Another Year in Haiku

Photo Credit
Margaret Boyles
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The Japanese poetic form called haiku seems perfectly tailored as a discipline for someone who writes about “natural living.”

In its classical form, a haiku requires 1. a natural or seasonal reference; 2. three lines of text—the first and third lines containing five syllables, the middle line containing seven; 3. two concrete, sensory images separated by a pivotal phrase or word that links them, often in some surprising way.

The requirement for a seasonal reference draws attention to what’s going on right now in the natural world. The forced brevity and requirement for concrete everyday words are great for improving writing, and the requirement to link simple images from the sensory world to some insight or other can strengthen a writer’s ability to infuse her prose with broader and deeper layers of meaning.

For all those reasons and more, I write haiku almost every day. I never labor over them or rewrite them, but just set down what emerges spontaneously. Here’s a random selection from 2016.



magical snowscape
takes my breath away~I’ve spent
two hours shoveling

minus forty-five
yesterday, but tomorrow
forty-eight above



day after blizzard
melting snowman leaves red scarf
fluttering in mud

spring arrived early
confused buds burst~but sadly
died before they lived


spring in my kitchen
buckets and buckets of forced
forsythia blooms

birthday day today
sun shining, ice melting
all of it in me


sound of spring peepers
time to stop lugging firewood
start mowing the lawn

looking out today
who'd predict weekend blizzard
will bring winter back


after long spring drought
a long day of rain—yet we'll
never stop grumbling

warm sun, thick green grass
young cattle jump fence, craving
a taste of freedom


late-June morning
munching strawberries, but Whoa!
this one shared with slug

my small backyard pond
great for shampoos~all that algae
thickens the tresses  


my attic office
overlooks shrubs, lawn, flowers
all of us wilting

birds, chipmunks, beetles
share my food crops~I call it
tithing to Nature


what's with all this wind?
even the sturdy cornstalks
lie down in its path

slender dry tendril
twists up from buttercup stem
both our dreams fulfilled


wind rattles grass seeds
from dry stalks~next spring they'll sprout
among my vegetables

bittersweet berries
in blue vase~outside their vines
strangle the maple


out attic window
lichen-studded limbs stretch bare
to catch first snowflakes

stiff grass white with frost
footfalls crunch against hard ground
milkweed down floats by



autumn walk through woods
so many acorns~should have
worn my bike helmet

we don hunting hats
blaze orange; no we don't hunt
but come back alive


big chunks of firewood
no warmth from them without this
handful of splinters

winter fast upon us
may the snow fall light upon
that old shed of ours


Try your own hand at haiku!

About The Author

Margaret Boyles

Margaret Boyles is a longtime contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac. She wrote for UNH Cooperative Extension, managed NH Outside, and contributes to various media covering environmental and human health issues. Read More from Margaret Boyles

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