Posted in Haiku

Dubravko Ivančan’s World

once we are
all dead
the whole world

original Croatian:

Jednom ćemo biti
svi mrtvi;
cćitav svijet.

© Dubravko Ivančan (1931-1982, Croatia)

I see this haiku in three ways. Firstly, when we are together and enjoy our time, that is the best time in our lives, where we enjoy our lives fully. But once we get separated, the whole world looks colourless. I see the word ‘dead’ here as a lack of interest, poor relationships, separation, etc. (especially family relationships).

Then, it could be associated with ‘departure’ as once our close ones are not anymore with us, we feel the whole world is dead or that we have nothing.

Another thought (maybe silly) is related to ‘know thyself’ where people don’t use their best potential and creativity. The concept of ‘being’ can be associated with it, as he used ‘we’ in this haiku, which may point to us being human beings.

– Hifsa Ashraf

Apocalyptic … !

But ever more relevant as the threat of climate change and nuclear war starts looking less and less like science fiction and more and more like a possible real world scenario …

This haiku leaves a huge question mark hanging over it … what then, if there is a then that has any relevance to humanity?

– Gabri Rigotti

I see two different interpretations depending on where the caesura is placed.

1.) The cut is after the first line:

once we are

all dead
the whole world

I am reminded here of Rene Descartes’ cogito ergo sum. The last two lines reinforce the first. And what I see here is the extinction of humankind. Morbid… and apocalyptic as what the kind Gabri Rigotti has earlier stated. I don’t want for humankind to reach this scenario, but who knows… humankind has become so intelligent (and scheming) that it has already devised ways and means to accidentally or intentionally make its kind extinct. If this happens, then other lower forms of organisms might inherit the earth. But then, who knows.

On the other hand, if we believe what God has said, He would intervene when humankind is about to make itself extinct. Then, there is promise and hope for humankind.

2.) The cut is after the 2nd line:

once we are
all dead

the whole world

I see this as a door that opens a myriad possibilities or eventualities. “Once we are all dead,” then what? Will the world cease to exist because humankind has been eliminated? Apparently, one interpretation of this ku suggests that (once we are all dead, the whole world is dead).

Or, the third line becomes an open-ended anticipation of what would be the final scene.

This is my take of this ku.

– Willie Bongcaron

I think “dead” here means just that—”dead” and if it is about all of us being dead, then I agree with the above, that it is apocalyptic and it relates to the possibility that humanity may wipe itself out.

The third line draws my attention more—”the whole world” means all of humanity, and if we differentiate between “the world” and “the earth” then we can see the earth continuing without humanity and “the world” we have imposed on it.

This haiku wants to be read over and over for the implications to sink in. It says a huge amount in a very few words.

– Martha Magenta

My instinct, for what it is worth, is to change the tense:

once we were
all dead
the whole world

which gives it a post-apocalyptic feel.

– Francis Franklin

The poets above have written a great deal of what I wanted to write about this haiku already, however I have one more idea to add. To me, this poem comes instinctively across with the feeling that when each of us perish, we will become the whole world. We are usually confined to our ego and thus to our individuality, but when we die, we once again join the collective consciousness.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

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

Posted in Haiku

Maria Laura Valente’s Cold Spring

cold spring —
each flower withers

(NHK Haiku Masters, March, 2017)

© Maria Laura Valente (Italy)

According to my understanding, “cold spring” indicates the transformation period from winter to spring. During this period, snow melts from the plants, flowers, and trees that may be a point of withering. “Alone” here indicates the number of a flowers left behind, and that the rest withered during the winter.

The intrinsic side is again the transformation of our life, thoughts, and feelings from one stage to another. “Flowers” may symbolize desires, longings, or wishes of a person that wither, die, or change during this period. “Alone” indicates that each person has his or her own journey to experience transformation, of which is not easily understood by others.

– Hifsa Ashraf

This strikes me as a chilling reminder that we are all alone in death. The word “alone” on its own in line three emphasizes the aloneness.

