Next Page
Previous Page



Favorites from 2007

Illustration Contest Results

The Heron’s Nest


Home • Volume Contents • About • Connections

Volume X, Number 3: September, 2008.
Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved by the respective authors.

Editors’ Choices • Commentary • Index of Poets • 
Haiku Pages:  1,  2,  3,  4,  5,  6,  7,  8,  9,  10,  11,  12
Celebrating Robert Major - Pages:  1,  2,  3 • 



On the Other Side: In Memory of Bob Major
(by Michael Dylan Welch)

Robert Major was for nearly two decades one of the leading and more distinctive haiku poets in the Pacific Northwest. He wrote mostly in a 5-7-5 pattern, though not slavishly, and paid close attention to having clear and immediate images, often with a seasonal reference and a two-part structure. His haiku were frequently infused with a subjective touch, or sly and sometimes self-deprecating observations.

At the Basho Bash in Portland, Oregon, I asked Bob to sign my haiku autograph book, for which I ask poets to write one or more of their best or favourite haiku. Here are the two poems Bob wrote for me on May 11, 1996:

Before turning in
we step off the cabin porch
to check on the stars

Peering in the door,
a mirror reflects my face
among the antiques

The preceding poem exhibits a playful sense of humour, as does the following verse from his first chapbook, Shadows on the Shoji:

First trip to Japan.
We find the Japanese crows
all speaking English

Whether he wrote with humour or with a light seriousness, Bob’s fulsome style and honest or playful depictions of nature and his small-town surroundings won him admiration and respect.

Bob had a long and, I believe, rewarding life, and many of us in the Pacific Northwest were fortunate to know him. Despite his long life, though, perhaps his life and all of our lives are like the shadows on the shoji screen in the title poem of his 1997 chapbook:

For a little while,
our shadows on the shoji
as the candles flame

Here’s a poem of mine in remembrance of Bob:

spring’s deepening green —
beside the silent heron
our long shadows touch


Previous page  •  Top  •  Next Page