The late Robert Aitken was the abbot and roshi of the Honolulu Diamond Sangha in Hawaii. His more than a dozen books include Miniatures of a Zen Master. In this appealing work, he presents introductions and Zen insights into the haiku of four master poets: Basho, Buson, Issa, and Shiki. Aitken mines the meanings in these brief gems about nature, impermanence, travel, awareness, silence, beauty, being present, the turn of the seasons, and much more. Here is an example of what you will find in this enchanting paperback:

The Spring Rain

The spring rain —
a little girl is teaching
a cat how to dance.

"The little girl can't go out and play because it's raining, and apparently she has no brothers and sisters to play with. She turns to the family cat, and the cat goes along with the uncomfortable game because it loves the little girl. This is a sweet verse that reflects Issa's loving nature."