Thursday, December 31, 2015

End of Session One

We will end as we began, on January 11, 2006, 
with Dr. Akito Arima, on a visit
from Japan, writing haiku 
by the Golden Gate Bridge, only this time 
he is looking away from the bridge 
and toward the rest of the Marin Headlands.

This brings to an end my commitment 
to post every day in 2015
as a celebration of the 40th anniversary
of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society.
It has been great fun!
I didn't manage every day, but. . .

284 posts, each with a photograph!
6112 views from many places in the world!
Lots and lots of lovely praise!

Possibilities for the future:

Just say goodbye. Sob. . .

Lest frequent, or irregular posts.

Posts on different topics, 
by different members, to help you improve your writing,

Posts by guest editors from Yuki Teikei Haiku Society.

Closer coordination with our
publication, GEPPO: perhaps 
reprinting the haiku chosen by menbers' votes
or challenge kigo haiku
or the selected haiku and remarks of our dojin.

I will be discussing these, and any other ideas
with the membership and officers.

Many thanks to Yukiko Tokutomi Northon for creating
an official Facebook page for
Yuki Teikei Haiku Society!

Thank you so much for you attention and praise! jhh

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

In a White Dress

Towards the end of her life, Kiyoko became tinier. Here she is in a white dress 
when she gave a reading at Fort Mason for the Haiku Poets of Northern California. 
The reflected light off the ocean through the windows of the old fort is often
very beautiful there. Her quiet decline was very sad to witness.

after surgery

Dreaming of sushi to eat
but my daughter says no--
winter sunshine

Kiyoko Tokutomi

in a comfortable chair
two hours of winter

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Kiyoko's Sky; The Haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi,
Brooks Books, 2002.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Kiyoko's Calligraphy

 These photographs are from 
the Japanese festival at Hakone Gardens.
Kiyoko was asked to demonstrate calligraphy. 

Hakone gardens—
a clump of hydrangea
bursts across a fence

wisteria pods
float, a koi tries one
and rejects it

June Hopper Hymas

Monday, December 28, 2015

Kiyoko's Birthday

This photo of Kiyoko with her grandson, Jason, was taken
(as I recall) at the celebration for her 70th birthday,
held at her home in Ben Lomond.
Some of the flowers were gifts for the occasion.
Jason's sisters, Alyssa and Nicholette were also in attendance.
It was a lovely celebration.

Kiyoko wrote wonderful haiku about children;
here are two of my favorites.  jhh

A child does not know
of life's melancholy
the loquat blossom

Kiyoko Tokutomi

In summer clothing
children have such beautiful
arms and legs

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Today, a memorial luncheon is being held for friends and family.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Haiku Web

These webs are from my own meadow in Michigan. 
Some summer days when there is a morning mist,
one can see just how busy the spiders have been. jhh

edge of moon
a spider weaving

a star breathes
another, the slow swell
of a snail's world

night sky . . 
in the darkest corner
a star exhales

Paresh Tiwari

An Inch of Sky;
haiku and haibun,
20 Notebooks Press, page 56.
(Available from Amazon)

I first met Dr. Angelee Deodhar at the 
haiku conference some of our group attended
in 1997. She has written the foreword to this book
and recommended it to me.
I have rarely found a haiku book
that so impressed me. The standard of work
here is very high. I haven't been able to read
the haibun yet, but I am expecting them 
to be excellent also.
June Hopper Hymas

Saturday, December 26, 2015


Sometimes, during out visit to Japan in 1997, 
the reality of what we were seeing contrasted deeply
with the reading we had done of the times 
of the great haiku ports Buson and Basho.

Village with a thousand eaves
the sounds of the market
in the morning mist.


The Essential Haiku; versions of Basho, 
Buson & Issa, edited by Robert Hass,
Ecco, page 123.

Friday, December 25, 2015


Somewhere on the Island of Shikoku (probably in Matsuyama) in 1997, I took this photo,
while on a trip with othe Yuki Teikei members and Kiyoko..
The white coats, walking staffs, sensible hats, footgear and trousers 
mark them as pilgrims.They are making the same sort of walking tour 
that Basho made, visiting holy sites in search of spiritual enlightenment. 
Basho might have noticed their walking shoes,
I seem to remember that he walked in straw sandals.

Not quite dark yet
and the stars shining
above the withered fields

translated by Robert Hass

The Essential Haiku; 
versions of Basho, Buson and Issa,
edited by Robert Hass, Ecco, 1994, page 104.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Fanfare on Christmas Eve

Dark sea, winter sea. The view from the Cliff House in San Francisco 
on the day of Dr. Arima's visit which began this blog.   jhh


ice coated
the dogwood tree twinkles
after a squirrel's leap

on starlit ice
the three-legged cat
skids home

the wonder
of old starlight
just reaching us

church bells--
the crackling passage
of expectant feet

from Star-Mapped

Geraldine Little        (1923-1997)

A Little Bouquet; 
selected works of Geraldine Clinton Little,  
Creative Arts Book Company, 2001, page 75.

