Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Butterfly Dream: Patch of Sunlight Haiku by Jane Reichhold

English Original

waiting room
a patch of sunlight
wears out the chairs

Frogpond, 23:3, Autumn, 2000

Jane Reichhold

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Jane Reichhold was born as Janet Styer in 1937 in Lima , Ohio , USA . She had published over thirty books of haiku, renga, tanka, and translations. Her latest tanka book, Taking Tanka Home was translated into Japanese by Aya Yuhki. Her most popular book is Basho The Complete Haiku by Kodansha International. As founder and editor of AHA Books, Jane also published Mirrors: International Haiku Forum, Geppo, for the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, and she had co-edited with Werner Reichhold, Lynx for Linking Poets since 1992. Lynx went online in 2000 in the web site Jane started in 1995. Since 2006 she had maintained an online forum – AHAforum

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One Man's Maple Moon: Fable Tanka by ai li

English Original

reading you
that fable
at bedtime
my wings
in shadow

still 3: two, 1998

ai li

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

ai li is a Straits Chinese haiku and tanka poet. She writes about Life, Love and Loss bringing healing and prayer to her poems. She is the founding editor and publisher of still, moving into breath and dew-on-line and the creator of cherita. Find her essence and poems at:

Monday, August 21, 2017

A Room of My Own: Solar Eclipse Haiku

for NeverEnding Story readers in North America

the air
thick with whispers ...
solar eclipse

Butterfly Dream: Moonlit Grass Haiku by Angelee Deodha

English Original

moonlit grass
and black shapes of cattle
a distant flute

The Heron's Nest, 12:4, December, 2010

Angelee Deodhar

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Angelee Deodhar of Chandigarh (India) is an eye surgeon by profession as well as a haiku poet, translator, and artist. Her haiku/haiga have been published internationally .She does not maintain her own website.To promote haiku in India, she has translated six books of haiku from English to Hindi.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

One Man's Maple Moon: Blues Master Tanka by David Bachelor

English Original

a blues master
sings the only song
he ever recorded --
I slide my poem
into an envelope

Eucalypt, 2008

David Bachelor

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

的歌曲 --

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

的歌曲 --

Bio Sketch

Poetry has provided a purpose and voice to this retired teacher. David Bachelor taught in a college of education for years. Now he spends his time trying to see life anew.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Butterfly Dream: New Moon Haiku by Tom Sacramona

English Original

black with berries
the new moon

Selected Haiku, 2016 Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum English Haiku Contest

Tom Sacramona

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Tom Sacramona (b. 1992) has worked as both an editor and English teacher. The Blackstone River Valley of Massachusetts is his natural habitat and where he finds inspiration for his poetry. He enjoys hiking in the mountains of New Hampshire.

One Man's Maple Moon: New Life Tanka by Lesley Anne Swanson

English Original

gold coins
sewn in her worn coat
the child
no one notices
bound for a new life

A Hundred Gourds, 1:3, June 2012

Lesley Anne Swanson

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Lesley Anne Swanson has lived in Northern California, the Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest, but now calls Pennsylvania home.  Always a wordsmith, she discovered tanka in 2011 and has been enthralled ever since.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

To the Lighthouse: Haiku Silence by Angelee Deodhar

(First published in Simply Haiku, 3:1, Spring 2005 and reprinted by kind permission of the author)

So much has been written about how to haiku that I wonder if there is anything really left to say. More and more books on the art and craft of haiku are being written, and there are innumerable websites expressing opinions and publishing haiku by the score. Some of these are conflicting in content and leave even experienced poets bewildered.

For some time now, I have been asking myself the questions which every haiku poet asks, where does one begin? What is the quality of a good haiku? Does the fact that a haiku is published mean that it is a good one? What does a haiku really mean? In my studies, over the last fourteen years, I have yet to understand a lot of things about haiku. When I was asked to contribute an essay for Simply Haiku I pondered over what to write. Many people, venerable teachers and editors of prestigious haiku magazines, have written so much already. Is there anything I can add? Having thought about it I felt I could share one insight, which for me, is the single most important affirmation towards a “haiku mind”, if we can call it that.

