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.