flowers, haiku, photography, seasons

Waiting Impatiently for Autumn

My previous posts about waiting for autumn have been updated here in response to a CDHK episode.  July predicts;  August teases;  September backslides and hesitates;  October triumphs in the end.
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My previous posts about waiting for autumn were not CDHK responses.  My response to
Carpe Diem #1227 waiting for autumn
(Aki tikashi, Aki wo matsu)
is to update and reblog them.  They fit the prompt better than anything else I can offer now.

Prophet for a Day (posted 2016-07-21)

Soon after the wild daylilies have finished blooming, another flower in my yard turns to prophecy.  The pale blue blossoms are long gone, but a few of the leaves on a few of the plants have another calling now.  For about a day, they prophesy the next season.


Prophet for a Day
|Wild geranium
|(just one leaf for just one day)
|turns in high summer.

Fall Preview (posted 2015-09-01)


As happens in many years where I live, late August of 2015 was a sneak preview of fall, the year’s best season:

Days are still too warm, but more are dry and breezy while fewer are hot and humid.  A few cool nights lead to chilly mornings, and I suddenly notice that my garden flag with a picture of phlox is out-of-season.  The roadsides have goldenrod and purple loosestrife now.

Virginia creeper is turning, as are some red maples in wet areas.  Nearly all the healthy trees are still green, but there is a hint of yellow in many of those greens. The process will slow to a crawl in September; I will spend much of that month grumbling when the weather backslides and thinking “C’mon! C’mon!” when I look at green leaves.


|Bright sun and cool air;
|azure skies and pumpkin pies.
|Leaves fall in glory.

haiku, humor, math

Two Season-Words; Two Cuts; Several Allusions

Can anybody write a haiku with interchangeable short lines that also flows naturally with exactly one cut?  Not me.  But I can do it with two cuts.  Another poet can do it with one cut that moves when the short lines are swapped.
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Rules 1 and 2 of Carpe Diem’s
Writing and Enjoying Haiku #3 classical haikurequire a season-word and a cut, which is not the same as requiring exactly one of each.  (Guess who has a math background.)  Dunno how to write a haiku with interchangeable short lines (per Rule 6) that also flows naturally with exactly one cut, but I try to remember that there is a big difference between saying that I cannot do it now and saying that nobody can do it ever.

Hmmm.  Suppose there is exactly one cut, that it is made by punctuation, and that moving the cut is allowed when interchanging the short lines.  This permissive interpretation of Rule 6 did not occur to me until I saw Virginia Popescu’s beautiful haiga, where the haiku still flows naturally with exactly one cut, if we move the dash from after “stone” to after “sun” when interchanging the short lines.  Her response to this episode is also a gentle reminder that my most dangerous assumptions are the ones I do not know I am making.

Maybe I can satisfy Rule 6 with a single stationary cut some time in the future.  Maybe not.  For now, I cut in both places where one line follows another.

This Haiku Is Kosher
 No mosquitoes fly.
 Basho’s frog just meditates.
 The pond stays silent.


Not Quite Kosher
|Zen frog bronze sculpture
|(credit lost, like casting wax).
|Dunno who to thank.

haiga, haiku, humor, photography, serendipity

Beyond Rules

While obeying many rules is common and often helpful, there are very few rules that must always be obeyed. I had thought that poems in haiku form must have 3 lines. Then I wrote a 2-line haiku.
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naro-h-v_18pc wide-18pc-392x442

Rules Went Away
!Doorknob meteor shower:
!mundane miracle.

Have U read Alice in Wonderland ?  Expecting me to refrain from reworking an initial idea in my wordsmith’s forge is like expecting Alice to refrain from following a white rabbit who looks at a watch and frets about being late.  Ain’t.  Gonna.  Happen.


Rules Came Back
!Meteor shower
!seen by day in a doorknob:
!mundane miracle.

(reblog), haiku, photography, tanka

Dawn Can Endure

Tho originally written in response to a challenge on a blog other than CDHK, the tanka here can also respond to Carpe Diem #1214 dawn because it uses the word dawn and has fragment/phrase structure on 2 levels: between the haiku and the rest of the tanka as well as within the haiku itself.

My tanka responding to a challenge posted by Patrick Jennings is a riff on the splendid photo he provided, with hills that seem to go on forever in both time and space.

