Every once in a while, I find myself doing a “haiku sequence”, my name for a string of haiku where each new haiku begins with the last line of the previous haiku, connecting them in a chain that comes full circle when the last haiku ends with the first line of the first one.

Here’s an example from earlier this year:

day 415

row of lawns
empty but for one
sleeping dog

day 416

sleeping dog
looking very much
like a cat

day 417

like a cat
light sets a first foot
on the sill

day 418

on the sill
fingered in the dust
one lone track

day 419

one lone track
across the dewy
row of lawns

Most sequences are unplanned. I sit down to write a day’s haiku and notice that the last line of the previous day’s haiku would make a good first line, and I’m off. Sometimes, I’ll go on to write each new installment in the sequence day-by-day, but other times, after the first haiku or two, I’ll complete the rest of the sequence all in one sitting. Always, the sequences have lasted no more than five haiku. By number three or four, I start worrying that I’ll write myself into a corner and start looking for a way to get back to that first line. Today, however, I completed a haiku sequence that wound on for 21 days, an occurrence I thought worthy of special note.

Every haiku in that span, except for the final one, was written on the day it was posted. I never had any idea from day to day where it was all going to go. For the first time, I let down my guard about making sure the sequence ended properly and only nudged it to its end yesterday when I decided I didn’t want the sequence to cross Day 500, which I’ve already written the haiku for. (It had already crossed two national holidays, where I just managed to continue my practice of writing something thematic.)

I hope you enjoyed it while it was playing out, and that you’ll enjoy seeing it all together now.

day 477

bridge shadow
deepening its own
reflection

day 478

reflection
of unmoving clouds
in swift stream

day 479

in swift stream
blown cigarette smoke
taken up

day 480
halloween

taken up
the child into the
colored mask

day 481

colored mask
of sunset lowered
from the night

day 482

from the night
the sound of the wind
through vastness

day 483

through vastness
a small wavering
the moth’s flight

day 484

the moth’s flight
wind-blown incessance
dimly lit

day 485

dimly lit
profiles of the trees
moonless night

day 486

moonless night
the child’s upraised face
at a loss

day 487

at a loss
beneath the willow’s
soft downpour

day 488

soft downpour
fall of light through clouds
trees drinking

day 489

trees drinking
form from soil color
from the air

day 490

from the air
billowing trail of
unseen plane

day 491
Veterans Day

unseen plane
unheard explosion
and you wake

day 492

and you wake
to the same dawn light
but dimmer

day 493

but dimmer
than dusk in autumn
the wren’s throat

day 494

the wren’s throat
beneath its feathers
quivering

day 495

quivering
breath of all the trees
exhaling

day 496

exhaling
into the cold light
autumn-dimmed

day 497

autumn-dimmed
reflections beneath
bridge shadow

 

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21 haiku sequence!

1:54 pm November 17, 2011

Every once in a while, I find myself doing a “haiku sequence”, my name for a string of haiku where each new haiku begins with the last line of the previous haiku, connecting them in a chain that comes full circle when the last haiku ends with the first line of the first one.

Here’s an example from earlier this year:

day 415

row of lawns
empty but for one
sleeping dog

day 416

sleeping dog
looking very much
like a cat

day 417

like a cat
light sets a first foot
on the sill

day 418

on the sill
fingered in the dust
one lone track

day 419

one lone track
across the dewy
row of lawns

Most sequences are unplanned. I sit down to write a day’s haiku and notice that the last line of the previous day’s haiku would make a good first line, and I’m off. Sometimes, I’ll go on to write each new installment in the sequence day-by-day, but other times, after the first haiku or two, I’ll complete the rest of the sequence all in one sitting. Always, the sequences have lasted no more than five haiku. By number three or four, I start worrying that I’ll write myself into a corner and start looking for a way to get back to that first line. Today, however, I completed a haiku sequence that wound on for 21 days, an occurrence I thought worthy of special note.

Every haiku in that span, except for the final one, was written on the day it was posted. I never had any idea from day to day where it was all going to go. For the first time, I let down my guard about making sure the sequence ended properly and only nudged it to its end yesterday when I decided I didn’t want the sequence to cross Day 500, which I’ve already written the haiku for. (It had already crossed two national holidays, where I just managed to continue my practice of writing something thematic.)

I hope you enjoyed it while it was playing out, and that you’ll enjoy seeing it all together now.

day 477

bridge shadow
deepening its own
reflection

day 478

reflection
of unmoving clouds
in swift stream

day 479

in swift stream
blown cigarette smoke
taken up

day 480
halloween

taken up
the child into the
colored mask

day 481

colored mask
of sunset lowered
from the night

day 482

from the night
the sound of the wind
through vastness

day 483

through vastness
a small wavering
the moth’s flight

day 484

the moth’s flight
wind-blown incessance
dimly lit

day 485

dimly lit
profiles of the trees
moonless night

day 486

moonless night
the child’s upraised face
at a loss

day 487

at a loss
beneath the willow’s
soft downpour

day 488

soft downpour
fall of light through clouds
trees drinking

day 489

trees drinking
form from soil color
from the air

day 490

from the air
billowing trail of
unseen plane

day 491
Veterans Day

unseen plane
unheard explosion
and you wake

day 492

and you wake
to the same dawn light
but dimmer

day 493

but dimmer
than dusk in autumn
the wren’s throat

day 494

the wren’s throat
beneath its feathers
quivering

day 495

quivering
breath of all the trees
exhaling

day 496

exhaling
into the cold light
autumn-dimmed

day 497

autumn-dimmed
reflections beneath
bridge shadow