Favourite Haiku by Ken Jones

I’m afraid I don’t go with “explanations” of haiku. Surely the whole point of a haiku is that its “meaning” is left as wide open as possible for the reader’s own imagination? So, I’d just like to gently challenge readers with these …

pushing my reflection
this wheelbarrow
full of rain

– Ken Jones, b 1930

last day –
a cold spark from two flints
and then the paper catches

– Caroline Gourlay, b 1939

how lonely it is,
cultivating the stone leeks
in this world of dreams

– Nagata Koi, 1900-97 (read his obituary by James Kirkup)

those in line
watching the wind
sweep the earth

– Saito Sanki, 1900-62 (read a profile here)

on a journey through life
tilling a small field
back and forth

– Basho, 1644-94

in the mouth of a black dog I journey through the night

– Stuart Quine, b 1962

Editor’s note: Ken’s career has been mainly in higher education, with most of his spare time spent as a peace, ecology and social justice activist, as well as a period on the Samaritans’ telephone helpline. He is a founder of the UK Network of Socially Engaged Buddhists, and now its president, and a member of the International Advisory Committee of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. Ken is a Zen and Ch’an practitioner and teacher of 30 years’ standing and has published widely. His best-known book is The New Social Face of Buddhism (Wisdom Publications, 2003).

Ken is co-editor of the quarterly Contemporary Haibun Online. For his contribution to Pilgrim Foxes: Haiku and Haiku Prose, co-authored with Jim Norton and Sean O’Connor and published in 2001, Ken was awarded the Sasakawa Prize for original contributions in haikai. He won the 2005 English Language Haibun Contest, and in 2011 won joint first place in the British Haiku Society’s Haibun Contest. His latest collection of haiku and haibun is Bog Cotton (Alba Publishing, 2012).

Ken homesteads in his native Wales, with his Irish wife Noragh. Visit his website.

Ken died in August 2015.