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Sheila Forsyth
Poet

 


Old brick buildings with
Insides of light and music
Amory Square warmth

I like the architectural detail of old buildings—I live in a house that was built in 1850. And I just like the idea of downtown. The old buildings help create a sense of community, more so than new buildings do.

I go there for Jazz Fest, Blues Fest, and when my brother’s playing (Brian Hyland) with his band, West O’Clair, that plays Irish music at Kitty Hoynes. So that’s a place I’ll frequent.
It’s mostly music that draws me down there—and the nice restaurants. And I like the old buildings, and the thought of going into these old buildings, where it’s warm and light. That’s very appealing to me.


Breeze passes through leaves
As Thornden Park break dancer
Executes "windmill"

My youngest daughter, Katy, is a break dancer. She was my inspiration. She is part of the Uprock Crew—a break dancing group in Syracuse. Typically they would practice in Thornden Park or at the Inner Harbor. It’s very creative, and it’s fun to watch.

Now she’s at the University of Buffalo, and she’s dancing with AG-1—Buffalo’s first and largest hip-hop group. She’s majoring in exercise science, so a lot of what she’s studying—about fitness and strength—relates her interest in break dancing. Some of the moves, especially the freezes, take a lot of upper body strength. So she’s working at it and getting better and better!

Rain beads on petals
Thornden among the roses
After passing storm

We used to live on Westmoreland Avenue, and when the kids were young, I would take them to the pool at Thornden Park for swimming lessons. The park has its rose garden, and that was a big draw, too. It’s such a pretty place.

I love flowers, but especially roses. I like the very fragrant ones, and I think they look beautiful after the rain. I have a few of my own—not too many. I have some tea roses, and then I have some miniature roses. My first rose bush was given to me by my daughters on Mothers’ Day. That one is pink. I have another one that’s white. That one was given to me by friends after my mother died. Those roses are especially nice, because when I look at them blooming, they remind me of my mother and my daughters.

Sparrows fight for crumbs
Dropped by alfresco diner
In Armory Square

I was downtown with my daughter, Dierdre, and we were sitting out at one of the places in Armory Square, having dinner. We tend to go downtown when the weather is warm. We like to go to Kitty Hoynes, which has outdoor tables, or to the Dinosaur. Or we’ll go down to the Sound Garden for music.

Anyway, it was one of those nice evenings, when it stayed light long, and we were just kicking back and watching what was going on around us. The sparrows were over by the curb and they were fighting for little crumbs. There was one particular sparrow that the rest were picking on. I don’t know why. The other sparrows seemed to be having a good time, but as soon as this one tried to join in, they would chase him away.

Purple night, soft air
Moth dances gently above
Outdoor cafe lamp

One night last June, I was downtown with my daughter, Deirdre, and we were sitting outside in Armory Square. She and I go downtown pretty often, and we have a good time. We go down for Blues Fest, and the Irish Fest. Or we go to the music store, or sometimes to the Dinosaur, or to Kitty Hoynes. Just walking around, sitting out—it’s nice in the warm weather.

Anyway, on the evening that inspired the poem, we were just sitting there, watching everyone go by and Armory Square come to life, as it does, in the early evening. It was just a beautiful evening.

Open music case
Dollars flutter in as notes
Fly from saxophone

I have seen street musicians in Armory Square, some nights, you know, as you’re coming out of a place, there’s someone there with an open music case. I used the saxophone and the bird-like words with it because saxophones remind me of a bird, the shape of it.

So when I wrote about a street musician playing a saxophone, I wanted to use words that were related to birds—flying, fluttering, that sort of thing. And music notes, they sort of take to the sky on their own, too. So I like to use the bird image.

Quick pivot, braid flies
Red tailed hawk circles the field
As Iroquois score

Lacrosse is an exciting, fast-paced game, so I wanted to portray that in the first line.

I used the red tailed hawk in the second line because it symbolizes courage, agility and strength. It is also known as a protector. I liked the idea of the hawk circling above and watching the Iroquois play well on the field.

Last year I watched a documentary about lacrosse and that got me thinking of games I have watched, so naturally I wanted to write a haiku about it!

 

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