The Great Door

The Open DoorAs you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.
Stephen Graham, The Gentle Art of Tramping, Holmes Press.

Recognize what is right in front of you, and that which is hidden from you will be revealed to you…. They asked him: When is the Kingdom coming? He replied: it is not coming in an easily observable manner. People will not be saying, “Look, it’s over here” or “Look, it’s over there.” Rather, the Kingdom … is already spread out on the earth, and people aren’t aware of it.
Gospel of Thomas, 5a, 113

Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.
–Winnie the Pooh

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

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

About Margaret D. McGee


  1. [editing this Jul. 19]

    tall grass…
    the call to practice
    doing nothing

  2. Marybeth Bland says:

    wings widespread
    lblack ravens descend
    Grabbing cherries

  3. Marybeth Bland says:

    And my last one for the day

    white puffy clouds
    cool the air
    I walk in comfort

  4. My grandson and I were down in the pasture today spraying weeds and talking about the different kinds of plants and grasses, which were the good ones and those that we needed to spray and kill. Some are harmful to the horses if eaten; others take up space where grass should grow. We talked about the times when he was younger when we used to go down into the canyon and dig for ‘treasures’, at times finding old bottles which I have on my window sill. We found 2 more ant hills that have formed since we last walked this area. Areas where the horses don’t eat the grass is getting tall and going to seed. As we walked through this grass on the way back, Adam found an eagle feather and stuck it in the band of my hat. He knows how I love bird feathers found in the yard. I always have one on my refrigerator, right now it is a tiny feather found stuck in the canes yesterday while we were picking berries in the garden. He gets a kick out of how excited I get over the little things. Enjoying nature with the boys is one of my favorite pastimes.

    Cradled in tall grass
    An eagle feather rests
    Now it rides in my hat

  5. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    The Winnie the Pooh quote reminded me of a haiku I wrote about two years ago:

    peering over
    the footbridge railing —
    flickering goldfish

    goldfish supposedly symbolize gold/wealth… I wonder if the haiku works if you don’t know that? In fact, I wonder if the haiku works even if you do know that???

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      I did not know that but loved the haiku. I can imagine Winnie the pooh and piglet peering over the bridge or me and nickel. Gold fish do sparkle . And left to our imagination who knows !

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Marybeth —

        Thanks! Sometimes it’s impossible to imagine what a haiku will trigger in a reader’s imagination!

    • I like this image, CaroleAnn. To me it doesn’t matter whether the reader knows that goldfish symbolize gold & wealth. Since the word “goldfish” includes “gold,” the idea is there.

      My only comment is that, on first reading, for an instant I see the goldfish peering over the footbridge railing. Then immediately I think, no, that’s not what it means! Of course the poet is peering over the railing. But to avoid even that momentary mis-reading, you could try something like:

      the view
      from the footbridge railing–
      flickering goldfish


      peering over
      the footbridge railing–
      a flicker of gold

      Thanks for sharing!

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Margaret —

        Oooops! Embarrassed that I didn’t realize about the “mis-reading”!

        I like your first suggested revision except I think I’d leave off the first “the”:

        from the footbridge railing —
        flickering goldfish

        • Margaret D. McGee says:

          Yes, I like that CaroleAnn. I like “view” as a one-word first line. Nice poem.

  6. carolyn says:

    snow white crystals
    shimmer in the filtered light
    from the cave mouth

    • Lovely image, Carolyn.

      You can get closer to a haiku structure (with break) with a little restructuring. I like either “cave mouth” or “filtered light” as a first line that sets the big picture.

      cave mouth
      white crystals shimmer
      in filtered light


      filtered light
      within the cave
      white crystals shimmer

      (For me, “snow” doesn’t add a lot to “white.”)

  7. haikucircle says:

    cicada shell
    memories of childhood

    • Wow, haikucircle, I love the way this poem takes me back to my own Ohio childhood! Many cicadas in my memory, but none out here in the PNW where I live today. So this haiku works for me in many levels. I remember the shells clinging to trees and littering the ground … and I remember the sound of the living cicadas so strongly. And of course childhood memories in themselves often have an edge, like the cicada song. So this short poem is very evocative — thanks.

