Japanese Haiku from Peter Pauper Press



Four stars, read in July 2017.

I couldn’t believe my luck to find these three small, beautiful old volumes at my local used bookstore last nightparticularly because under their faded, torn jackets the same lovely pattern has been preserved on the hardcover.


Rather than reviews, my posts about haiku are always just a collection of the ones that struck me most notably, and there were many in this first volume. I’m not positive about capitalization and punctuation because they’re printed in all caps, and in fact there’s a note from the publisher explaining that in order to include the decorative Japanese designs that accompany each poem, they had to split the second line into two. I went with what looked right to me.

Twilight whipporwhill . . .
whistle on, sweet deepener
of dark loneliness

In the open shop
paperweights on picture books . . .
young springtime breeze

Life? Butterfly
on a swaying grass. That’s all . . .
But exquisite!

On her dead son:
In what windy land
wanders now my little dear
dragonfly hunter?

Mirror-pond of stars . . .
Suddenly a summer shower
dimples the water

Angry I strode home . . .
But stooping in my garden
Calm old willow-tree

Torches! Come and see
the burglar I have captured . . .
Oh! My eldest son!

Lonely umbrella
passing the house at twilight . . .
First snow falling soft

Buddha on the hill . . .
From your holy nose indeed
hangs an icicle

Leaf alone, fluttering
Alas, leaf alone, fluttering . . .
Floating down the wind

I have known lovers . . .
Cherry-bloom . . . The nightingale . . .
I will sleep content

Three loveliest things:
Moonlight . . . Cherry-bloom . . . Now I go
Seeking silent snow


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jan Hicks says:

    What gorgeous bindings! I love your selection, the Kito poem in particular. I’m there, enjoying the spring breeze, browsing the books.

    Liked by 1 person

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