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Kevin McLaughlin

with Kevin McLaughlin

A Berry Drops

Buddhism’s Pure Land sect postulates a heaven realm filled with jeweled trees, each leaf and blossom producing a different color from the jewel with which it is made. Gold and purple-gold lights fill the sky, and lotus blossoms open with flower filled palaces. Mythical realm. No haikuist could be satisfied writing poetry in such a “perfect realm.”


Note this Buddhist heaven is considered a metaphor. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and thousands of pagan belief systems have also generated heavens that might not satisfy a writer of haiku.


Haiku is the realm of mysterious simplicity. No need for a heaven realm. Eternity exists in the most ordinary. With our minds, we perform the miracle of seeing the thing-in-itself. The haikuist hears the sound of a berry dropping in the water; they have heard the greatest of truths.


The cottonmouth swims,

Then ascends the riverbank:

Moss grows on oak limbs.

Kevin McLaughlin




Bakhtiyar Amini of Tajikistan and Germany provides three lines of deep humanity and a Zen-filled teacher who milks her cow.


early spring

an infertile woman

singing a lullaby


the interval

the village teacher goes

to milk her cow


Bakhtiyar Amini




Laurie Rosen is a lifelong New Englander whose poems have appeared in a wide variety of magazines and journals.


Lenticular Clouds

float above winter mountains.

Shadows play on snow.


(Such a beautiful description of clouds! Lenticular being biconvex.)


An austere ashram.

A stark and leaf-bare landscape,

liberating, calm.


(Stillness and calm…ah!)


Laurie Rosen




Shakti Pada Mukhopadhyay is a first-time contributor who has heard the cuckoo’s plaintive cry.

The clouds pelted rains.

The frog croaked for the mate, but

the snake ruined his fate.

(The true Way of all nature.)

Summer days turn the

lands grey, but the cuckoo sings

songs for his heyday.

Shadows of the hills

and the azure sky rippled

on the dancing lake.

Rains pelted on the leaves,

drenching the sheaves and bathed the

Rose to bloom again.

Shakti Pada Mukhopadhyay


Hermann Eberl is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Mathematicians have access to a Universe few of us can enter.


Fog covered darkness

ambulance howls at midnight

coyotes respond


By the back window

a Eurasian collared dove

one time visitor


A kestrel swoops in

robs the bird house in my driveway

a faulty design


Street lights throw at night

a white blanket on the ground

coyotes play catch


Where once it had a heart

a hole is in a starling’s chest

the snow red, the hawk gone


Against summer’s sky

redwinged black birds chase a hawk

lorries race along

(Beautiful juxtaposition and an aviary of poignant haiku.)


Hermann Eberl




Riham El-Ashry offers a melodic, enigmatic haiku. She is an Egyptian poet and an English teacher. She writes, “It is the simple yet profound aspect of haiku that attracts her to this art.”

near the bridge

horsehair bowing strings

in moonlight tunes


Riham El-Ashry




Patricia Hawkhead, United Kingdom, weaves tranquility, clarity, and frogs.


slipping into sleep

the creaking springs

of my lovelorn frog


evening bath


a plastic frog drops in


(How Basho would have loved this poem! We all heard that frog plop.)


Patricia Hawkhead




Samo Kreutz lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. His old trees are more beautiful than a tree in any of the heaven realms.


new morning

closest to the sun

me and the old trees


proud father

by a baby in a pram

glittering dawn

(That third line is a portrait of paradise.)


Samo Kreutz




Thomas R. Thomas need only have written this one poem to have established his art.


fragile leaves

paint sidewalk

after rain


Thomas R. Thomas




Yi Jung Chen, who is a teacher at Dounan Elementary School in Taiwan, continues this theme with her vision of paradise.


a morning dewdrop

falling petals on the ponds

back into the dust

(This is a classic haiku. Each reader needs to envision those falling petals. Juxtaposition and perfect 5-7-5 form.)


on the fluffy clouds

a bite by a crocodile

shockingly awake


Yi Jung Chen




Joan C. Fingon from Ventura, California, enjoys reading poetry to her cat in their back garden. BTS is always grateful to receive some of Joan’s work.



in the warm summer light

mother and colt


(So peaceful.)


one polar bear

lopes along the ice floe

deep footprints


Joan C. Fingon




Kate Williams lives in the peaceful countryside of Wales.


