Category Archives: Short Stories

Limericks, Rhymes, Haiku, Short stories

A Haiku: Understanding Its Meaning

Grey shrouds disallow.
Perseid, wherefore art thou?
My wish bound by clouds. by Tony @TonyPictureBook

I didn’t catch the meaning of this Haiku until I looked up the word Perseid. Before reading further, stop and look it up if you need to.

Once I read the definition, I instantly understood, and a burst of conflicting emotions rolled over me. If you love star gazing, then you will instantly understand. If you watch action movies, then you know where the names of heroes and villains come from.


A once a year event was disallowed. The grey shrouds that streak brightly across the sky when entering our atmosphere were hidden behind the clouds. But there was a double meaning in this Haiku for me.

It was early August in the 90s on a clear night. My two children each had a friend spend the night. Dad and I set up reclining lawn chairs for the best view. I got them up at 4:00 am. Still wearing PJ’s, wrapped in thin blankets, sipping hot chocolate, we watched the Perseid Meteor shower. It was fantastic. We stayed out till the sun rose, then went to McD’s for breakfast.

My children have families of their own and live very far away. I ask my husband if he wanted to drive out in the middle of the night to watch the meteor shower this past week. His response was that he would be asleep. I was a little sad. I wondered if my kids took the time to watch. I thought of how much fun we had. Then, I laughed.

Yes, we did have fun. It was a spectacular meteor show that night, and I have a precious memory.

A Haiku is a 17 syllable verse that captures an image, or a moment that when the reader grasps the meaning, touches the heart.

View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Joel Weatherly in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, captured this photo of Perseus and surrounding constellations on August 14, 2019. He wrote: “This illustration of the Perseids radiant point was made using an actual image of the night sky near Edmonton. A faint Perseid meteor can
be seen to the upper left.
The location of the Whirlpool Galaxy. Stellarium.https://astrobackyard.com/m51-whirlpool-galaxy/
The Whirlpool Galaxy taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the Hubble Space Telescope.

Fairytale Fishing

Haiku by RL Brown

Let’s go to the pond. 
Fairytale fishing is best-
when Gramps comes along. 

No buckets, no boats,
And no carrying large totes. 
Just Grandpa and me. 

A pole in each hand
Grasshoppers by the pond bank 
Gramps catches our bait. 

A nibble, a tug-
A fisherman feels the line-
Waits to jerk the hook. 

A flip-flopping, splash 
Reeling in a big fat bass. 
Little ones go free. 

Photograph by A Macarthur Gurmankin

The Eyes of a Dyslexic Child By RL Brown (WC 190)

My brain hurts.
My eyes won’t work.
I can’t read anymore.
Why do letters move?
Be still, so I can read you.			
The letters whisper-
Don’t give up.

Jumbled Words.
Letters flip and flop. 
Then they jump and hop.
Why do letters move?
Be still, so I can see you.
The letters whisper. 
Say my name.

Grumbled Sounds,
And mumbled tones, 
Never sounding the same.
WHY do letters move?
Be still, so I can hear you.
The letters whisper-
Blend the sounds.


Teacher, Teacher!
The letters are moving!
Oh, no, that’s in your head.
Why do letters move?
Be still, YOU!
The letters whisper-
Concentrate. 

Taking Test
Orally, I’m best.
Letters look like scribbles. 
Why do letters move?
Be still, so I can write you.
The letters whisper-
Yes, you can. 

Read aloud!
Nervous mistakes,			
Makes my insides quake. 
Why do letters move?
Be still, so no one laughs at me. 
The letters shout. 
Keep going. 

Every day,
my teacher says,
“You’re reading better today!”
“Why did letters move?”
Not anymore! 
I shout, hooray!
I’m reading today. 

Rex hated to read aloud. Words skipped, tripped and stumbled over his tongue like jabbering gibberish. Flustered, Rex stopped.

Susie loved to read aloud. Her words slid in seamless syllables of streaming sounds. Her correctness rattled Rex. 
 
Susie closed the book. Torrents of confusion ceased; his heart sank in horrible comparison.  Susie can read and he cannot. 

Rex wished he could slash words off all the pages. Then there would be no more letters picking at his brain. The pages would be silent like listening to quiet rain.

(WIP)
Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

Pollinizers and their Pollinators

By RL Brown (WC-199) Nonfiction/ Trochaic Tetrameter

Brontebrown2 GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

GIF/ Designed in GIPHY.com / excerpt from RasulRaumaVideo

Bumblebees, Honeybees and Wasp
Tiny things that run the world,     	
busy beats, their wings unfurled. 	 
Bumblebees love anther thread		
blooming hues of blue and red. 
Golden pearls spread all about, 
gathered by a little scout.
 
