Terebess Asia Online (TAO)

Back to the Modern American Haiku Poets

Ruth Yarrow's Haiku

a pause
before each hug

windblown Christmas lights—
still place
between lights

first cool evening
between the cricket chirps
the longer silence

after the garden party . . . the garden

spring ocean fog
invisible waves and gull cries
swelling together

Sunrise path:
at each step the baby’s shadow
releases her foot

the baby’s pee
pulls roadside dust
into rolling beads

low winter moon:
her cheek curves the shadow
of the crib bar

before the sled moves
the little girls already



Ruth Yarrow has taught ecology and environmental education for two dozen years. With their children fledged, she and her husband moved to the Northwest, where they work in organizing
for peace, justice and environmental issues and enjoy backpacking. Ruth finds that writing haiku helps her capture fleeting moments of sharper awareness.

warm rain before dawn
my milk flows into her

through twilight
the waterfall bends the flood
into sound

canyon dawn:
a bat folding dark
into a crevice

the loon's cry

warm river -
up to our necks
in sunset

crowded bus through fog --
someone singing softly
in another language

riverflow --
over rounded stones a snake
follows itself

late afternoon
the mountain
a steeper purple

inverted light
in each hanging drop:
a kinglet sings


desert night
beyond the silence
heat lightning

our teen out late
through his window

desert morning
on the anthill pink crystals
from a deeper layer

Hot rock by the stream
each of the baby's toeprints

riveredge old growth:
a towering window
of stars

up under the gull's wing:

circling each thigh
of the night river

at the very edge

snowman's eye
sinking in
the spring rain

spring drizzle
rounding the thorn
a drop of light

our paddles drip
into liquid sunset

window clouds:
under the quilt
our soft folds

mountaintop granite
curving my belly
and the warm wind

sunlight overflows
the wicker basket -
newborn in my arms

my cheek pressed
against her baby head -
our bones underneath

Mexican sun
dancing around his fishing line
her eyes

train platform:
each wet leaf
face down

rising huge
beyond the cooling tower

flash on the rim—
side canyon prolonging

picking the last pears
yellow windows hang
in the dusk


As an introduction to the poems, here is Mike Yarrow:

I have worked as Kosovo Peace Education Coordinator with the American Friends Service Committee for three months reading scores of articles about the tragic events there, organizing efforts to stop the bombing and negotiate a just peace and instigating efforts to put pressure on the US government to help clean up, rebuild and heal. These short poems moved me powerfully and in ways that the official statements I drafted could not do. I have concluded from all that I have read and heard that the international community desperately needs a constructive alternative to “cruise missile humanitarianism."
Mike Yarrow,
Kosovo Peace Education Coordinator
American Friends Service Committee

Lest we forget...
Haiku from the Recent War


surgical strike --
a nurse in her own

Belgrade zoo
long before the bomber
the animals' crescendo

after the rape
her husband's eyes
a void

storks cruise
across the spring moon

I send a fax
protesting the bombing
pages come out hot