Simply Haiku: An E-Journal of Haiku and Related Forms
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Billie Wilson

Mourning Doves

We don't have mourning doves where I live, but sometimes I hear them calling in the background of a movie. Something reaches deep down inside me and pulls me back across the years to my upstairs bedroom in the old Indiana farmhouse where I was raised.

It was always mourning doves that pulled me from my dreams of princes on white stallions. I'd lie in bed as long as I could, until the third time Mother warned me about what would happen if I didn't get up right now. "I'm up!" I'd yell down the stairs, and then I'd sit beside my window above the plum trees and spin a fantasy or two before getting dressed.

summer morning--
from out in the meadow
a pony nickers

Summer days started hot and sticky, but not nearly as hot and sticky as they were going to be. After lunch, my brother and I would begin plotting how to convince Mother to give us money for the store. It was a rare treat, but we were certain every single day that we could make it happen. When she occasionally relented, we each held our bounty as if it were a king's ransom. We'd head off down the dusty road lined with cornfields and wheatfields to the country store a mile or so away.

school's out--
we spend our dimes twelve ways
walking to the store

Deciding what to buy was the litany of our summer days, the lyrics of our favorite song. No matter what we decided--ice cream or penny candy--the walk home was a trip into wonder that we'd make last as long as we could. And now each time a mourning dove's call pulls me back there, I'm content to see that the wonder has endured all these decades later.


Billie considers herself to be a haiku rookie, even though she began writing what she thought was haiku in the 1960s. An intense study of ancient and modern haiku that began just a few years ago introduced her to what she now calls "real haiku," and she's been devoted to honing her craft ever since. 

She is one of two members of the Alaska Haiku Society and hopes their new website will draw more Alaska poets to haiku. 

See more of her work at The Alaska Haiku Society Webpage.


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