Evening star


Today felt like summer, though it’s only April and the daffodils were still closed.  Every time I passed, I glanced at the swelling buds. Early evening came and I gazed once again—to my delight I witnessed a fully opened flower.

Early bud of spring

swells in summer sun of day

a glowing night star

©2017 Ontheland

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

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I travelled miles

to these

Northern lands

to make a nest

a place to rest

and now I run

from booming thunder

gusting snow and

flashing guns

my flock torn


scattered and strewn

I hear them call.

©2017 Ontheland

* The white flecks in the photo are snowflakes.  Two days ago we had thunder and downpour at night and gusting snow next day.  The bird far off in the sky is a Canada goose.

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.

Waiting still

Pondering classical haiku, can tangle my mind

When first-day-of-spring lifts my hair, haiku may leap from my pen

Waiting for, a haiku moment, perhaps this, is it.

©2017 Ontheland

Ever since I started  writing haiku, I have engaged internally with an interest in classical haiku and a desire for creative leeway.  It is not really a problem—just a process that happens.  These reflections experiment with the Sijo poetry form — for the classical guidelines, please follow the link.