Salon is always a pleasure.

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