Editors Choice Haiku

Jan 2007

EDITOR’S CHOICE

A Selection of haiku with commentary
by Ferris Gilli, Editor

dawn—
my breath rises
with that of the cows

Francis Masat, US

A haiku’s resonance is created through a partnership between poet and reader. Francis Masat’s “dawn–” invites such an alliance. The poet encourages readers to discover more than one level of meaning in his careful combination of clear images. Those who look beneath the surface will find insight beyond the immediate imagery.

Masat expresses his moment with pleasing musicality. The haiku is as lovely to read aloud as it is to imagine the experience. The last two lines create a gentle cadence, while the repeated “th” and “s” manifest the sounds of breathing from several beings. The first line shows us that day is just beginning, evoking the warm colors of sunrise, before we see the visibility of breath (denoting winter). Thus, for this reader, a sense of bitter cold is made less harsh by the “softness” of dawn.

The second and third lines reflect the poet’s humility and cognizance of his particular place in matters of the earth. Observing that “my breath rises / with that of the cows,” he is aware that, however exalted mankind may be in its own perception, at the end of the day humans differ little from other creatures in many ways. We are born, we breathe, we bleed when cut, we eat and drink to live, and if we are denied breath or sustenance, we die.

The relationship between humans and cattle is ancient. People raise and feed the animals that they in turn use for food and other things. Yet it is a rare cowherd or old-style dairyman who does not at times feel a kinship with his herd. Who has milked cows dawn after dawn and never leaned his or her head against a warm flank, soothed by the scents and low sounds of animals and frothing milk?

Francis Masat welcomes us into his early-morning haiku, to hear the movement of large bodies, to smell their warm hides and rich breaths, to watch the steamy exhalations from both poet and bovine creatures drift heavenward. The poet shares his moment of sure connection to a lowly beast, and invites us to perhaps find anew our own humble connections.

==========================

Fall/Winter 2005-2006

———————

HAIKU

TREETOPS, Fall/Winter 2005

———————

frogs’ voices—
overlooking the river
a pale moon

Jasminka Nadaskic-Djordjevic,
Smederevo, YU

mountain bridge
a river towards me
a river away from me

Tim Edwards
Jakarta, Java, ID

The creek ice gone—
a little girl tries the water
with her bare toes

Zhanna P. Rader
Athens, Georgia, US

the sound of rain
on the roof; the sound
of rain on the roof

Francis Masat
Key West, Florida, US

fresh-cut flowers
an ant circles
the rim of the vase

Rick Tarquinio
Bridgeton, New Jersey, US

monday morning
the second hand
jerks around the clock

Carmel Lively Westerman
Yuma, Arizona, US

Discovery Center
I wait for my grandson
to return from Mars

Lynne Steel
Hillsboro Beach, Florida, US

baggage carousel—
struggling to recognise
her father

Graham Nunn
Queensland, AU

mid-spring
the ache of hearing
Wordsworth’s daffodil poem

Hilary Tann

New York, US

the wind
through twisted pines
a whistling hiker

Victor Ortiz
California, US

the bikini-clad woman
reads a poem to the sea
flickering sun

Lenard D. Moore
Raleigh, North Carolina, US

silver moonlight
across the pond—
the moth’s wings

Gina Streaty
Durham, North Carolina, US

summer night—
pulling the shoelace
through the eyelets

Lenard D. Moore
Raleigh, North Carolina, US

last pear—
the yellow glint
of a starling’s beak

Laryalee Fraser
British Columbia, CA

crawling mist:
the gravedigger deep
inside a rhythm

Chad Lee Robinson
South Dakota, US

Moon—
a white-footed mouse
catches a gypsy moth

Zhanna P. Rader
Athens, Georgia, US

honeymoon . . .
each bite
of the mango

Timothy Hawkes
Centerville, UT, US

anniversary day
we keep our kayak straight
through the rapids

VictorOrtiz
California, US

the slip
of a wet oyster—
crisp ship’s biscuits

Anna Tambour
New South Wales, AU

stars after fireworks—
a cluster of lawn chairs
in the drive

Chad Lee Robinson
South Dakota, US

orchid show
an old man’s face peers
from behind the blooms

Patricia Prime
Auckland, NZ

first fall morning
we get out the cups
with acorns on them

Janelle Barrera
Florida, US

raking the lawn—
leaves on the front porch
form their own pile

Adelaide B. Shaw
New York, US

afternoon stroll—
bringing autumn home
on wet shoes

Adelaide B. Shaw
New York, US

bike tires crush
a sluggish grasshopper
the smell of cut hay

DeVar Dahl
Alberta, CA

the little girl
sticking out her tongue—
dragonfly

Francis W. Alexander
Ann Arbor, Michigan, US

brown weeds
out of weed shadows
field mouse

Ann K. Schwader
Colorado, US

yellow ball . . .
the black Labrador steps
between chestnut burrs

Nancy Stewart Smith
Athens, Georgia, US

the flock turns back
turns silver
autumn morning

Barry George
Pennsylvania, US

starry night . . .
remembering the first words
of my children

Robert Bauer
Big Wheeling Creek, West Virginia, US

first semester . . .
a sage sparrow
raises its tail

Nara Bauer
Big Wheeling Creek, West Virginia, US

fall morning
the sunny bench
taken

Rick Tarquinio
Bridgeton, New Jersey, US

the yellow tail
of a sea snake waves—
beached

Anna Tambour
New South Wales, AU

dawn—
my breath rises
with that of the cows

Francis Masat
Key West, Florida, US

first ice—
curved paths in the field
full of stars

Scott Metz
Okayama-ken, JP

class reunion
a squirrel sips from the break
in a frozen puddle

Francis W. Alexander
Ann Arbor, Michigan, US

child’s drawing—
the Star more alive
than the Wise Men

Barry George
Pennsylvania, US

New Year’s dawn—
north wind shaking
the fir cones

Vasile Moldovan
Bucharest, RO

winter deepens—
on the album’s liner notes
my young fingerprint

Jason Sanford Brown
Tucson, Arizona, US

dispersing clouds—
a scarf from her ex
draped on the snowman

Billie Wilson
Juneau, Alaska, US

 whc_blmed

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