Thornewood Poems

A collection of haiku written on Sunday afternoon, 27 March 1994, at the Thornewood Open Space Preserve in Woodside, California. Many of these poems were published in various journals, appeared in Thornewood Poems (Foster City, California: Press Here, 1994) and in Thornewood Poems (Napanee, Ontario: Haiku Canada, 1998; same title as the 1994 publication, but with a different selection and format), and also appeared online at Captain Haiku’s Secret Hideout in 1997. The 1994 chapbook includes an introduction explaining the genesis of these poems. The entire sequence has also been translated into Hungarian by Gergely László. Five of these poems have been translated into Romanian by Olimpia Iacob.
 
 
Dedicated to the late D. Claire Gallagher, whose words inspired many of these poems
as she described the various flowers, trees, and other plants we saw together.
 
 

a red berry on the trail

I look up

to the chickadee’s song

 

 

miner’s lettuce

beside the trail—

fallen toyon berries

 

 

a red toyon berry

at the trail’s edge—

the tinkle of a stream

 

 

first on the trail—

the pull of a spider’s strand

across my face

 

 

a switch-back

in the trail—

I glance at her face

 

 

a climbing pea

has lassoed a blade

of crab grass!

 

 

trail dust settles—

a shooting star bobs

over a spider’s turret

 

 

a slow breeze . . .

sticky-monkey flower

barely moving

 

 

noon sun—

fallen bark moss

swaying in a thistle

 

 

dried horseshoe prints

more frequent

by the blackberry bramble

 

 

passed from nose to nose,

a torn leaf

of pitcher sage

 

 

swaying in the shadows

of the ancient oak,

honeysuckle berries

 

 

lifting mugwort to her nose . . .

the hangnail

on her thumb

 

 

pausing on the trail—

I run my hand

through brush grass

 

 

white cabbage butterfly

rises from scattered toyon berries

through the horse’s hooves

 

 

the cool of shade—

a swarm of midges

brushes my arm

 

 

dried leaves on the trail—

a thistle bends

in fern shadow

 

 

broken to the heartwood—

an old meadow elm

after thunder

 

 

stopping on the footbridge

to gaze at still pools—

a sparrow’s wings flutter

 

 

voices on the trail . . .

the heap of deadwood

clogging the stream

 

 

blossoms in the wind-shadow

a hiker stops

to sip his water

 

 

dried thistle

bent across the trail . . .

trill of distant chickadee

 

 

between the brambles,

a fern’s curve

up the trail

 

 

before I sit,

I blow an ant

from the stump’s center

 

 

a turn in the trail—

sky in the branches

of red madrone

 

 

scent of jasmine . . .

a butterfly’s shadow

over trail mud

 

 

just off the wood path,

a mouse’s bones

under a curled leaf

 

 

first glimpse—

white swan

in the forest pool

 

 

valley coolness—

the trail widens

near the wooded pond

 

 

clouds of pollen

drifting through sunbeams—

a sparrow’s sudden flight

 

 

the web between stumps—

a tree frog answers

the pond frog

 

 

stones on the trail . . .

a downy feather

wafts in the breeze

 

 

new shoots

on the big-leaf maple—

how blue the sky, how blue

 

 

a mushroom cap

tilting in the sun—

I feel for my bald spot

 

 

a white swan shakes her tail

at last the ripples

reach her mate

 

 

jays squawk

from redwood tops—

the hush of distant traffic

 

 

water striders

keep turning back

from the weir’s edge

 

 

at the trail’s end,

the way we sit

beneath the redwoods

 

 

late afternoon sun—

jumping in the leaf pile

to hear the crunch

 

 

roots exposed

at the trail’s edge . . .

a banana slug’s path

 

 

afternoon shade—

moss rubbed off

where the branches touch