The Haiku Master

      by Elizabeth Spires

 

Master

Under the plum moon, he sits

like a frog on a lily pad,

waiting, waiting for what?

 

Pupil

I, too, am illuminated

by the moon, enraptured

by the frog’s Thrum! Thrum!

My heart beats loudly

like a big bass drum.

 

Master/Pupil

He asks with a smile,

“What shall you seek, seeker?” And I, the fool, answer,

“The stars! The plum moon! Love!”

 

Pupil

July, August, September . . .

Desire follows desire

these hot sleepless nights

of late summer.

 

Master

In the mirror: ego.

The I-maker looks out,

liking, disliking, what it sees.

 

Pupil

Great minimalist,

there are too many words!

How shall I choose among them?

 

Master

Paring the apple, he eats

it slowly, bit by bit.

Down to the nothing of it . . .

 

 

From The New Criterion, January 1990.