Bill Waters ~~ Haiku

Haiku + Tanka, Haibun, Rengay, Shahai, & More

Archive for the category “Poems & Prose”

Haiku poetry day 2019


scattered showers

of plum blossoms


Happy International Haiku Poetry Day, everyone!  :- D

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Four Instagram photo-poems

Here is a small selection of haiku and senryu photo-poems from my Instagram account: two from my “typewriter series”, and two from my “handwriting series”.

I hope you enjoy them!  :- )

Bath Towel


Ginkgo Tree and Me




Out on a Limb

More of my Instagram photo-poems can be found at

Oh, and regarding my poem “out on a limb”, I used a broken twig I found on the ground for that shot. I would never stick a thumbtack into a living tree.  ;- )

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Five poems

last in line
his son touches
the casket

our failing cat . . .
I pet him with both hands
as time grows short

frozen footprints
in dying light . . .
with his fingertips
the tracker traces
the contours

you had me
in the palm of your hand
and didn’t notice . . .
collateral damage
of adolescence

from below the horizon
the sun touches
her high-flying jet . . .
my eyes
touch it too

Published in the University of Chicago’s Memoryhouse Magazine, issue 21, 3/2019. Theme: touch.

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This goldfinch

this goldfinch

perched on the edge

of spring

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Two on spring

freshly mown —

a whiff

of wild onion


stones in the road

their shadows

blacker than asphalt

Published in Akitsu Quarterly: Spring 2019 (, 2/2019.

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NaHaiWriMo 2019: post script

What do dirty diapers, computer crashes, and drool have in common? They were all . . . writing prompts for this year’s NaHaiWriMo?!

Michael Dylan Welch, founder of National Haiku Writing Month, explains:

[T]his month’s writing prompts have been produced through random numbers and letters provided by NaHaiWriMo participants, using the number to choose a page number from a particular book, and the letter to indicate a particular line on that page (for example, the letter L indicates the 12th line on that page). … I’m happy to reveal that the book I used for this inspiration is Lia Romeo and Nick Romeo’s 11,002 Things to Be Miserable About (New York: Abrams, 2009). It’s a parody of the book I used as the source for our prompts in 2018, Barbara Ann Kipfer’s 14,000 Things to Be Happy About (New York: Workman Publishing, 1990).

Just as Kipfer’s book is a wonderful resource for any haiku poet—you can open it at random and find countless subjects (okay, 14,000) to write haiku about—so too is the Miserable book, even if many of the prompts are a bit darker. Quite a few of the items it lists aren’t that miserable, though, such as black cats or Vegemite, although Vegemite might be a matter of opinion. Others, though, I edited a bit, such as reducing the original source text of ‘Elderly people falling on the sidewalk’ (not fun) to just ‘sidewalk,’ and changing ‘Being the only boy in the school play’ to just ‘school play.’ In some cases random numbers produced possible prompts that I just didn’t want to use. Do we really want any haiku about poor vaginal hygiene, Colombian assassins, or Hitler? You might not have cared for dirty diapers, either, but I thought that was worth a try. So, I hope you’ve enjoyed these prompts, or have at least been challenged by them, many of which we’ve never used before. And whether some of them are ‘miserable’ or not, I hope they show that haiku can be written about almost anything. As James W. Hackett once wrote, ‘lifefulness, not beauty, is the real quality of haiku.’

So that’s how “dirty diapers” was selected as a writing prompt!  ;- )

Of the 28 poems I posted — some of them haiku, some of them senryu — one far outpaced all the others in terms of social media likes:

grooming the cat —
enough fur in the brush
to make a mouse

LOL! Three other reader favorites include the following:

using a towel
for a superhero cape . . .

home from the burial . . .
the kindness
of casseroles

center of town —
raising the sidewalk
a gnarled tree root

And so ends NaHaiWriMo 2019.

Thank you to everyone who followed along on this somewhat strange month-long journey!  :- D

Prompts, posts, and participant submissions:

More on NaHaiWriMo and writing haiku:

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NaHaiWriMo 2019: week 4

unable to see the forest
for the trees . . .
political myopia

[2/22 prompt = nearsightedness]

home from the burial . . .
the kindness
of casseroles

[2/23 prompt = casserole]

long, long ago
I was a tree . . .
school play

[2/24 prompt = school play]

grooming the cat —
enough fur in the brush
to make a mouse

[2/25 prompt = hair brushing]

what price progress?
studying the balance sheet
of history

[2/26 prompt = bank account balance]

ghost town . . .
in the general store
a lone can of pork and beans

[2/27 prompt = canned meat]

on the weekend
the school principal
is a nice guy

[2/28 prompt = school principal]

Prompts, posts, and participant submissions:

More on NaHaiWriMo and writing haiku:

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NaHaiWriMo 2019: week 3

I catch it
and put it outside

[2/15 prompt = deportation]

swanky restaurant —
the ghost of a lipstick print
on my water glass

[2/16 prompt = drinking glasses with lipstick marks]

beating the odds:
all our friends
who have survived

[2/17 prompt = coin toss]

staying home from school
with a cold and a good book . . .
sick days of childhood

[2/18 prompt = diagnosis]

“I’m home!”
a slobbery kiss
from the bulldog

[2/19 prompt = drool]

and more babies . . .
maternity ward

[2/20 prompt = babies]

family movie night —

[2/21 prompt = cell phones, or movie theaters, or both]

Prompts, posts, and participant submissions:

More on NaHaiWriMo and writing haiku:

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NaHaiWriMo 2019: week 2

juncos and sparrows
around the bird feeder
— black cat slinking

[2/8 prompt = black cat]

using a towel
for a superhero cape . . .

[2/9 prompt = cape]

heat shimmer . . .
men at work
laying asphalt

[2/10 prompt = Vegemite]

rolling blackouts . . .
I back up
my backup

[2/11 prompt = computer crash]

rainy day —
roof-gutter gargoyles

[2/12 prompt = gargoyles]

mixed in with commercials
a few minutes of
TV show

[2/13 prompt = commercials]

the subway train’s
hot breath!
piston wind

[2/14 prompt = subway]

Prompts, posts, and participant submissions:

More on NaHaiWriMo and writing haiku:

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NaHaiWriMo 2019: week 1

torn trash bag —
strewn in the street
dirty diapers

[2/1 prompt = dirty diapers]

thin walls . . .
pretending to
not hear

[2/2 prompt = thin walls]

raiding party freezes
between trench lines

[2/3 prompt = motion-activated light]

mystery meat . . .
he vows to go

[2/4 prompt = spam]

artificial flavors
and colors —
the psychedelic ’60s

[2/5 prompt = artificial coloring]

from snout to feet to curly tail:
pink and perfumed
for the farm fair

[2/6 prompt = pigs’ feet]

center of town —
raising the sidewalk
a gnarled tree root

[2/7 prompt = sidewalk]

Prompts, posts, and participant submissions:

More on NaHaiWriMo and writing haiku:

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