A Memorial Day Post

                 Run run Jerry run / freedom is at hand oh Lord / helpful hands stretch out                                                                                          by Pat Flowers (Columbus 2006)

Originally referred to in the late 1860’s as Decoration Day–a day of remembrance when mourners could grace the graves of the Civil War’s dead with flowers–Memorial Day became a national holiday in 1971.  It remains a day of solemn observance; a day reserved to honor and remember all Americans who have died while serving in our country’s military service.

                    Heroes defended / Liberty and freedom rang / Stars and stripes rippled                                                                                              by Michelle Miles (Amman, Jordan 2016)

Memorial Day is also a day to celebrate our freedom, the unique cause that these American servicemen and servicewomen died for.

                   Souls of the soldiers / march and quiet names surround / Freedom’s arena                                                                                         by Mark Shevalier (Henderson 2007)

Over the last few decades, Memorial Day has also come to be known as the unofficial start of Summer.  Marked with patriotic parades, major sporting events, family gatherings and barbecues, Memorial Day is still a shared American tradition.

Our featured haiku poster this Memorial Day is from our 2004 Series.  It was written by frequent contributor, Jay Cox and illustrated by former Syracuse University student, Steve Kim.  We think you’ll agree, the poster exemplifies the beauty of our monuments to peace, freedom and remembrance.

The blue sky ripples / and clouds stream by in the water / fountain reflections2004Cox_Kim

However you observe this Memorial Day–whether it’s laying a wreath or raising a flag, marching along with a parade or gathering with family, watching a ballgame or enjoying the evening’s fireworks–safe travels!

Birds coax forth the dawn. / She smiles and all turns golden. / Our lake beams its thanks…                                                            by Patricia Ziemba (Syracuse 2010)

 

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!

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!

The End of Summer “Daze” or It’s Labor Day Already!

The end of August can be somewhat bittersweet: The warm, lazy days of Summer are slowly becoming a sweet memory.  Parents, students and teachers are gearing up for a new school year to begin and college campuses have already begun conducting classes.  Baseball season is winding down while high school soccer games and football practice are largely underway. But, even though the Great New York State Fair and Labor Day officially mark the end of the Summer season, Summer stays with us until September 21!  Days remain mostly warm and sunny, the nights a bit cooler.  And, although tall, golden-eyed Sunflowers have settled back home facing East, there remain colorful songbirds at the feeder and the hum of cicadas and crickets are still lulling us to sleep.    

This time of year clearly resonates with many of our haiku contributors who savour this slow transition to Autumn.  Sheila Forsyth’s (Fayetteville 2014) haiku says goodbye to Summer with a beautiful image:

Evening cricket plays                                                                                                                                                        farewell to Summer on its                                                                                                                                              hind leg violin

As does Ellen Barnes’ (Syracuse 2014) haiku:

  Sunflower faces                                                                                                                                                                  A swoosh of yellow and black:                                                                                                                                       Goldfinch dinnertime

And, Jay Cox (Pompey 2010) pays homage to Summer’s end with this expansive and thoughtful haiku:

Monarch butterflies                                                                                                                                                          dance with fading wildflowers                                                                                                                                     as the sun slides low

We wanted to share with you a series of delightful haiku posters from our collection which clearly display these final “daze” of Summer.  Enjoy!

From our 2009 Series, Artist: Q. Cassetti and Poet: David Hitchcock who writes: “Although I’m often inspired by the interplay of sound and thought, I also write about my own experiences and try to put into words memories that will resonate with others. In these poems, I want people to say, “Yes, I remember that feeling.”  I also think a little humor can open them to thoughts that they may not have had otherwise. So here the poem opens with a little humor, two puns in four words. Then it becomes slightly nostalgic, remembering summer as a child, and how fast it goes, and how baseball games and swimming can remind us of that time. There’s all that in just three little lines.

Chiefly close to home, / catching fast flying Summer / in a baseball mitt.

