Fly me to the moon…haiku for the season

moon2

Full Moon of the Winter Solstice (c) 2010 Martin Liebermann

 

As I post this, it is the morning of the winter solstice of 2015. Where I live in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the winter solstice officially happens tonight at 11:49 pm, EST. Wherever YOU are, it will happen at a different hour or perhaps the same. Readers of this blog come from all over the world–one of the joys in blogging is seeing the list of countries of readers–and I love imagining the moon going through its magical phases for each of you. Tonight, the solstice. Later this week, a full moon. What more could we want?

 

 

 

These are some of my earliest haiku:

 

WINTER MOON HAIKU

First published on Poets Online (c) Mary Kendall

Later used as lyrics in “Winter Moon” by Paul Carey, a piece for women’s chorus in (c) 2011.

 

night snow
boughs dreaming
of first blossoms

 

Fog filled woods~
even the winter moon
has lost its way

 

a winter walk
footprints
tell no tales

 

the blue moon
silently closes the door
upon the year

 

 

The Gleam in His Lusty Eye

 

Woods Hole, MA - 3/30/14

 

From the window

I watch the cardinal

shuck a sunflower seed,

and, beak to beak,

like a passionate kiss,

he passes it to her,

his paler partner.

I imagine then

that I see the gleam

in his lusty eye.

 

 

sunflower seeds

Note on Photograph: I can find no other attribution for this photograph other than it was taken in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 2014. It has appeared in a number of online birding sites. My thanks to the anonymous (but talented) photographer for capturing this tender moment.

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

Two Tanka slip into Ribbons

I’ve had the good fortune of having two tanka published in RIBBONS, the journal of the Tanka Society of America: Ribbons–Spring/Summer–2015, Volume 11, Number 2.

IMG_8691

 

 

lost in the pages

of a book my mother loved–

a sly narrator

speaks volumes of truth

while skirting the end

 

Tanka Cafe, Ribbons–Spring/Summer, Volume 11, Number 2, 2015

 

what I thought was a bird

flew past

casting no shadow–

I wonder

if you are near

 

Ribbons–Spring/Summer, Volume 11, Number 2, 2015

 

It is always a thrill for any poet to open up a journal and find her/his  own poem nestled in among those of gifted writers. The truly excellent online journals of poetry in both tanka and haiku are really schools of learning for me. I go there to read, to fall in love with poems, and to learn from the very best writers. There is no better way to learn. Read, read, write. So, on the rare occasion, one of my poems makes it into those pages (paper or virtual), my heart is filled with joy.

IMG_8699

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small Poems of Grief

Grief, by iosatel, (c) 2014, The Obvious and Hidden blog: http://theobviousandhidden.com/2014/11/04/grief/

Grief, by Iosatel, The Obvious and Hidden blog, (c) 2014

1.

only the bereaved know
they needn’t speak in whispers,

grief is never
completely silenced

 

2.

rush of water
a broken branch drifts by
what will be left?

 

3.

Unending days of darkness
that never let you forget.

 

4.

Saturated, as if the clouds
had wrung themselves out
all at once, watching what
would then ensue

 

5.

sitting at the window
watching the rain
despondent days
of unexhausted sadness
trying to let go

 

6.

forgetting you
was never an option

 

7.

grief exhausts
but holds on,
rain continues
to fall

 

8.

thirty-five years and still I mourn you,
sometimes waking and imagining you there

 

 

9.

darkness deepens
into the black of night

lightning signals
thunder cracks,

but it is the loss of you
who took your life
that makes me ask
why it had to be

 ~~~

My Note of Thanks to the photographer, Iosatel, for his beautiful picture, Grief, which was first posted on his blog, The Obvious and the Hidden on 4/11/14. This photograph is copyrighted (c) 2014 by the artist himself.

Four Late October Small Poems

Weaving Light 6 (c) 2012 by Karen McRae

Weaving Light 6 (c) 2012 by Karen McRae

1:

dusk winds weave
seed pods in silken strings
spirits dancing

2:

morning’s breath
slips by so silently
a shiver of frost

3:

perhaps a portent
of what winter will bring
this woven white light

4:

just as a cloud forms
and suddenly dissipates
so a thought begins

Weaving Light 13 (c) 2012 by Karen McRae

Weaving Light 13 (c) 2012 by Karen McRae

These beautiful photographs of Goat’s-beard seed heads are by the very talented Karen McRae. They appear on her blog: The Frayed Edges of Waking August 12, 2012 by Karen McRae) http://drawandshoot.me/2012/08/12/the-frayed-edges-of-waking/

Many thanks, Karen, for allowing me to use your breathtaking photos that inspired these four small poems.      

                                               ~ Mary ~

Weaving Light 11 (c) 2012 by Karen McRae

Weaving Light 11 (c) 2012 by Karen McRae

Four Autumn Haiku


Today is the first day of autumn, and for my writing practice in the next few weeks I’ll begin a series of autumn or fall poems. This is my favorite season, my soul season. I’ve done a few different types of haiku ranging from traditional 17 syllables to a poem in a single line. Do you have a favorite?

1.

biting into a Victoria plum, such guilty pleasure

253871

2.

spent blossoms–
the last swallowtail
sips alone

best swallowtail pic

3.

soup 1

the season’s first soup
almost ritually cooked
stirs our senses

4.

sweet windfall apples…
bruised memories
autumn of long ago

fallen apples

Modern English language haiku are not always seventeen syllables. A haiku can be many things, but always it is a brief poem with a strong image that evokes a season and a moment of time captured simply in lyrical language. Scroll to the bottom of today’s blog to find a list of essential qualities of haiku.

The following list from the wonderful journal, Heron’s Nest, lists important qualities that make a haiku.

 Here are some qualities we find essential to haiku:

  • Present moment magnified (immediacy of emotion)
  • Interpenetrating the source of inspiration (no space between observer and observed)
  • Simple, uncomplicated images
  • Common language
  • Finding the extraordinary in “ordinary” things
  • Implication through objective presentation, not explanation: appeal to intuition, not intellect
  • Human presence is fine if presented as an archetypical, harmonious part of nature (human nature should blend in with the rest of nature rather than dominate the forefront)
  • Humor is fine, if in keeping with “karumi” (lightness) – nothing overly clever, cynical, comic, or raucous
  • Musical sensitivity to language (effective use of rhythm and lyricism)
  • Feeling of a particular place within the cycle of seasons