Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Brakeman's Lantern

This is Alan Pizzarelli leading a renku session 
at the special Haiku North America 2012 
Haiku Retreat at Asilomar
which Yuki Teikei co-sponsored with HNA and other haiku groups.


           bending back
along the railroad track
                                tiger lilies

as the train passes
      the heads of geese
                     pop out of the tall grass

 snow falls from trees
of passing boxcars

far down the railroad tracks
the brakeman's lantern
                gets lost among the fireflies

                     a train horn
                        fades into the distance
                     boxcar wheels

Alan Pizzarelli

Frozen Socks; new and selected short poems,
House of Haiku, 2015, page 182.

I have just bought my copy of Alan's new book, Frozen Socks!
It makes wonderful reading. I am amazed at the variety of things the author does with short forms. I especially like his arrangements of the text on the page, which I have tried to reproduce here as well as I could within Blogger's limits. You could easily spend $12.99 on something with a lot less nourishment in it.    jhh

Friday, October 30, 2015

Scarlet Pimpernel

This is Joseph Robello, during a session at the Yukt Teikei Retreat at Asilomar, 2012.
He is a delight ot have in any meeting because of his sense of humor.

my parents’ room
two cigarettes
talk in the dark

fog filled valley
the shape
of a dog’s bark

scarlet pimpernel
as if it were important

Joseph Robello

These haiku were printed in the Newsletter
of the Haiku Poets of Northern California
after Mr. Robello was the featured reader
at the HPNC meeting on April 21, 2013.
The final one is presented in a two-line form.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Don't give up!

I have been preparing a box of photographs to be sent off for professional scanning. 
This one was so dark it could hardly be seen, so I did not put it in the box.
But I took a couplle of the darkest ones and scanned them anyway.
I used an older scanner which only scans up to 400 dpi. But it provided
some automatic correction and I could see these happy smiles
when I looked at the scan. The color was poor, so I changed it 
to black and white. Then I fiddled with the light and dark in Picasa,
the free photo manager. Now you can see these bright smiles
from the renku party at the YT Asilomar Haiku Retreat in 2006.
Left to right, Patricia Machmiller, Anne Homan and Jerry Ball.
All three have served as YTHS President.

beyond our mailbox
the uphill road vanishes
into winter rain

Anne M. Homan
YT Member's Anthology, 1998

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

Jerry Ball
San Francisco Haiku Anthology,
Smythe Waite Press, 1992

winter galaxy—
a younger me once resolved
there’d be no regrets  
    Frogpond, Spring/Summer, 2013   

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Contemplating the Moon Cake

 In this impromptu iPhone capture of the unveiling of the Moon Cake, three people
are wearing glasses. Roger Abe's are the most askew, Betty Arnold peers over hers.
Joan Zimmerman, in blue, self-possessed as usual, smiles through her specs.
The only other recognizable person in the photo is dear Ann Bendixen,
between Roger and Betty.
The event was the moon-viewing of this year at Carol Steele's house in Capitola.
September 26, 2015.

kyo no koyoi neru toki mo naki tsuki mi kana

I have no time to sleep


And here is a portrait of the moon cake itself, 
which fortunately 
is not wearing glasses.
Instead, it is ready to be eaten,
and is providing its own plastic forks.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

There goes the trolley

Another benefit of membership in the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society 
are our meetings at Markham House, the former home of  poet Edwin Markham, 
which also serves as a center for activities of
the San Jose Poetry Society, with which we are affiliated.
The Markham House has been moved from downtown San Jose to its position
in the San Jose History Park. I was standing in front of Markham House
looking east past another historic house when I saw this historic trolley in motion. 
I think the trolley cars are maintained and sponsored by a group of trolley aficionados, 
and a trolley will make a scheduled run through the park, or be used on special occasions.
The white building you can see behind the trolley is the Empire Firehouse.
It has been wonderful to get to know this park and its historic treasures in all seasons.
When we meet here, we try to have a section of the meeting 
reserved for walking about and writing haiku.

During the ginko at the meeting in February, 2007, I wrote these for Kay.

                              For Kay Anderson
sedges have edges
rushes are round, she taught me—
       late winter drizzle

all along the road
wild almonds in bloom—her life’s
       journey just ended

winter mist changes
to tiny drops of rain—
news of her passing

the russet squirrel
stops to wring his paws—
       spring rain

      June Hopper Hymas

Monday, October 26, 2015

A Bolo Tie

This ceremony is being held in the Buddhist Temple in San Jose.
It might have been one of the ceremonies to honor and remember the dead,
perhaps Kiyoshi's mother, but the photo is unlabeled.
Left to right, Kiyoshi Tokutomi, Kiyoko Yokutomi and the Buddhist priest.
I like to see them standing there so upright and nicely dressed
and so young. Yukiko told me that her Uncle Hiromichi made the bolo tie;
Yukiko still has it.

