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Haiku Friday – Branch

Gardners

Today my haiku is from February 27th of my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Branch”:

gardens in winter
silver lichen, velvet moss
paint a frosted branch

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. And you can now purchase this book on Amazon here.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: More Cat Haiku

Animals
Alex Terrgi here. Yesterday my human’s haiku from her new book was again about The Cat and why it is such a pain to have her living with us.

Why not to keep cats:
changing the kitty litter
is not a fun thing

I don’t have to change the kitty litter box, and actually I kind of like the smell, but I’m happy to let the human have her own reasons for wanting to get rid of The Cat.

 

Not that she ever will. She’ll just write about it instead.

If you want to read more of my human’s poems about dogs and other creatures (even cats), you can buy A Haiku Book of Days, for Students of Animals, Birds, Insects, and Other Teachers here.

Haiku Friday – Tangle

Gardners
Today my haiku is from February 6th of my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Tangle”:

cold winter winds whip
through the wide open window
tangles your hair wild

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here.  And you can now purchase this book on Amazon here.

Compost: Senior Word Power

DiplomaRemember when you were a Freshman in High School and looked up to those elevated beings, the Seniors? The Seniors were the ones who were the epitome of cool, the ones who knew where It was At, the ones who enjoyed the perks of powerful positions in the student body, the ones who could drive. You couldn’t wait to become one of them.

But that was then and this is now. Nowadays when I hear the word “senior” it drips condescension. For those 55 and over, every day the mailbox brings advertisements for long-term care insurance, membership in AARP, over-55 retirement communities, cremation or burial services – plan ahead! – all on glossy paper with beautiful ocean scenes or people with gray hair and no wrinkles smiling as they golf on greens so bright they hurt your aging eyes. And of course all of them with the word “senior” sprinkled liberally through the text. Who are they kidding? In High School the next step after Senior is either College or Adult Work. But for these other Seniors the next step is Death.

Or is it? We’re not in High School any more, but we are still students in Life School. So if people 65 & over are “seniors” then let’s call people 50 to 64 “juniors” and those 35 to 50 “sophomores” and those 20 to 34 “freshmen, and those under 20 kindergartners. What if the next step after Senior was “Graduate,” not “Dead”? When you graduate you’ve passed the most important tests and learned the most important lessons and now you are ready to join the universal throng of real “grownups” who know what it’s actually all about. (Or at least have a better guess.)

Ah words. They mean a lot. They affect how you think. How you behave. How you believe.

Haiku Friday – Mud

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Today my haiku is from February 13th of my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Mud”:

so white, so boring
late winter snow needs to leave
get ready for mud

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here. And you can now purchase this book on Amazon here.

Ghostwriting for a Dog: Scary Cat Poems

AnimalsAlex Terrgi here. Yesterday my human read me her haiku from her haiku book about animals.

I’m not sure what I think about it. In one way I’m happy that the human knows how awful the cat is. But on the other hand – well, judge for yourself:

cat steals the dog bed
dog whimpers then slinks away
cat goes back to sleep

I have a feeling that the dog she is writing about in this haiku is me, because when The Cat steals my bed I don’t fight her for it. I mean, The Cat is a Scary Cat. She has claws. And she has weird green eyes with orange dots in them, and when anyone tries to make her do something she doesn’t want to do her eyes go all squinty and anyone with a brain would slink away.

But no matter what this haiku says, I do not whimper. Sometimes I might whine a little, but only puppies whimper. So I found this part of the haiku quite offensive to intelligent adult dogs like myself.

But then my human told me she had to use the word whimper instead of whine because it has more syllables. I don’t know what syllables are, but I’ve accepted her apology.

If you want to read more of my human’s poems about dogs and other creatures (even cats), you can buy A Haiku Book of Days, for Students of Animals, Birds, Insects, and Other Teachers here.

Haiku Friday – Buds

GardnersToday my haiku is from February 6th of my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Gardeners, Tree-Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers, one of a 7-book series. The haiku topic for today is “Buds”:

the earth is speeding
new lives hurry to be born
bud and burst and pop

It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here.  And you can now purchase this book on Amazon here.

 

Compost: One Person

Apple TreeImbolc is an old European festival traditionally celebrated February 2nd. In Catholic tradition this date is known as Candlemas, and is sacred to Saint Brigid. In popular culture it has come down to us as Groundhog’s Day. This holiday marks the first stirring of the seeds, deep within the womb of earth. Nature is beginning to wake up. The days are visibly longer. There is a sense of freshness in the air, and a feeling of possibility. Imbolc is the traditional time to set new intentions and begin new projects for the coming year.

My intention for this year is to “Make a difference to someone every day.” This does not mean I have to cure someone of an obscure disease, or give a million dollars to my favorite charity, or write a best-selling book so beautifully written it makes people weep.

About a month ago I read this wonderful blog post about how we all can make a positive difference in others’ lives – in small ways. The title is “52 Baby Steps To Living a More Compassionate Life” by Judy Dunn. Here’s the link.

