The Anthology







All works copyright © by the individual authors,
artists, and/or photographers
Introduction copyright © 2012 by Jane Reichhold

Cover artwork copyright © 2012 by Brendan Slater.
Credits for previously published work appear on page 000.

All rights reserved.








Published by
AHA Books
P.O. Box 767
Gualala, California 95445




The Anthology

of the
AHA Forum







pounding each other . . .
given time
we both learn the secret
of a deft touch

                                          Julie B. Cain

Bett Angel-Stawarz
Jenny Ward Angyal
Arunansu Bandyopadhyay
Dawn Bruce
John Byrne
Julie B. Cain
Marion Clarke
Susan Constable
Paul Cordeiro
Ann Curran
Mary Davila
Janet Lynn Davis
Stacey Dye
Laryalee Fraser
Lorin Ford
C W Hawes
Tzetzka Ilieva
Bill Kenney
Chen-ou Liu
Maya Lyubenova
Hannah Mahoney
Jo McInerney
John McManus
Leanne Mumford
H. Gene Murtha
Sergio Ortiz
Kala Ramesh
Brendan Slater
Kenneth Slaughter
Scott Terrill
Ken Wanamaker






to Hannah Mahoney for book design and copy-editing;

to Brendan Slater for the cover;

to Janet Lynn Davis for proofreading, and

to Scott Terrill for all those e-mails.



The idea of workshopping poetry is as old as the first time two poets sat down together to discuss their craft. Poetry is such a slippery subject. Even the idea of it morphs and changes from day to day, from age to age, so that the notions about what it is takes almost constant revision and reexamination. Only by one poet communicating with another can one manage to keep the theories clearly in mind.
     Poetry is a learned skill. Only by knowing the poetry of others can we learn the ways to access the poetry within. Thus there is the necessity of older poets teaching and training newcomers. Yes, for that we have had schools and universities. Even in these modern times, they are a vital source for the exchange of information about poetry.
     However, in the last one hundred years, thanks to many and various translations, English writers and poets have learned about the wealth of Japanese poetry that had been closed previously to us and our pleasure of poetry. A movement that began with scholars, the appreciation of Japanese poetry, rapidly shifted out of the universities to spread, from book to book, among the poets. Too new to be a part of the regulated curriculum, the way English writers could use the inspiration from the Japanese became a sort of underground cult that was almost completely ignored by academia.
     The professors could teach about what they had been told and what they had learned about Japanese poetry forms, but none of them could teach English writers how to use these ideas and examples in their own work. This created an excellent environment for early haiku writers. Since there were no learning institutions to guide them, the poets, through their works, set the standards, the modes, and the fashions for the genre. Since there was no “top-down” control by syllabi or department guidelines, the idea of how to write a haiku in English manifested in many different ways.
     Groups were formed under the leadership of poets with strong ideas of how they felt a haiku should be written. Here again were wide variances. Like the blind men touching an elephant, none could agree. Yet each group collected followers who adhered to certain general principles, which were taught through lectures or talks at regular meetings.
Here they found out how hard it was to talk about haiku as poetry. It was easier to take a poem, examine it, discuss the various aspects of it, and to show, by rewriting it, how to construct a better haiku. The disadvantage to this method was the smallness of the group, the inadequacy of a method to bring the information given and gotten to a wider audience, and the very real problem that poets were often interested only the process of seeing their own poem workshopped and not the usually less interesting work of others. Still people would pay big bucks to attend workshops of famous mainstream poets, but the haiku scene, much less organized, never reached this stage.
     With the introduction of the Internet in the early 1990s, it was possible for small local groups of haiku writers—and by now there were tanka and renga writers as well—to post web pages where their teachings and examples of work could be seen by a larger audience. Very rapidly the use of e-mail allowed writers to show their work, discuss it, and suggest changes to one another as in the Shiki Haiku Salon, managed by professors and students at Matsuyama University in Japan. Because each e-mail was a separate addition to the discussion, it was often difficult to manage and maintain the coherency of the topics.
     Within less than ten years, web developers had created what they called bulletin boards. These were “shells” that could be filled with information on any topic with real-time contributions from the members. Suddenly it was possible for an individual to post a poem, or essay, or idea, and immediately it was available to everyone who was logged in. These other participants could then type up their comments, compliments, or complaints, then hit a submit button, and instantly everyone was on the same page in every sense of the word. Quickly web-savvy poets created forums, or fora, which allowed individuals to post poems for workshopping.
     I had gone through all the above-mentioned phases of studying the Japanese genres. I had bought and read the books of teachers and poets, attended group meetings, listened to umpteen lectures, sat over beers in smoky bars, created the website AHApoetry, been active in the Shiki Haiku Salon, formed my own online tanka group (which still exists), wrote my own book on writing haiku, and tried out several bulletin boards run by poets—some in free verse and some by haiku poets. It was a small step (but one that felt very big, as there was so much technical information to digest) to creating an online community under the name of the AHA Forum.

     From the beginning, this has been a tight community! Not only have the people come together to discuss the poetry of the Japanese genres and how to use this information in our own English poetry, but we have also grown into a caring circle of colleagues. News of a health crisis brings forth messages and images, posted with wishes for a recovery; a death in the community or a family touches us all so we share feelings and sympathy. Successes in publication are shared, and through this, new opportunities for sending out work are discussed and evaluated.
     Some of you may be asking, So how does this actually work?
     First of all comes the log-in. Each member of the forum is registered and chooses a username and a password. Only members are permitted to post work and comments. While this may sound exclusive, it is mainly a device to keep out spammers (posters pushing advertisements) and to create a safe environment to discuss poetry at a personal level.
     In the index of the AHA Forum, the first item is a collection of notes on how the forum works and how to use it. There are several differences between meeting face-to-face and having only a computer screen before one’s nose. The developers have included several features to overcome this drawback. Each member is allowed to post a photo, called an avatar, in his or her profile. With each of that person’s postings, it is accompanied with this photo so that we get a mental image, or even just a suggestion of the image, of the person with whom we are corresponding. Also there are the profiles, where members may post information about who they are, where they live, what they do, and what their interests are. Here too is the option to include e-mail addresses, as well as an inner system of private messages so members having something to say to just one person have the option of making comments off-list that no one else can see. Here is where we discuss the vacation made to a member’s vicinity, family matters, comments about the work that no one else needs to see, and, occasionally, to handle differences of opinion or misunderstandings.
     The next forum is labeled “All the News that Fits,” and this is where we post news of publications and the names of members whose work appears in online journals or print magazines. Several members are editors of magazines, and here they can solicit submissions, discuss deadlines, and make announcements. Here is the place to crow and proclaim your successes with complete impunity. New books get their first proclamation here. News of contests, submission requirements, and the winners, has a place here at the top of the list. As in every forum, the reader has a choice of adding a reply to the thread of comments or to start a new topic.
     Next is the section of fora relating to the subject of haiku. The first, labeled just “Haiku,” is the most active, with fifteen to twenty-five new haiku posted each day. Here members are encouraged to post the haiku they wish to have critiqued—for comments of whether the poem makes sense to others, if it comes across, if it could be stated in another way—or just for praise. Anyone can comment, and there are usually four to twenty-five comments on each poem. Sometimes it takes only a day or two to exhaust the comments, while for other poems the discussions may go on for weeks. One has to learn how to give, and to take, suggestions or corrections in a helpful manner. However, here, among like-minded souls, we slowly advance a poem to its full potential.
     Because there is a plethora of ideas on every aspect of haiku, there is a separate forum just for discussions. Here there are debates on syllable count, use of kigo, capitalization and punctuation, the importance (or lack thereof) of “mu,” three-liners versus one-liners, and anything possible to question in the construction of a haiku. These posting are saved for sometimes months at a time, so members interested in a certain question can go back to review what has been said and, if adding a reply, bring the debate back again.
     In the Haiku Showcase, members post their published works. Because not everyone can take every magazine in print, this allows the writers to share their published works with a wider audience. And, unlike print audiences, forum members will probably reply with a post giving their opinions of the work and/or the magazine. Here is a good place for newcomers to see the quality of the work being written and published and to investigate new opportunities for publishing their poems.
     Part of haiku study is the appreciation, and discussion, of the work of others. We have a separate forum—Favorite Haiku—where people can post the haiku they have read or studied and explain why it touched them or added to their understanding.
     In the past few years, an increasing number of haiku writers have discovered the Japanese art form of haiga—haiku plus a graphic. So there is a forum just for haiga. Collected here is a group of very knowledgeable forum members. Not only can they write excellent haiku, but they also have the graphic or photographic skills to combine the two forms. Newcomers are kindly educated on the use of Photoshop, the secret of posting graphics, what  a Photobucket is, how to determine dpi, how to construct a border, move a text, change a color—just to make your very own artwork with your haiku.
     Naturally this cannot be done without a deeper exchange of information, so there had to be a haiga discussion forum. Here the dialogue is less about beliefs or ideas and more focused on practical information for getting the best out the photos as well as current contests for those interested in haiga.
     The Haiga Showcase is one of my favorite fora to visit. I love looking at the final results of days of moving the text, cropping an image, fine-tuning the haiku. In addition are the comments of others on the final product. What a lot of inspiration there is here. I am always fascinated how an images changes with the poem (tanka are used also nowadays) and how the image changes the poem. In this back-and-forth glimmers the very essence of poetry.
    Not everyone can take a photo, or even more difficult, manipulate it to add text, but anyone can write a haiku and practice teaming it up with someone else’s photo. Inspired by the idea of the maekuzuki (a contest in which haiku are linked to a given haiku), we have the Haiga Capping Winners. Here anyone can post a photo and invite others to “caption” it by adding a haiku or tanka. On a designated date, the photographer picks the best submitted poem and adds that text to the photo. There is often keen competition to see who can find the best words for the emotion shown in the photo. To make the leap from image to word is harder than one might think, but what a fun place to practice.
     From Basho’s work we have the idea of haibun—haiku paired with prose. However, contemporary English poets could not leave well enough alone so they began adding tanka to prose and even teaming ghazals with prose, and we ended up with a genre with a name of symbiotic poetry. In this forum, all the experimenters collect to try out new ideas and ways of combining poetry and prose. Even if someone just wants to learn about basic haibun, here is the place to practice. Experienced readers and writers will be glad to add their comments.