      • haikucircle says:

        thanks Margaret…delighted the haiku took you back ; )

        I love how you drew in a connection with “an edge” as it relates to childhood and the cicada song…this opened up my own haiku even more for me

  8. carolyn says:

    blond curls
    blowing in the wind
    sun kissed cheeks

  9. Brad Offutt says:

    thin curved moon through
    thin straight window –
    who’s watching whom?

    Finally inside, after sunset, and with most blinds down, suddenly I saw the waxing moon perfectly centered in a tall but narrow window. For a split second I knew the moon was seeing me as I saw it. Talk about doors opening!

    • Brad, it’s great to hear from you. lovely image.

      I like the curved/straight contrast, but since most windows are straight, the word doesn’t really convey the particularity of the window. What about “tall,” and reversing the order of the adjectives in the 2nd line:

      thin curved moon through
      tall thin window —
      who’s watching whom?

      Actually, as I think of it, a thin moon would always be curved, wouldn’t it? Now, I know I’m destroying the echoes with thin and the curved/straight thing you’ve got going, but for me this better conveys the feeling you describe in the moment:

      the thin moon
      through a tall window —
      who’s watching whom?

      Having cut so many syllables, I felt there was room to add articles for natural syntax. The articles could be reversed for a slightly different feeling: a thin moon/through the tall window.

      Well, hope you don’t mind my playing around with your poem. A striking image & insight. Thanks!

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Wow! Lots to think about. I didn’t mind at all that you played around, Margaret. Makes me focus on what I felt in “that” moment. So here’s yet another version:

        moon as big as
        the window –
        who’s watching whom?

        At first I wanted to anthropomorphize – moon overpowers or moon shoulders through. But that’s not haiku, so was it necessary? Finally, not really. I also have a minimalist version that still somehow catches what I felt:

        who watches whom?

      • I like both your new versions, Brad.

  10. carolyn says:

    the window curtains
    flap in the evening breeze
    the scent of rain

    • Margaret D. McGee says:

      Oh yes, the scent of rain! David and I remarked on it yesterday. Just got the smallest sprinkles, but it’s been so long since we had rain, the air was completely transformed. The scent of rain evokes so many memories. I love the way you juxtapose the aroma with the flapping window curtains, Carolyn.

      • carolyn says:

        Thanks Mrytle! We had thunder but no rain. Funny isn’t it how we complain about too much rain then complain when we don’t have rain.

  11. carolyn says:

    Second thoughts to use fewer articles

    window curtains
    flapping in the evening breeze
    scent of rain

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Carolyn, I really like this. We LOVE the (brief) summer in the Pacific Northwest and were going to sit out on the deck through the evening. Then – a shower! We deployed an awning and sat under it, watching the differences in colors and feeling the effects of what my grandpa called “sultry weather.” For me, the memories were of hot, mid-western summers when those colors and that weather bespoke possibly violent lines of thunderstorms and maybe even a tornado. I like it better here!

    • I like this 2nd version very much, Carolyn.

      And … since you replied earlier to “Myrtle,” I realize I should probably offer a clarifying note to those following this comment stream who haven’t taken an online class from me. In an earlier reply to Carolyn, I inadvertently replied through another account of mine, under the name “myrtlecave.” As soon as I realized what I’d done, I went into WordPress and edited the comment to show that it came from me.

      “Myrtle Cave” is an alias that I use when I’m teaching an online class, so that I can check into the online classroom as either the teacher or as a student. It helps me figure out what’s going on if one of the students is having technical problems. I check into the classroom as Myrtle the student, and I can see what other students are seeing. Myrtle Cave is the name of my maternal great-grandmother, and I have fond memories of her, which is why I chose her name for my alias.

      Probably more than you wanted to know! Just didn’t want anyone to think we had a phantom posting comments.

      • carolyn says:

        I kinda like the idea of a phantom floating around. I also like the name Myrtle Cave. It sounds so mysterious. That is why I replied to Myrtle.

      • Yes, I love the name Myrtle Cave — that’s why I use it! Her husband’s name (my great-grandfather) was Ira. I like the name Ira Cave, too.

