Sprigs of Spring

“A haiku . . . is a hand beckoning, a door half-opened, a mirror wiped clean. It is a way of returning to nature, to our moon nature, our cherry blossom nature, our falling leaf nature, in short, to our Buddha nature.” —R. H. Blyth

Spring Haiku

her first report card—

a row of plum trees

beginning to pink

in one car window

and out the other . . .

dandelion puff

late blossoms . . .

the aftershock

shakes them down

spring cleaning—

dust in the shape

of unanswered mail

spring haze . . .

the alpenglow

going slow

spring sun—

a pallbearer stops

to tie his shoe

spring birdsong . . .

unopened the longest,

the heaviest present

a robin’s song the next hospital bed now empty

spring breeze—

the pull of her hand

as we near the pet store

tulip festival—

the colours of all the cars

in the parking lot

scattered petals . . .

the thud of my books

in the book drop +

mountain spring—

in my cupped hand

pine needles

spring thaw—

the old scarecrow

a little taller

afternoon hike—

the pussy willows dwindling

from my handful

spring breeze through the window . . .

stains on an apron

left at the counter

spring cleaning—

dirt in the grooves

of the five-iron

spring breeze—

the oars fed

into the oarlocks

empty silo—

spring wind pops the metal

in and out

apple blossoms . . .

into the wind

spring rain

scent of wisteria—

she finishes translating

the birth certificate

sound of spring rain—

a drip clings

to the shower-head

temple blossoms . . .

the deep tones

of wind bells

spring sun—

at the top of the roller coaster

she says yes

morning sickness—

the patter of spring rain

on our new roof

the river flowing stronger

first catkins

on the willow

spring wind spreads the pine needles

birth announcement . . .

a plum petal falls

into my open palm

drifting cherry petals . . .

a window goes up

in the passing limousine

drapes drawn—

just the edges done

on the daffodil puzzle

spring wind—

a cherry blossom

circles the well

a withered apple

caught in an old spine rake

. . . blossoms fall

birdsong fades

into the cherry’s scent . . .

she reaches for my hand

the cherry tree bare

with blossoms by its trunk—

an empty stroller

spring tide

slowly lifting

coastal fog

plum blossoms ripple

a mayfly moves

from the plover’s shadow


on the path

the colour of petals

Jardin du Lexembourg

the bending daffodils

under smog

sending a French postcard . . .

the daffodil stamp

tastes like home

impatient schoolkids—

pink tulips sway to a different rhythm

than the red ones

my hesitant knock—

the path to her door

drifted with blossoms

cherry blossoms

blowing down the lane—

my expired meter

Spring Tanka

ひさかたのひかりのどけき春の日にしづ心なく花の散るらん 紀友則

hisakata no hikari nodokeki harunohi ni shizugokoro naku hana no chiruran Ki no Tomonori

the light filling the air

is so mild this spring day

only the cherry blossoms

keep falling in haste—

why is that so? Ki no Tomonori

(The above is my translation, with Emiko Miyashita, of a poem that was printed on the back of 150,000,000 U.S. postage stamps in 2012.)

words do not come

for you

on your passing

till the first warm day—

the blossoming plum

April comes

and now you are gone,

you, who told your guardian angel

each year on your birthday

not yet

all my books collect dust

except the one of love poems

you gave me that day

when the spring rains

kept us indoors

on the day

my old girlfriend

moves away,

I change my calendar

to a picture of spring

blossoms are starting—

today, someone has tied

a love poem

to my favourite tree,

that car-damaged plum

beneath the lilacs

the April wind

ripples the pond—

in every petal

the curve of your cheek