Haiku and the still photograph - irresistible

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Like the still photograph, haiku are snapshots. I guess it's not surprising that I'm drawn to them. I love to sit and sip a beer while reading haiku by the great masters - Basho, Buson and especially Issa. I've also enjoyed the poetry of the "Zen Fool" Ryokan. 

And being a bit of a fool myself, I've taken to writing haiku. Here are a few of my personal favorites. Hope you like them. 

 

A crow heading home

Overhead, right at sunset

And Mom flies with him.

 

At summer solstice

A heron hears me laughing

And touches the moon.

 

Replaced by red leaves

Cherry blossoms line the street

Blown by this wet wind.

 

A meditation

Brought on by the color green

Along the Hoh trail. 

 

After miles and days

Alone in wild Alaska

We become rock, ice.

 

The steam is rising

Tea leaves unfurl in the sun__

My day begins well.

 

Here at the edge

A dead sparrow in the ice

But onward we climb.

 

Swallowed by the sea

The big orange ball is gone

Leaving behind night.

 

Seed pods turning black

And crackling in the sun

On a long sand beach.

 

Wind waves in the grass

And a gentle reminder

To see when we look.

 

The river's current

Revealed by white, fluffy seeds

On a blue sky day.

 

Looking behind me

There above the stern, the moon

And two falling leaves.

 

Across the river

Apple blossoms in the night

Bright against the black.

 

It's becoming clear

The birds don't come to see me

They like to eat seeds.

 

My view this morning_

Fog in the valley, red leaves

Very still, waiting.

 

In the fading light

On my September river

Grey sky, black water.

 

There are, once again

Layers of leaves on the ground

Covering summer.

 

Crows are heading home

But I'll linger a bit more

On this cold river.

 

The water feels thick

And the air is crisp and cold

I paddle upstream.

 

It's been a cold spring

And everyone seems ready

To put on their shorts.

 

A boy and his cat

Purring together in bed

And singing their songs.

 

In just a moment

The sun will come out again

From behind those leaves.

 

Very close to sleep

Then, the sound of a raindrop

Outside, in the tree.

 

Silence is broken

As snowflakes lightly touch down

On top of my pack.

 

Long green blades of grass

Growing into the outhouse

Right under the door.

 

There, across the room

Asleep in the fading light

His ears are twitching. 

 

A cup of green tea

After a while, another__

Saturday morning. 

 

Who's that whispering

About the cold, dark night? 

Oh, it's you, moon.

 

The whale's voice

Caught by the empty canoe

Sings inside my head. 

 

Asleep together

And the frogs of winter 

Sing about the spring. 

 

Rain on smooth water

And a single white otter 

Doesn't seem to care. 

 

The crows are bathing

Together at water's edge

Soaking in the sun. 

 

Sitting, then reading

And then, sitting and reading

Now, a cup of tea. 

 

Here on the river

At the pace of the paddle

I"m finding myself. 

 

A muskrat swimming

And now an ant on my leg__

Not a lonely walk. 

 

Gliding to the ground

Puffs of white cottonwood seeds__

Wait, now they're rising!

 

It's quiet tonight

And I am just close enough

To hear him breathing. 

 

Around the streetlight

Bright snowflakes wildy dancing__

Winter fireflies. 

 

Every single turn

Contains every single turn___

It's cumulative. 

 

The leaves are all down

And fog is in the valley

Creeping up on me. 

 

Then, a steep vineyard

Rising up from the valley

Outside the window. 

 

Everything we do

Finds its mysterious way

Into everything. 

 

Seek the middle way

But don't expect to find it__

Do you understand? 

 

Any moment now

I'll know if this is a dream

When the falling stops. 

 

I'm really trying

Like so many nights before

To give up the day. 

 

With a dancing whale

Greeting another grey dawn

The sea follows us. 

 

Outside the window

With almost no sound at all

Tomorrow's fun falls. 

 

Among the tall trees

In the middle of winter

We ski in silence. 

 

The lightest snowflakes

Visible against the trees

Fall very slowly. 

 

I remember now!

Clouds roll in from the southwest

And the grass turns green. 

 

The moss glows deep green

And the rain pounds on the roof

I sit with the cat. 

 

Rows of puffy clouds

Slowly sliding to the east

In search of mountains. 

 

The moon tries to hide

Among the cold, dark branches

On a winter night. 

 

A murder of crows

Forms a line across the lake

And just keeps coming. 

 

Four swans in silence

Stunning against cold blue sky

Gone in a moment.