Listening to Autumn

Autumn is slipping through summer’s branches
     and I am listening.
I am listening to the dying
     flowing forth from autumn’s being.
I am listening to the life
     hidden in the dying.

— excerpted from the poem “Listening to Autumn” by Macrina Wiederkehr

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these words from Macrina Wiederkehr. Then join in the conversation with your own poetic response.

You can enter into conversation with this text by adding your haiku response below.

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. starlit night
    across a fertile valley
    the smell of hay

  2. bittersweet perfume
    lingers on the morning breeze

    • Lovely, Carolyn. Did you know that the white chrysanthemum is associated with grief in Japanese poetry? That makes a link between your poem and the dying in Wiederkehr’s lines.
      And the sense of smell links your poem to mine.

      • I found that out after I checked in a dictionary to make sure I had spelled chrysanthemum correctly but I didn’t know it when I posted the poem. I was trying to link mine with yours. Today has not been one of my better days – settled the last of our estate.I took a long walk and this is what I came up with. All so appropriate huh?

        autumn rain
        slapping against my window panes
        brittle branches

      • Another moving autumn poem. You are in touch with the feeling of the season.

        Holding you in my heart.

    • I think “bittersweet” is a good word for the paradox of life and death.

  3. Thank you, Margaret!
    (I have one too many syllables in the middle line of second poem.)

    wisps of acrid smoke
    rise from the dying embers
    live red sparks

    • I think you could cut “slapping.” Makes a quieter, more poignant poem but I still hear the sound in my mind.

      • Yes, cut the slapping and I still hear the sound. I like it better.

        I need to do something with the last line in the third one. I want to convey the idea that even in dying embers there is still a spark of life — life goes on. You know, Margaret, writing haiku changes the way one views things.- life isn’t always good but it is what one makes it.

      • Yes, I agree that writing haiku changes the way one views things. Part of the practice of writing haiku, for me anyway, is to practice letting things just be what they are. Which seems to open a door into peace & acceptance.

        As for your third line above … you know, you might get the effect you want by re-arranging the existing lines. Here’s a two-line rearrangement:

        above dying embers
        acrid smoke and live red sparks

        Or 3-line:

        dying embers…
        wisps of acrid smoke freckled
        with live red sparks

        I kind of like the 2-line better. Not crazy about “freckled” but felt the phrase needed a verb. Maybe not … “freckled” could be cut.

        You might play around with all the possible order of images and see what happens.

    • I love the image. If you still want to do something with the last line “living sparks” seems to flow off my tounge better. But then you may want to change dying to dead because I know many people don’t like to many -ings in their poems. Actually, I think the third line is fine as it is.

      • Hi Kathy — welcome to Lectio+Haiku!

        Yes, I like “living sparks” too, and have the same problem with too many -ing’s in the poem. Haiku’s compression makes that kind of echo so … loud.
        Thanks for joining the conversation.

      • Sharon Nowicki says:

        I like the thoughts of this one and have been toying with it in my head for a while, coming up with this variation. Wondering if it makes any sense to the reader. I have been thinking I like the dormancy idea rather than dying or dead.

        Wisps of acrid smoke
        Rise with flecks of ambers
        Fade to dormancy

    • rewrite

      acrid smoke curls
      above dying embers
      sparks flicker

    • Seeing, smelling, hearing….and feeling the warmth.

  4. Janet Stanwyck says:

    Summer waves goodby
    With dark clouds and cool winds.
    Windows close.

  5. dying milkweed
    tiny seeds enter the sky
    born on fluff

  6. evening shadows
    on the weathered barn
    scarlet woodbine

  7. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Tomato leaves part
    Red orbs beckon

  8. crimson gold rustling
    symphony of transience
    green cymbals tingling

  9. Marybeth Bland says:

    A gentle wind
    Rustles in autumn

  10. trumpet flowers
    herald autumn’s call

  11. Brad Offutt says:

    wave, wave upon wave –
    today’s sea smells of Fall

    When we visit this old, old place, it always strikes me that the rollers coming ashore have been doing the same thing for thousands of years. And yet, even though the days are still hot here, last night autumn coolness sneaked ashore and today looks like Fall. Now I know that Persephone has headed back down to her winter home.

