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Per Diem: Daily Haiku for January 2019: Darkness

Per Diem: Daily Haiku for January 2019 features Simon Hanson’s collection on the theme of Darkness. This is what Simon has to say by way of an introduction to his theme:

‘The woods are lovely, dark and deep’

      — Robert Frost

Darkness is celebrated here as an aspect of beauty without any hint of its associations with evil and gloom – darkness is gorgeous. There is an unmistakable wonder and softness to the night, a sensuousness not found in the light of day; an observation that has not been missed by poets and artists of all kinds throughout the ages. Before the fireworks show we wait for darkness. However I do not wish to consider darkness simply in its contrast to light, as a passive background enhancing brightness and colour, though it certainly does that. Darkness is conceived in a more positive mode, black is among my favorite colours and ravens among my favorite birds. While many cultures have imagined lines of connection between stars making pictures we call constellations some of the Aboriginal groups have seen pictures in the dark patches of sky between stars. One of the greats of science once said that ‘as our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it,’ far more remains unknown than is known – a sense of mystery I find deeply appealing. Darkness is archaic, empty and full, suggestive of the unconscious, the well spring of creativity, the infinite depth from which becoming unfurls . . . and I love it. ‘And darkness was upon the face of the deep . . .’ (Genesis).

My sincere thanks to all the poets whose fine haiku are gathered in this Per Diem, they each deepen its dream space in their own way.


Stella Pierides is a writer and poet. Her books include "Of This World" (2017) and "In the Garden of Absence" (2012), both HSA Merit Book Award recipients. Her article “Parkinson’s Toolbox: The Case for Haiku” appeared in Juxtapositions: A Journal of Research and Scholarship in Haiku, issue 8, 2022. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Haiku Foundation, and she conceived and coordinates the Haiku for Parkinson’s feature.

This Post Has 26 Comments

    1. around ancient fires
      their shadows danced
      on the great stones
      The Heron’s Nest, September 2012, Vol. XIV, Issue 3

    1. Thank You Azim! for such a wonderful haiku to feature. You’re ‘. . . sea swallowing the silver sand’ haiku really caught my imagination.

  1. dark and wet
    bare branches etching
    the low clouds

    The view from my window here on a January morning in Dublin

    1. A typical January in Ireland then, Mary – not much difference between the north and the south!
      Happy New Year to you.
      snowflakes settle
      across her dark boglands
      no visible border

      1. A fairy ring! When my brothers and sisters and I were young, my grandmother used to take us for a drive in the Mourne countryside and point out these rings as evidence of the little folk. She also told us lots of stories, in particular about the banshee (in Irish Gaelic ‘bean sí’ meaning ‘woman of the fairy mound’) who was said to cry before a death.
        the keening woman
        combs her white hair
        sickle moon
        I’m enjoying your darkness selection immensely, Simon.

        1. hi Marion!
          Your haiku here strikes a deep chord, it is really something . . .
          I am so glad you are enjoying the selection.
          What wonderful legend and myth comes to us from Ireland, so many great writers and poets and so,so much gorgeous music. My mother’s maiden name is O’Connor and among my many fond memories i recall her pinning a green ribbon to our shirts on St. Patrick’s Day.

          by the same moon
          to this very well . . .
          our foremothers
          Shamrock # 24, 2013

  2. Dear Mr. Summers,
    I enjoyed your crow comments. However, I grew up on a farm where every stalk of corn
    was food in a cow’s mouth. Crows were a problem, not a joy!

    corn moon
    seen in a different light

    1. Dear Joyce Joslin Lorenson,
      I am so sorry to hear that.
      I’ve spent holidays in Wales, working on a farm as a child, and spent nearly five years in farmland, amongst Blue Heelers, in Queensland (Australia). Lots of cows, often invading the small front garden, despite several acres of good fields for them, and the agistment of horses that I did. 🙂
      Of course every kind of animal, even us humans, can be pests too. I remember being shocked about flies, that if they were to disappear over night that the human race would not survive their absence. I couldn’t believe it, but it seems that we’d only have weeks left before we too would disappear off the planet. In actual fact, despite the presence of flies, humans will have to look for another planet unless we rein things in drastically.
      It’s a difficult balance all round isn’t it? We do live shoulder to shoulder with other animals, some of which pre-date us. A real quandary. As much as I love rats (in the wild) I have to consider whether to close a tunnel they’ve created which is below our bird feeders (our roof is home to several families of house sparrows, and other birds), but I would never put poison down there. I wish I could speak rat! 🙂

  3. Dear Simon,
    What a wonderful and original theme, and great to see James Hackett’s haiku! Meeting him in Japan was awesome, he was great company as was Patricia.
    I write a lot about the crow family, as I see them as caretakers of this world. This haibun, inspired jointly by the famous poem by Ted Hughes (although about being a writer) and Kurt Jackson (who really liked this haibun). Crows certainly bring a lot of joy with their games of tag down the streets and amongst the trees. They are the little cracks of dark bringing light through their care and playfulness:
    The Thoughtful Raven
    And of course the jackdaw, full of darkness and delight and its quizzing blue eye(s)! 🙂
    corn moon
    the jackdaw shifts
    its iris
    Alan Summers
    Asahi Shimbun (International Haiku Day April 17th 2015)

    1. Nice to hear from you again Alan. Thank you for your thoughts, encouraging comments and wonderful haiku here. I enjoyed your haibun – The Thoughtful Raven, full of intriguing observation and surmise of this sometimes maligned bird. Likewise I have greatly enjoyed your many haiku on our mutual friend, the crow.
      back again
      same post
      same crow
      Windfall: Australian Haiku Vol. 3, 2015

  4. I love this theme. I am so aware of this darkness, and feel drawn to it more at this time of year. The feeling of being outside in the forest at night, preferably alone, in deep winter is like none other. It makes us more aware of our place in the natural world and connects us with something primeval. I find it profoundly peaceful.

    dark night
    slipping out the back door
    into peace
    Dec. 2008

    1. hi Ruth
      So glad the theme appeals to you, and being a fellow night walker your lovely haiku here certainly touches a chord for me.
      ah! even darker
      at night
      Creatrix, December 2014

  5. I’m looking forward to what I’m sure will be an interesting haiku collection on the theme of ‘darkness’.
    “While many cultures have imagined lines of connection between stars making pictures we call constellations some of the Aboriginal groups have seen pictures in the dark patches of sky between stars.” – Simon Hanson (from introduction)
    The Emu is probably the most well-known of these in Australia:
    egg moon
    the Emu’s contours
    engraved in stone (The Heron’s Nest Volume XVII, Number 2: June 2015)
    bitter cold –
    the Emu’s head still
    in the Coalsack (Autumn Moon Haiku Journal vol.1:1 December 2017)
    – Lorin

    1. Thanks Lorin

      Indeed i do hope you will enjoy the collection. Your link here to Australian Indigenous astronomy and cosmology is especially interesting and relevant, and reminds me yet again of the extent to which so many of our ‘realities’ are culturally construed. Your haiku touching on our theme here are just superb.

      out of the darkness
      the rumble of waves
      further out
      the zen space, Summer 2014

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