morning stroll:
a blade of grass
clings to his shoes

—shirley cahayom

About the author: shirley cahayom
brooklyn, new york
shaman99 at

i was born in the philippines, educated in the oldest existing catholic university in the country even older than harvard, had been a college instructor, worked as children governess in the middle east, currently working in an alternative cancer clinic in new york city trying in my own little way to ease the pain and suffering of the terminally ill. i had been writing traditional haiku on and off since my college days but got seriously involved with it again since march of 2002. since then, i never stop writing and trying to get them published. publications include still, asahi haikuist network, the illinois times etc.


Responses to the haiku for 27 May 2003 by shirley cahayom

    Ellen G. Olinger (ElinGrace at wi dot rr dot com)
    2003-05-28 08:14:19

    Hi Shirley,

    This poem says a lot. I'm wondering if it relates to your work with persons who are very ill. If so, perhaps this element could be added to the poem; or this poem could be in a sequence or book where there is this context. I had a chronic illness--not terminal--and remember how poignant and vivid these moments are. Life narrows and other things expand. We experience this as caregivers, too. Perhaps taking a break and sitting on the porch for a few minutes...clinging to hope like the blade of grass to the shoes.


    paul m.
    2003-05-28 18:35:06

    A nice poem, the blade of grass clinging like a thought which cannot be shaken. But I am left to (and distractingly so) wonder who "he" is? If it is important, tell us who he is; if not, eliminate it.

    deborah russell (sellwein at hotmail dot com)
    2003-05-29 07:53:40

    A good haiku - a slight notice that contrasts movement of the stroll, in the stillness of clinging grass. Of course it could be substituted with almost any such element; a yellow thread, a downy feather, a pink rose petal, an autumn leaf, a planet of dew....
    Thanks for sharing. Deborah

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-05-29 11:52:27


    i felt empathy for the blade of grass. this could have been a haiku moment, however, "i" felt the moment was carried too long.

    stroll: to walk leisurely; continual movement.

    further prolonged by the word "clings"; the blade of grass, desperately clinging to the shoe, with each footstep taken, while wondering when it was to fall off or be removed, something so innocent, yet contrasting "him".

    strolling exudes of being totally carefree, while the "blade of grass clinging" hints of helplessness, if not hopelessness.

    not quite a haiku moment, yet it was worthy, in giving me this scene to reflect upon...

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-05-29 11:53:57

    how can one rave about a "potential" haiku moment, and in the same breath suggests making make-overs.

    famous words coming up, "as for me", when i have experienced "the perfect moment", i accept "whatever" as it is, showing a faint smile, a twinkle in my eyes, perhaps a sigh, keeping my hands to myself, not wanting to recreate the "moment", merely enjoying what has been admirably observed by another.

    to suggest an alteration, is self-explanatory of it not being a haiku moment.

    reminds me of what someone said, "the loveliest of flowers need never be touched, simply admired from a distance".

    Michael Meyerhofer (angry_seraph at yahoo dot com)
    2003-06-06 18:08:16

    I agree that there's a feeling of desperation in this poem, but I saw it as a reflection on the character; i.e. the "desperation" of the blade of grass as a metaphor for the desperation of the person being described. Of course, there's also the possibility that it's just a blade of grass stuck on the shoe, i.e. a metaphor for a lingering piece of the natural world. Or I could be completely off my rocker... ;o)

    In any event, I disagree that offering a rewrite means a poem failed to achieve a "haiku moment". There are poems that have touched me deeply, but have "failed" to touch someone else. Likewise, there are poems that have touched others, while I simply didn't "get it". I think haiku (like all art forms) can only present windows of opportunity to the reader, and that rewrites are subjective suggestions on how to make that window as accessible to the most people possible.

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2003-06-06 20:08:11

    at last, there is insight in your words, michael.

    all of us are creatures of varying opinions.
    yes, you.
    yes, me.

    in my opinion, a haiku epitomizes in totality a complete moment, being brief, yet a sensation of the instance when it was experienced, regardless of whether one has experienced the same, or it being presented as something you'd appreciate encountering.

    no questions being asked, no remakes in the offerings, merely admiration in the understanding of what the author has said or portrayed, while in discussion, pointing out the author's skills

    i feel when one does a remake one is sharing their similar moment, with a slight twist. the reason i ask of the author an explanation of their intention.

    shirley cahayom (shaman99 at msn dot com)
    2003-06-06 21:14:23

    this haiku was written a year ago when my son was 13.We were having a morning stroll reminiscing about the bygone days. I noticed that blade of grass clinging to my son's shoes.I was struck by the realization that my son is growing up very fast,having his own independence.Gone are the days when he used to spend most of his time with his father and me. now he spends most of the time hanging out with his friends (i always have a full house esp. on weekends) how i wish i could prolong the happy moments we spend together. like the blade of grass clinging to his shoes. I remember when Geoff Alexander was two. After buying him toys and feeding him,he told me, "mommy, you are very good to me. you buy me toys and you eat me. Those moments may have lasted but for a second but memories make those moments last for eternity. They are deeply embedded in my heart where neither time nor space can shatter.

    john tiong chunghoo (bagiruang at yahoo dot com)
    2004-01-04 08:28:38

    depth of autumn
    throwing out a leaf
    in my shoe

    bob richardson (orgbob at webtv dot net)
    2004-06-20 20:38:15

    reflections --
    only thing missing
    is the sound


    evening boat ride --
    a playful hand
    in the tepid water