The Lighter Side of JzB

Here you will find photos, poetry, and possibly some light-hearted foolishness. For the Heavier Side
of JzB
see my other blog,
Retirement Blues. (There be dragons!)

I claim copyright and reserve all rights for my original material of every type and genre.

Every day visits*
From Moose, Goose, and Orb Weaver
All seized by Haiku

"Why moose and goose?" you may ask. Back on 2/04/13 Pirate wrote a haiku with an elk in it, and I responded with
one with a moose and then included him every day. A few days later in comments Mystic asked "Where's the goose?"
So I started including her with this post on 2/07. A week later on the 14th, Mark Readfern
asked for and received a spider. The rest is history.

*Well, most days, anyway. Grant me a bit of poetic license.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Trolling The Cosmos for Breadcrumbs........

Heteromost presents a scenario where we are put in a position to ask an allegedly unlikely wise savant, "What is the universal truth."

Our task is to fabricate his answer.

Certainly, this can not be given in any straightforward manner.  It must be as enigmatic as an ancient prophecy whose meaning can only be teased out with deep and inspired thought.

Such a task is beyond me, of course.  But why let a detail like that get in the way?

So, from the mouth of our sage, these words:

yes life is precious
but alas not all of it
what does your heart say

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Carpe Diem #569, Corn

an insect buzzes
up against the corn stalk
on the cob a web

Carpe Diem #569, Corn

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #6, Lizard

Today's challenge is to write a haiku in 5-7-5 form about a lizard.

I like working in the structured format.  Here's version 1.

patient orb weaver
waits for the next fat insect
then comes the lizard

Best laid plans of mice and spiders.   But the last line too closely echoes my apple haiku, and I don't want to get into a rut. Plus, "fat" is superfluous - it's just in there to hit the syllable count.

Then I remembered first-third line interchangeability, so I wanted to bring that into it.

spider's epiphany
as then next insect arrives
the lizard is pleased

Lizard might be pleased, but I'm not.  Spider's epiphany is a reach too far, and somehow this just doesn't sit right.

trapped insect panics
in orb weaver's silken threads
lizard licks his lips

Well, that's better, I think.  Not good, perhaps, but better.

Carpe Diem "Little Creatures" #6, Lizard

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Carpe Diem #568, Apples

I just read Kristjan's JUST READ post, then read the prompt for this post.  Help me if I've got this wrong, but I think Jane Reichold's apple haiku are way off the mark.  Are they stark and detached observations, or do they depend on sentimentality?  Only the first of the three can possibly be viewed as a brief moment in time.  Like the other two, it is a vivid image, but I see no deeper meaning there, or even a particularly sparkling insight.  The second one strikes me as being both twee and trite - very unlike the CROW haiku of Basho.  The third is the best.  It might have a deeper meaning [though I can't tease it out] and a touch of irony, but it seems to have two caesura when there should only be one.  Am I too harsh, or flat out wrong?  Let me know in comments.

one apple hangs where
leaves have abandoned the branch
now comes the squirrel

Carpe Diem #568, Apples 



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #26,

In this episode, Jen of Blog It Or Lose It tells us -

Rather than elaborate upon the poem, I’d like to know what the poem means to *you*.  

Can you envision the stars, the brown grass at the trees' feet, the liberation of being "leafless"? 

What thoughts come to mind when *you* read the poem? 

           By Sarah Teasdale

ONE by one, like leaves from a tree,
All my faiths have forsaken me;
But the stars above my head
Burn in white and delicate red,
And beneath my feet the earth
Brings the sturdy grass to birth.
I who was content to be
But a silken-singing tree,
But a rustle of delight
In the wistful heart of night,
I have lost the leaves that knew
Touch of rain and weight of dew.
Blinded by a leafy crown
I looked neither up nor down -
But the little leaves that die
Have left me room to see the sky;
Now for the first time I know
Stars above and earth below.


Instead of literal stars and grass, what I see in this poem is someone coming to an epiphany - shedding ideas and concepts that are comfortable, sheltering and familiar, but blind one to the actual realities of life.

This could be getting over a love-is-blind fascination and seeing the object of one's affection as a real person with perhaps some stellar attributes, but also feet of clay.  Or it could be the death of love.

It could be the escape from a religious cult.

It could be zen enlightenment.

It could be loosing the blinders of hide-bound political ideology to see the consequences of bad policy.

