Geese on a country road

Earlier this fall I came upon two domestic geese biding their time in the middle of the road.  They had wandered from a nearby farm yard.

Two white geese,

honking on side road,

mild stand-off.

My feeble car honks had no impact, except to inform the driver behind me that there was a reason I had stopped. In moments, the other driver gaily walked by my window informing me she was ‘experienced’.  It was a pleasure to behold:  she waddled towards the geese and they promptly marched off the road.

Feathered tourists gaze,

 unruffled sightseers,

waddling moves webbed feet.

©2016, Ontheland

I put this event on a back-burner about a month ago.  When I saw a classical haiku writing tip on Heeding Haiku by Chèvrefeuille  I decided to revisit a haiku I had scribbled.  While I don’t always aspire to abide by classical form, I feel there is much to be learned from Masters. The writing tip is called ‘mixing it up’:

What is meant here is mixing up the action so the reader does not know if nature is doing the acting or if a human is doing it. As you know, haiku are praised for getting rid of authors, authors’ opinions, and authors’ action. One way to sneak this in is to use the gerund (-ing added to a verb) combined with an action that seems sensible for both a human and for the nature/nature to do. Very often when you use a gerund in a haiku you are basically saying, “I am. . . ” making an action but leaving unsaid the “I am”. The Japanese language has allowed poets to use this tactic so long and so well that even their translators are barely aware of what is being done. It is a good way to combine humanity’s action with nature in a way that minimizes the impact of the author but allows an interaction between humanity and nature.

From Heeding Haiku With Chèvrefeuille, December 14th 2016, Mixing It Up, a Haiku Writing Techniques


I shiver

chilled by the

imposing shadows of

your towering monuments.

How will I write,

write a poem?

You loom so LARGE—

adorned with literary acclaim and

linguistic brilliance!

But here is the sun—

I’ll lean against warm stone and

bask in radiant heat.

44 words makes a Quadrille.  This is my first attempt in response to dVerse #17: Shadow.





Blogging, Living, and Poetry

It’s Friday and I am posting my weekly quote post—usually a Wednesday ritual.  Lately, life and my inner flow aren’t conforming to a tidy blogging schedule.  Approaching spring is having a more profound effect on me than even New Year’s did—I am turning my attention to indoor seed starting, outdoor repairs, and how my routines will need to shift when the gardening season begins.

Lately, my mind has been grasping for the essence of a quote I read recently—about how living life comes before writing.  We have to live if we are going to have something to write about.  Although not necessarily a useful message for everyone, I relate to it.  I want to revisit ‘before-I-started-blogging-last-summer’ activities; respond to the pull of the garden; and spend more time on new/old interests such as reading novels and poetry.  If verbalized, my new internal mantra would be:

I want to blog to live rather than live to blog.

Another recent theme that has been on my mind is the meaning of my recent attempts to write in poetic form.  I have a few responses to that question and one would be ‘why ask why?’.   Another more direct answer would be that one thing has led to the next from Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge to WordPress’s Writing 201–I’ve just been enjoying myself.  I like writing, I like learning, and I like words.

It also occurred to me that ‘it is all writing’.  The more you write, the more fluid you get.   The divide between poetry and prose is not as great as some would think. Prose can be poetic and poetry can look quite similar to prose. Ultimately, the name of the game is expression.   Poetry allows more word play and can also teach precision.

A writer should have the precision of a poet and the imagination of a scientist.

∼ Vladimir Nobokov, Russian-American novelist, 1899-1977

I like this quote as it turns the stereotypes around, giving precision to poets and imagination to scientists. Obviously, there is both precision and imagination involved in both poetry and scientific research.  The quote also suggests that any type of writing, whether it is fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, benefits from the magic touch of imagination and precision.

Southern Pinwheel galaxy
This post is in response to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge.  This week, Colleen Chesebro and Ronovan Hester have announced a new twist to Writer’s Quote Wednesday Challenges. To read all about it, please visit the challenge link.



Language of the people

Yeats, William Butler.jpg

Bain News Service, P. (1920) W.B. Yeats, portrait bust. date created or published later by Bain. [Image] Retrieved from the Library of Congress

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

W.B. Yeats, 1865-1939

I find this thought, attributed to William Butler Yeats, worth considering.  We all are governed by life experiences,  our own knowledge base, local/cultural linguistics, etc.  We have stylistic choices as well.  My leaning is towards simplicity–or attempting simplicity–attempting to use words and phrases that are  understandable by an imagined collection of readers. Whether I am successful will depend on the reader, but I nevertheless see accessible language as an ideal goal. Below I have reproduced Yeat’s ‘Lake Isle of Innisfree’, which I find very easy to absorb though written in 1888.  I have also reproduced a quote below the poem, in which Yeat reflects about the language that he used.

Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
And live alone in the bee loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

– W.B. Yeats

I had begun to loosen rhythm as an escape from rhetoric and from that emotion of the crowd that rhetoric brings, but I only understood vaguely and occasionally that I must for my special purpose use nothing but the common syntax. A couple of years later I could not have written that first line with its conventional archaism — “Arise and go”—nor the inversion of the last stanza.

W.B. Yeats

“William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature. A pillar of both the Irish and British literary establishments, in his later years he served as an Irish Senator for two terms.” Wikipedia

I would like to thank Elusive Trope who recently posted The Second Coming by Yeats –a brilliant poem reflecting on the social/political climate of  Yeat’s time, but feeling relevant today. My choice of quotes for this Writer’s Quote Wednesday post had a circuitous journey of its own branching off from The Second Coming.  If you are in the mood for more nature poetry of the same era, please visit Silver Threading at the Writer’s Quote Wednesday link above, where Colleen Chesebro features poet Mary Webb.

Difference between a firefly and lightning bolt–#Writer’s Quote Wednesday#BeWoW


The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter–’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.

This quote resonates with me.  There are many ways a thought can be expressed–even a single word can make a difference.  Sometimes words just flow.  Other times, a better phrase comes to mind after a break.  One thing I have been enjoying about blogging is that the process encourages spontaneity and sharing,  as opposed to hiding thoughts in a drawer, embarrassed by their imperfection.  However, knowing there is such a thing as a lightning flash, as opposed to the spark of a firefly, inspires my attention.

According to, Mark Twain (1835-1910) offered this advice for George Bainton’s compilation, The Art of Authorship, 1890. Best known for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of  Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain was a prolific American  writer, humorist, and public speaker. Writing under a pen name, his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

This post is a contribution to SilverThreading’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday and RonovanWrites’ Be Writing on Wednesday (BeWoW).  Have a great Wednesday!