“Three Haiku and a Tanka” by George Swede

George Swede


tar pit an urge for immortality



only an eternal present jackhammer



the wasp’s face
what friendship
can become



Night hurrying
down the mountainside
to work as shadows
for the day—
I re-knot my tie

from Rattle #47, Spring 2015
Tribute to Japanese Forms

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George Swede: “I got hooked on short-form Japanese poetry in the mid-1970s after getting a review copy of Modern Japanese Haiku (edited by Makoto Ueda, University of Toronto Press, 1976). The twenty anthologized poets did unexpected, marvelous things with the form that made me see haiku as poetry rather than as a school exercise for counting syllables. Since then I’ve published twenty or so collections of haiku and two of tanka.” (website)

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