White Crow Haiku

Anna Holley

the old pine-tree
speaks divine wisdom;
the secret bird
eternal truth


This book is dedicated to the spirit of haiku, which was born in Japan centuries ago, but is alive in the hearts of poets everywhere today


looking back
at the fullest moon
a round-faced frog

new year's day
the first greeting
called by a crow

in thin sunlight
the cold
of another year

pinetree breeze,
in the color green
spring begins

breeze blowing
cool in a stream
pine-shadows flow

in a stream
ice unfreezing
cloud after cloud

sunrise spreads
on the frozen reeds
ice drips red

winter melts
breaking from the reeds
a thaw of wings

parting at dawn
clouds in the lake
reveal a peak

spring begins
ducks on the lake
deep in clouds

in water-rings
left by the mallards
first spring light

cool daybreak
rivermists rising
dampen wings of birds

geese unreturned
far from the reeds
a chill green sky

still enfolded
in the iris buds
first warmth

cold remains
in a single shadow
of the white iris

frost falls late
the white irises
burn with cold

white irises
after the snowfall
the leaves are seen

reflecting sunrise
dew is pink
on the white iris

clear inlet
purple ripples
below the irises

ripples whiten
reflecting egrets
as day begins

by a willow-bank
wings in the water
as spring begins

a silent wind
in the water stirs
reflected leaves

wisteria pond
reflections color
a lavender swan

evening sunlight
a swan's shadow
cools the lilies

evening pond
a swan's silhouette
phases the moon

quiet night
a black swan stirs
stars on the reeds

shedding breeze
the wings of a swan
part the reeds

a bird calls
another answers,
the lake mirrors the haze

white heron
all but its cry
lost in the haze

fields grow hazy
entering whiteness
a bird's voice

following spring geese
swiftly return
waves in the bay

geese returning
from the reed tips
wings brush the dew

geese returning
below the azaleas
a stream runs red

sunset glow
though clouds return
red-winged geese

dawn of day
a red camellia falls
on its reflection

night lightning
between flashes
a camellia fell

day has come
in a rift of haze
chrysanthemum flowers

waning moon
far from its light
a blossomless plum

thinning moon
by its dim light
blossoms grow cold

buds of plum
starting to unclose
a half-blown moon

moon slender
each blossom unfolds
a purer white

taken for moonlight
lighting a path
the plum's white

here alone
where no plums bloom
the day darkens

moon eclipsed
each blossom of plum
haloed with light

snow on branches?
or blossoms perhaps
unwilling to fall

cherry flowers
and my lips too
uselessly rouged

the cherry flowers
pink spring haze

on a hillside
white azaleas become
a moonlit night

spring rain
from white wisteria
fragrance drips

leaving only
its scent in haze
white wisteria

a bell tolls
peal after peal
of lilac scent

cooled among pines
drenched with rain
the bell's voice

first daylight
turns into a rain
wetting stones

by a waterfall
coolness of petals
wet by spray

one into another
stream-skies merge

gazing upstream
from a woman's shadow
spring water flows

hills grow light
following my shadow
I enter spring

old garden
into emerald moss
dew sinks deep

garden quiets
leaves spill light
into a pool

spring river
parting the green
a single stone

a dark river
emptying the sound
into a quiet night

quiet night
in between frogs
the stream sound

stream in dusk
stars here and there
starting croak

stars appear
