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Book of the Week: the old tin roof


Marlene Mountain is the doyenne of English-language haiku. She burst upon the scene with the publication of this iconic chapbook, self-published in 1976, which contains many of her early classics, making it an excellent volume with which to inaugurate our Book of the Week Feature.

You can read the entire book in the THF Digital Library.

All haiku in the Book of the Week Archive are selected by Tom Clausen, and are used with permission.

with rain i hear the old tin roof

spring evening he calls louder for the milk cow

bull tongue plow… edge of its blade in the morning dew

around the stone to earth hepatica roots

the crayfish gathers her young beneath her

drone of my dulcimer down the road a revival

river moving dawn with it

beneath leaf mold stone cool stone

old woodcutter rest on the rings of the oak

grandmother’s old quilt a spot of blood that won’t wash out

cabin chimney more of it on the ground this year

blowing leaves clanging at the stake horseshoes

the old milk cow comes in long before dusk


the long night squeezing the charmin

another day: bacon in the iron skillet

new year’s i wear my oldest gown to bed

after your visit middle of the closet empty hangers

snowy night from the dripping tap a glass full

gosling following its neck to the bug

at dusk hot water from the hose

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. The poems in this book and in moment / moment moments changed my life, especially “peacock.” Marlene is a marvelous talent and a dear friend.

  2. We just updated this post with a link to an online version of the “the old tin roof.”

  3. wonderful. what a treat to be able to read these early works of marlene’s.
    as fresh and as current as when they were written.

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