     With workshopping, the original work may end up looking very different in the end, so there is also a Showcase for Haibun and Symbiotic Poetry. Cleaned up, cleared up; the works appear at their finest. The ones that make it to publication are also shown here.
     Now we switch gears to move into the tanka section. While there are fewer tanka posted here for comments than there are haiku in the haiku forum, probably more teaching is done in this forum. For writers interested in tanka, but not really knowing how to write one, the Tanka Forum is their place. One can watch, in a process known as “lurking learning,” how other writers work on their poems, how they change the words around, and how they manipulate their ideas. No where else can you watch writers at work to see how they use revisions to perfect their skills.
     Equal and parallel to the haiku fora, tanka also has a place for discussion, a tanka showcase, and a place to share and discuss favorite tanka. Just reading the poems in the Tanka Showcase is an exercise in learning the concerns and solutions of contemporary tanka writers. Closer to the source than this you cannot get. 
     Since we continue to learn about how to write our own poetry by studying poems written in Japan, the study of translations and the actual translation of poems is vital. Thus we have a forum where interested members can share, discuss and evaluate, and seek the best English translation of haiku and tanka. As online dictionaries continue to proliferate, more people are able to discover the meanings of a poem hidden in its words and see how hard it often is to find just one English word to transport the significance from one culture to another.
     There are other short forms of poetry that deserve our interest and observation, so there are fora for sijo, cinquains, and ghazals. The interest in these forms ebb and flood, but the space stays open for newcomers who might either already have an interest in one or the other or be inspired to begin investigating a form new to them. The layout of the fora index allows one to see instantly when there are new postings in a forum, and people will quickly gather to check out the new activity.
     Renga has always had its important place at the AHA Forum. There is a separate forum for those wishing to work in the traditional kasen 39-link renga and another for those wishing to explore and learn about other renga schemes. Doing a renga on the forum is very different from the old fashioned methods of postal mail or even e-mail. Here anyone can watch while, link for link, the poem grows. Each link can have its own thread, and all the comments the writers have exchanged during its creation stays in view. This method is even better than the highly touted face-to-face method of writing renga since here every word about the construction of the link is saved. What a marvelous learning tool! This is better than reading a writer’s private mail! Naturally there has to be a place for the finished renga to be kept on display, so there is also a renga showcase.
     Over the six-year life span of the AHA Forum, fora have also been created for special projects. When the interest in a new idea is manifest, a new forum is created and is kept up until, for one reason or another, the interest changes. Anyone with an idea can request that a forum be created just for his or her project. It is possible to create a little community of interest involving persons around the globe united by interest in one aspect of poetry. Over the years, there has been a place for blogs, translation projects, and maekuzuki contests, and at the moment, we are experimenting with a place to show off our books. Even this book was one of the forum projects, where ideas and even submissions were gathered, discussed, and evaluated.
     The developers also created a system for moderators—designated members who watch over each forum to make sure that peace is maintained, newcomers are cared for, and participants stay on topic. Each forum has a moderator, who checks to make sure everyone is getting a fair share of attention, keeps the comments on track when they wander, and often is teacher and mentor. The moderator has the power to delete objectionable posts (very rare!) or shut down a discussion that has gotten out of hand (even more rare).  If a problem arises, the first person to alert is the moderator. If that person needs the help of other moderators, there is the Moderators’ Board, where they can post and receive messages under the eyes of only other moderators. Over time many of our moderators have become accepted experts in their fields or have gone on to edit magazines, and we have “lost” many excellent moderators as they move into other positions where they can expand the skills they learned on the fora.
     How can you become a member? Send an e-mail to An account will be set up for you, and you will be able to choose a username (usually your own name) and password. With these two keys, you can open the door to a world of poetry where you are a valued and active member.




Present Moderators

Susan Constable: Haiga, Haiga Discussion, and Haiga Showcase

Koy Deli: 100 Poems / Poets Project

Gene Doty: Ghazal

Gabi Greve: Translation from Japanese to English

C W Hawes: Tanka, Tanka Showcase, Favorite Tanka, and Cinquains

Colin Stewart Jones: Showcase for Haibun or Symbiotic Poetry

Mike Keville: Haiga Capping Winners

Chen-ou Liu: Haiku, Haiku Discussions, Haiku Showcase, Favorite Haiku

Kala Ramesh: Tanka Discussions

Jane Reichhold: All the News that Fits and Problems Concerning the Site

Brendan Slater: Symbiotic Poetry

Ken Wanamaker: Kasen Renga, Other Renga Forms, Renga Showcase




A Group Interview with AHA Forum Founder Jane Reichhold by Julie Cain, Hannah Mahoney, and Scott Terrill

The AHA Poetry Forum was launched by poet, translator, editor, and publisher Jane Reichhold on June 27, 2006. Since then, it has grown to include more than two hundred members from all over the world, posting and workshopping haiku, tanka, haibun, haiga, sijo, and ghazals, as well as creating renga and other collaborative work onsite.

Julie: Where did you get the idea to begin this forum in the first place, Jane?
Jane: In searching for activities for visitors to my website,, and wishing to expand the focus of the e-group dedicated to tanka, I learned about a program designed to operate as a bulletin board or a forum. I first joined one for poets writing in non-Japanese genres and was instantly sucked into the conversations and the marvellous associations with other poets. It was there I met Chris Hawes, who has helped me so much over the years.

Julie: What were your goals starting out?

Jane: I rapidly found out that the poets, and the leadership, on that forum knew very little about the Japanese genres and seemed stuck in the narrow view that a haiku is just a seventeen-syllable poem about nature. I recognized that here was a huge gap in knowledge and understanding about how Japanese poetry “works,” as well as a few other people who were interested in learning something new and useful for their own writing. At the same time, while being critical can be an asset in teaching, I found the aggressive attitude of some of the members in that forum to be inadvertently harmful. I had also been active on a haiku e-mail forum where I witnessed several displays of unmitigated ego and arrogance. I wanted to create a forum where writers could explore the Japanese genres in a congenial atmosphere, where they were safe from impolite and improper comments about their work and their tastes while receiving thoughtful, constructive help to improve their writing skills.

