Monday, April 15, 2024

To the Lighthouse: A Rhetorical Device, Double Entendre

A double entendre is a  rhetorical device that involves two different meanings or interpretations of a word, phrase, sentence or statement, wherein one meaning is readily apparent and the other is more risqué in nature.

For example, 

If I said you have a beautiful body, would you hold it against me? 

Comment: One interpretation of this question is that "the speaker’s wondering if they will be judged for commenting on the recipient’s physical appearance. But in the secondary meaning, the speaker is asking for the recipient to embrace them intimately" (for more example, see Examples of Double Entendre)

Another example:

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLIX: "lifestyle"

the hottest cover 
of a lifestyle magazine:
with a flirty smile
the Israeli model holds
a M-16 rifle

Comment: As the tanka effectively builds line by life to "the Israeli model" in L4, the word, "hottest" in L1 apparently means "sexiest," then unexpected yet thematically significant and visually and emotionally disturbing L5 not only implies a new meaning, "most discussed,"  not necessarily "controversial"  when evaluated in the geo-sociopolitical context of Israel as one of the most militarized countries in the world (for more, see Haaretz, April 14: Why Israeli Women Love Posing With Their Guns), but also upends the (non-Israel) reader's understanding/perception of a "lifestyle" magazine in L2.

This tanka works well as a sequel to the following entry, XXXVIII: "Israeli strikes" 

dating profile photo:
a smiling twentysomething
with a M4
in front of mushroom clouds
from Israeli strikes in Gaza

For more, see Haaretz, March 24: "We're Not Only Here to Fuck Hamas": How Israeli Militarism Took Over Online Dating

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Green Leaves Haiku by Patricia Donegan

English Original

on green leaves
for breakfast

Haiku Studio, 1991

Patricia Donegan 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Patricia Donegan (1945 -- 2023) led a life of creative exploration, meditation, writing, translating and teaching haiku, and teaching haiku. Three of her most famous books of haiku Love Haiku: Japanese Poems of Yearning, Passion & Remembrance (co-translated with Yoshie Ishibashi), Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart, and Chiyo-ni Woman Haiku Master (co-translated with Yoshie Ishibashi). In 2017 she was named the honorary curator of the American Haiku Archives.

Saturday, April 13, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Spring Dawn Haiku by Martha Magenta

English Original

spring dawn
drizzle opens
a blue iris

Presence, 64 Summer 2019

Martha Magenta 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Martha Magenta lived in England, UK. Her haiku and tanka has appeared in a number of journals, and anthologies. She was awarded Honourable Mentions for her haiku in The Fifth Annual Peggy Willis Lyles Haiku  Awards, 2017, and in the 71st Basho Memorial English Haiku Contest, 2017, and for her tanka in UHTS  “Fleeting Words” Tanka Contest 2017.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Freight Train Haiku by Mark Miller

English Original

freight train running through the valley the Milky Way

Frogpond, Spring 2018

Mark Miller

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Mark Miller is an award-winning poet who has published over 300 haiku in international journals and anthologies, including Presence, ShamrockAcornFrogpondAkitsu Quarterly,The Heron’s NestUnder the Basho and Windfall: Australian Haiku. He lives on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

One Man's Maple Moon: Theatre Curtain Tanka by Neal Whitman

English Original

in winter 
nightfall is much like
the dropping
of a theatre curtain ...
the show is over, go home

Eucalypt, 33, 2023

Neal Whitman

Chinese Translation (Traditional)

的下落 ...
演出結束, 回家吧

Chinese Translation (Simplified)

的下落 ...
演出结束, 回家吧

Bio Sketch

Neal Whitman is a member of Tanka Society of America and is Vice President of United Haiku and Tanka Society. He lives in Pacific Grove, California, with his wife, Elaine, where walking along Monterey Bay helps them cope with the  pandemic. They wear masks out of respect for others.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

A Room of My Own: Two Worlds Collide

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLVI: "human pain"

the war will end
the war won't end, the war will end ...
one petal left
as a fighter jet splits the sky
silencing everything below

blocked by police cars
Israel supporters and foes 
shouting, cursing...
I wonder if human pain
has distinct identity

Added: written on the first day of Eid,  Eid, also known as Eid-al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan

row after row
shoulder to shoulder Gazans
pray in the tent city

AddedThis Brave New World, CXIII
written  in response to Alex Garland's "near-future America" movie, Civil War

chipped Abrams tanks
on a Walmart parking lot
littered with debris
Here Tomorrow, Gone Today
the sound of  Civil War 

FYI: From the official trailer of Civil War:

A white-haired journalist says to young one:

They shoot journalists on sight in the capital. Every instinct in me says this is death.

The Reporter: There's some kind of misunderstadning here.

The armed fighter: What?

