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Joan Loveridge-Sanbonmatsu
Poet

 


In still moments on
my porch, I watch the crimson
dragonflies watch me

I saw my first dragonfly when I was six years old. My dad told me that dragonflies were good to have around because they ate mosquitoes. I remember the moment when I wrote this haiku. I was sitting on my back porch, one of my favorite places to write to gather in the beauty of summer.

I have this lounge chair and sit in the shade of my magnolia tree and look out at our long, green backyard. Near the chair is a little table for my poetry notebook and pen. I saw a dragonfly, a deep crimson one, fluttering on our forsythia bush. I caught its gaze and it hovered in the same place for awhile. We watched each other, the dragonfly and me.


With grace, salmon pink
flamingos stand on one leg
snoozing at the zoo

I remember the day of this poem very exactly. It was one of those beautiful Central New York summer days, and it was my birthday. My husband and I went to the Gifford Zoo. And there they were—the flamingoes! There were elegant, a brilliant salmon color, outside in the pond, and it was the first time I had seen them outside.

We went on to see the eagles, red pandas, the baby elephants. But I was so taken by the flamingoes, I kept coming back to them. And several of those flamingoes held my gaze, made eye contact. That very afternoon, the haiku wrote itself. I would love to see them fly. I don’t think I’ve seen flamingoes fly. So I wonder: do the flamingoes at the zoo fly?

Oak trees in the sun
Curled up on straw and first snow
a sleeping red fox

We were moving into our house in Syracuse, from Oswego, on December 1st, 2009.

It was late in the afternoon and the first snow of the season began to fall. I looked out of a large living room window—we had a small, fenced-in backyard in Syracuse—and beyond the fence, under a tree, was a red fox curled up sleeping. It was such a welcoming sight for me, and even on that same afternoon, several deer visited us. When we moved to the city, seeing those beautiful creatures in our backyard felt like home.

When I see something—if there’s a flash of beauty in nature and I see that occur—the haiku more or less write themselves. If I see something that really touches me, or moves me, I like to write it down—and a haiku is born.

 

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