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Favorite Senryu
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Favorite Senryu....  a sampling of some senryu that I enjoy.
 
( senryu are a cousin of haiku; similar in form, brief, often three lines and typically humorous, witty, satiric, ironic and insightfully focused on the human condition with all our funny foibles- or not so funny- being just who we are. )
 

"If it is man within the world, it is haiku. If it is the world within the man, it is senryu."  - Anita Virgil

 

"Great day"   I say,
my neighbor, not to be outdone, says,
"Best one yet"
 
  - Frank Robinson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The laugh's on me:
   this year's man
     is last year's man
 
 
        - Ching-An
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
on the freeway
discussing the chocolate bar
in the trunk
 
 
    - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                           The last kid picked
                                            running his fastest
                                            to right field
 
 
                                            - Mike Dillon
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
       deadline approaches
    my nose drips
faster
 
 
    - John Stevenson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                     radio interview
                                                                     the candidate
                                                                     adjusts her hair
 
 
                                                                     - Hilary Tann
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                        even with the mikes on
                                                               the politician
                                                                    shouts
 
 
                                                                - Anita Virgil
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
She's running for office-
for the first time
my neighbor waves!
 
 
       - Alexis Rotella
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
neighbor's children leave...
casually the cat slips out
of the hall closet
 
      - Patricia Neubauer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
birdsong
my imaginary lover
alive again
 
 
- Yu Chang
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                              300 miles away-
                              my father makes sure
                              I hear him sigh
 
 
                                - Alexis Rotella
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                            remote village
                                                            after the camera's click
                                                            her smile
 
                                                                - Ruth Yarrow
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Undressed-
today's role dangles
from a metal hanger
 
      - Alexis Rotella
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
channel dispute
she aims the clicker
at me
 
 
   - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                       nothing good on t.v.
                                       every channel
                                       for about three hours now
 
 
                                       - John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                       three times I've said
                                                                       "your husband..."
                                                                       now we can just talk
 
 
                                                                       - John Stevenson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
safe for a while
around the haiku poets
a fly
 
 
 - Mykel Board
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                             his dust mask
                                             a hole poked through it
                                             for the cigarette
 
 
                                            - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                             bad movie
                                             I'm only awake
                                             during the explosions
 
 
                                               - John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                       table for one
                                                                       the waiter doesn't
                                                                       light my candle
 
 
                                                                      - Bruce Detrick
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
in the breakdown lane
I contemplate
my life
 
 
  - John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                         new flypaper
                                         she waves her arms
                                         to get them going
 
 
                                           - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                          straphanging
                                                                          top view
                                                                          of his careful hairdo
 
 
                                                                            - Karen Sohne
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
first cold night
the fat tomcat hangs from
the window screen
 
 
 - Carl Patrick
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                            road construction
                                                            my life
                                                            still under construction
 
 
                                                            - John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                          
 
 
 
 
 
                                                
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
his "eyeball it"
for the rest of our days
a crooked wall...
 
 
     - Carol Montgomery
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
turning down the t.v.
   to hear more
of the neighbors' argument
 
 
               - John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                                 my easy heart
                                                                                 two drinks
                                                                                 and it's love
 
 
                                                                           - Michael Ketchek
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        checking the driver
      as I pass a car
    just like mine
 
 
         - John Stevenson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                    loud applause
                                                                    for the last speech
                                                                    before lunch
 
 
                                                                           - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                   while I'm gone
                                                                    my dog
                                                                    takes the driver's seat
 
 
                                                                    - Christopher Herold
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Clear about
everything
the window washer
 
 
   - vincent tripi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                              20,000 feet
                                                              traces of masking tape
                                                              on the jet engine
 
 
                                                                    - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Empty school bus;
smile on the face
of the driver
 
 
   - Garry Gay
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                       
 
 
 
 
 
bags
under his eyes-
traveling salesman
 
 
   - Michael Dylan Welch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                              Weight lifter
                                                               slowly lifting
                                                               the tea cup
 
 
                                                                    - Garry Gay
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
single living
I allow the kettle
a full whistle
 
 
  - Carmen Sterba
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                             Oscar night
                                                              adjusting the cuffs
                                                              of my pajamas
 
 
                                                                 - John Stevenson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
the men on both sides
have taken
my armrests
 
 
       - Karen Sohne
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                          inserting a piece
                                                                          in my jigsaw puzzle
                                                                          the TV repairman
 
 
                                                                          - Francine Porad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
paint by number
the child's river
escapes its bank
 
 
   - Tom Painting
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                       my nephew's fast ball-
                                                                       I hand back the glove
                                                                       and keep the sting
 