The Reporter: We're Americans, OK.

The Armed Fighter: OK, what kind of American are you? [a long silence between them]. You don't know?

And CBC, April 12: Jarring, visceral and all too plausible, Alex Garland's Civil War is a must-see


why? what if ...
I continue to mumble
in slanted light
the roshi taps his temple
saying, this is your prison


around corners
the thud-thud-thud ...
in dim street light
a disheveled woman runs fast,
faster into her worst fear

AddedAgainst the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLVII: "an eye for an eye"

fireballs rolling 
across Tel Aviv's night sky ...
my Sufi friend
laments, an eye for an eye
will make the whole world blind

Added: Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLVIII: "shadow war"
inspired by Iran's attack on Israel

the pitbull
circled by Siamese cats
in a back alley
this years-long shadow war
between two old neighbors

FYI: The Siamese cat is known to be the most aggressive of all cat breeds.

AddedGame Show, 2024, XLII
written in response to CNN, April 15: Jury selection begins in Trump's historic hush money trial

men's room brawl
this shit-stained moment
for a hush money joke

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Elderberry Wine Haiku by Garry Eaton

English Original

touring the farms
the sun sets in a glass
of elderberry wine

Third Place, The Shiki Monthly Kukai, May 2009

Garry Eaton

Chinese Translation (Traditional) 


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Garry Eaton was a Canadian poet from British Columbia. He started writing haiku in 2006 and was published occasionally in the major haiku magazines. He volunteered as the digital librarian for The Haiku Foundation Digital Library.

Monday, April 8, 2024

Special Feature: Haiku and Tanka Selected for Total Solar Eclipse

My Dear Readers:

Thousands upon thousands of people are on the move today to catch a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse as it passes over North America.

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. The sky will darken as if it were dawn or dusk.

I would like to share with you the following haiku and tanka selected for this celestial event while watching  live with me 😁 as it moves across North America

the air
thick with whispers ...
solar eclipse

the afternoon sky turns dark
a deep crash
of Truth Social stock

(FYI: CNN, April 8: Trump’s net worth has tumbled by $2 billion since Truth Social stock peaked last month: Shares of Trump Media & Technology Group continue to rapidly fall back to Earth. The Truth Social owner dropped by another 10% on Monday, adding to a brutal week that wiped out a third of the stock’s value)

solar eclipse crowd
the first glimpse
of my ex with her lover

light rapidly dims
and shadows grow sharper
then day flips
to darkness for three minutes ...
at last a diamond ring

three-minute darkness ...
the murmurs 
of ohmygodohmygod

Chen-ou Liu

total eclipse
a little boy covers
his dog’s eyes

Elisa Theriana

day flips to darkness
face to face my dog and I

Chen-ou Liu

solar eclipse
an American crow
caws in the woods

Hifsa Ashraf

solar eclipse
a cloud of bats rises
up from the well

Cattails, May 15, 2016

Devin Harrison

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Poetic Musings: Coming Haiku by Jane Reichhold

coming home

1992 San Francisco Haiku Anthology

Jane Reichhold

Commentary: Within such an extremely short space of 5 words, Jane Reichhold successfully conveys a sense of great delight through both the visually alluring and emotionally resonant juxtaposition of "home and flowers" and the effective use of repetition. The flowers guide the narrator home.

And it might be interesting to do a thematic comparison reading of my haiku below:

first homecoming ...
the silence lengthened
tree by tree

A Hundred Gourds, 2:3, June 2013

Saturday, April 6, 2024

One Man's Maple Moon: Cinderella’s life Tanka by Kozue Uzawa

English Original

pumpkin flower buds
for salad
I think of Cinderella’s
life after the wedding

Eucalypt, 9, 2010

Kozue Uzawa

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)

Bio Sketch

Kozue Uzawa is a retired university professor. She works as editor of the English tanka journal GUSTS. She composes tanka both in Japanese and English. She also translates Japanese tanka into English and co-published Ferris Wheel: 101 Modern and Contemporary Tanka (Boston: Cheng & Tsui, 2006), and Kaleidoscope: Selected Tanka of Shuji Terayama (Tokyo: Hokuseido Press, 2008). Ferris Wheel received the 2007 Donald Keene Translation Award for Japanese Literature from Columbia University.

