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 to Welcome Summer

At long last, it’s coming on Summer!  From our archive of contributed haiku, we’ve found a few to highlight the return of this sunny season.

Spring flowers have faded, making way for bright Summer blooms.  Everything’s comin’ up roses, too, as vividly described by Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu (Syracuse), in her 2011 haiku:

 A burst of petals                                                                                                                                      flame red, melon, pale yellow                                                                                                             Summer rose gardens

After a long Winter and wet Spring, neighbors are slowly emerging from their homes, greeting each other like old friends.  Beth Miller (Auburn) skillfully creates such a scene in her 2015 haiku:

Warm friendly greetings                                                                                                                       Summer on South Geddes Street                                                                                                           Flowers lead to porches

Outdoors, there’s the sound of lawns being mowed and the comforting smell of fresh cut grass.  Green grass and Summer–there is nothing quite like it as Thomas Stock (Ft. Plain 2014) describes in his mirthful haiku:

Cool clover carpet                                                                                                                                   seduce my bare feet with dew                                                                                                               Summer night, you muse!

The arrival of Summer also means weekends are suddenly booked with music festivals, sporting activities, sun gazing and weddings!  Our featured poster from our 2004 Series notes this traditional season for wedding celebrations with a cleverly written haiku by Ralph Long, Jr. and a beautiful illustration by  Elizabeth Couturier, former Syracuse University Illustration student.

In a Rose Garden / at the top of Campus Hill / wedding dresses bloom

2004Long_Couturier

Of course, Summer’s arrival also means construction season is underway everywhere you turn. When artfully expressed in a haiku, such as this one by Dianne Apter (Syracuse 2015), delays don’t seem quite as dreadful:

Summer highway rite                                                                                                                             Orange cones stretched forever                                                                                                                   A sea of detours

How do you welcome Summer?  Write us a haiku in the Comments and we’ll publish it next time on our blog.

Happy Summer!

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)

 

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

 

Summer’s Small Treasures

Summer.  Long days.  Blue skies.  Bright evening stars.  Among its simple pleasures: the sweet cacophony of birdsong, the laughter of children playing, the chirping of crickets lulling us to sleep.

Many of our archived haiku reflect these simple joys of Summertime.  Here are a few of them!

Syracuse Poster Project haiku contributor, Dianne Apter (Syracuse 2011) offers up a delightful poem which warmly embraces one such Summer treasure – the company of friends:

  Old-older-oldest                                                                                                                                                                Summer’s eve front porch sitters                                                                                                                                  Wine-laughter-gossip

And, Jacquelyn Green’s (Syracuse) 2015 haiku cheerfully evokes a Summer treasure that never gets old:

 Dreaming of Summer.                                                                                                                                                 Double Dutch, hopscotch and friends.                                                                                                                          Good times and laughing.

For some, nothing says Summer like chasing Fireflies!  Their magical flight, on a starry Summer night, can still take us by surprise.  As part of our 2015 Syracuse Poster Project collection, our featured poster beautifully reflects a childhood we can still remember when we chased a brightly lit Firefly.  Eloquently written in 2014 by frequent contributor, Thomas Stock, this charming poster was illustrated by former Syracuse Illustration Student, Sophia Openshaw, now a freelance illustrator from Annapolis, Maryland.  

Fireflies blink brightly / Caught in jars of summer dreams / Where I once left them.

396_16_Stock_Openshaw

We’ll leave you with this 2014 haiku by Syracuse native and poet, Martin Willitts, Jr.  He writes vividly of another Summer treasure which certainly cannot be denied:

 Summer night concert                                                                                                                                               Black crickets on violins                                                                                                                                                  Bullfrogs on bassoons

What do you treasure about Summertime? Let us know in the comment section below or on our Facebook page! And, don’t forget, if you see a poster you would like to own for your home or office, visit our Shop page!

Stay Cool!