National Poetry Month 2009

Haiku #30 – Going Native

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month and the last day of my personal promise to write a haiku per day inspired by my native plant garden. I have to admit that I didn’t know if I would make it to the end. I’m usually really good at starting and not so much at finishing. But I did it and I surprised myself a time or two. I really enjoyed the process and found myself falling in love with word play once again, always a good thing for a writer.

Only a few of mine really hit the mark of what I wanted to say but some of them had lines that I fell in love with and I want to revise the rest of the poem to match up to those great lines.Thanks to everyone who supported me through this challenge.

Before we even had the keys to this house I knew what I wanted to do – create a wildlife habitat in the front and back yards. It’s a long way from done but it’s much closer than it was two years ago. I was glad to see the lawn go. I’m happy we’ve redirected the water from the downspouts underground. But what gives me the most pleasure is to go outside in the middle of the day when the neighborhood is quiet and just visit the plants, seeing spiders and predatory wasps and bumble bees and carpenter bees and the occasional hummingbird zoom by.

goodbye lawnmower
you’re not welcome anymore
wildlife wanted here

bugs and birds and beasts
move in when no one’s looking
happy neighborhood

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown

Thursday, April 30, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |10 Comments

Haiku #29 – Hummingbird Sage

This is another of my all-time favorite, dependable California Native plants. It starts off forming this great cluster of evergreen arrow-shaped leaves and then up from the center pop these beautiful bright pink flowers. Another great wildlife plant for butterflies and hummingbirds. A big bonus is the wonderful smell of the leaves (which you can dry and use in tea). When Cassie rubs up against it and comes back in the house it is like she has taken a bath in native perfume. I have it all over the yard and it can spread to its heart’s content around here.











Hummingbird Sage
napping place for dog
double decker jester stick
eau de dog no more

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 29, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Haiku #28 – Dogwood

When we bought this house a little over two years ago one of the first things we knew was that we wanted to get rid of a lot of the cement. And when I saw this sideyard I had an instant image of a green, lush secret garden sort of place. The picture on the left is when we moved in, and the picture on the right is from about a month ago. The gate leads to the front courtyard so when we have a party we can open it and people can wander through. After the new fence went up and the cement was taken up, we had the blue stone path installs and planted both sides with red twig dogwoods. Eventually the dogwoods will naturally arch over the sideyard, enclosing it, and making it the perfect place for my secret garden.


down the dogwood path
salamanders frogs and toads
I can only hope

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 28, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |15 Comments

Haiku #27 – Island Snapdragon

Island Snapdragon was one of the first native plants I bought. I fell in love with the bright red tubular flowers that I knew would offer a feast for my hummingbirds. It’s a lovely evergreen plant that, once established, is fairly drought tolerant despite the tropical look. It’s a native of the Channel Islands.

I have one going up a trellis outside the courtyard gate and a couple more in the backyard around the wine barrel pond.

I know I haven’t been posting the brainstorms lately but that’s because I haven’t been doing much of them. I am writing these way too quickly but that means I will have lots to revise when things slow down, right? ūüėČ In order to get these polished I need to spend more time just thinking.

Island Snapdragon
snapdragon stands guard
come, sweet nectar hides within
hummingbirds break fast

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 27, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Haiku #26 – Yarrow

Yarrow gets a bum rap from a lot of people. They recognize it as the plant that often grows in disturbed areas alongside the road. It does spread by rhizomes which means it can give you a nice fill of a large area quickly. Supposedly Achilles used yarrow to heal his warriors in the battle of Troy which is where it gets its name, Achillea. Native Americans found many medicinal uses for yarrow.

It’s another great bug magnet in the garden, drawing bees, wasps, and butterflies. Those flowers are great landing pads for butterflies. I love the foilage and those ferny leaves make a great native lawn either on its own, or mixed in with some native grass or, like I did today, mixed in-between the Carex Pansa growing in the backyard. You can plant an entire lawn of yarrow and it will use a lot less water than a lawn. If you want a short, more traditional looking lawn, mow it with a push mower.

