Fruits of a “love haiku” workshop

Matsuo Basho the haiku hero meets two farmers by moonlight

Bashō meets two farmers celebrating the mid-autumn moon festival in a print from Yoshitoshi’s Hundred Aspects of the Moon.

At the Palmerston North City Library today we had a very satisfying workshop on writing love haiku. A small group committed to working on this strange task for two light-hearted hours. They read, they wrote, they shared, and some of them graciously agreed to let me publish their haiku here.

Bear in mind that these haiku were written in five minutes max, under duress, in company, as an exercise. (I don’t know how people manage to do such a thing.) Yet I think you’ll enjoy their charm and images and invention and emotion.

Note also that nobody was counting syllables. Instead we focused on four characteristics of modern haiku: brevity, a snapshot, a switch of focus, and naturalness. Thanks to all who took part! Here is a sample of their haiku, posted in alphabetical order.

Endless silky depths
Moving further from the shore
Back to burning sand ~ Alexia McEwen

Gift wrapped
the ink on your skin
draws in your tipuna. ~ Virginia

I know
on your knee
there’s a V. ~  Virginia

My child rises
above blue mist
roped securely to mountain peaks. ~ Judith Dell Panny

out of the shower
you walk around as you are
—twenty years married ~ John C. Ross

Plucking blueberries
with your grandson
brought on blueness. ~ Virginia

Reach for my phone
Checking my feed for news from you
Heart warms ~ Leah

Remember us driving
In opposite directions
Under the same moon ~ Fliss Norton

Sunshine lands
on back door-step —
ginger cat ~ Philippa Elphick

tasting tonight’s meal
we both prepared
—your degree of “hot” ~ John C. Ross

Thin winter twilight
Cross on the spire
Lost in grey ~ Tony Chapelle

white china cup
black coffee steaming —
early morning love token ~ Philippa Elphick

13 thoughts on “Fruits of a “love haiku” workshop

  1. JOY journal says:

    Love them!

  2. Rachel McAlpine says:

    Do you have any favourites?

  3. toutparmoi says:


  4. lindakerr36 says:

    Shows what lovely things happen when you don’t have time to self- edit.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      There was some editing done even in that time. A 3-line poem can be transformed by changing a couple of words!

  5. lindakerr36 says:

    It’s all a balance, isn’t it. But sometimes creativity is about saying yes to ridiculous impulses before caution gets the better of us.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Totally agree! “First learn the rules… then break them” said Basho.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Especially taken by John Ross’ two contributions. Condensed love notes.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


  7. candidkay says:

    Ooh. I really like the last one. Won’t look at my morning coffee the same way tomorrow:).

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:


  8. mistermuse says:

    Haiku proposes
    an invitation to love….
    don’t mind if I do.

    1. Rachel McAlpine says:

      Perfect. I sense a certain conversation starting up far away from Palmers ton North…

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