haiku · My Thoughts · poetry

July Comes to End­ With Haiku

Woman reading poetry in July

July is ending, and I can’t believe it. I’m going to Denver with my brother to see the Rockies play the LA Dodgers on Sunday and to the Broncos Training camp on Monday morning, so this will be a shorter blog post, featuring some of my haikus.

During my walks in 2021, these haikus came to me. I’d count out the syllable as I walked (1st line—5 syllables; 2nd line—7 syllables; 3rd line—5 syllables). Then I repeated them several times so I wouldn’t forget them before jotting them down when I got home. The subjects varied—usually the day and what was going on generated it.

So, enjoy!

March 29

Woman walking alone - July

Now I walk alone

Not a tragedy at all.

My best companion!

April 3

Good Friday has come.

The world awaits Easter Day.

Jesus is alive!


Repeat their dear names

Out loud, often with respect.

Keeps them present here.

April 7

A sad hollow space

In my heart. No room for him.

Abuser died—gone!

April 19

Cataracts, oh my!

Slowly my vision changed, but

Surgery clears it!

April 29

Dare to love deeply!

One more loss added today!

Open heart once more!

May 24

Black bird - July

Blackbirds above—caw!

My walk companions now.

I prefer your view!


Finally,

The structure and limitations of haiku force me to think about my word choice, making the verse crisp. Then the punch or twist at the end sometimes comes as a surprise.

July ending had nothing to do with my haikus’ subjects. I’ll share my July haikus in another post.

Do you read poetry? Do you like haikus? What is your favorite form of poetry?


~WATCH MY NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, from Friday, June 24, 2022. Join us for a lively description of all my books!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

~Wish You Were Here: A Novel by Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors, deals with the COVID pandemic in fiction as opposed to my nonfiction book. Check it out! Interesting story!

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Albuquerque · haiku · My Thoughts

ABQ Zoo & Haikus—I’m Concerned!

We visited the ABQ zoo on Thursday, July 14, 2022, an all-day affair. We left home before about 8:45 am and arrived there before 9:00 am. Here’s what we saw, and I wrote more haikus but took mostly pictures.

Map of Albuquerque Zoo
Map of Albuquerque Zoo

It felt so good to be back near my beloved Washington middle school, La Washa, where I taught for eight and one-half years. When I taught there, we visited the zoo annually with our students because it was within walking distance. However, it has grown so much; I felt lost most of the day.

During our visit, I found a common theme for the haikus I wrote fed by repeated signs at animal cages of species being endangered. There are seven levels of endangered species. The Red List has seven levels of conservation: least concern, near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, and extinct. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/endangered-species

7 Levels of endangered species

So, in viewing all these precious animals and the thought of losing them for future generations, I ended up writing about the crisis we face with endangered species:

My Haikus

Wild animals

In our ABQ zoo park

Making me aware!


Many are at risk.

Mankind’s disloyalty to

God’s priceless creatures.


Endangered species

Way too many in the zoo

Please stop the killing!


So, I’ve chosen today to do a photo collection of the animals we enjoyed so much.

Finally, I’ll end with a video that’s deceiving. As we left the lions earlier in the day, a volunteer told us to come back about 4:30 pm because they roar every day. Throughout the day, we heard people say you could hear the lion’s roar all over the zoo. How exciting! So we extended our time there and returned.

Sadly to say, in this visit, we didn’t see the polar bears. Lin kept saying, “Where can they be hiding the polar bears?”

I said, “In the freezer!” With it being a hot day over 90 degrees, they may have been somewhere cool. We also missed the penguin exhibit by just a few minutes. We plan to start our next visit with these two favorites.

I had my iPad all set up to videotape this notable event. At 4:30 pm, we settled ourselves at the lion’s habitat with several people who we had passed on the information. As if on a schedule, the male lion stirred—his massive mane flowing. Lin commented he did not know a lion’s mane was so massive.

Then a door opened on the wall inside the habitat. First, the female lion entered, then the male followed, so I thought we missed it. But immediately the roaring began, so I videotaped it, but the video shows the platform where I thought they would be. You know—like The Lion King!

As we walked through this beautiful park, the Albuquerque’s zoo, nestled among old stately Cottonwood trees, has an allure to it—a tranquil place to enjoy a day.

Stately cottonwood tree at the Albuquerque zoo

Finally, we enjoyed our visit and plan another one in a month. I hate the stark truth of the demise of so many of our animals around the globe. Have you ever thought about this growing concern? Hopefully, you have now.

Now what to do?


~WATCH MY NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, from Friday, June 24, 2022. Join us for a lively description of all my books!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo meme

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

Albuquerque · haiku · My Thoughts · Writing

ABQ Biopark & Haiku—Great Mixture!

Yes, I wrote haikus at the Albuquerque Biopark on Tuesday, July 5, 2022. Lin and I thought we’d get there on the 4th of July, specifically to see the Botanical Garden, but we didn’t make it. We have annual passes we don’t use enough, so we went on the 5th.

