Trekking down to the compost bin in the pre-winter landscape I encounter tiny branches of thyme and lavender—remaining where all else has withered. I bow, remember this summer, the succession of wildflowers, such joy!

passion here
days before snowfall
sweet-scented stems

©2017 Ontheland


In response to post of Chèvrefeuille:  Carpe Diem #1317 wherever your heart is.



How would we
reshape this
“sorry scheme of things?”

Five flies lie dead on a sill
fifty birds chatter on a wire
eight skeletons wash ashore

Cats fight, spill blood
wash, groom, share body heat
brothers by fate

Faults and perfections
love, fate, cruelty

©2017 Ontheland

The quoted words are from Omar Khayyam as translated by Edward FitzGerald:

Ah Love ! could thou and I with Fate conspire
To grasp this sorry Scheme of Things entire,
Would not we shatter it to bits – and then
Re-mould it nearer to the Heart’s Desire !

This quatrain, from Khayyam’s Rubaiyat, is featured by Carpe Diem #1315 Scheme of Things.




we glide the chess board

from dark to light

castles rise and fall


©2017 Ontheland

Photo credit: Pixabay


Life as a game of chess is a metaphor often used in past centuries:

‘Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days

Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:

Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,

And one by one back in the Closet lays.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

This is my response to Carpe Diem #1308 — A Game of Chess.



Sometimes when we look for one thing we find something else or when we are not looking at all a transformaton occurs.


Not seeking wonder,

we pass a pack of coywolves

strolling down the road



veil of mystery 



©2017 Ontheland

My haiku are inspired by the above quatrain from The Rubaiyat and Carpe Diem #1305 No Key.

seventh gate

In this quatrain Omar Khayyam attempts to comprehend life and our place in the universe. He regards death and human fate as mysteries he cannot decipher. His pondering highlights our human predicament—awareness that death of our physical bodies is certain. Birds on the other hand are free of such thoughts:

at sunrise
birds praising their Creator
without questions

© Chèvrefeuille

at sunrise
a human being
welcomes dawn
gazes at the sky
wonders about life

©2017 Ontheland

My tanka is in response to the above quatrain from the Rubaiyat and to the haiku by Chevrefeuille.  Carpe Diem #1304 The Seventh Gate.

the cup

Ah! my Beloved, fill the Cup that clears

Today of past Regrets and future Fears –

Tomorrow? – Why, Tomorrow I may be

Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.”

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)


Thinking about this quatrain, I wrote two haiku and a shadorma:


lines we write
fill pages like cups
cares take flight


lighten heavy hearts
sips of joy


I want to
know the cup that clears
all regrets
all terror,
live in a Flow of being,
taste the depth of Now

©2017 Ontheland

Many thanks to Chèvrefeuille who has been providing posts that illuminate Rubaiyat quatrains of 12th century poet Omar Khayyam. Today I respond to Carpe Diem #1232–past regrets and future fears.  I am also appreciating  Shadorma November, a community opportunity to explore the shadorma, a poem of 6 lines of 3-5-3-3-7-5 syllables.


in the wind
every song ever sung
faint vibrations
quiver for eternity
rustle branches in the trees


in the clay, wind, dew,
fire aching–
seen, unseen
transmutations travel time,
stars to earth to bone

©2017 Ontheland

A tanka and shadorma inspired by Carpe Diem #1301–River’s Lip, an episode in Carpe Diem’s Rubaiyat Another Way series. Each episode in this series offers interpretations, reflections and related poetry. Below are the featured Rubaiyat quatrain and other poems from the prompt post:

And this delightful Herb whose tender Green
Fledges the River’s Lip on which we lean –
Ah, lean upon it lightly! for who knows
From what once lovely Lip it springs unseen!

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald), from The Rubaiyat

(river’slip refers to the river bank)


There’s not one atom of yon earth
Butonce was living man;
Nor the minutest drop of rain,
That hangeth in its thinnest cloud,
But flowed in human veins.

©Percy Bysshe Shelley, from Queen Mab


on river’s lip
hyacinths, grasses and other herbs
kisses of life

© Chèvrefeuille



thistles underfoot
spiked leaves of sharp minds
wise people buried here
herb foragers, healers
thorn plant whisperers

©2017 Ontheland

This tanka is from musings that sometimes come up as I see thorn leaf rosettes and full grown thistles in the field around my house. It hints at and was inspired by Carpe Diem #1300–The Rose, another episode in Carpe Diem’s Rubaiyat, Another Way series. The featured quatrain from The Rubaiyat:

I sometimes think that never blows so red
The Rose as where some buried Caesar bled;
That every Hyacinth the Garden wears
Dropt in its Lap from some once lovely Head.

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald)

The thistle photo is from Pixabay.


« The Worldly Hope men set their Hearts upon
Turns Ashes – or it prospers; and anon,
Like Snow upon the Desert’s dusty Face
Lighting a little Hour or two – is gone »

© Omar Khayyam (Tr. FitzGerald) from The Rubaiyat

Two haiku for Carpe Diem’s Rubaiyat, Another Way:

triumphs fade
caught by my mitten
a snowflake melts


ice cream cone
every lick a pleasure
so fleeting


©2017 Ontheland