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with Kevin McLaughlin

The Morning Star

In some versions of the Buddha’s moment of Attainment, as Shakyamuni observed the morning star, Venus, he placed his right hand on the earth, and rejoiced that, “I, along with the earth, am enlightened!” From that moment forward the physical and spiritual realms were joined. The spirit of haiku can be traced back to that moment. For Christians that moment might have been when they first experienced sanctifying Grace. For humanists, it may have been when they experienced clarity with nature, a form of non-duality.


Unseen black vultures,

Make huffing sounds in the pines:

The morning star fades.


Kevin McLaughlin




Veronika Zora Novak resides in Toronto, Canada. Her work has been published in an impressive number of high-quality journals.


lotus pond . . . 

a koi ripples

the universe


autumn chill . . .

a crow’s caw lost

in its shadow



till only you remain . . .

indigo mist


the nothingness

caught in your web . . .

black widow


Veronika Zora Novak


RP Verlaine resides in New York City. RP has an MFA from City College and has taught in NYC Public Schools for many years. Verlaine has had several volumes of poetry published and his work has appeared in world renowned journals.


red dawn

the two roosters decide

I have slept enough


bonfire of leaves

the smell of autumn



laughing mountain

the lone crow's caw

lost in the sky


night sky

flicking an ant

into the full moon


RP Verlaine




Joan García Viltró is a teacher and poet based in Cambrils. His poems often reflect his concern with Nature struggling under human pressure.


the beach constantly

taken, licked up, eaten up

brought back by the sea


the gale washed Shiva’s

face off that rock — now it has

been washed back on there


I keep edging out

of murky shafts of light to

dull, opaque fish stare


Joan García Viltró



Deborah-Zenha Adams is an award-winning writer and a certified naturalist.


Cresting the mountain

I spy my footprints in dust

rain clouds to the west


Summer morning

mist envelopes the blue heron —

there’s a mystery!


Deborah-Zenha Adams




Hifsa Ashraf has a talent for haiku with a slightly Gothic tone.


midnight stroll

lurking in a bare tree

the lunar corona


Hifsa Ashraf




Paweł Markiewicz, a frequent contributor to this column, has experienced the assimilation of subject and object.


winglets in the rain

— heart of subtle butterflies

needs to become dry


butterflies in flight

tender winglet in the rhythm

of the falling rain


wing of butterflies

the strong epiphany born

from ontology


Paweł Markiewicz




Christina Chin is a Malaysian haikuist. She is First prize winner of the 34th Cherry Blossom Sakura Festival Haiku Contest (2020) and First prize winner in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama Photo-haiku Contest (2019).


fitted with correction lens

Cassiopeia on a clear

winter sky


frosted brown leaves

meet the cloudless horizon

winter moon


Christina Chin




Marylinn Mihaila of Calgary, Canada, teaches us about darkness.


Lightly existing

Fading into the dark, I

hunger to expire


In love with the night,

yet terrified of the dark

Tonight there’s no stars


Marylinn Mihaila




Max Bindi is an Italian-English translator and a poet/songwriter. He works his magic with photons.


a flash of lightning

fireflies vanish

and reappear.


Max Bindi




Pratik Mitra lives in Konnagar, India. He’s a teacher by profession and a writer by vocation. He writes both in English and in Bengali. He is fond of watching films, reading books, and playing chess.


The languid canal

Under wooden bridge befriends

winter sun and oblivion.


The darkness laughs with

fireflies while creating wonder

In tedious eyes.


The orange sky becomes

The backdrop of silhouetted trees

and the heart’s silence.


