Haiku

with Kevin McLaughlin

Non-duality

 

May’s column concluded with the advice to not let your ego or your id get in the way of a good haiku. A haiku needs to breathe on its own. Don’t use it to express your own worldview and emotions, or to describe your conditioned behavior. These things tint your work. The great R. H. Blyth wrote, “A haiku is not a poem, it is not literature; it is a hand becoming, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature. It is a way in which the cold winter rain, the swallows of evening, even the very day in its hotness, and the length of the night, become truly alive, share in our humanity, speak their own silent and expressive language.” —  Haiku: Eastern Culture, 1949, Volume One. Translations and commentary by Reginald H. Blyth.

 

Four days suspended,

By a thin silken spider’s strand—

The dead pine needle

 

Kevin McLaughlin

Srija Chakraborty lives in Columbus, Ohio. Srija has that rare ability to “catch life as it flows” in these poems.

 

Reducing twilight

Doves fighting in the attic

A storm is afoot

 

Fluttering noises

Shadows of crimson and pink

Butterflies galore

 

Srija Chakraborty

 

Dinesh De Silva truly understands the sacredness of all life, of all nature. He transmutes simple imagery into expressions of the divine light within all.

 

in a puddle

a poor little boy floats

his paper boat

 

dark cloud gathers

on elm with falling leaves

as crows roost

 

a murder

dressed in full black

when crows meet

 

great vision in the night

at sacred place of worship

where a Church Owl lives

 

(This is a calming, worshipful haiku that portrays a remarkable owl.)

 

ascension

by climbing a tall mountain

all the way to heaven

 

ask mother of Jesus

for a last gasp miracle

with a Hail Mary

 

(Prayer combined with a bit of humor.)

 

Dinesh Shihantha De Silva

Ronald Tobey on haiku: “Like mice, but nice, they fit little spaces.” A brilliant description on many levels! Mr. Tobey was raised in New Hampshire and currently lives in Dawson, West Virginia. He attended the University of New Hampshire and has been writing since he was 15 years old. Since retirement, he cares for horses, goats, and cattle.

 

Red shed broken down

Rusted roof the hawks kill floor

Rabbit bones sun bleach

 

(The flow presents a vivid picture. Note to enjoy Mr. Tobey’s syntax as you read his work.)

 

Hawk in glory flung

Three-feet of wing our window

Expunge small birds sing

 

Brown doves peck hard seeds

From the gray gravel driveway

Hop across hot stones

 

Grass dry stems crackle

Deer graze midnight cattle fields

Fox tracks thin rabbits

 

Second hay cutting

Brush-hog blades bang over rocks

Thin sky pale hungry

 

(A combination of words/images that presents a uniquely phrased third line.)

 

Four weeks yellow grass

Two bats clutch our window screen

Dog stalks in pond reeds

 

Ronald Tobey

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

Hanoch Guy writes that “Many get lost in the woods.” Ho, ho, this is a Universal truth that has beset mankind since earliest times. It is related directly to fairy tales but could have many applications.

 

Tealeaves reader competes

With coffee grind seer

Smoking a hookah

 

Walls contain winds

Basements scream

Attics fly

 

(Such a unique piece; loaded with energy. This is a haiku that foreshadows quantum mechanics.)

 

Many get lost in the woods

Few escape

In fairy tales.

 

Hanoch Guy

Angela D. Sargent’s work has appeared in HeartLodge, 50 Haikus, and several other journals. She indicates in one haiku that permanence is just an illusion. To understand this concept is to be free of fear, and to develop a clear understanding of reality.

 

Blazing hot, bright eyes

Traverse through cover of night

Gathering secrets

 

Strong summer breezes

Battle desiccated leaves

Frenzied transition

 

(In this haiku, Ms. Sargent indicates impermanence by setting desiccated leaves and summer breezes in juxtaposition.)

Sun setting faster

Permanence is an illusion

Summer slips away

 

Her gaze tastes sour

He breaks her stare lest he choke

On acrid venom

 

Angela D. Sargent

Educator and poet Mary Crane Fahey has an AB and an MAT in English Literature. A New Hampshire resident, she has been published in several journals, including The Poets’ Touchstone and Haiku Journal.

 

Loon’s transcendent voice

Sings softly its summer song

Old sounds, still awed world

 

(How wonderful! Ms. Fahey has the ability to be awed by the world revealed by a loon’s voice. This is haiku nature.)

 

From bee balm blossoms

A hummingbird quaffs nectar

In soft, sudden rain

 

Silence. Long moments

And then the consummate voice

Sings its summer song

 

Mary Crane Fahey

Bruce Levine is a native Manhattanite who has been published in many journals. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife Lydia Franklin.

 

I sit on the porch

Watching the moon and the stars

Holding hands with God

 

(The unity and the divinity of “all things,” as well as a beautiful piece of contemplation.)

 

Halfway to the stars

Finding true love forever

Golden days ahead

 

A feather in the wind

Halcyon days tomorrow

Only time will tell

 

In the open air

The fireflies are hopeful

Happy brand new day

 

Further down the road

Daffodils in a playground

Brighten up the day

 

Bruce Levine

Kortney Garrison lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest United States. Her poems have appeared in Solitary Plover and Hummingbird. Her poems are meditative and tend to be rooted in the rhythms of the natural world. Ms. Garrison is Community Director at Read-Aloud Revival.

 

Only the rain and

moon keep watch, their watery

vows weave a brightness.

 

Sunlight ribbons unspool:

ten thousand prayers rumble

in the cat’s dark throat.

 

After the cat goes

out, the doors are locked. Night

settles. The day exhales.

(The cycle of night and day marked by a crepuscular cat. This is when amateur astronomers leave their houses to glance skywards.)

In sleep’s great silence

I dream beyond these walls: fly

me to the river.

 

Kortney Garrison

Sterling Warner is an author, a poet, and an educator. His work has appeared in the Flatbush Review and The Atherton Review.

 

whirlwind whisk broom

dusts autumn’s morning collar

greets icy solstice

 

masonic mystic’s

carved oak archways overhang

winter threshold’s pain

 

multicolored leaves drop

form polychrome forest floors

anticipate rain

 

(Monet views the forest floor. Impressionism with the sweet smell of rain.)

 

black Wedding riptide

pulls winter romance to sea

foam covered corsage

 

dusty barnyard cleansed

cock crowed through ravaging rain

gargoyle-like thirst quenched

 

beach bunny nimbus

radiant sea flower buds

like virgin sand dunes

 

Sterling Warner

Joan Fingon lives in Ventura, California. A true haiku lover (and adept at writing them), she has recently been published in Haiku Journal and Frogpond.

 

white lotus blossoms

float on the pond

frog hideaway

 

little frog

sees a bug near water’s edge

dinner’s ready

 

take a bow

before your famous master

tiny frog

 

o’ revered frog

written by so many—

if Basho only knew

 

(An insightful and learned riff on Basho’s Frog Pond!)

 

morning glory vine

hugs the magnolia tree

pink and purple garland

 

Joan C. Fingon

Bruce Morton splits his time between Bozeman, Montana, and Buckeye, Arizona. His volume of poetry Simple Arithmetic and Other Artifices was published in 2015. His work has appeared in numerous journals and reviews.

 

Water frothing falls

To become gravity’s mist

The river exhales

 

(Gravity’s mist is an image that would have been appreciated by any of the classic haiku poets, as well as by Yeats, Shelley, or Byron.)

 

The crows sit silent

Still waiting for the brush stroke

Then on wing portend

 

Dew evaporates

Floodwaters run and recede

So much water we

 

Bruce Morton

“In the haiku, words are used not to express anything, but rather to clear away something that seems to stand between us and the real things.” R.H. Blyth, The World of Zen, edited by Nancy Wilson Ross.

Kevin McLaughlin

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