Choice Haiku ~ John Daleiden




Life in the Mostly Unexamined World


Forty-three poets from thirteen countries have contributed two hundred seventy-three poems to the July / August 31, 2011 "insect / bug" Haiku Thread.

For the theamed "insect / bug Haiku Thread Sketchbook poets submitted an unprecedented 273 poems; picking a single haiku as choice has been difficult...  However, after narrowing the field down to ten I have reached a decision. My number one choice was submitted by Chen-ou Liu, CA:

one by one
fireflies escape my glass jar...
starry night

# 95. Chen-ou Liu, CA

The narrator in this ku, possibly a child,  has been collecting fireflies in a glass jar. What child has not participated in this activity on an early, twilight summer eve? Such an activity permits a close up inspection of these mysterious, luminescent creaturesan up close experience of the microcosm. Later, the narrator releases the fireflies, and one by one they escape their "glass" confinement returning to the larger world. They become indistinguishable in the clear night sky as as their tiny, glowing lights become intermixed with the canvas of the night sky filled with stars. The transformation of views is dramaticmoving from a microcosmic view to a macrocosmic view. It is this shift of view point that captures my attention. The child like act of capturing fireflies as specimens for display in a glass jar is commonplace, but allowing them to escape and mingle as points of light against the large canvas of a sky on a starry night leads one to speculate on the larger questions about life. What is life?  Is there life in the vast and mostly unexplored, distant universe?  Are the life forms of the "firefly", a "human", and a distant "star" related? What is the origin of life?  These are large questionsall of which invade my mind upon reading Chen-ou Liu's interesting haiku?

Some readers may object to the selection of this haiku as a Choice example.  Both "firefly" and "starry night" are commonly listed kigoshaijin purists will hastily point out that only one kigo should be used. Yet, the vastness of the questions that arise in my mind from reading Chen-ou Liu's haiku lead me to persist in this choice.

Instead of picking a second and third place haiku I choose to note that this Thread includes many haiku of merit. The following haiku of merit from the thread have been arranged in no particular order as sequences. As individual haiku of merit I believe that their images, juxtaposed in sequences, lead us to a larger understanding of the universe.


Cricket Songs: A Haiku Sequence


Autumn rain—
the cricket seeks
a new shelter

# 253. Maria Tirenescu, RO


on the jungle path
the soft chirps of cricket—
late summer romance

# 86. Ramesh Anand, Malaysia


incessantly a cricket sings
on the window sill

# 171. Bouwe Brouwer, NL


Full moon—
the cricket’s song
and a lonely old man

# 215. Maria Tirenescu, RO

Cricket's concert
in the moonless night—
the first stars

# 257. Maria Tirenescu, RO


cricket song—
sleeping at night
with an open window

# 212. Cara Holman, US


shortest night—
on the breeze, one thousand
cricket voices

# 206. Cara Holman, US


Concert end—
stuck to the heavy boot sole
a dumb cricket

# 44. Vasile Moldovan, RO



Between Showers: A Haiku Sequence


Sunday snooze . . .
in cicada song

# 81. Marg Beverland, NZ


between showers
the summer air saturated
with cicada song

# 169. Bouwe Brouwer, NL


summer evening
daylight dissolves
into cicada song

# 277. Bouwe Brouwer, NL

the pent up heat
of cicada song

# 25. Michele Harvey, US


after the rain
and a water pump

# 69. Marg Beverland, NZ


cloudless night—
cicada song deepens
the garden

# 175. Bouwe Brouwer, NL


Easter planting
she unearths the empty shell
of a cicada

# 234. André Surridge, NZ



Buzz, buzz, buzz: A Haiku Sequence


two fat drunks
on the front porch swing
the mosquito and I

# 11. Terri French, US


buzzing mosquitos—
a romatic evening
kiss interrupted

# 276. Sandra Martyres, IN


she comes every night
explores his body and drinks
wicked mosquito!