  12. red wine soft music
    before a crackling fire
    autumn evening

  13. James Irving Mann says:

    autum’s sacrifice
    a flight to eternity
    birthing holy ground

  14. Only the wind sings
    in black bird’s abandoned home-

  15. I am so happy to have found this site. I am reading your book and although I have been writing haiku for some years now, I did not share it until recently. It is so nourishing to have a community to share it with and to learn from. Thank you.

    • Welcome, Barbara! So glad that you found us. I just checked out your blog, The Healthy Nut — very nice. I love your photographs. Look forward to reading more of your haiku here in the Courtyard’s Lectio+Haiku page.

  16. Sharon Nowicki says:

    I was at the cabin for 3 days with the girls and my grandsons. We had a garage sale down there. It is a huge annual event in Tokeland, 30 miles of people having garage sales all on the same weekend. It was so much fun, we are going to do it again next year. I only had one chair to sell and no one wanted it so we left it out by the road with a free sign. Hopefully it will be gone on Friday when we take a group of seniors from church down there for a day-trip.

    The weather was warm and dry like here, but fog comes over the water in the mornings now and blows inland with the breeze then breaks up. I was watching patches of fog float down the road between the cabin and the bay like soldiers marching along with clear patches between the ghostly pillars. It was interesting.

    Waves of fog
    floating past in unison
    autumn marches in

    • Nice haibun, Sharon. This form really works for you.

      Here’s a suggestion that has to do with conventions of the haibun form. The juxtaposition of haiku with prose can be more powerful if the haiku doesn’t repeat words & concepts in the prose, but complements the prose in some way. The image in the haiku might even be different from the image in the prose, showing a different angle on the same feeling.

      In this haibun, you could do that in one of two ways. You could keep the fog-as-marching/soldier imagery in the prose, then use something else–maybe something else that reminds you of soldiers, or maybe soldiers themselves–in the haiku.

      Or you could leave the haiku as it is and edit back the second paragraph of the prose. I like the ghostly pillars, but can you edit out the soldiers marching? Let the haiku carry that weight.

      I’d also cut “It was interesting.” Your haibun shows that the scene was interesting to you, and makes it interesting to us.

      What do you think?

      • Sharon Nowicki says:

        Margaret, I love your feedback. I have printed it and added it to my file. I can see where you are taking me with these suggestions and it gives me a lot to think about. I will work on rewriting this.
        Thanks so much for your response, as always it is very helpfu to all of us on this site.

  17. joe proctor says:

    harvest over
    two apples dangle
    resisting the fall

    into a spider’s web
    bound and tied

  18. Brad Offutt says:

    Dragon Island

    little ferry’s light
    gone behind dragon island
    farewell summer sun

    • Even though I don’t know “dragon island,” I still get a clear picture from this haiku, Brad. Its feeling evokes the passage into autumn. I especially like that the ferry is the “little ferry,” and that the island is “dragon island.”

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Thank you! The island is called Nikouria but it looks like a dragon; I’ll e-mail you a picture. All summer the little ferry’s evening schedule was in bright sun, but no more. Ferry schedules may not change, but seasons do!

    • Janet Stanwyck says:

      Brad, thank you for the warm inside haiku. I was waiting to comment because I was really curious about dragon island. Now, with more info I looked it up and it sure does look like a dragon. Do you spend all summer in Greece?

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Janet, bless you for looking up Nikouria. Its local history is more connected with the local man who ran goats there for many years, and with being a lookout against pirates, than with any resemblance to dragons. We lived in Greece for many years but now, God willing, come twice a year, May-June and September-October. For us, July and August in Port Townsend are the ideal summer and the heat in Greece is a bit too much, not to mention the summer crowds. These are very difficult days for Greece, given the extreme recession here, but friends are hanging in there and the real, physical beauty, has not changed. I highly recommend it!

