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

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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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Thanksgiving Greetings

Wishing you a cornucopia of good wishes for a healthy, happy and bounteous Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend with all the trimmings, warmth and comforts of the season.

From our 2014 Syracuse Poster Project Series: created by poet: Vinh Dang and artist: Chad Wallace a professional illustrator who also writes and illustrates books for children.

                                                            Shining farm market                                                                                                                                                       Season of splendid colors                                                                                                                                               Flowers kiss flowers

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The Color Orange

The color, Orange, is alive and well in Central New York.  Visually beautiful, Orange is the height of the season this year.  Shades of Orange–from Yellow-Orange to Red-Orange, light Orange to deep, nearly Brown-Orange–still dress many trees here.  But look around, and you will see blankets of Orange covering wooded stands of near-naked trees, carpeting front lawns and backyards, raked high on neighborhood curbs, stuck in the tangle of low, fading bushes, crowded into window-well corners, plugging up gutters.  Drive in the howling rain and Orange comes slapping at your windshield and paints the roadway slick!  

Bright Orange Pumpkins have been a smash hit this year, too–no pun intended!  Add to this their colorful family members, Gourds and Squashes, we now have a lush harvest, too. Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Jean Somlo (DeWitt 2014), affirms this plenteous season of Orange with her evocative poem:

     Farmer’s bounty here                                                                                                                                                       Colorful and succulent                                                                                                                                                      Cooks delight tonight

Meanwhile, up on the Syracuse University Hill and all along the Orange Corridor, the color Orange dominates playing fields aplenty!  Frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Paul Goat Allen (Camillus), adeptly wraps it up with his rich 2001 haiku:

     autumn’s golden shine                                                                                                                                                     harvest, sweet corn and football                                                                                                                                  the orange city

What better way to celebrate the season of Orange than with this splendid haiku poster from our 2015 collection.  The poet: Christopher Caskey (Sicklerville 2011) and the artist: former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Rob Byers now a freelance illustrator and designer.

Leaves raked–a mile high.  Young ones dive, imagining football field of glory.

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What inspires you as Autumn leaves fall?  What connotations does the color Orange instill in you?  Write your thoughts in a haiku and add it to the comments below.  We’ll publish your haiku here on our blog!

Happy Raking!

Autumn’s Brilliance

Every year, it seems, we assure ourselves that Autumn will be as colorful as the year before–our memory clearly remembering the rich Fall colors of years past.  With such a dry, hot Summer of 2016, the theory was there’d be no color to witness this Fall. Thankfully, that didn’t happen!  We think you’ll agree, this year, Autumn in Central New York has surely outdone itself what with its brilliant and long-lasting shades of red, red-orange, orange and golden yellow–even shades of mauve dressing the leaves of certain trees!

In fact, many of Central New York’s old, towering trees, some with their trunks draped in red kudzu, make for beautiful canopies along local byways and highways. Their striking colors, comforting in their familiarity, seem as warm as blankets!  This feeling is delightfully described in Sally Lloyd’s (Cazenovia 2010) haiku:

     Autumn rolls out quilts                                                                                                                                                     along Route 20 . . . Yellows                                                                                                                                            reds, golds warm our hearts

These last several days of October can be felt in this picturesque haiku by William Padgett (New Woodstock, 2008):

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

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Bethaida Gonzalez (Syracuse 2014) and former Syracuse University Illustration Student, Anna Ellis, combined their love of Autumn in this charming poster from our 2015 series.

Autumn winds comfort / spreading scents of the season / like an ocean breeze

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Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu’s (Syracuse 2005) haiku adds another colorful dimension to the beauty of Autumn:

     Sea oats shimmer gold                                                                                                                                                     in October’s dimming light                                                                                                                                            waves in Autumn wind

And, from Peggy Liuzzi (Syracuse 2010), a somewhat nostalgic perspective of Autumn:

     I miss you most when                                                                                                                                                       the Autumn skyway sings with                                                                                                                                      the calls of wild geese

Autumn–it is a season of color, earthy smells and the rustling sounds of leaves flying. What is your favorite sensory experience of this season?  We’ve chosen only a few of the many beautiful haiku we have in our archives about Fall to share with you here–write us your thoughts in the comments below and we’ll share them in the next blog.

