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Wood Ducks Wild

A Wood Duck Celebration in Haiku  

Haiku is a traditional Japanese short verse form written to celebrate some aspect of nature or life. While it has numerous nuances and variations, in my rudimentary understanding, a Haiku basically consists of three lines of verse written in a non-rhyming pattern, with 5 syllables in the 1st line, 7 in the 2nd, back to 5 in the 3rd. Traditional Haiku’s usually contain a seasonal reference, generally a single word called a “kigo”, and something called a “kireji” or “cutting word”, either in the middle or at the end. (I used Wikipedia, Britannica, & Grammarly as my primary background Haiku structural references.)

The word “Basking” serves as my kireji, with “April” as my kigo, in the 1st Haiku below.

Wood Ducks on Pond Bank

Sharing April’s New Morning

Spring Sunrise, Basking

I find it interesting and useful, as a writer, to explore different writing forms, styles, traditions and formats. Most of what I write are true life adventure vignettes, but I also frequently write short fiction, essays, recipe pieces and poetry.

Even in publishing and presenting my work, I’ve found variety; traditional print magazine such as Adirondack Life Magazine, online newsletters such as The Adirondack Almanack, local contests, Facebook, TWITTER, my own blog. As my journey has progressed, I’ve even incorporated a small handheld camera and series of trail cameras into my repertoire. Not only does this allow me to incorporate and share unique photography within the framework of my poems, adventures, essays & stories, but the images I capture on camera also serve to inspire me.

In this next trail camera photo inspired Haiku, I used “Spring” as my kigo, with “Splashing” as my cutting word, emphasized by the pause of a comma. According to my sources, punctuation is often used in Haiku to give particular words, most notably kiregis, emphasis.

Nature’s Painted Duck

Brushstrokes on Feathered Canvas

Spring Colors, Splashing  

 Of all the waterfowl species that frequent my private ponds,

wood ducks are by far my favorite.

They are extremely skittish, and easily spooked.

As a result, they can be very difficult to photograph.

Drake wood ducks are spectacularly colorful.

The hens more subtly so.

In this third Haiku, I highlight the hen’s subtly colored plumage and skittish nature using “Brooding” (I chose this word not only because spring is the wood duck nesting season, but because of the double entendre meanings that particular word carries) as my kigo and “Spooked” as my Kireji, once again emphasized by a punctuated pause.

Brown Brooding Hues Blend

White Framed Eyes, Ever Wary

Whistled Warnings, Spooked

Once spooked, wood ducks will take flight in a mad rush,

whistling a shrill panicked warning to all around them as they make their escape.

Wood ducks are cavity nesters. This means that unlike most other ducks, they don’t nest on the ground, but instead seek out holes in waterside trees. I have built and installed a series of eight wood duck boxes overhanging the water along the banks of my ponds. One such box is visible in the background of the photo below.

I have found that a trail camera positioned low on the water in the vicinity of my wood duck boxes is a very effective way to capture the spectacular beauty of wood ducks in their full glory.

I feel very blessed to have a private place where these feathered masterpieces allow me to enjoy and share their beauty.

Misted Morning Marsh

Thawed Ponds Teem Nature’s Crayon

Drawing Wood Ducks Wild

I hope folks enjoyed my wood duck celebration,

in Haiku.


Until Our Trails Cross Again:


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