Mid-winter evening,
alone at the sushi bar?
just me and this eel.




(from his haiku collection She Was Just Seventeen, Modern Haiku Press, 2006)

16 Responses

  1. Dirk van Nouhuys Says:


  2. imogen288 Says:

    Better an eel than a heel.

  3. Norah Says:

    Wow, very poignant.

  4. Pearl Says:

    I love it! But I wonder why he chose "this" eel instead of my eel, an eel, the eel, one eel, cooked eel, raw eel, Really! What else did he consider?

  5. th. vandergrau Says:

    I feel that the choice of "this" eel accentuates the loneliness.

  6. Marie Shimane Says:

    Perhaps he had only one eel sushi and let it last and last and….

  7. shirley Says:

    love this haiku, the eel gives it the punch it needs. brilliant

  8. Peter Newton Says:


    I'd say the poet's choice of the word "this" adds to the idea of being caught somewhere, perhaps unexpected. The speaker of the poem is in "mid-winter." To mix things up, has he taken himself out to eat? Or maybe he's been stood up. Who's to say? But in three short lines he resolves the predicament with a bit of humor. As if the poet is saying: all we have is "this," what is right in front of us. And he makes the best of it. Certainly, he's better off than the eel. –Peter

  9. Peter Yovu Says:

    Any choice other than "this" waters the poem down immensely. "this" gives it a visceral quality,
    a hinted contempt or revulsion, a sense that the writer, who perhaps in the past ordered sushi and consumed it without much thought, suddenly is aware of his circumstances and sees a very specific specimen of (his) aloneness. The eel, of course, is not whole– it has been cut up, other portions have been or will be served to other patrons of the bar. He is alone among others;
    alone with me and you. We experience not *a* poem, not *his* poem, not *the* poem, but
    *this* one.


  10. Karen Says:

    Great relationship.

  11. Alan Summers Says:


    There's something about winter coming on, and the festivities of Christmas building up as a big family thing. When I saw sushi bars on every corner of Soho, London (England) years and years ago, I was so painfully shy, and alone, I couldn't get the nerve up to go inside these exciting places.

    I can so relate to the 'just me' for quite a while. Thankfully I am very happily married so unless we are in separate places, there's no longer that 'just me'.

    I feel that layering the poignancy is a wicked sense of humor as many of us wouldn't choose eel, at least for sashimi, if it was sushi, I might dare. :-)

    Mid-winter evening,
    alone at the sushi bar—
    just me and this eel.

    (from his haiku collection She Was Just Seventeen, Modern Haiku Press, 2006)


    dark morning…
    the sushi bar opens up
    for the train station

    Alan Summers

    Publications credits:
    Aesthetics, (Bath Spa University 2007); Haiku Friends Vol. 3 ed. Masaharu Hirata (Osaka, Japan 2009)


  12. seaviewwarrenpoint Says:

    I love this. I think he's kind of enjoying some quality time with that eel before he eats it! :)


  13. Lorin Says:

    Great comedy in this confrontation … all the earmarks of a Billy Collins take on 'The Gunfight at OK Corral'. …see, it has the 'vertical axis, too :-)

    – Lorin

  14. Julie Bloss Kelsey Says:

    Or maybe he doesn't like sushi and is just staring at "this eel" wishing he had anything else to eat … :)

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