Hannah: What, if anything, has surprised you during the process?
Jane: Two things come to mind first: how marvellous other people are and the realization that not everyone thinks as I do! I am always amazed by the wealth of ideas and thoughts others have about the posted poem. Seeing how many “takes” there can be on a haiku, how much a tiny poem can reveal to someone else, is a constant source of pleasure and wonderment for me.

Hannah: What do you see as the forum’s strengths?
Jane: The online forum creates a classroom workshop without the participants having to be in one geographical place. Thus people from around the globe can interact in the consideration of one person’s poem. The writer can post a poem and within minutes it is possible for there to be a response. Time is stretched out so that an active day lasts twenty-four hours. Writers wake, go to their computers, and take up the dialogue as the sun moves in the earth’s turning.

   In effect this slightly “slows” the critique period so people have time to think, to weigh issues, more than they would in a face-to-face workshop. In addition, the conversations are saved as postings so people can return to see what was said, to re-evaluate it, or even add new or other comments at a later date.
     In this process of reading what others have posted and forming one’s own opinion, not only is there practice in reading, comprehending, and writing, but from the suggestions and opinions, new ways and new ideas can also be transmitted. Having a gentle and caring teacher in the beginning has taught others that this is the way to teach. Since we have so few physical schools where the Japanese genres are taught, online education becomes one of the major sources of information. Thus activity in the forum is not only spreading the knowledge of poetry; we are also teaching others to teach. The forum platform also encourages debate so that our ideas about the Japanese genres can be challenged and defended. In this way misconceptions can be aired, and hopefully, revised.

Julie: What effect do you think the existence of the forum has had on the poetic community in general?
Jane: I find this very hard to answer as I have no accurate way of measuring the poetic community in general. I have seen people join the AHA Forum writing their haiku in seventeen syllables and thereafter found them publishing haiku that are as good as (and often better than) any in the magazines. This is a progress I can see. I have also read comments from new members saying that they had previously written other kinds of poetry, heard about haiku, and wanted to learn how to increase their skills. This means they have noticed work they admired and realized it was done by someone who had been on the forum.
     Another phenomenon is the number of AHA Forum members who have gone on to be editors of haiku or tanka magazines or have founded their own publications. In addition, many members have written books of their work which was tested and polished right here. This tells me we are doing something right.

Scott: There is a strong tradition of collaboration in some forms of Japanese poetry. Do you view the AHA Forum as a continuation of that tradition?
Jane: Most certainly. I am surprised that the fora for writing renga are not used more often. I find it the very best possible way to write renga—even better than in a face-to-face situation. In the web forum all the comments are kept, the many other web links are available, and for someone wanting to know how a renga works, this is the ideal way to see renga writing in action—or to try writing one with someone else.
       Even workshopping is a collaboration. How many poems that are ultimately published will contain a hint or idea that was given by someone else during the process? Every time, even when not acknowledged (nor does it need to be) this is a collaboration. The translation works are also collaborations as we feed and polish our ideas of how to get a poem from one language to another. I know I could never do a haiga without all the expertise and help from others on those
of the forum in the terms of being a collaborative effort, fora. Thanks for the question, Scott. I had not thought but you are right to steer us in that way of seeing the work here.

Julie: How long did it take for the forum to get away from you? By that I mean how when we begin a project, we have an ending ideal in sight, but ultimately, the child you set on the road grows beyond your hand alone and becomes its own creaturean evolution that can often delight us entirely. I wasn’t in at the beginning of the forum, but I have seen some of the rough spots, and the forum has achieved an innate strength and balance that, I feel, has saved us. Surely, you did not foresee any of that when you started.
Jane: Truthfully, when I started the forum, I wondered if it was possible to teach people to care about each other via the Internet while discussing poetry. However, it seems that the immediacy of the forum also allowed an increased flow of goodwill and friendship of the members. In the wisdom of the program developers of forum bulletin boards was the idea of creating moderators—people designated to keep the peace, to make sure the shy person gets attention, to keep the conversations on track. In the beginning, moderators had a much bigger job. Now most the members of the boards have taken on the responsibility of maintaining the atmosphere we need to learn and teach. Also there is a system of PMs—private messages—so disagreements or off-subject topics can be carried on in private without interrupting the public discourse.

Hannah: If I might add something, Jane, I would say that in my short experience with the forum, I think its success derives from the expectations you set from the beginning: that critiques be real, based on thoughtful readings of the piece in question, as well as respectful, carrying the awareness that no one’s reading is more “correct” than anyone else’s and that the piece ultimately belongs to its author, who needs to make a final decision based on what feels right to him or her.
     Also, on the thread where members post news, the joy you take in people’s achievements is so touching and encouraging. I always feel your presence in the whole forum—expecting the best of us and guiding us there gently.
Jane: Thank you, Hannah! I appreciate your opinion of the forum. It is hard to see the river one is swimming in, so your comments are valuable!












Bett Angel-Stawarz


obituary page . . .
my name not there
so I go to work



a watermelon smile drips off the end of my elbows


Father’s ashes
the sea spray
chills my face



flooded city—
the detour sign
directs the flow



midday heat
the guard dog
snaps at flies

Bett Angel-Stawarz  e


the swirl
of silk as she dances
her wrinkled hands
clutch his photograph




to pack her life
on a crumpled face
and the unworn wedding gown




on the hessian rug
a centrepiece of yabbies
piled high . . .
campfire smoke still drifts
around my dad and me


f Bett Angel-Stawarz





“You know,” he confided, “I want to walk in front of a truck. My little girls would be much better off. I am the reject of the family. My wife tell lies. I tell lies to cover up my illness,” to avoid the shame.

Christmas day
gifts of all colours
and shapes








Jenny Ward Angyal
United States




so many tickets
to foreign lands
when will we travel
the inside passage
of the heart




my only keepsake
from a house of grand pianos
tiny brass Pan
piping a reedy tune
no one else can hear







your fear
down the lightning rod
of my spine . . .
again the storm
strikes something close




at last I let
the pummeling wind
direct my steps—
suddenly buttercups
a brighter yellow




you ask
for an apple blossom
poem . . .
they open their small fists
without a word


Arunansu Bandyopadhyay

night rain—
no stars or moon
to talk to


our muffled words
raindrops gathering
at leaf tips


pollen drift—
a butterfly stuck
to wet paint


a flurry
in the rainforest—
the songbird


sickle moon . . .
white petunias surround
my tomb

arunansu Bandyopadhyay  e




the glass paperweight
a white swan
drifting through




the lonely path
sighs an autumn breeze
the poet finds
a new door, every hour

arunansu Bandyopadhyay  e


a cup of lemon tea
this winter . . .
a butterfly seeks refuge
in my dreams




deep in sleep
a gray-haired vagabond
at my doorstep
—how many rooms
—have I passed through




to think
of a wild June
to think
of sneaking our way
through tall grasses

f arunansu Bandyopadhyay



arun - eyes.jpg




arunansu Bandyopadhyay e



arun - absence.jpg







Dawn Bruce

the last page
of a loved book
autumn rain



a flow of shadows
along the river



a mud puddle
ringed by butterflies . . .
sunlight flutters



the mouldering
of old newspapers
autumn light



touches of sky
all the way up tower hill
bluebell season


dawn bruce e


so many lemons
to cut and squeeze
from mum’s recipe . . .
stings awaken
a childhood nightmare




empty shoes . . .
the hollowness
of things
resounds this Christmas,
my first without you




wild blackberries
by the railway siding . . .
the fettler’s children
race barefoot and brown
in the wind-stream of trains



f dawn bruce





Hand in hand dad takes my five-year-old self down to the beach. Pre-dawn and all about is strangely grey. The waves swish in, swish out, like breathing and the sand is cold. I snuggle against his woolly jacket and wonder. . . .

