After the rain

After the rain

anointed with perfection

grass blades glisten

Morning once more,

hidden behind grey clouds

soft sunlight glows

High on hilltops,

haze of swelling buds,

rose-brushed branches

I wrote these three haiku yesterday morning.  Up until now I have adhered to syllable patterns 5-7-5 and 3-5-3.  Intrigued by an awareness that not all haiku writers confine themselves to these counts, I have been reluctant to branch out without a better understanding.  Finally an explanation has been provided in Carpe Diem Universal Jane #15 Birdcage which reproduces an essay by Jane Reichhold called: ‘Building an Excellent Birdcage’.  Her article provides an introduction to writing haiku in English.  The following words inspired me to experiment with breaking out of exact syllable patterns:

Many people think haiku are not real haiku unless they have 17 syllables – but this does not have to be. In Japan if you’re counting the sound units there should be 17, but English syllables and Japanese sound units are different. The sound units are much shorter, and so if you would write a 17-syllable haiku it would come out about one-third too long. For instance, if you say “Tokyo” it has 3 syllables, but in Japanese it has 4 sound units.


When the Japanese tried to translate English haiku into Japanese they ended up with big, clunky poems and way too many words. So we’ve taken the idea of using short-long-short lines and this conforms to the haiku form, but it allows us a little more freedom in how many words we use.

from ‘Building an Excellent Birdcage’ by Jane Reichhold




High on a counter,

bronze glass buttons watch closely,

a jar of biscuits

On a recent trip to the vet I noticed the unique doll-like button eyes of Princess, the office cat.  Busy with our pets and paying the bill, I didn’t think of trying to take a photo.  This image from Pixabay, gives some idea of the scene that inspired me to write a haiku.


A haiku variation

The other evening I read about Allen Ginsberg’s 17-syllable American Sentences—a variation on the 17-syllable (5-7-5) haiku.  If you have time sample some of his sentences as they are priceless.  That same evening I sketched a few ideas…they came from my current thought stream and media environment.

Chocolate rabbits and flying reindeer may hold all of the answers.

Hot radio topics: cheating, profiling, cultural genocide.

I am returning to Music as the News threatens my sanity.

Chocolate rabbits and flying reindeer may explain everything.

 ©2017 Ontheland

Bird Feeder

Old wooden feeder—

hungry young squirrel nibbles

as chickadees watch.

©2017 Ontheland

Bird feeder viewing is picking up these days as new visitors drop by.   This week’s weekend-meditation post from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, called Carpe Diem Universal Jane #14 Basho’s ‘Old Pond’, is a fascinating read for haiku writers and readers. I particularly enjoyed seeing the different ways Basho’s ‘Old Pond’ haiku has been translated.  The translation by Jane Reichhold is stunning.

Jewelled celebration

Vernal days are here!

cedar juniper elders

waving jewelled wands



©2017 Ontheland

These coniferous trees fascinate me.  When I look at them closely I am amazed to observe growing edges that look like buds.  It appears that their scale-like leaves are growing towards buds rather than outwards from them (I could be totally mistaken—I tried to capture this detail in the photos).  Shown are two different types of trees.   In my pocket guide the top one appears to be a Northern White cedar (Thuja occidentalis).  The bottom one appears to be a juniper—my book calls it an Eastern Redcedar (Juniperus virginiana).

These budding growing branches celebrate spring (vernal) equinox— Carpe Diem #1184, Spring Equinox.