I thought for this week, I'd share some haiku that I envy, ones I wish I had written. They come from different sources and reflect the varying styles of haiku. They show that lots of things are fair game and that modern haiku comes in different flavors.
I remembered one I really liked but couldn't find it, and as I scoured Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America, I came across this one which is almost as good. It was written by Stanford M. Forrester of Windsor, CT.
haiku walk —
a flower pollinates
This haiku is striking because of the surprise of the last line. Many teachers of haiku recommend haiku walks in which the poet walks deliberately, observes carefully, and takes notes, either in a notebook or mentally. Obviously this walk was worth the time.
Here is another from Frogpond that was selected as the best of those in the previous journal.
strands of her hair not captured
by her braid
The ambiguity of this haiku is what makes me love it, as well as the sexy and sensual image. And who's "summer heat" are we to notice? Hers? His? The weather? This one was written by Michael Ketchek of Rochester, NY.
Another, less sensual but equally effective haiku selected as the best of the previous issue of Frogpond, starts with weather but heads into a different direction. It's by Peter Newton of Winchendon, MA.
emptying a book
of its words.
The next haiku was written by Issa, one of the great haiku masters of 19th Century Japan. It shows his great regard for nature and reminds me of how I ignore spiders in the house or talk to them, warning them about not coming near Kathy, my wife.
don't worry spiders
I keep house
This next two haiku are by my haiku partner and mentor, Chris Valentine, from Birney, MT. She lives in a tiny town on a hill overlooking the big sky and hills of the Tongue River valley. Winters can be tough up there, cold, snowy, lonesome.
a silent landscape broken
by squabbling finches
snow and more snow
friends reduced to images
across the phone line
This next haiku was written by another friend who co-teaches a haiku class with me, Ginny Hoyle. She wrote it as part of a project in which a painter and a poet are paired to produce a painting and a poem tied to the painting. The haiku is then painted on the canvas and tells about the painting better than any description I might write.
over dark water
under dark skies
The shape of the haiku suggests the painting. One strange but fascinating aspect of this haiku is that the dark water in it is over the ducks and the dark skies under them. A result of Ginny's delightful sense of poetry and humor, which is also obvious from this next haiku of hers.
trespassing on my neighbor's snow
a stop sign's shadow
Another haiku with a surprise in the last line. Makes it one I wished I had written. But then Ginny's imagination far exceeds mine.
So you see the wide range of subjects for haiku. And the various formats, from 5-7-5 to shorter lines and even one in which the line length is very different from the usual short line, long line, short line, to one where lines 1 and 3 are long to frame the ducks.
I've saved two of my favorite haiku for last. Both come from a small chapbook of haiku, The Deep End Of The Sky, by a wonderful poet from Pierre, SD, Chad Lee Robinson. A friend recommended the book and I ordered it recently from the publisher, Turtle Light Press, Arlington, VA.
Another surprise at the end of this haiku. Perhaps it's just my old pilot's habit of looking at the sky overhead and then down to the horizon, but the words of this haiku, leading down to the prairie, almost seem to bend from overhead to the prairie horizon. This is the one haiku that if I could steal and call mine, I would. I read it and was amazed.
Here's the other haiku on that page, about as good. I'll just offer the haiku and shut up so as not to spoil the effect.
all you'll ever need to know