Light, soft and silent as a kiss, folds away the dark. The horizon, in damask rose, begins to bloom.

summer holiday—
middle-aged, I take my child
to find the sunrise






dawn bruce  e




dawn waiting.jpg






John Byrne


in my chair
the old cat
a perfect circle


still waters
a pondskater
crosses the sky


moonless night
only the owl
gives a hoot


outside smells
odour my living room
log basket


winter twilight
a crescent moon


john byrne  e


it’s raining
it rained yesterday
it could rain tomorrow . . .
promises broken
this rainbow




walking up mountains
one of my greatest pastimes
to breathe that crisp air . . .
on the high thermals
an eagle searches




viewing a documentary
warm and cosy
I witness the greatest father
an emperor penguin
in a huddled circle








High on the mountains of Ireland live the wee folk sometimes called the Fairies. Within this community is one called the “thief of dreams,” who steals all the dreams of the world, except those in Ireland, only because the Irish know when the thief of dreams is coming.

It is said that just before darkness descends, a will-o’-the-wisp cloud is seen above the mountain. On seeing this sign, the Irish refuse to dream that night, thus denying the thief his bounty.


late spring
above the bracken
an angry lark sings










Visiting London recently, I was struck by the deterioration of this once-great capital: streets that used to be prim and pristine are now litter-strewn; buildings decay for lack of maintenance— seemingly a total breakdown of the fabric of life in a city that once withstood the wrath of Hitler, disheartening evidence of a loss of pride in a once-mighty empire, upon which it was said the sun never set.

cardboard . . .
in the doorway
a huddled figure










byrne lake haiga.jpg






john byrne  e




byrne woodpile.jpg







Julie B. Cain
United States

rising sun—
ten thousand cherry blossoms
drifting into the sea



one slit eye
searches the frog pond
late summer moon



stop sign
so many maples
turning red



Just So Stories
the kids tucked up
in Disney quilts



touching the water
a meeting place when
we come down to it

Julie b.cain e



just at bedtime
the moon drops by . . .
where did they go
those long autumn evenings
of make-believe




another crop
of Sudanese children . . .
growing just tall enough
for the mower to cut down



from the kitchen tap
filling a gold-rimmed goblet . . .
the same water
that traveled the Aqua Appia
to the fountains of Rome


Julie b.Cain e




off Gasadalur
a torrent plummets
into the sea
for those who don’t read maps
here be dragons




far away
two mountaintops
escape the fog
nearby, the fish-stink of water
laced with arcs of flying net


Marion Clarke
Northern Ireland


storm on the lough
streetlamps on Seaview
lit by sunrise


Ulster ceasefire
in London I duck
at a car backfiring


April mizzle
I miss the smell
of wet dog


low winter sun
warming up a row
of chimney pots


end of day starlings blinking their return


turning tide . . .
a barnacle waits
on a limpet

Susan Constable


fallen apple
a swarm of yellow-jackets
deep in the bruise


cutting a bruise
from the last peach—
your broken promise


again, you forget . . .
the darkening
of a winter pear


potatoes sprouting in the dark eye to eye


time on my hands . . .
the orange peel
in one piece


winter branches
all those spaces left
for plums

f susan constable



a single kiss
under the harvest moon—
slicing an orange
from stem to navel
I taste the dawn




in the filing cabinet
all in order . . .
I search for the brass key
and the longings of his heart


f susan constable



a long search
for wool and flannelette
this winter night
you on one side of the world
and me on the other




moon jellies
shimmer in the bay
the touch of your fingers
up and down my back




once again
we open wide the blinds . . .
an invitation
for the moon and stars
to sleep with us all night

constable haiga.jpg

Paul Cordeiro
United States



the newspaper open
a moth rests
on my knuckle hairs


my beagle stretches up
to sniff a mountain



autumn rain
the spider rides a napkin
back outside







Ann Curran
New Zealand


spring rain . . .
the sweet smell
of soap on skin


weight loss . . .
a widow speaks
of her deceased


first snowfall . . .
her arthritic hands
knitting the pink wool


an ill wind
the empty rocker
on the back porch


shorter days
wizened grapes
cling to the vine

f ann curran



two women
sit across from each other
at a street table—
driving past, I remember
when I laughed like that





in the field
by my tenement
pukekos, geese,
ducks, pigeons, and coots
dwell peaceably together


f ann curran

standing alone
on Hokitika beach
lines for a job interview . . .
kicking driftwood out to sea




my grief
at Diana’s memory
the sound
of a new tide
washing the shore



Rudi and I
walk down the staircase
into a painting
of a European wood . . .
he longs for home

Mary Davila
United States


a cross
traced in the dust
summer rain


inhaling the scent
of her new prayer book
First Communion


evening Mass
a fading reflection
behind the altar


autumn air . . .
the diminishing trail
of voices


frayed pages
fall from her prayer book—
end of chemo


f mary davila





mary davila e





Janet Lynn Davis
United States



roadside daisies
vibrant in my hand—
at home
this vase unable
to contain their wildness




off the highway
Old Potato Road
etched through the pines
like some kind of secret
no one ever told me



they don’t tweet
they don’t do Facebook—
my band
of faceless friends
with nothing to say




is it dust
she tries to wipe away
with that small cloth?
how her feet shuffle
through a world we can’t see




winter sun
finally breaks through—
my mother
knew to cut my apple
so I could see its star


Stacey Dye
United States



caught in a current—
lost to the wind




a blue jay
shrieks an urgent
like my cries
in the night for you



trumpet flowers
silent on their vines—
I shudder
as you reach out
to touch me




my deepest fears
live in nightmares—
I keep you
chained in the basement
of my subconscious




fireflies and
mason jars . . .
summer nights
I spent trying
to catch you


Laryalee Fraser


waterfall . . .
I sip the mountain’s



grandma’s koi pond . . .
I’m the only one left
who remembers




distant shoreline—
silence catches up
with the train



the weight
of the emptiness . . .
rose petals



almost sundown
the day lengthens
car by car



autumn dusk
a leaf fall into
the sound of grey



red mittens
her laughter ahead
of the snowball




Totem birds haiga - high resBW.JPG

photograph by Allison Millcock, Australia

Lorin Ford



the earth moves—
snails in love



evening primrose . . .
      hairpins working loose
         from her bun




a cloud shadow
crosses the lucerne field . . .
rumours of you


lorin ford  e


before I know it
my mind has changed . . .
whitebait shoal




deeper than blue
the mirror
of a beached whale’s eye



some knit
some fan their faces . . .
lamp-glow at dusk



winter starlight
the sound of the tuning fork
goes on forever


lorin ford  e


Don’t imagine love when some poet or obstetrician
reads to you from his ‘conversations with women’

Flickering in his brain like the wavering needle
of a faulty petrol gauge is his craving for women.

‘I drink only you!’ ‘My Rose! My Desert Dew!’, but like
a guzzler’s thirst for wine is his appetite for women.

Ruby glass light, half remembered red light of the womb:
a vision of The Elixir! He thinks to distil it from women.

Tomorrow he’ll sulk or fly into a rage at the mere
sight of you: his cup runs over with yet unbuttoned women!

He thinks he’s a bee and women are fields
of flowers. Fields, acres of opening women!

He’s got his genders mixed again, of course—a dunce
in third grade Nature Studies. Worker bees are all women.

Like female bees you’ll work hard to feed the children.
He’ll be at the pub with the other drones, chatting up women.

Listen to your Aunt Flossie—fall for a poet or an obstetrician
and you’ll be sorry. They too much like to tinker with women.

C W Hawes
United States



early snow
crabapples wear
white caps




summer evening
stars twinkle at the horizon—



thrashing limbs
this cold moonless night
autumn storm




on its cat feet
the fog takes away
the meadow oak




a bowl of soup . . .
the window shade shivers
in the old house




c w hawes  e


a page ripped in two
a story torn asunder
nothing left but parts
a world of swirling fragments
searching for the other half




the words are finished
the sound of the oboe fades
into nothingness
all things cross the lighted stage
disappear into the wings

c w hawes  e


sitting together
on the couch watching a movie
eating popcorn
it arrived while we weren’t looking
this thing folks call old age




flowing into
and flowing out of my skull
is this sweet wind
if I’m brave enough I watch
myself blow away to nothing




if they ask
he is in his study
the tea has gone cold
the pipe has gone out

f c w hawes






Wanting respite from my noisy office, I went for a walk to the lake across the road. Standing on the shore, I took in the sight of what had to be acres of lily pads. Aside from the traffic, the lake was quiet. I noticed there were no frogs.

an old lake
amongst the lilies
water’s silence








c w hawes  e






There she stands arrayed all in black: from her knee-high boots to her kohl-rimmed eyes and page boy hair. The pale skin and red-gashed mouth, the only relief. Cigarette smoke lazily drifts from her lips. So young, it seems, to wear ennui.

