No blossoms this spring 
old cherry tree stark and bare 
where she used to play

—Rosemary J. Gwaltney

About the author: Rosemary Gwaltney (mountainrecluse at

I'm the mother of a large and wonderful family, now mostly grown. Most of our children are adopted, and have disabilities. Also Iím a 15 year veteran home school teacher. My husband and I, with only four children still at home, live high in the northern mountains of Idaho. I write haiku, assorted other poetry, and am working on a book.

My poetry has been published, or will soon be published, in Acorn, The Heronís Nest, Short Stuff, The Fairfield Review, and a book called The ABCís of Grief.


Responses to the haiku for 10 April 2003 by Rosemary J. Gwaltney

    2003-04-10 16:37:48

    I like this. It's a poignant image, but aren't you a little afraid the tree will collapse under the weight of all those adjectives?


    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-10 22:42:07

    "spring, no blossoms...
    where, old cherry tree
    she used to play", has possibilities, though i enjoy rosemary's rendition.

    "No blossoms this spring
    old cherry tree stark and bare
    where she used to play"

    norman, yes, it is loaded with adjectives, even with redundancy. brevity, has it's place, but there's no rule where within the frame work of the author's haiku it is not permissible.
    at times a haiku can do without, and at other times it tends to enhance the piece, though being rhetorical.

    i ask forgiveness from all the vegetarians, but can you picture having a prime rib, not marbled in fat.

    one should not always strip to the bone one's literary work.

    to see the image, is uppermost.

    2003-04-11 02:26:13

    Sure, but is it just coincidence that it seems to be those haiku that comply strictly (I won't say slavishly) with the "17-syllable rule" that tend to contain a waterfall of adjectives, a landslide of redundancy?

    Doesn't that say anything to us?


    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-11 05:04:26

    it shows several things.
    number one, someone is counting syllables.
    number two, the author stayed within the parameter of the "rules".
    number three, i could say it was coincidental, but i won't test your intelligence on this one.

    "norman norman norm...
    norman norman norman norm...
    norman norman norm"

    purely coincidental, or it just happened to have been created that way?

    Jon Summers (SummersJ at Logica dot Com)
    2003-04-11 05:04:33

    I loved this one. And as for syllable count - I thought it had as many syllables as it needed.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-11 10:20:05

    true, to one's opinion, you did use the word "i", or for those who are more astute, the letter "i".
    to some, enjoyment of the haiku is reading, not syllable counting, nor criticism.

    to count syllables, shouldn't raise concern for the reader. in assessing the haiku, every aspect is up for testing.
    the question raised, "what makes this baby tick".

    in reading, what happened within one's mind? if nothing, further scrutiny may be called for. the farther one gets into the haiku, the deeper one looks.
    the casual reader says, "marvelous, just fine, terrific, lovely, terrible, distasteful....". but what's being demonstrated to others, if they should wonder why.


    i read and make comments on why it does what it does to me.

    critique the literature, it's mundane to critique the commentator.
    to see another's comments allows me to evaluate my own.

    sadly, i am counting characters.

    Ellen G. Olinger (ElinGrace at wi dot rr dot com)
    2003-04-11 18:48:47

    Thank you. I remember the juxtaposition between the beauty of summer and my grief for my father. And the strange comfort when nature mirrors and pictures emotion. Our culture does not allow much time for grieving. Moments like those expressed in this poem keep us going, in my experience.

    paul m.
    2003-04-14 16:24:45

    I like the imagery and emotion this poem imparts; but 'spring' is redundant (when else do Cherry Trees bloom?) as is 'bare' and 'stark'. Both can be implied by the lack of blossoms. A fine poem! Just a tad over-padded.

    2003-04-14 17:42:20

    It made me sad.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-04-14 18:51:47

    paul, where else, but within one's mind. as one thinks of a happier time long past, upon seeing this bare and stark tree, seemingly in it's twilight years. then thinking, "come" spring there will be no blossom, this time around.
    possibly, with the author no longer being a child, the spring of one's life is gone never to return.

    yes, "guy", it is sad. life in retrospect, allows us to barely see or even remember our dawns, just as we can now look ahead with not as many tomorrows for us to look forward to, if only one more time, should we be that fortunate.

    hugh durden
    2003-04-16 18:48:00

    How mournful. One present connected with one absent. How beautiful.

    john tiong chunghoo (bagiruang at yahoo dot com)
    2004-01-06 03:52:04

    outside my office
    this sakura tree with sparse bloom
    like an old woman she stands

    Rosemary J. Gwaltney
    2004-01-07 14:43:04

    I appreciate all the input here, and humbly consider the suggestions. I also deeply appreciate the people who liked this. :)

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-07 16:55:54

    your work has proven to be a driving force; and cause for remembrance

    appreciate those who tear your work apart, also

    having a bad day -
    museum visit
    he must had, also