    • I added the photo that Brad sent me to his haiku comment. Together, they make a nice haiga.

    • Sharon Nowicki says:

      What a beautiful sight!

  19. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    listen to the dying —
    footfalls through
    the crinkly leaves

    • Hi, CaroleAnn — Welcome to Lectio+Haiku.

      And thanks for your lovely haiku. I like the way it connects Wiederkehr’s phrase to this familiar autumn moment. The image of footfalls through crinkly leaves carries so much sensory detail: sound, sight, even scent. There’s a poignancy to the juxtaposition. The image of listening to a dying person comes to my mind, along with a resonance between that image and walking through fallen leaves.
      Lots here. Thank you!

    • Sharon Nowicki says:

      Very nice, especially since this is my favorite season.

    • Brad Offutt says:

      CarolAnne, I find this haiku very moving. I’d not thought of those walks as allowing me to listen to the dying. And part of the message I hear is that this dying is necessary for the coming rebirth. So I must be patient!

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Brad — Thank you for your comments on my haiku… Yes, the “dying is necessary for the coming rebirth” is the part that’s sometimes hard to remember especially when what’s dying is something we’re attached to… Patience indeed!

    • in see through trees
      awaiting springtime babies
      old cradles

  20. Sharon Nowicki says:

    I went outside at dawn this morning to catch up on some watering in the flower beds. I have been working the berries and tomato beds recently. Each has its own time on this farmer’s schedule. The dead berry canes are all cleaned out and tossed over the fence to burn later and the new canes almost all trimmed and tied up. It looks so neat and tidy when they are contained formally in their rows.

    I was enjoying the feel of cool air and thinking about the projects waiting for me when the rains finally come and drive me inside. Especially up to my room upstairs with the CD’s and sewing machine. I have a couple of unfinished quilting projects and more on my list to start. Plus an apron I promised a friend that I finally found the perfect fabric for.

    I was also thinking about the smoke from fires in Western Washington and the destruction so much of our beautiful Northwest landscape including the wild animals and people’s homes, being thankful for my home being safe, thankful that I was breathing clean crisp air and could see the sun rise clear and bright on our side of the mountain.

    Petunia blossom
    Reflecting red on the wall
    Autumn morning sun

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Sharon, thank you for the whole picture. I especially like the “reflecting red” part, and I love the image of you going away from the rain and to your CD-and-sewing haven. Here on Amorgos the tourists welcome the continuing sunny weather but the local folks all want the fall rain. Only after a good rain will the olives be ready for picking and pressing into the best oil we’ve ever tasted.

      • Sharon Nowicki says:

        Very interesting Brad. And thanks for the comments. It seems that farmers in every part of the world need their local seasons to perform on schedule or their production goes awry. I am with your locals in waiting for the rain and love the thought of being amidst an olive pressing season. You are so fortunate. Maybe you could bless us with a Haiku on that subject?

  21. Dear poets,

    I want to share with you something happening in my life right now. My father, who was 88, died this past Saturday afternoon after a brief illness. Though he had been slowing down in the last few years, this developed & happened quite suddenly. I’m sharing with you because you are part of my creative community, and because it feels so fitting in this particular stream. And because it means I might not be as present in the comments during the next week or so. I want you to know that I will be reading and loving your posts, as always.

    My father loved music and he loved to sing. Here is a haiku of Basho’s to mark his passing:

    A cicada shell;
    it sang itself
    utterly away.


  22. Marybeth Bland says:

    Here are two I wrote before I found this site again

    One brown leaf
    twisting down
    the first of fall

    Wild fires burn
    the canyon alit
    the old well
    gone dry

  23. Brad Offutt says:

    ancient olives wait
    for rain to make it autumn –
    solstice brought no oil

    Sharon, it’s still dry and rather hot here. Tourists think it’s warm fall but nature and the farmers know it’s still summer. Our oil bottle is rather low!