To provide enough time to see everything, we arrived about 9:45 AM and found the Biopark was not too busy. We hadn’t been there in a couple years, so naive, we went in the first place we saw. At first, it didn’t seem right, then pretty quickly, we realized we had mistakenly entered the Aquarium, so we continued and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Biopark’s Aquarium

As a teacher, we took our students to the Aquarium, but that was fifteen years ago. What changes they have made! First, I missed the stingray pool when you first enter and then when you’re down below; I remember eels in the enclosure that goes over your head. That used to freak me out!

Going down under, we enjoyed the big tank where we saw sharks, stingrays, and a variety of fish. It felt like a life-size aquarium. They provide seating—I could sit there for hours!

Lunch Break

When we finished at the Biopark’s Aquarium, we decided on an early lunch or a late breakfast at the Shark Reef Café. We enjoyed a delicious breakfast burrito smothered in green chili. As we sat and watched a variety of fish swim in front of us, the haikus started.

Are you suspended?

Floating in the water now

Supported by God!


A Stingray swims by

looking like he smiles, but

it’s his underside.


In the form of a 

fish, my God swims by smiling. 

HIs eyes reveal joy!

Biopark’s Botanical Garden

After finishing that scrumptious burrito, we felt rejuvenated and entered the Botanical Garden, our original destination. Lin has a gorgeous garden, so he had been expecting new discoveries on this trip.


A cacophony 

Of fish, flowers and people.

God’s celebration!

The Botanical Garden has thirteen sections:

Because of my battle with post-herpetic neuralgia after shingles, I still don’t have my regular stamina, so Lin went to the Rio Grande Heritage Farm, and I sat and wrote:


I sit and wait in

A cool spot. Fatigue comes soon.

Neuralgia remains. 


I am not old yet.

Shingles changed my life so much. 

Now I watch, silent. 


Children grace this place. 

A little girl sings her song. 

Inspired by God!  

Butterfly Pavilion

One of my favorite sections, the Butterfly Pavilion, featured one of my favorite creatures. We saw beautiful butterflies flying around and enjoying the delicious nectar of a variety of plants. Lin and I circled the whole enclosure and visited with the butterfly expert there. Lin asked about a butterfly I photographed in his garden during the week, and he identified it for us, a swallowtail. Then I asked about the coloring of a monarch. Next, the expert whipped out his well-worn book and showed us the monarch.

Then I had an unusual experience. A monarch landed on the brim of my hat in the front. The expert exclaimed, “That’s a good omen!” As soon as he said that, another butterfly, but not a monarch, landed on my brim in the back. Lin photographed the monarch on the front, but the butterfly in the back flew off before he caught it.

A monarch landed

On my hat­. Good omen!

Sheer joy I couldn’t see!

Normally,

I take lots of pictures anywhere I go, but I took limited photos this time—the ones featured in this blog like this amazing brightly colored insect attached to a piece of grass.

Insect on a blade of grass - Biopark

Instead of taking tons of pictures, I wrote haikus! How can you not write a haiku after seeing the Aquarium or the Botanical Garden?

Also, here’s a suggestion when you go to the Albuquerque Biopark’s Botanical Garden or any botanical garden anywhere. Lin had an app on his iPhone named PictureThis which has a yearly subscription, but he had some issues with it. So, he switched to Seek by iNaturalist, and he reminded me I told him about it. It’s free. I had a blast using Seek on different plants to identify them—it was so easy!

Finally,

The Aquarium, Botanical Garden and Zoo make up the Biopark in Albuquerque. We have plans to visit the zoo this Thursday. Do you regularly visit your zoo, botanical garden or aquarium in your city? Tell me about yours and your experience!



~WATCH MY NEW INTERVIEW on Chat & Spin Radio, from Friday, June 24, 2022. Join us for a lively description of all my books!

~MY FIRST AUDIOBOOK IS AVAILABLE: Go to Audible to buy my first audiobook, Let Me Tell You a Story. I’m working on Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? but have gotten stalled with shingles.

~Do you listen to podcasts? Here are three podcasts with interviews about my new book & some Flippo stories:

Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo

~Have you bought a copy of Flippo’s biography yet? Believe it or not—it’s been two years. Go here for your hardback or paperback: https://www.laradasbooks.com or at Amazon.

~For me, it’s Christmas all year long! Here’s a variety of Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When It’s Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? meme

~What happened to you in 2020-2021 during the coronavirus pandemic? Do you care? Are you on a spiritual path? Do you want to heal from the horrible effects of the pandemic of 2020? Visit my website to find out about my new book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? and my other five books and three cookbooks: https://laradasbooks.com

My Thoughts · poetry

Haiku—A Trip Down Memory Lane

Walking down memory lane to haiku
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

Haiku, an ancient Japanese form of writing poetry in three lines, has become one of my rediscovered loves. Since I took part in Natalie Goldberg’s “The Way of Writing” Workshop in March and April, and she instructed us in haiku writing, I have become enchanted anew. When I taught writing to middle school students, I included haiku as one of their poetry assignments, but I forgot this. As I remember now, I loved teaching haiku. I enforced the rule of syllable count for each line, which helped my students understand syllables. When writing one, they would tap out the syllables on their desks—and finally they understood syllables.