  12. carolyn says:

    Thanks Brad! Did you ever use the word close to describe hot and humid weather? It is common in my area of Ohio. BTW I like the moon poems.

    streams through the trees
    an owl hoots

    • Brad Offutt says:

      I like your “night image.” Reminds me of evenings on my folks’ farm many years ago. But no, in eastern Jackson County MO (Harry Truman country) we didn’t say “close.” And only older generations at that time said “sultry.” Mostly we just said “muggy” – a term my Army-brat-and-American-Southwest spouse also used as a kid.

    • Carolyn, I really like the juxtaposition of moonlight and owl hoots. Here’s a thought that turns the middle line into a pivot, so it goes with either the 1st or 3rd lines:

      streaming through the trees
      owl hoots

      • Why didn’t I think of a pivot line? Yes I like!!! The moon sometimes looks like a big eye and owls have big eyes. We have a barn owl in the neighborhood.

  13. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    My response to the first quote:

    under tangled roots
    a rabbit hole opens —
    wildflowers blossom

  14. carolyn says:

    vase of flowers spills
    in the dark of night
    glowing cat eyes

  15. wilting leaf bows in rain

    • Lovely image, haikucircle. I often push back against personification in haiku, but in this case the use of “bows” feels okay to me. The motion of the leaf is the motion of a bow, which makes it feel less like personification, and more like an allusion. Anyway, I like it.

      I also have a strong preference for natural syntax, which sometimes means adding an article or two to avoid “Tonto-speak.” I like the spareness of this one-line poem, but it does feel a bit stilted to me.

      the wilting leaf bows in rain

      For me, that reads more naturally, so the syntax doesn’t draw attention to itself.

  16. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Another haiku in response to the first quote… comments welcomed!

    along the beach
    is a door creaking open?
    stones against the tide

    • I like “against” in this poem, CaroleAnn. It makes me think of resistance in general, which relates to the door opening or not opening.

      I often want to use the question syntax in my haiku, but I’ll tell you, I usually find that I edit it away in later drafts. Of course this is a poem-by-poem thing … I’m not saying that a question never works. But it’s tough. For me the question doesn’t quite work in this poem. The problem is that, as a reader, I don’t really want to ask myself that question. I’m not there. I’d rather have the poem create the experience of the door opening, or even the experience of contemplating doors and openings … and not the experience of wondering whether the door is opening.

      But hey, that’s just me.

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Margaret —

        How about:

        along the beach
        hearing a door creak open —
        stones against the tide

        Out of curosity I checked my computer files of haiku and discovered about 12-15 haiku written in the question format… and you’re right — only 2-3 of those ‘work’.
        I think I’ll try rewriting the other ones soon. Thanks for pointing out the problem using the question format…

      • Yes, I like that much better, CaroleAnn.
        ne more little tweak — since “creak” is a sound, you might be able to do without “hearing.”

        along the beach
        a door creaks open–
        stones against the tide

  17. After Mr. T’s death, I participated in a journaling through grief workshop. In one project the counselor gave each of us sunflower seeds to plant in biodegradable pots. I planted my seeds in three pots that I kept in the house until the plants were big enough to be transplanted outside. The deer immediately attacked them. Two plants died and the third was bedraggled to say the least. Friends suggested that we plant the sunflower in their fenced backyard. The three of us planted the sunflower in a sunny corner of their garden. Soon the plant had new leaves. We watched and hoped for a flower. Sure enough the plant produced a small blossom. We were thrilled. My friends saved the seed and we planted it the following year. Still the flower was small. Again we saved the seed and planted it this year. The seed grew into a tall sturdy plant and produced a bud that became a large flower filled with seeds of hope for tomorrow.

    lifts in the valley
    the great door opens

    • Carolyn, this is a lovely haibun. I really like the way your capping haiku brings in a totally different image that both reflects the prose and expands its world. You are developing quite a collection of Mr. T haibun!

      • carolyn says:

        Mr. T changed my life when he came into it and profoundly changed it when he left it. It is a topic dear to my heart — so many doors to learn to open.

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Carolyn, thank you. Fog lifted here this morning; the door is open. Sunflowers, I think, see through doors. They always seem to me to be seeing things I want to see too.