Originally posted by Patrick Jennings in
[Evanescent ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #89]:


View original

Seize the Sunrise
Evanescent dawn.
Do hills endure forever?
No, but long enough.
~ ~ ~ ~
Art subverts time with pixels;
the moment also endures.

enlightenment, haiku, humor


There are many images for the Biblical six days of creation, and one exuberant stained glass window is particularly apt for illustrating this post’s pair of haiku.  When God finally rested, did He just chill out?

The following photo of comes from the Witterings blog, which also has a fascinating discussion and beautiful closeup photos of the window’s details.


When God finally rested, did He just chill out?  In response to

(with some inspiration from The Write Idea | Six days), here are 2 haiku dealing with that question.

First Sabbath
 After 6 hectic days,
 writer’s block dissipated.
 God wrote a haiku.

Thus saith the Lord:
 The world I made
 is bigger and better than
 dogmas can describe.

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haiku, history, seasons

Winter Waiting

However bleak and dark it may be, winter is unlike the bleak dark periods of history.  Winter’s onset and duration are roughly predictable.  Like the beavers in my haiku, those who prepare can often endure.
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A Google image search led to the images in this post; clicking on them will jump to the source credits at the end.  The haiku in this post is my response to

Carpe Diem Universal Jane #8 gathering clouds

with special thanks to one of Jane’s haiku about winter:

© Jane Reichold
|gathering clouds
|heavy and dark with holding
|unfallen flakes


Quiet Endurance
|Cold. Pond iced over.
|Silent snow on tomb-like mound.
|Beavers wait it out.


However bleak and dark it may be, winter is unlike the bleak dark periods of history.  Winter’s onset and duration are roughly predictable.  Like beavers, those who prepare can often endure.  Too bad history is not like that.


I wrote the haiku while commenting on a wintry post by Poet Rummager that I liked.  The post did not mention snow or beavers, but inspiration is quirky.  Tho I liked my haiku enough to post it all by itself, I decided to wait until I had found images that would clarify it for readers unfamiliar with the way beavers wait out winter in their lodges.  Those who would like to see more detail can find it on a very readable webpage that was created for course requirements at Hamilton College.

The photo of the outside of a lodge in winter is from a well-illustrated post by Harlan Schwartz on the Canadian Canoe Routes website.  The photo was shared on PhotoBucket and downloaded from there.

The drawing of the inside of a lodge in winter is from the book Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do by Mike Storey (Nature Knows Best Books, 2006).  The drawing was reproduced in a very positive online review by Paul Grondahl and downloaded from there.

haiku, humor, music, oversimplify

Phrases as Facades

A visual analogy hints at the subtle complexity in the work of a major contemporary composer.  Philip Glass prefers “music with repetitive structures” over “minimalist music” as a name for his style.  Descriptive names are indeed better than arbitrary ones, but only if we do not take them too seriously.
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In music, any mishmash with a beat or a scale has an at least slightly repetitive structure.  The sounds emanating from a beer garden or a rap concert are extremely repetitive.  The good stuff is in between.  While the musical lines in a piece by Glass have subtle variations, they are often too simple and repetitive to be interesting by themselves.  Happily, they are not by themselves.  Something special emerges when they are superimposed.

Descriptive short phrases can become oversimplified facades that obscure realities too complex to be described well (not just named) by the phrases.  Neither Glass nor I can think of a good short descriptive phrase for his style, but I can offer a decent visual analogy that can be expressed concisely in a haiku.  I should be doing my chores rather than responding to

But how could I resist a chance to put a link inside a haiku and pun on both the composer’s name and the title of one of my favorites among the works by him that I have heard?


Seeing while Listening
|Transparent layers,
|etched to form Moiré patterns:
|See the sounds of Glass.

birds, haiku, humor

Warned by a Shadow

From some viewpoints, a shadow has a bright side. An example is my response to a CDHK challenge to use the word [shadow] in a haiku.

Carpe Diem Haiku Family — A New “Shadow” Challenge


Image cropped from © Ryanfaas |

Lost Lunch?
|Sunlight breaks thru clouds
|and sends hawk’s shadow downward.
|Prey darts for cover.

