Great Uncle I am four or five. It is warm and the fragrance of the blooming privet hedge tickles my nose. Visiting Grandma, which happens often, she lives only blocks from our house, my mother’s Uncle Willie is at home when we arrive. He is old with a surprisingly full head of gray hair and […]
I open the Times and force myself to read a few headlines. The news is all bad. Guns and death. War and disaster. Protesting pro this and con that. Yet another, unqualified candidate announces a run for the presidency months before the race. No doubt we’ll have another election that resembles the Kentucky derby with twenty odd dark horses trampling on the issues . . . blah blah blah. I slam the paper shut and rant out loud a bit before the slant of the sun on the fence distracts me.
I have a weeping cherry on my property, visible from all the windows that face the back yard. It is about 20 feet tall and sixteen years old. It inspires me in every season of the year but especially in spring when it becomes a cloud of pink. The tree was a gift from my mother who used to love weeping cherries. She no longer remembers that she loved these trees but I do. She is ninety-two and is losing more and more of herself each day.
forgetting her grandchildren
one by one
My six month old grandson came to live with us for about five months last winter. He and his parents were waiting for their new home to be ready. All winter and into the spring, his favorite pastime was to watch the tree branches moving with the winter wind and then the gentle breezes of early spring. When the cherry tree bloomed, he was mesmerized.
perfectly still –
a baby watching
pink blossoms sway
My daughter, who also watched the garden unfolding from winter into spring, was bitten by the gardening bug – a legacy from her grandmother – my mother. By the time she moved into her new home, she was dreaming about the garden she would plant. Although my mother will never see her granddaughter’s garden, her spirit will reside there. Perhaps her great-grandson will come to love gardening too!
The pilgrims who are trudging through winter at the moment, are nearing the end of that particular journey. They are weary and tend to forget to be grateful for the silver mornings of late February and early March. The sun, slowly wending its way back to the North, shines silver through the bare gray branches of the deciduous trees. What is left of the snow sparkles as it slowly melts. Even the gray sparrows, beginning their annual dance of procreation, dart in and out of the trees, seemingly capturing pieces of the sunlight, with which they build their nests.
bitter cold morning
the blackbird sings!
Just when I am too full of winter, just when the thermometer drops again to 10 degrees F, and I am on the verge of forgetting to be thankful for what IS, along comes a singer in the woods to remind me to say – Thank you, God. Click HERE to see the haiga I created yesterday after I heard the red-winged blackbird’s lovely song on my morning walk.
A poem-maker lives with silence, happily straining to hear what the trees whisper to the raindrops. It is winter and the rain is welcome. It arrives with warmer temperatures and the scent of the ocean.
After Christmas, she receives a gift – three gifts, really. A daughter arrives with her husband and new baby for an extended visit while their new place is made ready.
Silence departs to make room for the guests. The poem-maker puts aside the pen and listens to the new sounds.
The baby gurgles, squeals, giggles and trills along all day, even singing himself to sleep. She hears her daughter sing – and everyone joins in the song…. and the laughter. Soon, she can even hear her own heart singing. And it sounds like the gentle patter of winter rain on the roof.
a mother’s voice – the sound of winter rain a whispered lullaby
A certain shy poet was wandering around the internet one August afternoon in 2012. She stumbles into Haiku Heights and decides to give haiku a whirl. She composes a three line poem and nervously posts it with all the ‘real’ poets at Haiku Heights. Shortly after, September arrived along with the invitation to write a haiku everyday for a month. The prompts were stimulating, the other poets were encouraging and an addiction was born!
The muse at Haiku Heights, whose pen name is Leo and whose real name is Vinay Ravindranath also blogs at I Rhyme Without Reason. He has indefatigably stimulated an international band of writers with weekly prompts for several years now. In April and September he hosted a marathon of daily prompts. It has been quite a fun ride!
I am sad to see this wonderful weekly haiku party come to an end but I wish you well, Leo. Thank you for turning me on to haiku!
in late autumn
the crickets are silent –
a sudden sadness
In winter, when the garden flowers sleep deeply under glistening snow, she does not pine.
Instead she marvels at other, subtler miracles. Her eyes linger a bit longer on the faces of those she loves when smiles bloom there. The silent woodland offers bouquets laced with gray and brown, and morning sky strikes her like the cool slap of winter on her uncovered face. The empty trees grow shadows , forming patterns that mark the movement of her days. The Sun God paints dawn and dusk in colors that make her ache with joy.
Yes, in winter, it is easy to utter a prayer, to taste a poem, to smell the snow, to see gardens everywhere.
a billion stars night blooming canopy and the moon too!
Kigo, or Japanese season words, are an integral part of classic haiku. However, a season word, in my opinion, can only have meaning, if it relates to a natural phenomenon in the area in which the poet lives. For instance, I know about nowaki, a typhoon-like windstorm that can flatten a field, from reading about it. But I’ve never lived it.
The autumn storm that I do know in my bones is called a hurricane. These fierce weather systems, born in the Atlantic Ocean, can cause much damage from high winds and tides lashing the shores along the Atlantic coast and the Caribbean and , of course, they bring heavy rain too. They always leave a swath of mortally wounded trees, damage to the fragile coastline and lost lives and property.
In years past, before satellite weather and radar, these storms roared in from the mid Atlantic, often with little warning. The trees always stood their ground for better or worse. All the fishermen and sailors could do when they sensed a change in the atmosphere, was run.
His two month birthday has just past and he was showing signs of sleeping longer and longer stretches at night. Not that his mother complained, she actually enjoyed the quiet darkness when it was just the two of them. He loved music and was easily lulled back to sleep after he was sated. She relished these moments, knowing that one day, he would discover that she could not carry a tune. For now, she was sun and moon and stars.
The woman rises early and makes her way out to the porch to wait for the light and to invite the silence in. Eyes closed, she descends the staircase to her internal spring, near her heart. Drinking just enough to sate the fierce longing, she lets go of bitterness and observes as a gusting breeze sweeps it away. She cries out when she opens her eyes. The sun, tilting toward the south, filters its light through the trees , dappling an anemone with kisses. A bee passes by, stopping long enough to graze at the pink flower’s pollen feast. The shy little flower, in a shudder of love, suddenly showers the bee with pollen. The woman, training her eyes on the vision before her, tucks a few pieces of pink, a bit of bee and the sunlight into her heart to carry with her during the day. A moment later, she hears a sound in the kitchen. She moves inside and finds her mate making a pot of strong morning tea. Without making a sound she becomes, for just a moment, the sunlight, the bee and the anemone.