Sunday, October 28, 2018

October Reunion

Far-flung family members gather on the farm for a reunion in early October.

Picnic tables
heavy with conversation
home cooking'

Home coming –
behind the cellar door
summer in a hundred flavors

On every shelf
jars of spaghetti sauce
the cellar's chill touch

Garden bell
all but its timbre
lost in the sunflowers

These haiku are from my work in progress, Farm Song, but you probably will have forgotten them by the time the book is finished.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

July 2018

July 5, 2018

These haiku are from my work in progress, Farm Song.

Awake too early
the redwing sings

Losing shape
on the flat hot rock
wet handprints, wet footprints

From the hillside
a wood thrush
almost inaudible

Heat lightning
a warm gust pushes
into a warm room

Heading to the Woodslawn Farm fields with a baler on a hot mid-summer day many years ago.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Cozy Barn

A haibun is a Japanese-derived form in which prose is accompanied by one or more haiku.

The cozy barn

On our dairy farm, the tradition was that whoever arrived earliest at the barn had the right to turn on whichever radio station matched his/her mood or generation. Milkers and cows would work to this music until barn chores were done. After all, scientific literature asserts that cows produce more milk when diverted by music. Are all kinds of music equally beneficial? There was strenuous family debate about this question.

Much of the emotional magic of music derives from its familiarity, its links with memory. I don't know that this tie has been tested in cows. But surely it's plausible. Cows, after all, spend much of their lives re-working what one might describe as physiologically recalled memories. Mouthfuls of food are eaten and swallowed, then politely brought back for further consideration. Chewing the cud is the colloquial term, but it might also be labeled bovine nostalgia.

A winter cow spends much of her time deriving pleasure from food that was sun-dried months ago, eaten hours ago. I now spend time deriving pleasure from Peter Paul & Mary, Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel...

The cozy barn -
cows chew their cuds to the rhythm
of Classic Rock

The barn radio sits on a high shelf next to a rusty steel beam in the milking parlor. It appears to be tuned to a country music station on a recent April afternoon.

Monday, March 12, 2018

March 2018 - Lengthening days

Voices of unseen geese
fade north
I hold my breath

Lengthening days
on three sides of the sunlit rock
black snake

Vernal equinox
one robin on the front lawn
one on the back

Good Friday service
a branch of pussy willows
throws spiky shadows

The book-making news is that I have seriously rethought Birdsong and have re-titled it. It is now Farm Song, and instead of being a book of haiku with a few photos, it is now becoming a family-memories album – lots of old photos and many poems. Still no deadline!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

One Sunrise a Day

Until summer
a pink-and-white poppy
neatly framed
unwanted lessons
about focus and cropping

Tea for one
on a day of snow and worry -
the bald eagle
that once flew over this farm,
will it ever return?

Quick strokes
and a carpenter's whistle
to window the cabin -
in the contract one sunrise a day