Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Special Reading

Special Reading in San Jose.
Left to right: Kiyoko Tokutomi, Patricia Machmiller, Pat Shelley, June Hymas.
Seated back to camera, Mr. Shinku Fukuda, who was visiting from Japan.

Today when the sun 
shown down on all the flowers
everything opened--
not only the world I made
but an opening silence

Pat Shelley


the woodpecker . . . then not
it’s as though the whole forest
has paused 

Patricia J. Machmiller

Monday, March 30, 2015

Just for a moment

This is Ed Grossmith, on the day I first met him during the YT Ginko at Hakone Gardens.
I didn't know then that he was a GREAT photographer whose photos were featured 
on the cover of one of out most beautiful anthologies ever.
Nor did I know how much I would like this haiku,
which is one of my all-time favorites.   jhh

just for a moment
I really believed in you
flickering candle
Ed Grossmith
Scattered Acorns; Yuki Teikei Member's Anthology 2014,
edited by June Hopper Hymas, page 18.

Tonight's bonus, two translations of a Buson haiku:
                Shoku no hi o shoku ni utsusu ya haro no yu

Lighting one candle 
with another candle-- 
spring evening

Yosa Buson on Poemhunter.com

The light of a candle
is transferred to another candle--
spring twilight
Buson; translated by Edith Schiffert & Yuki Sawa

Sunday, March 29, 2015

His Haiku Name was Shinku

I always felt like I should call him "Mr. Fukuda" 
but he always insisted on being  called "Shinku."
One time, when he was here in the U.S., he gave us haiku gifts. 
This was written on card with golden sparkles that don't show in the scan
This one hangs in a place of honor in my writing room,

that was posted after his death. He was renowned for his revision of the information
about Basho's death verse, and his theory is now widely accepted. For many years
he was also a leading spirit in the revival of renku writing. It was because of Shinku
that Yuki Teikei members were able to visit Sado Island on our trip to Japan.
Sado Island is very special to haikuists because of Basho's famous haiku
about the Milky Way.

the rough sea— 
flowing toward Sado Isle 
the River of Heaven
translated byMakoto Ueda, 
Bashō and His Interpreters

Here are some of Shinku's own haiku from his memorial page.
He was a Professor of Literature in Tokyo for many years.

hatsuyume ya sekai ni kakaru niji no hashi

first dream
the rainbow
that bridges the earth

irokusa ya gakuen no asa sugasugashi

colorful grasses
a refreshing morning
on campus

Fukuda Masahisa

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Brewer's Blackbird

You can identify him by his metallic sheen and his bright golden eye. 
This bird is named after the 19th century ornithologist, Thomas Mayo Brewer,
who found it first on the beach. I think of this bird as
The Parking Lot Bird, because in California, it is usually found there.
Think about the resemblance of a parking lot to the beach;
there are some!
This fellow turned his head to look at me with his far eye
.near the sea at Asilomar, when I was walking about looking
for haiku inspiration during the YT Haiku Retreat in 2006..

in the beach breeze
my travels forgotten...
evening cool

translated by David Lanoue

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pipevine Swallowtail

We were at Tilden Botanic Garden recently for a haiku walk. Linda P.
told me that that was a special butterfly and to watch. So I did.
One side of the wings is an iridescent blue, that only shows when the wings are unfolded.
One cannot really see it in this photograph, which is the best one I took.
It is called a Pipevine Swallowtail, because it likes the Pipevine plant.

folding, unfolding
heedless of its beauty--
pipevine swallowtail
June Hopper Hymas

And this was my favorite haiku from that ginko!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day of the Ducklings

The best surprise. One year, for the YTReading in the Teahouse, there was a family
of ducklings in the pond, as never before when we were there, 
 at the Japanese Friendship Garden!
They were quite adept in the water. 

