While I’ll take life in any season, the transition from summer to fall is bumpy for me. This year, the melancholy I often feel during these pre-winter months has been accented by various family crises. Still, as the song goes, How can I keep from singing?
For all of us who feel the approach of autumn in the lowering of summer’s flame, WIZ is starting a haiku chain. So far in my part of the world the year has delivered a mixed bag of weather. Summer was cooler than usual and cooler than the ones we first experienced when we moved to the Four Corners region 9 years ago. Yet here we are three weeks into September with nary a hint of frost. Last winter was cold and windy, crackling with drought. The character of this winter seems anybody’s guess. If your summer-autumn transition seems unusual, you might remark on that in your haiku. Traditionally, haiku mention the season under consideration, but the season under consideration might be shifting in character. Feel free to explore that in haiku if you feel so inclined, but please emphasize the sensory detail of your experience–the sights, sounds, tastes, feel, and odors of the difference.
Many of you know what a haiku is: a classical Japanese poetical form, usually 17 syllables all in a single line in Japanese, but there are longer and shorter forms. In English, a haiku stacks lines, often in the order of one short line of 5 syllables on top, a long line of 7 syllables in the middle, then another short line of 5 syllables on the bottom. But there are many variations. Pick what you feel comfortable with.
How a WIZ haiku chain usually goes is this: Someone starts the chain. This year, I’m stepping up to do that. Somebody follows me, adding a single haiku in the comments, and then another person takes a crack, and ’round we go. You may link your haiku to an image in the previous haiku or stud the chain with something wholly original. I enjoy seeing other people’s individual expressions of how the arrival of this season strikes them and linking them up with mine. Other than the informal, one-at-a-time-please tradition, there’s no limit to turns a participant can take and no deadline for this activity.
My first link:
Fall, when light acquires
a drawl, when it slurs through leaves,
twangs in spider silk.
Patricia Karamesines lives with her family in the Four Corners region of the southwestern U.S. She has won many awards for her poetry, essays, and fiction. She is the author of The Pictograph Murders, a mystery set in the area where she lives. An adjunct English professor for Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah, she teaches English composition but acts at the college mainly as an English tutor, working mostly with the school’s Native American students. She is founding editor of Wilderness Interface Zone and a passionate advocate for the environment of human expression.