Three Haiku, Two Tanka

By Philip Appleman b. 1926 Philip Appleman

(Kyoto)

CONFIDENCE
       (after Bashō)

Clouds murmur darkly,   
it is a blinding habit—
gazing at the moon.


TIME OF JOY
       (after Buson)

Spring means plum blossoms   
and spotless new kimonos   
for holiday whores.


RENDEZVOUS
       (after Shiki)

Once more as I wait
for you, night and icy wind   
melt into cold rain.


FOR SATORI

In the spring of joy,
when even the mud chuckles,   
my soul runs rabid,
snaps at its own bleeding heels,   
and barks: “What is happiness?”


SOMBER GIRL

She never saw fire
from heaven or hotly fought   
with God; but her eyes
smolder for Hiroshima
and the cold death of Buddha.

Philip Appleman, “Three Haiku, Two Tanka” from New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996. Copyright © 1996 by Phillip Appleman. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Arkansas Press, www.uapress.com.

Source: New and Selected Poems 1956-1996 (University of Arkansas Press, 1996)

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Poet Philip Appleman b. 1926

Subjects War & Conflict, Nature, Spring, Buddhism, Religion, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Haiku

Biography

Poet, novelist, editor, and Darwin expert Philip Appleman is known for his biting social commentary and masterful command of form. The author of numerous volumes of poetry, three novels, and half a dozen collections of prose, Appleman’s range of subject matter includes Darwin, politics, morality, and sex. Art Seidenbaum in the Los Angeles Times described Appleman’s second novel, Shame the Devil (1981) as entertaining and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT War & Conflict, Nature, Spring, Buddhism, Religion, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Haiku

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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