# 144. Munia Khan, BD

feeling for a gap
in the screen

# 226. André Surridge, NZ


his gravelly voice,
all your feet flat on the floor...
mosquitoes buzzing

# 65. Chen-ou Liu, CA 


he fractures his wrist
swatting a mosquito—
et tu Brute!

# 62. Sandra Martyres, IN



The Carriers: A Haiku Sequence


summer heat
a line of ants moving
across Das Kapital

# 177. Chen-ou Liu, CA


the war zone
on a wounded bush
lurking ants

# 111. Vera Primorac, CR


Between sky and sea
a footbridge for ants—
the mast heel

# 30. Vasile Moldovan, RO


insect guide
a child points
out an ant

# 35. Karen O'Leary, US


our invisible bridges—
army ants

# 244. Alegria Imperial, CA


A row of ants
climbing up a rose—
a petal falls

# 261. Maria Tirenescu, RO


a cortege of ants
busy transporting food—
long garden paths

# 213. Keith A. Simmonds, TT



Hometown Memories: A Haiku Sequence


Tai Chi morning
a spider climbs slowly
up the wall

# 204. Cara Holman, US


summer rain—
under the maple leaf
a small spider

# 23. Andrzej Dembonczyk, PL


hometown memories...
a spider mending a hole
in the attic wall

# 63. Chen-ou Liu, CA


caught in a web
the fly becomes prey—
a waiting spider

# 100. Sandra Martyres, IN


spider's web ...
struggling for survival
a curious fly

# 231. Keith A. Simmonds, TT


spinning her web
a spider waits for dinner—
the patient bride smiles

# 268. John Daleiden, US



Shadow Darners: A Haiku Sequence


desert sand
in a skull’s eye shadow
a dragonfly

# 68. Bernard Gieske, US


sultry afternoon
the iridescent sheen
of dragonfly wings

# 210. Cara Holman, US


a dragonfly rests
on the dry stick

# 273. Maria Tirenescu, RO

how beautiful
the name for a dragonfly—
shadow darner

# 67. Vania Stefanova, BG


Abandoned hut—
only two dragonflies
live in it

# 41. Oprica Padeanu, RO


Silence, please!
on the faded branch
a dragonfly sleeps

# 43. Oprica Padeanu, RO



Working: A Haiku Sequence


bee hive—
where the workers never

# 101. Stella Pierides, DE


a thousand bees
on the cherry blossoms—
the lonely mother

# 265. Maria Tirenescu, RO


the stem bends

# 91. Marg Beverland, NZ

learning patience—
a honey bee hovers
over tight buds

# 51. Terri French, US


poppy petals
flutter in the sun
a bee hovers

# 129. Vera Primorac, CR


bee sting—
I erase honey
from my shopping list

# 220. Irena Szewczy, PL



Drawn To the Light: A Haiku Sequence


zigzagging across the lawn
a moth

#71. Marg Beverland, NZ


dusk light
moths shiver up
from the grass

# 27. Michele Harvey, US


summer wind—
our thoughts imitating moths
circling the light

# 254. Alegria Imperial, CA


rain-brushed wings
flutter in the night:
Luna moth

# 05. Chitra Rajappa, IN
vampire moth
in the depth of the night
the moon is full

# 176. Willie E. Bongcaron, PH

...And finally, because they are humorous as well as serious...well, sort of...I guess it all depends on your point of view...

eternal life
only the roaches
come close

# 103. Stella Pierides, DE

in my salad
a green caterpillar—
life lesson

# 105. Stella Pierides, DE

a dragonfly
motionless on my shoulder—
tattoo saloon

# 188. Irena Szewczyk, PL

midsummer night
home alone with my dog
picking fleas

# 274. Chen-ou Liu, CA

To close this commentary on "bug / insect" Haiku I remind all of you that in spite of the close of summer the universe of bugs lives on in the unborn generations that will emerge in due time.

lady bug, lady bug
don’t you know
summer’s gone

# 70. Bernard Gieske, US









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