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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
    - John Stevenson
                                                                     radio interview
                                                                     the candidate
                                                                     adjusts her hair
                                                                     - Hilary Tann
                                                        even with the mikes on
                                                               the politician
                                                                - 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
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
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
                                                                          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
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
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-
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
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
                                  the potatoes
                                 - Alexis Rotella
                                                              running away,
                                                              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
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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