The Will of the Wind – November’s Lectio+Haiku

Will of the Wind

The moon and the sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on.… every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.
—Matsuo Bashô (trans. Sam Hamill), Narrow Road to the Interior, Shambhala (1991).

The plants and flowers
I raised about my hut
I now surrender
To the will
Of the wind.
— Ryôkan (trans. John Stevens), Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryôkan, Shambhala (2004).

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

Comments

  1. With November we come into late autumn, which feels “homey” for me, a time of nesting, cooking soup, and watching leaves fall outside through a window. These two passages each make a reference to home, and also to surrender — even surrender of the carefully planted garden, or the fixed location of home itself. If autumn feels like home, it also feels like surrender of certainty, and the turn toward endings and beginnings.

    fallen leaves
    between rising puff balls
    the old path made new

    (have fiddled with this a bit since first posting…)

  2. Marybeth Bland says:

    a new born cries
    an old face
    smiles

  3. HAIBUN CCXCI: weight of glory

    Each of us is a stained glass narrative in need of light.

    moonrise
    through a thin veil of clouds—
    autumn debris

  4. I always dreaded autumn in my younger days….resisting the coming cold weather and the sense of loss that another year had slipped away. I no longer despair when the weather turns cool and the landscape lights itself on fire. I have learned to savor and at the same time, to gently let go, like the seeds carried on the wind.

    autumn afternoon –
    inhaling the scent
    leaf mold

    *
    dry leaves
    surrendering
    to the autumn wind
    *
    my breath
    mingling
    with November’s wind

    • Barbara you express one of the good things about accumulating years: I actually seem to learn a thing or two along the way!

      I like all three of these poems. The third, “my breath,” is my favorite.

      (On the first, did you mean the third line to start with “of” and read “of leaf mold”?)

      • I didn’t think I needed the ‘of’….but now that you mention it, the poem would read better with the ‘of’ I guess It is too fragmented as originally written! Thank you .

        The autumn ritual… the gradual disrobing of the trees continues as the temperature drops and the wind does its job.

        the last of the leaves
        wind dancing
        for the waxing moon

  5. Marybeth Bland says:

    the wind blows outside
    as the bride and groom kiss
    stirring memories

  6. I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder in my childhood as I read The Little House series. She remained a favorite author in my adulthood. As an adult I visited several of her homes and museums. I read many books about her and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.

    Spirituality was a big part of Laura’s life. Recently I read a collection of Laura’s inspirational writings edited by Stephen Hines. In one piece Laura reflected on the beauty of the world and one’s purpose in living. This short article gave me much food for thought.

    I looked at the moon and stars, the hills and valleys and the birds and bees. I pondered on the whys and wherefores of creation and purpose. It was a time of reflection and renewal.

    dandelion blooms
    in a rose bud vase
    now I see

  7. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    harmonizing
    with the wind I sing softly
    to myself

    Comments welcomed!

  8. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    Ooops! There’s supposed to be a larger space between the word “wind” and the “I” that doesn’t show up on the posted haiku…

    • CaroleAnn, the email notification that WordPress sent me did contain the extra spaces, but for some reason their comments don’t support those spaces. I’ve seen that before in poems where I set up the words to appear centered, and then they just show up flush left in the comment stream. Sometimes to force the visual effect in the WordPress comment box, I use a line of periods:

      harmonizing
      with the wind………I sing softly
      to myself

      Not exactly the same as the spaces, but at least you can see the separation.

      I like this poem & don’t have any suggestions for you.

      I’d just say that for my eyes, it works okay without the space. But it works with the space, too, so if you like it that way, keep it that way.

      • Hi CaroleAnn,
        While browsing through all the great poetry we’re getting this month, a thought came to me about your earlier poem “harmonizing.” This idea does away with your spacing in the 2nd line, so might break what you like about the poem, but thought I’d share it anyway.

        Currently your break is in the middle of the second line. This approach makes for a more conventional break that brings the singer & the wind closer together:

        harmonies…
        I sing softly
        with the wind

        I don’t really mind the unconventional break … just wanted to underscore that the poet is not alone, and this is what came out of that. What do you think?

        • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

          Margaret —

          Yes, I can see that the wording of your version brings the singer and the wind closer — and solves the unconventional spacing problem. . . I’m curious, though, if there’s any particular reason you changed “harmonizing” to “harmonies” ???