As I remembered my beloved poetry unit, what my students wrote blew me away! They loved the strict format of haiku, forcing them to focus. Also, it didn’t have to rhyme, and that freed them considerately.

This afternoon, I needed to see my students’ haikus again, so I just ran out to my storage shed, open up a box I have kept treasured “Teaching material,” in and rummage through certain assignments I’ve kept for decades. As I moved through the stack of papers, I held my breath. First, I found one folder named “Haikus.” Delicious short poems about middle school life in English and Spanish from my students—I taught Spanish so my students wrote haikus in both languages. I would love to share them with you, but I better not because of privacy issues, but once again I read haikus six-graders wrote in heartfelt three line poems about their lives. Still precious as ever.

Then I found my beloved poetry unit and read through the various poems I shared so any years ago, wanting to ignite the fire of poetry in them, and often I did! Because I guided them carefully with examples and then subjects to write about, many shared their deep hearts’ concerns and loves. I felt privileged to witness their poetry.

When I taught my poetry unit, I read them a large variety of poetry to whet their appetite. The haiku example I read them was one of Sonia Sanchez. I probably picked a Hispanic poet to connect my students to her because the majority were Hispanic.

Haiku by Sonia Sanchez

 

Today I participated in a three-hour writing workshop with Natalie, entitled “Write Your Pandemic Story—Three Lines at a Time,”—that’s what stirred up my reminiscing about my students and haiku writing. We delved in deeper with her, giving more instructions on writing haiku. She read premiere haikus from the ancient Japanese greats, then also haiku from more modern Japanese poets. After listening to these great poets, we wrote our own, divided up into breakout rooms of five and read some we just wrote. What a rewarding experience. We repeated going to the breakout room a second time after another teaching from Natalie and read again after writing more.

Traditionally haiku is written in three lines: five syllables for the first line, seven syllables for the second and five for the third. Natalie was first introduced to haiku by Allen Ginsberg in 1976 at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He discouraged his students in adhering to the syllable count, because we have words in English that have less importance, like articles of speech (the, an, that).

“The only real measure of a haiku, Allen told us that one hot July afternoon, ‘is upon hearing one, your mind experiences a small sensation of space’ — he paused; I leaned in, breathless — ‘which is nothing less than God.'”

Natalie Goldberg, Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku (2021): 4.

In Allen’s introduction, he identified four famous haiku men poets: Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki. In her book, Natalie added a woman, Chiyo-ni.

For more information, here’s a website that talks about the four men poets: Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki: https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-haiku-poems.html

Here’s one about Chiyo-ni: http://www.earlywomenmasters.net/chiyo/

So, what’s the attraction? For me it’s the brevity, the crispness, the focus. It’s like taking a picture of something valuable in words then ending with an emotion. Also, I realized as I wondered back to my teaching days how much I loved haiku then and that love spurred me on to take this workshop today.

Since my workshop in March and April with Natalie, I’ve tried my hand at writing haiku. Let me know what you think.

March 22

 Life so wonderful
 So deeply charismatic
 A jingle daily! 

 One foot here on earth
 Gather deceived loved one near 
 One foot there with you!

March 23

 I hate politics
 Republicans, Democrats
 Families divided!  

 Eight years ago, Mom
 Left here, entered a new sphere
 Relief in her eyes. 

March 24

 Mom’s unique fragrance
 Covered my heart yesterday
 Thanks for the visit.

March 25

 Spring snowstorm blankets
 The piñon trees in white shroud
 Green, white and blue skies.
  
 Can square dance survive?
 We love to dance and connect
 Celebrate the beat! 

March 27

 Words hurt; words can heal
 Like a bomb or like a salve.
 Today I chose health. 

Simple, direct! Haiku poetry began in the thirteenth century and has gained momentum recently. I wrote many of these poems during my daily walks—the words, the themes and imagines came. I beat out the rhythm of the syllables with my fingers like my students did so many years ago, ran home and jotted them down before I forgot them.

How about you? Three simple lines to describe something specific in your world! If you craft one, share it with me. I’d love to know I’m still a teacher of haiku! To make a comment and/or share your haiku, scroll down below the following information.


Previous Blog Posts You Might Have Missed

Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED YOUR AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY? AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Pre-Order My New Book, Coronavirus Reflections: Bitter or Better? To be released mid-Junehttps://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJNjMivaCzk2YcNWHGMoxG4FPsfVEqEQEzYbcYr4tX9cDPVQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Stop by my website for all the information you need about me & my books: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Drop by my Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/