The Haiku Master

by Naomi Beth Wakan

There were those present

who had founded dynasties

and outlined rules

and could tell the difference

between a haiku and a senryu

at several metres.

Then there were those there

who could penetrate the depths

of the immediacy with the ease

that a frog slips into

an old pond.

And also present, those

fresh to the form who

ran around in adoration

providing chairs

for the esteemed to sit on.

Don’t underestimate them, for

these all played their ordained

and necessary part

in the proceedings.

Do not rule them out.

Somewhere, in the background,

a man moved around quietly,

making a bench where the haijin

could sit seeking inspiration;

clearing a table and adding pages

for their cool efforts to be exposed

to the hot daylight;

trimming branches from

his favourite plum tree

so they could sit in its shade

considering their creations.

He also laid out food with care

for their nourishment;

washed up the used plates and

gently took the garbage out.

Was it only I

who recognized the true

Haiku Master of the event?

Previously unpublished. Written for the 2013 haiku gathering on Gabriola Island, British Columbia.