Haiku is elegant and meaningful in three lines of strict pattern in English, or it may be the inspiration for short poetry that adheres to the spirit if not the form. In Japanese the strict meter is seldom found because of the unique nature of the language, but also the independent spirit of the poet.

But that’s not all! The meter of haiku especially when adhering to the 3-7-5 rule is suitable for longer poetry two examples of which we will share.


In a Far Off Land

In a far-off land
Wearing masks and telling tales
Leaders in control

It’s happened before
With SARS and H1N1
They say, “We are fine.”

We manage our life
They buy our stuff, we prosper
This will pass us by

Now on Western shores
We’ve had the flu why worry?
We are in control

Italy is bad
It’s them not us, no worry
But can this be true

We look to leaders
Elected, professional
First comments confused

Should we do this now?
What are the risks that face us?
How do we manage?

Now stopping the spread
Few symptoms but much virus
Mobile vectors young

Try social distance
Sometimes defense is the best
Takes time and patience

The truth is with us
Ten times the risk of dying
Most but not all old

Death toll is rising
Health care workers feeling stress
Equipment is short

Businesses are closed
Even healthy are away
No paycheck now what?

Government rescues
Money for those who have need
But they want to work

Months before vaccine
Developing new treatment
We can only hope

The peak is coming
We pray our efforts succeed
All new ground for us

Pandemics not new
The world has withstood many
This is different

Life won’t be the same
How much this scourge will change us
Only time will tell


When Day is Done
by Gene Helveston

When day is done
Shuttered eyes meet fluffed pillow
Welcoming the night.

Sleep arrives with stealth,
Unlocking dreams that cower
Behind wakeful thought

Subsuming conscious,
Bringing pleasure—solace—fear

Exposing mayhem
Terror grips—unspeakable,

Recounting misdeeds
Both committed and permitted.
Clouded guilt informed.

Those to serve and things to do
But never done.

Dreams afar and dear
Not to serve us or command.
Eternally near.

Peaceful or tortured,
Hiding deeply when awake,
Uncaged when sleep comes

Then morning’s soft glow
Steals night’s commanding presence.
And a new day starts.

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