Posted in Haiku

Francesco Palladino’s Flat Sea

flat sea
the sail swollen
with light

© Francesco Palladino (Italy)

What I enjoy most about this haiku is the mixture of serenity and awe one feels while reading it.  With the first line, we have a calm sea (emphasized by the dash). Seeing a calm sea, or a flat sea, is one of the most tranquil things to witness. It puts us into an instant state of meditation.

With the second line, we get a contrast with a sail of a ship being swollen. It is a great use of the word “swollen” and provides alliteration, making the haiku more musical (having a sense of karumi or lightness as well). In addition, the “l” sounds coursing through the haiku make this poem cadenced, much like how a ship goes through the sea. In terms of sound and construction, the poem could be said to illustrate the principle of karumi in its simplicity, grace, and immediacy.

In the third line, we get a surprise that the sail is swollen with light, which gives a fine, awe-inspiring image. The contrast between the calm sea and the epicness of a sail swollen with light gives us a sense of human endeavors among nature’s balance and the ambition of people. Many interpretations can be made, but this is what I feel. Interpretations need not be made in haiku, as well. It also can be seen as a wondrous image that puts us in the moment of the author, thereby providing us with a sense of presence. Often, we forget about the simple joys of perception.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Do you enjoy this haiku? If so, please leave a comment.

Posted in Haiku

Elizabeth Searle Lamb’s White Chrysanthemums

halfway up the stair—
white chrysanthemums

© Elizabeth Searle Lamb (1917-2005) (USA)

The first thing that caught my eye about this haiku is how the juxtaposition between the two parts of the poem can create different meanings. For instance, we don’t know if the white chrysanthemums are pausing, or the narrator pausing. In any case, the dash is used to make the reader feel the pause. It is also interesting to note that the word “pausing” is a single line to allow for more of an interval for the reader.

Another aspect of this haiku that drew me in is the state of meditation it could be possibly pointing to. The narrator could be so entranced with the white chrysanthemums that she has got into a state of meditation where no thought is disturbing her mind. She is simply admiring the beauty of the flowers. Though the chrysanthemum is sometimes referred to as a seasonal reference for autumn, I don’t feel it has any significance for this haiku in particular. However, I can say that the white chrysanthemum could be a representation of the state the author is in: a blank mind, peaceful in its emptiness.

The “a” and “s” sounds in this haiku create further serenity and starkness. The long “a” sounds make for slower, meditative reading. The “s” sounds pop to make this haiku more stark. Also, looking at this poem technically, there is the right amount of words to convey the moment and mood, especially with the formatting of the lines. As I mentioned earlier, even the punctuation helps to express the meaning and atmosphere of the poem.

An entrancing haiku from the “First Lady of American Haiku.” To learn more about Elizabeth Searle Lamb and to read more of her work, visit:,-elizabeth-searle.html

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Senryu

Tia Haynes’ Hands

support group
I never know
where to put my hands

© Tia Haynes (USA)
Failed Haiku, Vol. 2, Issue 20, 2017

This senryu has a significant breadth of meaning. On one hand, it brings about a feeling of mystery, where one does not know where the narrator’s hands will go. This type of mystery can put the reader in a state of pure consciousness, as thought cannot comprehend it. Another interpretation is that it is expressing the nervousness we feel in group environments, even groups that are aimed at support (we have all felt this nervousness within groups, and therefore this makes this senryu highly relatable). Lastly, it could be about how people need support equally, and to know who to give aid to is difficult to determine. This could also relate to self-help and collective help. Sometimes, it is hard to decide if we should give support to ourselves or others first.

I think the lack of punctuation works well, as a clear separation between the parts are made between line 1 and line 2 (though traditionally, senryu didn’t use kireji). Also, intuitively, the structure works better with “support group” as line 1 rather than as line 3. Making “support group” line 3 would have made the lines more normal in the short/long/short structure; however, this senryu has more impact and sounds better in the form it is now. At times, you have to use your gut when formatting a senryu or haiku.

Looking at the sound of this senryu, the most prominent sonic features are the letter “o” and “p.” The letter “o” gives an emphasis on the emotion behind the senryu, and perhaps the letter “p” adds importance to the action within the poem. Whatever the interpretation, the author has made this an aesthetic senryu through the use of sound.

A poignant, introspective senryu.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Do you enjoy this senryu? You can tell us why in the comment section.

Posted in Haiku

Zdravko Kurnik’s Clear Night

In the clear night
a fisherman pulls in a net
filled with stars.

© Zdravko Kurnik (Croatia) (1937 – 2010)

This haiku showcases the precept “as above, so below” which was first laid out in the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus. The stars not only rest in the sky, but also in lakes, oceans, and other bodies of water by way of reflection. The fisherman pulls up an empty net, but to his surprise, he catches stars. There are many possible interpretations of this occurrence: there is always good in bad situations, we can achieve celestial awareness if we empty ourselves, sometimes we wish for something mundane but receive something spiritual instead, and numerous other meanings.

