July’s white heat

blossoming wintergreen


Crouching to photograph a parasol mushroom, I spotted the white, bell-shaped blossom of Gaultheria procumbens next to it. My first reaction:

white bells in the summer woods wintergreen

which is kind of superficial and obvious, but definitely a haiku I would’ve been satisfied with just a few years ago. Then I gave it a thought and came up with

wintergreen in July’s bridal white

which seemed to point a way forward. I thought of Wallace Stevens’ great poem “The Snow Man” — very meaningful to me as someone born in winter

mind of wintergreen blossoming in July

But that struck me as too cerebral, both literally and figuratively. I’m not saying the haiku I chose for this haiga is my final say, but I do think it preserves multiple possibilities for the reader.

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