Haiku

Traditional Japanese haiku follow a formal structure of 17 syllables divided over three lines that capture an illumined moment in time. My haiku are ‘modern’ in the sense that they are do not follow a strict form, instead attempting what to me has always been the essence, the distillation of poetry – to express as much as possible with as little as possible.

© James Magill

1972:

I’m dead serious”, I said
    and fell out of the chair.


2003:

long after the tornado
    a rising midnight wind
        still snaps me awake.


2013:

trumpeting geese…
  my breath moves their wings         


2018:

patter of forest drip
    grateful applause of trees  
        after rain 

——— ≈ ———

the rain dreams
    of the ocean


2021:

new paper
    fresh ink
        await first blossom


2022:

winter wind
    new titanium knees
        walking

——— ≈ ———

bear in the back yard
    warm winter 

——— ≈ ———

a boy, a girl,
    plain-featured, yet
        the beauty of youth

——— ≈ ———

fallen petals
    from the Valentine’s bouquet

——— ≈ ———

summer evening
    silence of distant fireworks 

——— ≈ ———

hot tub steamrise
    falling snow vanishing 

——— ≈ ——–

cosmetics label in French
    made in Milwaukee
        ooh la la

——— ≈ ——–

the meeting cancelled  
    shifting my feet
        in snow

——— ≈ ——–

rain-spattered page:
    words open
        to the sky

——— ≈ ———

hummingbird
    snail
        the pace of life

——— ≈ ———

stick from the yard
    clears window’s
        winter cobwebs

——— ≈ ———

roadkill on the sidewalk
    feeding crow lifts its head
        no, a buzzard!

——— ≈ ———

cat’s whiskers   
    in morning sun
        they’re so long!

——— ≈ ———

much from little
    haiku big bang 

 

 

.

moon at dawn
    bright smudge
        behind pink clouds

——— ≈ ———

azaleas
    full-bloom
        while I wasn’t looking!

——— ≈ ———

after the reading
    empty room still full 
        of poetry
                            (for Gary Snyder)

——— ≈ ———

flowering pink dogwood:
    life’s slow explosions.

——— ≈ ———

blustery day
    surf pounds, wind chimes crash
        again, and again

——— ≈ ———

the young child
    speaking English and Portuguese
        humbles me

——— ≈ ———

from the tallest tree
    a beetle falls
        bounces, walks away

——— ≈ ———

absent father:
    the singing toddler
        kisses  his photo

——— ≈ ———-

on the hood
    after the carwash
        waterbeads tremble in the wind

——— ≈ ———-

sunbeam
    sends this moment
        into the universe

——— ≈ ———

doing my taxes
    I look up:
        cardinal at the window 

——— ≈ ———

on the balcony
    toasting her ‘meteoric’ rise
        falling stars

——— ≈ ———

fresh-cut grass
    smell of wild onions

——— ≈ ———

spring snow flurries:
    tiny stars
        against my shirt

——– ≈ ———

mama and cubs
    in our yard
        the bear-way freeway

——— ≈ ———

galaxies’ ancient light
    the Beginning
        made visible

——— ≈ ———

stillness
    hiss of flakes
        falling on the snowdrift        

——— ≈ ———

spring leaves
    on the backyard maples
        shade after bare winter

——— ≈ ———

writing,
    striving for melancholy,
        succeeding

——— ≈ ———

sick                      and tired

——— ≈ ———

distant galaxies
    wheel in
            a dewdrop

.

jogger passes my bench   
        her ponytail bounce

——— ≈ ———

crow-jabber
    in distant trees 
        so much to talk about!

——— ≈ ———

midnight lawnchair
  Milky Way
      shivers in the dark

——— ≈ ———

dozing with
    a cardboard sign
            horn-tap brings him running

——— ≈ ———

birdsong rising   
    the morning chorus

——— ≈ ———

after the argument
    smell of ozone
        

2023:

new year’s
    snowmelt 
        off  the christmas lights 

 

2024:

before the bow
    touches strings
        vast silence

——— ≈ ———

new moon cradled
    in a branch-bower
        gently rocking

——— ≈ ———

head in hand
    my skull smooth
        as the coming dawn

——— ≈ ———

silence
    moves
        then
            music 

——— ≈ ———

the natural world
    is all things.
        what is unnatural?

——— ≈ ———

solar eclipse.
    that night 
        half-moon returns the favor

——— ≈ ———

breath discarded 
    through the flute
        lives again

——— ≈ ———

on grim pavement 
    festive wings
        of the crushed butterfly

Sacred cows make the best hamburgers.

– anon.

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