I too wait for the bus. My suit is navy, shirt white. Tie is blue paisley, hair grey. The newspaper says an Israeli missile killed four U.N. observers. I notice only my shoes are black and mull the merits of a black suit.

ants scurry
along the hot sidewalk
so many shoes





Tzetzka Ilieva
United States


a nip of autumn—
moonlight slipping, slipping
on the wind chimes


sparring gear—
bags of fallen leaves
in a row


anticipating snow—
the print from my lips
on a persimmon


thin ice—
my mother-in-law
wants to move in


Bill Kenney
United States




tree toad
all afternoon
this lassitude




the difference
a sparrow makes— 
bare branches




secrets . . .
the moonlight
in her voice




hunter’s moon
the old dog sighs
into sleep




Indian summer
a child mimics
the mime




Chen-ou Liu


a raven
hops on one foot
crack of thunder



my dog and I
in the pine shadow
a road zigzags



Canada Day fireworks . . .
the silence envelops me
and my shadow



a homeless girl leaves
her footprints in my words
October snow


chen-ou liu e


everything I wrote
brought me to the bottom
of a wine bottle . . .
in the last drop from his glass
I catch a glimpse of myself


is a hungry wolf
with sharp teeth
howling at dusk . . .
one more bowl of rice          (for my mother)


the smell
of a spring drizzle . . .
that place, that time
that woman in black
with warm breasts


love letters
I never sent her . . .
one by one
they morph into lilies
this Easter morning

f chen-ou liu




Dear Mr. Reeder:

In the back of my mind echo his words, “Every day is a journey, and the journey itself home.”

Later tonight, I’ll embark on a journey through the land of melting clocks, and, hopefully, I’ll be back in shape on July 4th.

If I get lost in the labyrinth of colors, please come find me somewhere outside the lines of my thought.

a spring dream:
one by one, rhinos
turn into poets






Maya Lyubenova

spring thunder
the newspaper shakes
in my hand


a tern’s shadow
darts across the beach
herring clouds



broken wall
the barn and a cherry-tree
lean on each other



on the graveyard path— 
poplar leaves



the sparkles
in a stallion’s mane . . .
chestnut moon

f maya lyubenova





Yesterday’s deep snow is trampled and smudged. The path isn't easy to walk—each step is a sideslip and my ankles hurt. Faded posters of dead people watch me from fences, walls, signposts, street lamps, trees. This custom, quite natural for the Balkans, may seem odd and even ominous to foreigners.

Lighting a candle, I whisper a prayer then walk my slippery way back. The decorations do not hide last elections’ leftovers, hanging next to the pictures of our loved ones. Just for a moment I wish the living and the dead could change places.

the electoral candidate’s
torn face





maya lyubenova e


maya departures.jpg


f maya lyubenova


maya coin.jpg



Hannah Mahoney
United States


just this morning
the first magnolia buds
opening –
my mother’s unwed initials
on the suitcase she brought east



my father’s hand
on my back as we dance
to an imagined band. . .
late light
hits the birches along the ridge




the nurse says
you’d better come now
in the winter dawn
a wisp of cloud
floats across the moon




newly bare branches
against a cobalt sky. . .
sitting vigil
as the pauses between
her breath lengthen




the tilted half-moon
bright edged earlier
is smudged with haze
step by step I walk
into a future without you


Jo McInerney


Evening in Paris . . .
within her stoppered bottle
a memory of scent


childhood memories . . .
light from one side
of the moon


a slow fly
late autumn


sudden sunlight
finding your face
among strangers


favouring wind . . .
the grass leans with me
toward home

John McManus



my child's grip
starts to loosen



horse tail clouds
the smallest cowboy
leaps on my back



funeral home feeling nothing about feeling nothing



twilight lengthening her pauses




she recites my poem
in Klingon




talk of life
on distant planets . . .
wild lupine




downy emeralds by the lake’s edge we walk barefooted


Leanne Mumford



lily’s scent
the air heavy with
cicada songs




a shadow
meets its maker
falling leaf




low dunes
bent grass needles
record the wind


H. Gene Murtha
United States



spring mist—  
a mallard paddles
through our stillborn’s ashes



morning sun—
fish scales glisten
in the otter scat



exchange rose hips
Christmas morning



July 4th—
small talk over beer
with a redcoat



snap of a twig
the egret’s neck



where my brother stood—
twilight chill




snowed in . . .
fire wraps
around a log

Sergio Ortiz
Puerto Rico



your young face is the line.
I follow, touch the point of departure
when I go down
and almost
regret it.




constrained—motionless in your sleep
I place time on your body
willing to wake-up
you are my gift



I listen
it doesn’t sound like you
it sounds like a voice
that lives
in other voices




I mold you
but you chose your own dream
then you shatter
if you only knew
the answer




I am torn
between you and your eyes
a monologue:
that one divided by nothing
equals infinity


Kala Ramesh


dense fog
   I dream walk
my sense of I




the struggle to get a lily to stay in water after all



the ocean in a raindrop inside my womb a heart



raga kalyaan
       the pumpkin gourd
yields an autumn lyric


f kala ramesh


an evening
of tangled thoughts . . .
through branches
even this rugged moon
looks tattered at the edges



a single cicada
ushers in the summer
once again
making the calendar
one of empty squares



all through
the long night
his words
at my heart’s umbilical cord

kala ramesh e

waiting for a call
        that never came . . .
new year’s eve

I was your maid. You remember me?
The one who used to tie your shoelaces and make the chapatis and that potato curry for you. Pack your lunch and escort you to the bus stop.

The school bus would come to our street corner somewhere around 8 am daily.
Your smile, as you wave goodbye, asking me to be there waiting when you get home in the evening.  You had a loud voice.

In case you feel like seeing me, do come over. I stay at The Jacaranda Old-age Ashram. No 18, Queen’s Lane, Pune-411009. Ask for Shalini bai.

Everybody here knows me well and they know you too. I keep talking about you to all the inmates. I posted a similar card to you a year back, but I’m thinking it didn’t reach you . . .

restless night . . .
turning and tossing
the repeat
as the ache sinks deeper

f kala ramesh




I hug Amma—her back has been hurting her, yet she smiles through the pain. I’m reminded of the red brick wall in our yard, now parched of rain, cracking under the Chennai summer.

When I was young, she always said that she would love to grow old gracefully. But now, I wonder, does it mean dyeing one’s hair and having a face-lift to seem young, or does it mean going with the flow— ageing, like the stars in the sky—accepting that helping hand and holding on to the rails when climbing up the stairs?

the huge bronze bell
rings in autumn’s depth . . .
hill temple







Kala Ramesh e





cavechested I feed you wanting to give everything I possess my child your first gulp I follow till it reaches your stomach almost a smile of satisfaction if giving is gaining a joy shared your heaving bosom

preschool gate
her face, in the space between






Notes: This was an experiment of interlocking words one to the next, as I felt the bond between the mother and her child to be, called vaatsalya the purest form of love, according to our ancient Sanskrit texts.

Jane Reichhold
United States

lashing out
in a cat’s claw curve
almost purring
in a foreign tongue
—carpe diem


an hour is a sea
circumference is the bride of awe
herein a blossom lies
perhaps you see me stooping but
a wounded deer leaps the highest
(in homage to Emily Dickinson)


in a fog
with no east or west
my confusion
feels as if I am wearing
the day wrong side out


following the boat
the foamy wake curves
at death
all paths end with
lines in our palms

jane reichhold e



Lady, should I chop down those weeds? They sure are big.
Those are my prize plants!
But they’re weeds.
You have to admit I am growing splendid examples of the art.
The art of being nuts. No one raises weeds. Not intentionally.
Come on, admit that I have some of the finest specimens in the neighborhood.
When those seed pods pop, your neighbors will string you up a tree.
As lawn furniture?
As lawn decoration.
I’m too tall to be a dwarf.
In a yard full of redwoods you would be just about right. You gotta keep things in perspective.
I will, if you will leave my weeds alone.

                  on the beach path
                  the tiniest plants




f jane reichhold



Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I count the buckles on my straitjacket.