I don’t feel like I captured what I wanted to here but it will help me remember where I want to go when I revise.

ferny feathers nest
beneath common yarrow
this weed welcome here

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 26, 2009

Sunday, April 26, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Haiku #25 – Flannel Bush

A Flannel Bush is a beautiful show stopper of a plant. But all that beauty comes at a price – the leaves and flower capsules are not to be touched – they are covered with fine hairs that irritate the skin. These are also normally huge plants, big enough to cause one of the nurseries to warn people not to plant it close to the house unless you want to use an ax to hack your way outside. I have a very tiny one in the front yard, at the edge of the driveway. It is the smallest one we have, a Ken Taylor, that I hope to be able to keep under control with careful pruning. It has three flowers on it already and it is barely a foot tall. And even at the low height, I have to stop and stare.








Flannel Bush
careful where you plant
giant sunshine on a stick
where did that house go?

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 25, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |12 Comments

Haiku #24 – Milkweed

When I was a kid we had a lot of milkweed growing in the back, back yard (the one we use to store old wood and junk,) It grew like the weed it was and the Monarchs would come every year. It’s a sacrificial plant – one to plant in-between the others in your garden – because if you get Monarchs, and if the wasps don’t eat all the eggs, you’ll have a lot of hungry caterpillars munching on the leaves. With the eggs, come the aphids and the ants, who sort of take care of each other. And then the wasps come along and pick off a lot of the caterpillars which is why so many people will bring the cats inside to raise.

I only have about six of these so far but will continue to add more. I don’t know if I’ll get any Monarchs this year, but hopefully next year.

monarchs flutter, soon
cocooned caterpillars sleep
hurry, I can’t wait

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 24, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |7 Comments

Haiku #23 – Coyote Mint

This is another one of my favorite plants, Coyote Mint. I have two kinds in my yard, the regular and the willowly, and I love them both. They like the sun and are pretty drought tolerant and the bees and the butterflies adore them. Their little pincushion flowers always have company. But what I like best is the reaction on people’s faces when they see the flower and ask me what it is. I say Coyote Mint and all they hear is mint and they start to back away very fast as though it might be contagious. But California Native mints are not invasive at all. They are a very well behaved plant and I have many of them in the front and the back yards.






Coyote Mint
purple pincushion
soldiers quiver at your name
invade my yard, please

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 23, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |14 Comments

Haiku #22 – Western Redbud

I have yet to see a Redbud in full bloom such as this but someday. I have two of them in my front yard on each side of the dry creek bed. Even though they are only a couple feet tall right now I can easily imagine them 10 feet tall or more, branches gracefully swooping over the edge of the creekbed.

Western Redbud
spring unleashed, it blooms
pink kisses flirt with the sun
Kool-Aid explosion

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 22, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |9 Comments

Haiku #21 – James Roof Silk Tassel

James Roof silk tassel is a beautiful evergreen tree/shrub that has these wonderful long, silky catkins hanging down at the end of winter. I have a very tiny one in my yard, about a foot tall. I don’t want to think about how many years I will have to wait to be able to see its beautiful display.

The brainstorm.

Silk tassel
nature’s icicles
tree feathers
tree hair
tree feathers dangle
dance in the breeze
nature’s tinsel
catkins dangle in the breeze
silk tassels dance in the breeze
living icicles
let the party start
party can begin
nature decorates
let the party start
wearing fancy clothes
catkins dangle in the breeze
nature’s icicles
catkins dangle in the breeze
sunday best display
let the dance begin
silky catkins sway with the breeze
catkins dressed in silkiness
catkins dressed in finest silk
putting on the ritz

Silk Tassel
putting on the ritz
catkins dress in finest sil
let the dance begin

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 21, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Haiku #20 – Blue-eyed Grass

This morning when I let Cassie out back there was still a bit of dew clinking to the tips of the Blue-eyed grass. This picture is from my old garden – the ones I’ve planted at this house haven’t bloomed yet. It’s not really a grass, it’s actually in the iris family. It’s a small, clumping spot of beauty that is great in a rock garden or in front of a boulder. I was also thinking about bees today, our native bees, who often live a solitary life and unlike the wimpy European honey bees, are out working the flowers when the morning air is still quite cool.