Here the springtime has deepened
I go on and on,
go on and on.
The bank lined with willows dips slowly.

translation by Robert Hass
The Essential Haiku, Ecco, 1994, page 135.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Jane Hirschfield was the featured guest at the YT Haiku Retreat at Asilomar 
in September of  1990.Since Jane has been studying early Japanese poetry for a long time, 
she and Kiyoko Tokutomi were able to share their delight in this art form.

Clouds come between friends
only briefly---
a wild goose's migration

translated by Jane Hirschfield 
& Mariko Aratani
The Heart of Haiku (Kindle)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Zig-Zag Bridge

This bridge crosses the koi pond near the Teahouse in the Japanese Friendship Garden
in San Jose. Before one of out YT spring readings, I walked across it carefully
and saw this mother with her children. Kiyoko told me that it was supposed to
confuse demons who were crossing, but it could easily confuse you
if you are not mindful of where you put your feet.

Small koi splashing
among the water lilies
        children's voices

Pat Shelley

A Shadowed Path; 1995 Member's Anthology
edited by Patricia Moran Machmiller, page 9.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Desert Rain

This is Laurabell Hawbecker during the Asilomar Retreat with Robert Hass. 
She is a lot of riotous fun and a real "people person" with a signature hearty laugh. 
For a long time, she lived on a Houseboat in Sausalito on the San Francisco Bay. 
Be sure to click the link and read about all the things they have done; it's fascinating!
The haiku below were borrowed from that page.

Desert heat
the breeze I waited for
hotter still

Barren desert
any old thing

Desert rain
clothes on the line
still dry

Laurabell Hawbecker

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Fragrance of Wind

A group of us peering into the natural world at Asilomar.
In the center, Lynne Leach, John Anderson in black beret 
and Jerry Kilbride at the far right.

rippling waves
the fragrance of wind
in their rhythm

translated by Jane Reichhold

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Water and Stone

One of the many ways to look at the Japanese Friendship Garden in San Jose,
where Yuki Teikei usually has a springtime event.
When my second son was a baby,
our whole family used to wheel his stroller
around the path encircling the pond
nearly every Sunday in good weather.
There was always something wonderful to see!

asked how old he was
the boy in the new kimono
stretched out five fingers

translated by Robert Hass

Friday, March 20, 2015

For the love of Cherry Blossoms

This photo should get you in the mood for the approaching cherry-blossom-viewing season.
Sometimes it seems as if haiku were invented in Japan just to rhapsodize about
Cherry Blossoms!
A very outstanding recent YT haiku walk, or ginko, was the one we took
to the Tilden Botanic Garden in the Berkeley.Hills, led by David Sheretz. 
TBG is one of the East Bay Regional Parks, and focuses on the planting 
and preservation of California native plants.
Here Carol Steele and Ann Bendixen stand by a blossoming tree near the entrance.
Afterwards, we spent the afternoon looking at spring bloom of all kinds and learning
about the plants that grow there.

From all these trees
in the salads, the soup, everywhere
cherry blossoms fall.
translated by Robert Hass

The cherry blossoms fallen--
through the branches
a temple.
translated by Robert Hass

The end of spring
   in the cherry blossoms
translated by Robert Hass

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Two Smart Guys

At the first Haiku North America Conference in 1991!
On the lawn at Chabot College, Werner Reichhold, artist and poet,
and husband of Basho translator, Jane Reichhold,
engages Jerry Ball (in straw hat) in serious conversation. 
Many of us attended this conference; it was a huge thrill 
to meet so many haiku poets from 
other organizations.

iris in her hand
she talks of distant places . . .
without facing me

summer evening—
a park ranger’s brief lecture
about wildflowers

a chilly night’s walk
I can see hollow spaces
as houselights go out

Jerry Ball

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Summer Grasses

This is Bill Peckham at the Hakone Gardens ginko, June 6, 2006. 
Bill is a veteran of the military and faces many challenges squarely.
He writes sonnets and other poetry as well as haiku.

