A Haiku Nod to Sunflowers

As the end of Summer draws near, sturdy Sunflowers still stand shoulder high.  While their full-seeded heads seem to be nodding, Farewell, their brilliant shades of yellow add a unique dimension to the colorful arrival of Autumn.  

From our archives, we found some Sunflower-themed haiku to share with you–what better way to show our appreciation for this beautiful flower that bridges Summer into Autumn!

Brilliant sunflowers                                                                                                                                       cast against slate sky, red birds                                                                                                                       fly in for dinner                                                                                                                                                                          by Sheila Forsyth (Fayetteville 2008)

 Lofty sunflowers                                                                                                                                             arrayed in golden splendor                                                                                                                           heads above the rest                                                                                                                                                            by Sharon Rorer (Syracuse 2007)

Van Gogh Sunflowers                                                                                                                                      paint themselves across the fields                                                                                                                  Camillus, New York                                                                                                                                                           by Joan Cofrancesco (Camillus 2009)

From our 2010 Syracuse Poster Project Series, our featured haiku poster was written by Claire Bobrycki and illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Catherine LaPointe, now a children’s book illustrator and graphic designer–see more of her wonderful work here.

Blue Moon, Big Dipper / Sunflowers under porch lights / Peace on the South Side

2010Bobrycki_LaPointe

We conclude with three more gems:

Sunflowers drooping                                                                                                                                      looking for a warm embrace                                                                                                                        oh, where is the sun?                                                                                                                                                                   by Kelly Bargabos (Syracuse 2010)

Sunflower faces                                                                                                                                               a swoosh of yellow and black:                                                                                                                        goldfinch dinnertime                                                                                                                                                               by Ellen Barnes (Syracuse 2014)

A smile on your face                                                                                                                                         is brighter than sunflowers                                                                                                                         at the farmer’s stand                                                                                                                                                                  by Jungtae Lee (Syracuse 2006)

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief tribute to the Sunflower! What do you see when you gaze upon a Sunflower?  

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Cloudy Haiku

In just a few syllables, Haiku are a perfect way to capture a scene, a memory, or even a mood.  Regardless the season–or time of day–clouds can do pretty much the same thing. Mountainous thunderstorm clouds can be majestic.  Serene, wispy cirrus clouds can make a sunset heavenly.  In color and shape, or by how quickly they’re moving, clouds will let you know if you need to carry an umbrella or if you’re likely to rev up the snowblower–in which case, if they’re very low and grey, you might consider going back to bed!  But, on a bright Summer’s day, when clouds are drifting lazily, high in the sky, watching these seemingly magical shapeshifters is pure joy.

From our archives of contributed haiku, we’ve selected a cloud-themed few for your Summer reading pleasure.  Can you tell which season the poet is describing?  Have you ever experienced the same feelings as expressed in the haiku?  Do you remember a day the clouds were just like those characterized by the poet?

From Cynthia Perrine (Fabius 2015):

Sun breaks through the clouds / Mist rises from the water / Day begins anew

From Jay Cox (Pompey 2005):

Cumulus clouds float / in a deep-blue sky–downtown / petunias in bloom.

From Pamela Lynch (Oneida 2013):

Fronts collide to paint / phenomenal cloud skyscapes / Swirling overhead

From Michael Brigandi (Syracuse 2014):

Playing in the grass / Childhood days slipping away / Like clouds rolling by

From Nancy Preston (Syracuse 2013):

Clouds heaped like meringue / cumulus jubilation! / Summer sky party

From Maggie James (Syracuse 2010):

One, then two at once! / Colorful balloons drift east / Low clouds they vanish…

From Diane Lansing (Syracuse 2014):

Dragonfly’s kiss makes / once still pond pulsate rings of / fractured clouds and trees.

From our 2004 Syracuse Poster Project Series, a wonderful display of Summer.  The haiku was written by Jennifer Sanford and the poster illustrated by Cally Jones, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

Summer breezes lift / gull and dragon kites across / Onondaga Lake

2004 Sanford_Jones

Wishing you carefree Summer days where, as Rosalyn M. Carroll (Manlius 2017) writes:

Daydreaming on a / Cotton candy cloud–oh, the / Places I can see

 

Haiku for a Slow Start to Spring

Pink clouds dot the sky                                                                                                                                                                            Black crows fly past crescent moon                                                                                                                                                       A change of weather

                                                                                     by Peter Allen (Syracuse 2013)


Whether or not you care much about the weather, it is one of the major topics of conversation anywhere, anytime, anyhow, no matter the day or the time of year.  It pretty much affects everything around us and everything we do.  We, at Syracuse Poster Project, would rightfully guess that we receive more haiku written about weather–like the fine poem above–than about any other subject!

