Whirling Haiku and Senryu

The first line of each haiku or senryu below is taken from “Torture Chamber” by the Chilean poet Enrique Lihn, English translation by Mary Crow.

The door of your house
has been painted cobalt blue—
why are you weeping?
~~ ~~ ~~
I disguised myself
so that when I had the chance
I could disappear.
~~ ~~ ~~
The only hotel
with elephants emerging
is The Proboscis.
~~ ~~ ~~
Your German shepherd
will not let me clear the fence,
so I slink away.
~~ ~~ ~~
My indecision,
in contrast to your boldness—
guttering candle.
~~ ~~ ~~
Your tranquility
is a little dot of cloud
on the horizon.
~~ ~~ ~~
My tribe is concerned
about the hook in the mouth
sewing tongue to cheek.
~~ ~~ ~~
When I go begging,
I wink at the passersby—
nothing to lose now.
~~ ~~ ~~
Tearing your clothes off,
my tongue begins to vibrate—
which part shall I lick?
~~ ~~ ~~
Some friendly country
where they print the years in breath—
this is what I seek.
~~ ~~ ~~
Your fork is my spoon,
but I cannot align it
with my crooked mouth.
~~ ~~ ~~
Your torture chamber
will grind the life out of me—
blood and cell and bone.

© 2012 by Magical Mystical Teacher
More The Sunday Whirl, Wordle 55
More The Poetry Pantry #99

Posted on May 6, 2012, in haiku, senryu, The Poetry Pantry, The Sunday Whirl. Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. I can’t quite put my finger on the why… but these seem to have a different playful voice.. that has me smiling this early morn 🙂

  2. An impressive collection, and so clever to make it a first-line cento. Kudos.

  3. I say again: Make thee a chapbook. You have a wonderful unique voice with haiku, and it amazes me how you never run out of ideas. I just cannot decide on a favorite or even two favorites. Kudos.

  4. Haha! The third one made me laugh out loud, now I’m going up to read the rest…
    Brilliant. You make me feel I am sitting at the feet of a master every Sunday morning.

  5. These seem more diverse than usual, as if you are trying different voices, seeing what you can do with such a short form. I love that I can study at your feet, so to speak.

  6. I have no idea how you do this.

    • That didn’t sound right. (See what happens when I try to be concise.) Comment should have undertones of awe and admiration .

  7. Rather than a path of precise stepping stones, these are a handful of stones scattered from above, that settle with a sigh of satisfaction.


  8. As always, enjoyable to read your poems. I love the question of the first one. And “your fork is my spoon” puzzles and delights me.


  9. What a clever idea using Enrique Lihn as a stepping stone, mmt. As always a beautiful collection. What is your real name, I always feel silly calling you, mmt. That is if you don’t mind me asking.


    • magicalmysticalteacher

      MMT is fine. You may also address me as “Magical” or “Mystical” or “Magical Mystical”—or nothing at all! At this point, I prefer to be as anonymous as possible, because I’m a public school teacher. One day I may come out of hiding, but for the time being deep cover is best. I know it’s unnerving for some of my readers not to know who I really am, but it gives me a sense of security—and it protects my school district. Thank you so much for your visits—and I hope you’ll come back again and again!

  10. Your German shepherd
    will not let me clear the fence,
    so I slink away.

    I think of this as the voice of the fox wanting to get into the chicken coop!

    I also like this one:

    Some friendly country
    where they print the years in breath—
    this is what I seek.

    It reminds me of ‘Brigadoon’ in some way…only living one day out of every 100.

    Thanks for your visit and nice words to my blog spot post on this #55 Wordle.
    “From the first piece where the older boy dismisses his ‘parents’ with apparent ease, to finding Smudge in the second piece, I wanted in this third addition to attempt some reconciliation or justification to the ‘less’ fortunate characters. I can only hope I did that. :)”

  11. Nice haikus and senyrus – like the second one.

  12. Powerful vignettes, intriguing, visual, thought provoking.

  13. I feel the need to paint something cobalt blue… maybe my front door. Once again a wonderful assortment of images and feelings. I love knowing that your first line came from another writer.

  14. always a WOW-treat here! Your first one lured me in…’
    Some friendly country
    where they print the years in breath—
    this is what I seek.’…esp. loved this!

  15. Your proficiency with haiku just humbles me … there are so many great ones here, I hesitate to pick favourites but I’m going to anyhow: I particularly like the one about elephants, and the one about “sewing tongue to cheek” – oh and the first one also, “why are you weeping” tugs my heart-strings, it just does


    • magicalmysticalteacher

      Without readers, haiku are nothing. Thank you for coming. You are always welcome here.

  16. Very nice!! Such variations throughout! Entertaining and thought provoking. I really enjoy the idea of this one:

    “Your tranquility
    is a little dot of cloud
    on the horizon.”

  17. Once again another thought-provoking collection…my favorite has to be the one with the fork, the spoon, and my crooked mouth. 🙂

  18. Each one is so terrific, but this one speaks volumes about family, community:

    My tribe is concerned
    about the hook in the mouth
    sewing tongue to cheek.

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