Tuesday, March 3, 2009


The most famous haiku in the world is by great master Basho, seventeenth century Japanese poet, and, in translation by RH Blyth,

The old pond:
a frog jumps in –
the sound of the water

How simple! and yet how full – no part of the poet’s attention was missing. It is a moment in nature , full and complete in itself. I too, want to cultivate a mind as unblemished as that of Basho. One way to do it is to go into nature, be fully present, and write down in haiku form, what I experience.

Basho took the hokku, the first verse of a renga sequence written by a group of poets, and made it into a stand- alone verse. His idea has been taken up in other languages and thrives today as a form of nature poetry. It should not be confused with senryu, which is a satirical take on human affairs.

Here are my best verses for 2006, in roughly seasonal order:


Midday heat –
walkers soak up
the sound of water

Painted fingernails
poking through the earth -
bright red fungi

They’re calling us
over and over
the hidden birds

The trees conferring
amongst themselves
around the spring

(on Gulaga, a mountain sacred to the Yuin people, South Coast)


Falling on
climate change protesters,
unusual rain