the river's flowing
with voices of frogs

midnight pond
frogs call across
the moon's reflection

frogs unheard
in a dry streambed
silence flows

the slow day
footsteps on a bridge
dwindle then cease

measured out
by the inch worm
the slow day

blossoms fall onto
reflections of clouds

an egret rises
a snowfall of blossoms

sunlit wind
blowing shadows from
a petaled plum

flowers scatter
touched by wind
a koto sounds

blossoms fallen
bare branches now
full of clouds

flowers falling
a pheasant grieving
ceaselessly cries

cockscomb flowering
a pheasant's voice
somewhat red

sand raked
the garden is peaceful,
an evening of spring

on quiet grasses
a firefly shines

first firefly
in the stone lantern
it light is cool

cool in dusk
a fall of water
mirrors fireflies

here and there
fireflies reveal water
an evening a haze

spring is ending
in the chilly dusk
between fireflies

cooling its wings
on the handmirror
first butterfly

butterfly off
on the white iris
a shadow remains

crossing a bridge
with departing spring
a butterfly shadow

vanishing spring
a butterfly disappears
into shadows

spring leaving
a woman in fields
recedes in haze

to detain spring
a mourning dove cries

gate latched shut
spring departing
even so


worn away
by cries of cicadas
the thin daymoon

summer begins
shadow of a stone carp
enters the stream

wind dies
clouds enter stillness
in a small stream

the coolness
flowing in a stream
fan-shaped clouds

dawn ebbtide
stranded among rocks
peach-colored clouds

cloud month
white flowers high
in the field-sky

vine flowers open
white in dusk
the moon unfurls

carried by wind
wild jasmine scents
the far hill clouds

clouds in sea and sky
in between
a gull's cry falls

summer is here
to a cuckoo's call
hills grow light

herons calling
over a cove gathers
a flock of clouds

heron dive
in a small pond
clouds overflow

herons away
in the stream edge
clouds increase

summer sea
waves are splashing
the risen moon

water ripples
stirring the breeze
the round fan-moon

a white parasol
opens on the bridge
the risen moon

waterlilies open
among them a moon
lily white

white in dusk
petals of a lotus
unfold the moon

as a guest
of the white lotus
the moon appears

night lightning
dew on the lotus
faintly gleams

night rain over
moonlight runs off
the taro leaves

a loon cries once
dusk seeps into
the water's edge

heron's scream
the echo from shore
overtaken by dusk

evening dunes
west wind carries
the shadow of a bird

summer waves
gull voices rusty
in salt spray

taken for dawn
a flight of white
wings over waves

inlet shallows
dusk slowly fills
a bottomless boat

evening shallows
by a crow reflection
an early star

boats returning
a woman's shadow
waits on the tide

between hills
sunrays unfold
a red pleated fan

dawn unfolding
the ruby pheasant
spreads its tail

hibiscus flower
a hummingbird
spills ruby dew

sun rises hot
everywhere trembles
dew on the grass

white butterfly
its shadow is cool
on the paper fan

a white butterfly
also is there
the white poppies

blue butterflies
coolness is visible
over the grass

by this path
where we part forever
bindweed in flower

summer field
only wild sunflowers
hold up the sky

light enters
the path narrowed
by white sunflowers

last sunray
a single white peony
lights the dark

summer dusk
the paper lantern
lit by a firefly

temple dusk
the firefly lights
the Nio's face

Nio, a demon-like carved image which guards the gates of a temple.

