The Wheel of the Year: Summer Turns to Fall


Seasons, and changes of season, seem to bring out the poet in many of us. I think that’s especially true of the spring and fall equinoxes, when the drama of the turning year is most apparent, the earth teetering between seasons even as it experiences its twice-yearly equality of day and night.

And, between spring and fall, I’d have to give the drama nod to autumn: The air chills, the leaves blush and drop, and many creatures experience a turning inward — perhaps a period of contemplation, if not one of hibernation. Fall is when I feel the turning of the year most profoundly.

Japanese Haiku is a poetic form that has observations of seasons and nature at its core. The best 17-syllable word sketches are deceptively simple meditations on passing moments, beauty, and feelings, and ones place within them. Growing up, we had a book of haiku in our home called The Four Seasons. I still have it, and I chose some fall haiku from it to share.

The haiku ranges from the 17th century master Basho to the 19th century poet Shiki.

Autumn officially begins this year on September 22, at 21:28 Universal Time, 5:28 pm Eastern Daylight Time, and 2:28 pm Pacific Daylight Time. (Note: Updated for 2014: Fall begins September 22, 10:29 P.M. EDT, 7:29 P.M. PDT.) Happy equinox, and a fulfilling fall to all.


Jagged candle-flame …

The very shape of Autumn

Sifts through the shutters

— Raizan


Here is the dark tree

Denuded now of leafage …

But a million stars



Autumn breezes shake

The scarlet flowers my poor child

Could not wait to pick



We stand still to hear

Tinkle of far temple bell …

Willow-leaves falling



In unending rain

The house-pent boy is fretting

With his brand-new kite



A windblown grass …

Hovering in mid-air in vain

An autumn dragonfly






Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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3 responses to “The Wheel of the Year: Summer Turns to Fall

  1. Gorgeous pictures and sentiments.. ahhhhhh

  2. Gorgeous pics!!!

  3. Belated thank yous to you both. I truly enjoyed matching words to images, and found the haiku very moving and inspiring. I’ve been out and about with my camera this pretty Fall, and will be adding more pictures soon.