Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Writing haiku on a ginko at Overfelt Park

Seated on a bench, my haiku teacher (left) and my haiku friend write haiku on a beautiful spring afternoon in Overfelt Park in San Jose. Lines of shadow lead to the bench. And, there's California sunshine! Now, my teacher, Kiyoko, is no longer alive, except in those of us who remember her. My friend and I are preparing for an April trip to a haiku conference in Matsuyama, Japan. She will deliver an address on Kiyoko's life and that of her husband, Kiyoshi, who founded our Yuki Yeikei Haiku Society (www.youngleaves.org)
This is a sequence of haiku that I wrote for her while driving home just after she died. . It appeared in Modern Haiku the following year..


driving westward
the sun makes it hard to see
—news of her passing

tumbleweed and sage—
white steam rises easily
from holes in the earth

the long straight highway—
so unexpected her death
in this cold season

on bare desert sand
a heart fashioned from black stones
—dust-laden wind

lone desert peak
a single long cloud above it—
winter rain

white alkali flats—
her forty-nine days just begun
at the year’s turning

winter desolation
along the railroad track
a row of tumbleweeds

outside the motel
sun glazes the mountain rim
—departing year

Yule icicle lights—
all I wanted to ask her
sticks in my throat

not wanting to think
this might be heaven’s blessing
—winter mountain

the Pie Jesu
sung in a soprano voice—
winter cloud

her haiku spirit
reaches out across the landscape
depth of winter

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