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      I like this also. Are you still in Greece?

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Thanks for your kind words! We are still in Greece, for another couple of weeks. Lovely friends solved our oil problem this morning – they gave us a liter of their own oil pressed last fall from their own olives. You can’t buy oil like this anywhere!

    • The word “old” has been the subject of much discussion in the haiku literary world. On the one hand, as a modifier it often evokes a haiku-appropriate feeling of transience, and the beauty of natural decay. On the other hand, it’s been used so often in haiku, it’s kind of worn out. Too much “old” gets old!

      But “ancient” in this poem is different, and evokes the generations of olive trees in that region. I like “ancient olives.”

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Thank you – glad you’re home safe! And as of right now, the olives are still dry, although ancient.

  24. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Excellent haiku! I like the word ‘ancient’. It is a much deeper thought than just a tree, also ancient and wait in the same line is significant. Very nice.

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Bless you! I’ve learned so much from Margaret that I can admit to transgressing haiku rules here – too much narrative and too little of “in the moment.” But the poem says what I wanted to say. And yes, “ancient” was important for me. Some of these trees are amazing. They know so much more than we do.

  25. Marybeth Bland says:

    A friend
    Passes away
    As the full moon

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      I really messed up this haiku

      A friend
      passes away
      As the full moon rises

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Marybeth, I’m sorry for the pain of your loss. I’m not so sure you messed up the first version; I think your muse was guiding you. I really like the image of losing a friend being like the passing of the full moon – so welcome and so beautiful but then gone. And I like the huckleberries too!

      • Yes, I agree with Brad – I like the first “mistake” version, as well as the second. The first is more evocative in a way, because I finish the thought myself.

  26. Marybeth Bland says:

    The first one was about a friend from charge who died last night of a stroke.
    The full moon is actually today.

    And on a lighter side

    almost ready
    for November feast

  27. Marybeth Bland says:

    I meant a friend from church, I lost a friend from the YMCA two weeks ago,

  28. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Very sorry for your losses Marybeth. I love your huckleberry haiku.

  29. Marybeth Bland says:

    an old woman knits
    as the record turns
    needles click in time

    • Brad Offutt says:

      I especially like this one. The clicking in time brought a smile and a lovely memory of my grandma’s Victrola (hand-wound!).

      • Marybeth Bland says:


        I was thinking of my grandparents. They had many older gadgets but not a record player that you must wind.

        Now Margaret you mentioned words being over used in haiku. I was thinking of that when I wrote this one, I wanted to say The record spins but that seemed a phrase so often used.

        Working with the words can be challenging.

        And. Margaret glad to see you back and hope your are doing ok.

      • Thanks, Marybeth — I’m doing okay. Home now and catching up. My father’s service was Friday, and it was good.

        (You know, I kind of like “spins” because of the way it goes with “knits.” As in, spinning yarn…)

    • I like the implied sound of the record juxtaposed with the click of the knitting needles.

  30. Marybeth Bland says:

    a great blue heron
    Perches on rooftop
    unnoticed below

  31. Marybeth Bland says:

    Sunday morning
    Sitting on thr deck
    We listen

    A chickadee whistles
    A nuthatch calls

  32. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    I reread the “autumn” poem again and this time the phrase “life hidden in the dying” jumped out… so I wrote the following haiku:

    squirrel finding
    life hidden in the dying —
    stowing his acorns

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      This is beautiful and so true! Thanks

    • Love it.

      A suggestion: if the first line is “a squirrel finds” then you don’t have quite as many -ing’s. (It’s always a challenge to deal with repetition in such a compressed verse form.) Another advantage: present tense gives the poem a “in the now moment” feeling, and less a sense of a steady state.

      What do you think?

