WordPress does strange things at times, and one thing is that it rearranges the photos the blogger uploads. In this case, it makes the blog lucky to start out with a tan-shahai by Grant D. Savage.

We are calling it a tan-shahai for now, for want of knowing if there is a true name for it. A shahai is a photo with a haiku superinposed, but with a tanka?

There has been talk on other websites as to whether photos should be used to inspire haiku. We hope to get some comments on this I think: Use the little ‘cloud’ at the top of the post to have your say, or send it to me by email. My address is near the bottom of this post. In any case, here is one photo that I took; perhaps someone will get a haiku from it.

 Don’t forget to send in your haiku, or other Japanese forms and/or shahai, or haiga, or whatever is inspiring you to write these days! This blog isn’t mine, it belongs to Kado…

“Is that a real haiku, or did you write it yourself?” —Michael Dylan Welch
Check out the new link for Graceguts, the pages of Michael Dylan Welch, a good place to go for the latest in haiku, for good articles, interesting ideas, the T-shirt.

Here is a book every haiku lover should have: It’s full of the known and newly discovered haiku of Nick Virgilio, essays about the life and work of Nick Virgilio, and an essay he wrote. It’s also lovely to hold.

From Rick Black’s Turtle Light Press. You can order from the website. $15 = $5 postage, and worth every cent. He is trying to have someone bring some to the conference. If so, then there will be no postage.

These are not Japanese in form, but short poems similar to tanka from Liu Xiaobo: ‘Your Lifelong Prisoner’ – Liu Xiaobo’s poem from prison
New book by the jailed dissident and Nobel peace prizewinner contains a moving tribute to his wife, the poet Liu Xia
From: ‘Your Lifelong Prisoner’

Maybe as your prisoner
I’ll never see the light of day
but I believe
darkness is my destiny
inside you
all is well

The glitter of the outside world
scares me
exhausts me
I focus on
your darkness –
simple and impenetrable

From Louise Vaillancourt: (Thank you Mike Montreuil … for collaborating!)

double bloom tulips

dernière neige
à doubles pétales

From Grant Savage:

your collection
of buddhas
may i remind you
that I too love to laugh
and have a belly to rub

Kado: Spring meeting at the Japanese Embassy in Ottawa. This will be the last chance to say you’ll be joining other Kado members at the Embassy on May 12th. (So far nearly 30 people are coming) As we are having a special guest who will be preparing something amazing, as well as guests from out of town, I need to know for sure whether you are coming, and how many will be with you. Send the information in a comment on this blog, or to me at



Mid April

I wonder about your thoughts on having a KaDo blog. Let me know. Today’s post features another shahai by Grant D. Savage, and a tanka sequence he read at Tree on April 10th, and for which he was complemented by a/several poet(s) of stature.

Tanka – Red-wings – Blackbirds

opposing reds
on opposing reeds
straight from their shoulders
straight from their flaming hearts
the blackbirds’ spring dawns

spreading sunrise
on its fiery shoulders
a red-wing’s song
in full flight
on a swaying reed

south wind and reeds
alight with song
dark with half-flown red-wings
the weightlessness
of your florida tan

almost evening
matched with the spread
of bird-wings that fold
their dark to voice

the red-wings once more
forage the fields in flocks
not even their warmest
or deepest songs
a match for the spring snow

a red-wing
lands on a cattail’s
and where has it gone that first
and lightest touch of desire

from reed to reed
a blackbird follows
its song
the way it leads
straight to you

sun the colour
of the males’ shoulders
the blackbirds weave
reed baskets of togetherness
and mutual dreams

blackbird song
dimness of first light
i settle back in the nest
of our love – wet … hair
to tangle it further

i rise on the spread
of red-wing song
on the breeze-like sibilance
of your dreaming “G-r-a-a-a-n-t”

The Heron’s Nest 2012 Anthology of the best haiku it has published in its magazine each year. This proves that Grant Savage certainly knows his business where haiku is concerned, with four poems selected in one year. Here are two of them:

lake of stars
the taste
of Polaris

hint of frost
the spruce tipped
with jupiter

And to show that haiku poets can be a fun-loving competitive people like anybody else with our own contests and excitements, Heron’s poem of the year: Chad Lee Robinson, (Pierre, South Dakota)

migrating geese –
the things we thought we needed
darken the garage

Many have already let me know whether they are coming to the Japanese Embassy on May 12, and how many friends they will be bringing to share the fun. Our guest’s topic is wagashi. She is an expert at preparing and forming these seasonal sweets, and will have some samples for us! For anyone I know is coming, that is…