Avian Adventures & Introduction to Under the March Moon
Thanks to Guest Editor Nancy Brady for the last few weeks of bird watching. Now we welcome back Carole MacRury with an exploration of the moon – happy writing! kj
Introduction to Under the March Moon with Guest Editor Carole MacRury
March (Martius) was named for Mars, the god of war, because this was the month when active military campaigns resumed after being interrupted by winter which was referred to as a ‘dead’ season. In fact, March was the first month of the year on the early Roman Calendar until around 450 BCE when January and February moved to the front putting March in third position where it remains in today’s Gregorian Calendar. Imagine how much easier it would be to make ‘resolutions’ in March with its visible signs of new beginnings and renewal, than in cold January. March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb. This reflects the transition from winter to spring and the changeable weather conditions particular to this month in the Northern Hemisphere. We’ll use three moon phases – Full Worm Moon, New Moon and Half Moon – to inspire our haiku. As we all write under our shared moon, feel free to use or not use the name of the moon phase in your haiku.
next week’s theme: Full Worm Moon
The Worm Moon is the final full moon of winter as we transition into spring. It reaches its peak on March 7th. It’s a time of thaw, when the ground softens, and worms begin to appear. A time when winter lingers in our bones; snowmelt runoff swells our rivers and reservoirs; seeds and bulbs shift and send out shoots and King Tides sweep across our shorelines. Other names for this moon are Sugar Moon, Sap Moon, Crow Moon, Wind Moon, Plough Moon, Lenten Moon. It’s a time of renewal as we shake off winter and ready ourselves for spring. Sap begins to run, birds come back, we ready the earth for planting, animals come out of hibernation. As we emerge from our own winter hibernation let the Full Worm Moon inspire you to write a haiku that reflects your life these first two weeks of spring.
The deadline is midnight Pacific Standard Time, Saturday March 04, 2023.
Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry. (The Submit button will not be available until the Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in.) With your poem, please include any special formatting requirements & your name & residence as you would like it to appear in the column. A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week. Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.
Below is Nancy’s commentary for favorite moments in birding too:
These haiku I chose for commentary range from humorous to serious to somewhere in between. I chose them for various reasons. Most of the haiku had something in them that resonated with me.
a gouldian finch
Bipasha Majumder (De)
West Bengal, India
To begin with, this haiku is visual with the drips, and it is raining, creating a rainbow. The bird, a Gouldian finch, is also called the rainbow finch because of its colorful feathers. The Gouldian finch has different patches of colors like yellow, red, purple, green, black on its body and head. I can just envision the finch getting dripped on, the sun shining, and a rainbow forming on or near the bird, creating a double rainbow, just through Bipasha’s nine words.
old chestnut tree
marked by a
I can relate to Govind’s haiku as woodpeckers can certainly mark up a tree. Next door to us is an apple tree; it is dying, but for whatever reason, the owner hasn’t chosen to put it out of its misery. On the other hand, like Govind’s old chestnut tree, this tree has been ravaged by some downy woodpeckers. There is row after row of puncture holes ringing the trunk of this tree. Up until the winter my husband and I took photos of the woodpeckers, we didn’t notice how thoroughly the birds had marked up the tree, adding to its slow death.
a perfect fit
hummingbirds make a home
in father’s bonsai
Belleville, Illinois USA
Bryan’s haiku reminds us just how small hummingbirds (and their nests) are. There is a female hummingbird which returns every year to sip nectar from our canna lilies. Where she nests, I have no idea, but having watched the tiny bird fly a few feet to hide in our birch tree, I know that her body blends in with the leaves. She’s even smaller than the small birch leaves.
Bryan’s hummingbird’s choice to nest in the bonsai tree seems like a natural fit because of the perfect proportions, but could have been easily overlooked except for his observation.
with wings unzipped
I puzzled over Mike’s haiku when I first read it. So much so that I read it again and again. What did a crossword puzzle have to do with birds? There was the possible exception for the use in crossword clues, but then those answers tend to be short (jay, robin, finch), but I digress.
I have seen pied crows in Kenya, and to me, they looked like they were wearing vests. I have seen pied cormorants in New Zealand, and their white patches were mainly on their undersides (breasts and bellies). Many pied birds are both black and white. Thus, I suspected (and ultimately saw) that pied wagtails were black and white. Unlike the pied crows and cormorants, the pied wagtail has quite a bit of black in stripes and patches especially on the wings, looking quite a bit like a crossword puzzle, particularly when the wings are outspread.
too close to the nest
a red-winged blackbird
dive-bombs my mentor
Lombard, IL USA
Margie’s avian adventure reminded me that birds are quite territorial, especially when they are sitting on their nest of eggs or have recently hatched their brood. I experienced this firsthand in Kenya on Crescent Island, a (walking) nature preserve. Apparently, my family and I walked way too close to a killdeer-like bird’s nest on the ground because it dived at me repeatedly. More recently, a wren and his mate nested in our backyard. Whenever someone walked to the garden, the male wren made his displeasure known by an angry buzzing noise.
the sudden sense
of a bullseye
Richard L. Matta
San Diego, California USA
I found Richard’s haiku to be humorous, but only if one is not the target. Living near the intersection of a river and a lake, we have a huge population of gulls. Ring-billed gulls coexist alongside herring gulls throughout the year, and in the winter, Bonaparte gulls also come until they migrate home.
