for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

spring song, 3rd place in Blossom Rain’s 1st Haiku My Photo Challenge

My haiku won 3rd place in Chrissi Villa’s Blossom Rain 1st Photo Challenge. The invitation was for haiku poets to write a haiku on a photo. 1st place winner is friend, Sanjukta Asopta. Here’s mine and the comment of the judge, Kirsten Cliff:

spring song
how it draws the heart
to reflection

I’m a fan of alliteration and loved the phrase “spring song” on first reading. It works with the photo and then immediately draws the reader to look outside the borders for further signs of spring. The poet here like the first two, has reminded the reader of Nature’s song, of the life essence that is all around us and part of us. And also like the above two haiku, the auditory sense of the reader is engaged, which lifts the photo to another level. The final lines “how it draws the heart/ to reflection” worked to draw me deeply into the centre of the photo, and deeper into the experience as a whole.

Kirsten Cliff


Here’s the link or click on Blossom Rain in my blogroll:

May 5, 2012 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

sea foam (haiku)

sea foam
remnants of our resistance
drowning on sand

November 22, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , | Leave a comment

3 haiku on heavenly bodies

shooting star
sneaks into my darkness–
your laughter

the Milky Way–
the arc of an embrace
on emptiness

can it possibly be the color
for a star?

September 7, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

what doesn’t end? (reflections out of a haiku prompt)

and mourning doves
the tireless sweetness
of chickadees
the languorous dusk
what doesn’t end?

even the sun ends
not of itself but on us
but where else
do meanings lie
but on the shades
that shrink or end
or burst open with our eyes

roses laugh
leaving imprints on whorls
their petals take shape
swallows glance
and in swiftness
understand what longings
we hide

our dawns to waxwings
mere duplicates
of first dawns
we cannot know
midday points to zeniths
we alter in each turn
our mindlessness take

somethings to a fly
we end too soon it savors
until in willingness
though yet undone
its life ends
even as it captures
with million eyes
the universe the way
we cannot

because we resist
somethings do end
as simply as each day

reflections out of a haiku prompt on ‘insects’ in the soon-to-come out August issue of Sketchbook

September 3, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

…its burdens (excerpt from a haibun diary)

…it is the rhythm that’s constant it seems and not the stillness—the way the wind pulls and withdraws and the way the leaves sway and retract or how the clouds gather into masses and then dissipate into air or is it merely the eye that misses the jagged movements and edges and catches merely that moment when the rhythm shows and reassures us, as in the constancy of flowers even as petals begin to brown and curl in the edges and fall, because all we recall is their being there as in moments we have flowed into still flow into like on our early morning walks when

shifting tides–
the river unloads burdens
for us to decode

river bed, Lynne Canyon, Vancouver, BC

…and its burdens turn out to be what others fail to see as in the serene moments we share when as yet it is unruffled

(Excerpt from a haibun diary , a work-in-progress)

June 25, 2011 Posted by | diary/memoir, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

the rose bud/under a sky/full moon (random haiku and what else I am learning about haiku)

rose bud
still tight in the rain–
the coming of summer

under a sky
bent by a rainbow
we ease for home

full moon
on an open cesspool–
the sun for me

full moon partially obscured by the Earth's atmosphere (21 Dec 1999 taken by austronauts aborad the Space Shuttle Discovery) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I love how images work so well with haiku. And like paintings, they can be very compelling and draw out in their distance the deepest of emotions. Nothing should be overt in haiku. It must be hinted at, almost hidden or unnoticed.

For me, it could be something like a quiet reflection on the spit-notes of a waxwing or the epiphany of yes, a full moon on an open un-lidded cesspool. In the first, the notes for me feel like droplets of crystals that melt into a soft coating on my being, gifting me for a moment with the just-being-there-ness of a salmon berry blossom for a hummingbird; in the second, the moon sinks into my darkness– cesspool that I am in many ways of ‘pecadillos’, those daily pin pricks of rebellion from virtue and goodness–and turns on the light of the sun that is in me or what I believe to be my spirit, which at its core remains as powerful as the Sun from whom the moon draws its brightness.

Perhaps, I’m taking this too far but haiku works when it works for the poet–this is what I’m learning fast, though of course there are still the basic elements to go by. At the workshop of Michael Dylan Welch that I attended last Saturday right here in Vancouver in my neighborhood at the historic Joy Kogawa House, he emphasized a few key elements:

*not 5-7-5 syllables unless one is writing in Japanese
*must have a season (kigo) word (there are hundreds of them in a compilation by Japanese masters that differentiate for example mist and fog in spring and autumn have degrees of thinness, or even the moon is different in winter and autumn)
*must appeal to any or all of the 5 senses
*must be objective, meaning, not what is the emotion but what caused it
*precision (sharp focus), immediacy (of the moment not past or future both of which make it static), juxtaposition to make it ‘leap’ into a larger or higher perspective, which may be attained by contrast
*there’s a lot more than that, of course, and I’m still learning

Truly, reading haiku –and there’s thousands of them–and about the art may not be enough. Haiku has been for centuries some kind of a ‘group art’. It must be shared and worked at with others. For me, some kind of openness even humility are a must, a willingness to learn and be straightened out if what one has written seems vague or imprecise and the reader squints his eyes, knits his brows and says, ‘huh?’ instead of ‘ahhhh…’, clasps his hands and looks up to the heavens. Indeed, joining The Haiku Foundation that gave me access to Shiki Kukai, the Vancouver Haiku Group, and signing up for the NaHaiWriMo facebook site as well as submitting my haiku to and getting ‘acceptance’ and more often ‘declined’ mail from online haiku/tanka journals as well as other literary journals have been extremely rewarding.

