Saturday, September 29, 2012

Ruminations On 30 Days of Haiku and One Small Poem


    Today marks the last day of  the  HAIKU HEIGHTS  September Challenge. The prompt is 'free.'

 This daily exercise has been so illuminating for me.  I have written 30 poems (more or less)  and read hundreds of haiku written by students and masters of haiku all over the world. 

  What a wonderful learning experience and adventure it has been! Each of your poems and every kind comment has contributed to my enjoyment , and increased my knowledge and understanding, of this poetic form. I had so many 'aha" moments and often thought, "I wish I had written that."

   Thank you to Leo for hosting this challenge  and to all  the poets who participated  and gave me a whirlwind tour of haiku from around the globe and encouraged me to find my own  haiku voice.




a chickadee
begins to whistle a song
  to the harvest moon


           "Tell all the truth, but tell it slant," 
                                                Emily Dickinson 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Battlefield!!


summer dusk
a million bullets fly
mosquitoes bite


Another hook-up with HAIKU HEIGHTS for 'battlefield.'



howling wind still screams
across a combat zone
trampled lilies


Today's prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS is 'battlefield.'  

Thursday, September 27, 2012



two kites sway
on a dancing breeze


Today's prompt for HAIKU HEIGHTS is 'waltz.'

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



no walking stick
on a burnt orange footpath
just a calling bird.


the trees
 spill gold paint on my boots
October wind


Today's prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dream Boat


a paper sailor
folds up old dreams of the sea
in yesterday's news


Today's prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS is 'paper boat.'  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Resting Place


under moonlight
a spent leaf falls into bed
with the flowers


Today the prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS is 'sleep.'

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Two Crazy Old Birds

    A bit of  serendipity at work on this one!   September 23rd  marks my 45th wedding anniversary.  Today's  humble attempt at haiku/senyru  is the result of a poetic collaboration with my soulmate and  favorite pun-meister.


not swans but still
 mated for life.....  miracle
 or just a pair o' ducks ?


   The marriage has been a lot like the poem. Equal parts corny jokes and miracles. It hasn't all been a walk in the park but we managed to hold on tight and make each other laugh ..... often.

   Hope you get a chuckle too!

still crazy after all these years

    Today's prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS is 'paradox.'

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Tiny Gems


 jewel thief
 backflips,then vanishes
with the rubies.


     The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird to visit my part of North America.  The male is an iridescent green with a brilliant red  throat which is only visible if the light catches it just right.

  They are notoriously difficult to photograph.  I have taken thousands of shots over the past 6 or 7 years and have never been satisfied with my photos.  These are the best of the lot.  Unfortunately, I have never caught a clear photo of the bird's jeweled neck, illuminated by the sun.

    Earlier in the summer, I wrote a poem posted here: DEAR RUBY-THROAT  shortly after the first hummer showed up in my yard.  They usually hang out with us until about October 5th or 6th.  Then they depart, following summer to the Southern Hemisphere.

   Today's haiku is a response to the prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS . The word is 'hummingbird.'


Friday, September 21, 2012

Psalm 19


at dawn
the sun sings a new song
to the shadows


 For HAIKU HEIGHTS.  Today's prompt is 'birth.'

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Still in the Garden

    September days, so mild and  breezy and  bathed in the sweet light of the equinox, call me to stay in the garden. The herbs are still growing, begging to be brought inside and preserved, one way or another.  I am still picking and drying my favorites for cooking and brewing teas during the darker days ahead.

    My favorite tea for winter is named "Cold and Flu Tea," and everyone who tastes it,  loves it. It is my go-to brew at the first sign of a cold.  Truth be told, almost any tea will make you feel better if you are getting a cold!  That said,  herbal teas have a long, revered history of improving health and allaying symptoms.  The herbs work in different ways to make you feel better.  It seems to me that if I drink this tea, I feel better sooner!  And there is evidence that elderberry is an immune-system booster, enabling your body to fight off the nasty little viruses that cause colds.

   I use several herbs that I grow and a few that I am unable to grow but can purchase from an on-line purveyor of organic, fair-trade herbs and spices.

