Favourite Haiku

These are some of my favourite poems from haiku poets.  I hope you also enjoy them.

Classical/Japanese poets

The four great haiku masters are said to be Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki.

A solitary crow
on a bare branch –
autumn evening.

— Basho


Hibiscus flower

naked I wear one
in my hair.

— Basho


In a humble cottage

tea leaves raked up
after the storm.

— Basho


Rabbit-ear iris

how much it looks like
its image in water.

— Basho


Winter shower

a falling of pebbles
into Small Stone River.

–Basho


Withered by winter

one-coloured world –
the sound of wind.

— Basho


Cold moon

feeling the pebbles
under my shoes.

— Buson


On the temple bell

perching and sleeping
a butterfly.

— Buson


With each falling petal

they grow older –
plum branches.

— Buson


But for their voices

herons would disappear
in the morning snow.

— Chiyo


Moon flowers!

When a woman’s skin
is revealed.

— Chiyo.


The autumn wind

resounds in the mountain –
temple bell.

— Chiyo


Being only a drop

between heaven and earth
utterly naked.

— Fuyuo


Snow has melted –

the village is full
of children.

— Kobayashi Issa


Hoot of an owl –

the rays of moonlight shimmer
on a hidden pond.

— Minoru


Alone, silently –

the bamboo shoot
becomes a bamboo.

— Santoka


Early autumn –

peering through willows
the morning sun.

— Seibi

Sitting by the fire –
another self is walking
into the north wind.

— Tetsunosuke

 

Modern poets (mostly western)

plum blossoms
a specimen of my dream
sent to the lab

— Fay Aoyagi

lark song
down to
its bones

— Robert Boldman

evening rain —
I braid my hair
into the dark

— Penny Harter

she comes back —
the ocean drips off
every part of her

— Gary Hotham


behind the cornfields —

the setting sun turns the sky
into a lantern.

— Priscilla Harlin-Lignori


Chanting a sutra —

from the corner of my eye
the silence of snow

— Priscilla Harlin-Lignori


The blossoms are gone
and everywhere the green leaves
become one color

Clark Strand


tonight’s world of dew

if a moment Issa’s shade
would walk beside me

Alan Summers

In the blue sea
where cormorants and hungry ghosts
have already swum.

— Tohta

spring blooms
the many surprises
I’ve become

Chrissi Villa


dusk from rock to rock a waterthrush

— John Wills

rain in gusts
below the deadhead
troutswirl

— John Wills

6 thoughts on “Favourite Haiku

      • That was a while ago! So much can change in a few years. I think I bought about four of Tohta’s books from Red Moon over the years. He’s excellent. And of course, Ban’ya Natsuishi, Scott Metz, Melissa Allen…I could go on…

    • Thanks Dave,

      Melissa Allen took over when I stepped down from Bones Journal:
      http://bonesjournal.com

      There are many fine haiku writers, including many of my students over the years too, who strongly feature in all the magazines over the last ten years, at least. 🙂

      Then there is Peter Yovu, a big feature of his work over at Otata ed. John Martone, and Helen Buckingham, and Fay Aoyagi, Cherie Hunter Day (a scientist); Marianne Paul; John McManus; John Hawkhead; Jan Dobb; and we cannot overlook Roberta Beary!

      Roberta is the only haiku poet to get a collection award from the Poetry Society of America.

      kind regards,

      Alan

  1. Thank you, Dave. I must admit I don’t know many modern haiku poets aside from those who write blogs. Clark and Priscilla are both contemporary, though.

    Do you enjoy contemporary haikuists? Is there anyone currently writing who you might recommend?

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