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Senryu that Poke Fun at Haiku:

Frozen river. I
can lead the horse to water,
but can't make him drink.

A haiku rendition of "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

Full moon; the whole
family gathers to view
the TV screen.

This refers to the Japanese tradition (often mentioned in haiku) of going out to view the full moon. Could an American family be dragged from the TV for this?

The poet pointed
somewhere else, but my eye stuck
on his jeweled ring.

One way to explain why a haiku tends to eschew the more obvious poetic/rhetorical devices.

Perceiving a phenomenon,
I respond with
a certain feeling.

Well, DUH! A haiku to end all haiku?

Hanging to five sounds
by one hand, I swing to the
seven line and back.

Four a.m.--wide awake,
I grab for a sonnet,
catch a haiku.

The haiku as consolation prize for an ambitious western poet.

Ha ha!
My leaves fall better
than your leaves do.

Haiku as a tradition is associated with Zen, and suffers from some of the same one-upsman-ship-in-the-guise-of-inscrutable-selfless-wise-serenity as Zen, especially in the hands of the faddish. One can get very precious about haiku.

Autumn. Words too blue
for ink flutter off the page--
a poem!

A take-off on what I call haiku myopia: The leaf that turns out to be a butterfly, etc.

Reading haiku: "The
old pond..."--the sound of turning
the page startles me.

This one is really almost haiku, though maybe a bit to clever. Here the act of reading the poem where Basho, beside an old pond, senses or becomes the pond, the leap of a frog into it and the resulting water sound - the act of reading that poem leads to a similar moment - the water sound becoming the sound of the page I turn, thinking to move on from that poem, while becoming it.

In every season,
Hokusi playing peak-a-Boo
with Mt. Fuji.

The artist, Hokusi, did numerous drawings of Japanese life, all featuring, somewhere in the background, the cone of Mt. Fuji. Not really a poem about haiku, but about a related Japanese art form.

"We accept only
pure haiku..." - kerplunk in the
old wastebasket.

Another variant on Basho's frog and the water sound.

Clothes in the dryer -
perma-press, just time
for short poems.

We have cats, dogs and
urine smell in every season
of the haiku.

Haiku, traditionally, are based on seasonal associations; all seasons are the same to someone cleaning cat boxes.

The leaf that returns
to the branch - what if
it's just a leaf?

Another reference to haiku myopia, the poem based on mistaking a butterfly for a leaf or the like.

No seasons
in L.A., which shortens
my haiku.

L.A. does have its hints of seasons, rainy winters, etc., but to me, coming from hyper-seasoned Minnesota, L.A. seemed bland. Since traditional haiku include some "season word" to state or hint at the season, the idea here is that I can write fewer words, in the absense of seasons.

The new highway -
a frog jumps out...

Another variation on Basho's frog.

I explain the joke --
he slaps hand against forehead:
One-hand-clapping sound.

Haiku and Zen are associated in various ways. This poem alludes to the Zen riddle (koan): "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"

The old pond --
my Klondike Bar falls in.
Sound of man yelling SHIT!

Yet another variation on Basho's frog.

Summer night --
water sound...we just had
that toilet fixed!

And yet another variation on Basho's frog, leaping into the pond to produce a water sound.

We pause for haiku,
but there isn't a haiku,
no haiku, thank you.

Tankas a lot!

Her cabin, a small space
enclosing a huge space,
a live-in haiku.

My last love poem said
goodbye forever. Maybe
someday a sequel.

Here, I'm doing a variation on my own haiku:

My last letter said
"Goodbye forever" - maybe
today an answer...

My elbow bumps something
that falls...what? (no frog...
no pond...a book!)

Yet another take on Basho's frog. In this case, waking up, my elbow knocks something off the bed table, and, not quite awake (or pretending in my poem to be not quite awake), I anticipate a splash.

Suburban front yard –
a red wheelbarrow on which
nothing depends.

Referring to William Carlos Williams' short poem in which "so much depends upon a red wheelbarrow...".


Spring. The old horse
vomits on the baby sparrow
after nibbling cherry blossoms.

Winter. Old crow
on a bare branch reading
the Wall Street Journal.

New Years. My little
daughter wants more rice cakes.
With my axe I chop her to pieces.

Full summer moon.
The crickets hush. I notice
over Hiroshima a large mushroom cloud.

The four poems (?) above, labeled "sicku", were written as sick parodies of classical haiku. There is a haiku of a horse shitting on a blossom, several in which old crows perch on bare branches, many about the Japanese treat of giving the kids rice cakes on New Years Day, etc. I wrote these one day as part of an attempt to write a bunch of bad poems - as bad as I could make them. Sometimes "bad" is fun.

When I stop writing,
I'm dead, so bury me -
no matter what I say.

The world is
but my poems
are very