A blog devoted mainly to haiku and senryu and to thoughts about, and inspired by, haiku and senryu.

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Location: New York, New York

Haiku is to poetry as espresso is to coffee.

Monday, November 29, 2010

after: 5

a lot on my mind
I find myself
across the bridge

Hosai (1885-1926)

For an explanation of "afters," see post for Nov. 2, 2010.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


winter night
the slow circling
of the bar rag

First published in The Heron's Nest

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

after: 4

Fuji hidden
in fog and rain
I go on

Basho (1644-1694)

The great "reformer" of haiku, founding father of the tradition. This rendering, I must admit, brings out his inner Santoka rather strongly.

For an explanation of "afters," see the post for Nov. 2, 2010.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


after the funeral
we talk about cremation
autumn sky

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Japanese garden
a leaf drifting through
my mind

First published in Notes from the Gean

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

after: 3

autumn leaves
and a touch of gray
in my hair

Soseki (1867-1916)

A very free rendering. Soseki is generally regarded as the major Japanese novelist of his era. Some of his works have been translated into English, among them Kokoro, Botchan, and I Am a Cat.

For an explanation of "afters," see the post for Nov. 2, 2010.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

morning chill

morning chill
the homeless man
has moved on

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

after: 2

after a good bath
struck by the radiance
of the rising moon

striding through fallen leaves
it feels so good
to shit in the field

Santoka (1882-1940)

Santoka didn't write these as companion pieces, but I think they make a nice pair. The two together give you a clearer sense of his personality (of his Zen, if you will) than either would standing alone.

For an explanation of "afters," see the post for November 2, 2010.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

standard time

turning back the clock . . .
the distribution
of wealth

The concentration of wealth in the hands of the top 1 % of Americans, a trend that began during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, is now greater than at any time since 1928. 1928 was followed, as some of you will recall, by 1929.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

after: #1

a bit drunk
stepping lightly
in the spring wind

Ryokan (1758-1831)

This is the first in a series of "afters" I'll be posting here from time to time. An "after" is a version–a free translation (inevitably free, since I don't read Japanese)/imitation/adaptation–of a haiku or senryu by one of the Japanese masters; in this case, as indicated, Ryokan. What I'm going for in each case is something that will pass muster as an English-language haiku, rather than a literal duplication of the original. If I don't convey exactly what the original says, I hope I express what it makes me want to say.

NB: It's not entirely impossible that my version might inadvertently match a version already published somewhere else by somebody else. If you're aware of this, please let me know.