– Martha Magenta

Overall, a very nicely done haiku. Line one brings us the season with “cold spring.” It is the beginning of spring, a symbol of the new cycle of life, new beginnings. In line two, the word “each” indicates more than one, and also shows us that no one is safe—we all will experience the same final result. So, “withering” confirms the ending result of life. Line three is a nice addition. Even with more than one flower present, they are still in solitude—this brings a touch of sadness. I do find this haiku very pleasing. This brings me to an inspired version:

early spring—
cold snap frost flowers
the baker whistles

– Laughing Waters

This ku strikes me with a realization that there are events and things in life that we have to do alone. There are points in life when nobody could accompany us; perhaps, even in some decision-making, specially about our individual life, others simply can’t do it for us.

– Willie Bongcaron

Spring is often referred to as a joyous time of blossoming, but often people overlook the withering of flowers in all times of spring. Not all flowers stay beautiful and blossom throughout spring. Some come for a short time with brilliance, and fade away among still blossoming flowers. In this sense, I believe this haiku could be stating that each time period is not just one thing, but convex.

Another feeling I get from this haiku is that pain might have even more pain behind it that we do not perceive. The cold spring is already harsh as it is, but the poet notices how the flowers wither alone, and this amplifies the mood of being in a cold spring. Despite this melancholy perception, it does bring us more into the moment, and allows us to truly experience pain. There is a Buddhist saying that goes something like, “To get rid of pain, become fully immersed in it.”

A look at the sound of the haiku adds to the feeling behind it. The prominent “o” sound in “cold,” “flower,” and “alone” works to bring out the starkness of the moment.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

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

Posted in Haiku

William J. Higginson’s Tick, Tick

the tick, tick
of snow on the reeds . . .
sparrow tracks

© William J. Higginson (USA)

As I see it, the scene conjures a time of early winter, when the snow falls, yet perhaps lightly. And adding to the scene, sparrow tracks (line three) which construes that once, a sparrow was exploring the marshy portion of this location. I take the whole image as another manifestation or celebration of the transitoriness of things and events in our lives.

The persona here could be a tracker or a hunter out to satiate his or her eagerness to score a game. And, finding the place devoid of life, contemplates what to do next… or retreated in the appreciation of the quietness of his or her surrounding.

– Willie Bongcaron (Philippines)

Here a sparrow has left its tracks in snow. Perhaps the sun has risen and the snow on the reeds begins to thaw. The tick tick of the thawing snow seems to reflect the sound of the sparrow hopping. A lovely atmospheric haiku.

– Martha Magenta (England)

I want to point out how potent this haiku is sonically. The first line begins with an onomatopoeia with “tick, tick.” The next sound that is important is the “s” that is present in “snow,” “reeds,” “sparrow,” and “tracks.” There is also a strong presence of “o” sounds and “t” sounds. All in all, this is one of the most musical haiku I have ever read. I believe the sounds reflect the noise of the sparrow and the snow falling on the reeds lightly. Just from its sound, it is a wonderful haiku, and brings us fully into the moment portrayed through the images.

The similarity between the “tick” of snow falling on the reeds, and sound of the sparrow making its tracks is interesting to ponder. In my perspective, it reflects the contrasts of life, and how if one thing is degenerating, something new is being made at the same time to balance it out. The reeds are being covered by the snow gradually, while fresh tracks are created by the sparrow. Essentially, in death there is life, and in life there is death.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky (USA)

Posted in Haiku

Ken Sawitri’s Plastic Bag

with the plastic bag
a stork wraps the moon
on its head

© Ken Sawitri (Indonesia)

Published originally in: Robert Epstein and Miriam Wald (Eds.), 2016 (1st ed.), Every Chicken, Cow, Fish and Frog: Animal Rights Haiku, Middle Island Press.

Below are various reactions to this haiku by four poets:

My first reaction is one of horror—an image of a wild bird with its head stuck in a plastic bag. I can’t see where the moon comes in though.

– Martha Magenta

I too, find this to be an upsetting image—the horror of a defenseless bird entrapped in a human-made object intended for a legitimate use that has resulted in a devastating (to the stork) consequence. Yet, the author does not come right out and state the horror, he merely reports it, and, “oh, by the way” (he seems to say), the plastic bag reflects the image of the moon, a natural element caught with an unnatural object.