One is for my parents who didn’t want a child but had me anyhow.

Two is for the horrors of toilet training, which I can still remember.

Three is for the neighbor man who used to pull me into the bathroom with him.

Four is the four hundred fears being alone in my bedroom at night.

Five is how I hated the piano and the bus trip to get to the lessons.

Six was learning I was a too-tall, gangly-ugly child.

Seven was the prayer “If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

Eight being locked in a dark closet when I was bad.

Nine being locked out of the house at night when my parents wanted to be alone.

jane reichhold e

Ten surprising my parents in bed together doing it.

Eleven wanting Christ to save me but he didn’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t.

Twelve is for learning to swim and survive.

another artist
who saves shards
stained glass 




f jane reichhold

Reichhold bamboo.jpg
     with help from Mike Keville

jane reichhold e


Jane Reichhold
Ken Wanamaker
Susan Constable


butterfly colors
the air woven with
autumn leaves /jr

near the cornucopia
a wild geese sampler /kw

fir needles
finding their way
into the house /sc

each of the party guests arrive
wrapped in different perfumes /jr

burning on porcelain...
winter moon /kw

the distortion of my smile
in the car’s hubcap/ sc

who can hear
the wild heart beating
racetrack vroom /jr

f reichhold, wanamaker, CONSTABLE

only the yearning herdsman
scuffling through leftover snow /kw

in solitude
I gather fiddlehead ferns
for tonight's salad /sc

eating an elegant dinner
we listen to the violin solo /jr

a stream
of champagne swirling
in my flute/ kw

drunk with the beauty
of sweet peas and rainbows /sc






Brendan Slater
The Netherlands










f brendan slater












Kenneth Slaughter
United States




the woman
who talked non-stop on the plane
waits in silence
reclaiming that baggage
she left with a stranger




at game time
my son can’t find his glove . . .
the smell of dust
as I search for something
to say to my ex-wife



my father
behind a cloud . . .
I draw him gently
with a pencil




a butterfly
with one broken wing . . .
my parents
limping arm in arm
toward the clinic door




plastic dolls
and erector sets
at the flea market
my shadow falls
on adult videos


Scott Terrill



dreaming in another language
an oyster dies
beside an oyster




slipping moon
a rockpool blooms




at the bottom of the sea
drift blue



under the verandah 
the marshy shore; a horse 
nibbles at my hand




young coconut
beside a wet machete
her breath




atomic sky
a crab follows a gutter
no nearer the ocean




southern humpback—
  miles of ocean
pushing back


scott terrill e





I get out of bed and on the laptop check facebook. The Americans are up, busying themselves on the other side of the world; not much for me though. I turn the computer off. It is dark, silent, except for an air-conditioning unit humming in the room somewhere, humming. I quietly make my way to the toilet and urinate. I stare at the stream. It reminds me of a headache. I turn off the light. The digital display on the clock tells me it is 3:08 in the morning. Angles catch and I notice something; the led light display is illuminating two glass bottles and the clear liquid they contain. Both bottles, bedside, one filled with cologne the other aftershave, are for the briefest of moments, an instant and a lifetime. . . . It is 3:08 in the morning.


whale voices
strike an iris
in the face

Ken Wanamaker
United States

A Solo Kasen Renga

egg hunt
toddlers blowing soap bubbles
with Big Bunny

a tricolored zeppelin
floating above the crowd

ants march
toward a picnic table
quiet siege

troops called home from abroad
with no ammo in their clips

ivory moon
above her breast
his mother’s brooch

setting out the silverware
for Thanksgiving dinner

the family gathers
about a broad fireplace
autumn leaves

gentle kisses exchanged
atop a bearskin rug

ken wanamaker e
two hearts
etched on his upper arm
afternoon stroll

inscription in a locket
seals their undying love

frozen beach
a flurry of flippers
entering the sea

a mug of buttered rum
for the weary wanderer

cavorting in the woods
summer moon

naked beneath a tree
he welcomes a cool shower

Somali pirates
floating on the sea

lost my stake in the third race
and landed in a jam

falling on morning runners
Boston Marathon


f ken wanamaker
robins on the Commons
are oblivious to the throng

butterfly on the tea stand
while Basho writes

paint on his picket fence
is beginning to flake

a clown
forms a balloon animal
for the birthday boy

pulling pigtails at recess
gets him three swats on the rear

beneath a branch
only the cold sparrows
twitter and play

a few bread crumbs left
on the fallen leaves

in his gloved hands
her palm

following the lifeline
that leads to the heart

ken wanamaker e
as he mounts her carriage

the ugly sisters take turns
dissing her evening gown

veiled face
wandering through the trees
full moon

prayer beads counted one by one
while she treads the red leaves

drops of dew frost
welcome the warming rays

tears in the kitchen—
preparing spaghetti sauce

a bottle of chianti
on the plaid tablecloth
childhood memories

a message of joy and hope
washes up on the beach

bearing our gratitude
the great egret enters
the clouds

spring lanterns
twined about the grove
Beer Barrel Polka


Ten Favorite Haiku
from the AHA Forum
by Jane Reichhold

Reprinted from the New Zealand Poetry Society website

At first the idea of picking only ten of my favorite haiku seemed a rather daunting task. How could I review all the haiku I have read in my life and decide that there were only ten that were outstanding? Then I realized I was already getting a steady stream of excellent haiku day by day. One of the functions of the AHA Forum is to allow members to share where which of their poems has recently been published in the Haiku Showcase. So I raided the showcase. In order to avoid listing the poems in any order of favoritism, they are given alphabetically according to the author’s last name.


                     spring sunlight
                     outlines her bent head . . .
                     mother nursing

                     Dawn Bruce
                     Paper Wasp 17:4

Sometimes a haiku does not need dazzling word puns or startling images. To be able to convey simply, with the best possible words, the image that touched someone’s heart is also a valid function of haiku. Dawn’s haiku is an excellent example of this, which some give the Japanese term invented by Shiki: shasei = sketch. This technique looks easy to do, but as seasoned writers know, it is very difficult to pick just the important elements to sketch in the image. Here is Dawn’s poem every word seems perfect. Only after reading the very last word does the reader realize how accurate it was to place the poem in spring. Then “sunlight” warms and illuminates the scene. For the pun-seeker there is a tiny quiet play on words with “son-light,” which again would only be revealed by the final word of the poem.
     I am very struck by Dawn’s use of “outline” because it is very accurate. The sun draws a line of light around the object of the poem—“her bent head.” Why is the woman bending her head? Who is she? It was very wise of Dawn to have the poem break at the end of line 2 as it is at this point she needs to stop the reader’s eye long enough for the questions to form and the reader’s internal dialogue to search for an answer.
     Then in the final line, exactly where it belongs, come the answer—“mother.” Since every one of us had one, the word comes to the poem with a huge bag of emotional content. However the final word, “nursing,” informs us a great deal. The mother is young and she has a baby. Dawn does not need to mention baby, or feeding or loving. The poem conveys all of this with the final word, “nursing,” as it completes the meaning for all the other words in the rest of the poem. The reader wants to reread this poem in the new light of this greater understanding. While the overuse of “simply sketching in the image” can lead to somewhat boring poems, this technique is exactly right and proper for portraying a mother in a reverent, calm, quiet way.

half the sky
a deeper blue
mid-life birthday

Susan Constable 
Tiny Words 1/9/2012

The association her is the concept of “half”—“half a sky and “mid-life.” Notice how Susan carefully uses two different words for the same idea. Writing haiku also means using word skills and not just marvelous inspiration. Here again it is the final word that the gives the whole poem gravitas and deeper meaning.
     The concept of half a sky and half a life is impressive but she goes on to add two other images. “A deeper blue” certainly is a realistic and valid description of a sky and it is easy to imagine an actual sky that has a darker blue part in it. However, when “deeper blue is added to birthday (As many are profoundly depressed by birthdays) this idea of sadness or melancholy is expressed.
     Deeper into this poem is the layer that proclaims that if one half the sky is darker blue, the future for the person with the birthday, it means that  half the sky is lighter. This conveys the idea that the past was happy and light.  The “deeper blue” brings the idea that the rest of life will be richer and more intense—all positive attributes. Susan’s sky does not hold storm clouds or anything really scary. Just a deepening hue of blue.