          • CaroleAnn —
            Hmmm … Why DID I do that? (smile)
            Might have been trying to end up with fewer verb forms in the poem. In general, verbs tend to pull against each other in haiku.
            Also “harmonies” makes the poem a little less centered on the poet. The poet is still there, with “I sing.” But “harmonies” lets me into the experience of the poet harmonizing with the wind, and also expand to other harmonies in life & nature. With “harmonizing” I stick pretty close to the poet harmonizing with the wind. A little harder to take off.
            And all that might be me justifying the change after the fact! If you like “harmonizing” better, then I think it works too.

  9. Marybeth Bland says:

    CarolAnn, I was inspired by your haiku and put my essence into it

    I strum my ukulele
    rain taps on the windows
    I harmonize

  10. Hi Poets,
    I’ve been offline for a couple of days — it’s great to check back in and read all you’ve been doing!

    home again…
    checking out all the new leaves
    on the porch steps

  11. streaks
    of peek a boo sunshine
    after the rain

  12. second thoughts

    peek a boo streaks
    of sunshine
    after the rain

  13. Pampas Grass exiled in fly-over Ohio
    Untamed tango heart
    Reaches for the Southern Cross.

    • Goodness, Tom, what an intriguing poem. I like the untamed tango heart reaching for the Southern Cross very much … even though I’m not sure what’s going on with it! This poem evokes many places — it seems to hold the whole world.

  14. It started when I was noticing how much of the popular Pampas grass had gone wild around here and how it’s an imported exotic species so far from home and the southern skies. 8 iterations later… longing for home and all that.

  15. Marybeth Bland says:

    I just wanted to tell everyone that my next service dog, Friday, is arriving December 9 much sooner than I thought. So we are busy trying to get the neighbors in back to fix their fence . Also loving nickel even more as he will soon leave for his retirement home. It is at an alpaca farm owned by a friend,

    Somewhere in there is a haiku. It just needs to work its way into my mind

  16. The lines by Ryokan really hit me. “Surrender” really stuck out to me.

    small wooden boat
    caught in a violent storm
    warm rain on my face

    • Kathy, I especially like the first and third lines of this poem. I feel as if it’s the surrender to the storm that opens up the space it takes to be able to notice the warmth of the rain.

    • This resonates with me….especially the feel of warm rain in spite of a raging storm. Recent events in my life have been gently teaching me to notice the presence of the Spirit not only in the struggle but apart from the struggle… and this poem seems to be saying that to me!

      the hiking stick
      on a steep climb
      wildflowers

  17. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    surrendering
    to the November journey —
    leaves under foot

    Comments welcomed!

  18. half-moon
    seen and unseen
    scene

    • Hmmm, haikucircle … this is an interesting poem, playing with language. The first two lines evoke a variety of moon images, which I like.

      The first image I got was of a half-moon on a cloudy night, at times seen and at other times unseen as the clouds move. Then another image came, or maybe it’s a realization rather than a different image. The realization that in viewing a half moon, the lighted half is seen, the unlighted half unseen. Which helps me notice the unseen half, makes me more aware. Nice.

      For me, the poem also invokes the line from the Nicene Creed: “… of all that is, seen and unseen.” I like that too.

      Well, I am circling around the third line. Looking at the half-moon, the poet notices that the “scene” contains elements that are both seen and unseen. Okay. But I already get that from the first two lines. For me, the third line is not bringing a lot to the party, beyond word play. Maybe that’s enough …

      Or maybe I’m missing something?

  19. Marybeth Bland says:

    Yesterday, we found out who owns the wooden fence in back. A panel is loose and the fence old. I have visions of Friday full of intrigue pushing through the panel and on to an unexpected adventure . So a new fence will be built hopefully in time. If not friends will create a back up one with chicken wire,

    we wait
    and pray
    my old dog sleeps

  20. When I was a kid, my father was in charge of putting small U.S. flags on the graves of veterans for various holiday celebrations. Several weeks before the first holiday, he and I walked through the local cemetery and made sure the veterans’ graves had small metal “flag pegs”. The flags were added at the time of the celebrations.

    As we walked, we read the epitaphs on the headstones. “Rest in peace Sweet William” always made me laugh. I was under the impression he was the meanest man in town. “My Little Lamb” inscribed on a concrete slab brought tears. “My beloved” described dour Mr. Isenberger. Other times the single word daughter, son, wife or husband expressed it all.