– Dana Grover

To echo Dana and Martha, this haiku brings a feeling of a natural life form trying to adapt to an unnatural object. When I read this, the stork is making a nest out of the plastic bag by wrapping it on top of its head. Under the moonlight, the plastic bag is illuminated in darkness. The word “wraps” seems to reflect the act of creating circles, and this is why a nest came to mind. It brings an unsettling image and reminds us of just how much trash humans have created.

At grocery stores where I live, plastic bags are recycled, and good people know to recycle them versus filling a landfill or discarding them off the side of the road. If anything, I hope this haiku reminds people to recycle and reuse plastic bags. In a world where everything is connected, each action we take, no matter how small, makes a difference.

– Jacob Salzer

I think this haiku contains an opportunity for a mix of interpretations. In fact, I believe the author intended for us to get a visceral reaction out of it: one that is at once shocking by the image, and awed by the beauty of the moon. To me, these qualities make it a strong haiku, as it reflects life: life is mixed, with good in bad, and bad in good.

The plastic bag is flimsy, unnatural, and a thing eventually meant to be thrown away. Yet, here in the haiku, it has the dignified duty of carrying the light of the moon on the stork’s head. This act can have many interpretations, but the spiritual meaning could be that the stork feels a sense of enlightenment and it has gone beyond its mind or individual self. It seems like a representation of a loss of ego and becoming one with the spiritual self.

This haiku does carry overtones of death, but that could be the death of the ego, and the “attainment” of enlightenment. The haiku portrays a disturbing moment, however the heron could theoretically shake the plastic bag off its head in an instant. But we are kept in suspense, and this marks one of the qualities of haiku: since it is a fragment of a sentence, the poet can create mystery quite easily.

Even the sound of the haiku demonstrates a mixed feeling. The “o” sound in “stork,” “moon,” and “on” brings a soothing resonance. However, with the hard sounds of “plastic,” “bag,” and “wraps”, the haiku delivers a harsh feeling.

The open and striking nature of this haiku allows one to ponder its image for a while. I think like a good haiku, it cannot be pinned down in meaning and mood.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky
What do you think or feel about this haiku? Let us know in the comment section.




Posted in Haiku

Anto Gardaš’ Buzzing

plum blossoms—
every crown buzzing
the same tune

original Croatian:

Procvale šljive.
Svaka krošnja zuji
istu melodiju.

© Anto Gardaš (Croatia) (1938-2004)

There is this happy feeling when you look at plum blossoms in their different shades of pink. True to their form, plum blossoms, for the Chinese and Japanese people, “symbolize perseverance and hope, as well as beauty, purity, and the transitoriness of life.”

Therefore, I see this ku as some form of celebration of life. That, after the cold harsh winter and the barrenness of the surroundings, trees begin to awaken and show their inner beauty to the appreciating and thankful world.

“Every crown buzzing the same tune” for me shows this celebration… when spring comes to life starting with the awakening of plum blossoms.

– Willie Bongcaron

A kind of celebration that is truly in sync with every type or colour of the flower. Crown may indicate a tiara, if I am not wrong!

– Hifsa Ashraf

I paused on the word “crown” for some time. I looked through translation machines to see if the translation matched up, and it does. My initial reaction was that of flower crowns, where you tie flowers together to create a crown. It is a playful and sweet act. The buzzing could be from bees trying to collect pollen while the crowns lie on the ground.

Plum blossoms are elegant and charming, and they come in early spring. The oneness of the buzzing could be indicative of the joy people feel in unison when spring starts to sprout.

In another sense, with the idea of a crown, each person is given the dignity of nature to use for their benefit and decoration. The buzzing of the same tune shows that maybe, we are all the same in the eyes of nature. We only make distinctions in our minds and create divisions through our own projections.

The joy and message of unity of humankind made me select this poem. When we imagine this haiku’s scene in all its beauty and meaning, we are transported to a glance of heaven.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

What do you think or feel about this haiku? Tell us below in the comments.

