An Alphabet of Haiku

The following is a miscellaneous selection of haiku and senryu, all previously published (see credit list at the end). These fifty-six poems, assembled in November 2014, are favourites from among recently published or republished poems, simply arranged alphabetically. And yes, I’m missing poems that start with the letters X and Z, but I think I can handle it.

a carpenter ant
struggling in its frass—
dappled sunlight

                                a favourite website
                                rejects my password . . .
                                snow on distant peaks

                                                                after the puppet show the puppets

                                                                                                an empty boat
                                                                                                tied to the dock—
                                                                                                divorce pending

                                                                                                                                antique shop—
                                                                                                                                my child asks
                                                                                                                                about the two Germanies

autumn dusk—
tonight you don’t ask
what I’m reading

                                before our first date
                                the rainbow
                                at the car wash

                                                                       I lose

                                                                                                cold rain—
                                                                                                the inning ends
                                                                                                with nobody on

                                                                                                                                cold tea—
                                                                                                                                the snow all settled
                                                                                                                                in the snow globe

dark calm—
the common drift
of firework smoke

                                December dawn—
                                the shape of the flower bed
                                under fresh snow

                                                                deepening depression
                                                                the telephone
                                                                stops ringing

                                                                                                desolate beach
                                                                                                     snow starts to cling
                                                                                                          to a little toy boat

                                                                                                                                distant car horn—
                                                                                                                                in the empty studio
                                                                                                                                the faceless portrait

double rainbow—
she starts her story
over again

                                eating more of the apple
                                than I usually do—
                                NPR pledge drive

                                                                elephant enclosure—
                                                                my wife asks me
                                                                if I’ve put on weight

                                                                                                fading light—
                                                                                                I pop a kelp bladder
                                                                                                for my absent son

                                                                                                                                free checking—
                                                                                                                                the pen chained
                                                                                                                                to the counter

funeral’s end
the meaning
of rain

                                growing heat—
                                cows in the lee
                                of the rotting barn

                                                                her first report card—
                                                                a row of plum trees
                                                                beginning to pink

                                                                                                home from the redwoods—
                                                                                                all my pictures
                                                                                                are vertical

                                                                                                                                in one car window
                                                                                                                                and out the other . . .
                                                                                                                                dandelion puff

job interview—
the snow shovel
lifted from its hook

                                kids’ lemonade stand—
                                for the crotchety neighbour
                                they double the price

                                                                late blossoms . . .
                                                                the aftershock
                                                                shakes them down

                                                                                                leaves in the fountain
                                                                                                                   a penny sinking
                                                                                                        side to side

                                                                                                                                loons scattering . . .
                                                                                                                                a floatplane touches down
                                                                                                                                into summer

most crowded
at the park visitor center
the nature exhibit

                                no, I tell myself
                                it’s not really
                                a grey hair

                                                                on the freebie table
                                                                at the diversity conference
                                                                salted nuts

                                                                                                on the merry-go-round
                                                                                                with my daughter
                                                                                                a few fallen leaves

                                                                                                                                prairie rain—
                                                                                                                                the windmill stirs
                                                                                                                                out of its sleep

                                                                quiet library . . .
                                                                a yawn in reference
                                                                spreads to nonfiction

rain dripping
from the red-and-white awning . . .
I catch your yawn

                                the neon buddha
                                has nothing to declare

                                                                you hand me a meadow
                                                                of wildflower

                                                                                                last night’s rain
                                                                                                left in a leaf


short day—
the toe tag waves
as we turn away

                                spring cleaning—
                                dust in the shape
                                of unanswered mail

                                                                spring haze . . .
                                                                   the alpenglow
                                                                      going slow

                                                                                                spring sun—
                                                                                                a pallbearer stops
                                                                                                to tie his shoe

                                                                                                                                summer rain
                                                                                                                                      the mechanic pockets
                                                                                                                                the spare tire valve cap

the ferry shakes
into my spine—
the whale’s wake

                                tidepool anemones
                                now all closed . . .
                                a child’s wet fingers

                                                                tonight’s stars—
                                                                how long will it take
                                                                for my light to reach them?

                                                                                                unpaid bills—
                                                                                                Indian plum sprouts
                                                                                                from yellow to green

                                                                                                                                Valentine’s Day—
                                                                                                                                a letter today
                                                                                                                                for “Occupant”

wet beach stones
gathered in my palm—
a fading rainbow

                                white autumn—
                                the tide pool not a tide pool
                                till I step in it

                                                                winter chill—
                                                                the canal boat lowers
                                                                into the lock

                                                                                                winter funeral—
                                                                                                the weight
                                                                                                of their family Bible

                                                                                                                                year of the dragon—
                                                                                                                                the snow on her grave
                                                                                                                                a long way from melting

These poems previously appeared in the following journals, books, and anthologies: A Hundred Gourds (Australia; online), Air: 2012 British Haiku Society Members’ Anthology (London: British Haiku Society, 2012), Bones (online), Ёrshik (Russia; online), Fog and Brittle Pine: 2007 Membership Anthology (San Jose: Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 2007), For a Moment (Pointe Claire, Quebec: King’s Road Press, 2009), Four and Twenty (online), Frogpond, From Leaf to Leaf (Bellevue, Washington: Haiku Northwest, 2011), Geese Landing: 2008 Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology (Ottawa: Haiku Canada, 2008), Geppo, Haiku Canada Review, Haiku Sans Frontières: Une Anthologie Mondiale (Orleans, Ontario: Les Éditions David, 1998), The Heron’s Nest (online), Horses’ Hooves: 2013 Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology (Ottawa: Haiku Canada, 2013), HSA Newsletter, The Language of Dragons (Yay Words; online), Lilliput Review, Mariposa, Mayfly, Modern Haiku, My Neighbor: 2009 Two Autumns Anthology (San Francisco: Two Autumns Press, 2009), No Longer Strangers (Bellevue, Washington: Haiku Northwest/Vandina Press, 2014), Northwest Literary Forum, Notes from the Gean (Scotland; online), Red Lights, Slipping Between Seasons: 2014 Haiku Canada Members’ Anthology (Ottawa: Haiku Canada, 2014), Solitary Plover, South by Southeast, The Blue Planet: Multilingual Haiku Anthology (Tokyo: Hokumeisha, 2011), This World: 2013 Haiku Society of America Members’ Anthology (New York: Haiku Society of America, 2013), Tidepools: Haiku On Gabriola (Gabriola, British Columbia: Pacific-Rim Publishers, 2011), Timepieces 1995 (Los Angeles: Haiku Headlines, 1994), Under the Basho (online), Upstate Dim Sum, and Windfall (Bellevue, Washington: Haiku Northwest, 2012). In addition, “autumn dusk” won second place in the 2010 Seabeck Haiku Getaway kukai; “cold rain” won second place in the 2004 Anita Weiss Haiku Contest; “double rainbow” won first place in the 2012 Seabeck Haiku Getaway kukai; “home from the redwoods” was the Editor’s Choice poem of the week for Four and Twenty (online); and “kids’ lemonade stand” won an honourable mention in the 2007 Tokutomi Haiku Contest.