    Dad and I didn’t restrict our interest to just our local cemetery. If we were on a Sunday drive and saw a cemetery, we stopped. We visited private family gravesites that often were in states of decay, cemeteries along side of churches and abandoned burial sites. We weren’t picky; we enjoyed them all.

    love notes
    on marble and granite
    echoes of the past

    • What a lovely posting for Veterans Day. Thanks, Carolyn. I also enjoy visiting cemeteries, and have fond memories of the cemeteries in the Ohio town where I grew up. I used to visit them on my bicycle.

  21. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    listening. . .
    beyond the wailing of the winds
    God whispers

    Comments welcomed!

    • after the storm
      a branch on the porch swing
      morning silence

      • bright red
        winterberries on the ground
        broken branches

      • Carolyn, thanks for picking up my branch and carrying it forward in your poem. In your poem, I see the birds at work too!

        Here’s a re-thinking of my poetic response to CaroleAnn’s starting verse:

        after the storm
        an evergreen branch
        across the threshold

        This is closer to my real experience. We had a wind storm, and afterward there was a big, heavy Douglas fir branch on the landing outside my studio. I had to drag it aside just to get to work.

        In writing the earlier draft of this poem, I used “porch swing” (even though we don’t have a porch swing), because that felt like a more evocative image to me. But now I think “threshold” is not only more true-to-life, but better expresses my response to CaroleAnn’s poem. When the storm dies down, and silence returns, what’s left behind? It could be something that seems to block the way, but has a life of its own. The effort it takes to clear the path might open up new possibilities in life.

        I don’t know that all that comes across in my poem … probably not … but that’s where I was going with it.

        And even though I like the line “morning silence” in my first draft,”after the storm” contains the feeling of silence, so “morning silence” is redundant.

        And that’s a bit about Margaret’s re-writing process!

        I like it when one poem sparks another. I wonder where this poetic conversation will lead?

        • Margaret,
          I feel a much greater sense of serenity in your first version. I was glad the swing survived the storm.
          I confess the winterberries are a rework of something I wrote about a military cemetery that left a last on impression on my heart. To make the middle line a pivot

          red winterberries
          on the ground
          broken branches

          I still like the bright red though because it is what I saw.

          I am thinking on your threshold.

          • Thanks, Carolyn. I agree that the first version has more serenity. Now I’m thinking of putting morning silence back in there, and re-arranging the lines:

            morning silence
            a branch across my threshold
            after the storm

            Well, I don’t think that’s quite doing it either. Sometimes the images don’t come together.

            I like your first version better, especially the first line, “bright red.” The pivot isn’t worth giving that up. Just my opinion.

          • the threshold
            free of branches
            the woodpecker knocks

          • thanks for the threshold poem, Carolyn.

    • CaroleAnn, here’s another thought I had about your “listening…” poem. I wonder if the first line could be a specific sound that goes with the wind like a whisper. The current first line of “listening…” tells me that the poet is listening, but it doesn’t really cause me to prick up my own ears. It gives me a sense of the poet’s experience without evoking my own, shared experience.

      So … all those branch responses made me think of this:

      branches to and fro–
      beyond the wailing of the winds
      God whispers

      That evokes a sensory experience — the whisper-y sound of branches moving in the wind. Which evokes the experience of listening. From the sensory experience, I can move to the spiritual experience.

      Just an idea. The branch suggestion is probably too much my voice. You might have another sound that works better for your own sense of the poem. What do you think?

      • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

        Margaret —

        I used “listening. . .” because soemtimes the world speaks so loudly (clutters, overwhelms us, etc.) and God/Spirit speaks so softly, that we must really listen. Usung any windswept branch imagery in L1 seems to me to over-emphasize the wind. My idea was to emphasize the need to really listen, over and above the winds of the world, for Spirit’s soft whisper!

        • CaroleAnn, Okay, I see what you’re saying. You’re right, the windswept branch image evokes sound, rather than listening. Subtle but real distinction!

          So here’s another thought. What if the first line were a listening image, rather than a sound image? For example (again too much in my voice, but to give an idea):

          a dog’s ears prick up–
          beyond the wailing of the winds
          God whispers

          Now, I know that both my suggestions take the poem in a radically different direction. I’m pushing a little because, as I understand the haiku form in English today, much of its strength comes from concrete images contained in specific moments in time. Your first line “listening” refers to a state of being that can happen anytime. In contrast, the dog’s ears pricking up happens in a moment.

