Favourite Haiku by Paul MacNeil

I have long held the opinion that there are writers in the English language who constitute an equivalent to Japanese masters. Perhaps this is overstatement on my part, and yet – I’ll let these living and deceased poets speak for themselves. I also offer deep apologies to those many not listed in this limited sample shown here in no particular order. These poets all have published books and are anthologised. Most are or were known as teachers, editors, and judges.

I have exceeded my charge for this selection, thinking perhaps fewer of my words per poem might allow more space for these great poets. My selection was based upon the originality found, freshness, and great word skills. These haiku use images from everyday life, anchored in the real, the here and now. Yet they do not seem derivative. Great haiku say “this much” and mean so much more.

spring breeze –
the pull of her hand
as we near the pet store

crackling beach fire –
we hum in place of words
we can’t recall

– both Michael Dylan Welch, Canada/US

field of wild iris –
the pinto pony
kicks up his heels

– Elizabeth Searle Lamb, US

water lapping
at the path’s end
murmur of moorhens

– Ferris Gilli, US

bird shadow
from tree shadow
to fence shadow

– Christopher Herold, US

after Christmas
a flock of sparrows
in the unsold trees

– Dee Evetts, UK/US

ebb tide
the shell I keep reaching for
carried further away

summer solstice –
the sun reaches a new place
on the fridge

– both John Crook, UK

the field’s evening fog –
quietly the hound comes
to fetch me home

muttering thunder
the bottom of the river
scattered with clams

– both Robert Spiess, US

so suddenly winter
baby teeth at the bottom
of the button jar

– Carolyn Hall, US

where the river goes
first day of spring

the moon at dawn
lily pads blow white
in a sudden breeze

– both John Wills, US

under the footbridge
two pigeons pluming
one another

– Matthew Paul, UK

migrating whales
all our footprints
wash away

– paul m. [Paul Miller, US]

shimmering pines
a taste of the mountain
from your cupped hands

summer night
we turn out all the lights
to hear the rain

– both Peggy Willis Lyles, US

she comes back –
the ocean drips off
every part of her

– Gary Hotham, US

the river
the river makes
of the moon

– Jim Kacian, US

distant wren song …
the brown river
slowed to green

John Barlow, UK

Editor’s note: Paul MacNeil is an associate editor of The Heron’s Nest and is a widely published writer of haiku, haibun, renku and tanka. He lives in Florida. One of his haiku was engraved on to a boulder in 2010 as part of the Katikati Haiku Pathway. Paul takes great joy in being an amateur naturalist.