The sound of haiku

We are surrounded by sound all our waking (and sleeping) hours, some of it pleasant (birdsong), some of it discordant (emergency sirens). These haiku seem to me to use sound in interesting and sometimes inventive ways.

cello solo the owls in my bones

Tanya McDonald
from Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018)

morning sneeze
the guitar in the corner
resonates

Dee Evetts
from Montage (The Haiku Foundation, 2010)

pissing into a steel trough the muted boom of the bar

Stuart Quine
from Stepping Stones: a way into haiku (BHS, 2007)

listen!
the skins of wild damsons
darkening in the rain

Caroline Gourlay
from Stepping Stones (BHS, 2007)

furu oto ya mimi mo su-nara ume no ame

a falling sound
that sours my ears
plum rain

Basho, tr Jane Reichhold
from Basho: The complete haiku (Kodansha, 2008)

The translator’s note for this haiku, written in 1666, is: What the Japanese call ‘ume’ is most often translated as ‘plum’ … but the fruit more closely resembles the apricot. Because the fruit ripens from mid-June to mid-July the rains of this time are called ‘ume no ame’ (‘plum rains’). Even ripe the fruit is inedible until it has been preserved in salty, sour liquid, similar to olives.

breastfeeding
the slow drip of rain
on the nursery roof

Vanessa Proctor
from Wishbone Moon

summer solstice
the measuring tape reels back
into its case

Carolyn Hall
from Montage

setsugen ya majiwarazu shite wadachiato

autumn night –
the sound of two white plates
touching

Yoshiko Yoshino, tr. unknown

through my stethoscope
the rumble
of the 8:15

Jon Iddon
from Stepping Stones

foghorns –
we lower a kayak
into the sound

Christopher Herold
from Montage

drought
my ears have lost
the creek

Sandi Pray
from Wishbone Moon

late-rising moon
each rock in the stream
has its own sound

Burnell Lippy
from Montage

Reader Choice voting

With a large storm approaching today it seems like a good time to knuckle down and choose my favourite 10 haiku from the 2017 editions of The Heron’s Nest. As the journal’s got larger, the choice has become more difficult – The Heron’s Nest is a beacon of excellence.

Anyone may vote, you can find the details here (scroll down, deadline January 15).

Here are four of the haiku (one from each edition) appearing on my list – no guarantees they’ll make it through though as I’m still at a top 100 or so!

feeling the silence
sink in —
moose tracks in the snow

Angela Terry, THN 19.1

where an army
swept through wheatfields
hopping sparrows

Michael McClintock, THN 19.2

late autumn
the stillness of blue
miles deep

Jenny Fraser, THN 19.3

enough mint scent
to cross the milky way
high summer begins

Burnell Lippy, THN 19.4

Thinking about haiku deeply enough to feel swayed to cast a vote is a fun way to start the year.