Archives for posts with tag: summer

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FIREFLY HAIKU
by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Blade of grass
a firefly lands
takes off again.

PHOTO: “Female firefly in the grass” by Rick Lieder, bugdreams.com, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Prints available at 500px.com.

grave_fireflies_blue
A LOVER
by Amy Lowell

If I could catch the green lantern of a firefly
I could see to write you a letter.

SOURCE: Poetry (March 1917).

IMAGE: Still from animated feature Grave of the Fireflies (1988).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Lowell (1874-1925) was an American poet of the imagist school from Brookline, Massachusetts, who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.

Photo of Fireflies in Jar-Lightning Bug Pictures
IF YOU CATCH A FIREFLY
by Lilian Moore

If you catch a firefly
and keep it in a jar
You may find that
you have lost
A tiny star.

If you let it go then,
back into the night,
You may see it
once again
Star bright.

SOURCE:  “If You Catch a Firefly” appears in Lilian Moore’s collection I Feel the Same Way (New York: Atheneum, 1967), available at Amazon.com.

PHOTO: “Fireflies or lightning bugs (Photinus pyralis) light up a jar on a June evening in North Carolina as a meteor streaks across the Milky Way” by Kevin Adams, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Visit the photographer at kadamsphoto.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lilian Moore (1909-2004) was an editor, educator, and poet who played a significant role in children’s literature during the mid-to late twentieth century. As the first editor of the newly established Scholastic’s Arrow Book Club from 1957 to 1967, Moore pioneered the program that made quality paperback books accessible and affordable for elementary school children throughout the United States. She also contributed many stories and poetry collections to the body of available children’s literature, and has been honored for her poetry as well as for several of her storybooks.

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SUMMER RAINS
by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

Early summer rains
so heavy
they obscure the waterfall

ART: “Rain,” woodblock by Hirokazu Fukuda. Limited edition prints available at new.uniquejapan.com.

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Hirokazu Fukuda (1944-2004) was born and raised in the Tochigi prefecture, an area about an hour north of Tokyo surrounded by mountains and hills to the east, west, and north, with the Kanto Plains lie to the south. Hirokazu planned to become a professional classic guitarist but suffered a hand injury at a young age. Seeking a medium to express his creativity, he first worked with the canvas, then moved on to become a master woodblock artist. According to family and friends, he always hoped that his work would touch the heart of those around him.

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SUMMER HAIKU
by Matsuo Basho

The summer world
floats in the lake
waves wash over

IMAGE: “Reflections” by Christopher and Amanda Elwell. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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You can tell by the way he slices the cantaloupe
by D.H. Tracy

he is harmless, camera’d
in a muffled parliament of cantaloupe-motions.
For every doubt a speech.

He plans to quarter it and quarter the quarters.
The knife first rehearses
a meridian, then the equator,

then mid-cut tilts
and leaves a tatter on one half’s rim.
You can tell he thinks about

what thought is bad at. You can see
that by comparison a chimp would appear,
within its limitations, deft, while the man

with no limitations with respect to principles of melon-slicing
does not. You can tell
he withholds himself from cantaloupe,

as if frightened they will go extinct and take
costs sunk in the skill of slicing them, and further tell
it will be the same next time, him approaching

the fruit as though newly, wondering if it had
a stone in it, or pith and segments,
or required coring, or stank when punctured,

or would show pleasing shapes in section.
He switches grip,
placing his palm over the fat edge of the blade

because a sock puppet has squeaked,
Safety first.
The rinds parted from the sixteenths

are more or less a waste of flesh, according as thrift
argued with intemperance. You can tell
the impending chunks will be publicly homely, not those

of the cruise ship buffet where the night-shift Neopolitan
surpasses himself with flutes and scallops.
You can tell right off a mind unquiet

and at once absent, now remembering
J. at seventeen,
something out of a Kenyan Vermeer,

smiling elfinly as she sliced the cantaloupe.
You could tell by the way she sliced the cantaloupe

the way one slices a cantaloupe would tell a lot.
He draws the knife
along each inside edge to shave the pulp and seedmatter,

varying pressure, speed, and angle of attack
like a deaf man bowing a cello.
Stutters mark the inner faces. He slices

the slices radially into chunks, and varies
the spacing between the cuts from equal angles,
which makes the pieces too big at the center,

to equal volumes, which makes them too long at the poles.
You can tell, as he squeezes a lime-half over the pile
and steps back to admire his freehanded

benighted by-committee cantaloupe-justice,
he cannot be the children’s hockey coach
or run for office, the erratic hexes him, he

circulates sometimes fogged and twitching in his house,
not wishing you could not tell,
exactly, but wanting out.

