Old Seed

Modern Japanese Haiku


Chunks of pages. Tattered spine, torn and broken. Masking tape repairs in various stages of disintegration. I bought the anthology “Modern Japanese Haiku” by Makoto Ueda, at the Queens University bookstore in 1977. We’ve lived together ever since.


I close the gate,

and sit alone with the stones

this beautiful night.

              by Mizuhara Shuoshi





Where are you now?

For weeks the Words were everywhere.

Creating their own syllabic rhythm and take.

Landscape to letters. Look up. Write down.


Suffering of the would-be-mindfully-aware.

Static of muse on the still morning air.

Cackle of grackles and barking of dogs.


Stillness is not a word. Emptiness either.

Look and listen. Cormorant glide?

Frost in the shadow of a curled brown leaf?


Now they are gone. Just when I was beginning

to understand. Words are nowhere to be found.