  18. Brad Offutt says:

    Yesterday was my father’s birthday. He would be 101 years old, were he still on this earth. He was a practical man, an engineer, who gave much to his family and to his community. I have a few of his things because each one of them engenders special memories each time I use it. At 70 I know more than ever how much a part of me he is.

    July’s grass
    dry and brown
    living still

    • Brad, I like the juxtaposition of the summer grass with your memories of your father, because the grass is still alive in its roots, and the memories are about roots.
      Might be interesting to lift that up a bit more in the third line of the haiku. Might be interesting if “root” or “roots” was in that line…

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Thanks, Margaret! How delightfully different we all are in how we see and hear things! Now I’ve tried things like:
        yet the roots still live
        living from the roots
        the root doesn’t die
        rooted in life

        Of them all, I like the last one best even if it’s kind of esoteric for haiku.

        BUT – what you saw is different than what I was seeing when I created the haiku. My father is not only alive in my memories. He’s alive through what he did and what he created and what he left. He’s alive in me. And in my belief system he’s in fact alive because I do not believe that death signals the end of life any more than seeing “dead” grass means that the grass is actually dead. Long way of saying that I guess I’d rather leave this haiku the way it is.

      • Brad, I love your thoughts about how your father stays alive, not only in your memories, but in all he did, all he touched, and in you, too. Your poem is lovely the way it is.

    • staring at me
      in the mirror
      mothers reflection

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Wow, Carolyn, I can take that either way. Are you thrilled that you are so like her or are you upset that you have turned into her? “Staring” makes me feel a kind of negative vibe; “smiling” would be a whole different feeling!

  19. carolyn says:

    Brad, I don’t have that connotation of the staring. I think of looking intently as I am always surprised at how much I look like mom. I am glad I look like her. She was a woman ahead of her time — born in 1901. Being very poor she always made something positive out of nothing. BTW we don’t have the same smile. I use look – peer- ?

  20. Brad Offutt says:

    Carolyn, that’s beautiful! I don’t look much like either parent – be happy if I did. My spouse says that there’s a family resemblance though. For your haiku, how about “surprising me”? Or “making me smile”?

    • To enter this conversation… I agree with Brad that “stare” has a slightly negative connotation. Of the options I’ve seen so far, I like “peering at me” or “making me smile” best for a new first line.
      (Personally, my own family resemblance is much more to my father’s side than my mother’s. So much so, that I’ve had the experience of someone coming up to me and guessing that I was his daughter, when they’d known him for many years but didn’t know me. That was startling!)

  21. Brad Offutt says:

    grey fog, red flowers,
    sudden color flash and blur –

    • Brad, the other day I was sitting on the deck, and a hummingbird flew by so close to me, I felt the breeze from its wings on my arm. Then it hovered just a few feet away, and we looked at each other.
      In your poem, I like the color combination of grey and red very much. For me, the word “color” in the middle line could be cut. The word “flash” contains as much color information as the word “color” does.

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Margaret, you’re right! It’s better without “color.” Funny how my mind works. I was “seeing” again the flash, the blur. Was it green? Was it another color? Well, I’ll just say “color.” All along, “flash” by itself captures the moment. Or (were I sure of the color) I could have said, “sudden green blur,” or even “sudden blur green.” These guys love the hanging basket Sandy put up on the deck, and we can see them from inside too. The fog made this moment especially striking – almost mystical.

  22. Marybeth Bland says:

    Wow. I have been gone from here only about three weeks and everyone’s words are so beautiful! Glad I dropped back in.
    I am suppose to look like my father but as I am nearing my late fifties I sometimes see my mothers mother staring back at me . Is it the chin I wonder? She would be around 125 I believe.

    we talk on face time
    my mothers face shines bright
    new wrinkles greet the old

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      I just realized I used the word face twice. Maybe I should change the second face to smile? I am not sure if that captures what I meant.

      • Marybeth, I like “new wrinkles greet the old” a lot. And I like the first line, too. For me, the poem gets stronger if you focus on those two lines. Playing around with the words:

        mother & daughter
        on face time new wrinkles
        greet the old

  23. Marybeth Bland says:

    This was the haiku I wanted to write. Yesterday I walked down the ramp to the pot that holds my small garden. It was time for the first harvest.