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        I agree. Another challenge for me with haiku is to get the rhythm right…
        How about: a squirrel finds
        life hidden in the dying —
        stowing his acorns
        I debated whether to change L3 to “stows his acorns” but the rhythm of that doesn’t sound quite right…

      • Yes, I like that better.
        What about cutting “his” in the 3rd line? For some reason, that has a better rhythm to my ears. (Different ears hear different rhythms!)

        a squirrel finds
        life hidden in the dying —
        stowing acorns

  33. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Chilly morning air
    shadows growing longer
    harvest moon

    • Yes, I’ve noticed the colder mornings … and evenings.

      Sharon, it seems to me that this poem is evoking a general state of the season, rather than a moment in time … is that right? It almost seems like a whole day: morning in the first line, afternoon in the second, and night in the third.

  34. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Yes, now that you point that out it is a whole day. I was thinking that this whole day was a small moment of time in an entire season. But I see how it reads different to the reader now looking at it as you said.

    Your comments are always so helpful keeping us on track. I appreciate them.


  35. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Margaret —
    a squirrel finds
    life hidden in the dying —
    stowing acorns

    sounds just right to my sense of rhythm!
    Thanks for the suggestions!
    — CaroleAnn

  36. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Marybeth —
    That’s OK ’bout my name…
    I like the revised ‘squirrel’ haiku too… Margaret always makes ‘right-on’ suggestions!
    — CaroleAnn

  37. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Field of clover
    White blossom stands tall
    Bumblebee buffet

  38. Marybeth Bland says:

    I wrote a note here a few days ago but it never showed. So here goes again.

    In a fecal smear blood was detected. So now I need to see a G.I. Dr to determine if I am able to do the prep work at home for a colonoscopy or if if should go in the hospital . They want to rule out cancer.
    This dr office requires three day notice to cancel appointments. And they kept calling for screening over the phone. My hectic day got even busier

    I wrote these haikus that day.

    My dog snores
    As a gentle wind blows

    The washer goes kaput
    As the phone rings and rings
    No one can answer

    • Marybeth, I’m sending good thoughts your way.

      I also like the dog snoring while the gentle wind blows. Nice combination.

      And I like the washer going kaput as the phone rings and rings … for me, this one could also be a 2-liner, without the third line, which is implied by the first two. Just a thought.

      Hope that you get clarity from the medico’s, and that you have some rest in these hectic days.

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Marybeth, I’m so sorry for the current worries – I know first hand what this kind of stuff is like! How wonderful to draw peace from a peaceful dog, and your haiku captures it so well. I take Margaret’s point about the last haiku as a two-liner, but I really love the third line. It goes way beyond the phone ringing – right now there is a lot that no one can answer. And how wonderful that in the midst of so much, you take time to center and create beautiful haiku. Thank you!

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Thanks Brad,

        Part of me feels it is more female but must see the dr on Wednesday and then take the test, I am trying not to think of it.

        When the G,I, office callee Nickel knew by my voice that something was wrong

  39. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Marybeth,I am concerned about your recent medical issue and hope all goes well.
    I love your dog haiku, it gives a large picture in just 2 lines.

  40. Marybeth Bland says:

    The books are ready
    They need to be read
    Where is the rain

    • This is a funny take on how our September and early October is feeling. Summer came so late, I was loving how it stretched into fall. But now I’m ready for the rains to come — and where are they? Makes me think of years past, when the first real autumn rain fell and I felt a sense of relief and renewal. Usually that feeling was a surprise, but this year I’m aware and waiting for it … like those books.

      You might work on the first two lines so they flow together, to make one break after the second line. That gives the third line more emphasis. I tried flipping them … something like this:

      needing to be read
      the books are ready
      Where is the rain?

  41. gaggle of geese
    gleans harvested field
    coyote watching

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      I like the coyote watching.
      I can feel him ready for his harvest

    • All the g’s are nice.
      For me, “harvested” isn’t needed … I see gleaning as happening after the harvest. Then you might add an article or two for more natural language.

      a gaggle of geese
      gleans the field
      coyote watching

      What do you think?

      • Yep, I think you are right … gleans implies harvested and the addition of the articles does make it more natural language.

        I wish I could have stayed to see if the coyote caught a goose.

