Saturday, November 29, 2014

Butterfly Dream: Robin Haiku by Marion Clarke

English Original

damp morning
a gray yard
before the robin

Marion Clarke

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

A member of the Irish Haiku Society, Marion Clarke is a writer and artist from Warrenpoint, Northern Ireland. Her work was highly commended in the IHS 2011 International Haiku Competition and, in summer 2012, she received a Sakura award in the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival contest. A selection of her haiku featured in the first national collection of haiku from Ireland, Bamboo Dreams, edited by Anatoly Kudryavitsky. Marion’s poetry and artwork can be found at


  1. Through concrete imagery, Ls 1&2 set the tone and mood for the poem while "before" in L3 stretches the time dimension of the poem beyond the now moment, successfully shifts the thematic and emotive focus.

    Like the narrator, the reader is now waiting for the robin's arrival, which makes the day more bearable.

    This well-crafted haiku, which provokes the reader to see and think beyond the haiku moment, is a good counter example of the narrow definition of haiku (" a moment keenly captured) stated by the Haiku Society of America.

  2. Below is another counter example of the conception of the "haiku moment:"

    snowy dawn...
    bits of yesterday
    cling to today

    Third Place, Inaugural Janice M Bostok International Haiku Award

    Chen-ou Liu

    Judges’ Comments (by Jim Kacian and Cynthia Rowe)

    This ties the natural world with the human -- we drag the dream world into the day with us, for a bit, even as our waking obscures that other “real” world we inhabit. At the same time, snow covers what we knew of the outside, but we recognizes it's still there, beneath the covering, evidenced by its shapes

  3. Thank you for featuring my haiku, Chen-ou.

    There is something about the appearance of a robin with its flash of red friendliness that really lifts the spirit.

    Although this pales in comparison with your beautiful 'snowy dawn...' I think I will remember this one for a very long time to come. :)


    1. Hi! Marion:

      " the appearance of a robin with its flash of red friendliness that really lifts the spirit.'

      Yes, I couldn't agree with you more.

      The robin's arrival brings color and energy to the poem.


  4. Haiku is a beautiful concept.
    I would be very interested in your expert opinion on my haiku site, A very British Haiku.
    Best wishes

  5. This well crafted haiku reminded me of:

    the difference
    a sparrow makes –
    bare branches

    – Bill Kenney,

    1. Hi! harkerhaiku:

      Thanks for chiming in. I'll visit your website.


      Thanks for sharing Bill's haiku.

      I think Bill's haiku could be strengthened by replacing sparrow with crow.

      In doing so, it works effectively as a two-axis haiku, alluding to Basho's ever-famous crow haiku below:

      a crow
      has settled on a bare branch
      autumn evening

      Look forward to reading more of your haiku/tanka (Deadline: December 1)

      All the best,


      Note: For more information about two-axis haiku, see To the Lighthouse: Two-Axis Haiku -- See and Think beyond the "Haiku Moment,"

  6. Thank you, Rita, for your kind comment.

    This little robin hopped right up to the glass door of my kitchen and was so cheeky I thought he was going to tap on it! It was the first one I've seen all winter and he really cheered up the drabness of my yard.

    I love how Bill's poem suggests that the bird improves the 'bare branch' just by being there.

    Best wishes