Blue-eyed grass
blue eyes wet with dew
thirsty bee stops to drink -wait
listen to the dawn

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2009
April 20, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Haiku #19 – California Fuschia

When I was growing up my grandmother always had at least one fuschia on the front porch….the kind you get at your local garden center. It was lovely and tropical looking and a wee bit on the finicky side to take care of. When I discovered the California Fuschia I fell in love. I couldn’t believe how beautiful and lush it was with so little water or attention. And talk about a hummingbird magnet! To see a large bush of them cascading down a bank looks like it it raining fire to me.

hummingbird magnet
red trumpets
trumpet firey red
raining trumpet fire
hummingbird guards red trumpet
one hummingbird guards his prize
hungry visitors
hungry mobs
others wait their turn
others go hungry

California Fuschia
inside trumpet fire
one hummingbird guards his prize
others go hungry

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 19, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Haiku #18 – California Honeysuckle

California doesn’t have a lot of native vines. Only a couple. California Honeysuckle is not like the some of the exotic honeysuckles that can scale a chain link fence in a season. It’s a nice rambling groundcover or can be trained to grow up a support. I have seven of them along my back fence with a trellis behind each one. As soon as they reach the top of the fence I’ll string wire from trellis to trellis to encourage it to grow up and across, giving us a little bit more privacy. California honeysuckle is happiest with its roots in the shade and the top of the plant in the sun. A little water and it grows fast. Not much water and it still grows. Hummingbirds love these flowers.

Once again, not really much brainstorming went on. I was just trying to get a draft of a poem together because, well, it’s late and I’m tired and I know I can revise these under less pressure. ūüôā It’s not quite right but it captures the direction I want to go.

California Honeysuckle
roots hide in shade, cool
vining fingers search for sun
hummingbirds rejoice

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 18, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Haiku #17 – Sticky Monkey Flower

This is one of the funniest names for a plant, Sticky Monkey Flower. I’ve read that they’re called monkey flowers because the flowers look like grinning Monkeys. You may or may not agree. They do, however, have very sticky leaves filled with nutrients for critters.

I see these plants all the time as we drive to Santa Cruz, bright orange flowers popping up from in-between the rocks where it doesn’t seem like anything should grow at all. Of course I had to have them in my yard. It has its own butterfly…its own caterpillar…the checkerspot butterfly lays its eggs on the sticky leaves.

I have to say that I didn’t really do much of a brainstorm on this one. I read up on the plant a little bit, then got the last line first. After that came the second line and then the first. I was happy so I stopped.

Sticky Monkey Flower
sticky leaves hug eggs
hungry — not yet butterflies
laughing monkey waits

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 17, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Haiku #16 – Mountain Mahogany

I heard about this plant, Mountain Mahogany, long before I ever saw it in person. When we finally saw one, a full-grown specimen, both my husband and I fell in love with it. The unique flowers/seeds were a bonus for me. When I look at the flowers my first thought is of those 4th of July sparklers I used to love as a kid…the ones where you would write your name in the night sky and watch it light up. It’s great evergreen bush to small tree and a terrific cover for wildlife.
The brainstorm

seeds burst into air
spring seed explosion
sunlit seeds explodes
seeds burst free
seeds pop in the sun
seeds burst in the sun
trails of white
white feathers
white streamers
stream of feathery white
feathery white stream
leaving a feathery white stream
with a feathery white stream
swirls of sparkling feathers
swirling, sparkling feathers float
nature’s hope for more
seeds burst in the sun
swirling, sparkling feathers fly
somewhere a child smiles

Mountain Mahogany
from exploding seeds
sparkling feathers light the sky
somewhere a child smiles

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 16, 2009

Thursday, April 16, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |9 Comments

Haiku #15 – Wax Myrtle

We fell in love with this California Wax Myrtle a few years ago when we were still in our rental house and planting our practice native garden. It’s a beautiful evergreen with glossy leaves and while it doesn’t get flashy flowers or fruits you can eat it does get these little waxy nutlets that are cherished by many birds, including Cedar Waxwings. I have never seen a Waxwing in person…not yet…but I so want to. At the Yerba Buena nursery there is an huge old Wax Myrtle next to the pond and you can stand under it and hear all the little tapping biting sounds of the birds feasting.

