Mantis Kung Fu [Common Meter]

A mantis landed on the rail,
and it put up its dukes
as one might expect of madmen
or drunken Irish kooks.

Why would one seek out a fair fight
with someone much bigger,
I shook my head and started to
engage in a snigger.

But then it did occur to me
that he couldn't stand elsewise.
So, I tried to gauge his intent,
and looked him in the eyes...

and he stomped me in my nether bits -
much to my surprise.

A Thousand Feet & a Foot-Long [Common Meter]

The millipede was a foot long,
but, some might ask, whose foot?
Its own feet being quite petite
might suggest Lilliput.

But though it wasn't a footlong foot,
it was long for a bug,
a worm, a beetle, a wood mouse,
a spider, or a slug.

A snake that long would be a babe,
or, at least, quite stunted.
So, now I find my amazement
being a bit blunted. 

Butterfly Paralysis [Haibun]

Struggling to wiggle its wings, the butterfly warms in the morning sun. Is it like sleep paralysis - that hypnopompic impulse to flee that's stymied by stuck muscles? What's a wind gust or rapidly advancing shadow like for the butterfly? Normally, such occurrences would provoke an erratic fluttering away. But now the screaming instinct to wing away can't be answered. Does the butterfly know dread, or does it just quietly await the moment it's unfrozen?


cool morning -
a butterfly twitches,
but can't yet fly 

Dead Leaf Mantis [Haibun]

This mantis pulls off the dead leaf look. Its abdomen mimics a leaf - desiccated and rolled up upon itself. A barber-sign slant spiral of veins add the perfect touch. Even once one notices the six thin legs, legs invisible to all but a piercing, hunched-over stare, there remains a period during which it is more acceptable to the mind to think of it as twiggy leaves than as an insect. Amid a litter of dead leaves, I'm sure my eyes would never land on this skinny bug, but even on a rocky outcrop that's perpetually swept bare by way of the breezes that whip and wrap around the mountain, it still seems more leaf than bug. 

a dead leaf mantis,
standing in an unlikely place,
yet my mind screams, "Leaf!"