A bit of sourness
reminds me of my first love
strawberry milkshake

Kiyoshi Tokutomi pages

Many of Kiyoshi's haiku have been lost
and we only have records of a few of them. 
But this one is just about perfect on its combination
of daily life and reminiscence.

Remember to check out the website:
for all the history, news and events
of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Apple Doesn't Fall . . .

far from the tree. Here, the only child, Yukiko Tokotomi, of the founders 
of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, gives her presentation at the Asilomar Book Party
for Autumn Loneliness; the letters of Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi, 2009.
The dude leaning on a Volkswagen in the wall photo is the young Kiyoshi, back from Japan!
Behind her left to right: Mrs. Tokutomi's sister and Tei Matsushita, who translated the letters.

Last night when we were fooling around on Facebook,
Yukiko made a comment that reminded me of haiku.
I told her why not add a kigo and I would post it here:
                                                                        And she did!

The "past" is an interesting window to look through...softly falling leaves


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Oak Leaves

I took this at San Jose's Overfelt Park on one of our haiku meetings there.
I have been told recently that the pond has no water now, because of the drought.
I liked the golden oak leaves against the dark blue of the water.
And, I do not always like a sun-flare, but this one pleased me.  jhh

from every direction
the click of drying leaves
your one-way ticket

D. C. Gallagher

San Francisco Bay Area Nature Guide and Saijiki,
Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 2010, page 74.

"Clicking Leaves" (the faint sounds that can sometimes
be heard from leaves as they dry in autumn)
is one of the interesting kigo that we
chose for our saijiki.

Friday, October 23, 2015

endless, the sea . . .

Monterey Bay. In any light, in any weather, the endless beauty of the sea . . .

migrating birds
the line of Sooty shearwaters
shorter this year

Alison Woolpert
Geppo, Vol XL:4-5, 2015

morning draped in spider's silk strands of moonlight

Joseph Robello
Mariposa 33, Haiku Poets of Northern California, 2015, p.12

Thursday, October 22, 2015

An Arrow

Shooting Stars seen on YT ginko with Ranger Roger Abe
several years ago.

shooting star
an arrow into


Mariposa 33;
Haiku Poets of Northern California,
Autumn/Winter 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

At the Chinese Moon Festival

For several years Yuki Teikei held some of our meetings 
with ginko at Overfelt Gardens, 
a San Jose City Park on the city's East Side. 
Many haiku were written and shared here.
Part of this park has been set aside for 
a Chinese Cultural Garden
with a large statue of Confucius, and other monuments.
This picture of Kay Anderson reading her haiku
was taken during a year when we participated in the
annual Chinese Moon Festival here.
The letters in gold behind her are part of
an inscription of the translated words of Confucius
carved into a marble wall.
It is good stuff, but most of the inscription
is not visible in the photo.


willow bank and spring flood in twilight
fine mist and lush green grass
the ox eats and drinks when it wants
the boy sleep soundly on a rock

P'u Ming

translated  by Red Pine, Empty Bowl, 2015 n.p.

Students of Chinese and Japanese verse
have written much critical material exploring
the connection and relationships between
the tradition of Chinese short poems
and Buddhism and the fertilization
of Japanese short form poetry by
these traditions. This short series
of poems was used in teaching
the Zen tradition. Many people
feel that this tradition nourished
the development of short form poetry
including haiku
in Japan.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Nabeshima Train Station

This photo is not terribly sharp 
(I took it from one displayed at her memorial ceremonies) 
but you can see on Kiyoko's young face
her thoughtful determination. This was her farewell 
to her home as she began her long journey 
to the United States to marry Kiyoshi Tokutomi.

As if in deep thought
it flies away—
autumn butterfly

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Monday, October 19, 2015


Daybreak, Asilomar State Park, September, 2012.

Tired of sleeping on a grass pillow
I went out on the beach while it was still dark:

Daybreak: a white fish is white, just an inch.

Basho, 1684

This version of a famous haiku is found in
From the Country of Eight Islands;
an anthology of Japanese Poetry,
edited and translated by Hiroaki Sato and 
Burton Watson, Doubleday, 1981, page 281.