However, the word “clear” leads me think about the connection between humanity and nature. This haiku could be implying that when we have a mind and heart devoid of impurity, we get connected to the cosmos, or heaven.

At first I questioned if the first line was needed, as the second and third line imply it. However, the first line sets the scene, and adding the word “clear” into the mix gives more resonance.

You might have noticed that the haiku is written in a more old-fashioned style of English-language haiku, with a capital letter in the beginning and a period at the end. Kurnik wrote during a time when haiku in the West was forming and ideas about what exactly is the West supposed to do with the form was less certain (though we, of course, are still trying to discover and learn more about what English-language haiku is supposed to be). In my opinion, this style does not take away from the wonderful image and its implications.

Also, this haiku could be said to be a one-image haiku, as it not clearly separated into parts. However, sometimes one-image haiku work well, as they carry a strong significance and resonance, like in this poem.

Turning to sound, the letter “n” caught my eye the most, having an almost “pulling” sound. The second letter that seems most important is “l” which also provides the feeling of something being pulled, and also the fullness of which the stars fill the net. This is, at least, my projection. Sounds can mean different things to different people.

Learn about Zdravko Kurnik and read more of his haiku at:

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Do you enjoy this haiku? Please let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Joshua Gage’s Pre-dawn Coffee

pre-dawn coffee
the smell of cedar
on my wool shirt

© Joshua Gage (USA)
The Heron’s Nest, Dec 2014.

The details in this haiku make it effective. The scene of pre-dawn is one of mystery, introspection, and calmness. The poet is drinking coffee to wake up and get energy for the day that has not begun yet. The smell of cedar, which has a strong scent, could either make the poet think of the work he did yesterday (probably) of cutting wood, or make him feel more calm and centered. So, we maybe have two opposing sides: the energy of the coffee, and the soothing scent of cedar. The mention of wool is a fine touch, as it relates to the season of winter. This is a great example of using a subtle seasonal reference. The poem, and the image it portrays, would have been weaker with just “on my shirt.” Not only is pre-dawn a quiet, reflective time, but doubly so in winter.

I think technically the poet could have added a dash or ellipsis after the first line. However, I understand not adding one due to already using a hyphen. As you might know, haiku poets try to avoid punctuation when not needed. We try to not jar the reader with too much punctuation.

Another consider would be to change the last two lines to:

the waft of cedar (scent)
from my wool shirt

… but I also enjoy the simplicity and sound of the original. “smell” connects musically with “wool” through the “l” sounds. Also, the long “e” sounds in “pre-dawn” and “coffee” show the calmness of the moment. In fact, the “e” sounds are carried into the second line with “the,” “smell,” and “cedar.”

This haiku showcases an enjoyable meditation on the sense of smell and time. The poet packed a lot into the haiku through details and a subtle use of a seasonal reference.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Do you enjoy this haiku? If so, please tell us why in the comments

Posted in Haiku

John Knight’s Jasmine

no rain…
ah but the scent
of jasmine

© John Knight (1935-2012) (Australia)

This is a fine example of how haiku can express a feeling without stating it. The word “ah” lends a hand in knowing the exact feeling of the writer, but the emotion of refreshment could also be extracted without this word. Rain soothes, nurtures, and beautifies. The same can be said about the scent of jasmine, which is scientifically proven to calm the nerves with its sweet smell. This haiku shows a philosophical notion of wholeness: despite the absence of rain (jasmine is a seasonal reference for late summer, so the absence of rain would be more apparent during this time), the scent of jasmine has replaced its effects. In other words, if something fails to happen, something else will take its place. Nature has a way of retaining its balance.

I like the use of the ellipsis so the reader can feel the pause of the writer while he was witnessing the moment. I think the pacing is well done, and the lines are laid out efficiently. There is just enough words to convey its idea and feeling. Like I mentioned before, “ah” could have been theoretically left out, however, it gives us more of a sense of the mood.  In terms of sound, I enjoy the usage of “n” in “rain,” “scent,” and “jasmine.” It provides the poem with an air of dignity, in my opinion. The simplicity and naturalness of how the haiku reads is also admirable.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Learn about John Knight and read more of his poems here:,-john.html

Did you enjoy this haiku? Please tell us why in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Ban’ya Natsuishi’s Candle

Silently putting out
a candle in the sand—

© Ban’ya Natsuishi (Japan)

Though the word “silent” has become a cliché in haiku, I am a sucker for its usage, as I am a daily meditator that believes in the power of silence. Also, when it is used effectively, it surpasses our biases. What also draws me into this haiku is its unique second line. As a reader, one tries to understand why a candle would be in the sand. It could relate to a funeral, it could be a tricky phrase stating that the reflection of the sun in a puddle could appear like candle light and the sun moved (essentially putting it “out”), the writer could be performing a religious or spiritual practice, and more. The mystery behind this haiku allows the reader to imagine many scenarios. The last line complements the first part, as we might have thought the setting was night, when in fact it was not. The poet can also be saying that “midday is like silently putting out a candle in the sand.” Sometimes, haiku are unsaid metaphors, where two parts imply something abstract.

