In Har-Poen Tea Garden

             by Linda Pastan



Three, nine, seventeen

carp—one for each syllable

color the water.


A sip of green tea—

the very taste of Japan,

odd but comforting.


The old maple bows

with such strict formality

over the fish pond.


I long for free verse,

explosions of syllables,

but this is Japan.


In white wedding dress

a bride bows down the stone path,

West and East marry.


Poor blooming cherry

trapped in miniature beauty.

The spell is bonsai.


Freed from a painting,

a ceremonial crane

fishes for dinner.


I dream in haiku—

words as perfect as blossoms

gone in the morning.



From Traveling Light (New York: Norton, 2012), page 69. Though in a pattern of 5-7-5 syllables, the stanzas here are not haiku, even if the author may dream in haiku.