Changes in the weather often signal a change in the season, too.  For instance, in Central New York today, while the calendar may say Spring, the weather these past few weeks has been mostly cold, dismally grey and, well…cold.  In fact, on St. Patrick’s Day–usually a fine day to celebrate the imminent arrival of Spring–there were snowbanks here that were as high as an elephant’s eye! The tulips and daffodils that had started to peek out from the cold March ground were quickly sent packing.  

Moving from March to April isn’t always easy or fast.  Thank goodness for Haiku to put this change of season into perspective!  Take, for example, this poignantly expressive haiku from frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox (Pompey, 2001):

Treetops’ sprawling arms                                                                                                                                                                        tremble, holding pale gray sky–                                                                                                                                                           snow patches linger.

Or, consider the perspective found in this uplifting haiku from Anton Ninno (Syracuse, 2008):

Last snow of the year                                                                                                                                                                                crashes down, heavy and wet                                                                                                                                                                 young buds shake it off

From Craig Overbeck, (Fayetteville, 2015), a stirring haiku with an artistic glimpse of what awaits us this Spring:

To the south, rain falls.                                                                                                                                                                  Gray brushstrokes sweep from dark clouds                                                                                                                                        To paint the hills green.

We think you’ll agree, this warm and delightful haiku by Rachel Guido deVries (Cazenovia, 2001) enriches any conversation about the weather or change of season.  Her words create a feeling beautifully captured in this poster from our 2015 Series by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Lise Sukhu.  To see more of Lise’s artwork, click here.

Dog sleeps safe from rain, / nestled in blankets, my feet / warm up, beneath her

2015Guido_de_Vries_Sukhu

Over the past several months we’ve highlighted many fine haiku written by our contributors about the weather and the change of seasons in Central New York.  Our accompanying featured posters beautifully underscore and accentuate the fine work we receive.  We hope you’ve enjoyed reading these poems as well as the few highlighted here today.  

And, remember, as we move from snow to rain this season, keep this cheerful haiku, written by Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016), in mind:

March into April,                                                                                                                                                                              Shed the outer cloak, breathe and                                                                                                                                                         Take the umbrella….

Until again, stay warm, stay dry! Happy Spring!

Autumn’s Last Hurrah

It’s Halloween night.  In a few hours, Daylight Savings Time ends and Autumn drifts more quickly towards late Fall.  Leaves that just last week were peaking in glorious color have now mostly fallen, leaving trees bare.  And if the wind doesn’t blow them down the hill and off your lawn soon, you’ll need to go out there and rake them up in the morning!

While the world around us is going through its seasonal changes, this time of year can sometimes be a bit melancholy—summer has clearly ended, leaves on trees are mostly gone, the weather is colder and wetter, you need a sweater when you leave the house, and winter is not too far behind.  But, Fall can also be a colorful opportunity for peaceful reflection, long invigorating walks, breathing in deep the smell of crisp clean air and listening gladly to the memorable sound of crunching leaves underfoot.

Syracuse poet, Amy Nicholson, contributed this skillfully written adieu to a blessedly gorgeous October in 2010:

  Round apples, red leaves                                                                                                                                             Snowflakes on jack-o-lanterns                                                                                                                                             Fade to November

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Rosalyn Carroll, (Manlius NY) deftly describes in her 2012 haiku, a carefree, joyful moment that can only happen in late Autumn:

 As I run through it,                                                                                                                                                                      a blanket of red, gold leaves                                                                                                                                                      dances behind me

Another of our favorite posters which beautifully captures Autumn’s peaceful essence was created for the 2007 Syracuse Poster Project year.  It was written by frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Claire Bobrycki (Syracuse) and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student Lucas Slominski, now an artist for ZeniMax Online Studios in Maryland.

Breathe in--step, crunch, look. Red, gold, orange, brown--breathe out. Fall in Syracuse
Breathe in–step, crunch, look. Red, gold, orange, brown–breathe out. Fall in Syracuse

In 2008, Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor,  William Padgett, (Woodstock NY) wrote this vivid poem, beautifully echoing Autumn’s last hurrah:

Crisp autumn sunshine                                                                                                                                                   Shadows stretch while dry leaves dance                                                                                                                           Warm scarf pulled tightly

So, don’t forget to set your clock and ‘fall back’ til Spring, put away those Halloween treats, get your sweater on and rake up those leaves!

Happy Autumn!