Haiku Adventure–Part Three

What I learned from these poems:  what is usually considered good writing for other types of poems may or may not apply to haiku.  Alliteration provides an example.  Generally, in poetry alliteration merits a plus.  Not in haiku.  Regardless, I decided to leave the alliteration in this poem.  When I eliminated the alliteration, the effect I wanted disappeared.

red roan horse runs

rain roars

deep depression in mud


Generally, I teach senior English–British literature.  However, one short class twice a week contains all freshmen.  My assignment:  teach them what they need to know to pass the state STAAR for ELA.  This poem illustrates what occurred during the class this past week.

teaching freshmen English class

What is a pronoun?

they stare; no one knows.

Haiku Adventure–Part Two

After receiving positive feedback on the following three poems, I learned that two of them cannot be haiku.  Why?  They instruct, give directions.  Such teaching is forbidden in haiku.  Regardless, I decided to post them anyway.  At least the Meditations will illustrate what not to do if you want to write real haiku.



shut your eyes, be still

listen to the wind, rain, thunder

shut your eyes, be still



open your eyes, be still

watch coyote and bobcat climb

open yours eyes, be still


There are several other reasons why these two poems cannot be haiku–more than one image and a contrasting image in a single poem–forbidden.  I knew there must be some reason I had never previously seriously attempted haiku.  Too many rules.


This one, however, meets modern haiku standards or so I have been told.  I will eventually get this.  Learning, challenging oneself, remains a positive experience.



big dipper illuminates

clouds race

darkness suddenly descends



Haiku Adventure

Since I felt out of sync with writing and accomplishing little in that vein, I decided I needed a challenge.  In spite of two published books,  one instructive, non-fiction and the other a book of poems, I never attempted writing haiku.  Even though I probably, due to teaching schedule among other activities like singing and horses, cannot write one haiku a day, I committed to writing seven a week.  The first thing I noticed is the difficulty.  Haiku poems may be short; however, getting them even close to “right” remains quite difficult, a real challenge.  Here are the first three written this week:


milkweed rising to the sun

wait for monarchs

who never ever come




cirrocumulus clouds fly

across an azure sky

snowflakes and cottonballs




OPI Bogota Blackberry

on my freshly scrubbed feet

walks along in wonder

Over One Foot of Snow

Once I learned there would be no school today–I am a teacher, I planned to blog something profound and thought provoking.  However, thirteen inches of snow takes a long time to shovel.  Before it became sufficiently light to hike out and feed Rosie, my horse, I took these photos.





It took no time for me to realize as soon as sufficient light arrived and it warmed up a bit, that I needed to start the shoveling process.  Since the patio in the photos receive little sun in winter, it would take weeks–a weeklong warming trend is on its way–and probably longer than the predicted warming trend to melt all this unless I started working on the shoveling process.  The profound blog forgotten, I put on tights under jeans, three layers on top plus a long coat, two pairs of gloves, wool socks over the tights, boots, and headed out.  Round one entailed my shoveling a path up the steps seen in a photo above and on to the barn to feed Rosie, returning to the patio and shoveling for about 1 and 1/2 hours.  At that point cold hands and feet necessitated my coming indoors to warm up.  In the meantime I took a few more photos.



Much to my dismay, this unusually wet and heavy snow broke off a large limb on the juniper tree by my blue, Santa Fe inspired, door.  When it warms up and the snow melts, I will have to saw it off and learn to live with the space it used to occupy.


Because I did not want this to happen to a couple of other trees close to the house, I later went around with a shovel, hitting them, trying to knock off snow.  Time for round two of shoveling–the rest of the patios.  The snow is beautiful, but after four hours of shoveling and vacuuming the whole house between shoveling rounds, I think perhaps I will collapse and profundity can wait for another day.  Later in the afternoon I took the photos below.  I am not a photographer; I teach high school seniors British literature.  However, a painter asked permission to paint the photo below.  I feel quite flattered.


Since my truck is in the barn above the house and my drive next to the garage is full of snow as seen in the photo below, it may be a week or so before I go anywhere in my little car.


During the last snow storm, a friend came over and took a photo of the aged juniper tree rising from the canyon floor almost to my patio.  After he took the photo, we noticed it looks like a bird.  Today as you can see from this photo, she is a snow goose.



55 Random Facts about China

Juliana Lightle:

My fellow blogger from India posted this. I found the detailed information quite fascinating and much of it surprising or new.