        Takk så mye — Thanks much!


  42. Marybeth Bland says:

    It rains at noon
    We snuggle by the fire

    • Nice moment. The first line might be shortened & strengthened, something like this:

      noon rain
      we snuggle by the fire

      Or “rain at noon” or “midday showers.”

      You have room for a little more info … I wonder if you are reading the same thing, together Or…?

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      Margaret, my first line was rain at noon but I thought it sounded like a weather report. And I was snuggling with nickel while reading.

      I will work more,

      My test is Wensday. It will be outpatient at the hospital. And could be something very simple , hemmroids . That makes me feel very old if it is


  43. Sharon Nowidki says:

    Even though a muscle sprain has temporarily reduced me to a wheel chair and a walker, I was able to spend 3 days on vacation with my daughter Natalie. We went over to the lovely little German town of Levenworth. where we have visited a number of times before. The trip through the mountains was beautiful with all the fall color.

    Gold and red leaves
    Checker steep rocky cliffs
    Autumn mountain pass.

    Even with the ‘wheels’ I was able to check out all the shops and we also took a couple of road trips. We sited two big horn sheep in a residential neighborhood nestled in acres of orchards. We spent a few minutes looking each over before they dropped over the other side of a hill.

    There has been forest fires in Eastern Washington for a couple of months now, and many of those towns are encased in smoke. We didn’t spend much time there. Traveling through the hill sides we saw the horrible evidence of fire, still some smoke raising from the devastation. Some fires were started from lightening, at least one from people which is even more sad.

    Fire scarred trees
    Can a forest shed tears
    From mans carelessness

    • Sharon, my sympathies on your muscle spasms. Hope that you are getting around a little better now.

      I so enjoy your haibun. The mix of prose and poetry works so well. You set the scene in prose, then offer poetic punctuation, or a new color in verse.

      On your first haiku, you might be able to cut “steep” and “autumn.” When I read “rocky cliffs,” I see steep cliffs. And when I read “gold and red leaves,” I know the season.
      Traditionalists in the haiku form say that the best haiku contain only one seasonal reference. I don’t make that a strict rule in my own poetry, but I do find that one seasonal reference is usually all it takes, and then I have more space to work with in the poem.

      On your second haiku, I’ll make a comment that has to do with my own taste, and you can take it or leave it. I like the first line very much, but have problems with the personification in the rest of the poem. I wonder if the second half of the poem could consist entirely of water dripping from the trees, without directly linking it to either tears or man’s carelessness? In a haiku, I’d rather evoke the feeling than state it directly.

  44. Marybeth Bland says:

    Great haikus. It was nice reading your story in between the haiku

  45. Marybeth Bland says:

    A cold rain falls
    My dog and I snuggle

    • Yes, Marybeth, I like this revision. On first reading, I imagine listening to the rain. But when I read it again, I realize that the listening could refer to many things … the rain, or music with rain in the background, or listening for a car to turn in the driveway, or …
      This poem expands every time I read it.
      P.S. Will be thinking of you tomorrow, sending prayers & best wishes your way.

  46. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Read the “Listening to Autumn” quote a third time and the ‘autumn slipping through summer branches’ phrase popped out at me this time… Remembering how surprised I was yesterday when more of the red blooms appeared in the tree outside my apartment altho it is October, I wrote the following haiku:

    autumn breeze —
    new bottle-brush blooms
    sway in the branches

    • Hi Carole Ann,

      I love the way you keep returning to “Listening to Autumn” and finding new inspiration. I too find those lines bring something to me every time I read them. That’s especially true after my father passed away last month.

      I really like the sounds in this poem, and the image of the bottle-brush blooms.

  47. Tanya Dyck Steinmann says:

    Kitten pounces
    her invisible prey —
    September hits hard.

    Hi… I am new to this site and new to the world of Haiku. Thought I would share this one I wrote as summer ended and I was feeling the hurried pace of “back to school”.

    • Sharon Nowidki says:

      Welcome Tanya. Love your Haiku. Very nicely done. The picture of the kitten makes me smile.

