shaft of moonlight.
the silence between us
atop the lifeguard's chair

—shirley cahayom

About the author: shirley cahayom
brooklyn, new york
shaman99 at

i was born in the philippines, educated in the oldest existing catholic university in the country even older than harvard, had been a college instructor, worked as children governess in the middle east, currently working in an alternative cancer clinic in new york city trying in my own little way to ease the pain and suffering of the terminally ill. i had been writing traditional haiku on and off since my college days but got seriously involved with it again since march of 2002. since then, i never stop writing and trying to get them published. publications include still, asahi haikuist network, the illinois times etc.


Responses to the haiku for 11 August 2003 by shirley cahayom

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-08-13 03:19:22

    "shaft of moonlight.
    the silence between us
    atop the lifeguard's chair"

    shirley, i understood your meaning, still, i struggled with the third line. you may call it, "the way my mind works"; was it the moonlight, silence, or us, "atop the lifeguard's chair". yes, all three were, however, "i" felt too much attention being given to the location.

    shirley, you have shown a lovely moment. i enjoy reading your creations, however, i felt this would have been the perfect time for simply two lines.

    a shaft of moonlight...
    the silence between us

    others may be quick to point out, bob, what about this moment taking place atop the lifeguards chair; my response, "so what".

    i am sure there have been, countless, related moments in different settings; thus allowing a broader relating, with the thought, "i have been there".

    2003-08-13 05:33:30

    It's a bitter pill for me, Shirley, but I think I have to agree with Bob. If anything, L3 gets in the way of, and I believe de-universalises a clear picture. Here is an idea, though it may not be in tune with your original moment:

    shaft of moonlight
    between us
    the silence

    This allows 'between us' to be read with either (or both) of its surrounding lines, although I know this was not your original intention (I see that big period!)

    It's a special moment, Shirley. Thanks for sharing :~>


    Ellen G. Olinger (ElinGrace at wi dot rr dot com)
    2003-08-13 08:20:48

    We're so often taught to be more specific, in writing and other areas. It was new for me to read Frederick Buechner's and Stevie Nicks' thoughts about being more general, so the reader can participate more. Stevie said she begins with a concrete experience and then makes it more general; then her songs become other people's songs. She is very generous in sharing about her life lessons and process (

    When you immerse yourself in something--in my case, teaching--it takes a long time to unlearn conditioned responses that may not be the best in a current situation. I worked with children with special needs, from mental retardation to gifted. And of course they all had special gifts and were wonderful people to know. A constant balancing act about what to specify and what to leave more free.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-07-04 05:48:08

    a raindrop
    between the beads of sweat --
    heartbeat quickens