January 18th 2016

I know I will write this again, but it seems like yesterday that I decided to write a haiku a day. Now I understand why Basho loved to travel. How many haiku can I write about snow, or the trees, or the moon? I try to write imaginatively, something different each day, but I also love each day’s little changes—alike yet different.

A haiku a day demands an awareness and mindfulness that’s new to me. Sometimes the haiku occurs to me in the moment; and sometimes, in the last minutes before midnight, I’m reliving the day in search of ideas and whatever moments remain with me.

This morning we enjoyed our first deep snow.

The evergreens collect the snow long enough for a wind to blow through, for the falling and curling sheets to burst in the air.

I spent a good part of my childhood in southeastern Ohio. That part of the state is rugged and beautiful—like Vermont in miniature, densely forested, steep hills and tight valleys. But almost all of the native evergreens were cut down decades ago. The beauty of the snow on evergreens is sadly missing.

·

snow
····in the evergreen’s limbs just until
········I’m under them

·

Written for every Vermonter who’s ever walked under an evergreen in a snowstorm. And then Frost’s perfect little jot of poetry:

·

The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree

Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.

·

Now I look forward to one of those January nights. A crystal clear roof of stars, the moon, and the glittering snow.

·

stars
····underfoot—afloat in a field
········of snow

·

 

73 January 18th 2016 | bottlecap

5 responses

  1. I don’t think I can begin to tell you, Patrick, what respite these wrapped haiku — haibun — provide me as I spend my days trying to respond both intelligently and with some agency to the confusions inherent in conflict between political figures who don’t quite know, myself included, how to function on vastly different levels of discourse and on quite different premises. My poetical experience actually helps when I can occasionally find metaphors or similies that cross the chasms . . . or at least I so hope. I write and re-write. I pare down, re-write, and then have to pare down again. Some of the three different missives I worked on today have gone through a dozen drafts. None has gone through less than five. And I’ve had the weird experience of having ideas on a later piece spur me to redo an earlier one as a different purpose and context stimulates ideas I hadn’t thought of before. It’s been a really intense four days since the House of Representatives here refused to even study the issues of our Governor’s inadequate and flawed executive performance. The trouble with sweeping a huge amount of stuff under a rug is that it will make a bump begin enough sure to bust your or somebody else’s ass. True, I am having a time of my life but at one point a couple of days ago I actually took several consecutive bp measures just to be sure I wasn’t messing myself over.

    • That the real and surreal, the graspable and the inaffable is what I’m after in haiku — the imagery that’s understandable if not too closely understood.

  2. Our unplowed, long-ish driveway this 5:20AM afforded me that same experience, my headlights creating a sparkling sea all the way to the mailbox. Then the commute was dusted with snow blown off the roadside tamarack and pine all the way down 16 into Hardwick. Beautiful.

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