Never miss a post
Your email address:*
Please enter all required fields
Correct invalid entries



Haiku Exchange, Sept. 9, 2007 [by David Shapiro and David Lehman]

David ShapiroSunday September 9, 2007

David Shapiro to David Lehman

Subject: I had vertigo? Lins says hello to you Why we gone from JA (events kana)

Now I even read
the poor translations
of the wonderful haiku

I even like lines  / like this all stretched out condensed / oh ugly haiku

when I was fifteen
my friend now dead said David
too much in your head

He enjoyed Moby
Dick and said first he read parts
then fell into space

the real space between
the letters – he slapped his sister
with a Tagore book

in jail for stopping
at a green light– He said in
jail he thought up deaths

Varieties of
suicide – he had talent
now dead in a cave

Krishna consciousness
you may find it funny, but
it’s real as his hair

I had lots of friends
become priests – they wrote
lots of poor haiku

Jack Kerouac wrote
his American car strophes
now I'm the old man

they say common joy
is only in rock, sports, sex
But friends say: Haiku!

Oh it’s national
but more like the family
Haiku won't hurt you

My friend's father was
in a group where the copy
was always better

Better than what? Think
better than the original
little objects

I'm against rhyming
haiku because it’s too ruled
I like split insights!

I never could write
the perfect haiku sestina
even a pantoum!

I failed everything
like Du Fu in his exams
or even his tears

What's a haiku? sonnet
condensed to even smaller
nuns than Wordsworth

I don't know if you
don't know what makes a haiku
Spurt up like moon sex

Love Buson, Issa
one has good eyes for music
one loves bugs so much

Kenneth saddened me once
by saying flowers and fish
in haiku are false!

all those cherry trees
were often just poetic
Horrifying, yes?

I find Basho real
So maybe his trees, roads, fields
are true in real ways

Just because Borges
had dream tigers don't think that
those tigers don't bite!

You were a dream once
and you were a dream tiger
Imitate and die

That sounds too extreme
but the death haiku are that
haiku for doctors

– David Shapiro

Civitella 2006-1September 9, 2007

Extending the exchange plus an excursus

From dclehman 
To dajoshap

An exchange with you
of haiku by haiku in
honor of life, death.

Friendship is two old
talkative monks sitting
on top of a mountain.

Two old monks atop
a mountain discuss the gold
standard in Koch’s play.

Is there no room for
cherry blossoms and the white
eye of a brown owl?

Your definition
of haiku (sonnet condensed)
is sweet though untrue.

I, too, love moon sex,
dream tigers, split insights, and
spiritual puns.

Spiritual puns
are coincidences, said
G. K. Chesterton.

Can haiku do the work
of a spiritual pun?
Strangers meet on train.

One kills the other’s
wife and wants his own father
killed by the other.

Or the survivor
sleeps with the victim’s widow
after killing him.

Both Alfred Hitchcock
and Sophocles believe in
spiritual puns.

Rhyme in haiku seems
contrary to the spirit
of the Eastern mind.

That must be why I
do it though of course you’re right
I shouldn’t. And so night

falls as it must on
us all, and to bed must I
go, to sleep, to dream,

and not to die. O
friend it pleases me to write
these haiku with you.

-- David Lehman


September 07, 2021

September 04, 2021

August 05, 2021

June 04, 2021

June 03, 2021

June 02, 2021

February 04, 2021

January 29, 2021

January 22, 2021

January 18, 2021

January 11, 2021

November 16, 2020

November 13, 2020

November 06, 2020

October 26, 2020

October 24, 2020

April 26, 2020

March 29, 2020

March 17, 2020

January 02, 2020

Best American Poetry Web ad3
click image to order your copy
"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

Click image to order


A creative communications, branding, and resources consultancy founded by Victoria C. Rowan


Reach a Wide International Audience

Advertise on the Best American Poetry Blog


  • StatCounter