The Round Jubilance

Apple Water Color

This is an apple, not a peach. But I think it still has its round jubilance.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
— Li-Young Lee, excerpted from “From Blossoms,” as found on the web site Poem Hunter.

Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.
— Mother Teresa, from Love: A Fruit Always in Season, Daily Meditations by Mother Theresa (Ignatius Press, 1987)

We invite you to spend time in contemplation with these words from wise ones. 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. wisps of fog
    across neighboring fields
    the taste of dawn

  2. This comment came in from MaryBeth at the end of the previous posting … At MaryBeth’s request, I’m moving it over here so that replies can be with haiku responses to the current month.

    From MaryBeth: 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.

  3. moonflowers open up
    in the gathering dusk
    love blossoms

  4. I think I have one too many syllables in the first line. I can drop the up?

  5. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Here’s my first haiku in response to the new quotes…. Comments welcomed…

    loving God
    I take a bite of melon —
    rich juice fills me

    • Hi CaroleAnn,

      The first two lines of this haiku very well work for me. Somehow they go together in a surprising way. The first line is very “spiritual,” and then the second line just goes straight for the sensual. The opposites come together in a satisfying way.

      For me, the third line doesn’t add anything. When I read the second line, then the sensation of the rich melon juice comes along with it.

      Haiku in English are usually three-line poems, but in fact they can be two lines, or even one line. What would you think of this as a two-line poem?

      WordPress doesn’t handle leading spaces in comments very well, so I can’t format this the way I want. I’d like to see “loving God” centered over the second line. I’ll add leading periods to show that, but would take the leading periods out on the page.

      ……loving God
      I take a bite of melon

      To me this is both surprising and satisfying.

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Margaret —

        I’m not sure if the 2-line haiku feels unfinished to me just because I’m so used to 3-line haiku or because I keep feeling a need for there to be some connection between the “spiritual” first line and the sensual second line…. Perhaps something like this would work?

        seeking God
        I take a bite of melon —
        His love fills me

      • Hi CaroleAnn,

        I can understand that you want the third line, for both symmetry and a feeling of completeness.

        I liked “loving God” but have to say that “seeking God” is also very interesting in this poem. I like it better.

        With “seeking,” I think “rich juice” works better. (I’m going back to your original third line.) It feels like a call & response.

        seeking God
        I take a bite of melon
        rich juice fills me

        My own tendency is to stay as sensual and concrete as possible. In fact, if this were my poem, I might go in the direction of “rich juice fills my mouth” or “rich juice on my tongue” or even “rich juice on my chin” for the sense of abundance, overflow. But it’s your poem, not mine!

        thanks for sharing this bite of melon.

  6. Fingers of autumn
    Paint the morning dark and gray
    Hot apple cider

  7. curls of smoke
    from the neighbors chimney
    rain in the downspout

  8. Marybeth Bland says:

    A stellar jay
    lightening strikes

  9. Marybeth Bland says:

    To everyone
    My new dog is a he. He is a yellow lab part retriever . His name is Friday. I was born on a Friday. And he is due to arrive in Decembef. They will check in with me next month

  10. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Margaret —

    Yes, I think I like the

    seeking God
    I take a bite of melon —
    rich juice fills me

    version best….

    Thanks for your suggestions about my “bite of melon”!

  11. evening stroll —
    under the walnut tree
    the walnut

  12. For some unknown reason Haikucircle’s walnut poem triggered a memory of our time in Mainz. We saw wonderful museums, visited gorgeous gardens, ate sausages from street vendors, and munched on fasnachts — a fried doughnut goodie. I, also, much to his chagrin, got us really lost. It took a couple of hours to find our hotel again. A few extra kisses got me back in his good graces – well almost. The incident was mentioned a time or two over the next few years.

    strolling arm in arm
    along the promenade
    runs the river Rhine

    • Carolyn…how wonderful that the walnut haiku would take you back to the shade of an old memory ~ I am delighted by your haibun reflection

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Carolyn, we lived for many years in Germany – Berlin and Munich. Sandy always chose the little grey roads on the map and we were often, as Daniel Boone once put it, not “lost,” but somewhat “bewildered.” Your memory awakens many for me. And, Haiku Circle, your lovely walnut brought back so much to me – like the walnut trees my grandpa planted and I helped water through the dry, mid-western summers. Today walnuts (not as round creations, rather their insides) are a daily part of our diet.