R.H. Blyth in the History of Haiku Vol. 1 lists thirteen characteristics of the Zen state of mind required for the creation and appreciation of haiku: Selflessness, Loneliness, Grateful Acceptance, Wordlessness, Non-Intellectuality, Contradiction, Humour, Freedom, Non-Morality, Simplicity, Materiality, Love and Courage. Not being a follower of Zen I don’t know if I can add anything to this exhaustive list. Tom Clausen, in his fine essay “A Haiku way of Life”, lists his own additional thirteen characteristics as Faith, Sharing, Discipline, Concision, Solitude, Humility, Awareness, Ritual, Creativity, Centering, Truthfulness, Curiosity and Patience. I am sure most of us have some criteria we can add to these lists. One does not have to be a practitioner of Zen to write haiku. For me these characteristics all begin and end in what I term "Haiku Silence".

The noise of the world drowns out so much. Most of us cannot leave home and set up residence near a pond as Thoreau did, but one can empathize with what he wrote. Most of us have jobs to attend to, classes to teach, bills to pay, meals to cook, meetings to attend, speeches to make. To experience silence and solitude, setting aside the baggage of negative connotations that may be associated with "non-doing", can be very challenging. How then do we, in spite of it all, write haiku? By returning to silence. By going on a journey deep within ourselves, to find a safe quiet place where the winds and gusts of everyday affairs do not trouble us, where, in silence, we can find our own natures in tune with nature around us. Silence is not the absence of sound; by listening with ones’ whole being, one can discover the silence within.

Dr. Eric Amman, in describing haiku, used the term “wordless poem”. If something is wordless how do we communicate it? How do we convey the depth of feeling of that particular moment to someone far away in time and place? How then does a haiku, the wordless poem, work when put into words? Let us examine one of his own poems which leaves so much unsaid . . .

The names of the dead
sinking deeper and deeper
into the red leaves
            —Eric Amman, The Haiku Anthology

Can haiku silence be expressed? Yes! Whenever I read a haiku which resonates for me, I ask, where did this originate? How has the person who wrote it communicated almost wordlessly that quietude? To illustrate this I will use two examples :

summer stillness
the play of light and shadow
on the wind chimes
            —Peggy Willis Lyles, The Haiku Anthology

Quiet afternoon:
water shadows
on the pine bark
            —Anita Virgil, The Haiku Anthology

Let us look at another example:

sand sifts through the roots
of a fallen tree
            —Con Van Dan Heuvel, The Haiku Anthology

Here one can actually see how these haiku work, there is a silent communion of peace, because of the poets’ stillness we pause, beauty pervades our consciousness, so also the play of light on wind chimes or shadows on the bark of the tree and the sand sifting through the roots of the fallen tree bring to us timeless images.

another year
the tallest trees shade
the oldest headstones
            —DeVar Dahl, Haiku Canada Newsletter, Volume XVII, June 2004

Stillness is a prerequisite for any creative art but more so for haiku. It is interesting to note that although Basho was a renku master. He frequently went away to find himself. Was his journey to the interior just a travelogue, or was it more? Here are three excellent examples of tranquility and quietude, in the spirit of Basho:

trickles noiselessly down
the moss-covered stone
            —Christopher Herold, a path in the garden

from winter storage
the prow of a canoe
entering sunlight
            —Jerry Kilbride, The Haiku Anthology

morning bird song-
my paddle slips
into its reflection
            —Michael Dylan Welch, The Haiku Anthology

Most of us are too busy churning out haiku trying to get published in one journal or another, sending in entries to contests or posting to various lists. It amazes me to see such frenetic activity. I agree with Zinovy when he writes,