                  Basho’s frog . . .
                  four hundred years
                  of ripples

                  Alan Fogel
                  Paper Wasp 17:3

The puns and write-offs based on Basho’s most famous haiku are so numerous I would have said that nothing new could be said with this method, but here Alan proved me wrong. Perhaps part of my delight in this haiku lies in the fact that I agree with him.
     Here he is saying one thing about realism—ripples are on a pond after a frog jumps in—but because it refers back to Basho and his famous haiku, he is also saying something about the haiku and authors who have followed him. We, our work, are just ripples while Basho holds the honor of the inventing the idea of “the sound of a frog leaping is the sound of the water.” As haiku spreads around the world, making ripples in more and larger ponds, its ripples are wider—including us all. But his last reminds us all that we are only ripples and lives are that ephemeral. It will be the frogs that remain.



                     a sacred kingfisher
                     shatters its image

                     Lorin Ford
Kitchen Window
Jack Stamm Anthology 2008

Even before I knew what a “billabong” was, I was attracted to this haiku because of the idea of a sacred kingfisher shattering its image. Yes, this would happen realistically when a bird dove into the water but the idea of a “sacred” bird shattering its image would also carry the idea that it was once held sacred, this was no longer true and this change was its own going. Okay, very nice idea.
     Then I googled billabong to find that it is a name for a part of a river that has cut itself off and become a lake or a pond. Then came my AHA! moment. This haiku is associating how a billabong was once part of a flowing stream but then is changed into a pond. In the same way that a stream of emotion flows toward the sacred until that image of sadness is destroyed, so a river flows until a bend in it is cut off. Very deep and very beautiful. The association between these two images and the ideas they transport is much greater than the sum of its parts. This is haiku. Making something great and profound by simply noticing images and placing them side-by-side so others can discover a mysterious relationship for themselves.

a deceased friend
taps me on the shoulder—
plum blossoms falling

                  Chen-ou Liu 
The Heron’s Nest 13:2 Editors’ Choice,
Readers’ Choice Grand Prize Winner 2011

In Chinese and Japanese literature, the butterfly was long used as a symbol of a departed soul. Chen-ou has taken the idea that the departed are still among us and found a very new and touching way of expressing this idea that we can only manifest by feeling. If you have ever stood under a tree as the petals drift down you will know how very light this touch is. And yet you can feel it and it seems a blessing. To make the leap to thinking it is the touch of a departed friend is genius. This is why we need poets: to discover such truths, ideas, concepts.  
     If we could remember that the touch of every blossom, the wetness of a raindrop, every glint of light was a reminder of the departed who surround us, how much more meaningful our lives would be. How much more reverence we would have for the simplest thing. This is why we have haiku – to remind us of profound ideas in simple things. The association between the sadness of a friend who passed away, and the blossoms which are also passing is clear. Yet out of this sadness Chen-ou has found a ray of pleasure. He is not alone. His friend is close enough to touch him as are all our beloved departed. This is a very beautiful haiku and well deserving of all of its honors.


summer storm
windscreen wipers
slice our silence

Jo McInerney
Dipped Oar Jack Stamm Anthology 2009

The windscreen wipers and the summer storm make perfect sense. One easily goes with the other and we know the purpose of the wipers. However, suddenly in the last line Jo brings a disturbing verb—slice. The wipers are not only wiping, as they should, but they are now seen as slicing. What are they slicing? Silence.  
     This is the technique of pseudo-science. The wipers have been transformed, by a poet, into another function —slicing silence. How do you slice silence? Does the wiper actually cut back and forth across the silence or is it the sound that cuts the silence? The motion seems more real, more actual, more believable as a cutting device than “just” sound.
     Beyond all of this, there is this silence. Is it a good, companionable silence? Looping back up to the first line, the reader is confronted by the image of a summer storm. One with heat, lightning, roiling black clouds, sudden winds that twist and scatter. While it is not said, a reader can build the image of a couple sitting in a car while fighting, or trying to end a fight with silence. This would seem a normal telling of a scene except for the violence of the verb—“slice.”


all day rain
we argue over music
for the funeral

                        John McManus
                        Presence 45

I like the way this haiku grows and changes. With “all day rain” the reader is thinking, “Blah.” with great boredom. The second line adds a bit of tension with “we argue over music.” Okay. That makes sense. Two people kept inside by the long rain begin to show their exasperation by arguing about music. Okay.
     Then comes the kicker, the twist that makes haiku such a delight even when it is uncomfortable. It’s raining, and there has to be an argument about the music for, of all things, a funeral. Now the all-day rain is not boring but sadness. It is a sadness for the loss of someone, and for the idea that those remaining must disagree over something so small. All three elements pile on one another to increase the reader’s understanding of the depth of the author’s feeling and for our understanding that being left behind is not easy.



first warm day
a wheat penny lands
heads up

H. Gene Murtha
WHC Treetops, November 2002

With so many millions of haiku having been written it is not easy to come up with fresh, meaningful images. Here Gene shows us a wheat penny and he has an excellent reason for using this accurate name for it. None of the depth of this haiku would be possible if the coin was described as a copper coin, a bent penny or a lost penny. The idea of “wheat” connects with “first warm day” through the feeling that as a plant it will begin to grow faster. The verb “lands” at once describes what happens to the penny but also relates to the wheat as being on the land, or earth, where it grows. Even “heads up” relates to what we call the “heads of wheat”: the cluster of ripened grain pictured on the coin.
     Yet this is not the feeling that Gene is demonstrating. He also uses “first warm day” to emote a feeling of joy and happiness; of hope and new beginning. Then he shows us a penny falling to the ground. Whatever is going on here? The answer, in haiku fashion, comes with the final line in an oblique way. To say “heads up” may tell us which side of the coin is visible, but it also tells us that the coin has been flipped as a means of divination. Suddenly the first and third lines slide into alignment. The positive weather relates to the optimistic side of “heads up”: charge ahead, let’s go. This is an excellent haiku on many levels.                                                           


liquid sky . . .
a steel bucket hits
the well water

Kala Ramesh
Notes from the Gean 4, Tiny Words 9/27/11   

Some haiku come to me slowly. It takes a while for them to grow and develop with meaning for me. Others are like this. Instantly I loved it. To begin with, “liquid sky” seemed a fresh and exciting way to name a rainy day. Okay. Then comes the image of “a steel bucket hits” and the monkey mind is saying, “Shouldn’t it be the rain that hits the bucket and not the bucket hitting back?” A riddle is formed and in the third line, as is proper, the answer that solves the riddle is given: “well water.” Ah, the liquid sky is not a rainy cloud in the sky but the sky deep in a well. Yes, that is sky too when the water reflects what is above it. Now it makes sense for the steel bucket to hit the sky—when it drops in the well. The penny drops and I have solved the riddle of this haiku. As reader I feel smarter, refreshed, renewed with this word coinage “liquid sky.” Plus I have the pleasure of my own memories of dropping a bucket into a well—the wet mossy smell that rises up, reassurance that there is water down there, and that the bucket will bring me cool refreshment. Ah. While the verb “hits” can sound aggressive, here it feels good. Also “liquid sky,” if meaning rain, can feel oppressive but Kala flips the image so it becomes a safe reservoir.  The idea of “well” water can mean water stored in the earth as well as wellness as in health, survival and the next sip of water.


dog days
the mailbox door
hangs open

Josh Wikoff 
Acorn 19, fall 2007

The association here is between dogs and the mail, which goes back over many bites. The haiku uses a simile – the opened door of the mailbox is like a dog’s tongue but with a few words as haiku the metaphor becomes much richer. The season words—“dog days”—are not often used but are perfect here. Those days being the hottest days of the summer it makes some sense in a haiku-sort of way that while all the doors in the house are open to the slightest breeze, so is the mailbox. On these hot days the dogs will be panting with their tongues hanging out and the mailbox lid, hanging down certainly can be seen, with poetic vision, as the metal tongue.
     An additional layer is the fact that when it is so hot people are too hot and too tired to close the mailbox and the idea that the box is empty because no new mail has arrived because everyone else is also too hot. There is not a word too many and each one supports and illuminates the next.





