in the facets
of a fly’s eye
the spider multiplies

10 Responses

  1. seaviewwarrenpoint Says:

    Love this close-up ku, Michele!


  2. Seren Fargo Says:

    I really enjoyed this one.

  3. Pravat Says:

    A brilliant image built on expression of anxiety.

  4. Alan Summers Says:

    That's a lot of spiders! Love the haiku.

    warm regards,


  5. tidalpoolpoet Says:

    There's a comment for you on this thread. I was wondering the same thing and am very interested in your opinion. Thanks, Susan S.

  6. Alan Summers Says:

    Thanks, I think because my name was spelt the unusual way of Allen, I didn't get an alert.

    Although I have Welsh and Irish ancestors, the name is Alan, actually after the U.S. actor Alan Ladd. :-)

    warm regards,


  7. Jan Benson Says:

    Allen Summers:

    I have come to trust your comments confirming well written haiku/senryu.

    In the past you have confirmed tinywords haiku with subtle alliteration, which seemed refreshing.

    May I ask if rhyming in haiku is now also encouraged?

    Sincere interest,

    Jan Benson

  8. Alan Summers Says:

    Part One to your reply…
    Hi Jan,

    Sorry I missed your comment, it might have been to do with the unusual spelling of my name, that I didn't get an alert. Also, if you reply to my response, the software will alert me too. :-)
    I have been commenting on haiku and senryu for over 20 years, and I'm determined to stay open both for old and new approaches to haiku.
    It's why I mentor new names as new people new approaches help keep haiku and senryu fresh, alive, and relevant.
    As Japanese-language haiku are so short, and aspects of the Japanese language systems (plural) are so close to sounding alike, they avoided direct rhyme because it would become a jangle of sounds and the poem wouldn't be seen for the heavy rhyme.
    This is an example of a half-rhyme aka para-rhyme:
    lazy afternoon-
    I drift along with the breeze
    and dandelion seeds

    Alan Summers
    Publications credits: Aesthetics, (Bath Spa University 2007); Haiku Friends 2 ed. Masaharu Hirata (Japan 2007); see haiku here, Haiga artwork by Kuniharu Shimizu (Japan 2010)
    warm regards,

    Alan, With Words

  9. Alan Summers Says:

    Part Two of Three…
    As the advent of haiku, initiated by Masaoka Shiki (?? ?? ?, October 14, 1867 – September 19, 1902) and made possible by expert proponents of hokku and other early haikai literature, there were early attempts at translations into English. There were rhyming couplets such as Heroic Couplets, and quatrains and all sorts of things. :-)
    Despite Japanese-language haiku being a one-line poem (vertical) the first official version in English was three horizontal lines and a syllabic count of the same numbers but not nature of Japanese haiku. They have a syllabary which is not the same as an alphabet system of letters.
    Here's an example of a rhyming haiku by highly respected haiku writer Billie Wilson:
    winter wind—
    a cradlesong sung
    in an ancient tongue

    Billie Wilson
    Publication credits:
    The Heron’s Nest Editor’s Choice Award VIII:4 (2006); and Readers’ Choice Poem of the Year
    I think the answer is to experiment and demand the highest craft in achieving a haiku that appears to deviate from a perceived norm.
    Prof. Henderson in his own words on why he translated the poems in rhyme:

    “…there is no rime [sic] in the originals, and my use of it in the English rendering of haiku therefore needs defense. First, I happen to like rime in a short poem of this sort, and I think that it is at least allowable. The chief reason that the Japanese do not use it is that all Japanese words end either in a vowel or in “n,” and riming would soon become intolerably monotonous. Secondly, I think that any verse-form, be it sonnet, triolet, or haiku, is more effective if it is kept fairly rigid, so that it can act as a sort of frame to the picture. In Japanese the effect of definite form is given by an alternation of five and seven syllables; in English this method is impossible, and rime seemed the best available substitute. Thirdly, haiku are very short, and their grammar is often fragmentary. There is real danger that a literal translation might be mistaken for an unfinished piece of prose, and a haiku is not that, but a poem, complete as it stands.

    “If the reading and writing of English haiku ever becomes general, some better form than the one used in this book can doubtless be found. I can only hope that the readers of this book will join in the search for it.”

    On a journey, ill —
    And my dreams on withered fields
    are wandering still.

    How rough the sea!
    And, stretching off to Sado Isle,
    The Galaxy . . .

    The usually hateful crows!
    They also … on a morning
    When it snows . . .

    English versions by Harold Henderson
    The Bamboo Broom: An Introduction to Japanese Haiku

  10. Alan Summers Says:

    Part Three of Three
    From Rick Black, Haiku and Rhyme:

    here are a few poems by Nick Virgilio, a pioneer of American haiku poetry, who occasionally used rhyme to heighten the effect of a poem:

    Easter alone
    leaving her aged mother
    in the nursing home

    Here, Virgilio has a repeated long “o” in alone/home rather than use a full rhyme. But it’s close enough and emphasizes the sense of loneliness of the poem. In the following haiku, Virgilio uses American slang for “veterans” to create an ironic rhyme that belies the seriousness of the poem. In fact, I didn’t even notice the rhyme the first few times that I read the poem:

    at the White House steps,
    begging for recognition:
    Vietnam vets

    I might add here that Virgilio does not use rhyme in every poem — only in places where he thinks it will add to the effect of a poem. But the point is that he was not limited by an ideology that one should never rhyme in English because haiku are not rhymed in Japanese.

    Lastly, Virgilio wrote this poem about the effect on his mother of her youngest son’s death in Vietnam:

    autumn nightfall:
    my mourning mother hears
    little brother call

    I think that the emotional depth of the loss especially sinks in and is memorable because of the repetition of the simple, one-syllable rhyme “fall/call.” It is clear, then, that his “little” brother, who had been called up for military duty, will call out no longer. The poem could have been written without a rhyme but would it have carried the same emotional weight?
    Rick Black is the owner/publisher of Turtle Light Publishing who have published a brilliant book on Nick Virgilio: ick Virgilio: A Life in Haiku.
    Haiku constantly moves, and evolves, and changes shape, and it will bemuse and perplex those "mainstream poets" who want something fixed, and don't like incomplete poems, but they forget these haiku are all the more robust, and that the haiku form is not the haiku you see, but only read. ;-)
    warm regards,

    Alan, With Words

Leave a Reply