On my palm
a lifeline wrinkled
with future deadlines
            —Zinovy Vayman, Modern Haiku, Vol. 33:1, Winter- Spring, 2002

While it is good to learn by exchanging ideas about how to write better haiku and join discussion groups, for me the main aim of writing haiku is to get to the center of my silence. Although that silence may well be interrupted . . .

time to quit
I hear the bell
before the bell
            —LeRoy Gorman, Modern Haiku, Vol.33.2, Summer 2002

silent prayer –
the quiet humming
of the ceiling fan
            —Lee Gurga, The Haiku Anthology

Does it mean that we should become hermits? No, not necessarily, but what will help is to develop a special quality of silent communion with oneself. Before one starts to put pen to paper, one must get quiet. It does not matter if we are commuting on a train, waiting in a doctor’s office, or at the airport. To write well we must bring our conscious selves into a state of silent graceful acceptance of everything around us. Here is a haiku which qualifies what I mean.

desert spring –
nothing, nothing in the world
but this full moon
            —William J. Higginson, Modern Haiku, Vol.33.2, Summer 2002

The late Robert Spiess, a long time editor of Modern Haiku, in his “Speculations” has said, “Another reason for the brevity of haiku is that the more words the more distance, the more silence the more proximity.” With just a few words Harter, Clausen and Swede have skillfully captured that noiselessness in their haiku,

meteor shower –
the glimmer
of the surf
            —Penny Harter, Modern Haiku, Vol.33.2, Summer 2002

everyone is gone . . .
the clock
            —Tom Clausen, Albatross, Vol. V, No. 1, 1996

alone at last
i wonder where
everyone is
            —George Swede, The Haiku Anthology

Spiess also cautions us, “ Chuang Tzu said, ‘If you have insight, you use your inner eye, your inner ear, to pierce to the heart of things, and have no need of intellective knowledge.’ This is how haiku poets should proceed in their endeavours. “

abandoned garden-
following the scent
of the hidden jasmine
            —Ion Codrescu, Mountain Voices

the long night . . .
a light rain
beats time on the cook pots
–Jim Kacian, Albatross, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1998

quiet evening,
a spider moves its shadow
across the wall
            —Tom Clausen, Albatross, Vol. VII, No. 2, 1998

Sri Ramana Maharshi said: ”Silence is never-ending speech. Vocal speech obstructs the other speech of silence. In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings. Language is only a medium for communicating one’s thoughts to another. Silence is ever speaking.” How well this is illustrated in this haiku:

temple yard    the sound    of stone buddhas
            —Stanford M. Forrester, still,  Vol.5, No.2, Spring 2001

Here the poet is at peace with himself, with his surroundings, with the world at large and in that silence he too becomes a buddha. And so also in the next haiku, we experience tranquility,

the snow-covered rock
under winter stars
            —Bruce Ross, The Haiku Anthology

Let us go deep into our own space to discover what it is that we belong to.

the space
where the lily was
            —Pamela Miller Ness, from the leaflet where the lily was

One must embrace silence and solitude to realize its full potential. In the next two haiku one sinks into deep tranquility,

deep in this world
of Monet water lilies . . .
no sound
            —Elizabeth Searle Lamb, Across the Windharp, Collected and New haiku

marble koi . . .
the silence
of lotus blossoms
            —Pamela A. Babusci, Evergreen, Vol. X111, No. 5, May 2003

How can we fully feel a moment’s essence if the mind is jumping from one thought to another? In a state of alertness, true awareness cannot occur unless we are in a mode of stillness. John Stevenson’s haiku puts it so succinctly,

a useless novelty -
each of us already has
a chattering skull
            —John Stevenson, Modern Haiku, Vol. XXXII, No. 1 Winter-Spring 2001

Recently, on one of the kukai lists of which I am a member, I wrote to the webmaster that this time none of the haiku impressed me or brought an `aha’ moment, and he very gently reminded me that our response depends upon what we bring to a haiku. What a revelation it was! I had used my chattering skull instead of my silent self and missed appreciating the haiku. Therefore the reading of haiku and their appreciation also requires an alert passivity.