It is always with trepidation when we walk too near the gulls as they seem to take flight and relieve themselves as evidenced by the sidewalk on the pier being covered with bird excrement.
Even inland can be hazardous, particularly at one local church. Gulls often sit up on the roof and intently eye the parishioners, and then they fly out to poop on them. After my husband and I were baptlzed one Sunday, one member said, “Oh yeah, they do it all the time!”
the swan teaches me
how to listen
When I first read Marilyn’s haiku, it hit me for its profound message. How often do we not listen fully to what another person is saying because we are already formulating our answer to get our thoughts out there and heard? It probably happens more than we know (or maybe that is just me). Yet, seeing the mute swan reminded Marilyn to pay attention, to really listen.
Tomislav’s haiku demonstrates the haiku moment with just a few words, or so it seems to me. He’s so entranced by watching the wallcreeper (so into the moment) that he forgets to film it. By the time he realizes it, it’s too late. Fortunately, he turns that moment into the haiku instead.
my camera lens chases
Tucson, Arizona USA
Jenn’s haiku stood out because of her desire to capture the roadrunner in mid-stride (no easy feat). She is going to persist until she gets the photo she wants. It makes sense to me because of my own attempts to capture the perfect one of feathers outspread in flight, and one in which the enlargement can be pixel-peeped, showing crisp lines and no blurring.
weighing her options
one by one the jay tests
the peanuts in my palm
Pacific Grove, CA
Helen’s haiku made me smile when I read it since it touched on a subject I love. As I’ve indicated previously, one of my favorite birds, if not my favorite, is the blue jay. I purposely throw peanuts out in order to give them a treat they often cache. I’ve watched a jay swoop down from a nearby tree, hop to a peanut, pick it up, discard it, hop to the next one, repeat the process until the jay chooses the right one. While I’ve never been bold enough to hold them in my hands as the speaker does (kudos, Helen, for your bravery if that was you!), I have observed jays undergo this process of selection over and over. But then, don’t we all do this to some extent (for example, when choosing fruit or vegetables at the market)?
birds of a feather haiku poets
Fairlawn, Ohio USA
Valentina’s monoku compares haiku poets to birds. Each poet wants to capture those haiku moments, compose the “perfect” haiku. We poets may come from different countries; we may live in different climates; we are as diverse as the many birds that exist in nature, but we are likeminded in our pursuit of expressing ourselves (we are figuratively “birds of a feather,” meeting or getting (flocking) together) in this poetry form we’ve all chosen to write.
These are just a few of the haiku I chose to comment on. I know I could have picked more from the submissions. If you see something in these haiku that you want to say, please do. Haiku Dialogue is all about the conversations we have in regard to haiku. Some haiku probably have deeper messages than I’ve touched upon.
Thank you to everyone for coming along on this flight, looking at birds and their lives through the lens of haiku. Thanks to all the poets who have submitted haiku these past couple of weeks; it’s been a pleasure to read them. Thanks, also, to those who commented on other poets’ haiku or their own.
Thanks, especially, to Kathy and Lori, who guided me through this process. I couldn’t have done it without them and their wise counsel. I wish the next guest editor all the best as you navigate your time reading and selecting haiku from poets around the globe. To you all: keep looking up and keep writing. – Nancy Brady
Join us next week for Carole’s selection of poems on the theme of the full worm moon…
Guest Editor Nancy Brady is a pharmacist by profession, a haiku and senryu poet by nature. She often found inspiration on her treks back and forth to work as a pharmacist; her first book of haiku, Ohayo Haiku, was a foray into publishing haiku. Three Breaths, her second book, is a mix of haiku, senryu, alternative forms, and other poems. Her work has appeared in journals all over the globe (both print and electronic) and rejected by many more. Nancy also writes other genres including a blog, and plans to publish a children’s book in 2023. She also reads lots of novels. Her favorite is, and remains, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, but she is also a big Harry Potter fan. Now retired, she, her husband Rob, and their cat, Regular Arcturus Black, live in Huron, Ohio, a block from Lake Erie, where the bird population is constantly changing.
Lori Zajkowski is the Post Manager for Haiku Dialogue. A novice haiku poet, she lives in New York City.
Managing Editor Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, and her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). Find her at: kjmunro1560.wordpress.com.
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