Haiku

with Kevin McLaughlin

A haiku is not only a strictly defined form, it is also the internal harmony of three rivers coming into confluence. Three lines, or segments, come together, and flow into the Ocean of mindfulness and awareness.

 

Hundreds of islets,

Strewn across the shallow slough:

Osprey gathers nest.

 

Waves lap against the pier,

Pipefish nibble at wharf pilings:

The planks well weathered.

 

Kevin McLaughlin

 

Haiku is in the midst of a second Golden Age. Rather than being restricted to the Island of Japan, haiku is now being written across the world. Anyone who reads this column will encounter accomplished poets from many countries. Haiku is now Global. Significantly, the poets represent many religious and philosophical traditions, including atheistic and agnostic. I thank all the writers for their insights into nature and the human psyche.

 

Haiku is an Everyman’s poetry.

 

 

Shan Spradlin demonstrates my newfound optimism regarding haiku present and future. Shan’s imagery bespeaks clarity and a poet’s eye. Consider “ice fog,” “narrow sounds collapse,” and “sharp corners.” This is the type of imagery Van Gogh and Monet captured with their palettes.

 

Ice fog uncovers peak

Turtle walking in the snow

Candle lights on trees

 

City lit darkness

Paints walls with shades of white

Narrow sounds collapse

 

Sweet burning wood warm

Shadows yawn across the floor

Window wet with ice water

 

Reflection in stone

Sharp corners wear away time

Bald Eagle’s wings hush

 

Tower below sky

Covered in umbrella rain

Headlines on sidewalk

 

Shan Spradlin

Eileen Coughlin lives in Bellingham, Washington. Her haiku convey an affinity with nature, gentleness, and a joyful mysticism rooted in the force that runs through all matter. Welcome to BTS, Eileen.

 

yellow alder leaves

whispering in the wind

the talk of snow

 

a squirrel buries acorns

forgetting where they are

my reading glasses

 

bare branches

a yellow-bellied tanager

the last leaf

 

at the outdoor café

I order a scone

the crow enjoys it

 

Eileen Coughlin

 

Paula Keane lives in West Sussex, United Kingdom. She is studying for her BA degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. Ms. Keane’s work is one of the reasons I believe haiku may be entering a second Golden Age, and that this will be a global epoch.

 

Burning in crimson

Ra dies on the horizon.

Flora bow and weep.

 

On glassy sea

the moon kisses her sister.

Thunder rumbles.

 

Beneath

leaning cornstalks

rot of gold.

 

Evening sun

dapples the snow red.

The raven calls.

 

(Great juxtaposition. The ethereal red snow is measured against the raven’s blackness.)

 

Paula Keane

 

 

Donald Gasperson earned an MA in clinical psychology. His interest in spiritual health, physical health, and mental well-being manifest in these three lines, each of which communicate a gentle clarity.

 

a butterfly flutters by

elegant as a breeze

light as sunshine

 

Donald Gasperson

It is wonderful to have Bob Whitmire’s steady voice and vision back in the BTS haiku column. As regular readers will recall, Bob is a former soldier and journalist, who spends his leisure hours reading, writing and, being from Maine, shoveling snow.

 

grandfather oak

turning white slowly—

New Year’s snow

 

subtle pink

betrays the sun . . .

foggy morning

 

empty mind

follows quiet brook—

crescent moon

 

from ashes

to stardust . . .

our remains

 

toddler dashes

through temptation—

sunbright puddle

Bob Whitmire

Kayode Afolabi lives in Nigeria. He would seem to be a vital member of the Afriku Movement in poetry. He enjoys reading and writing about poetry whenever he is not providing medical care.

 

Intruding raindrops

make noises over our room

beclouding our moans.

 

(Raindrops and beclouding — fine word synergy.)

The rainy season—

our maize crops hit puberty

on the once barren fields

 

Where grasses blossom

Everyone is bright and glad

cows and egrets too.

 

Kayode Afolabi

 

 

Daniel Birnbaum lives in France. He has written fourteen books and has appeared in many journals and reviews. The second line of the second poem is overpoweringly beautiful. With effort, we can all see that careening light.

