Early Japanese Poems and Haiku


Early Japanese Poems

The mists rise over
The still pools at Suka.
Memory does not
pass away so easily.


In a gust of wind the white dew
On the Autumn grass
Scatters like a broken necklace.

Bunya no asayasu

The River Izumi
Floods the plain of Mika.
Did I ever meet her?
Why do I long for her?

Fujiwara no go-kanesuke

Haiku Poetry

on a barren branch
a raven has perched –
autumn dusk


Dawn only the mountain sees me leave

George Swede

halfway up the stair –
white chrysanthemums

Elizabeth Searle Lamb

A poem to start your journey:

Unfold Your Own Myth

Who gets up early to discover the moment light begins?

Who lets a bucket down and brings
up a flowing prophet? Or like Moses goes for fire
and finds what burns inside the sunrise?

Jesus slips into a house to escape enemies,
And opens a door to the other world.
Solomon cuts open a fish, and there’s a gold ring.
Omar storms in to kill the prophet
and leaves with blessings.

But don’t be satisfied with stories, how things
have gone with others. Unfold
your own myth, without complicated explanation,
so everyone will understand the passage,
We have opened you.

Start walking toward Shams. Your legs will get heavy
and tired. Then comes the moment
of feeling the wings you’ve grown,


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