My Early Work in Wind Chimes, Cicada and The Red Pagoda

John J. Dunphy
2 min readJun 7, 2024



John J. Dunphy

Some of my earliest haiku and senryu appeared in these three long-gone magazines. It was quite primitive compared to my later work. Much of it still adhered to the old 5–7–5 format.

In any event, enjoy!

Wind Chimes

tray of purple hearts

priced at ninety-five cents each

on a pawnshop shelf


the ferris wheel stops


my collie returns

on this Indian Summer day

trailing gossamer


dog days of august

two mormons in coats and ties

ringing my doorbell



this Veterans Day

old men march in uniform

reeking of mothballs


old condom wrappers

woven into a bird nest

alive with fledglings


clenching canvas

a young marine

sits for a tattoo


on an old road map

palsy-trembling finger traces

Route 66



we sink a pond lily

with our fingers


‘Nam veteran buries

his Bronze Star

with a crocus


potter’s field

rows of parking stakes

in an empty lot


morning in the bar —

coasters scrawled with phone numbers

tossed into the trash



on glasses, the crushed smoked



exhaust fan wafts

stale odors of beer

to Monday commuters


mortar bombardment

flashback of ‘Nam

in the bowling alley


The Red Pagoda

only dandelions

furbishing the graves of those

in the potter’s field


homeless in the city: 12 portraits

asleep on a bench

newspapers for a blanket

shopping bag pillow


family of five

rummage through the garbage cans

behind a cafe


before admittance

mission requires delousing

minister wears gloves


sitting on the curb

muttering to companions

only he can see


drunk in the gutter

on the hand clutching his pint

a gold wedding band


seated in the mission

listening to a sermon

with empty stomachs


all her possessions

loaded into a shopping cart

with only three wheels


in the library

pretending to read a book

to escape the streets


dead in an alley

partially devoured by rats

shoes and coat stolen


lying on a grate

awakened by a night stick

thrust into his ribs


one man pauses to wipe

the mouth of a shared bottle

when it’s passed to him


woman and her child

huddled together for warmth

in an alleyway


John J. Dunphy’s poetry collections include Old Soldiers Fading Away, Zen Koanhead, Touching Each Tree, pagan rites, Bullet Cluster, Stellar Possibilities and Dark Nebulae. He is also the author of non-fiction works such as Unsung Heroes of the Dachau Trials: The Investigative Work of the U.S. Army 7708 War Crimes Group, 1945–1947.



John J. Dunphy

John J. Dunphy owns The Second Reading Book Shop in Alton, IL USA. Google him to learn more about this enigmatic person who is such a gifted writer and poet.