I end this simple essay with a haiku which I keep on my table to remind me to write in such a manner that I (the host) can, through haiku, share with you (my guest) as pure a silence as that of the white chrysanthemum . . .

Silent communion
Between the guest,
The host, and the white chrysanthemum
            —Oshima Ryota

I have specially used non-Japanese, contemporary English language haiku to emphasize the point I am making about Haiku Silence. There are so many other haiku which I could have quoted to illustrate Haiku Silence, but since space is limited, I invite each one of you who visit Simply Haiku to share your haiku silence with me.

I thank all those who so generously gave me their permission to use their haiku and am grateful to the Editors of Simply Haiku for giving me the opportunity to share my views. Thank you.

Works Cited:

1. The Haiku Anthology, Cor van den Heuvel, ed. 3rd ed., W.W.Norton, 1999.
2. Classic Haiku, A Master’s Selection, selected and translated by Yuzuru Miura. Charles E. Tuttle
    Company, Inc., 1999.
3. Mountain Voices, Ion Codrescu. AMI-NET International Press, 2000.
4. Across the Windharp, Elizabeth Searle Lamb. La Alameda Press, 1999
5. A Year’s Speculations on Haiku, Robert Spiess, Modern Haiku, 1995.
6. Internet Sources:
a. Elizabeth St. Jacques website In the Light, for Tom Clausen’s essay, "A Haiku way of Life"
b. Sri Ramana Maharshi

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Butterfly Dream: Paperbark Haiku by Jane Williams

English Original

spring afternoon
the paperbark sheds
layers of light

Daily Haiga, March 3, 2016

Jane Williams

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Jane Williams is an Australian poet based in Tasmania

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Butterfly Dream: Funeral Haiku by Mike Gallagher

English Original

after the funeral
a family gathering
hatchets buried

Mike Gallagher

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Mike Gallagher, an Irish poet, has been published and translated worldwide. He won the Michael Hartnett Viva Voce award in 2010 and 2016, the Desmond O'Grady International award in 2012 and was shortlisted for the Hennessy award in 2011.His collection, Stick on Stone, is published by Revival Press.

One Man's Maple Moon: Midnight Deli Tanka by Marian Olson

English Original

icy wind
nicks to the bone:
inside the midnight deli
inside her loose wool coat
the naked hooker

Streetlights: Poetry of Urban Life, 2009

Marian Olson

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Marian Olson lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  She has published hundreds of poems— mainstream, haiku, senryu, haibun, and tanka—nationally and internationally for thirty years. She is the author of seven poetry books, including the first-place Snapshot winner Consider This and the HSA Merit prize winner Desert Hours.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Butterfly Dream: Outback Haiku by Marilyn Humbert

English Original

a shooting star
arcs east to west

Paper Wasp, Autumn 2016

Marilyn Humbert

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Marilyn Humbert lives in the Northern Suburbs of Sydney NSW surrounded by bush. Her pastimes include writing free verse poetry, tanka, tanka prose and related genre. She is the leader of Bottlebrush Tanka Group and member of the Huddle and Bowerbird Tanka Groups. Her tanka appears in Australian and international journals.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Butterfly Dream: Country Road Haiku by Ben Moeller-Gaa

English Original

the singer’s mandolin --
each and every curve
of this country road

Modern Haiku, 47:2, 2016

Ben Moeller-Gaa

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

歌手的曼陀林 --
Chinese Translation (Simplified)

歌手的曼陀林 --

Bio Sketch

Ben Moeller-Gaa is the author of two haiku chapbooks, Wasp Shadows (Folded Word 2014) and Blowing on a Hot Soup Spoon (poor metaphor design 2014). You can find more on Ben online at