Random bookshelf haiku

I was so impressed by one set of haiku bookshelves I saw on my recent US journey that I decided to pull mine apart and start again … unfortunately, the pulling apart has happened and not much else!

So, just to spur me over into the books, I have decided to post some haiku chosen at random from random books in random piles.

my husband gone –
from the bluest of skies
spring snow falls

– Takeshita Shizunojo, 1887-1951
from Haiku Love, editor (and translator of this haiku) Alan Cummings (The British Museum, 2013)

The poet was born in a rural community in Kyushu and worked as a schoolteacher and, following her husband’s early death, a librarian. Her poetry, the book says, often drew upon images of life in impoverished rural Kyushu.

winter moon the church bell an octave below

– Lorin Ford
Presence haiku journal, number 55 (UK)

Lorin Ford lives in Melbourne, Australia, and was the haiku editor for the recently closed online journal, A Hundred Gourds.

separating itself
from a tangerine
the cabby’s voice

– Michael Fessler
Modern Haiku 45.2, but I met it in the Haiku 2015 anthology, edited by Lee Gurga & Scott Metz (Modern Haiku Press, 2015)

Spend yourself now!
Spring winds blowing
before cherries bloom.

– Noa, 1397-1471
from Haiku Before Haiku
translated by Steven D Carter (Columbia University Press, 2011)

Noa, the book says, was a Buddhist monk, painter, renga master and renga steward at Kitano shrine, curator for the Ashikaga shogunate, and of Sogi’s Seven Sages of Linked Verse.

frost moon
pairing his wool socks
from the dryer

– Carolyn Hall
from her collection Water Lines (Snapshot Press, 2006)

wild boars too
are blown along:
autumn windstorm

– Basho, 1644-1694
from Haiku Animals, editor Mavis Pilbream (The British Museum, 2010)
translated by DL Barnhill

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5 thoughts on “Random bookshelf haiku

  1. so very excellent choices. i like the “random” selection if i’m understanding you right. are you simply pulling a book down. opening a random page and going to the first haiku? or the 3rd or 7th as the random pattern might be. and then giving us that? all excellent. of course edited source haiku usually are. what is it you were hoping for by pulling your haiku bookshelves apart? thank you for this treat in reading. way fun.

    • Hi Rick,
      Glad you like the haiku. I pulled out a few books I haven’t opened for a while and opened them and chose a haiku on that page. The exception was Presence – I loved Lorin’s haiku so wanted to use that.
      I’d like to get my shelves in better order. The journals are fine but the books aren’t in any order so laying my hands on things can be time consuming.
      Here’s to the future!

      • ah, yes. thank you. i see now about the ordering. i’ve never been able to resolve that well. i have areas of kinds of books. however that does not mean i don’t have those kinds of books elsewhere too. for me i depend on my memory and “feel” for where my books are. which works reasonably well for me as long as someone doesnt move it. yeah, good luck on that rick.

        i like your random haiku process.

        good luck on the ordering. and clink on the future too. aloha.

  2. I think I even know whose bookshelves you admired, shelves I’ve only heard rumors of!

    I love going through books I haven’t read in a while, especially haiku books. It’s like finding pretty pebbles at the shore

    • The bookshelves in question are things of great beauty. My haiku reorganisation is now resulting in the reorganisation of bookshelves in other parts of my house so the ripples are spreading outwards!

      Even though I’ve read most of the books I’ve quoted from right through, these haiku jumped off the page and it was as though I’d never seen them before. Okay, my memory isn’t what it was, but still, it was a strange sensation.

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