that inevitable cliché
the deplorable rightness of nature
Black gum leaves in the first photo; a red-tailed hawk and
northern watersnake black rat snake locked in combat for the rather more dramatic second haiga. Both snake and hawk lived, as far as I know. I had to move them in order to drive past, so I turned the hawk over with a stick and as soon as both wings were free, it flew very unsteadily off, and the snake headed for the stream at top speed. I suspect the hawk had been badly bitten (painful, but not venomous) and perhaps suffered a concussion when it hit the ground. It wasn’t moving when I discovered them.
I went for a twelve-mile walk to shake some thoughts loose, and the two haiku came as a pair just before I got back to the car. It’s a useful challenge, I think, to hold two competing ideas in mind without favoring one or the other: that life is duḥkha, and that our sense of order and beauty ultimately derives from nature.
among blood-colored leaves—
the empty days
in his pocket calendar
these ancient mountains
my wobbly knees
A senryu, so the obviousness of the image is fine, I think.
My first draft was simpler and arguably better, but made the image seem a little redundant:
returning to the grove
Old Man of the Woods (Strobilomyces strobilaceus) is the bolete pictured here, in a grove of Norway spruce that my dad and mom planted in 1975, and where both have expressed a desire to be buried.
eyes closed at last
the world that had him in it
my father was
the sounds a refrigerator makes
when it isn’t humming
In memoriam Bruce D. Bonta (1941-2021)
with one eye open
it’s his vigil too