January 2016

UHTS collected works

Editor's Choice Haiku

With so many fine haiku being submitted to cattails, it is most difficult to ever choose any one favorite, and I look for haiku that demonstrate particular techniques of writing a fine haiku. Of course poetry of any kind is subjective as are editorial opinions.

only the moon
privy to a possum’s
tightrope walk

Madhuri Pillai

This Editor’s Choice haiku by Madhuri Pillai from Australia, although it’s on the fringe of personification, does not overstep the boundary. It could have just as easily been written about where I live in the USA (Oregon). Madhuri wrote it because the possums although they hide in trees and on roof tops during the day, usually come out at night and walk the wires strung between poles connecting electricity or telephone cables. Other places have underground cables and wires, but where this author lives in Australia and where I live in Oregon, they are still overhead, which makes for an interesting haiku visual, especially given the moonlight.

—UHTS cattails principal editor an’ya, USA   

frosty morning
bare roses tinselled
by spiders

Elaine Riddell
New Zealand

Here is another Editor’s choice haiku by Elaine Riddell from New Zealand that also might be considered personification if it were not so well-written. An experienced haiku poet like Elaine knows just how to master this technique and it’s tricky business. Again the visuals speak for themselves and depict the winter season even though there is mention of “spiders”, long-gone spiders that have left behind the tinselled beauty of their webs; an excellent verb choice in this haiku indicative of the season.

—UHTS cattails principal editor an’ya, USA   

seven degrees
the audubon clock
sings robin

Phyllis Lee

This interesting haiku by Phyllis Lee of the USA goes the other way, with the suggestion of nature qualities attributed to a material manmade object, which makes it quite unique. Once again this kind of write is accomplished by an astute and perceptive person, and shows a commonplace event in nature such as “robin song” in an uncommon way.

—UHTS cattails principal editor an’ya, USA   

saucer-shaped clouds
hover over the mountains—
I want to believe

Scott Wiggerman

Here is a haiku moment written by Scott Wiggerman that I chose for an Editor’s Choice for its humor, and the author’s ability to include himself while at the same time include readers that also “want to believe”. It qualifies as a statement haiku insofar as lines 1 and 2 are enhanced by line 3, which is a statement that cannot be disputed since this is how the author feels. Scott ties a valid cloud type that we all know exists to a possible theory and long unanswered question for many laymen as well as scholars and scientists. I believe, do you?

—UHTS cattails principal editor an’ya, USA   

outer suburb
the length of a dog’s
weekday voice

Jan Dobb

By Jan Dobb of Australia, this Editor’s Choice haiku shows us how to “show” and not “tell”. The length of a dog’s voice being different leads one to assume that it is because the dog’s master is not home on weekdays. A strong sound haiku nicely written given the dog two juxtaposed voices, depending on circumstance. Thanks to Jan for submitting this one.

—UHTS cattails principal editor an’ya, USA   

first spring day
birdsong unravels
my knitting

Hazel Hall

Another fine haiku by another fine writer from Australia, Hazel Hall. Interesting she uses the words “first” and “spring” in the same line which indicates the “new year” flowing into the “onset of spring”, skillfully overlapping the two seasons. Then she reinforces that feeling with yet another kigo “birdsong” and then even goes on to leave us with a perception of declining winter with the word “unravels”. At the end a personal touch with Hazel’s words “my knitting”.

—UHTS cattails principal editor an’ya, USA