    • Welcome, Tanya! I especially like “invisible prey” in this poem — I immediately see the kitten playing her imaginary games, and think of all my own imaginary games! Thanks for posting.

  48. dry grass
    covers the meadow
    silent daisies bloom

    • Interesting what “silent” does in this poem. Without it, the scene is rather ordinary. And after all, daisies would be silent, wouldn’t they? I mean, what sounds do daisies make? Yet for me, the word brings silence to the whole poem, the whole scene.

  49. Brad Offutt says:

    grey rain
    dresses the trees –
    Hallowe’en witches

    • What fun — I like picturing the bare trees as Halloween witches, and I also like picturing small witches walking under the trees, possibly carrying bags of candy. Thanks, Brad, for those images.

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Margaret, you’re welcome! Those witches are not a malevolent image for me, just a very old and eerie one. I like your small witches with candy – they’ll be out and about soon. Already saw a witch offering candy at QFC, but “she” was not for real.

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      Brad I love it. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. And everyone I am fine just small internal hemmroids, . Prep day should have been in the hospital . Long story.

      She wants me back in five years for a two day preparation. My husband and I said no way, when we came home her statement for her services was in the mailbox.

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Marybeth, I’m so glad your situation turned out so well. I like “All Hallows’ Eve” too. It was even more fun when I was a kid, because it was safe for us to go trick-or-treating on our own. My sister and I always created our own costumes.

        • Marybeth Bland says:

          I trick or treater as a kid also. Back east they do it after school. The teenagers at night.

          Haloween is alive where we live. 70 or 80 come to our door. It is fun and magical. Nickel though gets scared

      • Yay, Marybeth! I’m glad for the good health news.

  50. Hi Haiku Poets,

    Yesterday I posted a brief report from the Seabeck Haiku Getaway, where the Port Townsend Haiku Group gave a reading called “Roots and Blooms.” Check it out here:

    And this afternoon I’m taking off for Bellingham, where I’ll facilitate a weekend retreat called “Autumn Light – Writing Haiku From Nature’s Sacred Text” at Stillpoint at Beckside retreat center.

    Looking forward to re-joining this conversation on my return.

    with blessings,

    • I enjoyed “Roots and Blooms” post! Tell us about “Autumn Light…”?
      Wish I had been braver about attending! Out of my league probably but one never knows unless one tries huh?
      carolyn t.

      • It would have been great to meet you in person at Seabeck, Carolyn. Maybe next year.

        It’s true that Seabeck attracts a bunch of high-power haiku poets. Some of them write amazing poems at the event itself, which generally makes me feel pretty lame. My haiku usually require many looks and edits before they come together … days or weeks later.

        But all kinds of poets go to Seabeck. On Friday I sat beside a woman who had never written haiku before — she had come with a friend who wrote haiku.

        Glad you enjoyed “Roots and Blooms.” I’m saving my report on “Autumn Light” for the next regular Lectio posting, because I want to use quotes and poems from the retreat in that posting. Coming soon (I hope!).

  51. Marybeth Bland says:

    Welcome to all who just joined

    a white flash
    flutters between rain drops
    juncos return

  52. warm carrots
    piled high in the garden
    dead leaves

    • Hmmm… carrots and leaves … interesting juxtaposition.

      I like each of the first and second lines, but am not sure how they go together. I eat a lot of carrots, warm and cold. So when I read “warm carrots,” I picture them in a serving dish or on my plate. Then “piled high in the garden” stops me. I try to picture a high pile of warm carrots in the garden and have trouble seeing it! The middle line goes fine with “dead leaves,” but for me the poem reads as though the middle line goes with both the first and the third lines, making a pivot.

