Godawful Early Haiku

I recall that one of my first attempts at haiku, in 1976 or so, was about thunder applauding the lightning’s performance. That’s not only an overwrought conceit, but disastrous for haiku, although I hadn’t yet learned why. As a reminder to myself that I took my turn suffering under deep and superficial misunderstandings of haiku, here—if you can stomach them—are 46 of my early haiku (ahem, pseudo-haiku), all written by 1984, and all gloriously titled and clueless. See if you can enjoy any of them, or at least enjoy seeing my younger self in them. At least the one about the eggshell still amuses me. See also “Godawful Early Haiku, Part Deux.” +

9 O’Clock

Evening bells tolling

Ringing, telling and singing

The evening’s passing.

The Muskrat

Nose-up fur-button

Ripple-tail splitting water

Father paddling home.

The Squirrel

Half tail, half not

A bundle of leaping fur

Scampering away.


The deepening sky

Yawns with his cavernous mouth—

Tongue of light leaps out.

Haiku for Children

Bullets splatter blood

But video life’s a smile,

A test tube no more.


I found an egg shell—

The egg was still inside it.

I made it come out.

Frankly, My Dear

I know who’s to blame

(. . . the Butler didn’t do it)

Your sins are Scarlett.


See the lonely rose

Bobbing for the butterfly

Leaving her weeping.


Memory’s statue—

My overwhelming passion

She loves not I yet.


I am Icarus

Flying too close to Venus . . .

Open heart descends.


I need to be alone

The young man said aloud

To no one at all.


Everything to come

Touches home and then is flown

Can you stay awhile?

In the previous poem, I had wanted to write an acrostic for “etc.” (don’t ask me why). This also influenced the word choices for the first line (also acrostic). The next three poems achieve the same stupendous acrostic feat, and their three titles together were intended to say “Opportunity Well Spent.” Wasn’t I clever?


Early in the day

The dawn breaks out in shinelight

Crowning her maker.


Every zenith sun

Takes our lives in trust till death

Counting till it’s done.


Evening shadows fade—

Tonight the light has fallen

Calling rest to mind.

After the Rain

Shadows leave the sand

The sun breaks through the rainfall

Pitching mellow shade.

Sappy Birthday

Give me your presence

Or be a birthday friend, and

Give me your presents.


The pall overwhelms

Bodies in a plethora

Of absentee sound.


She is such a smile

All smiles and the only smile

To capture a slave.

The Sting

Verbs in your sonnets

Are like bees in your bonnets

For the sting disturbs.

Hi, Koo

Her face is showing

Stark and dark reality—

This one is for Koo.

The preceding poem was written about Koo Stark on 24 January 1984, while I was living in England.

Nuptial Creature

Weddings are strange beasts;

They prowl near and threaten, but

Never feed on me.


Another day passed

and I will still be fasting

Thinned from daily work.

Bonsai Waterfall

Rush wooden water

Cascade round me naughtily—

Tree-root in the stream.

The Apple

The crisp and bitten

Apple of Adam and Eve

Fathers half a worm.

The Dawn

This a just goodbye

In case I should die tonight—

Morning’s sun will shine.


I, straight and single

Scraping the heavenly clouds

Fly like a seagull.

Suburban Soliloquy

Just painted petals

Pollute my plastic townhouse

Clinical and pure.


She spoke as a child

“I wish my life be sinneful.”

But she spoke German.

The German word for “meaningful” is “sinne.” This poem quotes a German friend’s statement verbatim.

This Little Piggy

A good Friend of mine

Said to me at the Market

Caveat emptor.


Silently sailing

Till crashing into the ground

The gusting is life.


Eleven o’clock

I hear the cathedral bells

Peeling to battle.

My Hand

Smooth symmetrical

The outlying dying veins

Surrounding my leaf.

The Passing of Love and Time

The years that wedge in

Bring no greater distance, when

We were never close.

What You’ve Been Up To

Cry and the earth cries

Whimper and the earth whimpers

Smile and the earth knows . . .

Wish of an Aspen

Snowbird, nest with me

About me, flitter-singing

Concealing my fall.

I, Metaphor

She vies herself “ten”

Virgin, who I would rate high

But I, met a four.


Slowly sliding shut

My corrugated curtains

Block out evenings dark.

Dust in the Moonbeam

I awaken slow

Discovering a tickle

On my moonbeam face.

She (Epithalameum)

lingering hissing

what a subtle word she is

all containing he.

Spiritual Halitosis

Bible-thumping gush—

Spiritual halitosis

Wilting weary ears.


My migraine pulsates

Swelling and shrinking the clouds

There ought to be rain.


A nuisance to count

You gave your ducats clanging

—Suitedly pious.

Homiletic Wheels

The longer you spoke

Then the larger the tire

Became for the bike.


Chalice of mine heart

Sputter-thirst I, bashlessly

As of yet unquenched.


Rebounding, swinging

Sphere of a human nature

Encircling the sun.