Haiku

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

plop!

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.

 

grazing

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.

 

beneath

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

autumn

 

(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

 

mid-winter

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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