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Back to the Modern American Haiku Poets

Steve Sanfield's Haiku

America -
you and
that pizza

Because I have nothing else
I have begun to love
my sorrow.

by the refrigerator light
her bending body
through a new kimono

Days go by
when I do not
speak his name.

If only
I could put an end to
"if only".

limbs entagled
we dream
each other's dream

Loons cry
The deeper silence

No fire.
The cat still settles
behind the stove.

No matter what the news
it remains another day
without you.

So silent
you can almost hear
the sun

The naked trees
make it colder
- this autumn moon

There were a few
but on this summer night
only cold memories

this love
a continual revelation
- crocuses in the snow

to shake all morning
because you touched me
- a simple bow

Without a moon
the sea
becomes deeper

Empty woodshed.
Bad back.
Trouble ahead.

Holed up for winter
wondering if anyone
will come.

Not quite cold enough
to build a fire.
Regretting it all morning.

The steaming kettle
my only companion
this winter night.

Cutting the deer
steam rising
in lantern light.

Fifteen kinds of mosquitoes
but they all
sound the same.

Another season
and no one to talk with
about the last.

The loudest sound:
the quail
at dawn.

So cold
even the words

More and more
sure of
less and less.

True eloquence:
the rattlesnake's

Alone in the house
Springtime snow
You everywhere

The first narcissus
and his nose
all stuffed up.

Emptying the piss pot
he notices the moon
pours it on himself.

Sleep on the couch she says
cutting his fantasies
in two.

beginning to masturbate.
Can't recall if he finished.

Cleaning house.
Poems scattered

Love poems
scribbled for one
now sent to another.

That cricket he rescued
from the dishwater
kept him awake all night.

Sends himself
a welcome home card.
It never arrives.

Rain on the roof.
A cricket in the house.
As it is.

Summer mountains:
all the time.

Walking in the rain
seeing everything to be done
when it stops

Hills of buttercups
but with one on the table
their meaning is clear

Birthday Poem

Inside - the laughter of friends.
Outside - the moon & I alone.



from Sierra Song by Steve Sanfield, (Berkeley, Calif.: Tangram Press, 2003). 16 unnumbered pages

a cool breeze
sends my song
back to myself



A Cycle of Hoops* for the First Snow
from Backlog, Tooth of Time Books, 1975

*I call them hoops rather than haiku, because haiku is a Japanese word for a poem usually written according to very specific guidelines. I wanted to step beyond those lines and also add another season—the season of the heart. And further, as Black Elk says, "that is because the Power of the world always worked in circles and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and as long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished."

Walking this morning

to find the world
covered with white.

The brown grasses
seen afresh
after a night of snow.

Even that junkpile
I meant to put in order
is perfect

Snapped in two:
that tree I never
should have planted.

On moonlit snow
even my shadow
is cold.

Tracks in the snow:
what happened
while we slept.

The power of snow
to make all things