Geraldine Little published works in many genres, 
including haiku. She was well known 
in haiku circles; at one point she was 
President of the Haiku Society of America.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Butterfly Wings

 At the 20015 YT Haiku Retreat, Carolyn Fitz led our art session
with a discussion and demonstration of sketching insects.
This would help us make better observations and might also
be used in making haiga (haiku and art in concert)
as many of us like to do.
I am always fascinated by the delicate way in which Carolyn
holds her drawing tool, as she moves it seems to float across the paper.

Wake! The sky is light!
let us to the road again . . .
Companion butterfly!


The haiku of Basho on the website
this haiku was borrowed from
are taken from a couple of older books
of his haiku, but the translator for
each haiku is not specified.
This version has a lot of punctuation,
which is not so commonly done now--
thus I suspect it is from the old
Peter Pauper book that introduced 
so many of us to haiku.
When I went to the Monarch Grove in nearby Pacific Grove, the butterflies
were flocking, but they were so high in the tall trees, that it was very hard to get a sense
of what they looked like. This one had ended his life's journey on the ground
with his wings neatly folded, He quietly posed 
for my clearest butterfly picture,

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Last Days of the Year

The woman who taught us about haku came to the United States from Japan in 1954.
This is a picture of her students at the train station in Saga City, Japan.
Her example, uncomplaining hard work, and uncompromising principle
served as examples to all who knew her.

Last days of the year;
no place left to scribble
in my datebook

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Fan

Ellen Brooks performed her powerful dance on the journey of a life
from youth to old age at the Asilomar Retreat this year. 
Hard to believe that this night was already a month ago!
The narrator, David Sheretz can be seen. Betty Arnold
 and Patricia Machmiller (hidden behind dancer)
performed sound effects and musical cues.
Ellen made powerful use of this fan during the
whole performance, snapping it violently open and shut
and displayiing it like a weapon!

David Lanoue was our treasured special guest at the Retreat this year. He recounted how he learned Japanese to translate the haiku of Issa. Now he has translated ten thousand of them and made the translations available on his website:

One can search the website using keywords. I was delighted
to find a generous choice when I used the word "fan" for my keyword!

ko takara yo mo hitotsu rikime musha ├┤gi

treasured child--
one more mighty effort
with the samurai's fan


translation by David Lanoue

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Color of Sky, the Color of Water

Monterey Bay at Asilomar State Marine Reserve on the last day of the 2015 Retreat.   jhhymas

Migrating whales--
what must it feel like to swim
in starlight


Haiku by Patricia J. Machmiller
from Mariposa 30
Spring/Summer 2014
Haiku Poets of Northern California

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Life of a poet

This was an outstanding highlight of the YT Haiku Retreat this year.
Ellen Brooks, who has studied Japanese dance for many years,
created and performed a dance on Issa's life from boyhood on. She was accompanied 
by musical and sound effects performed by Patricia Machmiller and Betty Arnold 
and narration by David Sheretz. It was an amazing treat!

even the tree by the gate
safe and sound...
evening cool


This translation is from David Lanoue's
amazingly interesting website at:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Children's Haiku

In November, at the YT Haiku Retreat at Asilomar,
Emiko Miyashita brought copies from Japan of the recent worldwide
contest for children's haiku with art, which is sponsored every
two years by Japan Airlines. Here she is telling us about it.
It is quite a big deal, each poem is printed with the art 
in the original language and in Japanese and English translations.
When I showed my copy to my 12-year old granddaughter
at Thanksgiving time, she asked me if she could have it!
And I gave it to her!
 So tonight I don't have a haiku for the blog.
I hope to find one tomorrow!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Happy Smiles of Haiku People

Here are Carol Steele and Mimi Ahern at the recent
YT Holiday Party hosted this year by Judith and Lou Schallberger.
The fellowship of great-hearted people like these
is something we get in addition to those tiny poems!

by the village shops
rose bushes   branches tied up
capped with new snow

Carol Steele

(her holiday gift haiku,
distributed on a lovely
handwritten card)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

And one gull

Dark seas and one gull, Asilomar, Novemberm 2015.  jhh

wave on wave—purple—
purple on blue—a rippling—
dark sea—winter sea—


Blush of Winter Moon
Patricia J. Machmiller, 
Jacaranda Press, 2001

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Time to Ponder

This is Roger Abe, longtime member and Past President of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 
seated next to Michael Sheffield at the 2015 YT Asilomar Retreat.
He writes, then ponders. Beyond Michael you can just see Amy Ostenso-Kennedy
and a half-head of Patrick Gallagher.
It was a splendid Retreat, honoring the 40th year of YTHS!

so alone, until
we come into each other's light
lantern festival

Roger Abe

The New Pond; An English Langiage Anthology,
Brooks Books, 2001, page 20.