Source: Poetry (May 2010).

IMAGE: Garden fresh cantaloupe apron, available at zazzle.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: D.H. Tracy‘s poems, essays, reviews, and translations appear widely, including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and The Yale Review. He is the author the poetry collection Janet’s Cottage (St. Augustine’s Press, 2012), winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize, available at Amazon.com. He lives in Illinois.

leplat
MELON HAIKU
by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

the first melon
shall it be cut crosswise
or into round slices?

IMAGE: “Melon” by Veronique Leplat. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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JUNE MOON
by Daniel McGinn

Today was sheltered
in a marine layer, we waded through
a sea without shadows.

Today I made a donation
for the funeral of a friend
killed by a drunk driver.

Tonight I watched a mouse escape from my dog.
I watched pink feet and black fur blur across concrete.
Tonight I saw the moon
poke its head out from the clouds
a black mist began rising up like a cape
to cover the chin, the lips, the teeth…

Lori asked me,
Does the moon always show us the same face
or does it sometimes show us other faces?
I don’t know, I said and we marveled
at how clouds had misshapen the moon’s skull.
It looked dented and pockmarked.
It looked like it had been kicked
and kicked repeatedly.

Feral kittens under my house began to yowl.
My dog ran zigzags
and barked and barked and barked.
A mouse squeezed her body into a hole in a brick wall,
a tight passage, small as a pencil spine,
then the mouse was gone.

No lights twinkled.
The moon turned dark as a dime
dropped down a slot.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel McGinn’s writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including So Luminous the Wildflowers and Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets. He was a journalist for the East Whittier Review, the OC Weekly and Next Magazine. He has hosted poetry shows across Southern California and performed at a variety of venues such as The Bowery Poetry Club in NYC and The Fuse in Philadelphia. Five of his chapbooks have been included in the Laguna Poets Series. 1,000 Black Umbrellas, his full length book of poetry, was published in 2012 by Write Bloody Publishing. “June Moon” and other writing by Daniel McGinn appears in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (2013).

PAINTING: “La page blanche” (“The white page”) by René Magritte (1967).

angela_doelling
THE MONTH OF JUNE
by Pablo Neruda

Green was the silence, 
wet was the light
the month of June
trembled like a butterfly. 

SOURCE: 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda

IMAGE: “Little Butterfly” by Angela Doelling. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was the pen name of the Chilean poet, diplomat and politician Neftali Ricardo ReyesBasoalto. He chose his pseudonym after Czech poet Jan Neruda. In 1971, Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Neruda often wrote in green ink because it was his personal symbol of desire and hope. Gabriel García Márquez called him “the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language.”

monet_meadow
WILDFLOWER
by Stanley Plumly

Some—the ones with fish names—grow so north
they last a month, six weeks at most.
Some others, named for the fields they look like,
last longer, smaller.

And these, in particular, whether trout or corn lily,
onion or bellwort, just cut
this morning and standing open in tapwater in the kitchen,
will close with the sun.

It is June, wildflowers on the table.
They are fresh an hour ago, like sliced lemons,
with the whole day ahead of them.
They could be common mayflower lilies of the valley,

day lilies, or the clustering Canada, large, gold,
long-stemmed as pasture roses, belled out over the vase–
or maybe Solomon’s seal, the petals
ranged in small toy pairs

or starry, tipped at the head like weeds.
They could be anonymous as weeds.
They are, in fact, the several names of the same thing,
lilies of the field, butter-and-eggs,

toadflax almost, the way the whites and yellows juxtapose,
and have “the look of flowers that are looked at,”
rooted as they are in water, glass, and air.
I remember the summer I picked everything,

flower and wildflower, singled them out in jars
with a name attached. And when they had dried as stubborn
as paper I put them on pages and named them again.
They were all lilies, even the hyacinth,

even the great pale flower in the hand of the dead.
I picked it, kept it in the book for years
before I knew who she was,
her face lily-white, kissed and dry and cold.

plumly ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stanley Plumly was born in Barnesville, Ohio, in 1939, and grew up in the lumber and farming regions of Virginia and Ohio. His work has been honored with the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award and nominations for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Carlos Williams Award, and the Academy of Amerian Poets’ Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He is currently a Distinguished University Professor and Professor of English at the University of Maryland. His poetry appeared in the Silver Birch Press Summer Anthology (2013).

PAINTING: “In the Meadow” by Claude Monet (1876)