Tag Archives: Issa

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Spring Inspiration

Spring is almost upon us. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Vernal Equinox will officially occur Saturday, March 20, at 17:32 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This corresponds to 1:30 pm, Eastern Daylight Time, and 10:30 am on the West Coast.

During the twice-yearly Equinox,  the tilt of the Earth’s axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, and the Sun is vertically above a point on the Equator. (The name “equinox” comes from the Latin for the words “equal” and “night — on these days night and day are approximately the same length.)

In my neck of the woods, the sun has begun to shine warmly and flowers have shot up above ground. Here’s hoping for a pretty, play-filled spring where you are.

As always, at times of seasonal change, I turn to the haiku poets to help give gentle expression to the turning of the year.

Now wild geese return …
What draws them
Crying, crying
All the long dark night?

-Roka

From my tiny roof
Smooth … Soft …
Still-White Snow
Melts in Melody

-Issa

Good morning, sparrow …
Writing on my
clean veranda
with your dewy feet

-Shiki

Opening thin arms …
A pink peony
Big as this!
Said my bitty girl

-Issa

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

The Wheel of the Year: Summer Turns to Fall

tree-in-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 2016: Fall begins September 22, 10:21 A.M. EDT, 7:21 A.M. PDT.) Happy equinox, and a fulfilling fall to all.

fallflowers

Jagged candle-flame …

The very shape of Autumn

Sifts through the shutters

— Raizan

fallleaf2

Here is the dark tree

Denuded now of leafage …

But a million stars

–Shiki

baretree

Autumn breezes shake

The scarlet flowers my poor child

Could not wait to pick

–Issa

redhollyhock

We stand still to hear

Tinkle of far temple bell …

Willow-leaves falling

–Basho

mountainfall

In unending rain

The house-pent boy is fretting

With his brand-new kite

–Shoha

leafrain

A windblown grass …

Hovering in mid-air in vain

An autumn dragonfly

–Basho

dandelion

fallleaf3

pumpkinfield2

lonefield

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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