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

Postcard from Seattle

Clockwise from left front: Carmen Sterba, Sandra Simpson, Tanya McDonald, Angela Terry and Michael Dylan Welch. Photo: Keith Frentz

Had dinner with some fellow haiku-ists in Seattle last night, great fun – an exchange of news and views; some gossip; a brilliant idea was suggested, mulled and thought to be do-able; and there was plenty of laughter. I have met Michael and Angie before, both at Haiku North America in 2013, had met Carmen only by email and made a new friend in Tanya. Considering it was a week night in summer (school is just finishing in the US), I was thrilled that anyone was able to come and especially pleased that Carmen had come so far (90 minutes – and leaving her new husband alone for the evening!). I can’t tell you how special it is to make contact with other haiku enthusiasts when so far away from home so a big thanks to Michael for his organisational skills.

Michael had kindly bought me a copy of the new HNA 25th anniversary anthology (thus saving me quite a bit of postage), Fire in the Treetops, which he edited. Michael is also on the organising board of HNA.

Haiku in the Pacific Northwest of the US seems to be alive and well – Angie is president of Haiku Northwest which has a mailing list of more than 200, although numbers attending meetings vary wildly she says, anything from 5 to 40.

rain on the skylight
I carve off a petal
of lavender ice cream

– Tanya McDonald

the ferry shakes
into my spine – 
the whale’s wake

– Michael Dylan Welch

first snowman –
a toddler’s breath
on the windowpane

– Carmen Sterba

dry lightning
sizzling in twilight
the baby kicks

– Angela Terry