Posted in Haiku

Lorin Ford’s Slow Dancing

slow dancing
to Satie
the pears ripen

© Lorin Ford

Modern Haiku, 44:1, 2013

The subtlety, sly haikai humor, and ekphrastic nature of this haiku all unfold gradually and as imperceptibly as the ripening fruit it ends with, perhaps leaving many readers perplexed. Even without deeper understanding, the surface meaning is pleasant and intriguing, with the connection to the ripening pears and the dance left open to interpretationand while this is not a haiku that will speak universally, for some it will have a delicious, piquant charm, providing a refreshing change of pace from the ordinarily somber tone of much of English-language haiku with its hidden element of absurdist humor.

The first line brings to mind an intimate setting. A couple slow dancing in their home perhaps, or in a private garden, we are brought into a quiet, intimate moment. The music is the first clue that something is amiss—famous for being a precursor of minimalist music, writing “wallpaper music,” and amassing a laundry list of bizarre eccentricities, Erik Satie was a Fin de siècle French composer who dabbled in Dada and surrealism, peppered his music with strange commands like from the tip of the thought, and be clairvoyant, and is most famously remembered as the composer of the Gymnopédiesslow, undanceable tunes whose melodies evoke an ancient, sensual melancholy, and whose unusual portmanteu name brings to mind Greek youths dancing nude through fantastical neoclassical settings à la Maxfield Parrish. This is not typical dance music, even for a quiet, slow moment of romance, the pulse being almost painfully lugubrious and the mood somber—music more suitable for ruminations on a rainy day.

The third line brings in a kigo, placing the ku in late summer or early fall, the pears ripening on the trees, or perhaps in a bowl in the dimly lit-house—our setting is still uncertain. The pear’s shape echoes the curves of the woman or women dancing, hinting at fecundity and sensuality, perhaps even a sexual awakening as ripeness is attained. But is it truly a kigo, a shift to nature and a seasonal reference? Here, the riddle is solved, and those who are familiar with the composer’s ouvre will realise the clever twist and reference to one of Satie’s many vexing works, worthy of Magritte in the wordplay and absurdity inherent to its name: “Three Pieces in the Form of a Pear.”

It is rare to have such obscure literary, musical, or art references in contemporary English-language haiku. In Japanese haiku, such literary excess or eccentricity has a long history, but the over-dependence on kyakkan shasei (objective life sketching) and Bashō‘s Zen infused sabi aesthetics that lingers from the early days of ELH often robs us of such moments of subtle recognition and wry humor that is so distinctly haiku, rather than a dabbling with the senryu range of caricature and satire. Ford’s bringing a touch of Satie’s own Dadaist humor into the world of the Japanese forms shows the composer to be a surprisingly appropriate choice; the ku echoes the wordplay and eccentric humor of the Danrin school of haikai or the quirky surrealism of post-war Japanese haiku. This is one of those verses that I wish I had written myself, for it is utterly charming and perfect in a quiet, subtle way—a unique and thoroughly modern masterpiece.

Erik Satie ~1903~ Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire:

– Clayton Beach

Posted in Haiku

Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian’s Power Outage

power outage—
the neighbourhood cicada
bursts into a song

Creatrix, #31, 2015

© Emmanuel Jessie Kalusian (Nigeria)

Interesting and profound haiku. Perhaps the cicada was singing all along and only noticed when the distractions of what’s unnatural was shut down.

– Fractled

Love it! It is funny and profound on at least two levels. One, as a previous comment notes, the cicada was “singing” all along and were only noticed when the humans no longer had electrical distractions, or else the (cicada) was so happy that there were no distractions that it did, indeed, burst into song. This is another one of those that I think, “I wish I had written that.”

– Dana Grover

The haiku shows a moment of “light” to me. It makes me think of the many precious things slipped out of our sight due to this modern life—like the cicada’s song.

I love the use of”—” and bursts. Both give a strong impression of suddenness.

Also, the repeating of r, similar to a cicada’s sound, brings the scene to life to me.

– Lucky Triana

In modern times, a power outage is an inconvenience, an impediment to productivity, or even a cause of dollars lost (I think of food, thawing in the freezer). We are reliant on electricity. Its loss is a major disruption, and generally not welcome, within the structure of our lives.