A pebble beneath

fast waters is my cloud-swept

moon: uncatchable.


Kate Williams

S. Denny resides in San Angelo, Texas. He holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts from the University of Texas.


singing waterfall

echoes from a canyon wall;

salmon hear her call

(This haiku conveys a vivid word picture. The reader will long to hear that waterfall’s call.)


embers fall and flame

splashing flashing flambeau rain

as I watch in awe


golden eagle flies —

ever searching from the sky;

just a hare-bane flight


S. Denny


James Babbs of Stanford, Illinois, sees deeply into winter’s essence in a way reminiscent of the old Japanese masters.


winter sunset

a loose piece of tin

banging in the wind


(That piece of tin is a call to our Higher Natures.)


cold winter morning

all the tiny paw prints

left behind in the snow


below zero

smoke turning to shapes

in the morning sky


James Babbs




Richard L. Matta attended Notre Dame and worked as a forensic scientist. He writes with precision and certainty.


seaweed dangles

from fishing dock

discarded tea bag


the swimming bird dives

the wake opens up

into two lines

(Pelicans, osprey . . . all diving birds create artwork with their wakes.)


a petal flurry

of wind-blown jacaranda

sound of distant train


Richard L. Matta




Suraj Nanu of Western Ghats, India, has been widely published.


oblation —

on his cupped hands

a liquid moon


Gardener’s grave . . .

weeds offering the best

of the season


the spider retreats . . .

how cold and calm

her dreamy smile

(A unique piece which explains spider nature.)


Suraj Nanu




Milorad sin Nade Tesla Ivanković is from Verschez, Serbia.


autumn quietude

distant bell from mountain

goat's neck

(Great effect of quietude and that distant bell.)


First published by The Cicada’s Cry.

Milorad Ivanković




Sarah Mahina Calvello whispers of a garden’s secrets. Ms. Calvello writes with steady mindfulness.


Outside the window

The garden lies in disarray

With its mismatched secrets


Sarah Mahina Calvello




Gopal Lahiri of India is a bilingual poet, critic, editor, and translator.



the retreating stars

blooming chrysanthemum


(Retreating stars! A unique poetic image illuminates this haiku.)


momentary pause

day breaks into

morning raga

Gopal Lahiri




Abundio Noel is a native of Bohol, Philippines. He is an advocate of organic farming and of the development of local languages.


The sun bids goodbye,

As darkness covers the sky,

Yet here come the stars.

The wind blows from north,

Where a lady tends her goat,

Feeling it so smooth.


Abundio Noel




Shelly Reed Thieman writes to connect the wounded in their myriad stages of damage.


blood-orange cat orbits

the farm pond for cricket frogs

lunar eclipse swells

First published in Lyrical Iowa.


Shelly Reed Thieman




Julie Allyn Johnson of Norwalk, Iowa, enjoys long walks in the woods with her husband and hiking the Rocky Mountains.


Elk bugles to mates

Harem scatters the moraine

Dominant male rules


Julie Allyn Johnson




David Watts of Mill Valley, California, is an MD, poet, author, musician, and retired radio and television personality.


in the corner

of my eye the smear

of a darting sparrow

(A flash of enlightenment in the form of a sparrow!)


David Watts




Nicholas Gentile is retired and lives in York, South Carolina. His poems have appeared in World Haiku Review and BTS.


wind extracting leaves

almost naked trees



(Such a unique, poetic description of trees being de-leafed.)


Nicholas Gentile




Padmini Krishnan was raised in India and now resides in Singapore. Her works have appeared in The Stardust Haiku, Ariel Chart, and The Heron’s Nest. Welcome to BTS. This poet has penetrated deeply into winter’s essence. Her haiku are the equal of the ancient Japanese masters; her haiku would be admired on that Pacific Island.


winter chill

the shape of the breeze

in mulberry leaves


winter drought

the silence of

cracked leaves


winter mist

a baby sparrow’s

soft chirp



the scent of

frozen breeze


Padmini Krishnan




As a writer of haiku passes through life, they leave indelible marks behind them.


Kevin McLaughlin

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 columnIt provides a pretty thorough explanation of the basic format.

Kevin Mclaughlin

haiku image

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