morning news
with the paper, I bring in
a cherry petal

—d. f. tweney

About the author: d. f. tweney (dft at tinywords dot com) is the publisher and chief haikuvangelist of A technology journalist, he has also worked as a weed whacker, pizza chef, ESL teacher, and environmental activist, and he won the Boston Poetry Slam in 1992. He is secretly Canadian.

Responses to the haiku for 21 February 2003 by d. f. tweney

    D. F. Tweney (dft at tinywords dot com)
    2003-03-01 18:35:57

    Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the cherries and plums have been blooming for the past several weeks. I wrote this haiku about two weeks ago, just as the trees on our street were starting to blossom.

    2003-03-04 14:40:45

    Dylan, so glad to see this comment feature as i meant to send you an email to let you know how much i loved this haiku. the imagery is so strong.

    Craig Mclanachan (cramar at actrix dot co dot nz)
    2003-03-06 01:30:30

    Very nice. Would you have noticed the blossom before you trained your haiku antenna to see this?
    And I am not just buttering the boss!

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-03-08 22:53:33

    a voice beckoned me to reread the haiku for this date, in my haste, things as to all, had a tendency to slip by.
    while riding silently on the hem of that which is worthy, the first line was given undue praise. case in point, 2nd and third lines, indeed thought provoking. yet there is a wanted poster featuring line one. simply stating, "if read, do not try to apprehend, call defunct writer's help line".

    to me...
    it's the little things in haiku writing that snare's the reader's imagination.

    insignificant, the cherry petal, but once absorbed it's overwhelming importance is realized. doubly being carried by it's host, the newspaper, and the newspaper's recipient. not understanding the regal status of this simple petal, this simple moment, being compared shamefully by the mind's eye to a news item, as opposed to something that should definitely be shared by whispering as opposed to being demoted by a herald.

    case in point (i just love those words...)

    with the morning paper
    a cherry petal"

    ellyn shea (cactus7 at rocketmail dot com)
    2003-03-10 03:19:56

    A botanical note...cherries bloom after the plums. In general plums bloom in late winter, Jan-Feb, while cherries bloom in March-April. No difference for this poem's concept, but the symbolism of the two trees is quite different. The plums are the first sign of spring, but often the weather is still wintery, blooms happen even as snow falls on them. The cherries, blooming closer to the Equinox, usually coincide with warmer weather and a more springlike feel. For both trees, though, there's both a euphoria at seeing the beauty and a sadness at knowing it is temporary.

    D. F. Tweney (dft at tinywords dot com)
    2003-03-10 15:44:14


    Thank you for your botanical note. After looking around, I realize that you are indeed right -- it's only the plums that were blossoming; the cherries here are still showing bare branches. I'm revising the poem, because the "news" really is that Spring is coming, and therefore plums are more appropriate than cherry petals.

    morning news
    with the paper, I bring in
    a plum petal

    ... only, that third line sounds much less musical now; the rhythm of "plum petal" is a lot more clay-footed than "cherry petal." Clearly, I have more work to do on this!

    Debi Bender (dmine at mpinet dot com)
    2003-03-15 09:41:48

    Hi Dylan,

    You might consider retaining "cherry petal" as the flower of the haiku,
    regardless of when it was posted or when the actual experience and writing
    took place, in my opinion. It does have a different rhythm. Some Japanese
    master's haiku, as I understand it, have been treated by their authors in
    such a way. I suppose one most discussed has been Shiki's famous haiku,
    "kaki kueba kane ga narunari Hryji" ("as I eat a persimmon / the bell
    starts ringing / at Hryji Temple" tr. version Susumu Takiguchi). It is
    held that Shiki had visited Hryji and decided to use it as the setting
    of his haiku instead of Tdaiji, the place the poem was inspired, as the
    former had famous persimmon orchards. Janine Beichman, in her biography,
    notes it is "a literal example of his use of selection in combination with
    realism;...the poem has more subtle elements. Among these, the skilful use
    of sound is most noticeable." (p. 53, _Masaoka Shiki_, Janine Beichman,
    1982, Boston; G.K. Hall and Co.)

    I really like your haiku as written, but a plum blossom could work, also.
    Perhaps, with the falling of cherry blossom, though, there might be an
    even subtler undertone of the wistfulness of passing beauty and season, a
    sort of foreshadowing of feelings of loss experienced when reading daily
    news. I especially enjoy the focus on the one fallen petal in its lovely
    significant "insignificance" contrasted to world events and concerns,
    brought into your home and consciousness, both by the newspaper. But
    whichever version or blossom you would feel more comfortable and with and
    how the choice shades your haiku best (with subtle meaning, rhythm,
    feelings, etc) should be your guides.

    john tiong chunghoo
    2004-02-03 09:09:31


    i love the original version because of its
    natural flow which is the most important quality for a successful poem.

    sakura keeps
    falling over
    the love letter he reads

    lana b
    2004-05-26 05:31:01

    family archives
    i do remember the shoes
    of camera-man

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-03 21:24:13

    on my head
    bougainvillea's purple blossoms ...
    on the lawn


    Vasile Moldovan (vasilemoldovan at yahoo dot com)
    2004-07-21 01:10:59

    Love's open wound -
    in dressing's stead
    a plum petal

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-12-31 17:17:35

    in the new year
    even more rain -

    final edition