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Haiku: The Travelers Of Eternity
By Charles Ghigna
March, 2006, 10:30

The months and days
are the travelers of eternity. --Basho

Haiku, an art form that lends itself to lyrical thought provoking portrayal of spirit.
he Japanese haiku, one of the oldest forms of poetic expression, teaches us much about the art and craft of poem-making. The entire poem consists of only three short lines, yet the haiku contains all the basic elements of poetry.

     Each haiku describes
     a fleeting moment in Time,
     a glimpse of Nature.

The haiku is understated and concise. It is lyrical and dramatic, poignant and precise, personal and universal. Sometimes it is witty.  But always it is ethereal and timeless, as meaningful today as it was hundreds of years ago when Basho, Buson, Issa and the other masters of haiku first began exploring its potential as an art form.

Here are some examples of haiku that follow the tradition of using seasonal imagery to portray the cyclical aspect of Time and Nature.

A sleeping doe stirs
beneath her blanket of dawn,
a new year rising.

The sea lion roars
across the far horizon,
storm clouds stalk the shore.

A field full of pale
parachutes, dandelions
adrift in the wind.

Ivory butterflies
perch on the wet black branches,
the dogwood blossoms.

The cherry blossom
wakes, stretches, opens herself
to the morning sun.

The cricket calls to
the meadow, each evening he
hears his echo sing.

Beyond fields of rice
shadows sway to moonlight's breeze,
lithe bamboo dancers.

Listen, the forest
waits for summer's final song,
the whippoorwill sings.

Shadows bow to the
setting sun, pray to the sky
for blessings of light.

Artist autumn comes,
paints her blush across each tree,
drops palette, and leaves.

Geese fly south pulling
over the mountaintops a
stone curtain of sky.

The last lullaby,
an owl cries out through the pines,
the north wind answers.

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Charles Ghigna is the author of more than thirty award-winning books of poetry from Random House, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., Simon & Schuster, Hyperion, Scholastic and other publishers. These samples of haiku are from his book Haiku: The Travelers of Eternity, illustrated with exquisite sumi-e ink drawings by Armor Keller. These and other books by Charles Ghigna can be found at

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