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Haiku Windows: train/subway window


Haiku Windows

In the book Haiku: The Art of the Short Poem, editors Yamaguchi and Brooks quote David Lanoue:  “A haiku is a window”…

In the following weeks we will look at (or through?) the many possibilities raised by this thought – and you’re invited to join in the fun! Submit an original unpublished poem (or poems) via our Contact Form by Sunday midnight on the theme of the week, including your name as you would like it to appear, and place of residence. I will select from these for the column, and add commentary.


next week’s theme:  window cleaner

Standing in the garden with bucket and squeegee… or steadying oneself on the stepladder or on the roof of the house… or on a platform 60 floors up, ropes swinging against bright blue sky…

I look forward to reading your submissions.


Haiku Windows:  train/subway window

Mumbai station…
through open windows
sweet tea from platform vendors

Ingrid Baluchi

What a scene – we can get a sense of the heat, the crowds, the commotion of commerce, and the delight of sweet tea acquired amidst the chaos, to make the next leg of the journey more pleasant…

night train
the dark company
of our reflections

Lucy Whitehead
Essex, UK

Our thoughts can keep us company, as we are reflected in the train window in the dark of night, and our reflections can also be dark – notice the economy of language in this poem, as well as the multiple meanings…

train window
my mind wanders
through the trees

Rachel Sutcliffe

Here, as the train passenger watches the forest landscape through the window, their imagination takes over, and the reader’s imagination follows…

palm to palm
their train window

Tia Haynes
Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, USA

This poem captures a moment that the reader can picture in any number of ways, depending on the ages of the people involved, and their relationship… how we might wish they meet again soon, whoever they are…

Here are the rest of my selections for this week:

sky train
for a moment

Adjei Agyei-Baah
Kumasi, Ghana


subway train window –
the lone backpack
on a platform bench

Amy Losak


leaving –
kisses blown
through the train window

Andrew Shimield


Shinkansen window –
in and out of fog

Angelee Deodhar


LRT window
the minutiae of life
flashing by

Angelo B. Ancheta


subway window
in passing an old woman face –

Anna Maria Domburg-Sancristoforo


as if
the unknown is all mine –
train window

arvinder kaur
Chandigarh, India


kissed by red maple
through the open windows
of the Sagano train

Beverly Acuff Momoi


rows of tea bushes
rush by the window

Carmen Sterba


last train –
I take the stars
home with me

Carol Raisfeld


prairie darkness –
what a child’s breath reveals
on the train window

Chad Lee Robinson


locomotive whistles past

Christina Chin
Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo


spotting him
through the train window
the one who got away

Christina Sng


London train
between skyscrapers
a flash of St Paul’s

Christine Eales


train window
glancing at him
one more time

Christine Villa


the subway window
reflects a child pointing
my husband’s kiss

Claire Vogel Camargo


glacier express
at the end of the tunnel
that light

Corine Timmer


train ride –
white after white
of apple blossoms

Debbi Antebi
London, UK


jagged coastline
in the train window
my reflection

Deborah P Kolodji
Temple City, California


cold morning
I draw a snowflake
on the subway window

Eufemia Griffo


five-train window…
the sudden darkness
of a tunnel

Frank J. Tassone


pink dawn –
the fast train enters
the tunnel

Giovanna Restuccia
Modena Italy


train window
the Rhone Glacier drifts
over my face

Helga Stania


peak hours
through the train window
i face the faces

Hifsa Ashraf


night train
the wink from the man
behind me

Joanne van Helvoort


haiku at high speed
my view
from the train window

Kath Abela Wilson
Pasadena, California


riding freights
the open door our window
on the world

Ken Olson
Yakima, WA


out train window…
sunflowers race
toward the hill

dal finestrino … corrono verso il colle / i girasoli

Lucia Cardillo


church spire
thrusts into the autumn sun
the rhythm of the train

Madhuri Pillai


my reflection
travelling backwards
into my past

Mark Gilbert


subway station
a flock of preschoolers rush
to the window seats

Marta Chocilowska


bullet train
flashing by

Michael Henry Lee


train set
a fly in the window
misses its stop

Michael H. Lester
Los Angeles CA USA


frozen faces
of the through train

Mike Gallagher


outside the train window
the life of those who wake up early

Muskaan Ahuja
Chandigarh, India


blurred film of landscapes
through the TGV* window…
fast-moving life

*TGV – high-speed train, France

Natalia Kuznetsova


running train
one hand collects the wind
from a window

Nazarena Rampini


sun shining
through the train window
miles from home

Olivier Schopfer
Geneva, Switzerland


hats blow
around the platform

Paul Geiger


subway window
framing the memories
I wish to keep

Peter Jastermsky


almost home
her reflection checks itself
in the train window

Pris Campbell


train to the burbs
nobody else
looking out the windows

Randy Brooks


Chester station
seen from the train window
same as on the postcard

Rehn Kovacic


army train
the closed window
of childhood

Roberta Beary
County Mayo, Ireland


subway window crack
connects the raindrops
outbound map

Ron Scully


cherry blossoms –
the sweetness of spring
from the train window

Rosa Maria Di Salvatore


subway window
tunnel vision

Sari Grandstaff
Saugerties, NY, USA


dark night
a cigarette lights up
outside the train window

Serhiy Shpychenko
Kyiv, Ukraine


unknown station
another platform lamp
and its dim pool of light

Simon Hanson
Queensland, Australia


old locomotive
a black smoke hides
the sun in the sky

Slobodan Pupovac
Zagreb, Croatia


long tunnel
window lets in
the echo of the train

Srinivasa Rao Sambangi


Zen train
letting the baggage
in my mind pass by

Stephen A. Peters


I run through the car
in each window, framed
snow capped fuji

Susan Rogers
Los Angeles, CA, USA


passing by a pig farm…
we close the windows
of the train

Tomislav Maretic


after the city smog
in the window of the train
cherry blossoms

Tsanka Shishkova


from a boxcar door
hobo life

Valentina Ranaldi-Adams
Fairlawn, Ohio  USA


persistent moon
which string attaches it
to the train window

Vandana Parashar


except the moon
everything recedes rapidly
train window

Vishnu Kapoor



Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada and an Associate Member of the League of Canadian Poets. She recently co-edited an anthology of crime-themed haiku called Body of Evidence: a collection of killer ’ku.


This Post Has 46 Comments

  1. Some v moving work here. My favourites are Carol Raisfeld’s:

    last train–
    I take the stars
    home with me

    for its air of meditative solitude…..and, in stark contrast, the profound sense of alienation conjured by Roberta Beary’s:

    army train
    the closed window
    of childhood

    Here’s one of mine from yonks ago, by way of celebration of the theme:

    night train

    (Mainichi, 1st Feb. 2012)

  2. Thank-you for publishing one of mine this week and for publishing all the ones you have published in the past.

  3. So many great train window haiku and such a variety of interpretations of the theme. Thank you for including one of mine among this selection. I am especially liking the haiku by Randy Brooks, Pris Campbell and Roberta Beary as well as the ones you commented on. Just wonderful.

    1. thanks, Sari! and Kathy!

      this column is turning into my new favorite. love reading how others see the world of haiku windows.

  4. So many brilliant verses, again, Well done to all.
    One of my favourites-
    night train
    the wink from the man
    behind me
    Joanne van Helvoot

    I find that an unnerving situation. Nice work.

  5. Thank you, Alan, for the wildink wordpress link…

    And thank YOU, kj, for selecting one of mine! What a lovely surprise.

    Interesting variety this week, including one or two possible ‘dark’ ones — Simon Hanson’s unknown station, Amy Losak’s lone backpack, and Joanne van Helvoort’s wink from the man behind. Lots to think about and admire, as usual.

      1. Glad you mentioned this, Alan. Such wonderful offerings to the train theme. I love trains.

    1. thanks so much for submitting, Ingrid – & to Alan (again) & Liz Ann as well for sharing your thoughts – your comments add so much to the column!

  6. Among such wonderful haiku one revive dear memories:

    Shinkansen window –
    in and out of fog

    Angelee Deodhar

    Dear Angelee Deodhar you say so much …

    1. I am partial to shinkansen too, and my local British line is introducing them, albeit nothing like Japanese ones.
      I took several shinkansen, I’ve heard it’s not correct to call them Bullet Trains, while travelling from Akita back to Kobe in Japan.
      another bento box
      gets on with me
      Alan Summers
      Publication credit: Travelogue on World Haiku Festival 2002 , Part 2 (Akita International Haiku Network 2010, Japan)

        1. Good point! I even remember a three-cornered one, at one shinkansen station. 🙂
          Tokyo Bullet train –
          three corners
          to my bento box
          Alan Summers
          Publication credits:
          World Haiku Review: Japan Article “Vending machines and cicadas: Travelogue on World Haiku Festival 2002 , Part 2” Republished by (Akita International Haiku Network 2010, Japan)
          Of course Bullet Train is incorrect, and I bought the bento box at Shin-Tokyo (train station, and not on board). 🙂

  7. Kathy, I’m so pleased and honoured, thanks so much for featuring mine.
    I really enjoyed your selection of great haiku, well done everyone.

  8. Thanks for including my haiku Katherine. I really enjoyed reading your comments. Great selections of poems.

      1. Thanks Alan. And thanks for the link to the anthology. I’ll definitely submit some!

        Best wishes

      2. thanks again for sharing, Alan – these ‘comments’ conversations are such a wonderful addition to the project

  9. Another enjoyable selection. Thank you for choosing one of mine. It’s hard to choose a favourite but I gravitate towards Rachel Sutcliffe’s poem,

    train window
    my mind wanders
    through the trees

  10. .
    Another great selection!
    I’ve written enough haiku and haibun about trains and stations that I realise I have enough for a book!
    rush hour the train station cornea by cornea
    Alan Summers
    2nd Prize – The Australian Haiku Society Spring Haiga Kukai: Non Seasonal
    Results with comments by judge Ron Moss
    the moon is broken
    Battersea Power Station
    from a train window
    Alan Summers
    Award credit:
    1st Prize, World Monuments Fund 2012 Haiku Contest (New York City, USA)
    By the way, Jacquie Pearce’s Train anthology Deadline for submissions is June 30, 2018:
    Jacquie has had an awful lot of submissions, but there are some gems here that could get into the anthology! 🙂

    1. Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing, Alan – especially about Jacquie’s train anthology submission call!

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