From our 2011 Series, Artist: Keisha Cedeno and PoetLori DiCaprio-Lee:

When the Great Fair comes / school cannot be far behind / Summer ends too soon

From our 2002 Series,  Poet: Martin Walls and Artist: James Ryan, now an Illustration teacher in Central Massachusetts:

Fizz of cicadas / Slows as evening cools—lights hum / On in Armory Square

 

Celebrating Summer With Music

From our 2011 Syracuse Poster Project Series, poet Nancy Liccione and former Syracuse Illustration student, Kerff Petit-Frere, now a freelance illustrator out of Brooklyn, joined forces to create this telling poster of summers in Syracuse:

Fountains echo words / Blues and jazz reverberate / Summer in the Square

230_12_Liccione_Petit-FrereMusic. Festivals. Summer.  They’re synonymous with one another.  Celebrating the season nearly every weekend of Summer, festivals fill Syracuse squares and parks with all kinds of music, ethnic foods and treats, crafters and artists of all kinds, individuals and families enjoying the outdoor opportunities of coming together as a community.

Joseph Whelan’s  (Syracuse) 2015 haiku nicely describes this sense of community on one such Summer’s evening–perhaps an evening enjoying Syracuse’s Candlelight Series in Armory Square:

 Music in the night                                                                                                                                                              Neighbors gather in the square                                                                                                                                      Dancing in the street

Frequent Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Ellen Agnew (Syracuse) similarly recounts the pleasures of one of Syracuse’s most popular neighborhood festivals, the Westcott Street Fair with her 2015 haiku:

 Westcott Festival                                                                                                                                                                  brings out musicians, artists,                                                                                                                                         cooks, friends, and their dogs.

Peggy Liuzzi’s (Syracuse) 2009 haiku colorfully describes our collective refusal to have rain hold us back from celebrating Summer’s annual rituals, including the Syracuse Jazz Fest which inevitably has one rainy night in its lineup:

 Music fills square.                                                                                                                                                               Rain falls and the crowd blossoms                                                                                                                              With bright umbrellas.

Another Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Arlene Quizon (Roseville), richly reflects how music–think Jazz in the City or Northeast Jazz & Wine Fest–can bring us together in her 2009 haiku:

 Great Summer jazz songs                                                                                                                                               Together neighborhoods bond                                                                                                                                      Clap worries away

Even late Summer festivals, such as the Syracuse Irish Festival, bring music and community together as expressively described in Sheila Forsyth’s (Fayetteville) 2002 haiku:

 Warm Summer night’s wind                                                                                                                                          Whispers Celtic music through                                                                                                                                        Armory Square streets

Jay Cox’s 2003 (Pompey) haiku brilliantly reminds us that Summer in CNY is incomplete without celebrating the blues–as in the NYS Blues Fest:

 Texas blues drift with                                                                                                                                                       the moonlight through a Summer                                                                                                                                night in Clinton Square

When all is said and done, our 2003 Syracuse Poster Project series haiku poster–written by Claire Bobrycki and illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Julia Cocuzza, now a working artist living in Brooklyn–says it beautifully:

Steamy Summer night– / ribs smokin’, guitars wailin’ / Blues Fest makes it right

121_03_Bobrycki_Cocuzza

Do you have a favorite Summer festival? Let us know in our comment section below, or even on our Facebook, and we’ll find a place for it in our next Blog Post!

Happy Summer!

 

The March to Spring!

It’s been a chilly, rainy “March” to Spring this year.  Much different than what we experienced last year–a cold, snowy, and seemingly interminable journey!  But still, Spring has sprung at last, and when mornings awaken blue and bright, it’s as wonderful as this 2015 haiku by Syracuse Poster Project contributor Sean Conrey (Syracuse):

     A spring breeze still cold                                                                                                                                                   All nerves beneath the black oak                                                                                                                                    A new leaf unfurls

Depending on where you live, you may still have patches of snow on the ground.  But that hasn’t stopped the green shoots of tulips and daffodils from pushing their way up through the soggy Winter ground just as imaginatively described as in this 2012 haiku by Jane Woodman (Syracuse):

    Syracuse snow banks                                                                                                                                                          cover heat-seeking missiles                                                                                                                                             of Spring daffodils.