          But I can see that these suggestions make it a different poem. The poem as it stands (your original) expresses clearly the idea that to hear God’s voice in the maelstrom, we have to listen. And we’re all living in a maelstrom these days! So you are getting your message across. My suggestion has to do with contemporary conventions of the haiku form. Maybe in this case, you simply have an unconventional poem. (smile)

          • CaroleAnn Lovin says:

            Margaret —

            You wrote: “Your first line “listening” refers to a state of being that can happen anytime.” Yes, that’s exactly what I meant. I guess for now I’ll leave “listening…” as an unconventiional poem (haiku?)
            Thanks for your suggestions… and I will add the poem to my “revision pile” to see if another way of saying it occurs to me…

  22. Marybeth Bland says:

    Scrub jays in the trees
    a broken branch falls
    a crow caws

    • Marybeth, now it’s noisy birds instead of the wind!

      If you add a dash after the first line, and “when” at the start of the second line, then the second & third lines can flow together:

      scrub jays in the trees–
      when a broken branch falls
      a crow caws

      In general, haiku work better with two phrases, one longer than the other. The poem doesn’t flow as well with three separate phrases.

  23. Marybeth Bland says:

    Thanks Margaret,

    I knew the lines needed to be different lengths but was unsure how to do it.

  24. Marybeth Bland says:

    I am posting a note again so I will get the comments in my email box. Nickel is sleeping. I remember when he arrived eight and a half years ago. He never stopped moving, I had little time to myself. I believd I should cherish these times to myself before thr arrival of Friday.

  25. solid old oaks
    standing in driving rain
    at the gravesite

    • Carolyn, I like the combination of elements: solid old oaks, driving rain, and the gravesite.

      One problem (for me) is that with the word “standing,” I picture the oaks as too close to the grave, crowding it. I can see that the middle line might be referring to the poet or others standing at the gravesite, but the first thing I picture is large oaks standing, and it puts an odd image in my mind.

  26. I thought I would share this haiku with you all as it came from a reflection on surrender and the journeys that mark us. This haiku was informed by the posted quote, the recent passing of Veteran’s Day and the fact that I was recently struck by the flag at my public library while I passed by in the rain. Formatting on this page will not allow me to properly show the haiku as I constructed it ~ you can view it @ http://dthaase.postach.io/haiku-dccxcvi

    • haikucircle, I really enjoyed spending time with this concrete poem, letting the scene unfold through the arrangement of the lines. Especially like the way TAPS cuts through the rain, and that the flag is unfurled on the pole. Thanks for sharing in a way that we can see it.

      • Thanks for the comment ~ this really was a fun piece to play with. It took several hours to complete. At first I only had the image of the flag pole and upon further reflection the flag grew half-mast and from that the idea of TAPS came into view…herein I saw the play on the falling rain and a fallen soldier.

  27. What if I removed standing? Both line one and line two refer to the poet and others.

    • Oops both line one and two also refer to the oak trees nearby.

    • Well … I’m still seeing the solid old oaks up close to the grave, and it takes a while for me to see the implied others. Sometimes ambiguity like that works great, but I have to see everyone is at the scene a little quicker than I do here. It would work better for me if the poem were more explicit.

      I’ve seen the word “also” used to great effect along those lines in haiku, helping me see the presence of others. What about something like this:

      solid old oaks
      also stand in the driving rain…
      gravesite

      Now I can be at the gravesite with others, observing the nearby oaks. (I went with “stand” to avoid the double -ing word.)

      • really like this revision work…great to see the progression as you two interact. I really like the “also” addition.

      • old sentinels
        stand in driving rain
        at the gravesite

      • Carolyn, using “sentinels” does solve the where-are-the-oak trees problem … but it also makes for a less clear image. The sentinels could be people, trees, statues (on a more elaborate grave), or even dogs.

        And that’s the way it is in haiku … for most every gain, a cost!

