slanted sunlight

Maybe you’ve noticed or maybe you haven’t that fewer haiku tend to be written about the summer than about any other season. (I have absolutely no hard data to support this conclusion. But I’ve got a whole theory about it, so work with me here.)

I mentioned this to a friend who is just becoming familiar with haiku.

— Autumn, I told him, that’s the haiku season. It’s more wabi-sabi. [Insert whole discussion about wabi-sabi.]

— Fine, he said, wabi-sabi away, but why autumn? Think outside the box here. Why can’t you be all imperfect and melancholic in the summer?

— Um, because it’s too sunny, I said. People are all warm and happy in the summer. They’re going to the beach, having barbecues. Nothing is dying. There’s nothing to be wistful about.

— Aha (he said triumphantly). But that makes the wistfulness more ironic and unexpected. It’s more interesting that way. You should write more haiku about the summer.

Hmmm. I suppose I should.


summer night
a gunshot separates
light from dark


the surgeon questions
my need to be awake —
summer downpour


slanted sunlight…
I say “I do”
in divorce court


glaring sun ::
his flawed logic
convinces me


across the lawn
a hose stretched taut–
summer dusk


a room full of mosquitoes in and out of love



11 thoughts on “slanted sunlight

  1. Here in Japan, I don’t enjoy the summer at all – the humidity nearly kills me every year… and makes me melancholic in the process. So I agree – his logic is flawed… 🙂

  2. Perhaps we are lazy in writing more haiku during and about autumn. I, myself, probably write more about winter especially as we have had some fantastic snow blizzards, and even thunder snow in recent years.

    Here are a few of my Summer haiku, as it’s rich in material:

    Yellow-rattle meadow –
    a two spot ladybird turning
    my hand around

    Publications credits: Hermitage (Romania, 2005)

    sunheat –
    also parted in death
    a ladybird’s wings

    Publications credits: Blithe Spirit vol. 8. no.3 (1998)

    Old Curiosity Shop –
    lacquered dolls
    out in the mid-day sun

    Publications credits: Shamrock, Haiku Journal of the Irish Haiku Society (2007)

    lime quarter
    an ice cube collapses
    over jazz

    Publications credits:
    Presence No.13 (2001); Bristol Evening Post article//Latimer’s Diary (2002); (2003); Haiku Friends, Umeda (2003); BBC 1 – Regional arts feature (November 2003); tinywords, (2004); City: Bristol Today in Poems and Pictures, Paralaia (2004); Seven magazine feature: “Three lines of simple beauty” (2006); BroadcastLab, ArtsWork Bath Spa University (2006 – 2007); : Blogging Along Tobacco Road: Alan Summers – Three Questions (2010) Twitter Seven By Twenty (2010); See Haiku Here haiga (Japan, 2011); haijinx volume IV, issue 1 (2011); Derbyshire Library Service Poem a Month (June 2011); THFhaiku app for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch (2011): THF Per Diem series Haiku of the Senses (22nd March 2012); Multiverses 1.1 (2012)

    traffic jam
    a driver fingers the breeze
    through the sunroof

    Publications credits:
    Snapshots 2 (1998); (2002); The New Haiku (Snapshot Press, 2002); Travelogue on World Haiku Festival 2002 , Part 2 (Akita International Haiku Network 2010)

    down the sidewalk
    an old vagrant
    daisies in his mouth

    Publications credits: Hobo (1999); Issa’s Untidy Hut (2011)

    smell of watermelon …
    the high sun factor face block
    just purchased

    Publications credits: paper wasp (no known date); sundog, an australian year, sunfast press (1997 reprinted 1998)

    sultry evening
    liquid from the take out bag
    runs near the victim

    Publications credits:
    World Haiku Review vol 2: Issue 3 (2002); Does Fish-God Know (2012)

    sunlit sweat
    the young vagrant
    sucks a thumb

    Publications credits:
    Haiku Harvest vol. 4 no. 1 (2003); Haiku Harvest: 2000 – 2006 (Modern English Tanka Press 2007)

    summer wind
    a sparrow re-rights itself
    at the peanut cage

    Publications credits:
    Snapshots 10 (2004); tinywords (2007); Wing Beats: British Birds in Haiku (Snapshot Press 2008); Haiku Friends Vol. 3, (Japan 2009): Blogging Along Tobacco Road: Alan Summers – Three Questions (2010)

    palomino mare
    heat of morning

    Publications credits:
    Bare Bones (1995); sundog, an australian year, (sunfast press 1997 reprinted 1998); Haiku Friends (Japan 2003)

    open window
    the cat dozes
    half in half out

    Publications credits:
    Presence 3 (1996); Woodpecker, Extra Shuttle Issue (1997); Iron Book of British Haiku, (Iron Press 1998, Third print 2000); (2001); The Haiku Calendar 2002 (Snapshot Press); Raku Teapot: Haiku Book/CD (Raku Teapot Press/White Owl Publishing 2003); BeWrite (2003).

