The James Connection – A Series Of Mountain Sonnets Linked To ‘Suggestions For Writing Haiku In English’ by James W. Hackett

the james connection

cindy tebo marlene mountain stephen addiss an’ya gary gach debra wooolard bender jennie townsend

nancy smith paul conneally carmen sterba francine porad gary blankenship


a series of mountain sonnets

linked to


James W. Hackett

The present is the touchstone of the haiku experience, so
always be aware of this present  moment.

this present moment’

my scrapbook of memories presently without a haiku
on this gray day the next moment a repeat of the last one hundred

looking for my watch trusting its having been here somewhere once before
meditation period that last grain slides through the sandglass

past as present present as present future as present
shadows of the past hints of the future tint the present

forgetting the past i wander in mindless ecstasy
jwh arrives in kamakura with a mean rice curry crave*
just now the hiss of sugar dissolving in hot tea
deep in thought exploring a mouth ulcer with my tongue
still part of the problem old definitions and new
making up an identity nicely packaged
under the sagging christmas tree a slip of broken ribbon
dear diary a brand new war started today

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*Sept. 10, 002, whf

Remember that nature is the province of haiku.
(Carry a notebook for recording your haiku experiences.)



mother nature calling me in the middle of the woods without toilet paper
a bigleaf maple shakes off rain my scratches run unreadable
droplets inscribing spring on leaves silence of the birds
in the dentist’s chair my haiku notebook underneath the x-ray apron
swallow calligraphy leaving no traces
crossing weblets abandoned in dust between the panes
the ‘province of haiku’ clueless i scan maps of france and canada
shakah brah go straight to hawai’i and don’t pass the parrots
she touches everything song notes in the book margins
heavy snow i put in an order for stinging nettle jeans
what’s nature an angler throws a rod into the creek in anger
fishing fly ‘it’s not nice to fool mother nature’

daddy long legs race the winner disappears
end of winter birds at the feeder as if no time’s past


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Contemplate natural objects closely… unseen wonders will reveal themselves.

unseen wonders’


dead fly in the pitcher plant another drowning i couldn’t stop
beneath the wet lumber a gray slug grows towards spring
young crippled smiling she panhandles rush-hour traffic back & forth
leaky pipe the garter snake opens its soft mouth
the homeless woman gazes at the postman
forgotten leeks left in august to return for christmas
nose to nose with the neighbor’s dog i require stitches
pressured into a mammogram one breast then the other reflates
the gentlest of squirms this baby born at fifteen weeks
the swing of a golfer caught in strobe alley
mountains and caves on tv where is that long tall ‘bin’
no bison but a sketch of pictographs of old
where beetles feast sap weeps from the pine’s amber heart
scent of gardenias a swarm of ants on pure white petals


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Interpenetrate with nature.

Allow subjects to express their life through you.

That art Thou.



carpenter bee hole perfectly round bores into my awareness
wasps fooled by false spring paper the front porch
the times falling open at the sports pages
with hardly a cloud in luminous blue the sun in my heart
a thunderstorm splatters through the screen full of the night
paint tossed onto the canvas my random technique
humidity seeps into my pours until the autumn wind blows
that restless feeling what a relief the breaking storm
pushed down the steps the sense knocked into me
spring weather a squirrel’s nest sags in the branches
symbolically female an owl in the moonlight
a fragrant breeze my step lightens
the fishmonger’s call across the marketplace beautiful flies
scales iridescently flash off the blade

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Reflect upon your notes of nature in solitude and quiet. Let
these be the basis of your haiku poems.


twirling bird feeder pine and camellia nod to each other
deep into sunset when i’m without words the bobwhite
soundscape without limit in the hackett garden
homestead the whole of it spread before me at the gate
just the other animals and me a beautiful dreary day
throwing a rock from the cliff into mist waiting wait…
the call of a ring neck beyond the traffic circle
one hundred years happening right now
i put my head under the bath-water just for the sound
all’s quiet this morning save our resident meadowlark
alone after mother’s day transplanting gifts of flowers
footsteps echo final walk-through the empty house
at the edge of the canyon i welcome nothing
beached jellyfish becoming invisible

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Write about nature just as it is… be true to life!

true to life’

another storm leaky roofs and widow-makers
the daylilies range and range from two to eight inches
the old hound eating cat droppings
in the apartment lease no pets allowed empty bird house
backspace key until there’s nothing left to erase
woken by a dog fox at the trashcan
first one child then they all flock around a fallen nest
first pimples on the girl’s smooth brow
next to the station more cherry blossoms than people
the heart-seizing beauty of night war in blue and green
darn rainbows so quickly fading always fading
end of winter ducks at the feeder no time passed
ripples spring twilight fades from each one
online problems i’d have written about dogwood leaves if not

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Choose each word very carefully.