    Ravens perched on trees
    watch as I pick bush beans
    my dog takes the first bite

    This seems like too many words. Any ideas?

    • Marybeth,here are a couple ideas for shortening the first two lines:

      ravens on trees
      watch me pick bush beans

      I don’t see a spare word in the last line.

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Ok. I will go with that.
        Like the way you did the one wth my mom and me also. I will see if I can rework it on my own. Thanks so much for the feedback

  24. Poets, wanted to let you know that I just added a Link to my Links page of devotional haiku, written by Dan Haase and inspired by passages from the Bible. You can find the link by clicking “About” in the menu at the top of this page, then Links, then scroll down to links about Haiku. It’s at the bottom of that section.

  25. fierce winds
    howling in the night
    a coyote

    • As you know, Carolyn, I’m a big fan of middle lines that pivot, so I like that about this poem. But for me, there’s not quite enough happening in the third line. I want the line to stand more on its own … to not be quite so dependent on the middle line. Would help if the 3rd line even just placed the coyote more specifically … “a coyote behind the barn” (that’s kinda long but you see what I mean.)

  26. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    I re-read the quotes and the following poem came to mind:

    miniature doors
    down by the river –
    soft flower petals opening
    to the sun

    I’m not at all sure what it means though so I’ve not been able to condense it to a haiku…
    ever happen to any one else??? Any suggestions/comments???

    • Oh yes, I have had this experience…I think this is beautiful imagery you have laid out in these words. I wonder if you might simply remove the second line as well as the “-ing” on opening? Might it read like this:

      miniature doors
      soft flower petals open
      to the sun

      How important is the image of the river to you? Do you feel you loose too much by taking out that line? Thanks for sharing ~ this brightened my day.

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        This sounds nice as a rework. CarolAnne I love your images.

        I discovered the radio station KPLU is having a haiku contest. They want it to be five seven five. It needs to be about food, cooking, eating etc. I posted a few.

        If anyone wants to enter deadline is agust 23.

        Here is one of mine

        Peas fall from my hand
        My dog eats what’s on the floor
        Dinner is at six

  27. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    haikucircle and Marybeth —

    Thank you for your comments….

    Since the river image is not very important — not even sure where it came from! — it seems that eliminating L2 from my version makes the poem work! Thanks!

    • Yes, I agree that CaroleAnn’s poem works better as a haiku without the river. (Maybe the river came from the Winnie the Poo quote?) Thanks for sharing these images, CaroleAnn, and thanks to all for the interesting feedback.

  28. Marybeth Bland says:

    Peep peep peep
    somewhere near the bird sings
    the cat pauses

    • Marybeth, I like the image of the cat pausing.

      I wonder if you could change one of the articles to “a” to avoid the repetition of the?

      In fact, now that I look at it, I wonder if “peep peep peep” tells me it’s a bird, so the second line could be cut in half:

      peep peep peep
      somewhere near
      a cat pauses

      What do you think?

  29. southbound geese
    land in perfect formation
    darkness settles in

  30. I like it also Marybeth. I have never seen geese land like this flock. After settling in the hayfield, all that could be seen was their black necks kinda like pipes sticking out of the earth. One could feel the very oneness with the earth — a very touching scene.

  31. With short swift strokes she makes wiggles, squiggles and curlicues with the crayon. Oh this red is pretty – so is the blue — and the green — and this yellow is gorgeous, she says to herself. A few more strokes and her picture will be complete.
    “Callie,” cries a wide-eyed young mother, “What have you done?”

    new paint
    on the walls
    a cover up

    • Hah! I identify with both the mother and the artist!

      (and Carolyn, just to let you know how I experienced the haibun: When I first read it, the prose and poem came across to me as being in the same time frame, so I pictured the crayon covering up new paint. That is, that the walls had just been painted, and the child was “ruining” the fresh new color. Then I realized that the poem probably meant walls were painted later, to cover up the crayon art. If you want to revise, you might think about a transition between the prose and the poem, in terms of time passing.)

      • I see what you mean.Will try to revise. The walls were newly painted before Callie colored on them and then the walls were painted again. I didn’t dare laugh but I wanted to.

      • Do you have any suggestions?