      That could be solved by re-ordering the 2nd and 3rd lines, and/or using punctuation after the first.

      warm carrots–
      a high pile of dead leaves
      in the garden

      But I don’t know whether that edit takes the poem in a direction you don’t want to go…

      • The piles of dead leaves were used as a way of winterizing the carrots. Perhaps if I had used the gerund – warming, it would have conveyed the sense of life (at least to me) the leaves gave to the carrots by keeping them warm.
        Yes, it would be nice to meet!!!
        Looking forward to Autumn Light.
        Thanks for your work

  53. Marybeth Bland says:

    a small tree frog
    sounding so much larger

  54. Viking Halloween

    It was a natural for my Norwegian born fun loving husband to choose a Viking costume for Halloween. His tunic was fashioned from well worn fuzzy wuzzy car seat covers; leather from seen their better days chair cushions became leggings, wrist wraps, narrow straps and ties; a plaster lath was whittled and shaped into a sword and the lowly garbage can lid became a shining shield of honor. A helter-skelter blonde wig and a purchased helmet with horns embellished with padding and gold material sat atop his pate. In his belt he tucked a wine glass. Dressed in his finery he took off to pillage the neighbors’ wine stashes. Shouts of laughter and warm hugs as well as a sip or two of wine greeted him. Sometimes he took a woman prisoner and she walked with him to the next house. Other times he was taken prisoner and paraded to an unsuspecting neighbor’s house. There was an abundance of laughter at this turn of events. After he completed his pillaging expedition, he came home to share with me all the details; details that are now cherished memories.

    leaves of memory
    from the trunk of hidden life
    in autumn’s dying

  55. This haiku wrote itself after I took a long walk at the height of the autumn color show. I noticed how really raucous and joyous the trees seemed in spite of their impending hibernation – a kind of dying and entering the tomb of winter where only their roots are alive.
    My elderly mother, weak and failing at 90, still exhibits a quiet faith in the future. Her faith, rooted in a belief in the Resurrection, burns as brightly as the golden leaves on my walk.
    Both my hike and my mother seem connected in an important way to the season of autumn and to the poem, “Listening to Autumn.”

    knowing about spring…
     trees dress in orange and gold
    and laugh out loud

    • Marybeth Bland says:



      My parents near age 90 live in new jersey

      Waiting for the storm
      packed and ready
      Nowhere to go

    • Thanks, Barbara — I love like the image of brightly colored leaves being joyous. Don’t remember seeing that before. It’s like holding the wake before the death!

  56. Marybeth Bland says:

    I wrote this in morning Barbara yours in much better

    All in flame of red
    The small tree
    Dressed for fall

  57. tis midnight

    black shadows
    appear on the moon
    witch on a broom

    flickering flames
    glowing in the dark
    cat eyes

    shrieks of terror
    crack the night air

    Happy Halloween!

  58. Marybeth Bland says:

    Carolyn thanks for bringing back Halloween to me. I wrote a haiku about Sandy a few days ago,. My parents are ok but stuck in New Jersey. My brother is a manager if the only restaurant open on long island. My friend home might be flooded. My cousin in Virginia beach we have not heard from.

    The governor of new jersey said he might postpone haloween and have it when everything is better

    • You are welcome, Marybeth! I will keep your family in my thoughts. Hang in!

    • Prayers and best wishes for your family, Marybeth.

      And for all affected in the continuing path of the storms … and those who brave the weather to rescue people, fix power lines, clear roads, and other caring tasks … may God bless them, every one.

  59. Marybeth Bland says:

    A witch flys by
    a small bee buzzes the door
    trick or treat

    my black dog barks
    we throw them candy
    happy Halloween

    Thank you

  60. Marybeth Bland says:

    The beautiful tree
    looks frail

  61. Sharon Nowicki says:

    Dry leaves
    dance and spin
    winter wind

    • Oh no, Sharon, not winter wind already!
      But yes, I have to admit that I’ve felt it too.
      And that the dry leaves are dancing and spinning in the woods around my house.
      Sharon, with your habit of close observations, I’m not surprised that yours is the first poem this season that mentions “winter.”

  62. Dear haiku friends,

    Note that I’ve posted a new quotation for our lectio inspiration, at

    yours in radiant creation,