Many of Basho's haiku, such as this one,
come with a short headnote or explanation of the setting.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fig Newtons

I have always loved this picture of Eugenie Waldteufel and Garry Gay
that I took during a California book-launch event for the book of senryu
Fig Newtons, 1993. which was edited and published by Michael Dylan Welch.
Perhaps it is something about the slant of Eugenie's parasol.
Eugenie is gone now, but Garry is just attending the HNA conference
in my birthplace, Schenectady, New York. Wish I could have gone! jhh

Fig Newtons won an Honorable Mention in the Haiku Society of America's
1994 Book Awards.

And below is one of the senryu.

afternoon mail—
the stamp from Australia

(Sorry, I couldn't get the author of this
particular senryu from the Graceguts website
and my copy of the book is in an unaccessible archive. . .)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Reading each haiku twice

This is our YT Stalwart Judith Schallberger reading HAIKU at the
Willow Glen Poetry Project this past Thursday.
These readings are held monthly on the First Thursday of each month.
They are always well-attended, with a lively, interested audience!
Judith reads each of her fine haiku twice,
as is often our practice.

family dynamics
what I never suspected . . .
blood orange squeeze

the hesitation
captured in our gazes --
summer squall

just enough air
for tiny chimes to tinkle
truth comes in few words

a senior tour bus inches along the freeway--oleander buds

(a good example of a one line haiku!)

Judith Morrison Schallberger

Scattered Acorns; Yuki Teikei
Membership Anthology 2014

Friday, October 16, 2015

Yearning for Springtime

On our wonderful springtime ginko through Alum Rock Park
to the closely guarded Blue Oak Ranch Reserve, we saw
many wildflowers, like this dodecatheon or Shooting Star.

worried I hurry
down the path---am I too late
for the shooting stars?

Anne M. Homan

San Francisco Bay Area Nature Guide and Saijiki
Yuki Teikei Haiku Societym 2010, page 27.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

somewhere the beach . . .

At the recent YT Moonviewing in Capitola, Roger Abe adjusts his new binoculars.
Notice the haiku notebook and pen at the ready!!

summer fog
somewhere the beach
somewhere me

Roger Abe

San Francisco Bay Area Nature Guide and Saijiki,
Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 2010, page 33.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Essential Haiku

Patricia Machmiller and June Hymas were very lucky to take poetry seminars with Robert Hass
during the time when he was thinking very seriously about haiku and preparing his book,
The Essential Haiku, versions of Basho, Buson and Issa, Ecco, 1995.
Here he is shown at our YT Asilomar Retreat.
The book he is holding is Basho and His Interpreters by Makota Ueda,
Stanford University Press, 1992.

That snail--
one long horn, one short
what's on his mind?

translated by Robert Hass 
The Essential Haiku, versions of Basho, Buson and Issa, Ecco, 1995, page 85.

During this session, deer browsed peacefully outside the window.
That's Patricia Machmiller in front of the flag.
I was focusing on the deer. . .

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A closer look

Two springs ago, this haiku poet bent to take a closer look at California poppies
on our trip to the Tilden Botanical Gardens.

filled with the sunbeams
swaying with the gentle breeze---
the cups of poppies

Kiyoshi Tokutomi

poppy orange
it goes
with everything

Patrick Gallagher

San Francisco Bay Area Nature Guide and Saijiki
Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 2010, page 16.

These two haiku show the contrast between 
a traditional 5-7-5 syllable form
and the shorter style now often used
by English language poets

Monday, October 12, 2015

Writing It Down

This is Joan Zimmerman last year writing it down 
in the Tilden Botanical Gardens,
on our ginko there in 2014.
Our group went again this year, but I was still out of town.

Joan (with Patricia Machmiller)
gave the spectacular tanka workshop last Saturday.
Here is an example from the manual of 
almost inexhaustible resources
that she prepared for us.

Happiness is when
you struggle with a poem
for a hundred days
and then suddenly
it turns out just right

Tachibana Akemi

From the Country of Eight Islands;
an anthology of Japanese Poetry;
edited and translated by Hiroaki Sato
and Burton Watson, 
University of Washington Press, 1981, page 412.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pollen Baskets

This bee was hard at work and had already filled his pollen baskets 
when I found him busily at work in these yellow flowers 
in the Tilden Botanic Garden on our haiku outing and picnic there in 2014.
What a beautiful day that was!

First day of spring--
I keep thinking about
the end of autumn.

translated by Robert Hass

The Essential Haiku; versions
of Basho, Buson and Issa
edited by Robert Hass,
Ecco, 1994, page 14.

Under the watchful eye . .

