A Selection of Haiku

by Margaret Chisman

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry consisting of three lines. On this page are a selection of Haiku by SOF UK member Margaret Chisman. They are taken (with permission) from her recently published "Weekend Haiku Book" (Rugosa Books 1995 3). She writes:

Haiku are meant to communicate the experience of a sudden insight into the human condition, an unexpected burst of exquisite heightened consciousness or a flash of newly understood wisdom. It can bring delight, sadness, deep poignancy or a determination to handle life better. The sparse form aims to present the experience in such a way that the essentials stand out and the background can be painted in by the reader.

In two years, Margaret has written over five hundred Haiku, following the example of the Zen monk who, on a journey of a thousand miles on foot, set himself the target of one such poem every other mile! She, incidentally, travelled over 16,000 miles on British Rail during this time! As well as appearing in Sea of Faith (UK) magazine, her work has been recently published in The Inquirer.

In the book, each of the poems is accompanied by a thought-provoking paragraph related to its theme. Intended to be read at weekends, the poems and musings provide a springboard for individual reflection during the following week. A selection of the poems appears below. See how they strike you...

Why does my heart yearn
For quiet streams, leafy trees,
Song birds? It seeks you

The problem today
Is not so much not knowing
But just not caring

Do not try to search
Be ready for the finding
When it seeks you out

The table's not there
It's just molecules and quarks
But who cooks dinner?

I'd rather grow old
Like apples, wrinkled yet sound
Than pears, sleek but bad