Posted by: tsopr | February 15, 2010

Neal and Elaine Whitman, American Poet and Photographer

Neal and Elaine Whitman: Neal is a poet who splits his time evenly between Western and Japanese form, with over 80 of each in publication. In 2009 he won the James McIntrye Poetry Contest in Ontario, Canada, and two honorable mentions in the Yuki Teikei Haiku Contest judged by haiku masters in Japan. He and his wife, Elaine, live in Pacific Grove, California, and are both volunteer docents at the Robinson Jeffers Tor House in nearby Carmel. Elaine plays the Native American flute for hospice patients and accompanies Neal in poetry recitals. She is a wonderful photographer and collaborates with Neal by combining her photographs with his haiku.

Featured Haiga of Neal and Elaine Whitman
































 Featured Poetry of Neal Whitman

Inspired by Po Chu-I

Ever since I was a boy
down till now
I have been a builder.
On the shore fortressed sand walls
and sugar cone turrets.
Atop the paperweighted desk
appointment booked hurdles.
Holding back the tide.
Doing this and that.
Substance passes in a moment.
I have put building behind me
and take several sips of wine.

Way Welcome

“Welcome to Liu Fang Yuan (Garden of the Flowering Fragrance) where nature’s artistry and the spirit of poetry bloom in harmony.” The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Thank you for this cartel
of scenic beauty and poetic expression, giving
way to a temple bell sounding
the landscape.

Thank you for this path
of mind and spirit enrichment, giving
way to sheltering woods creating
a sylvan curtain.

Thank you for this lake
of redolent spring water, giving
way to sweet summer washing
my memory of pain.

Thank you for these rocks
of incised couplets, giving
way to lost words finding
new reason to rhyme.
Thank you.
You’re welcome.

Happy is the Man

A stonecutter was happy in his work, but
No matter how hard he worked,
he was a poor man.
One day, cutting stone from the side of Mountain,
He cooled his chisel in the clear stream
And considered his fate. Then

He looked at the road below Mountain
And saw Rich Man pass by, sitting on satin pillows
Atop a sedan chair carried by four men.
The stonecutter wished to be Rich Man.
Hearing this, Angel of Wishes made it so
And the stonecutter became Rich Man.

Now he was sitting on satin pillows atop a sedan chair carried by four men. Then
Rich Man felt a hot spot on top of his head
And looked up and saw Sun bearing down on all who passed by.
Rich Man wished to be Sun.
Hearing this, Angel of Wishes made it so
And Rich Man became Sun.

Now he was bearing down on all who passed by. Then
Sun looked down and saw Dark Cloud
blocking its power to make hot spots.
Sun wished to be Dark Cloud.
Hearing this, Angel of Wishes made it so
And Sun became Dark Cloud.

Now he was blocking the power of Sun to make hot spots. Then
Dark Cloud suddenly felt Wind
pushing him this way and that.
Dark Cloud wished to be Wind.
Hearing this, Angel of Wishes made it so
And Dark Cloud became Wind.

Now he was pushing Dark Cloud this way and that. Then
Wind suddenly was stopped by Mountain
standing in the way.
Wind wished to be Mountain.
Hearing this, Angel of Wishes made it so
And Wind became Mountain.

Now he was stopping Wind. But, then
Mountain heard click, click, click.
The sound of chisel chipping on stone.
Mountain looked down
And saw Man cutting stone from its side
Happy the Man.

And the sleeping mountain sighs

I brush my hair in dusklight.
My rolled flannel shirt
now stone under my neck.
A loose boulder stops short
rolling down the hillside.
The creek hears no splash.
And the sleeping mountain sighs.

Below the wolf moon
I lie awake cold–
my left thumb rests on chin.
In this hour of light
my dream leaves me wild.
Colors soon disperse.
And the sleeping mountain sighs.

The Hermitage bell
wakes me and I walk
through the aspen grove.
I hear a lost anthem.
I revere a rose
reboant in the shadow.
And the sleeping mountain sighs.

Eight-Day Moon Ikebana Basket

“Japanese basketry has evolved from functional fishing and farming to sculptural art. Item #814 refers to the shape of the basket body which resembles a crescent or eight-day moon.”

In the Asian Art Museum
a verdigris bamboo basket sits backlit
on a pedestal. On a printed card the curator
initiates the conversation. The ikebana basket combines
square plaiting with crisscross stitching. Perfect proportion
pleases the eye. How to select, split, cut, and dye bamboo takes
years of correctly-made mistakes until skilled hands can work this magic
and transform function into form that will not hold flowers

Copyright © 2010 Neal and Elaine Whitman



  1. What a wonderful experience to have such meaningful, peaceful, and wonderful poetry and photos at my fingertips. Thanks.

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