What a joy to receive the day’s mail and find a trove of poetic treasures from Irene Latham. Thoughtful and clever, Irene had been to my website, so everything she sent had special meaning just for me. I had written a “Why I’m Here” poem, so she wrote a “Why I’m Here Poem” too–about me! She knows I am a huge fan of haiku, so she used one of my haiku to write two new haiku, using a line or two from mine and adding a new line or two of hers. It’s a brilliant exercise she found in a book titled Write Your Own Haiku for Kids by Patricia Donegan.

Here’s my haiku:

one step ahead
sidewalk sparrow

Here are Irene’s:

one step ahead

traffic snarls
in front of hotdog stand
sidewalk sparrow

Irene turned the haiku into calling cards and slipped them into a sweet bowl I now have by my door. I dream of adding to the pile and giving them to friends who stop by. Over the summer I read in the Haiku Handbook (by William Higginson and Penny Harter) that  haiku writers used to include haiku in their letters to one another–to tell each other how they were. I love that.

Thank you Irene, for giving me a special treat this summer and congratulations on your wonderful book Can I Touch Your Hair, written with Charles Waters, and your many new books coming soon! And thank you Tabatha Yeatts for organizing another wonderful swap and reminding us that poetry is a gift and that we are part of a beautiful community that gives so generously.

Mary Lee has the Poetry Friday round-up today.

Happy Summer!


16 replies
  1. katswhiskers
    katswhiskers says:

    The funny thing is, when I was reading Irene’s haiku, I thought to myself that you could substitute ‘crabgrass’ with ‘sidewalk sparrow’… and then I read how it came about. (And having read that – I’m now also fairly sure I read your original. 🙂 ) Lovely poetry treasures – and great haiku tip!

  2. lindabaie
    lindabaie says:

    Oh my, those calling cards are wonderful, as is the swap always. Irene is creative in response to creative you, Liz!


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