In any event, what this poem means to me is coming to a new realization about some aspect of life in the real world that results from shedding whatever was binding and blinding one.

in that stark moment
of pain loss and confusion
suddenly I saw 

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #26


Monday, September 22, 2014

Carpe Diem "Analyze that haiku" #2, "seeking for relief"

seeking for relief
aching of a broken heart -
love isn 't forever

© Chèvrefeuille

Analyze the haiku, try to tell the story behind the haiku ... let the given haiku come to life ... see it in front of your eyes ... feel it with all your senses ... be part of the haiku ... maybe it helps to read the haiku aloud more than twice ... try to come in touch with the haiku. Share your thoughts, your analysis with us all ... and try to write/compose a new haiku with the story you analyzed from the haiku.

I could make this very personal.

Instead, though, I'll talk about a scene from the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love. [You can see my review of it here]  Emily Watson [Julianne Moore] is driving slowly down a residential street with her husband Cal [Steve Carell] in the passenger seat, when she confesses to him that she is having an affair with David Lindhagen [Kevin Bacon], and now wants a divorce.  Cal's response is to open the car door and spill out into the street.

The rest of the convoluted plot weaves a web of relationships and proto-relationships involving Cal and Emily's family members.  One of the major sub-plots is Cal's attempt to find relief through an extended series of brief and meaningless affairs.

Through it all, though, he never gets over his love for Emily - at least not within the scope of the movie's time line.  Her feelings are not so clear.  So - though love isn't necessarily forever - it could be.  Then again, maybe not.

though that thing happened
I can't pinpoint the moment
I fell out of love

Carpe Diem "Analyze that haiku" #2, "seeking for relief"


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Carpe Diem #563, River

Black River, Michigan, July 2014

From Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse:

[...] "It is this what you mean, isn't it: that the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future?" [...]

 Siddhartha's lesson
the river is without time
yet the sea beckons

L.A. Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 Gareth Bain

Theme: COCONUT - what else?  The first word of each two-word theme answer relates to something derived from the fruit - which botanically is a drupe, not a nut - of the COCONUT tree, cocos nucifera.

 16. *Butcher's appliance : MEAT GRINDER.   A device used make big chunks into small chunks for burgers and sausages.  COCONUT MEAT  is the rich white lining that is contained within the shell of a coconut.

 24. *Prankster's balloon : WATER BOMB.  You can get your friends as mad as wet hens.  Here are instruction for making one out of paperCOCONUT WATER is the clear liquid inside young, green coconuts.  It has been marketed as a natural energy drink.

50. *Allowance for the cafeteria : MILK MONEY.  Literally, money to be spent on MILK, or figuratively for the entire lunch.  COCONUT MILK is a rich, high fat liquid extracted from grated COCONUT MEAT.

 57. *Monet work : OIL PAINTING.  Made with oil based rather than water based paints.

COCONUT OIL, derived from dried COCONUT MEAT is used as a cooking oil and flavoring in South-east Asian cooking, and in beauty products. 

And the unifier -- 36. Fruit that can be the source of the starts of the answers to starred clues : COCONUT.  So many uses for this versatile, healthful and nutritious tropical fruit.

Hi gang, JzB here, once again united with Gareth on a Wednesday.  Seems like old times. Let's see what he has in store for us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Carpe Diem's "Remember This Music?" #1

Nate gets a hit, June, 2014

In August 2002, my daugher Karen had her first baby, My grandson Nathaniel.  We call him Nate.  While Karen was pregnant, an ultrasound revealed that Nate had transposition of the great arteries - his pulmonary artery and aorta were hooked up in reverse.  So instead of having a complete circulatory system, he had two closed loops.  Life expectancy with this condition is only a few hours.  But it is correctable, so Nate was born at Mott's Children's Hospital at the university of Michigan.  The neo-natal cardiac staff was on high alert, and as soon as he was born performed a radical procedure - opening a hole in the wall between the ventricles to allow mixing of the two blood streams - that stabilized him temporarily.

When he was a week old, he had open heart surgery to reverse the misplaced piping.  Everything went well.  He is now a smart, healthy 12-year old.

When he was very little, I wrote this song for him, and arranged it for big band.  Since he was tiny and turned blue, it's a minor blues.  The melody has two motifs.  Each is played, then repeated upside down - the reversal.  In the middle, the melody is taken apart and passed around the band - that is the surgery.  Then the recovery, and we take it on home.  The bass riff at the beginning and ending represent a heart beat.

That's me on the trombone solo.

This is too emotionally intense for me to write a good renga, but here it is anyway.

a child is born
not built according to plan
little boy blue

in the first hours of life
they must pierce his tiny heart

oxygen revived
he lives to see the dawn
waiting surgery

at one week pipes reversed
all is well now go and live

Carpe Diem's "Remember This Music?" #1

Carpe Diem's "Time Glass" #2 a time-challenge "Buddha"

 © Chèvrefeuille

seeking nirvana
in the lap of stone buddha
a fallen flower

Carpe Diem's "Time Glass" #2 a time-challenge "Buddha" 



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Carpe Diem #561, Harvested Fields

In theory, the ideal haiku captures an instant in time, not a scene that might endure for a week or a month.