fireflies scatter
like sparks struck
from the full moon

summer moor
after the lightning
flash of fireflies

forked lightning
a grass snake's tongue
flicks in and out

dark grasses
lightning narrows
in the cat's eyes

summer pond
carp circle in
the cat's green eyes

green-banded melons,
asleep among the vines
a fat striped cat

one eye open
a cat eyes the fly
midsummer heat

tiger year
among spotted lilies
fierce mosquitoes

tattoo parlor
within the dim shop
mosquitoes whine

flies seem unable
to settle for long
the slow day

the silence
coming unraveled
cicadas crying

the loom stops
cicadas shuttling
back and forth

noon siesta
in dreams also
cicadas cry

slow afternoon
weary with cicadas
a scarecrow leans

cicadas shrill
haze over a field
hangs in shreds

cicadas shriek
the saw cuts
into green wood

clouds in tatters
the daymoon pale
voice of the cicada

summer cicadas
with their voices
clouds are frayed

dry lake bed
voices of cicadas
break in waves

dry arroyo
voices of cicadas
turn to dust

days pile up
cicadas increasing
voice on voice

when they stop awhile
a bit of coolness

a cicada crying
its voice darkens
an empty field

an early moon
breeze also cools
the cicadas' voice

Indian summer
in grass shadows too
there is a wind

insects increasing
moonrise lengthens
shadows of grass

summer field
the path dividing
voices of insects

summer half gone
the shadow of a crow
divides a field

dry arroyo
leaving with summer
a crow's shadow

summer-low clouds
cooled by the blades
of a windmill

summer passing
slower the windmill
shadow turns

wind rises
voices of plovers
bend in the reeds

at summer's end
lightning here and there
in standing water

where's summer gone?
a scarecrow points
to an empty field

summer is gone
countless white wings
take sudden flight

summer's end
white papers flutter
on an empty beach

summer gone
dusk darkens the eye
of a carousel horse

summer over
only shadows ride
the carousel


end of autumn
the arrow gone from
a scarecrow's bow

a broken gate,
in the wild grasses
summer has passed

wings of monarchs
carry autumn colors
to a summer fields

start of autumn
nothing in a field
but the wind's voice

start of autumn
in pines the wind
finds a voice

clouds grow high
autumn in
the killdeer's cry

mountains hazy
as if in a scroll
clouds with birds

autumn here early
over a ridge of hills
geese-shaped clouds

sandhill cranes
wings touching clouds
shaped by wind

herons depart
leaving lonely
the inlet sky

swift to shore
white-crested waves
return like cranes

a crane alights
on its reflection
close to an autumn day

crane's white cry
edged with moonlight
wings are cool

on tinted leaves
in various colors
the clear dew

reeds redden
a dragonfly ripples
the setting sun

in clear water
fallen red leaves
disguised as carp

autumn passes
willow leaves fall
onto a moored boat

birds leaving
leaves redden on
a wild goosevine

solo renga
voice of a stray
lone wild goose

geese gone
one white feather
settles on a reed

calm lagoon
over the moon's image
a passage of birds

leaving tonight
shadow after shadow
autumn-geese moon

full moonrise,
entangled in the reeds
the voices of geese

voices of geese
falling into ravines
are lost in the mist

a hazy moon
where faintly calling
wildgeese disappear

edge of moon
cries of first geese
sharpen with cold

leaving the bow
of autumn's new moon
arrows of geese

reeds thinning
on the river stones
bird shadows depart

dry magnolia leaf
in the darkness only
the sound falls

sudden sound
of wind in dry leaves,
a woman looks back

leaves have fallen
evening rain darkens
the voices of deer

over inlet stars
a stag's voice

a stag calls
and echo answers
the autumn peaks

autumn peaks
call of deer echo
a blowing conch

conch shaped moon
hillside trumpet flowers
silently blow

first cold wind
vine flowers wither
on their shadows

autumn wind blows
under chrysanthemums
shadows cool

cold increasing
reed shadows too
a bit withered

pampas plumes
the wind's color
as autumn begins

silverleaf maple
breeze over leaves
becomes a color

insects singing
in the windbent grass
the moon's cool

autumn field
insect voices narrow
the grassy path

autumn grasses
among the insects
our shadows part

slow to part
shadows overtake us
on the evening moor

adding our voices
to those of insects
we part on the moor

lighting the lamp
voices of insects
surround my shadow

in the color
and shape of a crow
darkness settles

autumn dusk
light from a doorway
crosses the road

autumn dusk
a moth lonely too
circles the flame

moonless night
seemingly lonely
the lunar moth

The luna moth is commonly called lunar.

traveler's moon
departing in dusk
the gypsy moth

now to the lamp
no tiger moth comes
autumn's full moon

among the insects
sound of a loom

Tanabata is a festival of the yearly meeting between the herd-boy and weaver-girl stars on the 7th day of the 7th lunar month.