Haiku’s most precise definition is ‘a short poem in one breath’. Ahhh…okay then, do these random haiku here make you say, ‘ahhhh’ or ‘huh’?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

deep in a pool (tanka though still not sure)

deep in a pool
a school of tadpoles wriggling
inveigles my thoughts
of a summer evening
to fall in love with a frog

It’s strange how thoughts take on an unintended form or lines simply write themselves out as if they simply ooze out of fingertips like this tanka-ish reflection. The image emerged from a ginko walk at the Chinese Buddhist Temple in Richmond we of the Vancouver Haiku Group had a month ago. The ‘pool’ is the bonsai pool but not tadpoles, instead a school of gold fish darted through moss covered stones. So why the frog? I had thought of Basho and the frog then out of nowhere or perhaps the stillness water always brings on in me as in that morning while gazing at the depth on the pool invited the frog to my lines…how strange and unexpected thought processes can be sometimes.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | poetry, reflection, tanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Silence (perhaps a haibun inspired by Red Dragonfly)

Silence is not the absence of sound. A sheer wall in the mind perhaps. A blockade for the heart. One cannot hear a heartbeat. The whoozing of blood in and out of ventricles. Blubbering air in the lungs. A grumbling emptiness in guts. Random complaints from muscles trapped in passions.

Silence is a gaping space. Traps what fills air waves. Winds fissures of earth slurp. Secrets blossoms share. Coughing of uncouth machines. Grating wheels those dumpsters edging out magpies. The cawing of crows to be understood. Marble chirps colliding with fresh acorns among the pines. Sonatas on toes around the rim of dreams.

Births are seeded in silence. In secret. The first cry is a child of silence. Wakefulness its gender. Words its ears. And eyes.

morning glow
she watches tea leaves swirl
in the cup a bird
a quiver on an oak branch
a flight in the silence

(c) Alegria Imperial 2011

A morning exercise inspired by Melissa Allen’s sharing of her haiku and haibun in the current issue of Chrysanthemum. (Click on my blogroll for Red Dragonfly’s post today.) But for me, this is only an attempt at haibun. I think it’s more poetry outside of the genre and needs more work. I’m sharing it though as an example of how an inspiration springs and just flows or billows in.

April 12, 2011 Posted by | haibun, poetry, reflection, tanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

tsunami (a haibun draft)

What else but a surreal image? That’s how sizes and dimensions gape at us when Nature takes on our own nature of maniacal rage. An earthquake and a tsunami, for example, when men are turned into nothing but grit and as equally irritating to be winnowed out–if only Nature were like our eyes and hands that miss the tears along with the grit and spare some in prayer.

But sizes do not end where our span points midair or our eyes on walls of horizons. Dimensions spawn spaces blank beyond our knowing. What births in such depths and heights? Men have invented words to describe their fear. They brew these in inner cauldrons but fail to empty them out onto sand.

The steam scalds them at times, the overboil sometimes burns them. But dimensions distract them as they control what’s unseen, what heals, what’s scarred and soothed with words.

Beware do not build on an earthquake fault. As if the fissures may not crack elswhere. Leave the lush volcanic soil. As if men’s hankering for paradise can be tamped down. Live each day as if night were true death. As if, as if deafness can resist the moon’s whispers. Sizes and dimensions on sand only children can fathom turn out to be the truest picture. But even with a heart like a child’s men loses in his tangled thoughts a vision of sizes and dimensions, hence,

towers of sand
suspending stars and sky–
then come billows

March 11, 2011 Posted by | haibun, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Angelus (for One Shot Wednesday)

How elating—
the walk by the harbor at dusk: the hour
hardly fits the feeling. Yet, day melting on
to ground and water seeps off as mist,
abstracting realities, transforming
states into half-dreams—a moment
that soon passes.

My feet cease
scissoring, a mindless technique
to cut into the half-hour—the
slice of time at which the heart is said
to pump faster, hastening
the river flow the body has entrapped—
and stilled, remember my childhood
but failing to recall

the minute-
prayer angel Gabriel’s hailing
Mary who was to have a child—a fairly
domestic scene that for ages had mystified
this hour. But brake on my steps holds me
not in prayer to dwell on such angelic
moment. I stand smiling, no less
a fool being alone, at this:

on grass patch a duck pair
bedded as a robin circles blinking disbelief ,
head turning in ways, ‘Lost, am I?’
—a look so innocent as much as
beguiling, a circlet that isolates
stark truths, blinds eyes
to mirrors: this moment
a black figure heaving on the crosswalk
hooded for heat—in the harbor
he makes like home, chills make
for walls—the freeze hangs on his
wiry moustache, a Cheshire grin to passersby
‘God bless!’ So like Gabriel
I imagine in tone yet so unlike

the angel in that his chant and greeting
fall insipid on indifference littering
the walk–I pass him by
resume my steps tight clipped
his eyes trail the dull beat my Reeboks
drum on the bridge. My heart contracts—
startled at the suddenness, the broken
rhythm signals a must

some help: the robin whisks its wings
to my eye path—in the
half-light its wing-spread so like
a minute Gabriel. Unthinking, I stop
to honor a childhood hour, and peering back
at the dark figure the seeping
night has walled in, I sigh
a prayer.

…one of my early poems written in 2008 in a series of what I called ‘journal poetry’ or journals I wrote in verse from memories of my walks at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore right across where I lived half of the year on Federal Hill. Posted here for One Shot Wednesday at One Stop Poetry to share it with you but expecially to a community of artists and poets in this inimitable space whose love for their art ‘spangle’ (my favorite word) the skies (my favorite phrase). Come on in, check us out or better yet, join us.

March 2, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments