blossoms – – haibun

Two years ago in May we travelled to Toronto to see the High Park cherry blossoms, joining hundreds of others in a spring viewing. This May the blossoms may thrive in a more peaceful setting, in the wake of COVID19…only time will tell.

northern springs . . .

the scent of cherry blossoms



Both photos: Toronto, May 2018

Haikai Challenge #131, first cherry blossoms

©️2020 Ontheland

grooming – – haibun

Lately I’ve found a new pastime that is almost addictive. With little snips of blunt-nosed scissors I have been trimming my dog’s hair, enjoying the satisfaction of a slow transformation while nurturing his trust and patience. I don’t have stranger privileges or the physical restraints of a professional groomer. I am one of his parents…each hair is taken with his consent.

under surveillance

falling with each snip

his fine hair



©️2020 Ontheland

bone moon – – haibun

February. Browsing the blog reader I read of snowdrops and daffodils….in other places. Here, the temperature plunges to 20 below and we adjust. By late winter we know well-rehearsed adjustments: we plan departures 10 minutes early to allow time to warmup the car, I toss extra comforters everywhere, and my old ski pants re-report for duty. The trampoline rhythm of hard to soft cold is almost routine.

A significant jolt will come when temperatures stay above 5 degrees and climb higher. Metabolisms, opportunities, and menus will change in ways we may have forgotten since last spring…

bone moon time

we wash blankets and brew tea


to house drones and trickles

the avocado grows its first leaf


©️2020 Ontheland

February moon is sometimes called “Bone moon” due to bone-chilling cold.

Haikai Challenge #126 – – Returning Cold

stardust – – haibun

What word is there for this…a sorrow for someone known only through their poems?

‘Poet loss’…the silencing of a flow, a voice, that inspires awe and delight.

Last January we lost Rachel Sutcliffe. This January, Martha Magenta.




their poems

the ones not known

still in their hearts



©️2020 Ontheland

Martha Magenta’s blog: Martha Magenta — An Archive of my Published Poetry

Martin Luther King Day 2020

a robin

flying from frozen boughs

winter plumage

alighting on the feeder

covered with snow

This morning scene reminds me to fill the seed bucket, put on my boots and wade out to top up the feeders.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King day in the United States. From Frank Tassone’s Haikai Challenge I learned that this holiday is designated as a day of service—a ‘day on’ rather than a ‘day off’, inspired by Doctor Reverend King Junior’s example and praise of community service: “He who is greatest among you shall be a servant.”

My first impulse was to dust off my dormant question “should I take on a volunteer job?” On reflection, my view of service, in general, and my own service, in particular, has deepened. Many of us, including myself, care for immediate and extended families. Yet there is another kind of service that extends into the community, outside our homes. ‘Out there’ are more people, trees, meadows, roadways, recycle bins, wildlife, wandering pets and so on. Without taking on a job there are many opportunities to act for the benefit of our world—to give, to protect, to show by our actions that we care about all humans and the world we depend on, whether natural or manmade. That sense of the collective is what I take away from this Martin Luther King day, an appreciation of what I already do and the humility to know that more is a possibility.

©️2020 Ontheland

water – – haibun

Expanses of water surround the house in the fields below. It has been raining since yesterday. Most snow has washed away leaving only patches of ice that foreshadow the drama to come. Thanks to the science of meteorology, it won’t be a surprise when tonight the temperature starts to descend in measured steps to zero C…minus 1…minus 2…minus 3…minus 4…minus 6…minus 7…minus 8…landing at minus 9 on Monday morning. Freezing rain, snow, black ice, and power outages are on the way.

white mist

hovering over the field

the smell of thaw



©️2020 Ontheland

year end – – haibun

I drive by rigid trees cased with ice. I feel the weight on their limbs, the pending risk of breakage. There is no magic sparkle of sunlight to mask their imprisoned state. And on the News I hear of dark skies filled with smoke…Australia’s burning bush.

year end fire

the crack of falling branches

the weight of ice



©️2019 Ontheland

farewells – – haibun

At first I skirt around the Requiem. I am looking for music by Fauré that is as beautiful as the Pavane I heard the other day, but I am not sure I am in the mood for somber choral music. Clicking on the options, the Requiem’s closing section, In Paradisum, plays and I find it fits my mood after all … on this quiet day in late December, when the first year of a new decade will soon begin.

While I doubt Paradise is on the immediate horizon, longer days and spring are on the way…and as long as I breathe, there are opportunities to live a bit better, to offer more.

deep winter

no fireplace or falling snow

just the peace of Fauré



©️2019 Ontheland

For a listen to Fauré’s Paradisum:

And for Matsuo Basho’s farewell to his companion, Sora, on his journey to the Interior:

“Sora, suffering from persistent stomach ailments, was forced to return to his relatives in Nagashima in Ise Province. His parting words:

sick to the bone

if I should fall, I’ll lie

in fields of clover

He carries his pain as he goes, leaving me empty. Like paired geese parting in the clouds.

Now falling autumn dew

obliterates my hatband’s

“We are two”

I stayed at Zensho-ji, a temple near the castle town of Daishoji in Kaga province. It was from this temple that Sora departed last night, leaving behind:

All night long

listening to autumn winds

wandering in the mountains


Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior,” translated by Sam Hamill, the Essential Basho, p. 32-33, an excerpt from Frank Tassone’s Day 23 and final episode of November with Basho

sentience – – haibun

“…we took rooms at an inn with…Mr. Kansho, who was in town to attend memorial services for the haiku poet Issho, locally renowned for his verse and devotion to craft. The poet’s elder brother served as host, the poet having died last winter.

Tremble, oh my grave–

in time my cries will be

only this autumn wind”

Basho, “Narrow Road to the Interior,” translated by Sam Hamill, the Essential Basho, p. 29-30; an excerpt from Frank Tassone’s selection for Day 20 of November with Basho


Matsuo Basho had no idea that his words would still be known and cherished, in Japan and beyond, over 300 years after his death.


a window in time

open until


returns to the wind



©️2019 Ontheland