No doubt you’ve also seen colorful blooms of crocuses cropping up everywhere you turn.  More than Winter’s white and grey, these sweet hints of Spring colors to come is delightful–as is this 2011 haiku by Sam Donnelly (Syracuse):

    Blossoms in short shorts                                                                                                                                                   Sunbathing between snow banks,                                                                                                                                  Blooming in the thaw

…Or this 2014 haiku by Andrew Schep (Syracuse):

    forsythia arms                                                                                                                                                                     sleeved in little bursts of sun                                                                                                                                           shoveling the snow

While the earth is renewing itself, our fine-feathered friends are returning home, too.  Robins, of course, among the first signs Spring has arrived.  Surprisingly, even Gulls, as vividly described in this 2008 haiku by Alexa Carter (Fulton), herald hope:

    Gulls like drifts of snow                                                                                                                                      Gather on the shores in spring                                                                                                                         Harbingers of fun to come

One of our many favorite posters from the 2009 Syracuse Poster Project Collection, written by longtime Syracuse Poster Project contributor, Jay Cox and illustrated by teacher and former Syracuse University Illustration student, Devin Scannell aptly describes this taut time between Spring and the last of March snows.  

A blackbird sways on / a goldenrod stalk covered / with afternoon snow

34_05_2009Cox_Scannell

Finally, a fitting tribute to Spring by another of our haiku contributors, Marilyn Shelton (Dunmore, 2005):

    Snow melts to lilies                                                                                                                                                              Of the sweet valley, reborn                                                                                                                                              In sensuous spring

 
What is your favorite sign of Spring?  

Winter Hues

Grey skies got you feeling blue?  Does it seem there’s not much more to Winter in CNY than the grey skies that tend to dominate our wintry landscape?  Well, our frequent haiku contributors have offered up some colorful images that may cheer you up.

Take, for instance, this joyful haiku by Michele Reed (Oswego, 2002):

   Red scarf, blue mittens                                                                                                                                                    A blur of color through snow–                                                                                                                                    Clinton Square skaters

Or, Ellen Wheeler’s (Fayetteville, 2015) mirthful haiku:        

   Evergreens wearing                                                                                                                                                        their coats of wintery white–                                                                                                                                      time for snow angels!

If the site of blackened roadside snowbanks distresses you, look in the radiant direction of Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu’s  (Syracuse, 2006) haiku:

    Chunks of ice melting                                                                                                                                                     in the cold silver-blue lake                                                                                                                                           Snow lilies floating

Or, look up, and you might see this glowing image as written in a haiku by Jay Cox (Pompey, 2005):

   Icicles glitter                                                                                                                                                                      and clouds shadow now-cloaked hills                                                                                                                      in a full moon’s light

There is so much to see in white, falling snow, too.  Take this beautifully vivid haiku by Laura Ferrel (Skaneateles, 2014):

   Snow spins through streetlights,                                                                                                                                  delicate silver threads of                                                                                                                                                downtown’s winter cloak.

Besides white, of course, David Hitchcock’s (Fayetteville 2008) haiku reminds us of another familiar color we’ll find on a snowy day:

   In the Salt City                                                                                                                                                                    a yellow snow plow sows salt                                                                                                                                        as our town grows cold

Our featured image, part of the 2013 Syracuse Poster Project collection, is a vibrant and rich reminder of all the color that can be found on a dreary Winter’s day.  Illustrated by former Syracuse University Illustration student, Carolyn Glavin and poet, Janice Scully, this haiku poster is certain to cheer.

Cardinal, feathered masked bandit

 

 

 

 

Cardinal, feathered

masked bandit on a snowy

limb–all can see you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go find some color!