Monday, December 14, 2015


 At the YT Haiku Retreat at Asilomar this year, the dining hall staff 
arranged a lovely display of pumpkins by the entrance of the dining hall. 
Resident squirrels thought this was a great idea, or deal!

Here one is almost entirely inside a large squash!

I didn't write a haiku; if you did, leave it in the comments
or send it to me!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Unseen Skylark

This is Yukiko Tokutomi Northon, the only child of the founders of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society,
at our annual Holiday Party last night. Mostly she hid from my camera, but I like this one--
which also shows Judith Schallberger's splendid wall of art pottery--
as well as some of the extra chairs needed for such a well-attended gathering.

Here is one of her father's haiku

Up, up heavenward
riding its own melody
the unseen skylark

Kiyoshi Tokutomi

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Edge of a Village

Tonight the California Group of YTHS held our annual holiday party, at the lovely and creatively-rich home of the Schallbergers in San Jose.. At this time of year we get together to eat, to enjoy being together, and to share personally created haiku gifts. The party was breaking up, when someone suggested the dread group photo. This is one group photo of less than half the people in attendance,
but pushing the envelope of the camera, space, skill and group patience needed.  
(iPhone photo by June Hymas)

At left and in front, looking out of the frame is Katsuhiko Momoi
(he might suggest you call him "Kat")
next to his wife, Beverly Momoi in the striking patterned coat.

Kat and Bev brought to us a beautifully designed blue-and-gold bookmark
with his translation of a haiku by Buson.

Buson's haiku made news worldwide when
more than two hundred previously lost haiku
were discovered in an archive in Japan
and authenticated as being the work of
the great artist and haiku master Buson.
Kat also treated us to a short informational talk
about that discovery.

kangikuya hino teru murano katahotori

The sun shines bright
At the edge of a village
Winter chrysanthemum

translated by Katsuhiko Momoi

Yosa Buson 1716-1784

Friday, December 11, 2015

White camellia

The recent rains in San Jose have encouraged 
my drought-discouraged sasanqua camellia to bloom. 
I took this ant-enhanced photo yesterday.   jhhymas

White camellia---
my father loved this garden
now so forlorn

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Floating Dreams, edited by Garry Gay
Two Autumns Press, 2001, n.p.

A long time ago, Kiyoko told me about her father's garden. One thing I remember is that he had built it so that a stream could refresh the pond for the koi, yet not carry the fish away. He was quite proud of the way he had figured this out.  jhhymas

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Great Waves

November sea at Asilomar after night rains. . . .

you're an odd thing on this winter beach

John Martone

the great waves
withdraw before
sanderling legs

John Martone

Someone recommended this small book 
and I sent for it; it came today. 
It is adorable and very interesting,
with very varied, very small poems. jhh

copyright, John Martone, 2015

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Lengthening Year

The sweet spirit that Michael Sheffield brings
to any haiku gathering was manifest
at this year's Retreat at Asilomar.

waiting for the sun
to find my window…
the lengthening year

Michael Sheffield

(poem from Sheffield's recent Solstice Greeting)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tutelary Spirits

At the 40th Anniversary Retreat of the Founding of Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 
our founders: Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi were ever-present in memory.
Carol Steele created the splendid ikebana for this special event.

A bit of sourness
reminds me of my first love,
strawberry milkshake
Kiyoshi Tokutomi

A child’s New year’s gift
the days when I last received one
now far away

Kiyoko Tokutomi

From Mr. Tokutomi's generous thought about haiku-writing 
--I think English-speaking people 
would like this, too--

came our group and all of the wonderful outings, 
rich fellowship and friendships; the publications
and travel and new knowledge
and haiku experiences galore!
We are very grateful!

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Relationship

"Look up, look down, look all around," 
begins an old Nursery School rhyme. 
It would be difficult to overestimate 
the place of the natural world
in the development of haiku. 
I met this strutting fellow on the beach at Asilomar
during our recent Haiku Retreat.

The advice above is found on the back cover of the 25th anniversary
YT Haiku Journal; I think it still applies. . .

Please excuse the recent pause;
I was traveling for Thanksgiving
and once I got back 
found it hard to re-commit. jhh