Kalusian’s haiku, on the other hand, takes the power outage as a celebration. A first reading of the poem implies that the celebration is the cicada’s, that it’s reacted to the power outage by bursting into song. A second, more thoughtful reading, is that the celebration is our’s. As others have mentioned, it is likely that the cicada was singing before the electricity was lost. But its song was missed under the hum of the current, or beneath the sounds of our various devices. The loss of power, therefore, opened up the world around us. There is a beauty to be celebrated in nature when we slow ourselves down, remove our distractions, and listen. Sometimes, an event like a power outage helps bring that beauty to us.

– Dave Read

An appreciation of the more mundane things, as in the song created by cicadas, takes a deeper meaning when technology assumes a back seat. Here, I believe, it is being alluded that the absence of electricity made the writer contemplate about the simpler things around us—and that this may be, to some extent, hard to experience as the former seems to make us take things for granted.

– Willie Bongcaron

Location is so important. Kigo can really become meaningless in the context of global haikai. Looking into cicadas on the African continent, they seem more of the “wall of sound,” very large and abundant species. So, I think the singular here is a bit strange, especially with “neighborhood cicada.” How could a neighborhood only have one?The only context where I could see the singular reading to be consistent and interesting is if the “neighborhood cicada” is a metaphor for a loud and obnoxious neighbor, perhaps one prone to bursting out into song, and generally you can’t hear them over the din of the city, but in this moment of quiet, their voices comes out loud and clear.

However, that’s a stretch. I still think its stronger with the plural noun, but that may just be my inner etymologist getting hung up on scientific realism.

Another way around this would be to have it be a particular cicada one can see or at least realistically single out:

power outage—
from the neighbor’s tree a cicada
bursts into song

Something clarifying like that. However, I think

power outage—
the neighbourhood cicadas
burst into song

Really is succinct and nice and doesn’t bring up any awkward “wait, but…” objections for me. I’m totally fine with surrealism and metaphor, personification, or other literary effects in haiku, but they need to have a purpose and add something in terms of resonance to justify bringing the audience outside of the moment. Here, the singular completely pulls me out of the poetic thought-space into critical mode because it doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t create a pleasant irony or paradox either.

– Clayton Beach

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

Posted in Haiku

Adjei Agyei-Baah’s Stars

calm water…
the urge to walk these stars
as stepping stones

WHR Jan 2017, Shintai Haiku, 7 Honorable Mention

© Adjei Agyei-Baah (Ghana)

The first thing I noticed was the contrast between “calm” and “urge.” In the context of this haiku, I believe “calm” relates to a clarity of vision.

People sometimes have abstract desires to do something.  In regard to this haiku, this abstract idea is celestial and engages the reader’s imagination greatly. To me, stars being thought of as stepping stones can mean multiple things: 1) that we should use outer space as a vehicle to further the human race 2) the poet is disillusioned with mundane life and wants to be guided to a more heavenly/divine/transcendent place 3) that since the stars are being reflected in the calm water (an assumption of mine), it shows that stepping stones can seem grand through one’s perspective, even if they are simply a tool to reach the other side. I am sure readers can find more interpretations as well.

The calmness of the water, in my mind, gives rise to the poet’s imagination. In the stillness of the moment, the poet sees the stars reflected in the water, and is in tune with his desires. In the clarity of mental stillness, the world opens up with new possibilities. Thoughts usually hold us back from imagining and feeling the moment. The border between what is programmed into our minds and what is spontaneous is broken if we attain mental stillness. Like a Zen state, the stars could have easily been stepping stones, and anything else reflected in the water. The beginner’s mind brings life back to a sense of wonder, and I believe that is one facet of this haiku’s message.

In terms of sound, this is a musical haiku. Not only is there an alliteration of “s” soundswhich could be equated to the chime of waterbut also there is “a” sounds in “calm,” “water,” “walk,” and “stars.” The “a” sound makes the words seem longer, and gives the effect of something being pulled, like an urge, as is stated in the haiku. In addition, the pacing of the lines works phenomenally in conveying the haiku’s somber yet energetic mood.