Under the watchful eye of the poet Edwin Markham, the San Jose Poetry Center held a tanka workshop today in the Markham House in San Jose History Park, During a break, Dennis Noren of the Poetry Center (in blue shirt under Markham's portrait) led a short informative tour about the poet and his house, which now serves as a home for the Poetry Center and Yuki Teikei Haiku Society libraries and activities. The workshop was led by Yuki Teikei stalwarts Joan Zimmerman and
Patricia Machmiller. The level of preparation and study for this presentation was truly awesome and admirable! We were given a binder which included historical timelines and a bibliography, as well as examples and analysis of the structures of these short poems with such a long historical pedigree!
This picture shows only part of the group; I liked the way the window-light illuminated our study.

This fine tanka served as a partial model for us
to complete as an exercise:

how long has it been
since we parted?
the snow has come
and I'm learning from geese
how to fall from the sky

Jeanne Emrich
Ribbons 3, 1. page 25 (2007)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Across the waters

This beautiful view is one of the countless perfect visions 
our group of haiku poets was treated to on our visit 
to Japan in cherry blossom season in 1997!

Temple bells die out.
The fragrant blossoms remain.
A perfect evening! 


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Still Pond

Be sure to spend some hours in a Japanese Garden 
if you are lucky enough to have one nearby!

still pond
among the water lilies
people upside down

Pat Shelley

The Open Sky,
Yuki Teikei Haiku Society, 1997
(dedication page)

This lovely small book was prepared as a gift
to our hosts on the Yuki Teikei trip to Japan in 1997.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Deepening Autumn

One of the very great pleasures of participating 
in the YT haiku writing group, is the chance it provides
to meet other people with varied artistic interests.
Today I went for the first time to a monthly
sketching group to which one of these friends, 
Carolyn Fitz, belongs.
We met at Capitola Produce
and looked for a space to sketch in the shade.

I am very fond of writing haiku in autumn
because I have an affinity for the slight sadness
and melancholy in the thought of autumn.

Our challenge kigo invites the members to participate
by writing a haiku using a suggested season word.

Below are haiku I gathered 
for a Challenge Kigo column in a recent GEPPO
about the kigo (season word)

One of Basho's most highly regarded haiku 
(which exists in countless English translations) 
is this one:

autumn deepening
my neighbor-- how does he live
I wonder 
     (translation, Haruo Shirane)

autumn deepens
the man next door
how is he doing 

(translation, Jane Reichhold)

autumn has deepened
I wonder what he does
the man living next door 

(translation, Toshiharu Oseko)

Autumn deepens –
the man next door, what
does he do for a living?

(translation, Makoto Ueda)


he says a word
I say a word
autumn deepens

--Kiyoshi Takahama

deepening autumn
I rub the pain in his neck
that won't go away

--June Hopper Hymas

autumn deepens
a black butterfly
visits the old pine

am I the butterfly
or the pine?

(posted by Gabi Greve on Yahoo Groups)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kay and Papa John

These dear people! John and Kay Anderson are no longer with us,
but we do not forget them! I am not sure where I took this, but I know it
was at some poetry or haiku gathering.    jhh

canoe past the dock---
my paddle dips and pulls
through a memory

Kay F Anderson

Dreams of Slow Mice; 
the 2004 Anthology of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society;
edited by Anne Homan & Patricia J. Machmiller.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pieces of Cloud

Our dear founder, Kiyoko Tokutomi, in a sun hat on one of our haiku outings.

Autumn in the air---
from morning on, pieces of cloud
tear off and scatter

Kiyoko Tokutomi

Kiyoko's Sky; the Haiku of Kiyoko Tokutomi,
Brooks Books, 2002, page 79.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shadows and the Light

This is one of our sessions at the YT Retreat at Asilomar, 
where we gathered in a circle to remember
one of our members. Presiding in pink is Betty Arnold
with Alison Wolpert seated nearest  her. 
The beautiful sunlight over the ocean and the dunes is apparent.
You can also see the embroidered kimono which Carol Steele 
brings to these gathering to enrich the atmosphere.

ebb tide- 
practicing letting go 
of my mother 

Betty Arnold

furlough from hospice-
she marvels at the beauty
of the Golden Gate

Betty Arnold

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Ukelele Music

The day before the mighty eclipse that will not happen again
for thirty-umpteen years, Yuki Teikei's annual Moonviewing Party
was held at a home in Capitola. I planned to leave moon portraits
to those who own superior optics, but when the moon peeked over
Carol's house, I couldn't resist an iPhone shot!

the shape of the palm
in moonlight--my heart strums
ukelele music

June Hopper Hymas

Note: I hope readers will excuse my recent absence;
I allowed myself to bog down
in things that needed, doing, sorting, 
throwing away or fixing in the house 
that has been our home for nearly
fifty years, and from which we had been
absent for a year and a half.