In my garden,
nurtured: bonsai. Small pockets,
yet cool, deep… tree shade

William H. Peckham

Autumn evening--
it's no light thing
being born a man

translated by Robert Hass

Summer grasses,
All that remains
Of soldiers' dreams


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Laughter at Asilomar

Here is one of our sessions at the Y T Haiku Retreat at Asilomar in September, 2007.
Left to right: Ann Bendixen, Deborah Kolodji, Billie Dee, Mariko Kitakubo, Linda Galloway.
As you can see, the sun has gone down, but we are still having fun.
the familiar cough
of my neighbor's old Chevy
winter solitude

Billie Dee
(1st Prize YT Tokutomi Contest 2011)

pieces of sky
in the forest canopy -
summer's end
Linda Galloway 
(3rd Prize Haiku Poets of
Northern California Contest 2010)
the neglected gravestone 
in the row above his 

Deborah P Kolodji

Monday, March 16, 2015

All of the Known Journeys

This is Alison Woolpert, with her guy, Alan on the wonderful 
spring wildflower walk that Roger Abe took us on in Alum Rock Park. 
Alison has been a mainstay of Yuki Teikei 
for more than the past twenty years.

alone on the porch
just the sound of this peach
is conversation

drying persimmons
this deepening of color
so deliberate

migrating whales
all of the known journeys
and the unknown

Alison Woolpert

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cherry Petal Shell

Here is Kiyoko Shibata as a schoolgirl in Japan. 
This picture was taken at a memorial service
from a photo on display, A ceiling light
 shines a golden splotch on the glassine covering.

How I love it
the sea of my hometown—
cherry petal shell

Kiyoko Shibata Tokutomi

When I asked Kiyoko to describe "cherry petal shells"
she held thumb and finger slightly apart 
to show that the delicate shell was about 
the size of a child's fingernail.
Later, she brought me some shells from Japan in a tiny jar.
They were a soft, clear, bright, not-very-dark pink.
I still have them.   jhhymas

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sky in the water

The bridge at San Jose's Japanese Friendship Garden. Our group visits every spring!
This was taken during a ginko there.

A world of dew
and within every dewdrop
a world of struggle

translated by Sam Hamill

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Water Ouzel


Jim chose as his haiku name "Ouzel" for the water ouzel, or American Dipper, 
a small bird that looks for edible morsels in the waters of shallow running streams.
Those are his knees in the pictures, and some of our hands.

This is the basket of beautiful stones he brought to one of our
Haiku Retreats at Asilomar, so we could each chose.
I still have mine. I think this was at one of the last retreats he attended
before his sudden, unexpected and accidental death. jhh
For Ouzel
of all the human
figures on the beach
the one not there

he holds out to us
baskets of colored stones
—waters of autumn

in its evening flight
the crow’s swift certitude
—autumn deepens

first killing frost—
a dream of impossible choices
among smooth stones

June Hopper Hymas
(This was my memorial sequence for him.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Winter Stone

This is Mimi Ahern, who has been a member of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society
for a long time. Again, the photo was taken at Asilomar 
during one of our haiku retreats, in the lovely ocean-bounced light there.

winter stone
the shape the weight
of his faithfulness

sixty-ninth autumn...
for the very first time
I'm planting tulips

Mimi Ahern

Apologies to everyone 
for the brief and necessary pause in this blog. 
It's back in production now. jhh

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Seascape Demonstraion

Here, at an Asilomar Haiku Retreat,
Carolyn Fitz demonstrates how one can soften the water-soluble ink
of the Pilot Parallel Pen with a waterbrush.
She was using a photo from a newspaper as a suggestion for a seascape,
Now, many of us bring some art materials with is to each Retreat.

light of one candle
used in lighting another
on this spring evening
Buson was more well known 
during his lifetime for his art, 
rather than for the haiku 
that he often painted in calligraphy 
on his ink paintings.
This version is from the small book by Cid Corman
called Little Enough, Gnomon Press, 1991, page 21.