Friday, February 22, 2013

Butterfly Dream: Funeral Haiku by John McManus

English Original

all day rain
we argue over music
for the funeral

Presence, #45

John McManus

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

John McManus is a poet from Carlisle, Cumbria, England. His haiku and senryu have appeared in various journals all over the world and is the current expositions editor for the online haikai journal A Hundred Gourds. He currently works as a support worker for people with mental health issues. In his spare time he enjoys watching films, sharing poetry with friends and spending time with his family.


  1. Below is an excerpt from FAVOURITE HAIKU chosen by Jane Reichhold, which can be accessed at

    I like the way this haiku grows and changes. With "all day rain" the reader is thinking, "blah" with great boredom. The second line adds a bit of tension with "we argue over music". Okay. That makes sense. Two people kept inside by the long rain begin to show their exasperation by arguing about music. Okay.

    Then comes the kicker, the twist that makes haiku such a delight even when it is uncomfortable. It's raining, and there has to be an argument about the music for, of all things, a funeral. Now the all-day rain is not boring but sadness. It is a sadness for the loss of someone, and for the idea that those remaining must disagree over something so small. All three elements pile on one another to increase the reader's understanding of the depth of the author's feeling and for our understanding that being left behind is not easy.

  2. The shift in theme and tone makes this poem emotionally effective.