I enjoy the use of the cutting word, or the kireji, provided by the dash. It adds an appropriate pause, especially considering the mood. There is a strong sense of sound in this haiku as well, with “t” being the most prominent letter in the first line, capturing the quiet mood of the poem. In the second line, letter “a” appears to be the most important, and gives a sense of awe. With “midday,” the two “d”s complement “candle.” An effective and mysterious haiku.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

To learn more about Ban’ya Natsuishi, visit:

Do you enjoy this haiku? Tell us why in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Günther Klinge’s Oil Lamp

night in the garden
an oil lamp on the table
lighting the silence

© Günther Klinge (Germany) (1910 – 2009)

We have an interesting and moody setting. I can imagine a dark garden table with an oil lamp on it, and the flowers, grass, and other plants around barely lit by the lamp’s light. The line “lighting the silence” seems metaphorical at first, but it is an actuality: the lamp is displaying the silence, or stillness, of the garden at night. Sometimes if we put attention on the stillness of our surroundings, we attain an inner stillness. This haiku, to me, is about perceiving an outward stillness, and feeling that peace within.

In terms of sound, the most prominent letter is “i,” much like the shape of a candle. The “i” sound for me adds to the hushed atmosphere. The second most important letter is “l,” which gives the haiku a musical resonance. These sounds make us revel in the moment more. In addition, it is intriguing to note the usage of articles. Though this haiku has three instances of “the,” each one is judicious. Sometimes in a haiku, you want to give focus and respect to many subjects simultaneously. Arguably, you could have “a table” but I believe it would not seem natural.

To learn more about this poet, visit The Living Haiku Anthology‘s page about Günther Klinge:

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

What do you feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Christina Sng’s Day Moon

day moon
everything seems

© Christina Sng (Singapore)
Prune Juice Issue 23

A day moon is always a magical sight. A fixture of the night, the most brilliant one, can still hang around in the day. A constant moon could have many symbolic meanings, such as enlightenment, constant inspiration, the integration of nature, romantic fervor, and more. But in this poem, it seems the poet wants to express wonder. Sometimes, we feel that everything is indeed possible, though it may come upon us inexplicably. Christina has captured one of these elusive moments.

A musical touch is given to the haiku with “m” and “s” sounds. It makes the idea behind the haiku more convincing. The simplicity of the haiku is admirable as well: only five words and no punctuation. There is a saying that you should make a haiku as simple as possible, without harming the reading of it. This haiku is a fine example of this concept. Also, though enjambment (cutting off a phrase in a line) is not often used in haiku, it is employed appropriately as a sense of surprise. An excellent haiku in feeling and technique.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

James Kirkup’s Butterfly

A butterfly fans
one buttercup, and then fans
one more buttercup

© James Kirkup (UK) (1918 – 2009)

A tricky one! Maybe it is a reflection on seduction and passionate love.

– Hifsa Ashraf (Pakistan)

Well, I don’t generally like the use of “and” in a haiku. I particularly don’t like the use of the Oxford comma in this. I think it distracts from the language. I am not entirely convinced there is a valid juxtaposition. What do you think?

– Patricia (Switzerland)

Love its visual of dancing from buttercup to buttercup. It is lovely.
At first glance, I thought it gets chopped up by a fan.

– Robert Gillette (USA)

Well, there doesn’t have to be juxtaposition in haiku. Issa didn’t always use juxtaposition. This haiku is playful like Issa’s. I tend to find 5.7.5 syllable haiku quite boring, not always if well written, but this one uses syllables just to fill the quotient. Would this haiku be using the Shasei technique?

– Martha Magenta (UK)

This is an example of a 5-7-5 haiku that really works! It is playful; and although the subject is mundane, it strikes a soft spot in my heart. I would like to imagine the moment as something in slow motion that I wanted to cherish every second of; it is light and colorful as well. In all, a very masterful creation by a modern haijin.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

A find this haiku meditative, and that it gives readers an opportunity to imagine the scene it describes. It seems we first focus on the butterfly fanning one buttercup, and then our mind moves on to imagine a whole field of buttercups to be fanned. This attention and innocence of the butterfly is admirable.

What is interesting is how the repetition of “butter” in the words “butterfly” and “buttercup” reflect the field full of buttercups (at least that is what I imagine). Another instance of repetition in this haiku is “one” beginning both the second and third line, while the first and second line ends with “fans.”

The buttercup is often a seasonal reference to late spring. Maybe with the coming heat of summer, the butterfly is cooling them down (maybe recreating the mild atmosphere of early spring). The butterfly giving such focused attention humanizes it, and makes us wonder what really separates us from animals.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (Ukraine)

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comments.