There’s A Season for Everything

By Don Baird

weeds after rain
a mailbox filled
with medical bills

A striking haiku that resonates freely, almost wildly through my mind. We, at Under the Basho, have been accepting haiku for nearly a year. Hundreds of poems have come across our desks; I’m thankful that a significant number of them are quite good. This one, written by Deborah P Kolodji, is exemplary — standing a little taller, beaming a little brighter, and reaching a bit deeper into the mind of the reader. While this haiku seems easy to understand via the phrase, “a mailbox filled with medical bills,” it leans slightly toward rejecting the reader during the first reading. “Weeds after rain,” somewhat strains the relationship between reader and poet. What is Deborah after? What is the mystery that she has developed to trap our minds? This powerful poem outright asks you to read it again and again. We are thankful to present this poem to our readers.

the curve
of a dune’s shadow . . .
day moon

Debbie Strange invites us into a journey of smooth perception that literally lights up imagination. The language is fluid and flows off the tongue and mind without impedance; the poem nearly reads itself. “The curve of a dune’s shadow,” is a wonderful phrase that leads the reader into a moment of imagination — where the visual mind aligns with mother nature’s activity. “Day moon,” is a clean and clear picture that we have all witnessed. In some way, it’s simple, plain language; and yet, it has a significant position in the line-up of words in this poem.

The comparison between the “curve of the dune’s shadow” with “day moon” is not only interesting, but perfect. Furthermore, the over-arching image is clearly something that the poet witnessed (at some point in her life). This is a dreamy hokku that exudes a peacefulness.

ebtide . . .
the far blue horizon
of my childhood

. . . is a haiku that is fraught with wabi-sabi — an austere presence that is felt in my core being. Lorin Ford is a very powerful poet that remains mindful of every single word she employs in her poems. She opens doors to imagination while at the same time resists the reader’s desire to fully understand what she wrote. The phrase in this poem is mysterious and far reaching. Line one is sharp, sets the tone, and prepares the reader for a whole lot more. Yet, when the “more” is delivered, the reader is clearly left with much to do. So many questions; so few answers (at first): but the poem will unfold, through patience and many readings.

Myron Arnold submitted:

on the ocean’s edge
his confession

This powerful poem can stop you in your tracks. It presents something of fear; it presents mystery; it leaves the reader needing closure — “What is the subject here?” Something went wrong? Someone is running, or scared, or guilty, or damaged? The haiku, as many modern haiku do, touches on a subject much different from the old days of seasons and kigo. It addresses fear face-to-face. The reader might become uncomfortable; then, the question — “What happened?” Did the “his” commit suicide? Did he run? Is he truly guilty or just feeling guilty? This haiku is causative — almost forcing the reader to ask questions while not necessarily wanting to hear the answers.

Under the Basho is known for soliciting numerous styles of haiku. In that, we have received quite a variety of poems. Some poems are more traditional in structure and subject; others are nearly from another world: yet, they seem to work well in each other’s presence — within the bounds of our journal, Under the Basho.

We look forward to readers enjoying themselves during their visits. It is our desire to produce a top quality journal that houses enough variety to attract readers of different needs and desires.

We wish you the best and offer our appreciation of your visit(s) to read this year’s Under the Basho. Come back often, read much — and most important, enjoy!


Don Baird