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with Kevin McLaughlin

Kevin McLaughlin

No Man Steps in the Same River

The 6th Century B.C.E. Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” This understanding of impermanence, the mutability of physics, and of the evanescent nature of reality has been the underlying motivation for many generations of haikuists. Things change, always. But a haiku can freeze and immortalize an image.


Scholars believe haiku began in response to the change of seasons. Many collections and journals, including the four volume R. H. Blyth series, are sorted by season.


A haiku can reveal the thing-in-itself. The essence never changes.


Molecules alter,

As each moment passes by:

Lanterns float downstream.


Kevin McLaughlin




Douglas J. Lanzo of Chevy Chase, Maryland, has published poetry in over 20 literary journals, including Frogpond. Significantly, two of Mr. Lanzo’s haiku influences are Matsuo Basho and American Richard Wright.


cheetah stalking prey

lithely bounds in hot pursuit

one lunge ends the chase


dazzling Northern Lights

ionized sun particles

charging the night sky


thirsty summer bat

skims a pond with open mouth

refueling mid-air


(Captures a scintillating, authentic image.)


supernova eye

forged from billions of star years

is gone in a blink


(This is a powerful reminder of impermanence.)


Douglas J. Lanzo




Jessica Wheeler lives on the southern shore of Lake Erie in Eastlake, Ohio. She practices mindfulness and writes without judgment.


tilting gently

either way —

some kind of hawk



the scent of green —

April snow


(Ah! The change of the seasons.)


he asks

a dangerous question —

patches of clover


Jessica Wheeler




Mathew Wenham is currently the head of Senior English at a high school in Melbourne, Australia.


The trunk is silent

beneath the leaves’

endless chatter


Blue morning sky —

frost on a pig’s

mud-caked back


(Mathew Wenham’s mud-caked pig is more important than Shelley’s Skylark.)


Children play war games

in a pretty park

built on a dump


Barefoot child

hugs an old dog —

blue toes


Mathew Wenham


Manoj Sharma lives in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has been published in Frogpond.


February wind . . .

on the high tension wire

a pigeon’s courtship


winter morning . . .

the sound of a clock tower



gazing at . . .

the half open eyes

of Buddha


(The reader easily visualizes Mr. Sharma in deep meditation with Shakyamuni.)


busy street —

a beggar arrives

with his artificial limb


Manoj Sharma




Armando Quiros has given much evidence that his third eye views the world as a haiku. I agree with him.


a leaf falls in spring

the rivulets open wide

words flow narrowly


Armando Quiros




Stefanie Winton resides beneath the south Seattle cherry blossom blooms.


Arroyo Willow,

nothing feels real anymore,

the cold blue remains.


Dandelion dust,

everything beautiful dies.

We are not immune.


(Untouched by self-consuming emotion, Stefanie calmly views impermanence.)


Stefanie Winton




Kenneth Lynn Anderson of Decatur, Georgia, is a novelist.


          What happy music!

When the dogs eat, their tags clink

          the ceramic bowls.



by one —like a flock

of geese— the cherry petals light

on the pool.


Yellow leaves falling

toward the goldfish meeting them

in the lake’s mirror.

A branch of dogwood

blossoms— young girls dressed in white

on the road to spring.


(The dogwood blossoms and the girls become one entity. Beautiful mindfulness of inter-being.)


Kenneth Lynn Anderson




The poems of Dennis Maulsby, of Ames, Iowa, have appeared in numerous journals and have also been featured on public radio.


Dawn diamonds the lake.

Dog and I jog paw-soft paths,

legs in two-four time.


First published in Mused Magazine.


Crows wing-roll through smoke.

Across a field of parched grass

red-hoofed fire gallops.


First published in Lyrical Iowa anthology.


(May those crows wing-roll for centuries.)


Dennis Maulsby

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

Sarah Calvello of San Francisco, California is a welcome return contributor to BTS.


Funny what you remember

Chrysanthemums in water as perfume

Trees sway gently


(Note how Sarah fuses vision with the scent of the chrysanthemums.)


Not enough time

Worn, blue hot chocolate cup

Pearl white dogwoods are in bloom

What might have been

Years flow like water

Unkept garden


(Even an unkept garden can be a subject for haiku.)


Sarah Calvello


Carrie Ann Thunell lives in Olympia, Washington.


the butterfly joy

that bubbles up from within

an undammed river


this fenced-in garden

so full of birds and frogs—

the shelter of this sacred place


(Carrie Ann demonstrates that sacred places exist across the Earth’s surface. Each of us should have a place of wonder and serenity.)


in the absence of traffic

deafening birdsong

winds through the blossoming trees


Carrie Ann Thunell




Denise Shelton has planted herself in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley where she’s writing and growing every day.


smoke and flames ascend

Our Lady of the Ashes

the world weeps with you


alfalfa pellets

circle canes with precision

our secret ceremony


First published in Written Tales.


(All sentient beings can join in this secret ceremony.)


shovel splits the soil

a Christmas tree still living

grows to glow again


First published in Haiku Hub.


Denise Shelton


Carlton Holte, born in Minnesota, grew up playing under bridges and in cornfields.


Serenading graves,

the mourning minstrel strums on

the sad heart’s guitar.


Look to the mountains.

They are east, laden with snow.

The river runs clear.


Haiku reminds us:

the good poem has no extras.

Say it fast, then quit.


(This is why a haiku’s essence is more precious than a conventional poem’s.)


Carlton Holte




Professor R.K. Singh of Dhanbad, India, has a Taoist’s appreciation of the Earth’s rhythm.


sky’s dark patches—

I live with earth's rhythm



(Being in harmony with nature is True Liberation.)



mirror and smoke

muddy path


a long golden net

surges on the ocean tide—

fishing memories


removing her veil

the doctor holds his breath—

gentle touch


Professor R.K. Singh




Bill Dee Johnston of Hutchinson, Kansas, smiles at this benevolent garden party.


summer afternoon,

lady bugs, ants, and sweat bees

church garden party


sanctuary of

sunshine, shade, and gardens

visitors welcome


(Billy Dee too has a sanctuary, a querencia for all sentient beings.)


Bill Dee Johnston


Sandy Brian Hager is a political economist based in London, England.



Neuroscience tells us that

Our brains are shrinking


(This striking poem unveils neurological reality . . . for each of us.)


Memories make marks

Like faint water rings from mugs

Left atop notebooks


Headless garter snake

Rots on summer trail of sand

Not just ticks, that lurk


Sandy Brian Hager




Goran Gatalica, of Virvitica, Croatia, holds degrees in both Physics and Chemistry . . . powerful allies for a haikuist.


thinning of the forest —

windstorms show me

their strong teeth


climate changes —

the emerald ash borer eats

tree from the inside out


(Master of its environment, the emerald ash borer.)


sunrise —

the pale pink translucence

of jackrabbit ears


warm night —

countless fireflies blink

across our yard


deep forest —

a twinkling galaxy

of fireflies


scattered waves —

the capacity

of my solitude


Goran Gatalica



Rachel Zempel is a young poet from Minnesota who had her first poem published in third grade. She works as a 911 dispatcher.


rising ball of fire

casting golden sunbeams on

a deserted town


hummingbirds flutter

sweet nectar discovery

iridescent blur


First published in Three Line Poetry.


soft pink peonies

romanticizing the park

sweet, citrus fragrance


Rachel Zempel




Read haiku slowly, mindfully. And remember, even a lotus blossom is rooted in the mud. The Holy Grail is reflected in every authentic haiku.


Kevin McLaughlin

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