via Haibun Monday

I learned to print with a fat pencil on a ruled tablet. I got my teeth into it, gnawing the pencil and the pink eraser and tearing off bits of paper that I chewed like gum. In second grade, we practiced for cursive script by drawing spirals, staying between the lines. I had learned all the letters by the time we moved.
In third grade in another state, I was prohibited from using cursive until it was taught to the other students.  In fifth grade, I taught myself to write backwards in script that could only be read in a mirror. I was learning not to write all the things I was learning not to say.
I married a would-be author who was better at not writing than I was. I had stacks of journals in my closet written in Spanish; if no one around me could read them, it was as if I hadn’t written them.
Before turning 40, I began an MFA program in poetry. There, I learned how to write about, around, and near poetry. I learned to write a poem so impenetrable that it was impregnable to criticism. Now, having unlearned everything I have been taught until now, I am beginning to write.

Though age brings wisdom,
the pen drops from my fingers,
winter in my hands.


  1. Thanks for dropping by at the dVerse Poets Pub, Denise, and for sharing your haibun. I’ve been reading about so many different experiences of writing, but there are some things that I recognise or have done myself, and chewing a pencil or pen is one of them. There are also similarities between my italic zigzags and your cursive spirals! I love that your taught yourself mirror writing. The haiku rings true – lovely.
    Please come back again tomorrow for poetics with Bjorn!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A most interesting haibun. The haiku is excellent. Please leave your link at Mr. Linky as many people do not read the comments page and go straight to Mr. Linky. I would love to read how other readers on the site enjoy your haibun. Mirror writing! I did this naturally being ambidexterous and dyslexic. But you taught yourself! Tht is amazing.


  3. I would imagine many of us identify with the term “winter in my hands”. Very descriptive!. I enjoyed your write.


  4. I could identify with your writing process. I went through much of the same. I found it interesting that you had to unlearn to learn. I am coming to d’Verse totally unlearned and am learning piece by piece. Great Haiku! The computer some days gives me winter in my hands!


  5. I remember chewing pencils too and how soft the wood became in my mouth, and my fascination with teeth indentations left there as evidence.
    Personally, I think my handwriting is lovely, neat and artistic – but some can’t read it, which I don’t understand as I can!
    Love your haiku – luckily my hands are still kind to me.
    Anna :o]


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