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haibun, haiku, humor, photography

Australian Rainbow

Randy Olson’s superb photo of a rainbow is both a visual complement to the yearning expressed in the famous Judy Garland song and a great illustration for one of my haiku.  A rainbow is forever out of reach.  And yet …
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To illustrate my response to Carpe Diem # 1020 rainbow, I did a quick search that found more fine images of rainbows than I could view in a lifetime.  The image used here jumped out because it has a vertical format, does not need the rainbow to grab me, and hints at a futile yearning.  The termite mound in the foreground looks like a hand trying to grasp the rainbow.

Termites are much too busy building mounds and digesting cellulose to indulge in such yearnings.  Humans are busy too, and many of us have some awareness of the geometric reasons that a rainbow is forever out of reach.  We sometimes yearn anyway.


No Pots of Gold
|Seek ends of rainbows.
|You will not find them? Okay.
|The quest is enough.

The image used here is a photo by Randy Olson that was available at the time of posting as computer desktop wallpaper from National Geographic.

Prints can still be bought.

(reblog), haiku

Fragment & Phrase in Haiku

This haiku in fragment/phrase style honors the memory of Jane Reichold in several ways.
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Many of the haiku I like have 2 contrasting parts (called fragment and phrase by Jane Reichold) in a juxtaposition that may seem incongruous at first.  (Much of the fun comes from realizing that the juxtaposition does make sense, perhaps because one part clarifies the other.)  After quoting from Jane’s essay Fragment & Phrase Theory, Kristjaan Panneman asks readers of Carpe Diem Theme Week (6) 5 “Ask Jane …” to honor her memory with a haiku in this style.  My attempt is a haiku with

  • the clearest fragment/phrase boundary of any haiku that I have written, plus
  • a celebration of her essay’s emphasis on pluralism and pragmatism, with
    • a line adapted from her essay in my phrase part;
    • a few departures from common practice that work well here.

Ad honorem: Jane Reichold, 1937-2016
|It is as she said:
|rules should not be carved in stone.
|Bamboo bends with wind.


The image used in this post has been resized from the original by Skip Allen; U can see the original in full glory by clicking on the link in item #1 below.  The original post using the image is gratefully reblogged (in effect) by item #2.

  1. Bamboo (bending with wind)
  2. Bamboo on Silk
Buddhism, flowers, haiga, haiku, photography, quote, riff

Riff on a Quote

We expand one of the Dalai Lama’s remarks about being happy (as quoted in a CDHK challenge) with a haiku touching on other things to be also.  Can we illustrate the haiku with a photo?

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

Being calm and compassionate is also important in Buddhism, so I have responded to

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #72 Use that quote

by expanding the Dalai Lama’s quote about being happy into a haiku about being all 3.  Rhododendrons originated in Asian mountains, so a photo with 3 clusters of their blossoms seems appropriate for illustrating the rather abstract haiku to follow.


Riff on a Quote from
|Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama)

|Be calm and happy.
|Give loving help to those
|who are frantic or sad.

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haiku, history, humor, politics

Rhyming Haiku: Couplet and Triplet

I enjoy smuggling rhymes into blank verse but have not yet gotten all 3 lines of a haiku I really like to rhyme.  My response to Carpe Diem #932 silk tree is a pair of all-new haiku.  I do like the one with a couplet.  The one with a triplet (plus an internal rhyme in the title at no extra charge) is submitted in the spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s corny jokes during the American Civil War: I laugh so that I will not cry.

Sound of Sunlight
|Rushing waters bring
|joy to those who hear them sing
|and see them sparkle.

Silly Rhymes for Scary Times
|A rhyme in blank verse?
|President Trump would be worse.
|Vote Dem or you’ll curse.


Image Source

A public domain image of the American flag has been turned upside down to reflect the current state of US politics.

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haiku, history, humor

Time for a Haiku about Time

Historians give us the next best thing to traveling backward in time, so as to look over the shoulders of our predecessors and see how they coped with their predicaments while planting seeds of ours.  Of course, we cannot really do that.
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The protagonist in H.G. Wells’ novel The Time Machine travels fast forward in time, temporarily (!?) separating the passage of time in his own life from the passage of time in the world at large.  Of course, we cannot really do that either.


On the other hand …

Is Time Travel a Fantasy?
|No.  It just happens
|(whether we like it or not)
|on a fixed schedule.

The still from the 1960 film version of The Time Machine that appears here has been cropped to fit well on this page; it appears in an interesting post on