The Haiku Master

      by Naomi Beth Wakan

There were those present
who had founded dynasties
and outlined rules
and could tell the difference
between a haiku and a senryu
at several metres.
Then there were those there
who could penetrate the depths
of the immediacy with the ease
that a frog slips into
an old pond.
And also present, those
fresh to the form who
ran around in adoration
providing chairs
for the esteemed to sit on.
Don’t underestimate them, for
these all played their ordained
and necessary part
in the proceedings.
Do not rule them out.
Somewhere, in the background,
a man moved around quietly,
making a bench where the haijin
could sit seeking inspiration;
clearing a table and adding pages
for their cool efforts to be exposed
to the hot daylight;
trimming branches from
his favourite plum tree
so they could sit in its shade
considering their creations.
He also laid out food with care
for their nourishment;
washed up the used plates and
gently took the garbage out.
Was it only I
who recognized the true
Haiku Master of the event?

Previously unpublished. Written for the 2013 haiku gathering on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.