Imaginative and evocative, this haiku engages readers and allows them to derive many ideas and feelings from its imagery. A highly enjoyable haiku.

– Nicholas Klacsanzky

Some more commentary was written from the Haiku Nook, a haiku community online:

I’m satisfied with the first two lines alone, leaving out the simile and creating a 2-line haiku.

calm water…
the urge to walk these stars

– Edwin Lomere

Totally agree with you here Ed. That’s an excellent edit. I would probably go one step further and split the second line in two with “these stars” as the third line. However, I may be splitting hairs. Great stuff. 🙂

– Dave Read

I don’t disagree with Edwin, except to say that the way Adjei has used “as stepping stones” this is not a simile. Here “as” is used in the same way as “as if” which is more of a conjunction than a simile. (The urge to walk these stars as if they were stepping stones) and this changes the intended sense, I would imagine.

– Martha Magenta

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

Posted in Haiku

Laryalee (Lary) Fraser’s Year

planting the beans …
this year it takes longer
to unbend myself

Ambrosia, #4, 2009

© Laryalee (Lary) Fraser (1940 – 2013)

Several poets from Haiku Nook, a community of haiku poets on Google Plus, wrote what they thought and felt about this haiku written by one of the most important Canadian haiku poets.

This haiku brings me way back to my childhood. I got some Russian blood in my veins. They have a saying: “Sitting on the beans.” It usually means that an action of someone puts another person in struggle, that the year wasn’t very good, that the family will struggle through the winter, and that they will have nothing to eat but beans. Even in the worst year, this plant will survive and produce more beans. High in protein, it will be a good addition to the meal.

Back to this haiku, I see a person who is taking care of his/her future by “planting the beans.” Line two works here as a perfect hinge and line three brings something more to explore “to unbend myself.” To me, it brings more to this haiku, and shows more struggle.

– Laughing Waters

To me, this brilliant write by Laryalee (Lary) Fraser shows the passing of time and how it affects the present, where the minute to the grandest of changes occurs ever constantly, for nothing is truly stagnant in this ever evolving/de-evolving reality which in this case was the gardener’s posture.

An inspired haiku:

thorny bush
the weed whacker
loses its edge

– Fractled

It makes me think of age. I find it takes me longer to straighten up after a gardening session now. If we want those homegrown beans, it has to be done. I can feel that creak reading this haiku. Ouch.

– Marilyn Ward

It’s very pleasant. I like gardening, so I connect to that. Squatting down and weeding or planting can get rough on the knees, so I take it as a very simple lament on aging and the passing of time. It has a touch of melancholy, but is still light enough. It’s a solid, no-frills haiku. I can feel the stiffness in the speaker’s bones.

– Clayton Beach

Greatit makes me think of how much my back aches these days when I am gardening, ouch!

– Martha Magenta

I like thisit takes you along a path where you expect it to lead you, and all of a sudden, you end up somewhere else. This is clever, takes a matter-of-fact doing and turns it into something bigger than itself. It says one can no longer easily do the things one used to easily do, without coming right out and saying that.

– Dana Grover

Time takes its toll on everyone and in everything we do; as we grow older (and wiser I suppose), chores become more physically demanding… gone are the days when we could do our daily chores with ease, no matter how long it would take us to do these.

Moreover, this ku reminds me of a poem by Archibald MacLeish “The Wild Old Wicked Man” with its first stanza that goes:

“Too old for love and still to love!
Yeat’s predicament and mine – all men’s:
the agind Adam who must strut and shove
and caper his obscene pretense…”

– Willie Bongcaron

I get a lot from this haiku.

Four major interpretations come to mind:

1. To echo the comments made, I see an old farmer or a gardener. I can see the wrinkles of time in his/her face.

2. I also see a young farmer who is slowly recovering from a major surgery or injury, and physically has to move slower in order to heal from it. The first line brings me a sense of youth via planting the new beans. When we bend a bone to such an extent that it breaks and becomes a fracture, the physician makes the repair, and he/she does so so that the body part can remain unbent and be stabilized/immobile, so it can fully heal.