We often think “but I’m just one person” when faced with the numerous and enormous problems of the world. Words have power, so take the “just” out of that sentence. “I am One Person” is much better. It doesn’t matter how small your actions or words are. They still matter. It doesn’t matter who you are, or even how old you are. Here are two true stories that illustrate this.

Last Christmas my 9-year-old granddaughter received two $25 gift cards as presents. A few days after Christmas she and her father went shopping so she could spend her gift cards. She had it all planned out what she would buy. On the way to the store they were stopped at a red light and by the side of the road was a homeless man with a cardboard sign. She spoke up and asked her dad if he would pull over so she could give the man one of her gift cards. Her father, who knew how much she was looking forward to spending her money, was amazed – and proud. The homeless man was also amazed – and grateful. When complimented on her generosity, my granddaughter shrugged. “He needed it more than me,” she said.

Here’s a companion story, told to me by a friend. My friend and her 90-year-old mother were taking a drive and stopped at a diner for lunch. Her mother, whose name is Vera (a beautiful name which means “truth”) was always happy to get out and see what was going on in the world. She is a person who has always found life fascinating, which is probably one of the reasons for her longevity. At the diner Vera saw a young man sitting at a nearby table. He was scruffy with not-quite-clean clothes, a tired face, and a guitar leaning against his legs as he hunched over a cup of coffee. “We should buy that young man some food,” Vera said to her daughter. “He looks hungry.” Her daughter agreed, but said she wasn’t sure how to go about doing so.

Vera showed her how. She simply got up, walked over to the young man’s table (using her walker) and said, “You remind me so much of my son. He plays the guitar and when he was young he used to take it with him when he traveled. I’d like to buy you lunch because seeing you brought this memory back.”

See how she did that? Her offer held no condescension, no pity, just gratitude and fellow-feeling. What a wonderful woman Vera is. I’m grateful to her, just for being her.

The young man accepted her offer, of course. One cannot turn down a 90-year-old woman. “Can I play you a song?” he asked. He too wanted to make a difference.

Everyone can make a difference – the young and the old, from nine to ninety. These are the kinds of differences I want to make this year.

Haiku Friday: Forever

PhilosophersToday my haiku is from January 30th of my new book A Haiku Book of Days for Philosophers, Scientists, and Other Ponderers, one of a 7-book series. You can now purchase this book on Amazon here.

The haiku topic for today is “Wings”:

if we’re so evolved
why then fears’ bloody mucus?
where are our white wings?

 It’s Haiku Friday again. For the past twenty years or so, it has been my practice to write one haiku every day. Every Friday I share a haiku here, about whatever topic I happen to choose. I invite you to write a haiku on this topic too, and share it with me and the readers of this blog. Just write it in the Comments below. The only rules are: 1) your haiku must be about the named topic; 2) you must follow the 5-7-5 syllable format; 3) no obscenities or hate (I will delete those). That’s it.

If you’re interested in the story of how The Haiku Book of Days series came to be, check out my previous blog post here.

Writing Tip: The Voice or The Spirit

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Next month I’m teaching my writing class called Writing as a Spiritual Practice, which was the first writing class I ever taught, almost fifteen years ago. I loved and still love doing this class, and the participants seem to love it too.

I have noticed over time that the folks who attend Writing as a Spiritual Practice often come because of the word “spiritual” in the title. They are wonderful people. We have a great time exploring topics like “absurdity and the forbidden” and “sensory details – it’s a daffodil, not a flower.” We write our guts out. And then we play with them. (Not literally, of course.)

A few years ago I noticed that some people are put off by the word “spiritual” so didn’t come to these classes. I’ve always believed that all of us are “spiritual” – that is, we have a spirit – even when we don’t think of ourselves that way. But many people see the word “spiritual” and think someone is going to shove a religion or an occult belief down their throats. Yet these “non-spiritual” people have great stories, heart-felt ideals, and just as much poetry inside as anyone else. Also like anyone else, they often had trouble liberating those poetic voices inside them.

So I changed the title of the class to Finding Your Voice. No one seemed to be turned off by the word voice, and all sorts of people started coming to this class. They came because many of us have writing voices that are muted, stilted, confused, or strangled by expectations. Finding Your Voice and Writing as a Spiritual Practice are exactly the same – they’re about freeing those voices so that your message – whatever it is – can get out. After all, what good is your wisdom, beauty, or brilliance if you keep it locked up inside?

Nowadays I offer this class under both titles, changing the title to suit the audience. I’ve found the “spiritual” attendees are often quite noisy, happily sharing funny stories that make everyone guffaw; and the “non-spiritual” attendees often share the most ethereal poetic visions of connection and belonging.

Voice, Spirit, Whatever. It doesn’t matter what you call it. I think it’s exactly the same thing.

If you live near Seattle, Washington, you can sign up for this class here.