At the rental house we bought one Wax Myrtle and planted it in the little sideyard where we getting acquainted with native plants. We planted it against what was affectionately called the hell wall because it was the reflected heat all summer long. It died. Quickly even. No birds for me.

When we bought this house we knew we wanted to find a place for a Wax Myrtle. Turns out I found a place for seven of them along a fence line. I’m a little wiser now and planted them in the once section of the backyard that is getting any irrigation. They are still small but someday I hope they will be filled with birds.



The brainstorm
glossy green
hedge or tree
nitrogen fixing
improves soil
habitat improving
not pretty flowers
berries for birds
waxy nutlets
waxwings decorate the tree
decorated with birds
hidden in the branches
hidden in the tree
noisy birds
evergreen ever full of birds
birds hide, divide the berries
noisy birds hidden
behind evergreen branches
waxwings hide behind
waxwings feast behind
evergreen branches
evergreen leaves
the thicket of evergreen
quivering glossy green leaves

Wax Myrtle
waxwings feast behind
quivering glossy green leaves
worth the water? yes

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 15, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Haiku #14 – The Wind

We are having some really, really high winds around here today and when I looked outside at the leaves and twigs and other things blowing around the yard I thought about the seeds and how the wind carries them from one home to the next like travelers looking to settle a new territory.

I don’t know how useful the brainstorms are so I haven’t posted that…just the poem.

The Wind
windy dancing day
tumbling, stumbling seeds
miracle to come

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 12, 2009

Tuesday, April 14, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |18 Comments

Haiku #13 – Painted Ladies

A few weeks ago we had an amazing adventure Рthousands upon thousands of painted lady butterflies were in the midst of their migration and we were right in their path. I stood in the front yard and watched them zoom by in twos and threes every few seconds. They travel at just about head high and go straight, up and over, rather than around anything in their path.


I’m not pleased with this haiku yet. It hasn’t quite captured what I want but these are not yet finished pieces. They are more of a workshop.




Painted Ladies

iridescent flight
painted ladies on parade
vanish in the sun

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 13, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |12 Comments

Haiku #12 – California Pipevine

Isn’t this a funny looking flower? It’s called the California Pipevine and it is the ONLY host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. I have six of these in my yard though it is a long shot to ever get the butterfly to show up and lay some eggs as it’s been a while since they’ve been seen in my area. Still, if I don’t try, I won’t know.







looks like a pipe
smelly pipe
stinky fungus gnats
pollinating the pipevine
smelly like a pipe
smelly funny plant
foul smelling perfume
picky eater
picky eater butterfly
picky caterpillar

California Pipevine
caterpillar dines
an exclusive neighborhood
swallowtail appears

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 12

Sunday, April 12, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Haiku #11 – Coyote Bush

Coyote Bush is one of those California native plants you either love or hate. I happen to love it. It’s dependable as all get out. It is huge on the wildlife value. But some people don’t like it. The Native Americans had many uses for this plant, from medicinal, to making arrow shaft, to building houses. They also called them “fuzzy wuzzy. “I love the seed heads. They look like feather dusters with long silky threads.

One of the most important jobs of this plant is to serve as a nurse plant, sheltering young plants that need shade and protection until they are old enough to stand on their own and it’s a great soil fixer-upper too!




white silky angel hair
silky angel hair
fuzzy wuzzy seeds
nurse plant for degraded soil
nurse plants for baby acorns
nurse plant for tender seedling
reviving tired soil
exhausted soil
breathing life into tired soil
resurrecting tired soil
shelters baby oaks
sheltering young oaks

Coyote Bush
fuzzy wuzzy seeds
tired soil, revived, made new
shelters baby oaks

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 11, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Haiku #10 – Fuschia-flowered gooseberry

There’s one thing you should know about this plant before you plant it in your garden – it actually shows up on lists of plants you should consider for security purposes around house. Roses have nothing compared to the thorns on these babies. We have three of them planted next to the house of evil. It’s a beautiful plant with long, tubular flowers which are pollinated by hummingbirds.







