World Haiku Series 2022 (13) Haiku by Ben Grafström (USA)

Haiku by Ben Grafström


late autumn

picking mushrooms in the damp forest—

enough for a feast!


winter has arrived!

in the glow of the streetlamp

snowflakes shimmering


the forest covered in snow—

from the fjord below 

a distant foghorn


joyful laughs & screams!

frozen for winter,

the lake becomes a playground


hibernal darkness

waiting for solstice to come

and the warmth it brings


joyful winter day—

skaters on the lake,

twirling with the falling snow


St. Lucy’s feast day!

with light and song

the medieval church comes alive


walking in the winter wood

in the night sky

a distant star twinkles


walking home on icy streets—

Christmas lights sparkle

candle flames flicker


the time of year for

baking cookies, wrapping gifts—

Christmas approaches!


cold winter morning!

the sound of scrapping shovels

up & down the street


Ben Grafström lived in Japan for 13 years—10 of those years as a professor of Akita University. 

He has been interested in haiku since 2009, when he spent one month retracing Matsuo Basho’s journey of the “Oku no hosomichi.” 

During that trip he began studying the language and philosophy of haiku more deeply and had the opportunity to meet with haiku poets and Basho-enthusiasts all along the trail. 

Ben was an active member of the Akita International Haiku Network, acting as a judge and organizer of their annual international haiku contest, managing their website, and creating the haiku journal “Serow.” 

He has an MA in Japanese Literature from the University of Colorado and is working on a PhD in Japanese Studies at the University of Oslo.

Photos by Ben Grafström

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