But with some topics - such as today's prompt - that restriction cannot hold.

autumn blooms
soft white cotton balls
a harvest field

brown harvest field
the balls of white cotton
polka dots

These cotton balls and brown stalks will endure until they are hidden by snowfall or scattered by the winds, a time of finite but unknowable duration.

 harvested fields
lie in wait for next year's crop
but first the winter

Carpe Diem #561, Harvested Fields

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #5, Kishu's "a crow passes"

Inspirational haiku

aki no kure  karasu mo nakade  tori keri

an autumn evening;
without a cry,
a crow passes

© Kishu

 The goal of CD's "Sparkling Stars" is similar to our regular CD-Specials: write a haiku inspired on the given one and in the same mood, sense and spirit as that given one. So to write an all new haiku ... you need to become one with the scene and the feeling it gives you ... be part of the scene ... live the scene and become inspired.

my response

after the battle
autumn crows busy at work
no time to cry out

Carpe Diem Sparkling Stars #5, Kishu's "a crow passes"

Friday, September 12, 2014

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Squared #2, Björn Rudberg's "Loon is calling"

Bjorn has composed a truly wonderful haiga to be used in this Tan Renga Squared challenge.

The goal is first to write a two line continuation (Tan Renga,) and then follow up with two more stanzas of 3 and 2 lines.  The last stanza should have a connection to the first.

The deeper meaning that Bjorn's haiku evokes for me is sadness as I consider the tragic fates of people I have known who slipped into dementia.


evening mist
memories are fading
loon is calling                                                    (Björn)

across the once placid lake
a slowly fading ripple                                  (JzB)
ancient songs of love and want
deeper darkness falls                                   (JzB)

into the gathering mist
loon flies never to return                         (JzB)

OK.  This is melancholy.  But I think I came close to capturing my own emotional reaction.


Carpe Diem goes "Full Circle" #3, Mirror

The challenge is to write four haiku with the given words, one per line, in the order presented

Here are the 12 (twelve) words for this new episode:

1. mirror
2. leaves
3. rain
4. butterfly
5. chrysanthemum
6. breeze
7. stars
8. clouds
9. ocean
10. daisies
11. cow shed
12. secret
I'm also trying to achieve vivid images, a brief moment in time, 1st-3rd line interchangeability, and maybe even a deeper meaning, with variable success.


orb weaver's mirror
a puddle in the wet leaves
reflecting the rain


butterfly quivers
in chrysanthemum petals
could it be the breeze


stars sneaking a peek
through thin wind-tattered clouds
moon spies the ocean


bliss in the daisies
behind the old cow shed
farm hand's secret


Bonus - I got out of sequence, so this:
 aim of autumn breeze
with moon and stars revealed
clouds scutter past

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Carpe Diem's "Little Creatures" #4

I wrote about toads just a few days ago.   But last night when I arrived home from rehearsal, I saw another little one, about half the size of my thumb, trying to hop under my car.  I shooed him out of the garage so the door wouldn't crush him.

black toadling pauses
pondering in the doorway
safety or freedom

Carpe Diem's "Little Creatures" #4

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Carpe Diem #558, dragonflies

purple dragonfly
lacking both stinger and fire
insect's death angel


through fragile membranes
i view the darkening sky
dragonfly wings


deft insect eater
suddenly gone from the sky
bat's appetizer 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #24, Hamish Gunn's analyzed a haiku.


Today's challenge, via Hamish is to write a haiku on the Tree of Life, located in the desert of Bahrain,"a tree that thrives despite no water source, and within the designated area of the supposed garden of Eden, thus adding more mystique to its official moniker, Tree of Life. To me, it is an ideal location, theme and topic for a simple but profound haiku. What does the ”Tree of Life” mean to you? Please title your haiku Tree of Life to help guide you and ensure you won't need to use those words in your haiku."

