Love Lives Again

Rose OpeningHow did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being — otherwise, we all remain too frightened.

— Hafiz, “It Felt Love,” from The Gift: Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master (trans. Ladinsky), Penguin, 1999.

Now the green blade riseth from the buried grain,
wheat that in the dark earth many days has lain;
love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green.

John Macleod Campbell Crum (1872-1958),
from “Now the green blade riseth,” hymn 204
in the Episcopal Church Hymnal (1982).

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these words from the Sufi mystic poet Hafiz and an Easter hymn. 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. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Hi everyone! No haiku yet… just posting so I can request the email forwarding of all the haiku and comments…

  2. sunrise service–
    singing to the plum blossoms
    outside my kitchen window

    (I stepped outside, and there was one of the two flowering plums we have near the house. Our home is in the woods, so the trees are shaded and bloom later than they do in town. They’ve been opening up just this week, and I love it. The top branches of one are visible from the window above the kitchen sink, so I get to see them first thing every morning. Heaven. This is my Easter poem for the plum blossoms.)

  3. Oh, when I opened this post and read Hafiz’ words I felt like I knew exactly what he was talking about. I saw this from my sunroom window yesterday morning:

    a northern flicker
    grabs a piece of the sunlight
    on take-off

    The flicker has not visited my feeders all winter for some reason, but he came yesterday, to announce the return of the sun to my heart! For anyone who has never seen one of these birds, they are magnificent, with markings on the back, chest and neck , a perky red hat and, best of all, upon take-off, they reveal a golden color on their wings which is not visible unless they are in flight!

    Within a minute or two, a red-winged black bird arrived, the first one I’ve seen since last fall. They bring the warm weather with them from the south and I love walking near the wetlands and hearing their calls in early spring.

    The return of these birds is, for me, an Easter hymn – hope for the world… hope for the return of the warm sun and hope in the Risen Lord!

    • Barbara, thank you for your beautiful haiku and posting. I don’t get red-winged blackbirds around here (though I love them), but we do have flickers. They come to our suet feeder. I agree — magnificent birds, one of my favorites. I love that the flicker grabs a piece of sunlight in your poem.

  4. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Here’s my haiku…[or is a senryu?] …comments welcomed!

    coax my heart open —
    shyly soaking up
    the warmth of love

    • Hi CaroleAnn,

      Thanks for this poem — I like the first line especially — an unusual, tender prayer.

      Yes, your poem would be considered a senryu by those who make the distinction. A senryu is a short poem much like the haiku in form, but with the focus more on human nature (often human foibles) and not so much on the relationship between human nature and nature outside ourselves. A senryu doesn’t necessarily have a break (though yours does), and isn’t necessarily placed in a season. Often senryu are humorous, poking fun at human foibles. That’s not what you’re doing here, but I think most haiku scholars would still call this a senryu rather than a haiku.

      That said – all short poetry is welcome here In the Courtyard! Your verse makes me smile and reading it I feel my shoulders relax. A gift for the day.

  5. carolyn says:

    a red cheeked flicker
    taps for hours on the chimney
    spring love blossoming

    • Carolyn, I have a flicker who taps above my office door! I wonder if he is tapping love notes in flicker Morse code. I like your flicker’s red cheeks … they go with blossoming love.

      • carolyn says:

        It could be Morse code. I do wish you could have seen the antics of my little cat. She hasn’t spent this much energy in her entire life. She was just nuts! I certainly enjoyed the calamity.

  6. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Margaret —

    Thanks for your comments on my “coax my heart open” senryu…
    Here’s another try:

    feeling love —
    puppy’s playfulness puts
    a smile on my face

    Not sure if the “p” repetition works or is overdone???

    • Hi CaroleAnn,
      I like allteration in haiku and senryu, but in such a short verse form, a little goes a long way. So yes, for my ears, you have maybe one or two too many p’s in that stanza.

      What would work better for me is a more specific image than puppy’s playfulness–an image that puts a smile on the reader’s face, and resonates in some way with the first line “feeling love.” I’ll just make one up now … this might not be anything like the playfulness that put a smile on your face; it’s just an example of what I mean by a specific image:

      feeling love–
      puppy shreds the laces
      on my walking shoes

      That image makes me smile, because I imagine all the ways that love might be expressed in its elements. The puppy loves the shoes because of the association with walks. The owner loves the puppy, so takes the puppy on walks. The owner might be exasperated at the shredded shoelaces, and yet feel love at the puppy’s playfulness. It’s the specific elements of the image that resonate with the first line and make the poem work. (If it does work.)

      This is also closer to the spirit of senryu, because it’s slightly humorous, pokes fun at the human condition, and contains a concrete image. Even though senryu doesn’t focus on nature the way haiku does, the form still uses imagery to evoke an emotional response.

      So all that is to say … what exactly was the puppy doing that inspired you to write about feeling love?

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:


        Hi! Here’s my first revision of the “puppy” senryu:

        love in my laughter —
        puppy’s wiggle-dance
        welcomes my home

        But then I realized it didn’t have the puppy doing something perhaps not quite so loveable… so I tried again:

        love in my laughter —
        puppy chews my bills
        to welcome my home

        May have to keep trying on this one! Any suggestions welcomed!

      • Hi CaroleAnn,

        I like both those revisions, because they both create a picture in my mind. It’s interesting — I don’t know what kind of puppy, what color, how old, or anything else, but just the phrase “puppy’s wiggle-dance” creates a strong image in my mind. I don’t need all that other information, because I can see the wiggle-dance in my mind’s eye, and that makes me smile, too.

