Favourite Haiku by Ron Moss

For me writing and reading haiku has always been about that moment in time that resonates and makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck. A certain type of thrill that really demonstrate what it is to be alive and aware in the world. So I have selected a few favourites that have stayed with me to guide and inspire on my own haiku path.


the sea darkens
the voice of the duck
faintly white

– Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

This always been a firm favourite that takes me to another place in space and time. Something that seems not of this world but, then again, something that is very much the very fabric of nature in space in time.


The thief left it behind:
the moon
at my window.

– Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831)

So much that can be said in so few words, and this is a wonderful example. This classic haiku has stayed with me from the very beginning of my haiku journey.


rusted hinge
the butterfly’s wings
close, open…

– Lorin Ford

This is a fine example of the haiku techniques of contrast and comparison. The moment is beautifully stated with movement, colour, and even the smell of rust. This is a treat for all the senses.


sitting here
without the mountains

– Gary Hotham

Living in the mountains of Tasmania I identify very strongly with weather and the disappearance of things in a visual sense. I love the structure of this haiku that conveys the feeling of fog and impermanence so well.


foghorns –
we lower a kayak
into the sound

– Christopher Herold

A wonderful haiku from Christopher, that appeals to me on so many levels. I’m a keen kayaker myself and this haiku captures many of the moods and feelings of being on the water as the atmosphere is changing.


the visible pulse
of a baby’s soft spot . . .
wren answering wren

– Ferris Gilli

The sensitivity of the poet’s observation in these three short lines is nothing short of amazing. It continues to affect me deeply with every new reading of this spellbinding moment. A classical use of the technique of association, coupled with the elegance of the words “wren answering wren” make this an unforgettable haiku moment. It’s a celebration of new life and the transition of all things that come into being.


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

– Peggy Willis Lyles

Peggy is a poet I have long admired and this haiku was one that has travelled along with me on my own writing path. It has been a constant inspiration to push beyond any boundaries in search of that resonance that comes for a finally captured moment


the sack of kittens
sinking in the icy creek
increases the cold

– Nick Virgilio

Such a powerful haiku that affected me deeply and still does more than a decade after the first reading. It demonstrates the power and weight of the haiku moment, and the emotional shock that continues to resonate.


into the afterlife red leaves

– Peggy Willis Lyles

I have always admired Peggy’s poetic voice and her haiku legacy teaches us in many ways. The one-line format works so well with this haiku as it quickly goes to the very heart of life and death with wonderful imagery. The mention of colour which can be so powerful in a haiku, is done with sensitivity and points us in a direction of hope and renewal. Like all great teachings that come to us through the form of poetry, this is a wonder to behold and I find it very uplifting.


sharpening this night of stars distant dogs

– Stuart Quine

This haiku has what the late Martin Lucas called a poetic spell. It’s a feast for the senses and continues to resonate long after the first reading. A fine example of the layers that can be achieved with well-crafted imaginative writing.

I would like to conclude this most enjoyable exercise with two haiku from a modern Japanese Zen Master and haiku poet. Soen Roshi’s deep insight conveyed in these wonderful words continues to inspire me in my own life.


sound of mountain
sound of ocean
everywhere spring rain

– Soen Nakagawa Roshi


all beings are flowers
in a flowing universe

– Soen Nakagawa Roshi

Editor’s note: Ron Moss is a writer and artist who enjoys working in most Japanese forms. His poetry has won international awards and been translated into several languages. Ron’s art is sold as limited edition-prints and originals. He has been featured in poetry journals and has designed several book covers. “My passion is to push the boundaries of images and words into new ways.” He contributed artworks to A Hundred Gourds and is co-editor of the Muttering Thunder annual publication.

He lives at rural Leslie Vale, Tasmania with his wife Sharon. As well as being a reprographic services technician at the Tasmania Archive and Heritage Office, Ron is also a volunteer firefighter and was awarded the National Medal in 2013. He has an artwork website, visit it here. Ron’s collection of haiku, The Bone Carver, was published in 2015.