Saturday, January 30, 2016

January 30: After the opera

Saw my first opera this afternoon, a "Live at the Met" presentation of Puccini's "Turandot," which was quite a dramatic spectacle set in an imaginary Chinese court. Not to be outdone, the sunset tonight was also spectacular.

After "Turandot"
drama of hot pink sunset.
I stop, watch it fade.

Friday, January 29, 2016

January 29: Shopping

In the grocery store
overwhelmed by the many
flavors of popcorn.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

January 28: Talk

I observe with envy
the gathering of crows,
their conversations.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

January 27: Passing

Dooryard full of cars--
yesterday a man died here.
I pass by slowly.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 26: Thaw

Revealed by the thaw--
bright orange orbs of
tangerines the deer passed up.

Monday, January 25, 2016

January 25: Dip

In British birder slang, to twitch a bird you're looking for is to successfully see it. When you miss it, that's a dip. We had some dips in our birding day with friends today, but then, the birds we did see--Mew Gull, Black-headed Gull, Redhead--make it all worthwhile. Actually, just spending a sunny day on the coast of Maine with good friends is what makes it all worthwhile. The birds are the bonus.
So this is birding:
staring at a bush for hours
not seeing a bird.
Mew Gull in Owls Head Harbor

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 24: Alive

Still here to enjoy
dawn, watching the big moon set
from the toilet seat.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

January 23: In memory

Your yard a rose garden
attracting rare birds
just as you drew in friends.

Friday, January 22, 2016

January 22: Conversations with Trees

Tonight I participated in a poetry reading at the Curtis Public Library in Brunswick with five other poets and Leonard Meiselman, an artist who had filled the room with his paintings and sketches of trees. We each read pieces (written by ourselves and others) that related to trees. The diversity of voices amid the dynamic energy of the art made for an interesting program in which I was honored to take part.

My husband Paul composed this haiku in honor of our friend Gary Lawless, one of the other participating poets, who had coordinated the evening:

At tonight's reading
every man wore a grey beard--
a room full of Ents.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

January 21: Moonrise

moon slowly rises
eavesdropping at the bar
while I sip my cocktail

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 20: Celestial

Five planets at dawn
remind us of the old gods,
forgotten rituals.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19: What came to pass

Cold hard facts of deer 
tracks in the snowy yard:
it's all happened before. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

January 18: Flurries

Recurring motif:
flurry of crow flight
within early swirling snow.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

January 17: Otter joy

We joined some friends in chasing a bird today in Winter Harbor--Maine's second record of a Black-throated Sparrow, a bird that belongs in Arizona--and after we found it, did some sea-watching on the Schoodic Peninsula. Amid the sea ducks and alcids, we were thrilled to spot three otters swimming together with grace and power through the sizable swells. Then we heard a loud chirping noise that at first we thought belonged to some strange bird, but which we quickly realized was being made by a fourth otter. It joined the original three otters, with a seal close behind it. The four otters rapidly headed for shore together and climbed up into some sort of den in the rocks. We think the chirping was some sort of alarm call, to warn the others of the seal. An exciting experience to witness as we huddled, cold and awkward, on shore: animals completely at home in a habitat so inhospitable to humans.
Four river otters
snaking through sea swells--
how to live in one's body.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

January 16: White world, bare branches

While shoveling snow
I count five squirrel nests
amid the bare branches.

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 15: Dial tone

Answering machine
talks to an empty house.
You have no new messages.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

January 14: Monhegan dream

In my dream last night
the boat's canceled,
I'm happily stuck on island.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

January 13: While we were away

Branches on the lawn--
while we were away
trees and wind threw a party.

January 12: Air travel

A friend from home was flying back from Miami the same day we were (we had dinner with him last night, in fact). He flew out at 7:00 a.m. and went through New York. We flew out at 10:30 a.m. and had a layover in lovely Newark. Yet somehow, we all ended up meeting our baggage in Portland at 4:00 p.m. Ah, the joys and vagaries of air travel.

He left hours before us
and yet here we all are, home,
at baggage claim.

Monday, January 11, 2016

January 11: Last day in the Keys

Paul came up with another haiku today, to commemorate our morning visit to the Key West Cemetery:
Epitaph on stone
reads, "I told you I was sick."
Death gets the last laugh.
We also came upon a stone for a family's pet deer:
Later today we visited the National Key Deer NWR on Big Pine Key for the first time to see the little Key Deer, a subspecies of the (much larger) White-tailed Deer.
We once had a dog
bigger than this dark-eyed doe
and much less placid.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 10: Southernmost haiku

At the Key West Literary Seminar this afternoon, former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins addressed this year's theme "Shorts" by reading several haiku. Because it was Billy Collins, they were humorous haiku. My husband Paul and I were thus inspired.
Free bacon happy hour
with $2 cocktails--
don't hit that rooster!
Eating key lime pie
we pass the all-nude strip club--
au revoir, Key West!
And here's a pair of mating birdwing butterflies at the Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, for some tropical color

Saturday, January 9, 2016

January 9: Impermanence

Stopped in a Tibetan market tucked inside St. Paul's Episcopal Church and bought from a Buddhist monk a bracelet made of turquoise skull beads. The helpful enclosure reads: "Buddhists incorporated skull images into bracelet to represent the impermanence of life and the limits of human knowledge. Skull-shaped bracelet beads help chanters reflect upon the inevitability of death and the necessity of embracing lives filled with compassion."
We pondered death further on a walk amid the white crypts and statuary of Key West Cemetery: all those above-ground tombs, and also, quite surprising to us, many very large reptiles crawling around the kingdom of the dead as if they owned it.
Tibetan skull beads.
Walk through the cemetery
startled by iguanas.

Friday, January 8, 2016

January 8: The idea of disorder at Key West

Many well-known literary figures lived in or visited Key West, including the poet Wallace Stevens, who wrote a poem titled "The Idea of Order at Key West" that explores, as many of his poems do, the conflict between reality and perception.
Over the bar noise
crows of the junglecock
roosting in the banyan.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

January 7: On the bay

We went fishing today on Florida Bay, heading out from Islamorada and ending up in a channel just off Flamingo in the Everglades. The morning began with fog and chop, but within a few hours the water was smooth and clear, enabling us to see how shallow it was. The flats teemed with birds, from sandpipers and egrets to pelicans and the deliciously hot pink Roseate Spoonbills.
Tropical mirage:
fishing in a glassy sea,
pink birds flying past.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January 6: On the other end of Route One

Traveling in the Floriday Keys, checking out the range of tourist attractions at the opposite end of Route One from Maine.
Mangroves, marinas,
shell shacks, tackle shops, dive shops,
sea a different blue.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January 5: In the airport

This is what forever feels like:
full sun streaming in,
plane delayed yet again.

Monday, January 4, 2016

January 4: What we make of it

Some relief from cold:
a man's warm handshake,
painting of a polar bear.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

January 3: Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None"

Cozy winter evening,
murder mystery on...
life's strange comforts.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

January 2: Post-holiday

Crusty snow, leftovers--
no longer auspicious
the world relaxes.

Friday, January 1, 2016

January 1, 2016: Featuring "guest writer" Buson

The 18th century Japanese poet Buson was one of the "Three Tenors" of classical haiku (along with Basho and Issa). His New Year's poem here, translated by Sam Hamill, highlights his sense of humor. It also seemed a fun way to kick off a new year of my daily haiku blog, because I can so relate to that smug sense of self-satisfaction.
New Year's first poem
written, now self-satisfied,
O haiku poet!