 
                                                                       - Barry George
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
morning commute-
recognizing
most of the strangers
 
 
      - Dorothy McLaughlin
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                             half-empty bed
                                                                             I try to recall
                                                                             his faults
 
 
                                                                               - Peggy Heinrich
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
war begins-
my husband and I
stop bickering
 
 
   - Margaret Chula
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                 mid morning bus
                                                 no one young enough
                                                 to give up their seat
 
 
                                                  - Sheila Butterworth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
game over
men turn to leave
the tv department
 
 
    - John Stevenson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                           on my dying bed
                                                           a neighbor reads out
                                                           the ball scores
 
 
                                                            - H.F. Noyes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
January 3rd
the Weight Watchers meeting
doubles in size
 
 
    - Carolyn Hall
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                    
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
store window
the young couple take turns
testing the double bed
 
 
  - Dee Evetts
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
new hammock-
my beer on the other side
of the porch
 
 
     - Mark Brooks
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                             fiftieth birthday
                                                                             standing a little closer
                                                                             to the toilet
 
 
                                                                             - Mykel Board
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
the mirror
wiped clean
for a guest
 
 
    - John Stevenson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                          long night
                                                          I adjust my breathing
                                                          to his
 
 
                                                            - Francine Porad
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Starbuck's
a man in cowboy boots
asks for latte
 
 
    - Yu Chang
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                         by phone
                                                                         my sister says
                                                                         we are in touch
 
 
                                                                             - Hilary Tann
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
word for word
she remembers
our last argument
 
 
   - John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                  Trying to forget him
                                  stabbing
                                  the potatoes
 
 
                                 - Alexis Rotella
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                              running away,
                                                              Mommy
                                                              helps me pack
 
 
                                                              - Adele Kenny
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
midwest interstate
car ahead signals a turn
for fifty-nine miles
 
 
- John Sheirer
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                         girls in bikinis
                                                                         the man I'm with
                                                                         trying not to look
 
 
                                                                          - Brenda Gannam
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
on the twelfth floor
a life's work holds open
the book-reviewer's door
 
 
- Martin Burke
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                     While the guests order,
                                                       the table cloth hides his hands-
                                                             counting his money
 
 
                                                                    - Clement Hoyt
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
new dean
all blackboards
turn white
 
 
- Yu Chang
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                       red light
                                       I study the face
                                       of my tailgater
 
 
                                       - Hilary Tann
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                                                        eye exam
                                                                        i stop trying
                                                                        so hard
 
 
                                                                        - Hilary Tann
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
circuits lab
his mistakes
in the air
 
 
- Yu Chang
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A selection of classic senryu from old time senryu anthologies in Japan:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
when a man
comes asking for a loan
how honest he looks!
 
 
 
 
 
 
someone at the door:
the scolding session
stops - for awhile
 
 
 
 
 
 
when he finally
falls in love with his wife
the end is near
 
 
 
 
 
 
she's been let go
yet in her mother's words
"she's left him"
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Don't let this worry you"
he says, then tells you something
that has to worry you
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
his wife knows
how to scare a collector:
"He's down with typhoid"
 
 
 
 
 
 
the weapon he uses
for threatening his mother:
a distant land
 
 
 
 
 
 
now that he has a child
he knows all the local dogs
by name
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
a son kicked out-
several houses down the street
a wife is divorced
 
 
 
 
 
the whole town
knows of it, except
the husband
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Bad for my health"-
when you begin to feel so
you've begun to age
 
 
 
 
 
 
    the wife-
so much harder to handle
than the mother
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
having lash out
too much at his wife
he's cooking the rice
 
 
 
 
 
 
since their baby was born
telling him what to do
has become her habit
 
 
 
 
 
 
suckling the baby
in bed, she shakes her head
at her husband
 
 
 
 
 
convenient
and inconvenient-
having a wife
 
 
 
 
 
 
no nagging on the day
her husband was a winner-
now there's a woman!
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Just a father-in-law
whose days are numbered"
says the matchmaker
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
professional smile
of the mortician's wife:
a look of grief
 
 
 
 
 
to put it briefly
courting is tantamount
to begging
 
 
 
 
 
"older daughter first"
the parents kept saying, until
the younger eloped
 
 
 
 
 
 
the love letter
from the man she doesn't care for
she shows it to mother
 
 
 
 
 
 
first eye to eye
then hand to hand
and mouth to mouth
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
many excuses
he has used before - his wife
remembers them all
 
 
 
 
 
 
her husband's
becoming a little too kind
weighs on her mind
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
united at last
in death, a pair
of happy faces
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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