Posted by: tsopr | April 6, 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 100 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. There is an unknown collaborator for the last haiga in that Neal found this torn photo in the rain gutter and Elaine designed the collage for Neal’s haiku.

                         Featured Haiga of Neal and Elaine Whitman


                                Featured Poetry of Neal Whitman

Holding On

Limpets squat on rock,
each in a spot made to fit
where a single muscular foot
scours a shallow pit.
When the tide rises,
off they toddle to forage for food,
algae scraped from nearby stones.

Limpets do not go far.
Their water-path is short,
the length of a man’s arm.
Before the tide turns,
they return to home base,
where they sit tight.
Limpets must or wash away.

Nothing can survive without the means
to ride out incessant change.
The low hat-shaped shell
presents little resistance.
How to withstand waves?
Men hold on to the past.
Limpets hold on.


A boulder as high as a man’s thigh
tumbled down the hillside
to bathe in the creek.

It crossed the Pfeiffer Falls Trail,
but did not count on the cedar log
to block its path.

The boulder would have made it
if only it were not bottom heavy.
In time the fallen tree will rot
and the boulder will reach its destination.

Twice Translated

Associated Press reports:
“Chinese Party Official Song Dies at 96.”

Party official Renqiong Song
led the People’s Liberation Army in 1955.

Considered one of the Eight Immortals,

Song fell out of favor.

Party official song “Red Sails at Sunset”
led the Billboard Charts in 1955.
Once a pop standard,
song fell out of favor.

Associated Press reports:
“Communist Party of China expresses sorrow.”

Hot Enough for You?

“It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.”
I’ll echo that.
Some Native Americans call July
Heat Moon, others
Thunder Moon.
After pulling weeds
I welcome the cooling effect
of a late afternoon thunderstorm
and a gin over ice
infused with lemon
plucked from my own tree.
A boomer brings me in.

Copyright © 2010 Neal and Elaine Whitman


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