birds, haiku, humor, photography, politics

Amazing Photos Out There

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While I did not take the photos shown here, I did write the haiku.
coming-storm_350x466

Many amazing photos have been submitted to the Weather Channel’s It’s Amazing Out There / 2016 Photo Contest.  The contest has both expert judging and voting for the “fan favorite” by anybody with a Facebook account.  U can vote daily until 2016-08-26 and distribute those votes however U like.  Having viewed only a few of the submissions, am I competent to recommend votes to other people?  Not really, but Donald Trump has set the competence bar low enough to be cleared by a garden slug.  Being a little more competent (and a lot more honest) than Trump, I will share my enthusiasms anyway, with cropped/resized versions of 2 submissions.

While I have been voting enthusiastically for Coming Storm by CJDraper (aka Dancing Echoes on WordPress), I also want to salute the fan favorite as of the last time I looked:  Ozzie (a bald eagle) by Davedc.  The latter already has plenty of well-deserved votes, so I wrote a haiku inspired by it.

Mythornithology

When we saw himself,
Narcissus forgot to drink.
Eagle had more sense.

eagle-drinking_350x266

haiku, love, photography, serendipity

Lovers Watching a Sunset

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This post’s haiku began as part of my comment on Sieglinglungenlied’s beautiful and creative post Partners, Flying through Clouds.  I realized later that the haiku could live outside the comment with an appropriate title.  (I like titles for haiku anyway.)  Thank U, Sieglinglungenlied.  Thanks are also owed to photographer Dan Hahn, with details at the end of this post.

lovers+at+sunset

Lovers Watching a Sunset

The clouds burn yellow,
smolder red, and fade to gray.
The love keeps burning.

Image Source

It would have been nice to illustrate the haiku with a series of 3 images that show the same clouds at successive stages of a sunset: yellow; red; gray.  Even if I shoot such a series in the future, I would never be able to get a series that includes the lovers.  So I did an image search, found many fine images of sunsets being watched by lovers, and found an outstanding one by Dan Hahn that showed all 3 color stages, in different clouds at the same moment.  Bingo.

The image as used in this post has been cropped to emphasize the clouds; U can see the original in full glory by clicking on the link in item #1 below.  Haiku lovers will also enjoy item #2, and there are other treasures on Dan Hahn’s website.  Prints can be bought.

  1. Lovers at Sunset in the Cape Cod gallery
  2. Dawn Zen in the Summer gallery
growing old, haiku, humor, miracle, photography

Mundane Miracle – Pond

For me at least, a major consolation for the decreased mobility that comes with age is an increased appreciation of mundane miracles close to home.  One example is considered here; I hope to post a few more in coming months.

Long ago, I drove/flew/drove to a motel in the town on the western edge of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.  Soon afterwards, I hiked into the park, admired an alpine lake, ate a trail lunch, and hiked out in a thunderstorm that mocked my “waterproof” boots.  Nothing epic, but well beyond me now.  That’s OK.  I did it once (which was more than enough for the thunderstorm part).

Some people consider it a miracle when the government does something right.  Over the years since that trip to Colorado, the EPA adopted (and enforced!) vehicle emissions standards.  I can walk the roads near my house w/o being assaulted by trucks and school buses belching black diesel crud.  Their exhaust is still smelly and unhealthy, but not bad enough to ruin a walk on a breezy day.  So I can often walk about 1.5 miles to the far end of an artificial pond beside the road.  An artificial pond ringed by hilly pasture land is not the same as a natural lake ringed by mountains, but water is water and blue sky is blue sky.

sparkle-geese

kiyawana-sky

After a few rainy days, excess water in the pond rushes thru a culvert under the road and into the little brook that was dammed to create the pond. I can admire the exuberant splashing on the rocks in the brook w/o dwelling on the artificiality of the scene.

outflowoutflow-closeup

Sound of Sunlight

Rushing waters bring
joy to those who hear them sing
and see them sparkle.

haiku, history

Motion in Haiku: 2 Surprises

Some fine haiku were among the few good things to come out of World War I. My experiment with one of them provides a response to Carpe Diem Perpetuum Mobile #2 rainbows sparkle (or movement in haiku).

While refining my nuanced stance on the 5-7-5 Rule ( Helpful guideline? Yes! Firm requirement? No! ), I tried tweaking a few classic haiku that broke the rule. Could something that was already good be improved by revisions to comply with 5-7-5? In particular, I considered a World War I image by Maurice Betz. Neither the French original nor the straightforward translation on page 50 of The Haiku Handbook (2013 edition) obeys 5-7-5. This post ends by quoting the translated Betz haiku (which is utterly static) and my [5-7-5]-compliant version (which has both fast and slow motion). I was surprised twice.Duck-Rabbit_illusion_439x242

  1. The history of the shell hole can be narrated succinctly within the confines of 5-7-5.
  2. I do not have a stable preference for either version. Like someone viewing the classic ambiguous picture that can be seen as a duck facing one way or as a rabbit facing the other, I flip-flop between the still photo by Betz and the movie by me.
     

© Maurice Betz

A shell hole
In its water
Held the whole sky.

Redemptive Trickle

A shell exploded!
Water slowly filled the hole
and held the whole sky.

Image Source

  • Jastrow, J. (1899). The mind’s eye. Popular Science Monthly, 54, 299-312.
  • The soft copy used here has been downloaded, resized, and cropped.