Haiku observations while walking my dog

Sirius with bouquet 4-9-17Walking my dog Sirius this morning, I noticed the thousands of pink petals carpeting the black asphalt roadside. A strong wind had whipped through overnight, and I realized it had stripped most of the petals from my neighbor’s crab apple tree, robbing it of much of its spring magnificence. The sight reminded me of cherry blossoms, which in turn reminded me of Japanese haiku. As we walked, I began composing haiku in my head, and when we returned, after breakfast I repaired upstairs to my office and captured my observations.

Warm spring southwest wind

Whips across my morning face

Clouds scud across sun

Pepto Bismol pink

Petals from the crab apple

Carpet the gutter

Six Chihuahuas strain

Against their slender leashes

My chow wags, confused

Should he take them on

Or sniff their tiny butts instead?

Better not find out

Roughly twenty feet

Between us, we owners chat

About our babies

The beige Chihuahua’s

Mother to all the brown ones,

She tells me proudly

Moving on, my dog

Pauses to poop. I bag it

In thin pink plastic

Next we happen on

A neighbor pruning fruit trees

On his lakeside lawn

Over the winter,Snyders Lake arborvitae pruned by deer Feb 2017

Hungry deer stripped the foliage

Of his arborvitae

Clear up to five feet.

Scraggly twigs are all that’s left

Beneath the crowning balls

He’s fatalistic,

Says he’ll wrap them in black plastic

Fencing. They’ll grow back.

On our way back home,

We greet a mother cradling

George, her toddler son

Sirius sniffs his feetTiki with neighborhood kids 4-24-17

And wags. The little boy smiles

My dog and I trudge uphill

Toward home, greet Tiki,

The gray retired racehorse

Across the street.

Tossing the poop bag

Into the black garbage bin,

I count my blessings.

Living in upstate New York is definitely high on my list of blessings. Arguably we enjoy the best climate in the continental United States—if you enjoy experiencing all four seasons, that is. It can be wildly unpredictable, and we’re experiencing an unsettling warming trend due to climate change. But by and large, we’re spared the severe droughts, the tornadoes, the floods that plague other regions of the country. This morning on Facebook my neighbor Wendy, owner of Tiki, the horse in my poem, posted a photo of an enormous pine tree that crashed in her back yard during last night’s windstorm, but fortunately it missed her house. My heart goes out to those affected by devastating weather elsewhere. As for me, I’m not planning on moving any time soon.

The haiku form of poetry is a wonderful way of capturing your observations on the fly. For a time, as a spiritual practice, I wrote a haiku every morning after walking Sirius, and I highly recommend it as a way of centering yourself and counting your blessings. A single haiku consists of just three lines. In the classic form, the first line contains five syllables, the second contains seven syllables, and the third contains five. But it’s okay to cut yourself a little slack, as I’ve done here—there are different schools of thought on the subject.

Why not leave me a haiku in the comment section? Or not—it’s up to you. But in any case, please leave me a comment, and subscribe to my blog so as not to miss anything.

POSTSCRIPT: As I format this post prior to publication, WordPress keeps screwing around with the spacing and deleting the spaces between the three-line stanzas. I’ve tried fixing it several times to no avail, and it’s bringing me uptight, so I guess I’ll leave it. Good practice for you, the reader, in counting the syllables for yourself. In any case, it’s time to watch the Kentucky Derby now!

10 thoughts on “Haiku observations while walking my dog

  1. Love your post and your haikus. To separate them you could use an underline part way across the page. I was wondering why they came so close together with no space between them. For their wedding, daughter Bev and fiancé David, requested the people write haiku for them. Once I got started, several came to me in rapid succession. Fun. I’d have to put on my thinking cap now to write one for you. Sorry. No time for that now. Rushing off to a concert. I fully agree with you about the joy of living here where we do with all the beauty around us, four seasons each with their joys and challenges, and with so many, many cultural opportunities of every kind here in this piece of paradise we call home.

    • Hi Betsy. When I wrote the haikus in Word, they had the right spacing. Don’t know why the WordPress formatting is so cantankerous. One of these days I’ll do a chapbook where I can format them properly.

  2. I really enjoyed your haiku and, like you and Betsy, I thoroughly love living here in the Hudson Valley. My writing group of elderly ladies–72-92–are resistant to other kinds of poetry, but like writing haiku.

    • Thanks, Lyn. BTW I LOVE your photographs of birds and nature. What kind of camera do you use?

    • I’ve been wondering how you are. Want to get together at Dinosaur BBQ one of these days? Or the Towne Tavern in Averill Park if you prefer, and if we ever have a warm, sunny day!

  3. Julie – we moved to Wilton, just north of Saratoga. The same email, tho. Just wanted to let you know that the East Greenbush library is doing a program about independent authors on Oct. 14th, 2 – 4 p.m. I got notice from SinC/NE about it. Thot you might like to contact E.Grnbh. library to be on the program. Librarian’s last name is Dreyer. No pay but sell books. Think I’ll be there. My phone is same: 583-9571 – love to have lunch at Towne Tavern some day. Marilyn.

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