      • New paint both before & after — Great!

        I like that the first part of the prose is from Callie’s experience. If the walls were just painted, maybe that’s her inspiration — the lovely canvas in a fresh new background color. She might be seeing how beautiful her colors are against the [what color?] background. Maybe the room has a new-paint smell while she’s working. All that could add impact to the mother’s dismay.

        Then in the haiku, you might make it clear that there’s been a passage of time … or if you stay in the same time frame, the haiku could be from the mother’s point of view, looking ahead.

        sore muscles
        shaking the paint can
        to see what’s left

        I also like the idea that the mother considers a new color for the cover-up …. but now I’m spinning my own tale, not yours!

  32. Thanks Margaret! I will play around with this and see what I come up with.

    • Carolyn, I will look forward to the result!

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        I look forward to it also. A beautiful idea for a poem or haiku or story.

        Yesterday, my dear friend took me to REI so I could buy some clothes for fall. All day it had been cool. The weather changed at some point before we left. By the time we got to the store it was hot. I decided to walk into the store to practice what I had learned ib physical therapy.. My mistake. The heat reflected off the sidewalk . My body was drained. I became a limp rag. Nickel was panting by my side.
        We went upstairs to find the clothes.

        a wet towel
        drapes my neck
        I try on a coat

  33. Marybeth Bland says:

    Thursday my other friend took nickel and I downtown to wak along the waterfront. So much to see .

    I sketch boats
    water laps against the pier
    my dog sniffs

  34. Marybeth Bland says:

    I think I might rework the first haiku. Will check in later

    • Marybeth, I like your first haiku with the story of going to REI. I like the implied temperature contrasts in the haiku, the cool wet towel, juxtaposed with trying on coats.

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Ok. I was concerned that it was short. The second line almost matching the first.
        Maybe I should stop focusing on length .

      • Marybeth, there are yellow leaves on our lane, too.

        I’m playing around with your lines, trying to get one break instead of two. A single break after the first or second line, rather than a break after both the first and second lines, sets up a more interesting rhythm. What do you think of this:

        a sign of fall
        in lingering heat
        yellow leaves

        Without re-arranging the lines:

        though heat lingers
        I spot a sign of fall
        yellow leaves

      • Regarding “a wet towel” and length … yes, I do like to set up the short-long-short rhythm in haiku. Best not to toss in syllables for that alone, but to make each word count. If you can come up with a longer middle line for this poem that adds more meaning to the moment, it might be stronger. I do like it that you have one break in this poem (not two).

  35. Marybeth Bland says:

    heat lingers
    I spot a sign of fall
    yellow leaves

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      I like the first line , though heat lingers. Originally I had written, as heat lingers. Then I cut the word as, but though works the way I wanted

  36. Last week Natalie, Adam and I went riding to scope out a new trail near the small city of Sumner. It was a perfect cool overcast morning for a ride. Upon calling the horses they came right up to the barn and poked their noses into their halters, loaded themselves up in the trailer and we headed out. Obviously, they enjoy these outings.

    The trail ended up to be too short for planning a second visit but was exciting in its own way. The trail was along the White river, asphalt for walkers with grass shoulders for horses. Before we got out of the truck to unload the horses it started raining. Being as there was three of us and just the two horses, I came along to walk. A brief discussion developed about whether we wanted to go in the rain I was all for it rain or not, so we unloaded and geared up the horses with their bridles and bareback pads. Off we went and soon found ourselves in the outskirts of town where the trail ended so back we went the other way, past the truck and headed in the other direction. The walk and the rain was wonderful and refreshing as was listening to the river close by the trail as I walked along with the horses and took several pictures of my daughter and grandson. This end of the trail ended all too soon also, but in a very exciting way.

    I have lived in this area all my life and have driven countless of times over the White river bridge and a few miles down the road have driven over the Puyallup river bridges, but have never seen the site where these rivers merge. This was the day! As we continued walking along the trail widened into a picnic area and suddenly we could also see water through the brush on both sides of us. I rushed to a sand point where the trail ended and found myself at the point where the two rivers merged. Natalie and Adam were laughing at how excited I was at this discovery. Seeing this wide expanse of water before me where the two rivers blended into one was thrilling. I know, it doesn’t take much to excite me but this was huge. I have always wondered where these two rivers met and here I was standing between these old familiar rivers finally observing this thrill of nature for the first time. At least thrilling to me.