      • Brad…what a wonderful reflection/response ~ proof again why poetry matters and is desperately needed. It is fantastic to see how three simply lines could stir up so much. Here’s to finding space each day to be still and pay attention!

      • Brad, I understand Sandy completely!

        four wheels
        go round on little gray roads
        two men growling

        • Brad Offutt says:

          Carolyn, bless ou! After more than four decades together, I have stopped growling and learned to count my many blessings!

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Thanks all for your memories and poems. My dear friend was born in Germany and lived there as a child when Hitler was in power. She and I often road our bikes down unknown roads and loved it. We also volunteered.

        Bowls of soup
        handed to strangers
        God bless all

  13. I’m enjoying all the memories and poems, inspired by an evening stroll and a walnut.

    climbing the trail
    underfoot a rich mash
    of bygone leaves

  14. Marybeth Bland says:

    Our lips touch
    a taste of salt
    sweet reunion

  15. Marybeth Bland says:

    I have reworked this

    Our lips touch
    a taste of sweetness
    we embrace

  16. Marybeth Bland says:

    My friend is having her house remodeled. She mentioned she will have little time for herself. This will go on for three months

    house painters arrive
    song birds fly away

    • I like the first two lines of this poem, Marybeth. and I get it that your friend will be experiencing chaos for the next three months during the remodel, but for me the word “chaos” doesn’t really flow from the first two lines of the poem. What about a third line that continues the 2nd line in some way, so there’s not a break between the second and third lines? Or you could eliminate the break between the first and second lines this way:

      when house painters arrive
      song birds fly away

      Then the break could be after the second line, and the third line, whatever it is, could stand on its own. What do you think?

  17. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Hi! As always, any comments welcomed.

    pears hang from the tree —
    deep roots receive water
    from a loving God

    • Marybeth Bland says:


      I am not an expert but what if the last line just read
      a loving God

    • Hi CaroleAnn, I like the pears on the tree, and the deep roots receiving water.

      To respond to MaryBeth’s comment — personally I like it that this poem has one break, after the first line. If you cut “from, then it has a break after both the first and the second line.Though it’s not a hard and fast rule, I think one break generally works better for the rhythm of the haiku form.

      If there was no break after the first line, you could cut “from” from the third line. Something like this:

      pears on the tree
      receive water through deep roots–
      a loving God

      I don’t see that as necessarily an improvement — just an example of how to work with lines to put the single break in different places.

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Thanks Margaret and Marybeth for your comments…
        Margaret , thanks for your suggested revision — I see how it’s possible to revise and rearrange lines to change where the break comes in…. At the moment, though, I’m leaning toward this version:

        pears on the tree —
        deep roots receive water
        from a loving God

      • CaroleAnn, I like your revision. I like your new first line. Cutting “hang” eliminates an echo in subject/verb structure between the first and second lines, and that helps the flow of the poem.

        In general, I’ve noticed that too many verbs can be a problem in haiku. Verbs carry so much energy, it’s like two or more verbs work against each other in haiku’s compressed form. When you cut “hang,” the energy in “receive” has more room to breathe. The poem finds its center.

  18. Nature came up & bit me yesterday afternoon. Working in the woods around our house, I inadvertently disturbed a wasp nest. Didn’t know it until I felt the first burning sting on my right ankle, looked down, and there was a little devil hanging onto my sock. I always have a strong local reaction to stings which can quickly build to debilitating swelling lasting for days. Speed is of the essence in heading off an over-active immune system, so I brushed the wasp aside & started for the house at a run. And they came after me! Another sting on my right ankle, then a third on my left ankle. I was yelling for David as I ran, telling him what was happening. When I got home he had the benadryl and water waiting. I got a fourth and final sting on my hand while pulling off my work gloves.

    After swallowing the anti-histamine, I quickly changed into pajamas. David was a prince — getting ice for the ankles and hand, going through my clothes to be sure no more wasps were hiding in the folds, and keeping his eye on me for the first hour or so in case the reaction didn’t stay local. (I’ve never had the system-wide reaction to stings that can kill, but my local reactions are so strong we always watch for the signs — difficulty breathing, itching all over the body, hives, nausea. If any of that ever happens to you after a sting, go straight to the emergency room.)

