Godawful Early Haiku

I recall that one of my first attempts at haiku, in 1976 or so, was about thunder applauding the lightning’s performance. That’s not only an overwrought conceit, but disastrous for haiku, although I hadn’t yet learned why. As a reminder to myself that I took my turn suffering under deep and superficial misunderstandings of haiku, here—if you can stomach them—are 46 of my early haiku (ahem, pseudo-haiku), all written by 1984, and all gloriously titled and clueless. At least the one about the eggshell still amuses me.
 

 

 

9 O’Clock

 

Evening bells tolling

Ringing, telling and singing

The evening’s passing.

 

 

The Muskrat

 

Nose-up fur-button

Ripple-tail splitting water

Father paddling home.

 

 

The Squirrel

 

Half tail, half not

A bundle of leaping fur

Scampering away.

 

 

Thundercloud

 

The deepening sky

Yawns with his cavernous mouth—

Tongue of light leaps out.

 

 

Haiku for Children

 

Bullets splatter blood

But video life’s a smile,

A test tube no more.

 

 

Eggshell

 

I found an egg shell—

The egg was still inside it.

I made it come out.

 

 

Frankly, My Dear

 

I know who’s to blame

(. . . the Butler didn’t do it)

Your sins are Scarlett.

 

 

Pining

 

See the lonely rose

Bobbing for the butterfly

Leaving her weeping.

 

 

Pygmalion

 

Memory’s statue—

My overwhelming passion

She loves not I yet.

 

 

Updraft

 

I am Icarus

Flying too close to Venus . . .

Open heart descends.

 

 

Dropped

 

I need to be alone

The young man said aloud

To no one at all.

 

 

Hitters

 

Everything to come

Touches home and then is flown

Can you stay awhile?

 

In the previous poem, I had wanted to write an acrostic for “etc.” (don’t ask me why). This also influenced the word choices for the first line (also acrostic). The next three poems achieve the same stupendous acrostic feat, and their three titles together were intended to say “Opportunity Well Spent.” Wasn’t I clever?

 

 

Opportunity

 

Early in the day

The dawn breaks out in shinelight

Crowning her maker.

 

 

Well

 

Every zenith sun

Takes our lives in trust till death

Counting till it’s done.

 

 

Spent

 

Evening shadows fade—

Tonight the light has fallen

Calling rest to mind.
 
 

After the Rain

 

Shadows leave the sand

The sun breaks through the rainfall

Pitching mellow shade.

 

 

Sappy Birthday

 

Give me your presence

Or be a birthday friend, and

Give me your presents.

 

 

Auschwitz

 

The pall overwhelms

Bodies in a plethora

Of absentee sound.

 

 

Captivator

 

She is such a smile

All smiles and the only smile

To capture a slave.

 

 

The Sting

 

Verbs in your sonnets

Are like bees in your bonnets

For the sting disturbs.

 

 

Hi, Koo

 

Her face is showing

Stark and dark reality—

This one is for Koo.

 

The preceding poem was written about Koo Stark on 24 January 1984, while I was living in England.

 

 

Nuptial Creature

 

Weddings are strange beasts;

They prowl near and threaten, but

Never feed on me.

 

 

Fasting

 

Another day passed

and I will still be fasting

Thinned from daily work.

 

 

Bonsai Waterfall

 

Rush wooden water

Cascade round me naughtily—

Tree-root in the stream.

 

 

The Apple

 

The crisp and bitten

Apple of Adam and Eve

Fathers half a worm.

 

 

The Dawn

 

This a just goodbye

In case I should die tonight—

Morning’s sun will shine.

 

 

Albatross

 

I, straight and single

Scraping the heavenly clouds

Fly like a seagull.

 

 

Suburban Soliloquy

 

Just painted petals

Pollute my plastic townhouse

Clinical and pure.

 

 

Widerspruch

 

She spoke as a child

“I wish my life be sinneful.”

But she spoke German.

 

The German word for “meaningful” is “sinne.” This poem quotes a German friend’s statement verbatim.

 

 

This Little Piggy

 

A good Friend of mine

Said to me at the Market

Caveat emptor.

 

 

Wind

 

Silently sailing

Till crashing into the ground

The gusting is life.

 

 

Amiens

 

Eleven o’clock

I hear the cathedral bells

Peeling to battle.

 

 

My Hand

 

Smooth symmetrical

The outlying dying veins

Surrounding my leaf.

 

 

The Passing of Love and Time

 

The years that wedge in

Bring no greater distance, when

We were never close.

 

 

What You’ve Been Up To

 

Cry and the earth cries

Whimper and the earth whimpers

Smile and the earth knows . . .

 

 

Wish of an Aspen

 

Snowbird, nest with me

About me, flitter-singing

Concealing my fall.

 

 

I, Metaphor

 

She vies herself “ten”

Virgin, who I would rate high

But I, met a four.

 

 

Bedroom

 

Slowly sliding shut

My corrugated curtains

Block out evenings dark.

 

 

Dust in the Moonbeam

 

I awaken slow

Discovering a tickle

On my moonbeam face.

 

 

She (Epithalameum)

 

lingering hissing

what a subtle word she is

all containing he.

 

 

Spiritual Halitosis

 

Bible-thumping gush—

Spiritual halitosis

Wilting weary ears.

 

 

Clouds

 

My migraine pulsates

Swelling and shrinking the clouds

There ought to be rain.

 

 

Pharasite

 

A nuisance to count

You gave your ducats clanging

—Suitedly pious.

 

 

Homiletic Wheels

 

The longer you spoke

Then the larger the tire

Became for the bike.

 

 

Unquenched

 

Chalice of mine heart

Sputter-thirst I, bashlessly

As of yet unquenched.

 

 

Tetherball

 

Rebounding, swinging

Sphere of a human nature

Encircling the sun.