Haiku

with Kevin McLaughlin

Everyman’s Poetry

 

Obey the nature of things and walk freely and undisturbed. This is the manner in which a haiku writer seeks to pass their day. In its three lines, the simplest and the most profound elements of life mingle seamlessly. The trait of ripened mindfulness makes it possible to be Awake throughout the day and, for some, even in their dreams. Be mindful and the ability to perceive the thing-in-itself, and to express it, flows like a peaceful river. The haikuist is pointing a Zen finger at the moon. Pause. Empty the mind of distracting thoughts and afflictive emotions. There are ten thousand haiku to be enjoyed and written. Commonly associated with Buddhism, it is a form that adapts readily to any religious, aesthetic, or philosophical tradition. In the modern era, most verse is purely secular.

 

Haiku is an Everyman’s poetry. Special literary skills are not needed. You don’t have to master complex scanning and rhyming patterns. The form is straightforward and brief. The language can be drawn from one’s working vocabulary. Children in grammar school can understand the concept and produce excellent verse. “Beginner’s Mind” works naturally with this simple form. With Beginner’s Mind all truths in the Universe may be realized.

 

The gopher tortoise,

Disappears down its burrow:

Woodpecker screeches.

 

Kevin McLaughlin

 

 

 

Nishant Verma, from Mumbai, India, is an assistant scriptwriter. She enjoys reading Basho, Issa, and Shiki. Their influence on her work is evident.

 

Jewels from the sky

Omnipresent but unseen —

Crocus’ maiden bloom.

 

The sighs of our love

Travel on the Autumn wind —

Through brazen meadow

 

Raindrops in the lake.

Gay chaos amidst its dwellers —

Heron’s confusion

 

Whitecaps afar

The pebbles’ endless longing —

An empty levee

 

Staleness in the air

The walls, bruised and blemished —

July’s guilt profound

 

The withered earth

Children’s quick and restive feet —

Shishi-odoshi

 

Nishant Verma

 

 

 

Hifsa Ashraf lives in Pakistan where she publishes an international on-line journal. This poet reaches the deepest parts of our sensibilities. It is impossible not to be moved by her haiku.

 

evening chill —

a homeless child cuddles

the old teddy bear

 

refugee camp . . .

the cricket chirps

in the broken vessel

 

(Absolutely powerful and haunting.)

 

broken walkie talkie —

a refugee child dials

the emergency number

 

threadbare blanket

the cold wind weaves

through the bones

 

pellet gun shooting

a homeless child connects

the red spots

 

Hifsa Ashraf

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

Pravat Kumar Padhy from Odisha, India, holds a Master’s degree in Science and Technology, and a PhD from the Dhanbad India Institute of Technology. It is encouraging to come across scientifically oriented people who participate in the Arts.

 

milky moon—

basaltic rocks

and craters

 

floating lotus—

the moon retains its color

behind dense clouds

 

twilight sky—

the faint sunlight slides

from the trees

 

starry night

owl gazes with

twin moons

 

moon night

the cowshed floor

turns milky

 

dark moon

I become a

distant star

 

(This haiku can induce a higher state of consciousness.)

 

Pravat Kumar Padhy

 

 

Harris Coverley lives in Manchester, England. His first verse has a rare ethereal/philosophical quality; read this one carefully.

 

the cherry blossoms

flow like blood at the roadside

awaiting meaning

 

(An existential haiku that Jean-Paul Sartre would have savored.)

 

a streak of sunset

the day is getting longer

but that chill remains

 

the sky hangs heavy

saw a face in the flowers

something in the rain

 

Harris Coverley

 

 

 

Aliyah Janay understands how to take that pause and relate the beauty of this overt world objectively.

 

We all want to smell

the sweet roses in our path

designed just for us.

 

I never mentioned

that I collect your words like

dust on my nightstand.

 

The scent of summer

and pollinated flowers

are so kind to me

 

(Especially noteworthy is that these flowers have been pollinated and are participating in the chain of life.)

 

Aliyah Janay Jackson

Barbara Shapiro has submitted an intriguing haiku. The piece contains three powerful, disparate images that are packed together more tightly than an H2O molecule. We look forward to her further work.

 

Lions heated

snakes flood basement

mourning doves storm sky

Barbara Shapiro

 

 

Richard Stevenson, a Canadian, lived for two years in Maiduguri, Nigeria, in the early 1980s.  For 30 years, he taught at Lethbridge College, retiring in 2015.  He has published 32 books and has recently had several others accepted.

 

dash me ten kobo, sah

beggar’s bowl becomes helmet

when I decline.

 

thieves again—

dog under the bureau

in a puddle of piss.

 

call to prayer—

great way to wake up

songbirds can’t compete

 

frightening beetle—

screams when you try to

move it with a broom.

 

Richard Stevenson

Teresa McLamb Blackmon is a retired English teacher who enjoys spending time on her farm with her animals. She graduated NCSU with an MA in English. Just recently Teresa turned her pen to haiku and produced these charming pieces.

 

Turtles sun today,

safe on sturdy rocks

while pond water ripples.

 

Little rabbits race

across my path toward home

finding their quick way.

 

Canada geese land

on slow water, sweeping fast

like skis on Sunday.

 

Donkeys and one goat

befriend the wild calico,

share the pasture so kindly.

 

Innocent deer stand

grazing until car lights spot

graceful leaps in air.

 

Puppy breath sweetens

every night’s sleep then wakes me

warm and satisfied.

 

Teresa McLamb Blackmon

Paweł Markiewicz has written a series of haiku with the common thread of geese. They are discrete poems, not stanzas. He also contributes sensitive poems that evoke a sense of loneliness.

 

geese over village

eternal law of nature

has come true indeed

 

the flock of wild geese

springtide like philosophy

from the morning star

 

(This piece put me in mind of Shakyamuni Buddha meditating through the night, Enlightened when he sees the Morning Star.)

 

the lonely goose

separated in me

undivided dream

 

summer and the sky

lonely hawk is circling

destiny of beings

 

frost outside window

the crow sitting on a cable

electric and black

 

city in winter

the dreamy loneliness

of me and raven

 

Paweł Markiewicz

 

 

Joseph Davidson practices compassion and cultivates inner peace. His ability to “live in the moment” characterizes his haiku.

 

Lone branch among weeds,

Magical display of light—

Black snake slithers off.

 

Rivers within sky,

Currents flow horizon’s shore—

Kite dances happy.

 

Roadside crows feasting

Urban bunny lost to car:

Pine beetle claims tree.

 

Joseph Davidson

Angie Davidson provides the reader with classic haiku that consistently enhance our vision of the natural world.

 

Array of colors,

Wings gently glide on the wind:

Dragonfly arises.

 

Ibis watch for prey

Probing pond for crustaceans

Egrets walk behind.

 

Angela Davidson

 

 

Ted Millar teaches English at the Mahopac High School in New York’s Hudson Valley. He frequently draws inspiration from personal experiences and nature. There is a refreshing playful quality to some of these haiku.

 

Cupcakes are muffins

that believed in miracles.

It didn’t end well.

 

(Haiku did originate as “play verse.”)

 

Tractor in a field,

barren save for deer grazing.

Is that coyote?

 

Look at the cardinals

perched upon that winter tree.

Four cardinals. Nope—three.

 

The rain stopped today

after three days of deluge.

Someone build an ark!

 

Ted Millar

 

 

 

Editor’s note: Please do not send in titles with your haiku. Titles add a fourth line to the poem, and frequently explain the verse. That should be left to the reader.

 

Kevin McLaughlin

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