    So then I spent the evening with my feet up and ankles iced. Considerable pain at first. By bedtime it had calmed down enough for me to sleep. This morning my ankles are still a bit swollen, and the itching right around the stings is driving me nuts … and thank God, I am walking, and it’s not too bad.

    tires on gravel
    our dog raises his head
    and growls

    • Margaret,
      I hope you are on the mend from your harrowing experience!
      Take care

      your dog
      has guard duty
      my cat snoozes

    • Brad Offutt says:

      How scarey! I’m so glad you’re okay. Stings never bother me much, so I’m too easy-going about things that sting. A million years ago I was painting the corn crib for Grandpa, and he suggested I clear a hornets’ nest in the top. I said those guys didn’t scare me! So, while up on a 20-foor ladder with a bucket of aluminum paint, I got a visitation on the back of my neck, Idiot-like, I smacked the offending hornet with the paint brush. The sting was minor. Getting aluminum paint out of my hair was not. Next day I cleared the hornets’ nest. In a couple of weeks a haircut removed the evidence of my hubris!

    • Marybeth Bland says:

      CarolAnn, I really like this version.

      And thanks Margaret for educating us about verbs in haiku

  19. Marybeth Bland says:

    Margaret, that sounded like an awful experience . Glad you are doing better and such wonderful care from your hubby!

    in answer to your dog haiku,
    a friend was coming this morning to take us to the ver so Nickel could get his nails clipped. After I got him dressed in his working vest I told him Rose was coming. Oh he loves my friend.

    a knock on the door
    nickel barks
    and wags his tail

  20. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Thanks Margaret for the explanation about verbs in haiku.
    Who would of thought eliminating one word could change a haiku so much!!

  21. Brad Offutt says:

    cat’s-eye peering still
    over mountain gone all silver –
    season’s last full moon

    • Brad Offutt says:

      Summer’s ending on this little island. The local folks who came for vacation have gone home. The tourists are dribbling away too. Georgia runs a beautiful little bar-eatery on an east-facing mountainside. When it’s clear, the view equals anything anywhere! I’ll e-mail a photo; it does not do justice.

      • Poet’s, I just uploaded Brad’s photo to the Poet’s Gallery, which you’ll find in the sidebar on this page. It’s the first picture in the gallery. Click to see it full size.

        Thanks, Brad, for sharing this lovely time & place.

    • Brad, I especially like the cat’s eye and the silver in this image.

      I notice that it’s almost 5-7-5. What do you think of cutting “all” in the 2nd line? “gone silver” works for me … in my mind’s eye I see the mountain all silver without the “all.”

      And if you wanted to forget the syllables all together, “harvest moon” as the last line sets the season as well. (The harvest moon is the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.)

      • Brad Offutt says:

        Margaret, wonderful! The new site is great!! Now – I first had “gone silver” but you know me and meter. For me, “gone all silver” sounds better. Yet I have no problem at all with leaving out the “all”. As to harvest moon, I agree with you but – it is important to me that it is the “season’s last.” Summer has ended and new things are happening. We say good bye and also hello to Fall. So I guess I’ll stay with my original version. Fellow poets, comments welcome!

  22. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Just posting so I can start receiving the email comments again!

    • CaroleAnn, thanks for digging in there and finding the post and signing up for email comments! This week my time has been spent figuring out one issue after another with the site transfer. I think they’re mostly resolved, and I’m about ready to send some email again, asking folks to check it out.

  23. Marybeth Bland says:

    I forgot my haiku! Will check back when I remember

  24. prophecy—
    during the sermon
    an infant’s coo

  25. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Before the September topic runs out… Comments welcomed

    apples cling to the tree —
    the winds sweep by whistling
    a song of praise

    • CaroleAnn, I like this combination of images. My suggestion is just a small tweak, and I’m not sure why it sounds better to me this way. I made “winds” singular, and changed “a” to “it.” For me, this sharpens the image of the wind:

      apples cling to the tree —
      the wind sweeps by whistling
      its song of praise

  26. Just posted a new Lectio+Haiku for October. You can see it on the Home page: “Beneath the Surface – October’s Lectio+Haiku.” Hope to see you there!