Haiku for Winter Storms

Remember that old saying, “When March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb”? Well, let’s hope it holds true this year! Since March 1, Winter storms have wreaked havoc up and down the East Coast, dropping snow, rain and sleet from Hilton Head to Connecticut to London to the French Alps; they’ve caused power failures across New York State; and broken tree limbs are strewn about everywhere one looks!  Quite a lion of a start if there ever was one!

As Michelle Miles (currently, in sunny and warm Amman, Jordan) wrote this week:

A haiku would say
that springtime is on its way–
but first, a detour!

Meanwhile, the not so melodious sounds of snow blowers, snow shovels and loud, rumbling snow plows, continue to break the sometimes eerie silence of softly falling snow! A search of our archives reveals many haiku contributed by Central New Yorkers who’ve contemplated our fierce Winter snow storms alongside the sound–and the glory–of these useful snow storm tools! Here are a few to consider as you look out your window at the falling March snow!

From Thomas Michael Duncan (East Syracuse 2011), you know it’s going to be a long day for the city’s snow plow driver:

Accumulations.
The monstrous yellow machines
remove snow–spread salt.

A beautiful image from Laura Ferrel (Skaneateles 2013):

Pre-dawn whirs and scrapes–
a community chorus
born of snowy nights

A familiar scene, aptly described by Chen Chen (Syracuse 2014) — read more about this talented A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize winning author here:

Just the front scraped clean–
our car after blizzard wears
a mullet of snow

Our featured poster is a fine tribute to Winter snow storms! It’s from our 2011 Series with the clever haiku by Jim Kenty (Syracuse 2008) and the colorful illustration by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Maura McGonagle.

Syracuse snowflakes / meet their fate on the blade of / my shovel of doom

2011_Kenty_McGonagle

Aside from waiting for Spring to arrive by mid-March, if we learn anything from late Winter snow storms, it’s learning to have patience. However, if your street doesn’t get plowed for hours, you may feel like Elizabeth Patton (Elbridge 2008), in her vivid haiku:

Armies of snowplows
Invade snowbound neighborhoods
Winter prison break

Or, rather than impatience, you may feel like Ellen Agnew (Syracuse 2005):

as snow plows lumber
through the blizzard leftovers
grateful cars make room

Here’s hoping March goes out like a lamb!

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Winter’s Grey Hue

The promised light of December’s Winter Solstice seems to have temporarily disappeared behind grey clouds this January in Central New York.  Along with cold temperatures, lingering patches of icy dirty snow have also made for some rather bleak days here.  But for the brief moments of morning sun, or the colorful flight of cheerful Cardinals and noisy Blue Jays, cloudy skies remain the dominant trademark of Winter in Syracuse.  While a backdrop of grey is not wholly unexpected this time of year, we certainly could use some clear, blue skies!

As you might expect, writing haiku brings a whole new perspective to cloudy and grey.  And, it’s a perfect antidote for cabin fever.  Digging through our archives of wonderful haiku contributed over the years by Central New York poets, we found a few which might give you pause to reflect before going completely stir-crazy!

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox (Pompey 2007), vividly taps into our search for blue skies while braving the cold on a wintry Syracuse day:

     Blue sky illusions                                                                                                                                                               scrape Winter’s gray haze—slogging                                                                                                                          numb down Salina

Pamela Lynch’s (Oneida 2013) graphic haiku brings an artist’s eye to this discussion of grey Winter skies which can indeed be quite stunning at times:

     Fronts collide to paint                                                                                                                                                       Phenomenal cloud skyscapes                                                                                                                                        Swirling overhead

From Elizabeth Patton (Elbridge), the ominous feeling of another impending storm is quite striking in this evocative 2005 haiku:

     Iron sky holding                                                                                                                                                                back the snow; the roar of rail                                                                                                                                       cars, then grave quiet

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Janine DeBaise (Kirkville 2002) and Associate Professor of Printmaking at Syracuse University, Holly Greenberg, worked together to create this remarkable poster from our 2006 Series.  Clearly, you can find beauty on a stark Winter’s day.

Snow sweeps the sidewalk / Piles fluff onto bare branches / Turns gray to glisten

2006debaise_greenberg

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Sherry Chayat (Syracuse), finds both beauty and a kind of acceptance of Winter’s hold on us with her captivating 2009 haiku:

     geese skim the river                                                                                                                                                          as clouds gather overhead                                                                                                                                              bittersweet season

Hope you’ve enjoyed these few samplings from our archives.  It’s wonderful how writing Haiku provides a way of expressing deep emotions and seeing nature from a variety of perspectives with just a few words.  So, when Winter’s grey is making you blue, write a Haiku!