    Award credits:
    Runner-up, The Haiku Calendar Competition 2001 (Snapshot Press)

    fourteen summers
    the glue remains
    of a paper heart

    Publications credits:
    The Haiku Calendar, (Snapshots Press 2004); Tinywords (2006); Disclaimer, (Bath Spa University BA Students magazine 2008); Travelogue on World Haiku Festival 2002 , Part 2 (Akita International Haiku Network 2010)

    Award credits:
    Runner up, Haiku Calendar Competition, Snapshot Press (2003)

    beer forgotten
    the drunk looks deep
    within his shoe

    Publications credits:
    The Haiku Calendar, Snapshot Press (2004); Tinywords (2004); Beer Haiku Daily (2007)

    Award credits:
    Runner up, Haiku Calendar Competition, Snapshot Press (2003)

    warm day …
    the workman lunches
    in his wheelbarrow

    Publications credits:
    Hermitage (Romania, 2004); Snapshot Haiku Calendar (2005)

    Award credit:
    Runner-up, The Haiku Calendar Competition (Snapshot Press 2004)

    lazy afternoon-
    I drift along with the breeze
    and dandelion seeds

    Publications credits:
    Aesthetics, (Bath Spa University 2007); Haiku Friends 2 (Japan 2007); see haiku here, Haiga artwork by Kuniharu Shimizu (Japan 2010)

    over the nettles
    where I know I just can’t go
    orange-tip butterfly

    Publications credits: Presence 42 (2010)

    warm evening
    goodnight to the needlemouse
    as I check the stars

    Publications credits: Presence 42 (2010)

    the in-between season
    I follow the Mogami River
    by riceboat

    n.b. [the small gap between Summer and Autumn if the tsukutsukubôshi cicadas at Sumadera (Suma Temple) are heard to ‘sing’ (which I did)]

    Publications credits:
    World Haiku Review Japan Article Vending machines and cicadas (2003); Travelogue on World Haiku Festival 2002 (Akita International Haiku Network, Part 1, 2010); The In-Between Season (With Words Pamphlet Series 2012)

    shifting heat
    shimmering solid again
    the old queenslander

    Publications credits:
    Azami #21 (Japan 1994); Blithe Spirit Vol. 8 No. 1 (1998 Review); sundog haiku journal: an australian year (sunfast press 1997 reprinted 1998)

    another hot day
    a leaking water pipe stopped
    by the jackdaw’s beak

    Award credits:
    Honourable Mention, 14th Mainichi Haiku Contest (2010)

    sunday afternoon
    an essex skipper evades (butterfly)
    an expert in the field

    Publications credits: Blithe Spirit, December 2011 issue

    flowering bull nettles
    all that meditation
    in the cat’s back

    Publications credits: Presence #46 2012

    sunnyside up
    the autopsy shows
    a decent breakfast

    Publications credits: Prune Juice issue 9 July 15th 2012

    beads of sweat
    I lose myself in
    the copulation of flies

    Publications credits: Blithe Spirit (Vol 22 No. 3 2012) [Autumn 2012]; Does Fish-God Know (YTBN Free Press 2012)

    childhood gamesー
    I match a yellow shirt
    with today

    Publications credits:
    Hailstone Haiku Group (Japan, August 2012)

    Although I’ve noticed I write fewer Summer haiku now than I did back in the 1990s. I guess The Kigo Lab project will sort that out. 🙂


  3. Whoo-boy! And then there’s the end of summer . . . 30 degrees f. outside the motorhome this morning, 70 forecast for the day. A dry environment here on the plain, opposed to our JP-like Minnesota. What does this add to the discussion? Not much, other than to send hugs and kisses to my sweet M! xxxooo

  4. pinwheel
    the wind-powered
    little girl

    Melissa, it is easier to be happy in summer.
    Then again:

    before I’m ready the wind steals my wish


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