Use words that clearly express what you  feel.

what you feel’


i don’t give a shit and call it haiku to advance art a wee bit

life and living exactly the same only different
explosion in the field my mind drifts to the milkweed pod
this silent tension of another day without any money
where is that dancer with the perfect lead missing from the center?
after destruction the healing of land body and soul comes slowly
how the surgery and scars hurt more than my spreading cancer
a one-legged marathon runner crosses the line
2 blonde 4-year-old girls at the beach each echoes what the other says
‘oh! what a relief it is!’ families of returned mia’s
the wet clay turning on the kickwheel as a space opens
again the first day of transmigration into an ant
sixty the relentless morph into grandfather accelerates
i wanted the iris to open yesterday a mind of its own

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Use verbs in the present tense.

verbs in the present tense’

write here is a flower unfolding in turbulent times
if you’re going to do it might as well do it now
wanting to say ‘thank you’ but feeling too grateful to
thorny rosebush the morning newspaper whose keeper you are
give worry donate fret contribute
become a part of the under layer of lilting leaves
as i write the wind detaches blossoms and sends them to my doorstep
drive to the art museum to view photographed constructions
i mistake a broom and discarded poster for art
the girl next-door arranges dandelions in a jar
our conversation about the air we’re in
flight to mazatlan with loch lomond lyrics circling my brain  
map of the mall i find the value of x in the e-x-it sign
someone’s sneakers still up there on the power line

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For added dimension choose words that suggest the season,
location, or time of the day.

seasonal words’

before birdsongs the sound of the newspaper delivery boy
eleven or twelve scallions bound tightly with a rubber band
straw in the manger and strawflower bunches upside-down
roses in summer autumn winter spring
noonday sun rising cathedral window patterns on the wall
the sun slants low and things aglow in its light begin to blush
solstice uncoiling the garden hose a butterfly
dewpoint the moistness of a snake on a rock
my mother’s birthday on june 21st
the bewitching hour’s downpour no place to go but up
afternoon nap the centipede chooses the left nike
my new loafers the puppy’s chew toy
man in the moon half full or half empty
first nasu on my dinner plate

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Use only common language.

common language’

the cat knows i know she knows i’m talking about her
after she finds the “right word” the poet police take it away
yellow snow the jogger’s foot propped on a fire hydrant
shit my shoe finds the neighbor’s dog’s
come see mommy come see another wormfrogbuggrub wonder
‘swing lo sweet chariot’ propane tanks floating down the river
after she eats one of her young the neighbor’s chicken spanked
getting ready to leave the dog everywhere in my path
rubs my ankle as she pads by
muggy heat behind eyelids pinprick stars in a red sky
june full moon bright commonwealth coyote howls
dull day but a multitude of flies in the garbage
curb stone words remind me to look right
accompanying nasty face and universal gesture

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Write in three lines which total approximately 17 syllables.
Many haiku experiences can be well expressed in the
Japanese line arrangement of 5, 7, 5 syllables – but not all.

approximate 17 syllables’

never to return the moth leaves my fingertip and flies through light rain
with daisies to plant waking to rain and birdsong at the dark window
cherry petals drift onto the potted fir tree visions of fairies
another pair of jeans in my wardrobe become the wrong size
my favorite shirt belly buttons missing ripped torn tossed
out the train window wires on the telephone poles swooping like swallows
no cow manure here a mound of earth with holes in spokewheel fashion
promised land all the rainbow i need in every color iris
last night’s dream of youth trim uniforms and joining the military
perpetuation of a bad myth i’ll pass on the math
mu mu mu mu mu begins the monk nantembo’s favorite haiku
a picturebook farm with ten cows my favorite foreign postage stamp
seen from the freeway fish-shaped cloud descends into the lips of a hill

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Avoid end rhyme in haiku. Read each verse aloud to make
sure that it sounds natural.

natural sound’


sifting pollen ears of the marmalade cat twitch
tiny soda pop bubbles dissipate i’m on the mend
tick tick ticks all around us dropping to the forest floor
hiss and clunks of a radiator as traffic goes by
deep in wooded hills the town spring gurgles
hammer saw and backhoe the city moves its edges
buzzing right by me a hummingbird engine
a bee foxglove in a the noise of
her only quietude is at the laundromat
raindrops cease the murmur of the river moves closer
wind not in the willow not in the pine not in the cinnamon ferns
independence day celebration rattles the trailer no sleep tonight
creaking pines my bones ache too
orange peel grins from grandma’s mouth

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Remember that lifefulness, not beauty, is the real quality of haiku.