Tree of Life Bahrain (© Hamish Gunn)

in the blowing sand
evening sunlight fades away

last green thing standing 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #49,

From Kristjaan:

This week I have chosen for a haiku by one of our latest family-members Jazzytower of Thoughts and Entanglements. She wrote this haiku in response on Jane Reichhold's prompt "decay" and I think she has done a great job with that prompt. 
Tan Renga looks very similar with Tanka, but there is a difference. A Tan Renga is written by two poets and a Tanka by one poet. Tan Renga is a short chained verse with two links.


before the decay
blessed with breathtaking beauty
reclaimed by the earth                                         
© Jazzytower

above the engraved grey stone
sky-etched V of south bound geese
                     © JazzBumpa


Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #49



Thursday, September 4, 2014

Carpe Diem #553, Grief

Jane Reichold offers an example of a haiku on GRIEF, an autumn kigo.

stone mountain
saying good-bye to him
was even harder

© Jane Reichhold

Autumn can inspire these feelings as the year winds down and the opportunities for regrets and wistful memories increase.  Then real life can intervene - especially in this gun-crazed country - with a horrible and utterly pointless tragedy.

moment of road rage
old man shoots a motorist
leaving two orphans

Afterthought - After reading Bjorn's and Lolly's my suspicion that this is a pretty awful haiku has been confirmed.  But it's raw and real, and it's all I've got, so I'll let it stand.

Carpe Diem #553, Grief

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Romancing the Haiku No 1.

Kristjaan tells us:  Basho once said "now you know the rules forget them immediately and write from your heart". That's what we are going to do in this new feature ... writing straight from the heart ... without the classical rules ... just one theme "romance".

i knew i loved you
what great surprise to find that
you could love me too


so many long years
we were apart ~ but now time
is just a heart beat


my heart tells me that
you are the one i should love
and my head agrees

Where Do You Go?

Via Kerry, Our Challenge from The Garden today is to "consider the theme of Dichotomy: the division of parts which may complement one another or create a sense of opposition. .  .  . Your poem may take any form and you are free to explore subject matter of your own choosing."   This immediately popped into my head.  I have no idea why.

long ago
when dark secrets could be kept
popes spent their days saving people's souls
and nights planting the seeds of
their bastards


"Popes had mistresses as young as fifteen years of age, were guilty of incest and sexual perversions of every sort, had innumerable children, were murdered in the very act of adultery. In the old Catholic phrase, why be holier than the Pope?"   Source

Imaginary Garden With Real Toads

Afterthought: I was intending to write a triquain, but couldn't remember that name, nor the form. To be complete, the entry would require a 12 syllable line following the 9 syllable line, then another 9 syllable line following that to maintain symmetry.  Maybe this is a dwarf triquain.

L A Times Crossword Puzzle Blogging

Theme: GET IT IN GEAR.  The first word of each two-word theme answer is the name of one of the gear selections for an automatic transmission shift lever.

17. Canadian natural resource manager : PARK WARDEN.  An unlikely looking clue, but sussaable with perp help and a little head scratching.  You can read about them here.  PARK is the selection for keeping the vehicle stationary.

24. Dramatic backwards hoops move : REVERSE DUNK.   Better seen than explained.  A car in REVERSE goes backwards.

36. Photon, e.g. : NEUTRAL PARTICLE.   Protons and neutrons are polarized, photons go lightly down the middle of the road.  NEUTRAL is a resting position between REVERSE and DRIVE.

46. Push one's buttons, and then some : DRIVE INSANE.  Is there someone who knows how to push your buttons? I can be maddening. DRIVE is the selection for actually going somewhere.

56. Like many diets : LOW CALORIE.  Weight watching strategy. LOW gear is for low speed and controlled power.

64. Shift letters spelled out in 17-, 24-, 36-, 46- and 56-Across : P R N D L   Vide infra.

Strangely, in the following video London gets it right - at least that part of it.  In the industry this bit of apparatus is indeed called the PRNDL, just as she pronounces it.

Hi Gang, JazzBumpa here, your chauffeur for the day. Let's DRIVE on through Ned's puzzle and see if we can avoid pot holes and speed bumps.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Carpe Diem Ghost Writer #23, "Honor the Little Creatures"

 Mr. Toad comes to call

I have a great fondness for amphibians.  There is no reason for it that I can identify.  Something about their squat lumpiness and agile leaping simply pleases me and soothes my soul.  My yard is a haven for toads.  They live in the garden and under the bushes.  I've seen tiny toadlings, smaller than your fingernail, galumphing across my lawn.

Earlier in the Summer, I went walking in a wetlands area near my house with a few of my grandchildren.  As we crossed the street to get there, we saw dozens of miniature toads bouncing on the pavement.  Sadly, many of them must have perished there.  As we walked the gravel path around the ponds, we had to watch our footsteps carefully to avoid stepping on the many miniature toads moving along there.

There were hundreds of these little toads everywhere along the path, and who can say how many thousands were hidden among the wild flowers.  We did our best not to harm them, but I doubt that many live to be adults.

songs from my garden
each night of love and want
voice of a toad

Grandson Nate with a Toadling in Hand

my lovely wife - no
fan of toads - agrees that they're
better than chipmunks