Thursday, April 30, 2015

If only . . .

This is Gregory Longenecker who joined the Southern California Haiku Study Group
when Jerry Ball moved south. You can see some of the cobbles of one of 
Asilomar's early buildings behind him. We are all getting ready to have Garry Gay
take our group photograph for Haiku Pacific Rim 2012.

if only life
were that simple 
Gregory Longenecker 

Scattered Acorns; 2014 YT Membership Anthology, page 28

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Shiki, himself

In Matsuyama in 2007, at the Shiki Museum, we met
an almost life-size Shiki. I would rather have this 
than the cardboard John Wayne (my cousin has) any day!

spring rain:

browsing under an umbrella
at the picture-book store 

Masaoka Shiki

Sorry, about yesterday, Our local internet took the day off
after something (probably road construction)
severed something essential, so there wasn't a post.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Beach Sagewort

Dune flowering at Monterey Dunes. Quite a bit of silvery beach sagewort and
one California Poppy, glowing during a haiku event.

heads of beach sagewort
nodding to each other like
ladies gossiping

Kiyiko Tokutomi

beach sagewort
mirrors a sunless sky
quietly . . . quiet

Judith Schallberger

San Francisco Bay Area
Nature Guide and Saijiki;
edited by Anne M. Homan
Patrick Gallagher
Patricia J. Machmiller
2010, page 42

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Wildflower Walk

A nice showing of the Blue Fiesta Flower during springtime in Alum Rock Park,
on the ginko we took with Ranger Roger Abe several years ago.
The fiesta flower gets its common name because its flexible, slender stems 
will stick lightly to fabric, so one can dress up a blouse to wear to a fiesta!
There is also a white variety.

(The most recent Mariposa had this haiku
which suggested this post.)

wildflower walk
I have all the photos of them
I'll ever need

Patrick Gallagher
Mariposa 32, Spring/Summer 2015
Haiku Poets of Northern California

And this is the way the sky looked over Alum Rock Park that day!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

For you, O Gull!

A water take-off seen from the beach at Asilomar during a YT Haiku Retreat!.       jhhymas

For you, O gulls,
I order slaty waters
and this leaden sky!
Richard Wright
American Poetry; the Twentieth Century, Volume Two
Library of America, 2000, page 642.

American author & novelist Richard Wright wrote a large body of haiku in the last two years of his life when he was living in France.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Where Sea Meets Land

The Monterey Bay seen from Asilomar during the YT Haiku Retreat in September, 1992. jhhymas

the autumn seashore --
rolling waves tossed high and white
so much has ended

Patricia Machmiller
Blush of winter moon, Jacaranda Press, 2001

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Cliff House Kukai

January 11, 2006, Dr, Akito Arima and Garry Gay, smiling
at the Cliff House during Dr. Akito Arima's visit and
after our ginko in Muir Woods. For the kukai, Dr. Arima, Garry
and Patricia Machmiller served as judges.

This was one of Garry's choices  at the kukai.

lightning-struck redwood—
inside the charred hollow
how small I am

Ebba Story

* * *

Garry won the Gerald Brady Senryu contest in 2010 
with this verse.  
my skeleton
going for a walk
in the cemetery

Garry Gay

and this Honorable Mention in the same contest
has been one of my favorites:

as we pull it apart
I change my mind

Garry Gay

Frogpond; the journal of the Haiku Society of America,
 Vol. 34:, 2011 pages 168-169.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Plum Blossoms

This is Patricia J. Machmiller, all togged out in ivories the day we met Dr. Akito Arima 
in San Francisco. Patricia has been a guiding inspiration and very hard worker
on behalf of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society since Day One in 1975.
She has been President and held many of our other offices and has been very involved 
in many of our publications--like the Saijiki mentioned below--
and most of our meetings and special events.
She often sports a hat, being sensitive to the sun.

We have just learned that she is home recuperating after an appendectomy!
You can send your wishes for a speedy recovery in the comment section
below and she will see them.

passing an alley
the conversation ceases--
first plum blossoms

from The San Francisco Bay Area
Nature Guide and Saijiki, page 3.