Originally posted on getsetandgo:

Before my recent trip to China, for some reason, I had a bunch of wrong notions and misconceptions about this country. In hindsight I feel that some were so random that I can’t even begin to fathom where did they originate from. But whatever my expectations or beliefs China proved me wrong on nearly all of them. Hence it’s not surprising that this holiday also doubled into a learning experience – that I term as China 101. I discovered many new facts, explored some different facets and met some of its amazing people. Some of these experiences / discoveries were amazing, some shocking and some downright disgusting.

Forbidden City, Beijing, China Forbidden City, Beijing, China

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My Ethiopian Adventure–Final Days

It took me a while to post this because I did not want the adventure to end.  Of course, it will never end in my heart and mind.  Nevertheless, this last post about my three week adventure brings a feeling of termination I have apparently attempted to avoid.  I spent the last few days of my trip, staying with my friend’s parents in Adama.  They took me on the wonderful adventure described in my last Ethiopian post, the day trip to Awash National Park.  Later, we went shopping for gold, silver, and textiles, ate, wandered around, visited, relaxed.  We listened to the Muslim call to prayer and the Ethiopian Orthodox chanting.  One day I heard another voice over the loud speakers and asked, “What is this one?”  The Pentecostals competing–three types of churches all on loud speakers, calling people to worship.  Because at least two of them start before dawn, it kept my friends up.  By this time in the trip, I had earned to sleep through it all.

I like the climate in Adama, especially after being cold for most of the first half of the trip.  It seemed I could put on multiple layers and still shiver.  Adama is nice and warm, hot, but not too hot.  Flowers and tropical fruits thrive as in the photos below–my friend’s mother’s lush garden and her elegant table.




The plates are an Ethiopian design apparently only available there–Ethiopian figures in a circle. Even breakfast is a work of art.


The neighbor’s grape arbor amazed me.  I have never seen anything like it.


Zoning remains unheard of here.  Next to a new, well built, modern house where one or two families may live is a place like this or the one on the other side of my friend’s parents’ house where both cows and no one knew exactly how many people live.


In the dark space in the middle of the above photo live two cows–if they have not been slaughtered by now.  From this vantage point I could see a minaret, a modern wind farm on the far hill, cows, goats, an empty lot, a luxurious looking house being built on the other side of this adjoining lot, everything from the most modern to the ancient.  Every bedroom possessed its own little patio.  The photo below shows the view from mine.


So we would not have to make a mad rush to get me to the airport through Addis traffic, we went back to Addis the day before my flight out.  I took a few photos from the front of the Addis airport before I left.



Due to the kindness of a complete stranger, I made my flight.  When I was about to go through the passport line, I discovered I had my friend’s passport which meant she had mine.  In Bahir Dahr, we had to show our passports to the hotel before getting keys for our rooms.  Apparently, the young man switched them when he gave them back to us.  We took them and put them away without looking.  My phone did not work in Ethiopia.  I experienced a major panic.  I had my Ethiopian friend’s phone number but no phone.  I explained to the guy checking passports the problem.  The man standing in line next to me heard and offered his phone.  He actually got out of line to help me.  I did not recognize his accent and have no idea his country.  He called the number for me.  The call failed to go through.  He waited, tried again.  Eventually, it all worked out and I made my flight, all due to this man’s patience and kindness.  When I finally made it inside the airport, several people who had heard the problem actually came up to me and told me they were worried I might not make it.  I knew none of them; yet they cared.

With a six hour layover in Dubai, I had a lot of time to wander, drink coffee, explore the airport, which is huge, really huge.  I bought some perfume–Muslim perfume with no alcohol in it.  I like it so much, I will have to figure out how and where to order it when it runs out.  Many of this airport’s shops are opulent.  People stood in line to buy gold, high end cosmetics, designer everything.  It is cosmopolitan, clean, efficient, fancy, welcoming.



In this airport, I saw one of the women who was relieved to see me inside the airport at Addis after my passport scare.  She unfortunately experienced a frightening incident during the flight and they had to give her oxygen.  We chatted, she seemed fine finally.  As I write this, what do I remember most of those last 36 hours of the trip:  the kindness and concern of total strangers.


2014 in review and HAPPY NEW YEAR

This posts the usual annual report stuff.  Looking at stats always surprises and to some extent dismays me.  What seems the most popular is frequently what I find the least important, food, for example.  I receive a lot of responses to recipes.  Before I started blogging I had no idea how important food is to a lot of people.  What remains most important to me may not be to readers out there:  my writing, travel adventures.  Some of My Ethiopian Adventure posts received a lot of hits and one was tweeted all over Africa.  People from 88 countries viewed my blog.  Still two of the most popular posts were recipes.  Life is always full of surprises and wonders.  May 2015 continue this amazing adventure:  Life.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.