The brainstorm
pink pendants hang low
pink ladies wait
pink necklace
protected by the thorns
protected by thorny swords
sweet nectar
thorny swords guard the nectar
no fear
no deer
hummers have no fear
pink pendants hang low
thorny swords guard sweet nectar
painted pink ladies beckon
hummers have no fear

Fuschia-flowered gooseberry
thorns guard sweet nectar
only the brave win reward
hummers have no fear

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 10, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |13 Comments

Haiku #9 – Woolly Blue Curls

This is another one of my very favorite plants but I don’t have it in my garden. I didn’t think there was room for it. Only now, after I have planted something else in the one spot that it could have gone, do I realize how much I miss it. I may have to sacrifice the other plant that is there just so I can find a place for this beauty. Trichostema lanatum, Woolly Blue Curls, wants to be left alone on a hill of perfect drainage and absolutely no summer water. Even then, sometimes it fails to thrive but it is worth the effort.

Tonight I just did a bunch of brainstorming and then picked through it to see what I could come up with. I started with the image of a dancer, a ballerina, as that’s what it reminds me of at first glance.








dancing ballerina
poised ballerina
waiting ballerina
ballerina waits
ballerina preens
dancing ballerina waits
prima ballerina waits
ballerina plie
bees gather around
bees want to dance
plant on a hill and forget it
ignore it
left alone in summer sun
ignorance is bliss
waterless in the sun
native lavender
lavender blue
blue fuzzy
royal blue
royal blue fuzz
royal fuzzy blue
prima ballerina waits
ballerina dances
will soon arrive
dance in the chorus
dance all around
partnering with bees
dancing with the bees

Woolly Blue Curls
royal fuzzy blue
ballerina Arabesque
dancing with the bees

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 9, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |9 Comments

Haiku #8 – Purple Needlegrass

I¬†don’t have this in my¬†yard yet, but I¬†should¬†since purple needlegrass is our state grass

I went to read up on it and learned (as I¬†often do) even more fascinating things about the survival instincts of our native plants. It’s called needlegrass because the seeds are shaped like a torpedo and each seed has a long, thread-like awn attached making it look a lot¬†like a needle and thread.

No brainstorming to speak of on this one. (I keep reminding myself that these are workshop haiku and I can revise to my heart’s content after April is over.)




Purple Needlegrass
roots twenty feet deep
live two hundred years or more
waiting out the drought

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 8, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Haiku #7 – Catalina Ironwood

I asked my husband what one of his favorite plants were in the yard and he said Catalina Ironwood. I would have to agree with him. It is a magnificent looking tree and while we put two in the yard, I am still searching, wondering if I can find room for one more. They have a graceful fern-like leaves, reddish bark (at least at this young stage) and as they age and their trunks grow, the bark shreds into feathers that cling to the tree until the last possible moment when they fall to ground and create a beautiful leaf litter duff. In reading up on them I found that blue jays like to stash their food behind the bark and that alligator lizards tend to hide there too so sometimes, the blue jays get an unexpected live meal.

I knew I wanted to use the line about alligator lizards hiding there so then I brainstormed anything I could think of about the tree.




blue jays
hungry blue jays
search for food
no one is home
rusty slivers of bark
rusty feathers
rusty bark feathers
beneath the bark
behind feathered bark
feathered bark

I came up with two versions. I’m not sure which I like best.

