National Haiku Day

In honor of National Haiku Day…

Sunshine on my face‬
‪Sweet summer kisses my lips‬
‪Tastes like warm honey‬

           ~Monica R. Ashbaugh‬


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2/28/18–I Am Sinking

I Am Sinking
By Monica R. Ashbaugh, 2/10/18

I am sinking
In the mire of life
Being pulled down
To the depths
Of my heartbreak
Trapped in a bog
Of my own despair
With no way to save me
Because no one knows
I am there.

reflection b&w March 24 2015

Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 3/24/15 Reflection in Black & White

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9/29/17–Nature Blessings

Nature Blessings

By Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/29/17

Bestow on me 

the peace of a cow 

grazing in pasture,

The serenity of a cat

basking in sunlight,

The calm of a pond

with sleeping fish.

Let me dwell 

in this moment

and savor

this breath of life.

Autumn Pond Reflections

Autumn Pond Reflections, by Monica R. Ashbaugh 10/2015


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9/28/17–Autumn Haiku

National Poetry Day,  Autumn Haiku


Leaves twirling through air

Orion’s rise in the east

October is here.


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 11/14/12 Gingko Leaves


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Who Am I?

Vintage Typewriter

Vintage Typewriter by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 2015

Who Am I?

by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/2017

I write poems

But I’m not a poet

I am a creator of unspoken thought 

I paint

But I am not an artist

I am a crafter of wordless soul

When the words escape me

I summon the image on canvas 

and when the tears escape me

I seek the silent voice in poem.

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4/17/17-National Haiku Poetry Day

I love haiku.  I was pleased to discover that it is National Haiku

Tree dappled sunlight
Rumbling of distance thunder
Rain clouds drifting in.

~MRA, 4/17/17


Rain tumbled in sheets.
Wind sheared through like ocean waves
While cows complained.

~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 4/17/17



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4/17/17-The Gift

The Gift

I went to a birthday party this weekend and I wanted to share the most remarkable story that happened. I was looking for a gift for my friend. He’s the nicest man, a pure soul, so I wanted something special that moved me. I’m a roamer and prowler of thrift stores, yard sales, and quirky shops always keeping the eye out for something unusual. I like the unique gift. As I searched the shelves, my eyes fell onto a very architectural, oriental-flavored, bamboo candle holder. I knew my friend was in the process of building a devotional altar in his home and some of it was Japanese, so I thought this might be the perfect touch. He also likes art, architecture, and strongly structural objects. This candle holder was made from dozens and dozens of bamboo pieces in a stacking, almost lantern, fenced, shoji-screened, angular effect. I picked it up several times, touched it, ran my hands and fingers over it, set it back down, picked it up again and said, “Yes, he will like this.” I brought it home and wrapped it up.

A couple days passed and it was the day of the party. It was finally that time to unwrap gifts. When he opened my gift, his face lit up, a huge smile, he bent over and started laughing and said, “No way, you have to see this picture I took.” He got out his phone, flipped through some photos, and handed it to me. It was a photo he took of that very candleholder. He said he liked it and took a photo thinking he could maybe duplicate building one. They weren’t similar candleholders, it wasn’t even the same style candleholder, it was the same, exact candleholder, sitting on the shelf of the shop where I purchased it for him. What are the chances of all the items for sale in the town of Murfreesboro, probably millions of items in hundreds of stores, that I picked the very same item he photographed earlier.

There are coincidences and then there is something more. Serendipity, synchronicity, fate, destiny, kismet–I think I literally felt him on that candleholder. I wasn’t even planning on buying anything there for him, I just stopped by to browse, before going to the store where I was planning on getting him something. I said to his husband, “Can you believe this?” He responded with an immediate, “Absolutely.” I said, “Why?” He said, “Because I have never seen more synchronicities happen around a person than with you, Monica. It doesn’t even surprise me anymore.”


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11/28/16–Ordinary Time

“Life happens in ordinary time.”

~Monica R. Ashbaugh, 11/28/16


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 11/28/16

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11/27/16–Holy Man

Holy Man
~by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 11/21/16

Holy Man,
Sit at my knee
And let me share with you the gospel.

There is no counsel wiser than the wind.
There is no truth greater than birdsong
There is no baptism purer than rain.
There is no host sweeter than communion of summer blackberries
There is no Light more radiant than the Sun nor glorious than the night sky.
There is no cathedral holier than the forest

There is no prayer,
Only my breath. 
Better to walk barefoot on the earth than in satin slippers on hallowed halls.
I shall not ask your forgiveness
But better, I shall forgive you
For you cannot see through stained glass windows.
Do not tell me what to believe
Let me show you how to live.
Blessed are the witnesses of nature, for they have seen God.
Blessed are the holy heretics, for they are the teachers of humanity.

Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 10/23/2016 Chapel at Cannonsburgh Village, Murfreesboro, TN


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9/23/16–The Writer

The Writer
by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/23/16, 3AMish, the writer’s gloaming hour.

A writer’s work is their atonement to life, their at-one-ment for living, at-one-ment with reader. Writers sacrifice their own selves to tell a story. They splay themselves, unabashedly exposed, nakedly vulnerable, across the page. A writer cannot be reserved in words. A writer cannot afford privacy. Each paragraph written strips a layer of self away. Those layers cannot be replaced, once exposed–a writer cannot be hidden again. Each writing peels layer after layer, until nothing remains, except the story. A writer takes their own suffering and uses it as fodder to bring a reader to a page. A reader can detect the integrity of pain, the rawness of suffering. It cannot be imitated. The best writers are the ones who have fought the hardest battles with life. Win or lose, they always have their tales to tell around the fire, these battle-scarred, weary bards. Good writers do not die. They fade away, absorbed into the literary ethers, as there is nothing left of them to give.


Photo by Monica R. Ashbaugh, 9/10/16

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