November 16th 2015

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leaf-
····littered foundation—are ghosts still sweeping
········upstairs?

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10: November 16th | 2015

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  • I went on a walk today and passed by an abandoned stone foundation. Nothing is left but the stones and leaves. I can’t help imagine the house they once supported—a house filled with voices, warmth, play and windows that looked safely outside. Today the walls are long gone, the wind blows and the foundation is ice cold. And then the strangest of all thoughts occurred to me, what if there were really a wind, weed, snow-filled, abandoned stone foundation under my house and I am a ghost who thinks he lives in a house that is long gone?

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These daily haiku begin to turn into haibun. I don’t know how this project will develop. I’ve already gone back and edited some of the haiku I’ve posted; and now I’m already thinking of them as something like a story. I hope you enjoy whatever evolves.

2 responses

  1. Haiku lines seem like fragments of larger poems from the days of Li Po. I have never understood them but complete in and of themselves seems hard to fathom. One thing: trying something new is always a nice challenge.

    • There a couple reasons I want to try this — a haiku a day. Most poets writing today could probably publish a book a year. Not me. Haiku allows me to focus on one aspect of poetry that I love, while not having to work out other attributes that I also love — rhyme, meter, extended metaphor, etc… Pouring all these into a single poem can take time.

      There is an art to haiku—and not all practitioners are in agreement—though if all parties are strong writers the similarities outweigh the differences. As I practice it, it’s trying to capture that moment of interconnectedness—that recognition of disparate realities deeply connected. So, in the haiku above, I was trying to capture that—what the Japanese call “sabi”—that sense of change, sorrow and impermanence. So while the empty foundation is filling with the litter of leaves (the word carefully chosen), the contrast is to ghosts still trying to clean their long-gone house.

      Sometimes the purpose of a haiku simply be to evoke a beautiful and zen-like (mindful in modern parlance) moment. I returned to my previous haiku (on the girls) and edited it.

      the
      autumn winds—two schoolgirls’ singing
      ··················together

      I liked this better both because the image appealed to me more, and I liked the suggested contrast between the noise of the autumn winds (vast and chilly) with the two diminutive schoolgirls, suddenly small and fragile, yet creating a different world, almost defiant, with their singing. And yes, this is what I actually saw. :-) Two schoolgirls walking home from school in Norwich Vermont. They were singing together and both had pony tales and the day was windy.

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