the Stars parting
cries of insects
pierce the dark

telling the beads
insects mingle with
a praying voice

chilly moonlight
in the stone lantern
a cricket cries

insects few
cold moonbeams enter
a narrow gate

fallen frost
insects cry in the shadow
of a cross

their voices wasted too
the autumn wind

acorns patter
in fits and starts
cold cicadas cry

cicadas silent
in dry locust leaves
cold has settled

insect silence
dissolute in pines
the wind's voice

autumn departing
the wind's color left
in a stand of pines

day lingers there,
that lonely hill where
pine and cedar stand

in the spot where
a scarecrow once stood
in insect cries

autumn at an end
the scarecrow's shadow

sheet lightning
the scarecrow's face
is turned away

as though shot
the moon falls past
the scarecrow's bow

a bird departs
following its shadow
autumn at an end

autumn over
in sorrow a stag
is crying out

in the glass
of a fallen windchime
broken autumn sky


winter seclusion
smoke from a teapot
companionably rises

winter beginning
a bird's voice follows
a frozen stream

winter dawn
a cock's cold voice
lightens into snow

geese cries fade
fall snow erases
the water's edge

faster snowfall
a crow's voice whitens
from pine to pine

reeds disappear
snowfall whitens
the heron's voice

flying through snow
a grebe's calling
moonlit voice

herons gone
the lake-edge mirrors
ceaseless snowfall

at the year end
heronless reeds
collecting snowfall

without any color
silence at dusk
falls as snow

answering the door
no one there
the swirling snow

winter seclusion
on the empty loom
a spider weaves

cold deepens
the sound of fircones
striking the frost

glazed with ice
chrysanthemums frozen
on their shadows

the long night
in a glass paperweight
snowflakes settle

longest night
sitting side by side
two dolls lean

night grows cold
shrill in anger
a woman's voice

over and over
a stone kei sounds
cold grows the night

Kei, a type of stone clapper used in a Zen monastery.

the iron ladle
sparks on the well-stone
the evening is cold

marking graves
white crosses in rows
under a winter moon

colder moonshine
on a graveyard stone
without a name

cold at night
hooves of deer spark
on the stone bridge

hoofbeats clatter
over the bridge
the moon cold

with one cry
of the mateless deer
night grows cold

night deepens
the big dipper spills
cold white dew

lyra constellation
wind sounds through
invisible strings

moonlight slants
fanning from clouds
a white peacock's tail

cold at night
the white moon shatters
on the waves

over frozen waves
plover voices whiten
into a night of frost

plovers crying
cold in the reeds
the moon's color

sun freezing
a crane cry turns
waves to ice

ducks calling
crossing the lake
voices are cold

dispersing cold
the sound of wings
over the ice

deep in winter
suspended in ice
waterfall sound

year-end frost
whitens the sleeves
of a scarecrow

the year's end
lonelier that field
with no scarecrow

end of the year
a somber sun shines
on the withered sedge

year-end snowfall
collects on the backs
of the water birds

the year's end
a quiet rain soaks
the withered chestnuts

winter at an end
light begins filling
a glass paperweight



A number of the haiku (or versions of haiku) compiled in this book have previously appeared in the following publications:

Dragonfly, Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Wind Chimes, New Cicada, Ko, Inkstone, Dasoku, Haiku Zasshi Zo, Plover, Mirrors, Hawaii Education Association. Contest Anthologies: Na Pua'oli 1981-83, Na Pua'oli 1985-87, Write On, HEA! 1989, Na Pua'oli 1987 - 90


There are two people whose help was instrumental in the production of this book and whom I wish to thank.

My husband, Kirk, kindly produced the illustrations, gave me advice and read over the manuscript. Jane Reichhold provided invaluable help in lending her expertise, her skills as typesetter, and de facto editor, as well as giving encouragement and moral support.

Without their generous help, it is doubtful that this book would ever have been published.

White Crow Haiku

Copyright © 1990 by Anna Holley

All rights reserved

ISBN: 0-944676-36-7
Library of Congress Number: 90-083298

AHA Books , POB 767 Gualala, CA 95445 USA


May I see another book ?