  My recipe is made with 1 part of each herb unless otherwise noted.  I blend together a large quantity of the dried  blended herbs so it is ready when I need to brew a cup of TLC. (the ginger root is not added until I am ready to make the pot of tea)

   Cold and Flu Tea
                        Lemongrass                                            Lemon Verbena
                        Lemon Balm                                           Hyssop Leaves
                        Nettles                                                   Red Raspberry leaves
                        Peppermint                                             Hibiscus
                        Nettles                                                   Ginger Root
                         Elderberry flowers                                 Rose Hips

  Here's how I brew it:  Take a one inch piece of ginger and slice it.  In a quart  size pot, bring one quart of water and the ginger to a boil, lower and  simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add 4 tablespoons of the herb mixture to the water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes.  Add honey or stevia and sip until you feel better.

Herbs DO have medicinal properties  and while all of these herbs are generally considered safe, it is always good to check with your doctor if you are on medications or are pregnant, before ingesting herbs.

  Take away for today:  Tea is good for what ails you!



a piece of sky
blooms on a trellis
morning glory


 HAIKU HEIGHTS is hosting a wonderful haiku  challenge for the month of September.  Today's prompt is 'glory.'

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Catching the Light


dewy spider web
reflecting a million suns
in a fly prism


Today the prompt for HAIKU HEIGHTS is 'lights.'

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making a List, Checking it Twice

    Autumn, like spring ,  brings out the list-maker in me.  I have always  made check-lists,  whether it was during my nursing career when  I needed to keep track of many patients and the specifics of their care, or my children's toddler years  when there was barely controlled chaos and a list grounded me to the essentials of keeping food on the table, clothes in the drawers and preventing the dust from being any more than ankle deep.

   With retirement, comes a new yearning for lists to  help steer the flow of my days.  It's not just that I need help remembering what I HAVE  to do.   I make a list nowadays, to ensure that I am fitting in the things I WANT to do.

   So, now I make two lists!   One is the GOTTA DO LIST and the other is the WANNA DO LIST.  But really, why wait until you are retired to do the enjoyable things?  Seems to me I should have thought of this a long time ago.

   Here are my lists for the fall:

  •     Get out the warm clothes
  •     Shop for a carpet for the sunroom
  •     Plan for the holidays
  •     Clean the house
  •     Clean out the garage
  •     Organize my poetry notebook

  •      Write  a poem everyday
  •      Hike once a week
  •      Exercise everyday
  •      Continue drying and preserving herbs, making teas, tinctures and ointments
  •      Plan my garden for next year and make changes before it gets too cold
  •      Seek out silence for a part of the day, for meditation and prayer
  •      Notice summer's graceful exit and autumn's fiery entrance on the stage outside my window.     
  •      Ride my bike
  •      Practice  taking photos
  •      Spend time with my favorite people 
  •      Be outdoors as much as possible

    So.  Realistically speaking, I'm going to have to free up a few hours to squeeze all of this into my life, since I haven't mentioned many, many other things that are part of my days, like  shopping and bill paying for two households and  spending time every week with my grandson.  Oh,   did I mention cooking,  blogging and  reading for a course I'm taking? 

      So.  Since I don't watch TV, I'm thinking I may have to quit sleeping!  Seriously, my point here, is to remind myself that the WANNA DO list is just as important as the GOTTA DO list.

Thought for today - No matter how busy my life is, I make time for the things that make me feel whole.

Island Hopping

My brain hopped around yesterday and today with this prompt.  One might think it would be an easy one for an islander, but I was all over the map!  All the way to the moon and back, so to speak.


from that distance
the man in the moon sees
one island


hold hands
under the sea


low tide......
two islands 
become one


one old goose
in a sea of goslings
prospect park


    The last, describes my afternoon yesterday - with my exuberant grandson at the playground near his home.

Today the prompt is "island" at HAIKU HEIGHTS

Monday, September 17, 2012

Putting Food By

cool morning
a gray squirrel hides acorns
in long shadows

  Today's  prompt at HAIKU HEIGHTS was challenging!  The  word is 'starve."  


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Haiku Heights - Meadow


the meadowlark
stops singing long enough
to plant a seed


Today's prompt for HAIKU HEIGHTS is "meadow."  

