Some Small Poems for the Autumnal Equinox

autumn haiga 2015

This morning I woke up knowing a change was in the air. With intermitent gusts of wind, my garden feels different. From my porch where I sit writing this, I hear cardinals talking to one another in soft chirpy sounds, not full song. A nuthatch scampers up and down the tree trunks hoping to find a tasty insect for its mid-morning snack. What is clearer though is the background sound–the small insects that hum and buzz in notes I can’t clearly discern. All I hear is a constant high pitched sound–but it is a soft sound, not the commanding songs the cicadas sing. A chickadee now scolds someone, probably my dog who is suddenly interested in wandering in our back woods.

The breeze comes and goes. Wind chimes sing their beautiful songs. Leaves shudder and flow in the wind, then settle down to stillness. A large robin sits in the birdbath drinking in the water, probably for the last time before it makes its long migration down to southern Florida. Now a flock of crows jeers at something, most likely the red-tailed hawk that lives nearby. And since I’ve sat here long enough, a single butterfly sips from the last flowers of the purple buddleiah bush. It is a yellow swallowtail and probably the very last one I will see this year. There have been no others all week. A female cardinal visits the other bird bath. Luckily these beautiful red birds don’t migrate from here. They will stay all winter long, and I will put birdseed out for them each day. 

Autumn has always been my favorite season since I was a little girl. I grew up in the northern climate of Buffalo, New York where the lake winds brought the strong Canadian coolness and fall was often upon us in early September. Not so here down south. Here, North Carolina weather can change in an hour. We can have this first taste of fall and tomorrow might bring back the heat of summer.

Life in the United States changes with this season since children return to school, vacations are pretty much over, and everyone settles in. I find myself cooking soups once again. Last night I made Italian Wedding Soup, a perfectly delicious way to welcome the change in seasons. 

Fall or autumn? I grew up calling it ‘fall’ and with the obvious falling of leaves, that word makes good sense, but the poetic side of me loves the word ‘autumn.’ I love saying the word, hearing it, feeling it on the tongue. Autumn is delicious! And ‘autumnal’ is divine. Who can resist the beauty of this season? Not me.

Here are three other poems–two tanka and one haiku– to welcome this special season and day of the autumnal equinox.

Autumn-leaf-on-a-rock-960x640

daylight
and nighttime
in a slow dance—
tomorrow one
will lead

~

Gold Autumn Leaf

~

autumnal equinox…
the moment when day
matches night

~

leaves_texture4982

~

autumn’s equinox
when time is equal—
if only one day
people
could be like this

~

Red Leaves

Summer Poem 1~

Here in the southern part of the USA, thunder and lightning are not uncommon in summer. Days can be very hot and humid, and late afternoon lightning storms often break up the quiet of the day. Rain, when it comes, often fails to bring relief but instead adds to the high humidity. Still, there are times when just listening to the thunder and seeing the clouds grow thick and dark overhead becomes a magical experience. My friend, Jeanna Clever List, took this photograph while her family was on vacation on the coast of North Carolina. Its drama and beauty is truly exceptional.

My thanks, Jeanna, for allowing me to use your beautiful photograph to complete my haiga.

 

 

1-Sky Drums Haiga 2015 Jul 2, 2015, 2-56 PM 1244x960

June Haiku 2

weathered wood—

memories of youth

drifting away

 

 

Old Boat ~ Photograph by Mike Keville, (c) 2015

Old Boat ~ Photograph by Mike Keville, (c) 2015

The theme of old, worn wood (see June Haiku 1) continues in this poem. Amazing how beautiful things retain their magic despite age.

My thanks to photographer, Mike Keville, for allowing me to use his gorgeous boat photograph for this haiku. The textures and colours of this photo inspire many poems.

Irisation: A Lesson

Photography © 2015 by Farnaz Mojab Soheili

Photography © 2015 by Farnaz Mojab Soheili

A Lesson

For just one moment
the sky stopped time,
and we gazed upward
to where an angel
lit the clouds
like a row of pure white candles,
and the flames flickered
in many hues
and spoke to us in sweet silence,
reminding us that life is brief,
a momentary blur.

A lesson we forgot.

hands of time

Note: My thanks go to my friend, Farnaz Mojab Soheili, for allowing me to use her wonderful photograph of this magnificent cloud rainbow that appeared for just a moment. As a teacher who was with a group of fourth grade students on the playground, the cloud phenomenon was pointed out to her by a student. She looked up in time to see it shift into this beautiful formation. A rainbow in the clouds is called iridescence or irisation:  “When parts of clouds are thin and have similar size droplets, diffraction can make them shine with colours like a corona. In fact, the colours are essentially corona fragments. The effect is called cloud iridescence or irisation, terms derived from Iris the Greek personification of the rainbow…. Iridescence is seen mostly when part of a cloud is forming because then all the droplets have a similar history and consequently have a similar size.”

[http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/irid1.htm]

Irises

Blood Moon (Tanka)

Blood Moon Tanka

A plea for ending hatred:

This week the news was filled with the grand and rare beauty of the appearance of a Blood Moon eclipse and the absolute horror and non-sensical murder of Christian students in Kenya by Islamic fanatics. When, oh, when will the world stop hating?

“Early Thursday five shooters from the Somali-based al-Shabaab terrorist organization swept through a university in the Kenyan town of Garissa, shooting Christian students. They knew who to kill because they ordered students to recite an Islamic prayer. Those who could were spared. Those who could not were shot dead, about 147 so far. Police killed four of the terrorists and captured the fifth.”    (from the Wall Street Journal)

Note: This beautiful photograph of the Blood Moon is not mine. I found it through a google search, but it’s exact origin is unknown. I thank the photographer whoever he or she is for creating such a beautiful capture of this event.

Frozen Moments

Frozen Moments (c) 2015 Harald Illsinger

                                             Frozen Moments (c) 2015 Harald Illsinger

FROZEN MOMENTS

It doesn’t matter that your words were shouted
In a peal of sparking anger, anger spewed
In moon-white flames tinged with flicks—
Sapphire blue and poppy red and yellow.

Burning so hot and fast, those thoughts
Consumed themselves and all
Nearby, including what remained
Of hope
For change…
Your change,
Your transformation.

And when the fire burned down,
All that was left were the ashes of your anger.

Small chars of memories…
Frozen moments of who you were…
Once—
Long Ago.

Unable to forgive—even yourself,
You are locked in the ice of stagnation,
The ice of inner struggle.

Frozen fire—
No thaw,
No shift,
No change.
No redemption.

Frozen
Moments
Forever.

old_pocket_watch_buried_1774093

Note: Many thanks as always to Harald Illsinger for the use of his exquisite photograph, Frozen Moments (c) 2015. His work always serves as such wonderful and unexpected inspiration.

Dark-Eyed Juncos, a Tanka

I’d like to share a tanka that is currently appearing in Ribbons, Tanka Cafe, Winter 2015

Junco, photo by Kathy Adams Clark

Junco, photo by Kathy Adams Clark

winter light 

shadows linger low

behind us—

dark-eyed juncos

scurry past our feet

Juncos, photo by Brian Cunningham

Juncos, photo by Brian Cunningham

This poem appeared in Ribbons, Tanka Cafe, Winter 2015
This is the publication of the American Tanka Society,