Shades of Green

Michael Dylan Welch, editor. Cherie Hunter Day, illustration. Press Here, Foster City, California, 1997, 24 pages, 63 poets (one poem each), ISBN 1-878798-18-9.

 

The 1997 Haiku North America conference took place at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. In the introduction, I wrote that “Haiku poets are universally attuned to nature, whether that nature is a glacial moraine, a piece of redwood bark, dolphins in the sun-sparkled ocean, or a humble window planter shadowed by clouds between skyscrapers. We notice the weather, the light, the temperature, the bird songs that ebb and flow with the seasons. Our haiku are also about each other, and about ourselves. We are attuned to human nature, noticing and celebrating the subtleties of our passing emotions, imperfections, and interaction with nature. Knowing nature—and human nature—sustains us.” Here are twelve poems, including two translations, from the book.

 

 

rising mist—

flood waters reach

another slat in the fence

 

                Ce Rosenow

                Portland, Oregon

 

 

a visit with my father . . .

beneath an outdoor spigot

the tall grass

 

                Cherie Hunter Day

                Portland, Oregon

 

 

window frost

     our names drip

     from my finger

 

                Christopher Herold

                Redwood City, California

 

 

“I can’t hear you,”

he says, continuing to

munch potato chips . . .

 

                Elizabeth Nichols

                Colorado Springs, Colorado

 

 

chiru hana ni

motsururu tori no

tsubasa kana

 

                Shiki

 

entangled with

the scattering cherry blossoms—

the wings of birds!

 

                Janine Beichman, translator

                Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki-ken, Japan

 

 

the morning after—

cutting only the orchids

flattened by rain

 

                Margaret Chula

                Portland, Oregon

 

 

landing swallow—

the ship’s chain

dips slightly

 

                Michael Dylan Welch

                Foster City, California

 

 

Misoka tsuki nashi

chitose no sugi o

daku arashi

 

                Bashō

 

The month’s last night, moonless—

a thousand-year-old cedar

embraced by the wind

 

                Sam Hamill, translator

                Port Townsend, Washington

 

 

midori ni mo

iro samazama ya

ame no niwa

 

All the same green, yes,

but how many different shades there are!

Garden in the rain.

 

                Steven Carter

                Irvine, California

 

 

Midnight stillness

just a pattering

on the young leaves

 

                Tombo (Lorraine Ellis Harr)

                Portland, Oregon

 

 

through blossom light

into the gathering dusk

the swift bus

 

                William J. Higginson

                Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

 

haiku conference

someone clears a frog

from his throat

 

                Yvonne Hardenbrook

                Columbus, Ohio