A review of haiku for a moonless night by Marjorie Buettner

haiku for a moonless night, Vol I by an'ya, published through the natal * light press, is hand-sttched with sinew, and can be ordered for $15.95 + $3 shipping.

Basho said "Verses composed by some are over-composed and lost the naturalness that comes from

the heart." (Haikai Ronshu) Collected Haiku Theories by Basho, 3rd ed., 1951, Tokyo). haiku for a moonless night by an'ya epitomizes that naturalness which comes from the heart; each book is hand-stitched and hand-torn, not dye-cut. There is also a luminosity which pervades these haiku, a sharing

of mystery not unlike those Sufi mystic poets who tell us in so many words that there is no division between the body and the soul, for they are the same:

scented breeze

what did you caress

before cooling me

Many of an'ya's haiku are visual in nature. Her verb usage gives each haiku a sense of immediacy and energy which is satisfying:

the windmill

flinging drops of rain

from its blades


a licked forefinger

to the wind

Such haiku reflect an acute sensitivity engaging all of the senses:

scented breeze

the town's name written

in sweet alyssum

an'ya is not timid about exploring and documenting the world right outside her back door; using her actue perceptions, it is the ordinary that becomes extraordinary:

june breeze 

a hole in the cloud

mends itself

soft breeze

a bee's stinger lifts

in the air

Many of the actions or activities that take place in an'ya's haiku are elegantly simple, and yet they have symbolic repercussions, almost mythical reverberations:

for world peace

threading daisies

stem through st

moonless night                                                                                                                        men of the village                                                                                                                   dance in silence

"As a haiku poet, an'ya is attuned to the cyclical nature of all life, and her haiku teaches us the importance of patience in order to observe, in order to preserve:

becoming daylight--

the fallow deer retraces

its hoof prints

The haiga in this collection by Kuniharyu Shimizu are colorful and vibrant with a clear simplicity and pure exuberance; they touch upon that same visual magic that an'ya knows so well. Thhese haiga are offered to us as if they were a glass of wine saluting the moon:

windswept day

a skater opens her coat

to cross the lake

The magic of an'ya's haiku resides, as I have said, in their visual qualities. At times however, they take you beyond the ordinary world into intuitive vision:

oregon trail

over the top of the moon

the rest of the world

an'ya's haiku remind us to keep in touch with our own intuitive, mystical nature so that the world's luninosity can be absorbed, and then reflected back:

celestial space

geese touching their wings

to the clouds

silent snowfall

the sound of dark-eyed junco

cracking seeds

The world offers to us immeasurable possibilities; it is a haiku poet who delves into a relationship of union with the world--insistent, jealous lover that is--until at every touch, at every sight and sound each poem becomes an act of love, a labor of love, writing it down the reader cannot help but be enriched by anya's labor of love:

no fame no fortune

but all these new year stars

in their right places