Catalina Ironwood
beneath feathered bark
alligator lizards hide
shush, no one is home

Catalina Ironwood
beneath feathered bark
alligator lizards hide
blue jays go hungry

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 7, 2009

Tuesday, April 7, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |12 Comments

Haiku #6 – Poppies

One of my very favorite California Native plants is the poppy. I love the way they grow indiscriminately, in the dirt, in the mulch, in the cracks of a driveway. If you toss some seed out in the fall you can ignore it, let the winter rains do its thing, and come spring, the poppies burst forth.
poppy gold
poppy talk
poppies pop
pumpkin carrot orange
sea of pumpkin orange
sea of pumpkin orange
flowers leaves petals
circles wave
circles fly
flying saucers
flying saucers orbit yards

flying saucers orbit yards
pop up everywhere
welcome spring
poppies welcome spring
flying saucers welcome spring
say hello
poppies say hello
poppies say hello

sea of pumpkin orange
flying saucers orbit yards
poppies say hello

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 6, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |8 Comments

Haiku #5 – Dichondra

Okay, I’m cutting it a little bit close but there are still a few minutes left in today for my haiku. I spent the day on the patio in the backyard, no, not lazing around but planting my native dichondra in-between the stones that make up our informal patio. I have creeping thyme in-between some but the dichondra I have is native and I¬†really like the look of it. I’ve been growing a flat of it for a while so I could have it to divy up in all the bare spot. Each little leaf looks like a miniature lily pad to me.







I got lucky with the first line.
between stepping stones
hugging the dirt
green carpet hugging the dirt
patches of green
hugging holding digging
carpet covers
green carpet covers the dirt

green carpet covers the dirt
round circles
green leaves
pond leaves
lily pad
lily pads for ants

lily pads for ants

between stepping stones
green carpet covers the dirt
lily pads for ants

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 5, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

Haiku #4 – Sea Thrift

There’s still a little bit of today left for haiku #4.

I planted a flat of of Sea Thrift, little clusters of evergreen grasslike plants that shoot up long stems with little pink ball shaped flowers. They always make me think of popcorn balls.

sea thrift
pink balls
popcorn balls
pink popcorn balls
bright pink popcorn balls

bright pink popcorn balls

slender stems
roast in summer sun
roasting in the summer sun

wave fingers toward the sun

sea thrift is my name
hummers wait to drink
hummingbirds go by
hummingbirds will feast
hopeful hummers wait

hopeful hummers wait

Sea Thrift
bright pink popcorn balls
wave fingers toward the sun
hopeful hummers wait

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 4, 2009

Saturday, April 4, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |9 Comments

Haiku #3 – Concrete

I started thinking about what the yard looked like before we tore it all apart. It looked like, well, nothing you would call pretty. To start with there was concrete EVERYWHERE. The neighbors laughed at me when I told them we would remove the concrete strip next to the street. “Nothing will grow there,” they said. “We’ve lived here for 50 years. Nothing will grow.”

And I shrugged my shoulders and told them I had to try. And if I failed they would have a new story to tell about that crazy garden lady. Today I looked at what used to¬† be the concrete strip between the street and the sidewalk and I have Ceanothus in bloom, Bee’s Bliss sage and Lupines. The Cleveland Sage is full of buds and just waiting for its turn. The native Fuschia’s are gearing up too and I’m sure the hummingbirds are watching for those first red blooms.

The first thought that came to was concrete jungle but that was cliche and it really wasn’t true. What we had was a variety of concrete and aggregate, like little streams leading to the street.

concrete rivers

And what did they do? They hid things. They hid the dirt from me. They hid the dirt from the sun and the rain. They hid the seeds buried deep over many years under a sterile 6″ deep river of cement.

concrete rivers hide

It was the dirt I was thinking about now. About how, when we finally did remove the cement, there were piles and piles of dirt everywhere and the guy with the tractor wanted to take it away. “It’s just clay,” he said. “It’s no good for growing things.” Oh how wrong he was. Clay is rich in nutrients and holds the water well. Perfect environment for my native plant garden.

rich clay
soil seeds sun
rich clay waits for seeds and sun
feed me
hungers for the sun
rich clay soil hungers for the sun
needs sun and seeds and then
rich clay soil waits for seeds and sun
hungering, slumbering dirt
hungering, slumbering soil
hungering, slumbering clay

hungering, slumbering clay

I knew it was there – a beautiful garden –¬†just like a sleeping princess, waiting for me to wake it up and bring it to life.

sleep sleepy sun  sleepy garden
under garden garden under wake up
gardens beneath the sea
let sleeping gardens wake
where sleeping gardens wait

sleeping gardens wait

concrete rivers hide
hungering, slumbering clay
sleeping gardens wait

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown April 3, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |15 Comments

Haiku #2 – Worms

This is post #2 relating to my personal poetry challenge for the month of April to write one haiku per day inspired by my native plant garden.