3. I also get the feeling of a person becoming mentally rigid by clinging to narrow and rigid belief systems. As we get older, it seems some people tend to become less flexible in their worldviews (political or otherwise), while others remain more flexible and open-minded. It has been said that what is rigid is bound to break. On the other hand, I’ve read quotes about the strength of flexibility, and it’s vital importance as we learn and grow, like the bean plants. : )

It’s as if planting the new beans is symbolic for a new beginning, as we appear to struggle with the weight of old karma, and the mental conditioning that was forced on us from day one.

4. This haiku reminds us to save our backs and lift from our legs. I’ve read about many job-related injuries at work, where the patient will bend over, and lift heavy objects resulting in lumbar strains/sprains, and chronic low back pain. Even sciatica. All it takes is one sudden movement, and you are in for a long recovery. It has been said, when your back goes, you don’t get it back. Fortunately, we have surgeons that can do remarkable things for people with spinal cord injuries. But, I won’t get into the heavy topics of health insurance or narcotic pain management.

Great haiku!

– Jacob Salzer

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


Posted in Haiku

Charles B. Dickson’s Cabin

cajun cabin …
the aroma of hot gumbo
floats on the bayou

© Charles B. Dickson (1915-1991)

I sent out messages on social media to learn what poets thought or felt about this haiku. Here are some of their responses from different social media platforms:

Haiku Nook on Google Plus

At first look, I thought about why the word “hot” is used in line 2? Cold gumbo wouldn’t have a strong smell, but in English “hot” isn’t just temperature, it also can mean “spicy.” Cajun meals are famous for their heat and spice. Overall, thanks to line 1, and the word “bayou,” it creates a good visual. Here is my simple attempt at a revision:

the bayou
wraps around the Cajun cabin
spicy aroma of gumbo

– Laughing Waters

There’s definitely a mysterious element to this haiku. What I can’t tell is whether this is a day or night event, but I’m leaning towards night. While there’s no juxtaposition, it’s quite a vivid capture that definitely lets the mind of the reader explore. Going back to the mystery, the “technique of mystery” was used to write this haiku, and is one of 59 techniques from Jane Reichhold’s teachings from AHA Poetry.

– Fractled

Pretty sure gumbo is a dinner dish, so I get an image of the quiet bayou with a spicy scent in the air. I agree with the use of the word “hot” seeming offspicy would be better. “Floats on” is awkward too. I would have liked to see it say:

Cajun cabin 
spicy aroma(s) of gumbo
floats across the bayou

– Clayton Beach


cajun cabin …
the aroma of hot gumbo
floats on the bayou

A good point was made that you might not require ‘hot’ as gumbo aroma would happen as the dish is being prepared and hence it’s both hot in temperature, and also the spices would be strong across a breeze.

I wonder about just:

cajun cabin…
the aroma of gumbo
on the bayou


cajun cabin…
an aroma of gumbo
on the bayou

cajun cabin…
a gumbo dish cooking
across the bayou

Gumbo: – Gumbo – Wikipedia

– Alan Summers


Well, its images certainly transport me. I love Cajun food! Haiku wise, I’d say it’s a little obvious. Perhaps if I was made to think at first of something else floating on the bayou.

– Eric Lohman

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Makes me want some gumbo! 😉 Very nice!

– Danielle Kennedy

I have no idea what gumbo is . . . and yet “Cajun” tells me it is hot with reds and oranges, maybe. It feels like yesteryear memories, warm and inviting, calm and peaceful. . . 🙂

– Karen Hayward

Food is always related to nostalgia and memories, 😊 especially comfort foods. I love how it mentions the aroma floating around the bayou. I love this haiku.

– Meekha

Frankly, I needed to google cajun and gumbo first to get the feel of this haiku better 🙂

Using the words cabin, gumbo, and bayou, the writer effectively packed the typical scene in the Cajun’s life.

Combining multiple sense observations–sight, smell, and taste–I think he succeeded in brining the scene to life.

Love the repetition of the ‘o’ sound too. It gives a dreamy atmosphere to me. I can almost see myself standing there, by the bayou 🙂

– Lucky Triana

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