A Month in Summer

     by Carolyn Kizer







Several years ago, I wrote haiku in this way:


The frost was late this year:

Crystal nips the petals

As my lover grows impatient.


I have come to prefer the four-line form which Nobuyuki Yuasa has used in translating Issa because, as he says, it comes closer to approximating the natural rhythm of English speech:


Let down the curtain!

Hamlet dies each night

But is always revived.

Love, too, requires genius.


Perhaps that can stand, also, as my attempt to put “O my prophetic soul!” into haiku.



From Kenyon Review 24:3, Summer, 1962, pages 551–559. Also in Mermaids in the Basement, Port Townsend, Washington, Copper Canyon Press, 1984, pages 75–86. Carolyn Kizer’s long  haibun may very well have been the first haibun published in English, easily predating Jack Cain’s 1964 “Paris” haibun that has often been referred to erroneously as the first haibun in English.