AC: Acorn
AHG: A Hundred Gourds
AL: Autumn Leaves
AM: Ambrosia
AT: American Tanka
ATPO: Atlas Poetica
BR: Bottle Rockets
CH: Contemporary Haibun
DH: Daily Haiga
EDP: Every Day Poets
EU: Eucalypt
FP: Frogpond
FX: FreeXpresSion
G: Gusts
HN: The Heron’s Nest
HO: Haiga Online
HT: Haibun Today
K: Kokako
L: Lynx 
LR: Lilliput Review

MB:  Moonbathing
MET: Modern English Tanka
MH: Modern Haiku
MHG: Modern Haiga
MS: Moonset
MV: Multiverses
NFTG: Notes from the Gean
P: Presence
PW: Paper Wasp
R: Ribbons
RL: Red Lights
RR: Roadrunner
SH: Simply Haiku
SHM: Shamrock
SK: Sketchbook
SP: Static Poetry
TW: Tiny Words
WHR: World Haiku Review
WL: White Lotus

Angel-Stawarz, Bett: obituary page FP 33:1; a watermelon HSA Gerald Brady Memorial Award Collection 2011; Father’s ashes HN 11:2; flooded city PW Jack Stamm Award finalist 2009; midday heat: MS Haiku Contest fall 2009, third place; the swirl R 8:1; newspapers MB 6; on the hessian rig EU 9; “Black Dog” TW 11.1

Angyal, Jenny Ward: so many tickets MB 6; my only keepsake and your fear AHG 1:4; at last I let and you ask ATPO 12


Bruce, Dawn: the last page FX 15:5 (FX first prize 2008); moonrise moonrise and bare hills (PW anthology 2010; 2010
Jack Stamm competition, equal first prize); a mud puddle P 45; the mouldering MH 42.3; touches of sky K 16; so many lemons R 8:1; empty shoes RL 8:2; wild blackberries EU 12;” Cycle” CH 7:3, CH anthology 13; waiting FX 18:9

Byrne, John: in my chair EDP 2011; still waters SK 2012; outside smells and winter twilight SP 2011; “Thief of Dreams” NFTG 4:1; woodpile NFTG 3:4

Cain, Julie B.: rising sun 2011 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival honorable mention; one slit eye, stop sign, and Just So Stories NFTG 1:4; whoop and touching the water AHG 1:3; just at bedtime and another crop AHG 1:2;.

Clarke, Marion: descending mist SH 22; storm on the lough  SH 21, Irish Haiku Society International Haiku Competition 2011 highly commended, Bamboo Dreams (Doghouse, 2012); Ulster ceasefire AHG 1:3; April mizzle AHG 1:4; low winter sun NFTG 3:4; end of day NFTG 3:4 and Bamboo Dreams; turning tide HN March 2012

Constable, Susan: fallen apple AM 1; cutting a bruise P 37; again, you forget FP 32:2; potatoes sprouting FP 35:2; time on my hands MH 42:2; winter branches WL 7 (readers’ choice award); a single kiss RL 8:2; everything MV 1:1; a long search EU 11; moon jellies G 12; once again G 15; test results DH 9/26/10


Cordeiro, Paul: the newspaper open HN 8:4; wildflowers PW 13:4; autumn rain NFTG 1:4


Curran, Ann: weight loss AHG 1:4; shorter days and two women AHG 1:3

Davila, Mary: a cross NFTG 2:4; inhaling the scent and evening Mass NFTG 2:2; autumn air HN 12:3; frayed pages NFTG 1:4; separating the flowers MS 5:1; a ray of light DH 5/24/10

Davis, Janet Lynn: roadside daisies AHG 1:4; off the highway EU 12; they don’t tweet NFTG 4:1; is it dust AHG 1:4; winter sun AHG 1:3

Dye, Stacey: dandelion MB 5; a blue jay MB 3; trumpet flowers, my deepest fears, and fireflies and AHG 1:4

Ford, Lorin: slowly MH 40.3; evening primrose SH 6:3; a cloud shadow FP 33.2; before I know it AC 25; deeper than blue MH 43:2; some knit P 46; winter starlight P 45; “Conversations with Women” Blue Dog: Australian Poetry, June 2004, and Best Australian Poems 2005 (ed. Les Murray, Black Inc.)

Fraser, Laryalee: waterfall HO 8:1; grandma’s koi pond MHG 2008; distant shoreline Mainichi 2007; the weight Mainichi 12/08; almost sundown SH 3:1, Katikati Haiku Pathway, NZ; autumn dusk Mainichi 10/07; red mittens HN 9:2

Hawes, C W: early snow TW 12/6/06; thrashing limbs SH 3:1; on its cat feet AL Sept. 2004; a page ripped in two NFTG 1:2; the words are finished L 24:3; sitting together MET 3:3; flowing into L 23:2; “Respite” L 21:1; “Black” SH 4:4



Ilieva, Tzetzka: a nip of autumn A HG 1:3; sparring gear SHM 20; anticipating snow MV1:1; thin ice FP 35:2

Kenney, Bill: tree toad: FP 34:3; the difference HN 13:3; secrets FP 35:1; hunter’s moon NFTG 3:4; Indian summer WL 5

Lyubenova, Maya: spring thunder: winner, Second Bulgarian Haiku Contest 2009, Flecks of Blue: An English Bulgarian Haiku Collection, ed. Vladislav Hristov, Ars, Blagoevgrad2010; a tern’s shadow FP 31:2; broken wall NFTG 1:1; scorched: WHR 6:4; the sparkles SH 9:1; “Faces” SK 3:2; departures and the only coin NFTG 3:1

Mahoney, Hannah: just this morning TW 11:3, Take Five: Best Contemporary Tanka, vol. 4; my father’s hand: AHG 1:4; the nurse says R 7:1, Take Five, vol. 4; newly bare branches R 8:2; the tilted half-moon AHG 1:4

McManus, John: planetarium HN 14:2 (editors’ choice selection); horse tail clouds FP 35:2; funeral home MH 43.2; twilight BR 27; starlight AHG 1:2; talk of life HN 14:3; downy emeralds AHG 1:4

Mumford, Leanne: lily’s scent AHG 1:3

Palke, Kathe: lovers’ moon TW 10/3/12; teaching my sons TW 11/2; Veteran’s Day RL Jan. 2012; in a sunlit gorge RL June 2012



Ramesh, Kala: dense fog SH 7:2; the struggle RR 10:3; the ocean MH 43:3; raga kalyaan AHG 1:2;  an evening AT 21; a single cicada NFTG 4:1; all through MB 2; “The Blue Jacaranda” Genjuan International Haibun Contest, An (Cottage) Prize, spring 2012; “Autumn’s Depth” AHG 1:2; “The Nuances” FP 32:3


Reichhold, Jane: in a fog: Taking Tanka Home (AHA Books, 2010); “The Pretend Gardner” (L XXVII:2)

Slater, Brendan: rush NFTG 3:1, In Bed with Kerouac (Yet to Be Named Free Press, 2012); first snow NFTG 2011, In Bed with Kerouac

Slaughter, Kenneth: the woman and at game time AHG 1:2; my father NFTG 3:4; a butterfly RL 8:2; plastic dolls ATPO 12

Terrill, Scott: dreaming in another language and slipping moon NFTG 4:1; at the bottom of the sea HN 14:3; under the veranda P 46; young coconut TW 12.1; atomic sky (B. Slater and A. Summers, eds., Four Virtual Haiku Poets, Yet to Be Named Free Press, UK,2012); southern humpback AHG 1:2; “3:08 in the morning” L  27:3