Editor John Daleiden's Choice Food Haiku



Fit For Feasting

The Sketchbook editors have selected their Monthly Haiku Choices from the November 2007 food thread.

As we enter the 2007 holiday season I begin to think about all the riches for which I can be thankful. The gift of well written haiku is one of the riches that overwhelms me each month as I read, re-read, and read again all the submitted haiku and attempt to choose a few outstanding verses. The task becomes more difficult than I ever imagined.

In November there was an abundance of riches. Here are some of the exceptional food haiku sent to Sketchbook:

ripe avocados—
I carve the moon's phases
with a penknife

# 08. Hortensia Anderson , US

This delightful haiku celebrates not only the phases of the moon but the abundance of an avocado crop carved into tasty shapes. This haiku both surprises and delights.

hunter’s moon
a mandarin soaked
in brandy

# 09. Trish Shields, CA

The Hunter's Moon and Harvest Moon are not brighter, smaller, or yellower than during other times of the year, but they certainly seem quite memorable. The full moons of September, October, and November, as seen from the northern hemisphere correspond to the full moons of March, April and May as seen from the southern hemisphere But all full moons have their own special characteristics, and this one has the enhancement of a brandy soaked mandarin. The juxtaposition of hunter’s moon and the color of the mandarin orange are a complimentary match that delights.

In all the hustle and bustle of any season there is a certain contentment about the thought of coming home. Sometimes there is also frustration as demonstrated in this haiku:

coming home
more tired than hungry—
who ate all those crisps?

# 26. Sally Evans, UK

And of course no one will confess to the deed. It must have been the elves—you know—Christmas elves—they get hungry too. This delightful senryu ends with a question the prosecuting attorney might ask during a court case. This question haiku is a delightful use of technique!

In this season of celebratory dinners the efforts of the cook should never go un-noticed.

I burn my tongue,
I cut my finger—
dinner's ready!

# 16. Zhanna P. Rader , US

This humorous depiction of the cook’s plight is good-natured. Here, the senryu format allows us to experience the lengths to which a family cook will go to in order to create a holiday feast.

Of course the cook must shop for the ingredients to prepare the meal:

rows of red peppers
in the farmer's market—
a sharp autumn wind

# 25. Hortensia Anderson , US

This two phrase haiku juxtaposes the images of “red peppers” in a farmer’s market with the “sharp autumn wind”. This sharp contrast of very different images provides the reader with the sudden recognition of a stinging sensation.

The diverse effects of food can be quiet surprising. Consider this:

peeling onions
tear after tear ........
my divorce now final

# 12. Karina Klesko , US

This pivot constructed haiku extends the impact of the verse: 1) “peeling onions / tear after tear” is a familiar activity every cook has experienced, but also 2) tear after tear . . . my divorce now final” is an experience shared by women and men alike. Uniting the two images captures the moment in a special and memorable verse.


stolen cherries
she keeps washing
red-stained hands

# 23. Hortensia Anderson , US

The juxtaposition of “stolen cherries” and the continual “washing” of “red-stained hands” is masterful. My mind is immediately flooded with the image of a very guilty Lady Macbeth who can not sleep because she has the blood of the king on her hands. This oblique reference to a literary image is very powerful for me. The guilt of this thief must be overwhelming.

And finally, with Thanksgiving behind us let us beware of the impact of celebrating the Christmas season with an overabundance of food.

Thanksgiving dinner—
the zipper on my skirt
breaks apart.

# 14. Zhanna P. Rader , US


Holiday dinner—
my belt cuts sharply
into my belly.

# 58. Zhanna P. Rader

What man or woman has not experienced overeating during a holiday meal?


Read all of the food haiku







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