Friday, April 5, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Curve of Laughter Haiku by Peggy Willis Lyles

English Original

winter sun
the curve of laughter
down the tree-house slide

Where Rain Would Stay , 2022

Peggy Willis Lyles

Chinese Translation (Traditional)


Chinese Translation (Simplified)


Bio Sketch

Peggy Willis Lyles was born in Summerville, South Carolina, on September 17, 1939. She died in Tucker, Georgia on September 3, 2010. A former English professor, she was a leading haiku writer for over 30 years -- helping bring many readers and writers into the haiku community.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

A Room of My Own: New Life & Last Look Tanka

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLIV, "hospitals destroyed"
written in response to the destruction of Gaza's biggest hospital, Al Shifa

between blood of birth
and blood of death
a new life
on the hospital floor ...
a Gazan mother's last look

FYI: Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa, today after a two-week raid that’s left most of the medical complex in ruins, with dead bodies on the ground and a wasteland of charred and destroyed buildings. The government media office in Gaza said over 400 Palestinians were killed and over 1,000 homes in the area of Al-Shifa destroyed. Army bulldozers also plowed over a makeshift cemetery in the hospital courtyard. The World Health Organization said at least 21 patients died since the raid began March 18th.

Built in 1946, Shifa was once the flagship medical facility in Gaza. Since October, Gaza’s health sector has been completely decimated. Only two hospitals are minimally functional and 10 partially functional, according to the United Nations. The rest have shut down completely after being shelled, besieged and raided by Israeli troops, or running out of fuel and medicine.

-- excerpted from Democracy Now, April 1: “Genocidal Machine”: Dr. Ghassan Abu-Sittah, who spent over a month treating patients at Al-Shifa and Al-Ahli Baptist hospitals, on Israel’s Destruction of Gaza’s Hospitals

And This tanka is a sequel to the following entry:
Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XIII: "Gaza's hospitals"

a cacophony
of sirens, shouting and screams ...
a girl curls up
next to the wheels of a stretcher
that holds her bloodied siblings

Added: Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLV, "Joe Biden"

one-ton bombs to Israel
airdropped aid to Gaza
he shouts with his fist raised
Joe Biden kills us as swiftly
and yet slowly as possible

FYI: The Washington Post, April 4: U.S. approved more bombs to Israel on day of World Central Kitchen strikes

The Biden administration signed off on thousands more bombs to Israel despite global condemnation of the IDF’s killing of seven World Central Kitchen employees

The transaction demonstrates the administration’s determination to continue its flow of lethal weaponry to Israel despite Monday’s high-profile killings and growing calls for the United States to condition such support on greater protection for civilians in the war zone. A U.S. citizen was among the dead.

The move also casts new light on the emotional statement by President Biden that he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the tragedy and was insistent that such events never happen again.

“They were providing food to hungry civilians in the middle of a war,” Biden said. “They were brave and selfless.”

The New Yorker, April 6: Joe Biden and U.S. Policy Toward Israel

The matter of moral sympathy—who attracts it, who gives it, what action it inspires—can be cruelly fickle. 

it was Israel’s fatal attack on seven aid workers in Gaza, who were part of José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen—all but one of them non-Palestinians, including a dual U.S.-Canadian citizen—that compelled the Biden Administration to issue its strongest rebuke.

And Haaretz, April 7: We Israelis Are All Complicit in the Starvation of Civilians in Gaza written by Yuli Tamir 

Creating mass starvation is morally prohibited, undermining the State of Israel's moral right to exist. Every just war has its limits, and the claim that the goal justifies the means is both malicious and erroneous.

Starvation also harms our hostages, who are suffering from hunger. And how can we complain that the hostages are hungry when we let hundreds of thousands of people suffer from malnutrition?


only the murmur
of the refrigerator
for company ...
this winter night and I
grow old and gray

AddedRe-Homing in the Maple Land, XXI

a midnight scream
breaks the snow's silence
park encampment


muffled thunder
in the bowels of the earth ...
my attic room
my beagle and I shake
like a swing, back and forth

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Poetic Musings: First Kiss Haiku by Vuong Pham

here, there and everywhere ...
our first kiss

Refugee Prayer, 2013

Vuong Pham

Commentary: Juxtaposed with this visually evocative and symbolically rich image of the seemingly endless dandelion field in Ls 1&2, L3, our "first kiss," not only shows a budding romance but also enhances the significance, thematic, emotional, and symbolic, of L1, the floral meaning of which is both a "gift to a loved one that will provide happiness, simple joy, pure love, and a promise to a partner of total faithfulness.

This promise reminds me of the following song by The Beatles:

"Here, There and Everywhere"

To lead a better life
I need my love to be here

Making each day of the year
Changing my life with a wave of her hand
Nobody can deny that there's something there

Running my hands through her hair
Both of us thinking how good it can be
Someone is speaking, but she doesn't know he's there

I want here everywhere
And if she beside me I know I need never care
But to love her is to need her

Knowing that love is to share
Each one believing that love never dies
Watching her eyes, and hoping I'm always there....