   In my yard, with just a bit of sky.                                   jhhymas

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Captain Haiku

This is Michael Dylan Welch, focusing his camera on the unseen at Asilomar
during the Yuki Teikei Retreat in 1992.
When I first met him during a ginko in Golden Gate Park, 
he called himself "Captain Haiku." He has a long-time involvement
You can find a great deal of haiku information and history here, 
as well as other things poetic and historical.
The site is organized for easy searching.

crackling beach fire—
we hum in place of words
we can’t recall

Michael Dylan Welch

Monday, April 20, 2015

Asking Directions

What a blessing our Yuki Teikei Haiku Retreats at Asilomar have been!
Several days to eat, sleep, breathe, talk  and think haiku!
During the 1992 Retreat with Robert Hass, Margaret Chula and Jerry Ball confer.

I ask directions
he asks if I am a priest
in the summer dusk

Jerry Ball

on a hill of weeds
a farmer and a whetstone
sharpening their scythe

Jerry Ball

Both are from his book Summer in Italy, 1996.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Wedding in San Jose

This is the coincidence that brought Kiyoko from Japan to San Jose to teach us about haiku. 
Kiyoshi was sent to be educated in Japan by his parents here in California.
The outbreak of World War II caught him in Japan. During the war he taught school there, 
where he met Kiyoko, another teacher. Later, she came to San Jose so they could be married.
I always enjoyed being around them together; they were so obviously involved and
caring of each other. Because he could not hear, she constantly communicated with him
by finger writing on her outstretched hand, so he could participate.
Together they founded the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, which is having its 
Fortieth Anniversary this year!

April Fools' Day
my husband who loved to play tricks on me
already gone

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Lost--with my husband--
my wish to play jokes
April Fool's Day
Kiyoko Tokutomi

from Kiyoko's Sky; the haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi; translated by Patricia Machmiller and Fay Aoyagi, Brooks Books, 2002.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Viewing Noh Masks

On the trip to Japan in 1997, our group had the immense gift 
of a private viewing of Noh masks belonging to a company 
that had been presenting Noh theatre for many generations.
One at a time each mask was taken out of protective wrappings 
and presented to our view. I thought Kiyoko looked very pretty
in this blue silk and pearls, so I took her picture as well as
many fine ones of the masks. jhh

utsukushiki ozora to naru wataridori

migrating birds become
the big sky

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Kiyoko's Sky, Brooks Books, 2002, page 92

Friday, April 17, 2015

Touch of the Sea

Tide's gone out during the YT Haiku Retreat in 1992,
featuring Robert Hass.

call of a willet
the scent of sea
meeting land

John Barlow
Ormskirk, Lancashire, UK

afternoon light
the plovers talk
of leaving

Gregory Longenecker
Pasadena, California

Both haiku from the Fall, 2014 issue of 
ACORN; a journal of contemporary haiku
pages 28 and 44

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Hiroshige's Hawk

This is Fay Aoyagi. She has helped us a lot with translation from Japanese.
She always adds something special and thought-provoking to any haiku gathering.
I liked the way she looked here, with a golden halo. You can tell
from the mustard and the ketchup that we are in an eatery--
probably after some haiku meeting; 
part of the wonder of haiku groups is the fellowship!
high autumn sky
I ride on the back
of Hiroshige's hawk

Fay Aoyagi


shroud of moss
I step into the land
of the ancient tales

Fay Aoyagi

Beyond the Reach of My Chopsticks; New and Selected Haiku,
Fay Aoyagi, Blue Willow Press, 2011, pages 62 and 16.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Winter Drizzle

During Dr. Akito Arima's visit, we took him to Muir Woods,
a protected Coast Redwood forest north of San Francisco. 
From this moss on this tree trunk, you can guess 
what kind of moist, ocean-influenced climate the Coast Redwood prefers.

January 11, 2006.  After a lovely meal at Cliff House, above the ocean, we shared the day's haiku in a kukai with several  judges. 

the stream filled
with invisible salmon
I walk across
Patrick Gallagher
white water
over redwood roots
the taste of sorrel
Claire Gallagher
winter drizzle
redwoods absorb
the city inside me

Fay Aoyagi

Above  are some of the choices of Patricia Machmiller.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Drifting Petals

On the visit to Matsuyama, one highlight was being taken to this fortified castle,
which commanded a spectacular view of the city.
 It is thrilling to see this ancient stone work up close!
The cherries are still in bloom, but many petals have already fallen.
The way they accumulate in corners and around edges is beautiful!

these split-log benches
covered with pale petaldrift
near the donjon

June Hopper Hymas
Matsuyama, 2007

Monday, April 13, 2015

Kiyoshi's Diary

Patricia Machmiller delivering an address about the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society 
to the Haiku International Association during our trip to Japan in 2007.
A photograph of one of our founders, Kiyoshi Tokutomi, is projected behind her.

Among Kiyoko's papers we found a diary which Kiyoshi kept from July 1975--December, 1977. This was during the time that the Haiku Society was formed in San Jose. Much of the diary consists of simple lists of daily activities undertaken by Kiyoshi and Kiyoko. Reading this diary, (available on Amazon at this link) which has been translated by Tei Matsushita Scott, with addendum by Patricia Machmiller, gives one a sense of the pure and sweet daily spirit he had, despite his severe health challenges. Machmiller's introduction gives a brief overview of his very eventful life.

Here is a diary entry that mentions one of our early meetings.

April 2, 1977
- Kiyoko went to the Japanese School but came home early due to her cold.
- Regular meeting of the English Haiku Group. Submitted five English haiku of which one received four points and one three points.
- Conferred with Dr. Falkowski about the Yukuharu Journal (Haiku Journal?).
= Attended Japanese kukai in the evening. (A kukai is a peer-reviewed poetry contest.)s
                                                 (op. cit. page 53)

at the waterfall
sometimes I feel an answer
sometimes . . . the wind

Patricia J. Machmiller, U.S.A.
This haiku won one of the awards from HIA in 2007.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Moon and the Milky Way

This is Anne Homan leading one of our renku parties at Asilomar. 
As each verse is chosen, it is written on one of those large sheets of paper, 
so we can see where we are during the progress of the renku. 
Anne has been the President of YTHS.
She is also an historian and author.
outside Livermore, CA. We have driven up that road many a time for
the moon-viewing parties that the Homans' host there in October.
The home is a great side for viewing the moon and the Milky Way
and looking out over the valley.

gleaming salmon's leap
not quite high enough to clear
the third fish ladder
Anne Homan
Heavenly Bamboo; 1998 Member's Anthology, page 20

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Butterfly's Shadow

As ancient as lichen and as new as spring! 
This is a California native iris in bloom during our ginko at Tilden Botanical Gardens.
Lichen are very slow growing and hardly change in appearance from year to year,
while the iris renews itself every spring.
on the manuscript
the shadow of a butterfly
finishes the poem

Nick Virgilio

Nick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku, Turtle Light Press, 2012, page 68.

Nick Virgilio was a pioneer of English language haiku, who began writing haiku many years before the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society was founded. He spent most of his life in Camden, New Jersey,
but we were all aware of his famous "lily" haiku, and of his work.

Friday, April 10, 2015

How Great is Spring!

On our visit to Japan; just a few cherry blossom petals remain.

ah spring spring
how great is spring!
and so on

summer's near
cover the mouth of the wind sack
to save the blossoms
composed at Nijiko
patter patter
petals of tiny flowers drop
a waterfall of sound

All three haiku by Basho
translated by Jane Reichhold in her
Basho; The Complete Haiku

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reflected sunset at Asilomar

This is one of the Arts and Crafts Style buildings ar Asilomar, 
where Yuki Teikei Haiku Society members have spent so many fruitful Haiku Retreats since 1984. 
Julia Morgan was the architect of many of these buildings; I have read that
when she was designing a family home, she would go and sit in the stairs inside to be sure 
that the sun came into the stairwell the way she wanted it to--
so that it would be bright and cheerful, as well as well-lit,.
This house is nestled among Monterey Pines, which grow here.

stopping to watch
the evening pines...
geese flying north
Translated by David Lanoue

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Dogo Onsen at Night

Use the link above for the informative Wikipedia article on this highly regarded spot, 
which is mentioned in the eighth century Man'yoshu.
When our group was in Matsuyama, we stayed in the nearby well-known hotel,
and some of us stood in line to partake of a hot bath here;
foolishly, I just took a picture.
Japan, because it is volcanic, has many hot springs, and they have been used
for bathing from the very earliest times.

after morning's hot bath
trying it on...
summer kimono

while the spring breeze blows
a healing

Both haiku by Issa 
and translated
by David Lanoue
from his website:

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Complex Acts of Human Awareness

When our group visited Japan in 2007, I saw this one plant (and a little moss) 
thriving in a crevice of the intricate stonework of  a castle's foundation. 
Everywhere I looked in Japan,
I saw evidences of intelligent and beautiful craftsmanship.

Editor's Note: I have been revisiting old Paris Review Interviews with poets.
Did you know that all these writer's interviews are now available online?
Today I was reading the interview with Jorie Graham and found Basho!

"I do worry considerably about a reader’s patience—how much mental or emotional space they have in their life in this crushingly full world to give to the reading of a poem. Many of today’s readers prefer fast poems with stated conclusions, partly because they can fit them into their day. Who can blame them? They have precious little time. They want the Cliff Notes to the overwhelmingly huge novel. Of course, it is poetry’s job to try to provide the very opposite—to recomplicate the oversimplified thing. This doesn’t require going on at length—lord knows some of the more complex acts of human awareness occur in Basho."
                       from Jorie Graham, The Art of Poetry 85. 
               Paris Review, Spring, 2003, Issue No. 165.
Deep autumn--
my neighbor
how does he live, I wonder
trans by Robert Hass
autumn deepens
so what does he do
the man next door
trans. by Jane Reichhold

this autumn
why getting older is like
a bird into clouds
trans. by Jane Reichhold

Monday, April 6, 2015

Drifting in conversation . . .

This was another spring haiku outing in one of the many Japanese Gardens in our area.
If you look carefully, you can see three people in blue on the far side of the pond.
The one in the center is Dave Wright, who was president of Yuki Teikei 
for several years until 1992. Obviously, he is writing haiku!
The one to the right is his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, 
who was always able to enliven any gathering with her good cheer.

lazy afternoon
drifting in conversation--
the gardenia
Patricia J. Machmiller

rolling three times
then into the pond
translated by David Lanoue

in the area with no pond, too
cherry blossoms scatter
translated by David Lanoue

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Asilomar Beach at Dawn

Asilomar Beach at dawn; others have been here before me.

another morning
pink and blue strokes of genius
on a broad palette

Michael Henry Lee

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Haiku Poet & Bartender

This is Jerry Kilbride on the beach at Asilomar in 1992; I'm pretty sure he is writing haiku,
He was a mainstay of our Haiku Retreats for many years. He was also
 an honorary curator of the American Haiku Archive at the California State Library.
He had been instrumental in its founding.
I always thought he pretended to be a little cranky to camouflage his sweet spirit.

end of a long day
the old bartender's feet
take the floorboards home

cloud shadows
on silent cliffs
where condors nested

fog . . .
just the tree and I
at the bus stop

windows filled with light
at the home for the blind,
christmas night

nursing a friend with AIDS
I close the window
against rain

last flutter
of the butterfly
in the mime’s hand


jumping rope
the little girl and her shadow
touch touch touch touch touch

Jerry Kilbride

Friday, April 3, 2015

In the Great Hall at Nara

This is one of the huge temple guardians in the Great Hall at Nara. 

A highlight of the visit to Japan in 1997 was a trip to Nara, 
where we visited the Great Buddha Hall, an immense wooden building 
that was erected to house a huge bronze statue of the Buddha. 
The previous wooden structures were destroyed by fire.
Basho also visited this site before the third iteration of the temple was completed.

kiku no ka ya | Nara ni wa furuki | hotoketachi
scent of chrysanthemums
in Nara
ancient Buddhas
hatsu yuki ya | itsu Daibutsu no | hashira date
first snow!
when will the temple building start
for the Great Buddha?

Great Buddha's Hall--
I buy a charm for 
June Hopper Hymas
(There was a shop at Todaiji, where one could purchase little paper charms. 
Since I lived in California, I thought an earthquake charm might be the most useful.)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Secluded Spot

Where the beach meets the dunes at Asilomar, there is a little eroded cove.
It is a most excellent place to spread a blanket and sit to write haiku!
Pat Shelley often sat here to write.

of all the human 
figures on the beach
the one not there

June Hopper Hymas

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Chopped Herb Helps

At the Asilomar Retreat featuring Robert Hass in 1992, 
Lequita Vance-Watkins tries to explain something to Jerry Kilbride;
he's not so sure.

Lequita is the former Executive Director of the San Jose Center for Poetry & Literature 
and is the author of 
White Flash/Black Rain: Women of Japan Relive the Bomb, Milkweed Editions, 1995.

Jerry Kilbride was a beloved haiku stalwart in the Bay Area for many years. 

yomo ni utsu / nazuna ni shidoro/ modoro kana

Everyone says
a chopped herb helps
if you are confused

translated by Robert Aitken

The River of Heaven; haiku of Basho, Buson, Issa
and Shiki, Counterpoint, 2011, page 64.