no portrait in the attic the dip and dive of swallows
‘bring ‘em on’ now that the 2-toned are abloom the ditch lilies
kickboxing while holding hands school-age brothers
4 fireflies in a mayonnaise jar the lights go out
on canning day sour pickles in blue glass

listening to an operatic duet on the radio
day camp the smallest boy practices his throws through lunch
teen age bus boy counts his tip money for the third time
check-out clerk stops to smell the woman’s roses before he bags them
the sound of bluebottles in the smell of a dead pigeon
one wing broken a sparrow flutters across the parking lot
the soldier swallows to think he might die here in iraq
windchimes‘ occasional ping a bird’s call a sunbeam’s flicker on a leaf this peaceful day
movie channel’s ‘men in black’ ends with a peal of thunder

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Never use obscure allusions: real haiku are intuitive, not
abstract or intellectual.


that first splay-fingered touch a child in the autumn grass
the front doorbell another replacement window salesman
outside my kids and the blue angels screaming adrenaline rush
overwhelmed as usual i stop to smell the roses
on the restaurant table two yellow roses well almost roses
on my feet black dog twitching dreams at the window misted greens
french vanilla my moist tongue responds to the flavor
summer afternoon the boys tell stories about someday

feet tangling in the creek we remember fireflies
what’s a made-up god know about sex anyway
waxing moon thinking of birds the housecat yawns
fifteen times more toxic than a rattler i release the black widow
back to the earth worms from the tackle box
westerly wind th’dust ‘o bones o’them miners wha’found th’motherload

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Don’t overlook humour, but avoid mere wit.

avoid mere wit’

seen through the leaves a white-haired man dancing
turning sixty now i understand my sister ‘autumn’
oh issa see how the fly doesn’t wring its dirty hands
single living my imac set to laugh at my mistakes
in place of the daily haiku a text-message from the white house
balancing my checkbook the surplus becomes a deficit
figures adjusted to be in sync with the bank’s
in my empty wallet a fortune
gold mulberry leaves lighten the turf my silk shell darkens
enough sense to come in out of the rain tho i didn’t want it
grape stomp it feels good to be stained
a tire swing not entirely empty length of frayed rope
silent nun in watch repair shop present perfect
dear god warmed by bedcovers in my morning prayer

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Work on each poem until it suggests exactly what you want
others to see and feel

work on each poem’

chimes of iron chain clinking against flagpole across freeway
frogs croaking soprano alto tenor and bass
the telephone rings i start the second line yet again
renga my inner child learning to take turns
creased newspapers the tired faces of commuters
the receding storm holds back dawn yet stars still dim
summer storms the pain of sighs caught up in my ribcage
oh dear the worked-on poem with a perfect worked-on look
the peacock erects its feathers for zoo-goers
57 years the a-bomb survivors still see the mushroom cloud
august 6th us television explores volcanoes
pele’s tears i don’t listen to his explanation
a thousand words plus a photo of his latest wife
changing clothes i’ve become another woman for my husband

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Remember that haiku is a finger pointing at the moon, and
if the hand is bejewelled, we no longer see that to which it

avoid excess decoration’

july 10 it’s yet another day of just being
cooler under the trees now that the planting is done
inspection over termites work clearing the yard of stumps
the sadness in grandma’s blue eyes summer evening
his laughter our morning noon and night
for her rescue private lynch thanks americans and iraqis
pulled out of the lake into the boat the golden retriever
window-washer i wave too
since mom died not a thread in the sewing machine
august sun a red tractor fades in the field
sleeping all day she takes a nap at night tabby cat
students back at summer’s end book-bikes-buses block my driveway near suppertime
a dandelion and two spent joints by the skate-park bench
eleven dog days left ’til labor day fleas come indoors too

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Honour your senses with awareness, and your Spirit with
zazen or other centering meditation. The Zen-haiku mind
should be like a clear mountain pond: reflective, not with
thought, but of the moon and every flight beyond…


[7/10 -8/13/03]

thunderstorms clear the pond muddy what goes around
a closer look to note the bend of the willow
in the spirit of lewis and clark our capsized canoe
reeling as the geese fly over ripples in the lake
market day i find my face in the eye of a huge sea-bream
the cat walks away only broccoli in the shopping bag
after all the greenery the long walk home
is not the haiku mind of nature so knowing no ‘shoulds‘?

in the garden of my childhood a small tree to pray under
pecks in watery grass while her kid plays with dandelions
clover and bees and a yellow circle under the chin
her letters lost among pictures of it’s a small world
carousel music the galaxy goes round and round
fast afloat with the moon to infinity and beyond

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The James Connection was coordinated by paul conneally and marlene mountain for the marlene mountain section of the World Haiku Review which conneally was editor of at the time.

 The mountain sonnet is a form developed by paul conneally with marlene mountain which uses mountain’s one line haiku link form as a usually themed 14 line poem made up of 14 one line linked haiku.

 Conneally asserts that marlene mountain is one of the most talented and influential haiku poets of the late 20th and early 21st century continually challenging readers to confront what haiku / haikai was is and might be.

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