 

summer field

sparks at each step

grasshoppers

 

everywhere

the ricocheting light

frosty morning

 

after the shower

the scent of the forest

such a pretty lady

 

Daniel Birnbaum

 

Scott Wiggerman gives us a broad range of nature stretching from ants and quanta to mountains. His fourth poem is a haiku that should be savored and read carefully.

 

going somewhere

lines of ants

over the earth

 

morning nap

heavy fog

hiding the mountains

 

(Is it Scott or is it the mountain doing the napping?)

 

measuring amounts

tablespoon by tablespoon

blood quantum

 

sudden flapping

a field of wildflowers

erupts from rest

 

Scott Wiggerman

 

Zee Mink writes from a farmhouse loft in rural Texas.

 

Pruning spring roses

thorns prick soft pale winter flesh

blood soaked tender roots

 

Red tailed hawk soaring

majestic oak falls to saw

searching new branch home

 

(This verse is worth reading and re-reading to absorb its full scope.)

 

Busy hive buzzing

making sweet golden nectar

ancient food of Gods

 

Zee Mink

Yet once more I encourage all haiku writers to share their work, their insights into the nature of all things, with fellow poets and BTS readers.  

For those interested in haiku, I recommend you cast back into the BTS archives and reference the September 2016 column.  It provides a pretty thorough explanation of the basic format.

- Kevin Mclaughlin

Edmund Conti has been published in many journals and magazines. He writes that he is in the process of generating The Great American Haiku . . . but is four syllables short.

 

Poetry of space

If you like blank unrhymed verse

Then you will love Mars.

 

(Yes, Mars glowing during its perihelion.)

 

Hey, Mars, look, two moons!

There’s a certain slant of light

Winter afternoons

 

There are no ponds here

And no frogs to jump in them

Syllables to spare

 

(The first two lines represent one of the best riffs on Basho’s Old Pond I have ever read.)

 

Edmund Conti

 

 

George Thomas from Vancouver, Washington, manages to instill a portion of science into many of these haiku. I am guessing he has a background in astrophysics.

 

Stephen Hawking

intelligent gift

in a broken box.

 

artificial intelligence

the cosmos planning

to meet itself

 

parasitic frog

Basho’s meme

splashing in my brain

 

(Yet one more beautiful homage to Basho and his frog! Mr. Thomas has a wonderful, unique take in this classic.)

 

George Thomas

Joseph Davidson’s haiku inevitably have echoes of non-duality. This is what the Zen folk would call Kenshos, instant realizations regarding the true nature of evanescent reality. His imagery is penetrating and consistent.

 

Cold stars burning bright

Salt breezes stirring sandy pines

Night’s coal ruby glow.

 

(Coal ruby glow!)

 

Unblinking night eye

Gazing over darkened sea,

Waning silver light.

 

(A photon travels from the cosmos to earth’s ocean.)

 

Moonrise hours off

Forgotten sun dawns elsewhere,

Darkened highway east.

 

Joseph Davidson

 

 

Angie Davidson’s imagery is luminous. She presents us with inter-being as she travels around the heavens.

 

The asteroid belt

Between Jupiter and Mars

Circling the sun

 

Made of ice and dust

Comets leave trails of vapor

Which is seen for miles.

 

Angela Davidson

 

 

Ben Adams is a poet, writer, servo-clerk, and research assistant who resides in Adelaide, South Australia, the driest state in the country. He proudly presents his region . . . and a touch of philosophy.

 

remembering rain—

hard land of the long summer

cracked earth softening

 

figures of summers

past skate through me, faltering

on thin winter ice

 

how your hair whips back—

heat scorched highway, windows down

or waves in winter

 

north wind, unseen heat

like pure movement in the world

fracturing stillness

 

the easiest thing—

supporting change in the world

but not in yourself

 

the world moves in waves

tide pulls watery skin through

days revolving sun

 

Ben Adams

 

Dianne Moritz writes poetry and picture books for kids. Traditionally, haiku is associated with the seasons. Ms. Moritz captures the essence of winter in these poems.

 

winter brings

a dull brown world

and then, a cardinal

 

(I love the joyous image of the cardinal; such wonderful contrast with the drab winter day.)

 

cold, grey day

even the squirrels

are cuddled inside

 

inside chilled rooms

a fuschia orchid brightens

the winter gloom

 

frozen meadows

a herd of deer

graze silently

 

Dianne Moritz

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