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I thank all who participated in this month's BTS by submitting their work for consideration.  There were three verses I selected for further exploration.  " Blood on winter snow," by Tristan Bardon is a poem that might well have been appreciated by Poe and Byron.  It's striking imagery gives the reader an intriguing narrative.  "My hands are dirty," submitted by Debra Sarvis, is a wonderful union of body and earth: it has an almost Taoist feel.  Lastly, "Hundreds of hungry inmates," Gerard Sarnath, achieves an intense sense of inner loneliness made even lonelier by the presence of hundreds of other inmates: loneliness is one of the seventeen characteristics of haiku identified by Blyth in his classic anthology.

Haiku, like all forms of poetry, requires both inspiration and work.


Blood on winter snow

Alighting somber Ravens

Makes me remember.

-Tristan Bardou

My hands are dirty

My garden is in bloom

My soul is refreshed

-Debra Sarvis

Hundreds of hungry inmates

Line up for fixes:

A pressure cooker.

-Gerard Sarnat

Monsoon rains come wash

The sins life gave me or the

One's I gave myself.

-Anita Nahal

mammogram report:

small shadow on the X-rays

eclipsing my sun.

-Pamelyn Casto

a din of cicadas


the hot July

-Pamelyn Casto

Hazy, hot humid,

Sweat trickling down my spine,

Cold cucumber soup.

-Debra Sarvis

Kevin McLaughlin
Haiku editor.

Haiku forms a natural land bridge over the deep gorge separating the relative and the  absolute realms.  A haiku conveys those moments when absolute beauty is glimpsed within everyday existence.  This is not a poetry of the imagination.  This is the poetry of mindfulness, taken from direct experience.  There are ten thousand opportunities to write a haiku everyday.

A haiku is subtle and slender.  The poet isolates imagery in an understated way that reflects his understanding, however deep or shallow, of the world into which he was born.  Traditionally, there is a synergistic relationship between haiku and Zen.

Originating in Japan, the form consists of three balanced segments, or lines, structured by a 5-7-5 syllable count.  This structure is preferable, and makes the purest presentation.  But this form is not mandatory.  The poem's spirit, the expression of the image's inherent beauty or insight, takes precedence over strict adherence to form.

Traditionally, there is a seasonal referent.  The reference may be direct, a mention of a migratory bird, a flower in bloom, or some other phenomena associated with a particular season.  Many anthologies, notably the R.H. Blyth series, are sorted by season, and then subdivided by subject.  In the verse below, the powerful Summer surf identifies the season.

The location is a barrier Island located just east of Stuart, Florida, at the site of a an abandoned Coast Guard station that has been converted into a museum.

Sound of breaking waves:
A spray of sea water shoots
Through the reef's blow-hole.

Another haiku identifies the Florida rainy season.

Swales fill with water:
Stars dim in the pre-dawn Sky,
Lightning to the west.

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