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Per Diem/Daily Haiku for May 2021: Cats

Per Diem: Daily Haiku for May 2021 features Marta Chocilowska’s collection on the theme of ‘Cats’. This is what Marta has to say by way of an introduction to this theme:

cats do not go for a walk to get somewhere but to explore
Thomas Sidney Denham

Many famous writers, poets, painters and composers have immortalized their passion for cats, e.g. Emily Dickinson, Christopher Smart, Mark Twain, T.S. Elliot, William S. Burroughs, William B. Yeats, Jack Kerouac, Oscar Wilde, Charles Bukowski, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Louis Wain, Hiroshige Utagawa, Min-Zhen … and also haiku masters, such as Matsuo Bashō, Kobayashi Issa, Yosa Buson, Masaoka Shiki or Sumi Taigi.

Some might ask – what does a cat have to do with haiku? And vice versa? Since they share a common denominator – mysteriousness. The cat hides a mystery within himself, as the haiku poem does .

For the last 20 years I have shared my home with ten cats of various gender, coloration and character and found that Leonardo da Vinci’s wording “The smallest feline is a masterpiece” was the self-evident truth.

My love and admiration for cats made me choose this theme for Per Diem. I asked haiku poets from all over the world to send their best cat haiku. And I very much regret that there are only 31 days in May.

Guest Editor: Marta Chocilowska

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. Thanks Marta for the lovely per diem featuring the purrs, meows, etc. Really enjoyed reading all of them.


  2. Thank you very much for your cats haiku and comments.

    Marta Chocilowska
    Guest Editor for Per Diem in May, 2021

  3. Dear Diana Webb,
    Greetings. Wonderfully, drawn so much delved into this write. Re reading into this.

    relieving an itch
    against a pile of books
    the assent of a purr

  4. Dear esteemed poet,
    In the lovely haiku by you, ” the glass between us” description for the image and content, forays many a reading into it. Enjoyed reading .
    a cat says hello
    the glass between us
    holds our breath

  5. A haibun on the subject of cats…
    The Ninth of Never

    stars and rain
    the curl of the cat’s yawn
    by an old cracked bowl

    There was a cat who walked through life in infinite guises. He mewled his heart out by my door: his human keepers only a row away. We were deserted by love and filled in blanks over breakfast.

    colour book the cat marmalade

    There was also a feral cat who glowed at night like a halloween pumpkin; he trusted no one. I fed him piping hot chicken and a broth of scraps one very particular bone curling night. But we both kept our distances, like always, like always.

    walls are not borders a cat bends to its shadow

    They morph and warp in and out of so many countries, these tatterdemalion characters, and sometimes in reverse.

    restaurant el pescado
    the smoky cat’s
    four white gloves

    Now I’m packing my bag travelling to the Northern Territory (Australia), stopping at Four Ways Station, before I hit Uluru. No one wants the one-eyed cat. He feeds from a large tray, out in the cold, that sits on rough splinters, with sand and cigarette butts, mostly. That’s how low a cat becomes, and I couldn’t take him with me. I kept him warm until the Greyhound bus loaded us humans back on. We had bonded out there amongst the Territory’s red dust. I move on, and he can only dream of becoming an astronaut already versed in the horizons of Mars.

    stone cold
    even the bedraggled
    comb and lick

    Back to the old country of England, where another cat crops up, as a black and white moggie needing some recognition. We met on the road and then she stationed herself on our wall watching all walks of life. In colder weather she’d squeeze into a small window ledge by the front door as if taking heat from the hallway light inside. I left a lightbulb shine on for her.

    Others come running now as I start out early, when frost is a fist. You can hear them tuning their melodies along their whiskers vibrating from the chill.

    how to fit into the world slinking cat

    A cat changes like the weather, am I perhaps too fixed?

    a black & white cat
    in a black & white photo
    the tapping of rain

    Cat, are you still escaping? Are you still finding and losing, finding and losing?