I have decided to post my poems for every day after chatting about it with two poets whom I admire very much, Laura Salas and Liz Scanlon Laura said something that I think is going to stick with me a long time, not just about poetry but about all writing. She said, “I work from a place of abundance.” Isn’t that just the best attitude? I also decided if I am going to talk about being brave, I need to be 100% brave and not just a little bit brave.

The inspiration for this poem came to me while I was outside watering a few of the newest plants in the garden. I was thinking about how happy it made me, when planting, to finally see worms in the dirt. When we first moved here the soil was so dead that we had no worms, (at least up high)¬†no insect life in the ground at all (that we could see.) And I was thinking about the importance of worms, especially in this San Jose clay and how they churn up the dirt and leave these wonderful tunnels behind that help disburse the water underground. (They also leave worm poop behind and that’s another great thing for the garden.)

So this time the last line came to me first.

worms do all the work

And then I was stuck.

water water everywhere
even native plants need drinks
thirsty plants need water soon
roots wait for something to drink
thirsty roots cling to dry clay
water to the thirsty roots
bring water to thirsty roots

bring water to thirsty roots

And then the first line popped right into my head

underground tunnels

Which gave me a final poem of:

underground tunnels
bring water to thirsty roots
worms do all the work

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown
April 2, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |9 Comments

Haiku #1 – Ceanothus

I¬†did it. My first haiku for the month. Is it brilliant? No. But that’s okay. That’s what revision is for, right?

I must have gone to the front yard a dozen times today and wandered around the plants, looking for inspiration. No luck. Then I¬†told myself to just pick a plant,¬†any plant,¬†and write about it. That didn’t work either.¬†So I went back into the house, ate some¬†tortilla chips and wished for something sweet to counter the salt.

When Cassie wanted to go out back, I went with her and watched her chase butterfly that landed in the Ray Hartman Ceanothus. And the first line came right up and settled in my mouth, filled with alliteration and imagery, two of my favorite elements and ones I am trying to learn how to use better. The second line was easy….I wrote what I saw. The final line is what needs work. It says what I want to say but it’s just blah….and it needs a punch line that says something on two layers. And I think that’s something that just needs time for pondering.

So here is what I wrote yesterday, or rather the evolution of it.

Whenever I see a Ceanothus in full bloom, the Ray Hartman, I always think of those purple popsicles we used to get when I was a kid, the twin pops that you had to break in half and share with someone else. So the first line came to me right away.

purple popsicles

Ceanothus is 4 syllables so I knew I needed to use it on the middle line or I would have no words left for anything else so first draft was

ceanothus in full bloom

And because the bees were buzzing around it like crazy I ended with this.

summer sweets for bees

So my first draft was:

purple popsicles
ceanothus in full bloom
summer sweets for bees

But it didn’t feel very¬†good to me.

So I brainstormed middle lines

ceanothus blooms for sale
ceanothus blooms don’t melt
ceanothus opens shop
ceanothus sweet shop
ceanothus ice cream shop

Even though¬†ceanothus ice cream shop¬†doesn’t make a lot of sense I like¬†the sound of it.

purple popsicles
ceanothus ice cream shop
summer sweets for bees

I wasn’t pleased with the ending because it’s not summer yet and they don’t bloom in the summer time.

More brainstorming.

summer sweets for bees
springtime feast for bees
springtime sweets for bees
bees line up to feast

And this is what I ended up with.

purple popsicles
ceanothus ice cream shop
bees line up to feast

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2009
April 1, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009|Categories: National Poetry Month 2009, Susan's Original Poems|Tags: , , |4 Comments