Fellow Haikuists Share Their Stunning and Breathtaking Poems

Adobe Photoshop PDFI asked this question of my fellow poets: Which flowers or trees inspire you to write haiku, and why?

None of the poets knew what others’ responses would be, as I blind-copied them. Two poets said they were inspired by peonies and two said by aspen trees.

Please read all responses below:

I generally don’t know what will inspire me to write a haiku, until it happens.

parallel parking
even here
emerging daffodils

Bruce J. Pfeffer

Sharing the Sun: Haiku Society of America Member’s
Anthology, 2010

Cherry trees and their blossoms are important images in poetry and in art. Cherry blossoms’ fragrance, beauty and fragility have inspired me to write haiku.

twilight breeze
cherry blossoms fall
on his headstone

Alicia Hilton

World Haiku Review, April 2012

New Mexico (where I recently moved to) has different trees and flowers than Chicagoland, so I have changed my tune a bit recently. This haiku was chosen for a project called Odes and Offerings, in which 30-odd poets in the Santa Fe area submitted a couple poems. One each was chosen by Joan Logghe, Santa Fe Poet Laureate, and matched to an artist, who then created an “ekphrastic” work (i.e., a work that incorporates actual text in the artwork). My artist was Donna Rutt, and what she came up with is visible on her blog at: http://www.loosidia.blogspot.com/2012/03/

the aspens
and the chamisa agree
on a shade of yellow

Charles Trumbull

I have a special love for the sound of aspen trees. They are the first to pick up a breeze and give it voice, and they sing quietly even when all the other trees are silent. That sound is a blessing, getting me out of my head and back to the present moment.

whisper of aspens
bringing me back
to my senses

David McKee

The pines of northern Wisconsin … balsam, spruce, white & norway pines! For the way they smell in the heat of summer, and their embrace of the snow in winter.

memorial …
snow falls lightly
on your limbs

–Joan Vistain
Frogpond XXII:2 1999

When we moved here (to Connecticut), right out my studio window, I saw an ash tree that has the same angle curve that I bear in my spine. It’s been overshadowed by other trees and had to grow through the open spaces, thus causing the twisting. Every year I think it won’t make it, yet each year it still leaves out.

I can’t help but identify with it, and the very name “ash” conjures up so many images of rising from the ashes, that it always inspires me.
This poem was written right after my husband John died. I felt quite dead indeed.

dormant ash tree–
still curved toward
the sun of past years

Merrill Gonzales

South by Southeast 7:1 (2000)

Charlotte, you really nail these questions. Each day I start with a novel or haiku that clear my head to write. Monday through Friday, I open the seed packets anthology from bottlerockets press. This is where I love your trillium and homelessness poems each time I read them. It helps me think of the morning through the lenses of plant life. My favorite in the book is Michael McClintock’s single-image poem:

deep in the pool,
that summer easiness
of water-flowers

It has made me think of describing human nature via plant-life. This leads me to write a poem such as:

becoming less
little by little
the cattail winters

I used to read a fair amount of D.H. Lawrence’s poetry. He had a turtle and flowers phase. He said he wrote about plants and animals during those years because humans had betrayed him so. In the same way, I think, consideration of a flower or tree starts my day by putting humans in a proper proportion in creation. I haven’t published this one, but it comes from a cup of coffee looking out the window:

the locked church
but a magnolia left
open

To answer your question, I am surrounded by altar flowers and easter lilies, and poinsettias. They tell me what’s happening. I have poems about each of them. Sometimes I use the black walnut as an image for my daughter who has had a rough patch lately. So this morning I wrote:

who can help
the chemicals in your grain
black walnut

Sure, I will work on that one, but you have surfaced plant life as a door home. Thanks for these questions, the dialogue, and your contribution to haiku.

Blessings for the day.

-Dan Schwerin, Minister

Thanks, Dan. Since you brought it up, this is my trillium haiku:

walking
through darkness . . .
trillium

Charlotte Digregorio

International Herald Tribune, Feb. 17, 2007

Peonies. I got my fondness for peonies from a maiden aunt who, before she passed away, gave me cuttings from her three favorite peony plants. Years later, while I was teaching in China, I visited the “Origin of Peonies” hill in Chongqing Province. Legend has it, that area was the first to develop the peony. I felt I was making a pilgrimage for both my aunt and myself.

peony viewing…
gravestones face
passing tourists

Thomas Chockley

This request is very timely. The peonies are early this year. My grandmother originally planted them around 1915-1920 in Chicago. I remember carrying bunches to school with the fragrance pouring into my heart. These same plants have moved with me to Skokie. I treasure them.

The garden’s silence
I reach for her peonies
An ant soothes my hand

maryjo cally

Finally, Michael Dylan Welch didn’t send a haiku, but a message that might interest a lot of haikuists:

I can’t resist saying cherry trees and their blossoms. And now, would be a perfect time to enter the Haiku Invitational on the subject of cherry blossoms for the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival. The deadline is June 4. You are free to enter up to two haiku. Info is at http://www.vcbf.ca and click the Haiku links.

Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
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10 Responses to Fellow Haikuists Share Their Stunning and Breathtaking Poems

  1. Dear Charlotte, This is so beautiful. Your guest collections would make a lovely book!

  2. snowbirdpress says:

    Dear Charlotte, This post is certainly a keeper. I was very moved by Thomas Chockley’s peony haibun. I have my Grandmother’s peonies that were handed down to my Mom then to me. I’ve written many peony poems about relationships in my life and their meaning. All of these stories are fascinating. Thank you.

  3. Merrill Ann Gonzales says:

    Thanks, Charlotte, I was delighted with the information Tom sent. Many thanks to you both.

  4. Javid Sinha says:

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    I was looking on Digg for something else, Anyways I am here now and would just like to say
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    at the minute but I have book-marked it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time
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