Next Line, Please

Autumn Haiku

By David Lehman | November 14, 2017

We broke the record.
Three hundred and eighty three
haiku and comments

came in this week. I
liked many including this
one by M. C. Rush:

Michael C. Rush

The fog at dawn asks
the falling leaves leaving fall
to wait for winter.

The chiasmus in
line two is admirable.
As Charise Hoge wrote:

The second line is like fingers on the piano keys.

What Angela Ball
does with a prompt is always

Trees Along Highway 49 between Jackson and Hattiesburg

of pines, a long shot of gold,
a headdress of red.

Paul Michelsen loves
the cento. He took these lines
from John Ashbery’s

poem “The One Thing
That Can Save America,”
source of last week’s prompt:

America in Fall

Morning has seized us
Orchards flung out on the land
Backward into light

Ricky Ray came up
with “four quick ones” entitled
“Hollow,” which follow:

The web where the window
was open all summer
puts on a coat of dust.
A bone in the leaves
the dog detects hoping
the man cannot hear it.
If in autumn I
notice the gray in your hair
will you forgive me?
No tears in the leaves,
just the pigeon, no head
and the cry of the hawk.

Eric Fretz hedged his
bets by combining haiku
and villanelle form:

Please consider me
As one who loved persimmons
And some poetry.

By the changing tree
I ask when the day is done
Please consider me

Rising to a knee
My voice is torn to ribbons
And some poetry.

Ask someone to tea
And sweet rice with sticky buns,
Please consider me.

Prose is like the sea—
Expanding, but without funds—
And some poetry.

They all beseech thee,
Topless as Brazilians:
Please consider me
(And some poetry).

Another haiku
by Eric Fretz impressed me
with its fearless rhyme:

As in a prism
now can colors hid in green
Be, in dying, seen.

I share Paul’s “feeling
that Emily Winakur
can speak in haiku.”

As evidence we
can offer this effort of
hers, which caused comment:

Long boots leggify;
scarves noosing necks; our skin
hibernates till spring.

Clay Sparkman wrote that
he approved of “cheater words”
such as “scarves,” which is

a one-syllable
word that can pass as two for
the sake of haiku.

David Lehman told
the gang that he visited
Japan and recalled:

I tried to translate
Basho’s most famous haiku
while in Kyoto.

Many tries but none
worked until I ditched the rules
and came up with this:


For Charise Hoge
that “splash” rippled in the pond
“spawning” this haiku:

Many frogs but none
splashed until I ditched the rules
and came up with pond

Angela summed up
in verse the proceedings of
the week before last:

Lost in Starbucks

A man sits with an open notebook.
While a song called “Summer
Trumpets” endlessly plays,
he flits among truths
like a honeybee
among fake flowers,
thinking himself
nothing more
than an old and fading bud
held by the thinnest stem,
a man fathered
by a lonely boy.
Outside, summer
becomes autumn, and plants
fight storm, drought,
and root-deep thirst to weave
past stones and fence posts.
The man threads middle age
headed for old
still cupping the same
collapsed latte, endless
pencil, till it seems
that the alchemy of his mind
no long speculates but
discovers, transmutes.

So much to commend,
so little space to do so
yet so much pleasure.

Next Tuesday I will
propose a new prompt for us
and in the meantime

I hope you will feel
free to converse in
haiku, prose, or verse.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

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