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Driftwood’s Wisdom

Kathy took this picture as we walked along Waterton Lake. She thought it might inspire. That evening, I scribbled ideas into my journal about wisdom and its sources. I enjoyed listening to stories told by our parents, grandparents, and other elders I come in contact with. Now, the shoe is on the other foot and I am the elder.

Washed up flotsam,

Polished to glassy sheen

Revealed beauty.

If I apply this natural process, to humans, we gradually polish ourselves and soften the rough edges. At least, we can hope.

Polishing waves hone

Glimmering wisdom emerges

Softening rough edges.

Pensive Pirate

For me, creativity and energy emerge in quiet moments. Kathy took this picture in Glacier National Park. I paused to scribble. We only saw a handful of people on the walk in and out.  For me, Nature gives me room breath and refresh.

Pausing, reflecting

Fortifying one’s spirit

Soaking in Nature.

Even though I enjoy quiet and solitude in Nature, I am drawn to its loudness. I love waterfalls, their power and what is not readily visible remind how much of life is a mystery. Whenever we travel, we stop and hike into various waterfalls. What is ironic is I have a fear of heights, which limits my ability to get close. On the other hand, Kathy is part mountain goat, so we get wonderful pictures.

Now and then, I get a chance to get closer and, on this trip, Cameron Falls offered me an opportunity to do just that.

In Waterton Lakes National Parks, I had to keep my distance as the drop off on the overview was too much for me. The result is an overload that drains me of energy. This is a view of Blakiston Falls, which are bridal falls. In case there is any doubt, Kathy took the picture. Below, I express gratitude to see through another’s eyes.

Revealing beauty

Viewing through another’s eyes

Nature’s abundance.

Paradise

Here is another post with photos and poems based on travels through of the natural beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park. Parks Canada describes the former as where the prairies and mountains meet. The latter is known as the crown of the continent.

As we drive along Highway 22, we get this view of the mountains in Waterton. The sign says, “Where prairie meets the mountains” and they do. We saw this view later in the day.

This is what a few minutes does in this part of the world.

Embracing mountains

Emerging peaceful fury

Signaling day’s end.

Can you imagine waking up to the view below each day? It is intense. The Canadian census indicates 88 permanent residents of Waterton town site experience this. This is Mount Vimy viewed from the townsite across the big lake.

We traveled down the big lake crossing the Alberta-Montana border about half-way down. We cleared customs with our passports and hiked on the Montana side. At the end of our hike we arrived at to Kootenai. The scenery is spectacular.

Soaring ramparts,

Sheltering nature’s bounty.

In their shadows, safe.

At the end of a dayn hiking we saw this across the lake looking at Mount Vimy again.

Fair maiden rising,

Watchful eye surveys Nature,

Keeping safe til morn.

I know I shared this video a couple of weeks ago. It is my favourite John Prine song and reminds us Paradise is within reach. The challenge is to protect what we have.

International Peace Park

I love to go to Waterton National Park and, by extension, to Glacier National Park. They border each other on the Alberta-Montana border and form what is known as an International Peace Park.

When I go to Spokane, I drive past the turnoff to Waterton and it brings back by fond memories each time. Kathy and I spent part of our honeymoon, roughing it in a tent, in Waterton. The scenery is beyond spectacular and, when we are in settings like this, the poet in is spoken to.

The first day we were there in 2012 this deer was in the townsite unconcerned about human presence.

We traveled down the big lake and crossed the Canada-US border. This was the boat we took. Despite appearances, the boat is over 90 years old and was refurbished.

Joining us together

Offering a hopeful message

Carrying peace each day.

Once we got to the American side of the border, we stayed and hiked into Kootenai Lake. We had our passports, cleared customs, and were able to take a later boat. Along the way, I saw some great sights. Having said this, the brush along the trail was so heavy we could not get off of it and I wondered what we missed.

Nature’s cathedral

Dancing lights mingle with shadows

Peace’s benediction.

Nature’s Palette

Regardless of where we travel, we are always in a different ecology. In the mountains, I see how they reach into the sky and how they impact the sky my view. Quite often, I see this change as it is different than what I see at home. Change happens regardless and, when I am out of what I understand as “normal,” change appears different. For me, this is noticeable as the sun sets

Fingers reach the sky

Colours mingle with others

Day merges into night.

I took this picture several years ago on our way to Spokane. As we walked by the river, the sun set. It was a bit overcast and gray, so the colours blended together more than I am used to.

We walked and came around a back street getting another view of the mountains.

last colours dancing

this day slipping away

dark curtain sliding in place.

Rich palette in hand

Desert sky as a canvas

Nature painting masterpieces.

In early March, Kathy and I were in Phoenix. I walk every day and this was my last walk of the day. As I walked, I walked into the sunset and the sky lit up with vivid colours. I suspect being in a desert setting had something to do with it. It is hard to believe we were in a large urban setting.

I always try to remember Nature is all around me. Take care and stay well.

Haiku

Hanshan wrote this Haiku. I enjoy reading and writing Haiku. A poem’s meaning is usually shrouded in mystery, but Haiku even more so.  There is so much left to the imagination.

I turn off the light —

my heart a precipice

before the moon

I have not written a Haiku for a while, but decided to take a run at it. Mine is less abstract.

Words separate spaces

overflowing and alluring

Flooding my senses

A Bee

When I taught poetry, I included haiku and writing them overlapped with our Social Studies curriculum. Bashō was a traditional Japanese poets in a Social Studies unit. As well, I asked students to draw pictures to add richness to their poetry.

Several parents and one administrator questioned the value of writing haiku. I told them it was finding the right word to express one’s self. That was enough for most adults, but the administrator and one parent did not get it. What is ironic is both make their living speaking publicly and I think writing haiku might be helpful.

I chose this haiku, because quite often we struggle to give up things we do not do well and seek the comfort of safe places. In this case, the bee is comfortable in the peony and is reluctant to leave.

Usually, the students enjoyed writing poetry and understood the benefits. Several students used poetry to keep notes in other classes. The students were concerned about the 5-7-5 syllable pattern than actually writing poetry. I told them to get their broad ideas down, find new words, and massage the pattern into place. They took their time and learned how to use a syllabus in the process.

How reluctantly

the bee emerges from deep

within the peony

Frog

Frog.

Basho‘s haiku were gentle and had spaces in them to find silence.

Silence is broken by the sounds of the world and then silence returns. The silence speaks to us when we listen with care and sensitivity. It is in the silence that the noise makes sense. It speaks to us in its echos and traces.

Silence asks us for attention, our presence and mindfulness.

Haiku Sampling

I have not posted haiku for a while. We wrote haiku as our last activity of the poetry unit. Whenever we write poems, I roam the classroom with a marker in hand. There are four whiteboards in the room and I write randomly as thoughts come. It helps students on two levels. I write poetry and it is not just them being told to do it. As well, I offer exemplars, some good and some less so. Here is a haiku sampling.

Water seeks freedom

Released from lethargy

Water plunges, plummets.

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Fry it in a pan

Friends for eggs and potatoes

Pig meat, oh soooo good!

Did I mention some were not great?

Fedora wearing

The coolest Rat Pack member

Sinatra maybe.

One student wears a fedora. I mentioned that it reminded me of the Rat Pack. He had no idea what that was or who Frank Sinatra was, but I told him it was cool to be compared to Frank Sinatra.

Stay Human My Friends

I ready for my Sabbath break. Yesterday morning, this Bizarro cartoon was in my blog reader. Todd’s posts are short and provocative, so the link is to his site for those who have not been there before. He gives me pause to think.

I shared this cartoon with a circle of acquaintance. We discussed the Most Interesting Man in the World advertisements for an adult beverage. I am an abstainer so the ads are humourous, but there is no chance I will buy the product.

What about a broader message? Instead of closing with “Stay Thirsty My Friends” or “Stay Filthy My Friend”, we could say, “Stay Human my Friends”?

Thich Nhat Hanh reminds me, “find the ordinary in the extraordinary.” I often miss those things which make me most alive and human. I find, in the ordinary so often missed, the extraordinary and live a mindful life.

Stay human my friends

Be one with the universe

Be compassionate.

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