    Cheshire Moon the cat grins in Farsi

    Alan Summers
    “The Ninth of Never”
    hedgerow #120 (the summer print issue, 2017)
    ed. Caroline Skanne

    Look out for an amazing haibun that has a cat as one of the main protagonists in the forthcoming Summer 2021 issue of Blo͞o Outlier (ed. Grix, Kat Lehmann, Alan Summers)

    1. Here’s my feline haibun based on the poem The Fog by Carl Sandburg


      ‘The fog comes on little cat feet’

      Out of the mists of memory my auntie’s cat called Juggins.

      that smell in her kitchen
      a saucer of milk
      just on the turn

      ‘It sits on silent haunches ‘

      Every morning looking out of the window .

      atop a pink piggy bank
      from across the street
      cat no longer there

      ‘Overlooking harbour and city’

      A small grey arch of fur with four white paws becomes a bridge between us.

      a black and white snap
      flaps from a tree
      until it blows

      ‘And then moves on ‘

      A comfort for so many hands the neighbour’s cat visits briefly.

      relieving an itch
      on a pile of novels
      his purr still echoes

      I enjoyed your haibun Alan. Hope you like mine.

  6. .
    It’s Spring and so…

    the cat’s in love
    night becomes Magritte
    with a bowler hat

    Alan Summers
    Publication: Asahi Shimbun (Japan, March 2020)

    neko no koi 猫の恋 “cats in love” is an early Spring seasonal reference aka kigo

  7. cats
    watching Schrodinger

    the way
    when I laugh
    the cat just looks

    the cat nearly starved to death

    old cat
    a few hours from solving
    sphinx’s theorem

    where the pipes
    run under the floor
    the cat knows

  8. Delighted and honoured to have opened the wonderful feline season of haiku, or the haiku season of the feline with this haiku! 🙂

    open window
    the cat dozes
    half in half out

    Alan Summers
    First publication credit: Presence 3 (1996)

    खुली खिड़की
एक बिल्ली ऊँघ रही
आधी अंदर आधी बाहर

    एलेन सर्म्मस (Alan Summers)
    Haiku translated into Hindi: Dr. Jagdish Vyom

    Publication credits: Woodpecker, Extra Shuttle Issue (1997); tinywords (2001); The Haiku Calendar 2002 (Snapshot Press); Haiku Sansaar ed. Dr Angelee Deodhar & Dr. Jagdish Vyom (October 2013)

    Iron Book of British Haiku ed. David Cobb & Martin Lucas (Iron Press 1998, Third print 2000)
    Raku Teapot: Haiku Book/CD (Raku Teapot Press/White Owl Publishing 2003)

    Award credits:
    Runner-up, The Haiku Calendar Competition 2001 (Snapshot Press)

    And now, thank you Marta! 🙂

    Feature: Per Diem/Daily Haiku for May 2021: Cats curated by Marta Chocilowska
    1st May 2021

    And another cat haiku from the same year:

    piercing cold–
    a balti restaurant doorway
    lights up a black cat

    Alan Summers
    Azami #34 ed. Ikkoku Santo (Osaka, Japan 1996)

  9. Looking forward to “Window Seats” from Bottle Rockets Press. Told my dog this morning “I think we need a kitten”. I a trip to “Animal Harbor” is in the near future.

  10. Wonderful topic Marta. I’m enjoying reading these and looking forward to more.

  11. Here’s one appearing in an anthology about cats:

    the calico cat
    we talk about isolation
    or at least I do

    Alan Summers

    Window Seats: A Contemporary Anthology of Cat Haiku & Senryu
    (Bottle Rockets Press 2021)

    First publication:
    Haiku in Action Gallery, Nick Virgilio Haiku Association / Writers House
    (October 2020)

  12. May, 1 st at 17:30 local time ( Belgium)

    My life filled with haiku and cats

    From “My life has nine cats” – not yet published

    All night
    in my nightmare mirror;
    screaming cats.

    One by one,
    easy for my old eyes,
    six cats return home.

    Her last note about the cat;
    he doesn’t like salmon.

    My life changed
    almost two cats ago.
    In black and white.

    Enjoy it.

    With warm regards,

    Herwig Stas

    1. Thanks Guy!

      Here’s another one from January this year:

      overgrown bamboo the cat masks up

      Alan Summers
      Brass Bell journal curated ed. Zee Zahava (January 2021)

  13. Due to the various covid-19 lockdowns and sheltering, I might not see dogs very often, but the cats are definitely taking over the neighbourhood and some of my haiku and also haibun!

    a cat says hello
    the glass between us
    holds our breath

    Alan Summers
    Nick Virgilio Association Haiku in Action (December 28th 2020 – January 3rd 2021)

      1. Thanks Maureen,

        This is one cat who is quite different to all the other cats in the neighbourhood that walk across the lower roofs or walls etc…

        She is highly inquisitive and communicative.

        warm regards,

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