Favourite Haiku by Eduard Ţară

I must confess that, for me, haiku means and always will mean what it meant for Bashō and for the masters of this genre, even though I wrote many experimental haiku-like poems in English which were called contemporary haiku. In Romania (where I am from), as in Japan, Brazil, Senegal, Belgium, Italy, Spain or in many other parts of the world where haiku was introduced by the Japanese masters or exclusively after the rules of the Japanese masters, when we say haiku we also say rhythm (5-7-5), kigo, kireji and aesthetics. No less, no more.

I think that many good haiku which could be my favourites were written and will be written in different languages in the world. From what I have read up to now, I will choose only those haiku poems in the language in which the author composed them (and insofar as I understand them in the original language). Because Japanese is almost a “terra incognita” for me and all the translations in English or Romanian from the Japanese masters I have read are only shadows of the original, I will not mention them.

So, at this moment, my top 12 are the following:

to return
or not to return –
winter twilight

– Leszek Szeglowski, Poland

This is the haiku which touches me most. Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be” could not have made this scene as animates as the author has made it using the verb “return”. The moment between the first two lines is so overwhelming. The last line brings the reader to the edge of an existential moment.

starry night…
what’s left of my life
is enough

– Ron Moss, Australia

A haiku beyond words.

spring sunshine
my dead wife’s handprints
on the window pane

– David Cobb, United Kingdom

Dulceaţă de fragi –
prea puţin din mireasma
pădurii-n amurg

wild strawberry jam –
so little scent
in the forest at twilight

– Şerban Codrin, Romania

cric vechi în iarbă –
cântecul greierilor
ridică luna

old jackscrew in the grass –
the chirping of crickets
lifts the moon

– Cristina Oprea, Romania

nu mai tremură –
cad legănat tămâind
străvechiul gorgan

no longer trembling –
the incense falls, swinging on
the ancient barrow

– Corneliu Traian Atanasiu, Romania

azil de noapte –
un cui se îndoaie sub
mantaua udă

night shelter –
a nail bends under
the wet cloak

– Flavia Muntean, Romania

the rainy season –
our fingerprints wear away
by months of farming

– Emmanuel Abdalmasih Samson, Nigeria

Milky Way –
maybe tonight
I’ll conceive

– Brenda J. Gannam, USA

Seguram a enxada
As mãos que escrevem haicais –
Chuva criadeira

Holding the hoe
The hands that write haiku –
Long rain

– Neiva Maria Pavesi, Brazil

plum blossoms
I make plans
for my ashes

– Carolyn Hall, USA

barques a l’alba –
navega sense rems
la soledat

boats at dawn –
the loneliness sailing
without oars

– Jordi Climent Botella, Spain

Editor’s note: The translations from Romanian, Portuguese and Catalan into English are by Eduard Ţară. Eduard is a Romanian poet who has won many awards for his haiku in several languages, including English, Russian, German, French and Portuguese. He is a completing a PhD in algebra and is a mathematics teacher in Iasi in Romania.