Saturday, September 15, 2012



Only the wind sings
in black bird's abandoned home-


     The red-winged blackbird, a common summer resident along the shore and marshes in the Northeast, is a true harbinger of spring.  It arrives in February and a walk in the wintry preserve will bring hope to the heart of cold- weary northerners.  The bird has a distinctive call, heard here at Bird Jam and can be found wherever there are cattails, reeds and other marshland grasses growing.

    They nest among the tall grasses and are usually gone from my area by late August.  During nesting season they are known to be quite aggressive. On a number of hiking trips,  I have  been chased by  a  fearless  red-wing when I  veered too close to a nest!

   The sound of the wind in the reeds in autumn and winter  is one I am familiar with and have written about before, in prose and poetry.  This marsh grass, so much a part of my home all year round, seems to contain an echo of the birds who only come for a brief visit.

     My next project is to learn how to get my words onto my image, a computer skill I am not privy to at present.  Perhaps I need a program to accomplish this.

       Today's prompt for Haiku Heights is 'grass.'




Friday, September 14, 2012

A Glimpse of Creation


Purple sage
creates desire
in the hummer


Today's prompt at Haiku Heights is 'creation.'

First Taste of Autumn

     The Golden Earthworm CSA box was filled with an assortment of winter  squash this week.  Last night I made a delicious side dish out of a lovely acorn squash and lucky for me, there was enough left over for lunch today.  Sorry, there is  no picture of the cooked squash, I was so hungry I ate first and wrote later!

    Here's the recipe:  Wash and cut the squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds and coat with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Place on a cookie sheet in a 375 oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  While the squash bakes,  cook 1/2 cup of brown rice in 1 cup of salted water or broth with a teaspoon of olive oil.  When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat and add 1/2 cup of muenster(or cheddar) cheese,  salt and pepper to taste, re-cover  the pot until cheese melts.   Spoon rice mixture into the squash "cups" and bake another 10 minutes.

    I served this with pesto- coated salmon and steamed broccoli  for dinner last night.

   This morning  I was alternatively absorbed in paying some bills  and  meditating on my latest haiku effort. Suddenly I noticed  ravenous hunger!  Lunch time had slipped by and my stomach was protesting.     I heated the leftover squash in the microwave and had autumn comfort food for  lunch!!

Thought for today:  New season!  New flavors!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


At dawn,
a billowing nightgown
pulls weeds

Today's poem is in response to the prompt 'revelation' at HAIKU HEIGHTS  A departure for me today.  A senryu, perhaps?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sea Chantey

A fluted conch
whispers ocean's sonata
into a child's ear.

This was written as a response to the prompt 'symphony',  for Haiku Heights.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September Morn

        September holds some of my most treasured memories.  They are  folded into its lovely end-of-summer idyllic weather, the cobalt blue of its skies and the tastes and smells of harvest time.

       My memories include a long ago day  that proved to be  perfect for a wedding, innumerable 'first-day-of-school-days', a fairy tale trip across the world to a sweet, romantic tryst with the love of my life, numerous weekend get-aways to Montauk Point to celebrate anniversaries,  and an old sailboat, bought in, and named for,  this lovely month.

      My Septembers are now tinged with grief, a numbing sadness I share with so many others.  I seek solitude during this time, trying to knit together the joy and the pain.  

     Sunday I went hiking with my soulmate.  We walked in silence for many hours.  

     Here are some photos from our hike.  

A good place for reflection

The first tinges of scarlet

How could you not love a place with this sign!

Living on an island, we are surrounded by wetlands

There was a red-tailed hawk up there

Sun-slant is exquisite in September

Beach grasses, still green

Two red-tailed hawks 

Strange fungi growing on the path

Mugwort, a common weed, smells wonderful!

Alone with our thoughts

A prayer for today :  Peace be with you.



Soft gray clouds 
 mourning dove flicks its tail
at the first drops

The prompt at Haiku Heights  for today, is 'rain.'  

Monday, September 10, 2012


A caterpillar 
Intuits  its own potential,
 then builds a cocoon

Today's prompt for Haiku Heights is 'divine.'

    I'm having lots of fun and learning so much about haiku by doing this month-long  exercise with the bloggers at Haiku Heights.