        One thing I liked about the oak trees — I thought they carried a naval reference, through the Brits. (“Heart of Oak”)

  28. Marybeth Bland says:

    Haikucircle,

    I read your recent haiku on your site, I like the way it is written, Beautiful

  29. Marybeth Bland says:

    I eat blueberries
    juice trickles down my arm
    outside a cold rain falls

    • Oh, this is really good ~ I like what you are doing here. The minimalist in me wants to remove some words, let me know what you think about this:

      blueberries
      juice down my arm
      a cold rain

      here’s my thinking…”juice down my arm” gets at the fact that you are indeed eating the blueberries and I really like how you are connecting the juice with the rain…”rain falls” can be a redundant expression although not necessarily…by removing the verbs I think the haiku also becomes more stark and yet more evocative…also, the idea of being “outside” seems to be suggested by the cold rain and how the line could be read as the rain being a kind of juice itself? Anyway, I really like what you did regardless my suggestions.

  30. Marybeth Bland says:

    I originally did start the haiku with just the word blueberries. Then I added more words. If the last line indicates the rain is outside then I will go. With it.

    Thanks haikucirccle . I was trying to cut words but unsure how

    • Marybeth & haikupoet,

      I like the leaner version, but I’m going back and forth about cutting “outside.” Without it, I’m not sure that the poem conveys that it’s actually raining outside. With “outside,” I still think the connection between the juice running down the poet’s arm and the cold rain as “juice” works. So I’d be tempted to add it back:

      blueberries
      juice down my arms
      outside a cold rain

      But like I say, I’m going back and forth. I like the leaner version too. Marybeth, you are the final word on your poem.

      Thanks Marybeth & haikupoet!

  31. Marybeth Bland says:

    Margaret I agree with you, I was afraid without the word outside people may think I am still referring to the berrie .so I will go with your last line. Thanks for both your help. I knew needed to be leaner and struggled with how

  32. frosty roof tops
    under a lopsided moon
    soft strains of a waltz

    • Carolyn, I like the juxtaposition of the frosty roof tops under the lopsided moon. Paints a clear picture, in season.

      The last line feels a little wordy to me. Also it confuses me a bit on where I’m standing in the scene. The first two lines put me outside, looking at the moon and the roof tops. I picture myself possibly on a hill, looking down at a cluster of homes or a town. Now I hear the soft strains of a waltz. Where is the waltz coming from? Maybe I’m not on a hill after all. Am I standing outside a concert hall? A private home? I want to know where the music is coming from!

      This reminds me of advice I’ve received from one of my haiku teachers, to make it clear where the poet/reader is situated in the poem, or what angle the poem takes on the scene. You don’t have to say it explicitly, just make it clear in context. (I’ve received this feedback many times, because it’s often an issue in my poems. When I can clarify where the poem is “standing,” then the poem is grounded, and everything is easier to see.)

  33. I understand what you mean. I was looking out the window when I noticed the moon and the frost . The radio was playing in the background. A nice scene but now to capture it so you can be there with me. My revision pile is much larger than my completed pile!

  34. Marybeth Bland says:

    November days become so short. Today there is 9hrs and one minute of daylight.
    I wonder how to savor the final moment.

    I paint
    red clouds
    that turn orange

    blue sky
    becomes black

    Amen

    • MaryBeth, I like the transitions in this poem. It would work for me to repeat “turn” in the sky lines:

      I paint
      red clouds
      that turn orange

      blue sky
      that turns to black

      Amen

      • Marybeth Bland says:

        Margaret,

        I originally had turn with the sky line but thought repeating might be redundant . Also that it might be frowned upon. But I will put it back

        • Marybeth, repetition is a funny thing. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. For my ears, it works in this case … but in another case I’d probably suggest a change to eliminate repetition! (smile)

  35. thinking about the fact that “…the years wander on…” here is a new haiku w/haibun and haiga (Due to formatting spaces & the use of an image I can’t post it in the comments. You can see it @ http://dthaase.postach.io/an-old-story).

  36. CaroleAnn Lovin says:

    even thankful
    for the teeny frog
    that’s sneaking in

    Y’all have a great Thanksgiving!

    • CaroleAnn, I love it! Takes me back to a time when a little green tree frog sneaked into our house, and sat on a window sill looking out.
      You have a great Thanksgiving too.

  37. big birds
    struttin their stuffings
    happy thanksgiving

  38. Just posted a new Lectio+Haiku for December. You can see it on the Home page, and here: http://www.inthecourtyard.com/2013/12/mystery-and-manifestations/.

    Hope to see you there!