the scarecrow: a haibun

Five years ago I put a scarecrow up in my garden….there was no crow problem but I thought it would be a fun, perhaps practical, addition. I had a ready made t-bar on hand…it could easily wear a shirt and hat.  That was it. I added no head, stuffing, or legs (what was I thinking?). Today as I gaze at the photo I am guessing the chard enjoyed the garden company, the mild buffering of sun and wind, but that was not the only result — back in 2013 there was an amusing surprise: sparrows appreciated the scarecrow.  By mid-summer they had stuffed the hat with straw and made a nest.

summer attraction

under a hat on a roost

scarecrow smiles


©️2018 Ontheland

In response to Haikai Challenge #55 Scarecrow

Source: dsdinternational on Pixabay

fall passage

My home is becoming a dark winter house again, the annual transition to a new rhythm entering my consciousness—grey shadows, more dullness than light, cold and damp seeping through every crack. I search within for the subtle changes I need at this time of year.  Have I always felt this tired tug of hibernation as winter draws near?  My one-size-fits-all gloves come out of storage along with a black toque for chilly autumn air, the baseball cap back on the hook. I open the curtains wide and lift the blinds to gather in every ray of light. Aromas of herbs and stews fill the kitchen with warmth. Breezes from the open window uplift my languid spirits.

rain water dripping

from the yellow ash

one lantern of fall


©️2018 Ontheland

Frank J. Tassone’s Haikai Challenge #53 marks the challenge’s first anniversary. For this occasion we are invited to use ‘anniversary’ as our theme and/or a favourite kigo from the past year. For me a favourite kigo is one that fits my current situation so I chose ‘darkness’ (a kigo from last October).

harvest haibun 24.9.18

Today is the final day of vegetable harvesting I declare to myself. This means I am pivoting into cleanup, clearing old vines and plants, adding manure and straw.

The line I draw is artificial and it will waver.  I have picked all the sweet peppers showing any hint of red and some green ones as well—there are more greens which I could bring in, but I’ll wait as you never know, there might be more generous days of warm sunlight. One winter squash remains–not quite ready–lettuce is growing in the cold frame and those sturdy spinach plants, next to the wizened cucumber vines, will produce until hard frost hits. 

Putting a garden to bed for winter isn’t inspiring in itself…as with many tasks there is a lever.  It is the fall garlic planting that will lift me into the next phase. For this ritual I need to decide how to rotate the crops next spring so as to know where the garlic will be placed.  Then I clear the selected spot, add manure, and let it sit for a few weeks until the special day that I carefully bury cloves into the soil and cover them with a generous layer of straw. 

Once started, autumn labour is easy in cool air and soft September sun, among rich orange marigolds and burgeoning purple borage.

Bees buzz softly

another bloom on those vines

their work never done

Closeup of new growth on a zucchini plant which is mostly ‘done’.


©️2018 Ontheland

Haikai Challenge #52 Harvest

on the highway

Yesterday I was driving on the 401 to and from Toronto—it was no picnic, in sweltering heat and hours of bumper to bumper traffic crawling next to lines of towering trucks. There were pleasant moments—beyond nibbling buns from a Chinese bakery. Squirrels were everywhere at the downtown park…one boldly snacked in the middle of the roadway…too tame for its own good.

On the highway I contemplated leafy canopies of deciduous trees.

September treetops

leaves slowly changing colour

like my hair


©️2018 Ontheland

‘..and the way of it is long’


What is this life I am spinning?

I emerge from meditations on what I thought I wanted..ambitions, thwarted passions, wrung-out dreams.

My eyes slowly open…

maze of confusions—

a circuitous journey

leading home


©️2018 Ontheland

Carpe Diem’s Weekend Meditation #48 features the following poem written and translated into English by Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali poet (1861-1941). This English version of the poem was first published in 1912 as part of his collection ‘Gitanjali: Song Offerings’.


In wealthy nations such as Canada homelessness has been with us for quite a while. It is an invisible problem to many but not to those on 10-year waiting lists for an affordable apartment or room.

How did we get here? We still trust that a market economy will do what is right while ignoring unemployment, wages that do not cover basic food and shelter, and inadequate stocks of affordable housing. Belief in the wisdom of the marketplace has led us to blame individuals for their misfortune and to neglect community responsibility.

Another issue has reared its head: statelessness. Millions of people across the globe flee war and natural disasters. Again we are challenged to consider our responsiblity for the basic needs of human beings in our midst.


moving from place to place

with no fixed address

invisible souls

in this broken society

only an old myth matters


In the rural county where I live I have noticed an increasing attention to the plight of people without shelter. A landowner who invited a couple in need to live in a trailer on his land found himself helping out more people. He is now in trouble with the municipality as trailers he set up on his property violate zoning bylaws.


hidden survivors

like ants under a boulder

their lives unknown


©️2018 Ontheland

Reflections about a cause for Haikai Challenge #48 Causes

a series of three

They say good fortune comes in threes…

writing gives excuses to ‘play’ and enjoying nature is a way to take breaks from focused tasks. For the recent dVerse haibun prompt (cricket sounds) I tune in more closely to the rural sounds surrounding me…choirs of multitudes sing day and night around my home.

Next day I notice crickets scrambling under a ground tarp…I am impressed by the fierce definition of their dark features (the second encounter). Today, I notice two female crickets on a piece of wood in my garden and take a photo (above). The details on their wings and limbs have an ornateness that bring to mind scarab beetles revered by ancient Egyptians.

Relaxing in my armchair, I discover that crickets have a reputation for bringing happiness and good fortune. I welcome the news.


night coolness gives way

to stifling days not as long

cricket antennas


©️2018 Ontheland