Happy Reading!

 

Haiku for a Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day–a day steeped in tradition, handed down to us from our nation’s original immigrants in celebration of a bountiful harvest.  However you spend this Thanksgiving Day…

….whether in the smallest of gestures, as exemplified simply in Mary Taitt’s (Grosse Pointe Farms, MI) 2001 haiku:

To eat stale bread and                                                                                                                                coo small thanks, pigeons gather                                                                                                                     at our elder’s feet

….manning a soup kitchen, as frankly described in Silvia de la Garza’s (Manlius NY) 2011 haiku:

black and white faces                                                                                                                              awaiting the noon-day meal                                                                                                                             and Samaritans

….spending the day outdoors, as cleverly described in  Linda Liddiard’s (Moravia, NY) 2010 haiku:

  Oak leaves drift softly,                                                                                                                             Men on fields in bright colors.                                                                                                                           Tight spirals land hard.

….or gathering around the dining room table with family and friends, as vividly described in Anne Mackenzie’s (Homer NY) 2014 haiku:

  Kinfolk gathering                                                                                                                                     Pepper specks on buttered corn                                                                                                                        Black starlings scatter

….we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

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We Take a Poetry Hike

Poem inscribed on log
“Off the earth’s long contour, her river-veins” Environmental art installation by Alastair Noble.

As you’ve seen by our recent posts, Autumn can be a sensory experience inspiring thoughtful haiku and beautiful art.  Autumn can also be a peaceful time whether it’s reflecting the dramatic change of view outside your window or wandering through a wooded park or sanctuary.  But, it’s not just about haiku.  Poets, artists, musicians, scientists, writers—all of us, really—have something to say about nature and its effects on us.

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Sunset along the Old Erie Canal—the stone wall at Cedar Bay Park.

Locally, you can discover art and poetry in nature by walking any of the trails along the Old Erie Canal.  The rough, hand-hewn stone bridges and aqueducts built by our immigrant ancestors are still a thing of beauty…as are the walkways and paths along which one can still become inspired by the surrounding natural beauty of the old waterway.  Or, you might find the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park in Cazenovia more to your liking.  With beautiful vistas and inspiring installation art, the park offers many opportunities for your inner artist or poet to come alive.

Speaking of installation art, you may remember Christo and Jeanne-Claude, whose masterful displays continue to inspire thoughtful reflection.  If you had the opportunity, you’ll agree that the singularly unique experience of walking through their 2005 installation of The Gates in Central Park was exhilarating!  

If you have travel plans over the holidays, or even next Spring, check out the more subtle experience of installation art found at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont.  In 2013-14, the park’s artist-in-residence, Alastair Noble, installed environmentally styled works throughout the park. Consisting of ten large ash and pine logs—planed on one side—Noble inscribed them with fragments of literature and poetry using Poe, Nietzsche, T.S. Eliot, Wittgenstein, and Shakespeare as his inspiration.  As you walk around the park, you come across the logs here and there—at first impression, mere logs.  It’s delightful how they turn up randomly, and the brevity of their inscriptions reminds us of haiku.  This incompleteness invites a kind of filling in, especially in association with the natural setting.  For a newspaper story about Noble’s art residency, CLICK HERE.

If you like your environmental poetry more fleshed out, you can also hike around the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller Park’s Robert Frost Poetry Trail.  Thirteen poems—complete and presented in conventional page-like formats—line the walking trail. They seem a little like homework assignments dogging you into the woods.  One wonders what Frost himself would say about these woodland installations.  Would he prefer them here to, let’s say, his poems printed on subway placards?

Robert Frost Poetry Trail
The poem, Come In, is one of 13 poems found on the Robert Frost Poetry Trail.

We are, of course, very proud of our own distinctive version of installation art.  Our beautifully illustrated haiku posters can be found year round in the many brightly decorated kiosks dotting downtown Syracuse NY.  If you like discovering poetry in the environment, or are fascinated by installation art, send us your photos and thoughts—we’ll share them here with our followers.

Happy Trails!

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!