   The  daily prompt challenges me to look at words and meanings in a new way, write succinctly, observe my surroundings, and  then write a verbal snapshot of a moment in time.

  By linking to Haiku Heights, I can take a virtual tour to  other inspired  blogs to see how they interpreted the prompt.  It   feels like I've  tripped into a cornucopia of haiku.

  And   for my readers who are wondering, I AM planning to post something new, not necessarily measured in syllables, perhaps in the next few days!!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hot and Sweet

Brisk afternoon walk
steaming kettle of mint tea
two share one cup.  


This was written in response to the September Challenge at Haiku Heights.  Today's prompt is the word pepper.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Holy Ground

 Prairie grass
beneath a traveler's feet
cut-glass above.


Spring journey
burnished clouds....straw sandals
intimate guides

Looking East toward the Great Plains

     I love this photo.  It was taken toward the end of a vacation  spent hiking in the Rocky Mountains.  In the last few days of our trip,  we took a short drive east of Colorado Springs to a park on the edge of the Front Range.

 After several weeks of stunning mountain vistas and  rugged western outdoors, I snapped this photo looking east.  There the flatness of the Great Plains came as a stunning shock to my eyes.

 The incomparable Colorado sky  seemed to embrace the golden grasslands. Both  the sky and the reeds seemed to be pointing the way  home. It felt like holy ground.

Today I am sharing my photo with At Home with Books  and my poem with  Haiku Heights.   The  prompt for the poem is the word gloss


Friday, September 7, 2012

Ars Poetica?

A single moment
in seventeen syllables

A challenging prompt today for Haiku Heights.  Here's my rendering.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


In  sunlight
a dragonfly performs
without a net.

My dragonfly is  performing today for Haiku Heights The prompt is 'agility.'


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Day 6

A moonless night
 and even the nightingale
 pauses to look up.

Written for Haiku Heights.  Today's prompt is Milky Way.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thinking of Autumn

Night crickets
recall August's chorus,

Heated days melt
to golden afternoons,
bubbling soup.

 The first day,
pumpkin colored school buses
ooze children.

A treasure box
of woolen sweaters and shawls
set free.

Fallen leaves
summer's last refrain
now compost.

For today's challenge at HAIKU HEIGHTS Autumn is the topic.

Faster, Girl, Faster!!!

  My exercise update for August is a dismal litany of excuses so I am focusing on goals and motivations for the month of September, a glorious month to be out-of-doors, on an extended walkabout.

   My plan is to walk every morning for an hour, and to pick up the pace.  Summer stickiness is mostly a thing of the past so working up a sweat is much  more pleasurable. I've logged  four hours at a lively pace in only three days , so I'm off to a great start. It's pouring this morning, a perfect day to get a weight session out of the way!

  I spotted an excellent article in  THE NEW YORK TIMES last week,  written by Personal Health columnist, Jane Brody.  It points to some interesting data on what motivates people to sustain a long term commitment to exercise.   Forget motives like weight loss, firming up the abs, prevention of illness or future fraility, she reports.

  The greatest motivator, it seems, is instant gratification.  What I took away from the article was this-  I can best motivate myself to get out there everyday by reminding myself that exercise feels good,  right here, right now.   The bottom line is, I really do feel better during  exercise,  and it makes the rest of the day sing too!

  I'm linking with  JOY'S BOOK BLOG READERS'WORKOUT and I plan to ENJOY 1800 minutes( 1 hour a day for 30 days) of walking at a lively pace this month  and 3 sessions a week of weight training.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Two For The Moon

Silken author
of midnight stories,
a night bloomer.

Silent orb
watches old lovers

   The inspiration for today's haiku is 'moon.'  I am linking these to the September Challenge at Haiku Heights.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day 3-Loneliness

           This was written for day three of the month-long haiku challenge at          Haiku Heights  

   The topic is 'loneliness' and I'm not sure about this one at all. I had some trouble with it but here goes....



Alone, You
fill empty spaces
with flowers.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Poppy and Poem



purple stained poppy,
what, no bees?

Look for more Saturday Snapshots at Alyce's blog : At Home With Books

And more haiku at : Haiku Heights where I am linking a poem a day(hopefully) during the month of September.  This will be linked for September 2.   The challenge is 'color.' Check it out!

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