Pratik Mitra




Dan Brook teaches Sociology at San Jose State University. He gives us the ideal cherry blossom, the one that both exists and doesn’t exist.


scandalous indeed

a falling cherry blossom

that nobody saw


Dan Brook




Shobha Rao PhD is a retired scientist and poetry writing is her hobby. She has penned many poems including haiku, tanka, and haibun. She is from India and has lived and studied in the USA.


both swirl around phi

the milky way and the DNA

life by design


delicate strands

of saffron in milk

color of love


Shobha Rao


Samo Kreutz of Ljubljana, Slovenia, offers two haiku that each deserve two careful readings.



preserved from frostiness

the snow among feathers


children’s room

all the shadows in it



Samo Kreutz




Rachel Zempel of Minnesota is a 911 dispatcher who has mastered the appreciation of colors. May she visit many art museums.


a symphony of

elegant color sings her

to sleep at sunset


violet bleeding

into a soft magenta

God’s twilight palette


Rachel Zempel




Nishant Verma of Mumbai, India, is a scriptwriter and an associate director for various television serials.


Sitting on the plum

A fly is cleaning itself —

My hesitation


Butterfly carries

The colour on both its wings —

Stealing from flowers


Nishant Verma



Laurie Rosen is a lifelong New Englander.


Gray harbor islands

Float above dusky water

Beneath a flush sky.


Seaside ancestors

Decay in brackish water

As sea levels rise.


Feathery green fronds

Spring grasses tickle bare shins

Black flies swarm and bite.


Laurie Rosen




Sara McNulty resides in Staten Island with her husband and her two rescue dogs. Her haiku is a hand beckoning, an invitation to return to nature. Note how closely she stays with the classical 5-7-5 format.


ocean tide ebbs

sand glistens with sea treasures

lucent blue beach glass


silhouetted snow

craggy outline on moon's face

on roof fiddler plays


(I have never read a better astrophysics-oriented haiku.)


lunette moon lingers

sole luminescence for stars

after night sky sleeps


(Remarkable word selection.)


Sara McNulty




Victoria Stefani lives, paints, and writes in the desert outside Tucson, Arizona. She notes that she is not averse to spiders or snakes.


Thick air, rain coming.

Cats wait by the window,

summoning thunder.


Over the swamps like

mist rise the ghostly cries of

long-forgotten birds.


High, wild, lonely,

an elk’s bugling slices open

midnight’s moonless sky.


One massive boulder

guards the trail. Touch the stone.

Feel the earth breathing.


Victoria Stefani




Stacey Law invites you to see the world through her eyes, and perceptive eyes they are.


Wild envy in eve

The darkened soul of daffodils

Close eyes in the night


(I am much taken with that creative second line.)


Matures the beauty

Roses impelled in my soul

I look at a thorn


(Close to being Gothic haiku.)


Stacey Law



Richard Matta, raised in New York’s Hudson Valley, is a Notre Dame graduate and a former forensic scientist. He does not need a lantern to peer through reality’s metaphorical darkness.


deep in nectar

the catapult

of a honeybee


spring dawn drizzle

the slow wiggle

of a worm


my red dappled hand

in the rose garden . . .

the webbed monarch


breezy day

a boy pinches feathers

in outstretched arms


moonlit garden . . .

the lingering scent

of pinched basil


(The moon is just another lantern.)


latticed arbor

a pair of cardinals

one on each end


(And the reader’s mind may form a third cardinal.)


Richard L. Matta



Hanoch Guy is a bilingual poet writing in Hebrew and English. He writes powerful haiku.


fireworks in

Shalom cemetery

sparks on Hebrew letters


late desert snow

the wail

of double hump camels


Hanoch Guy




Milorad sin Nade Tesla Ivanković is from Vršac, Serbia.


Buddha’s lovingkindness

let’s save all those needy and distressed

bacteria, microbes, viruses


sun-disc is drowned

by the Danube demon of the deep

winter solstice



untimely blossomed

tender apricots


Milorad Ivanković




Writing haiku enables us to have pristine awareness of nature and our place in the natural world, regardless of religion or philosophy.


To write haiku in the morning, you will be

Enlightened in the morning.

To write haiku in the evening, you will be

Enlightened in the evening.


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 column.

It provides a pretty thorough explanation of the basic format.

Kevin Mclaughlin

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