Archive for the No/All season Category

from the Icebox inbox – 14

Posted in Haiku, Haiqua, No/All season, Senryu, Submissions, Tanka on July 13, 2010 by Tito


riding home

in the bicycle basket

– the glowing gibbous moon

………….……………………….. (Ursula Maierl)

Arrêt à Gadagne –

Jeune fille aux baskets rouges

Balance sa jambe.

…………………………………… (Kamome)

(Halt at Gadagne - / Young girl in red sneakers / Swings her leg.)

I heard your fiddle

Bow ensnarled in raven hair

The last song we wrote

With neither bang nor whimper*

Some things just end-–unnoticed

………..…………………………. (David Sinex)

*Borrowed from The Hollow Men, T. S. Eliot

lotus position–

in my ears


………..…………………………. (tori inu)

Winter Hudson

Posted in No/All season, Uncategorized, Winter on January 29, 2010 by Ellis

Long things beach here:
concrete pylons, railroad ties,
styrofoam swim noodles.

What is a “styrofoam swim noodle”? Here’s a picture:

From Hawai’i & Shikoku

Posted in Haiku, No/All season with tags , on January 3, 2010 by Nori

At dawn in Waikiki:

Pale water pooled –
To the lattice manhole lid
The bill of a dove

The debut of a new period drama series, “Ryoma”, reminded me of how in 2008 I had driven alone to search for a secret road crossing the Shikoku mountains, through which Sakamoto Ryoma had fled from the Tosa domain:

Repaired stone wall
Of the escape road from the fief,
Already mossy



Posted in Haibun, No/All season with tags on September 25, 2009 by Mark

On Easter Sunday last year, I heard an American soldier speak in the Catholic church on Kawaramachi street. He was uneasy, only twenty-four, and by avocation a photographer. The translator hobbled him somewhat, but he had presence, and he told his story––a story of how, south of Baghdad, his unit killed three goats and one child, in error; and of how, in reparation, the Army paid out $200 U.S. for the girl, and $1,200 more for her father’s livestock. The soldier had made his stop in Kyoto, on a long walk from Hiroshima to Tokyo, with a group of Buddhist monks––a walk undertaken for whatever it might accomplish in the name of peace.

After the meeting, the soldier stepped outside for a smoke, and took a seat beside me on the steps. A young Japanese woman approached him. She said she spoke no English––a fact for which she apologized in English. She extended her hand to touch his. “You have beautiful eyes,” she said.

No desert mirage,
in this sorry botch of a war––
three goats dead, one child.

From Hardy to Haiku: A Friendly Exchange

Posted in Haiku, No/All season, Poem on August 1, 2009 by Mark

Stephen (Tito) and I lately had an exchange via e-mail that may be of interest to readers of the Icebox. I sent him a favorite short poem of mine by his countryman Thomas Hardy. Hardy is better known in Japan as a novelist. But in fact he wrote some of the best poetry we have in English from the early part of the 20th century. (Hardy died in 1928.) In this poem, Hardy “updates,” or echoes, a passage from the Old Testament of the Bible (Job 14:14): “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.” I say that Hardy “updates” the Old Testament text because he alludes to it in full awareness of what modern science had revealed: that even the stars have life cycles and die; in short, that everything is mortal––in heaven as on earth. Stephen then rewrote Hardy’s poem as a haiku, reproduced here below the original. I especially like the way Stephen catches the nuance of Hardy’s “For all I know” in the second line of his haiku: “we shrug our shoulders.” One final point of interest: the noun “change” used to mean (among other things) “The passing from life; death.” That sense of the word itself passed out of use––or met its own “change”––in the mid 19th century. Thomas Hardy is reviving its older sense, if I may put it that way with mild irony.

Waiting Both”  (Thomas Hardy)

A star looks down at me,
And says: “Here I and you
Stand each in our degree:
What do you mean to do,—
Mean to do?”

I say: “For all I know,
Wait, and let Time go by,
Till my change come.”—”Just so,
The star says: “So mean I:—
So mean I.”

Tito’s fine rendition of the poem in haiku:

the star & I ––
we shrug our shoulders,
let time go by


Posted in Haiga, No/All season on April 5, 2009 by Gerald

april fools

nowhere near the summitー

god of this mountain

Literary Pilgrimage: Scotland 1, Highlands

Posted in Haibun, No/All season on December 30, 2008 by sosui

..Scotland is a mountainous country, whose highest peak is Ben Nevis, 4,406 feet high. I saw it shortly after the first snow of the year from Glen Nevis, a valley where highland cattle were grazing. They were all covered with long hair —  so very long that I wondered how they could see at all. Keats climbed the mountain in August 1818, but according to the sonnet he wrote on this occasion, the cloud was so dense that all he could see was “mist and crag”. I did not climb the mountain, but luckily I was able to see Ben Nevis beyond a field of snow, looking somewhat like a pan laid upside down.
..The first poem I recall about the Highlands is Wordsworth’s Solitary Reaper. It is a beautiful poem about a highland lass who sings by herself while reaping in the field. I find the last two lines of the poem full of suggestiveness: “The music in my heart I bore, / Long after it was heard no more.” Wordsworth actually said that he took the last line from a friend’s unpublished tour of Scotland. We do not even know where it was he met this highland lass. Wordsworth enjoyed a tour of Scotland with his sister Dorothy in 1803. According to Dorothy’s Recollections, they met two highland girls, descending the hill towards Loch Lomond. One of them was exceedingly beautiful. So Wordsworth wrote a poem in praise of her, in which he says that he will never forget “the cabin small / The lake, the bay, the waterfall; / And Thee, the Spirit of them all!” I cannot help thinking that this girl is the source of his highland lass.
..I had had the pleasure of seeing Loch Lomond on several occasions. One summer evening, I had a sudden desire to see it again with my wife. My guidebook said we could get there by train. We started out from Glasgow, but soon discovered that the last stretch of line had been removed. We got off at the terminus and looked for a taxi, but there was none. So we went into a fish-and-chips shop in front of the station, where a gentleman spoke to us as we were waiting to be served. When we said we wanted to go to Loch Lomond, he kindly offered to take us there in his car. The fish-and-chips were truly delicious when we ate them by the lake in the slowly-darkening twilight.

..Snow on the mountain,
..Highland cattle with long hair
..Grazing in the glen.

…………….On my highland tour,
…………….The song of the reaper girl
…………….Resounds in my heart.

…………………………….Lingering summer sun,
…………………………….Loch Lomond begins to sleep,
…………………………….The lake of my dreams.