Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2006, vol 4 no 1

HAIBUN

Etsuko Yanagibori
 

cleaning master's grave
a question for him in my mind . . .
what is haiku?

My haiku master Akegarasu passed away last year. I visited his grave this past November on Memorial Day. He is buried on top of a hill surrounded by colored mountains. I washed his grave and laid a chrysanthemum bouquet on the gravestone. Master Akegarasu was a great haiku teacher who taught me about the true spirit of haiku. I wanted to ask him once more what haiku is and to hear him teach its deeper truths. Warm winter sunlight dried the tears on my cheek as he answered me.

A haiku he'd written was etched on the gravestone:

the silent sun
lighting grass
and stone

Akegarasu

I heard his voice and saw him smiling in the sunlight. "Thank you, my Master." Bowing, I prayed deeply to him.

a crow deep into
the colored mountains;
falling ginkgo leaves


Etsuko Yanagibori studies English Writing through Poetry at Sophia University under Dr. Robert Witmer. She began a serious study of Haiku under the tutelage of Master Akegarasu Fujita six years ago. She is a member of both Dojin Kusanohana Haiku-kai and Shin Haiku-kai, under Master Akira Oumine.

Her favorite Haijin are Kado Nagasaku and his wife Kiyoe Nagasaku. She loves haiku very much and plans to keep studying it with her haiku friends in the Cherry Poetry Club (A Yahoo forum) and with Japanese Haiku-kai members. "Haiku is my life," she says.