Water Poems – Hot Summer Day

Sandra Martyres

leaky tap-
my cat chills
in the wash basin

the baby savours
a falling raindrop

rivulets of tea
flow through the kitchen-
his clumsy fingers

testing the waters –
into the steaming bathtub
the child dips his toe

dogs chase
a dripping water tanker –
hot summer day

This ends the Water Poems series. A big thank you to all those who submitted.

Water Poems – a mountain of ice tea

Raamesh Gowri Raghavan

drinking up
a mountain of ice tea
— summer heat

Holi advent…
all the colours
of the water guns

neighbour’s plants —
Amma’s acrobatics
to water them

potted plants
— we redirect or neighbour’s
A/C drip

after last rites
resealing the pot
of gangajal

summer forenoon
sparrows turn our dog’s bowl
into a bath

Submit to our 5th Anthology on Relationships

It’s that time of the year again – time for another anthology.

As you might know, we now have four successful anthologies — the taste of sea breeze in 2016, between sips of cutting chai in 2017, pins on a map in 2018 and breathing the same air in 2019. (Check the sidebar for the Amazon ebook links.). Not surpringly, we missed 2020 but it would be an understatement to say that we have become addicted to the process of publishing an anthology every year!

So, do join us in making this fifth one another success.

Anthology 2021 is on the theme of Relationships. We interpret this very loosely. You could write about love or family of course, but you could also write about a relationship with an animal, a tree, a book, a machine or nature. If you can think out of the box more power to you. Go ahead and surprise us.

Deadline – send you submissions before the end of June 2021.

Here are the Guidelines:

• Please send in up to three each of your best haiku, senryu, haibun, or tanka. Send one of any longer form like renku. Non standard haikai forms are fine too but we do not want poetry.
• Please send your submissions to ‘inhaikumumbai@gmail.com’ in the body of your email. As the Buddha said, attachments only bring sorrow. Include your name as you would like it printed and your country.
• We ask only for first publication and non-exclusive anthology rights and the copyright remains yours. You can republish at any time but please mention that the anthology was the first publisher.
• We are looking only for unpublished work which means it is not available anywhere public like your blog or public group. Please do not send us work submitted or published elsewhere – we do check.
• Every single submission will be read by the entire group and all decisions are taken after discussion by all the editors.
• As is our custom, it will be published at Diwali which is in the first week of November 2021. It will be available as a Kindle ebook on Amazon worldwide.

We thank you again for submitting to our earlier anthologies and helping us in our small attempts to popularise all things haikai.

We now sit back and wait for your submissions on the subject of relationships.

With seikaku and karumi,
Geethanjali, Brijesh, Raamesh, Rohini, Sandra, Vidya, Paresh (Café Haiku editors)

Water Poems – Water Coloured

Dr Brijesh Raj

She ripples and eddies, her gentlest touch smoothing the scars of broken boulders.

the river lends
a thousand tongues

It is eternal, this love song carried along on tireless feet. The refrain, picked up by butterflies jinking in and around the notes. High spirited fish trace rainbows on the back of rushing waters. Moist eyes watch without seeing.

beating tea
the soft bubbling
of father’s laughter

In another world just a short distance away from the banks, the hospice blinds are drawn half way shut. For some sleep is an elusive creature. To be chased until the edge of despair, before it grants the comfort of its bosom.

the tears cascade
with the i/v line

The timeless waters chortle along. Twisting, turning. Winding, rewinding.

drifting diyas
the Ganges alight
with prayer

Book Launch Preview – Promises

A Sky Full of Bucket Lists, published by Red River, is Shobhana Kumar’s first haibun anthology.

Join us on 28th February 2021, Sunday, at 3 pm over Zoom (changed to Zoom) for a special unveiling of her first book of haibun, with readings and a Q&A with Café Haiku members.

If you are interested in joining us, please register Here

Cafe Haiku looks forward to seeing you there!


She is delirious. Even at a fever of 104 degrees, she recites the recipe of her signature lemon rice. The limbs that carried three children on the frailty of single parenthood lie severed. The bed linen is soaked in decades of toil and tears.

No one knows where she came from. Her bag holds almost nothing, save two white saris and a comb. Nothing is known of the family’s whereabouts. She calls for her offspring, alternating between abuse and endearment.

One day, she looks straight into my eye and asks if there is a job for her. She wants to earn her upkeep.

drawing mandalas the same bones of contention

In the everyday-ness of life, most moments flit past into the recesses of unretrieved memory. There are some, however, that stay; for years. They surprise us with their veracity and pop into focus at the most unexpected moments. Over time, they also teach us.

This narration is one of those moments. I only have to close my eyes to picture the abandoned old lady, lying in the local hospital. Every day, she shared a story of how she survived the ordeals of poverty.  She was painfully aware that she was being cared for by the benevolence of unknown people. She wanted to pay back by showing she too could make a difference.

It was an extraordinarily humbling experience. I began to question a lot of the beliefs that I took for granted. It brought to light this searing realisation that the window from which I had been looking at the world was narrow, often rose-tinted. It has been deeply painful to see the depth of misery we are able to inflict on our loved ones.  And yet, the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit has shone through.

This realisation led me to slowly document these invaluable life-lessons. Writing was also deeply cathartic, for it helped channelise the extent of internalisation that manifests from awakenings such as this.

Writing this makes me think of all the goodness that has come from the pandemic. We fear that we will go back to our wretched ways, without a care for our world. But a ray of hope stems from that fear. The sun will shine on, despite the clouds.

Shobhana Kumar