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The Kindness of Strangers 4: On Success and Poetry

bowlWe often think of a successful life as one where much has been achieved by one person or many possessions have been gathered, but often the outer signs of success are of less importance to the individual.

Many find happiness in small things no matter how much or little they have. Others never feel fulfilled regardless of their successes. The artist poet often has more dimensions to haiku and challenges the form in new ways.

In poetry, encouragement can spark new creativity in a writer. For some, the approval of others is of less importance, but for others the opinion of others carries much weight and can reduce us to a different kind of beggar than the one lacking food or shelter.

Meaningful haiku is often about satisfying a loss or a longing for something, about fulfilling a need in the writer, as well as the reader. Kikaku was a haiku poet and a disciple of Basho himself, later scorned by his master. In many ways we are all beggars to our calling.


this wooden gate

shuts me out for the night

winter moon

the beggar—

He has heaven and earth

for his summer clothes

this snow is mine

thinking that way it seems lighter

on your sedge hat

Artists often make excellent haiku poets, filling the form of haiku with new dimensions. Here, American artist and haiku poet Pamela A. Babusci writes on the topic of begging from an emotional perspective.


pouring tea
into a chipped cup . . .
loneliness returns

lonely tonight i drink all the moonbeams

my begging bowl

is for love & nothing more

why is it


with dead blossoms?

—Anna Maris


The Kindness of Strangers is a six-part series by Swedish poet Anna Maris of haiku written in consideration of poverty, homelessness, begging and our responses to these issues.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. “Many find happiness in small things no matter how much or little they have.” – Anna Maris

    Here is my favourite contemporary haiku on the subject as perceived by an observer:

    the homeless gentleman
    a little soft-shoe
    in his stride

    – Peter Newton
    (A Hundred Gourds 1:4 September 2012)

    – Lorin

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