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Butterfly Dream: Belonging Haiku by Michele Root-Bernstein

English Original


all the place I am 
   belonging for

Wind Rose, 2021

Michele Root-Bernstein 

Chinese Translation (Traditional)



Chinese Translation (Simplified)



Bio Sketch

Michele Root-Bernstein appears in A New Resonance 6; the 2016 chapbook, Scent of the Past…Imperfect;
Haiku 2014Haiku 2016; and on three rocks in Ohio. She is co-author with Francine Banwarth of The Haiku Life, What We Learned as Editors of Frogpond and facilitator of a Michigan haiku study group. 

Monday, April 1, 2024

April Holy Fool's Message: "Noli Timere -- Don't be afraid"

My Dear Readers and Friends

On April Fool's Day morning, I got a warning/Not Prank (see my first warning detailed in "To the Lighthouse: Magical Realism in Times of Crises") from X, formerly Twitter, now owned by Elon Musk, who has been accused of antisemitism MANY times,  and most importantly, who now calls himself ‘Aspirationally Jewish’ after his "Rehabilitation Tour" to the "first and only democratic country" in the Middle East, Israel, accompanied by its Prime Minister" (The New York Times, Jan. 22):

We have found that your account may contain spam or be engaging in other types of platform manipulation. You may not use X’s services in a manner intended to artificially amplify, suppress information, or engage in behavior that manipulates or disrupts people’s experience or platform manipulation defenses on X.

This warning was sent two days after the posting of NeverEnding Story: Call for Haiku and Tanka Submissions in Response to UN Report,"The Anatomy of a Genocide" and the following tanka:

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLII: "2,000 pound block-busting bombs"

thousands more
2,000-pound bombs sent to Israel ...
Joe Biden's eyes spark
at a roomful of donors
chanting, four more years

FYI: Business Insider, March 30: Planned US arms transfer to Israel of 2,000-pound block-busting bombs branded "obscene" hypocrisy by Bernie Sanders as criticism builds

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders labeled the move "obscene" in a post on X, formerly Twitter, writing: "The US cannot beg Netanyahu to stop bombing civilians one day and the next send him thousands more 2,000 lb. bombs that can level entire city blocks."

It's all because of my fireballing poetry about Israel's US-backed War on Gaza

Here is my response: 

Against the Drowning Noise of Other Words, XLIII: "covering the war"

You and I: Covering the War

you, a reporter
hide behind the headlines
of deaths and famine ...
I mourn this Dead-Sea-wide chasm 
bombed out by your contextless words 

beware, beware
of my hunger and anger
as airstrikes rage 
I drop fake-news-busting wordbombs
on the spokesmen for Israel

FYI: Ls 1&2 of the second tanka allude to the last stanza of one of the most read/popular Palestinian poems, "Identity Card," written by Mahmoud Darwish, poet of Palestinian resistance (1941-2008) and author of The Butterfly Effect, 2008, who died believing in the power of his poetry to make a difference.

Write down on the top of the first page:
I do not hate people
Nor do I encroach
But if I become hungry
The usurper's flesh will be my food
Beware ...
Beware ...
Of my hunger
And my anger!

The following is one of my favorite remarks on poetry:

Previously, I believed that poetry was a form of combat, but today I don't think that it has an immediate task. Its influence is very slow, cumulative.

To conclude today's April Holy Fool's Message post, I would like to share with you a relevant excerpt from Michael Enright's essay, "Seamus Heaney's last words to his wife"

In the course of the funeral tributes, his son Michael told the mourners that a few minutes before he died, the poet sent a message, in Latin, to his wife Marie. It said simply: "Noli Timere --- Don't be afraid."
Poets know about human pain and human fear.

It is part of their mandate to write about our fears, not necessarily to assuage them, but only to describe them accurately so that we know what we are dealing with.
We seem to be steeped in fear these days, marinating in the uncertainty that something dreadful is about to happen. 

In his poem "The Cure at Troy", Seamus Heaney wrote;
History says, don't hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

And to repeat the following call:

Happy Holy Fool's Day


FYI: The Holy Fool (Yuródivyy, chiefly radical Eastern Orthodoxy), often associated with gifts of prophecy and vision, publicly acts as if mad or foolish (for Christ). 

In my case, it's for Truth because

The first casualty, when war comes, is truth.

Hiram Johnson (1866-1945), a Progressive Republican senator in California)

And The Hill, April 1: Israel’s government passes law to temporarily shut down Al Jazeera

Israel’s legislature passed a law Monday paving the way to shut down the Qatar-based Al Jazeera news network, under legislation allowing for the temporary ban of foreign news networks that the government deems a threat to national security.

The law passed Israel’s Knesset 71-10 in its second and third reading in the Knesset plenum...

But the Biden administration said it was concerned over the Israeli passage of the law.

“We’ve seen the reports and certainly I’m going to refer to Israel for what they may or may not be considering. But if it is true, a move like this is concerning. We believe in the freedom of the press. It is critical. It is critically important,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday.