Northwest Plants and Flowers

First published in Poetry Nippon (Third Series, Edition Number 1, October 2010, in which I was featured poet), pages 12–14. Originally written in August of 2009, the following are twenty-three haiku in a sequence of forty-five written mostly about Pacific Northwest plants and flowers (a few plants are not native but have been transplanted to the area). Four of these poems and three additional ones on this theme (added at the end here) were also featured on the Daily Haiku site in 2009. See also “More Northwest Plants and Flowers” for nineteen additional poems.



red birches—

the sunset mellows

as we amble



roots of the river birch—

a salmon’s carcass

still a bit red



a sweet gum tree

tips toward the pond—

distant thunder



dawn redwood roots

the tangle of dendrites

where I love you



shore pines

creak in the wind—

your offshore love



Japanese barberry

for dinner

you suggest sushi



redtwig dogwoods

the neighbour boy with a bat

feigning innocence



she tells me

it’s a red osier dogwood

how would I know she loves me?



cutting salal

away from the house

the young widow



shrubby cinquefoil

taking over

the puppy’s grave



Douglas’s spirea

newly planted

our gloved hands touch



bridal wreath spirea

all the centerpieces

on the center table



gold sweetflag

glowing in the sun

my daughter’s smile



the deadness

of wood anemone

your letter at last



ice-dance sedge

edging onto the trail

missed chemo session



pink fawn lily

the abandoned bunker

wet with graffiti



daylilies nodding

the commuter train

sounds its horn



crickets stop

a lost golf ball

in the royal fern



an undergrowth

of Western sword fern

my forgotten pills



barren strawberry

she tells me now

of her first marriage



black gum trees

bend toward the trail

impending storm



bald cypress woods

the naturalist practices

her birdcall



Chinese tupelo

for some reason

I think of flutes


        Darwin’s barberry
        the place where
        the skid marks stop

                    the black elder
                    shakes its shadow loose
                    early snowfall

                                have come and gone
                                lost horizon