Memorial Haiku

The following are selected memorial poems I’ve written for haiku poets who have died, arranged in reverse chronological order (most recent poem first). Two of these poems (for Kaji Aso and the first poem for anne mckay) were also Per Diem featured poems on the Haiku Foundation website in May 2014. Please also see the “Memorial Haibun” section of the Haibun page for longer tributes to these and other haiku poets.

“The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” —Thornton Wilder

                                                                                         last of the sunset . . .
                                                                                         fewer scratches
                                                                                         in the chicken yard

                                                                                                                         For Marian Olson
                                                                                                                         (died 17 August 2018)

where has he gone . . .
his cat’s tail
forms a question mark

                For Carlos Colón       +
                (died 30 October 2016)

                                                                                         news of her death . . .
                                                                                         this year’s falling leaves
                                                                                         a little more lonely

                                                                                                                         For Jane Reichhold
                                                                                                                         (died July 2016)

daffodils in bloom—
the mint in my mouth
still not done

                For Gary Barnes (Soji)       +       +
(died 12 March 2016)

Eric Amann’s name
                                                                                         sinking deeper and deeper
                                                                                         into the red leaves

                                                                                                         For Eric Amann       +
                                                                                                         (died March 2016)

total eclipse—
our shadows curve
and then disappear

                For Kat Creighton       +
                (died 15 January 2014)

spring woods . . .
                                                                                         a distant voice
                                                                                         falls silent

                                                                                                         For Hortensia Anderson
                                                                                                         (died 21 May 2012)

autumn haiku meeting—
all of us smile at the poem she says
isn’t any good

                For Jay Gelzer     +
(died 29 December 2012)

                                                                                         rain again . . .
                                                                                               the moon brightens
                                                                                         the cloud’s other side

                                                                                                         For Helen Russell     +
                                                                                                         (died 10 January 2011, age 101)

day lilies—
her last letter
still unopened

                For Peggy Willis Lyles
                (died 3 September 2010)

                                                                                         gone from the woods
                                                                                         the bird I knew
                                                                                         by sight and song

                                                                                                         For Paul O. Williams     +     +
                                                                                                         (died 2 June 2009)

spring’s deepening green—
beside the silent heron
our long shadows touch

                For Robert Major     +
                (died 18 May 2008)

                                                                                         winter sky—
                                                                                         her palette still
                                                                                         with all the colours

                                                                                                         For Francine Porad     +
                                                                                                         (died 27 September 2006)

blue September sky—
the wordless things
we want to know

                For Francine Porad     +
                (died 27 September 2006)

                                                                                         after the brushstroke,
                                                                                         his head stays tilted
                                                                                         to a sun-dappled sumi-e

                                                                                                         For Kaji Aso
                                                                                                         (died 11 March 2006)

fog . . .
just the tree
at the bus stop

                For Jerry Kilbride
                (died 3 November 2005)

                                                                                         her last breath—
                                                                                         the strings vibrating
                                                                                         on her dusty harp

                                                                                                         For Elizabeth Searle Lamb
                                                                                                         (died 15 February 2005)

Iraqi sunset—
a sand dune begins to build
around his bootprint

                For Navy Lt. Kylan Jones-Huffman     +
             (died 21 August 2003, in Iraq)

                                                                                         for her this spring
                                                                                         the greengoing woods
                                                                                         still greening

                                                                                         the smell of cigarettes
                                                                                         still in her book

                                                                                                         For anne mckay
                                                                                                         (died 4 March 2003)

Asilomar dunes—
      she rests her hand
against the tree she planted

                For Kiyoko Tokutomi     +
             (died 25 December 2002)

                                                                                         a wrenching in my chest—
                                                                                         the white peony
                                                                                         pulled from the garden

                                                                                                         For Keiko Imaoka     +
                                                                                                         (died April 2002)

scattered ashes . . .
how still each reed
and its shadow

                For John Wills
                (died 24 September 1993)