        And I like chewing bills … wry and funny.

  7. Marybeth Bland says:

    It is so nice to read everyone’s comments. Yes, where we once lived flickers were always around, with stellar jays. Now I am greeted by the songs of the red winged blackbirds. I have read though these birds can be mean at times, and now my haiku is more related to my dog and his appetite.

    my dog stares
    at his empty dish
    food time at noon

  8. carolyn says:

    As I lay with him, his breathing was slow and feather soft then there was nothing. I noted the time because the Hospice nurse needed it when she confirmed what my head and heart already knew. His daylight and darkness were one.

    After I prepared him for his journey, I sat down on the bed beside him. I took his hands in mine and pressed them to my lips. His hands were so soft – the skin so fragile. I loved his hands. I buried my face in our hands and thought about our yellow rose, the one known only to us.

    Thus began my winter of darkness – my winter of aloneness -my winter of no yellow rose. I did all the appropriate things – notified family and friends, published an obit, held a memorial service and settled his estate but I was drained – hollow. I had no yellow rose to bind me up and hold me together.

    One day a friend gave me a lovely kerchief with blue roses on it. I held that kerchief and traced the dark lines on those blue roses and thought. The more I looked at them and thought, the more I knew that nothing could take away or replace our yellow rose – the one so very private – so very personal – the core of our oneness. It belonged only to us and now it belonged to time.

    in its own time
    spring returns to the heart
    a sweet scent lingers

    carolyn temte

  9. Brad Offutt says:

    the cat chose me and
    I am moved because
    cats love selectively

    I’m away on business and friends here invited me to dinner last Saturday. One of their cats took to me immediately, and I to her. As we sipped wine after dinner, she climbed up on me and settled in; apparently she rarely does this to strangers. I’m so glad me friends could fill my glass so that I did not need to disturb the kitty! I’m sending Margaret a picture of this lovely moment.

    • Check out the Poet’s Gallery (in the sidebar on the top right of this page) to see Brad and his new friend.
      Brad, I especially like the phrase “the cat chose me.”

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Thanks, Margaret! That phrase came naturally because that’s what happened. It was most enjoyable; she’s a very nice cat.

  10. under a dark sky
    sprinkled with starlight
    two young raccoons play

    • Nice image, Carolyn.

      If you want a more haiku-like structure, could do something like this for an internal break:

      dark sky
      sprinkled with starlight
      two raccoons at play

  11. Marybeth Bland says:

    Beautiful birds
    fly over white blossoms
    the sun peaks out

    • Nice image, Marybeth. Do you happen to know the type of birds? Or does a particular type of bird “fit” this image for you? Specific names and numbers help create a picture in the reader’s mind.

      three robins
      fly over white blossoms
      the sun peeks out

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        They were redwinged blackbirds I believe. I thought if I just said beautiful birds a person could picture what ever they wanted. But maybe that is too vague

      • Marybeth, I know I’ve often advised cutting descriptive words, so that the reader can fill in the image. Now I guess I’m contradicting my own advice! And sometimes a generic noun like “bird” does do the job. The problem more often comes in using too many adjectives to pile on description, rather than choosing the one specific noun that fits the scene.

        Now that I look at your verse again, I think my real problem with the first line was with the word “beautiful.” I resisted it because it was like you were telling me how to feel.

        birds fly
        over white blossoms
        the sun peeks out

        In my mind’s eye, the image of birds flying over white blossoms is beautiful, so I don’t need to be told “beautiful.” And now I don’t even need to know what kind of bird!

        Though I do like the redwinged blackbirds, too.

        red-winged blackbirds
        fly over white blossoms
        the sun peeks out

        But I think I like “birds fly” best.

  12. Marybeth Bland says:

    You are right. Beautiful birds might throw some people off. I will go with birds fly.

    And actually I was not certain they were the redwinged blackbirds. It was the flying motion that drew me to write beautiful

  13. Marybeth Bland says:

    8 a.m.
    full spectrum rainbow
    over the lake

    a red tail hawk
    swoops down

  14. Marybeth Bland says:

    It would not have been seen if Nickel didn’t need a morning walk. Thanks to nickel.

  15. sea gulls and barn swallows
    in futile flight in gale forces
    high waves in the bay

    Carolyn Temte and Linda Gotowski

    • I goofed it! It should read

      sea gulls and swallows
      in futile flights in gale forces
      high waves in the bay

      Carolyn Temte and Linda Gutowski

      • Thanks, Carolyn and Linda — it was gusty here too yesterday. We had a tree come down across one of our paths in the woods. I heard the “whump!” as it landed during breakfast, then found the tree on a walk later in the day.

        I can picture the gull and swallows — both beautiful fliers — beating against the wind.

  16. streamers twirl
    around the colorful pole
    baskets left on steps

    flowers for her hair
    love blossoms


  17. Dear poets,

    For those who follow this posting through the comments, this is to let you know that we have a new posting for May, “My Tender Heart.” The conversation continues through moving, funny, and evocative new work — check it out!.

    You can get to it through the menu system at the top of the page. Choose Lectio+Haiku on the menu, and the new post will show up on top of the listing.

    Or, here’s the link to the new posting:

    To receive email notification of all comments, make a comment (add a haiku) to “My Tender Heart,” then click the box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.”

    Before turning to May’s posting, I encourage you to look through April’s postings one more time. We traveled deep into the human heart this month. I’m looking forward to where the creative spirit leads us in May.