Pollinizers-Flower Power 
Flower bouquets spread their scent, 
whiffs and swirls at spring’s advent. 
Orchard bees seek apple trees
guided by a fragrant breeze. 
Bees create a honey treat-          	
with lavender so pure and sweet. 

The Butterfly
Dainty things that run the world,    	
silent beats, their wings unfurled.   	
Butterflies from all around
follow scents that hug the ground.
Dancing-feet atop a bloom, 	
search for nectar to consume. 
 
Pollinizers-Array of Colors
Flower clusters, vivid hues
Yellows, reds but no blues,
Flower seeds secure their worth,
stretch their roots in fertile earth.
Coneflowers, their scattered seeds,
Best paired up with butterfly weeds.          

 
The Hummingbird
Swiftest things that run the world,
Hums and beats, their wings unfurled.
Hummingbirds need constant fuel.
Scented blooms attract this jewel.
Forward, backward, upside down.
These adept fliers rush around. 
 
The Beauty of Pollinizers 
Golden flowers brilliant blooms 
Entice birds with shiny plumes.
Blazing Star to Geranium,
Coral Bells to Delphinium.
Flower meadows, patchwork plots,
Scattered seeds in local lots. 



Picture Books for Today

Today’s picture book market is very different from when I was a child. The book market is more selective. There exits an underlying pc culture. Very few publishers like in the past take direct submissions from new authors. So now you have written a children’s book, but does it cut the mustard (meet current standards)? 

The first step is to compare your book to what’s currently written. Go to your library and read. Read in your genre, then read books out of your genre. But read current books. Water is Water by Miranda Paul is a perfect example of a nonfiction narrative that varies vastly from the expository/factual nature of picture books in the past. Books like I Talk Like a River explore the world of a stutter and address personal issues that kids face beyond friendship or bullying. So, read and find your mentor texts. 

The second step is to know your craft before sending the query letter. Editors and agents get so many manuscripts that if they are not near perfect, they toss them. It’s like a resume filled with grammatical errors or false information. Research your agent, editor, or publishers. Make sure they are open to submissions in your genre. 

The third step is to use the tools at hand. Microsoft Word has a review function that reads your work out loud. Use Grammarly or one such program to edited your work. Don’t pay someone like I did to take the extra space from behind the period when you can do it yourself. Crtl A copies, and Crtl H brings up a dialog box to make edits all at once. 

Lastly, participate in a good critique group. Not an online, never see your face type but a Zoom group. It makes people accountable for what they say and why. A picture book must allow the reader to see for themselves what you are trying to say, not telling them what you think. For young readers, you are helping to develop their imagination. A mind free to think will imagine, reason, and then decide to act. (My synopsis line from a CS Lewis study with Hillsdale college.)

I will end by saying I had made every newbie mistake in the book by sending my manuscript out before it was ready. Take your time, learn the process, research, get your work ready, then submit. 

#50PRECIOUSWORDS 2021 is Officially OPEN!

Fairytale Fishing / A Haiku (WC 49) written by RL Brown

Excerpt from My Grand is an Alien

Acrylic Pointing by RL Brown
No buckets, no boats, 
And no carrying large totes,
Just Grandpa and me. 

A pole in each hand
Grasshoppers by the pond bank.
Gramps catches our bait.

A nibble, a tug.
Fishermen feel the line and-
wait to jerk the hook-

Reeling in a big fat brim.  
(WC 47)

Every Once in a While-

Willow Creek State Park Photo: RLBrown

Inspiration hits!

A desire is lit

to convey a message

deep within one’s soul.

Every Once in a While

Misery accompanies loss.

Difficulties attack.

Hurt strikes deep.

Disappointments mellow the soul.

Every Once in a while

Love overwhelms!

Satisfaction reigns!

Memories comfort!

Friends appear-

Sadness disappears.

A face-to-face connects the soul.

Every once in a while we grasp…

…that discerned truth divides the soul and spirit

…the sameness of God’s impossibilities and unchangeable nature.

…the revelation of our salvation in the depths of our soul.

…the depth and breath of God.

…assurance of hope seen.

..the rallying cry of faith.

…and hear the tongue of a doubled-minded man

and your soul knows it very well.

Every once in a while…

Endurance is perfected

Wisdom is perceived

Faith is steadied.

Peace settles within.