    Since it is fishing season there were many men lined up along the banks taking their chance at a catch. As I studied and absorbed this new discovery, I was able to see exactly, the sharp line where the waters in both rivers met. The White river had a gray cast to it and the Puyallup river had a tan cast to it and the line was clearly visible far down the river, even evident which river had the strongest current noticing that the tan water pushed the gray water toward its bank before the waters blended. I enjoyed so much, this adventure and new discovery basically right in my own back yard living only a few miles away.

    As we turned back, Natalie and Adam insisted I jump on Sapphire for the ride back and I enjoyed that as well. I sat on the mare and admired the river once more from a higher point of view before we turned back. We took a side trail and discovered we see this trail from the road as we travel to one of our other riding locations and never knew how to access it.
    When we got home and unloaded and grained the horses, we set out to the Tacoma Mall as Natalie had specific school shopping to do, and I found a wonderfully comfortable pair of $50.00 walking shorts for $4.00. Now how can you beat a day like that?

    Riding horseback
    Watching rivers merge
    Colors blend.


    • Sharon, what a wonderful scene! Thank you for sharing. I was right with you in the excitement of seeing two familiar rivers converge. It felt very true to nature, and also very true to the inner life. This is a strong scene.

      The haiku at the end basically repeats key elements of the scene from the prose. The last line, “colors blend,” underscores many aspects of the day for me … not only the colors of the river, but also the generations coming together. Might be interesting to write a haiku that keeps “colors blend” but brings in a new element with the other two lines … something from the day that’s not in the prose, or something complementary to the day that also involves colors blending.

      And I’ll repeat/restate a comment I just gave to Marybeth … the haiku “rhythm” comes across better if two of the three lines read as a single phrase. So there’s one longer phrase, broken into two lines, and one shorter fragment for the third (or first) line.

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      I love your essay about your ride. And $4 for shorte. Wow! I was celebrating buying a beaded shirt marked down from $60 to $15.


    • Brad Offutt says:

      What a lovely story, full of “pictures” that I enjoy “seeing!”

  37. last nail
    goes in the new shed roof
    softly falling rain

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      Wonderful! Wish it would rain here.

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Wow, Carolyn, you took me right back to working on the farm when I was in high school. I really like the twist between the just-finished roof and – oops – rain! And the shed is covered! Gotta ask – what was the roofing material?

    • Carolyn, I especially like the sound contrast in this poem — the hard sound of the nail going into the new roof, and the soft sound of the falling rain.

  38. Marybeth Bland says:

    my birtday
    a raspberry pie

  39. Marybeth Bland says:

    Thanks. It is going well. Had my first ukulele lesson today. I have been teaching myself but enjoyed playing with another.
    Nickel just wants to lie on the deck. And Sharon made the pie and dropped it off .wondrful!

  40. Marybeth Bland says:

    A rainy day
    Lying on the couch

  41. Marybeth Bland says:

    Rain falls
    my plants awaken
    all is good

    • Hi Marybeth,

      Yes it rained here too, after a long dry spell, and all is good!
      What do you think of this to mix up the pattern of the lines a little, and run the first two lines together for a single break before the 3rd line:

      in rainfall
      my plants awaken
      all is good

      (I’m at work on a new posting for September … hope to have it up soon.)

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Yes I like that better. I guess everyone else is away. My news for you and all the others who know Nickel. I have heard from Paws. They believe they have found a new dog for me. She is a yellow lab almost white and part retriever. She could be here in three to four months! Nickel will go to the farm. His vet said he will grieve for a couple of days. I am excited for my new dog but will miss Mr Nickel so. We will visit. He is ready to retire. Too much bothers him. I am constantly refining our activities for him.

        Another haiku about this maybe

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        If you start September soon please post my message there

  42. Dear poets,

    For those who follow this posting through the comments, this is to let you know that we have a new posting, “The Round Jubilance.” 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 “The Round Jubilance,” then click the box that says “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.”

    I’m looking forward to where the creative spirit leads us next.