January 14th 2016

At the intersection of 89 & 91, I saw dozens of crows, a whole congregation, silhouetted against a purple and reddish sunset. Some filled the trees, the rest blotted the sky like inky rags. If I could have stopped to listen to their gaggle and gossip I would have.

·
Serving a guest hot tea in January, our conversation is disrupted:
·

me,
····my guest, speechless—the missing
········chrysanthemum

·

One of my all time favorite haiku is by Oshima Ryota:

·

speechless:
····the guest, the host, the white
········chrysanthemum

·

I’m guessing that I misread the spirit in which it was written—maybe. I’ve always seen the humor in life. Patricia Donegan, in the haiku mind, treats the haiku as depicting a moment of Zen clarity during a tea ceremony—a moment of sublimity and seriousness. I, on the other hand, read it as depicting the instant after something has so disrupted the conversation that even the chrysanthemum is speechless. Something like that happened to me today. What-not in the next room crashed to the floor during a conversation and I was immediately reminded of Ryota’s haiku. My own haiku has a little fun with that. The chrysanthemum is an autumn flower-kigo; but since the season is winter, we can’t have any speechless chrysanthemums.

·

69: January 14th 2016 | bottlecap

January 13th 2016

Today I was reminded of the famous print by Katsushika Hokusai, Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa oki nami ura). The wind came up from the South a little after sunrise and lifted the snow off of rooftops and hillsides.

·

wind
····over Mooselauki—the snow’s curling
········wave

·

I could only wish the snow had been drier. There’s an indescribably beauty to living up north with snowdevils and the glittering bursts of snow the move like sparkling clouds through the trees.

67: January 13th 2016 | bottlecap

January 11th 2016

Last night’s closing haiku tormented.

I was dissatisfied with it when I went to bed, dissatisfied this afternoon, and tonight. I was trying to capture something of the magic, and desolation too, of nightfall in winter. Every effort struck me as mundane.

 

·

snow
····on the crow’s shoulder—
········nightfall

·

But this, I think, is where I can finish the haiku. And yet here I sit again, almost midnight and nothing to write.

·

frost
····on the windowpane—slicing
········grapefruit

·

This is a newer version on a haiku I wrote here. We have four grapefruit halves in the refrigerator now; and the spray of juice on the frosted windowpane. Each morning my daughter forgets the half she cut the morning before.

·

66: January 11th 2016 | bottlecap

January 10th 2016

Today was overcast—rained all day. I went out in a momentary break. A fresh gust of wind and rain caught me midway. I always end up enjoying the rain.

·

January
····rain—roads reflecting headlights
········at noon

·

I loaded three logs into the woodstove. Four would have been too many, warm as it’s been; but the stove nicely dries out the house. I climbed into the loft and took some Frost with me, a little collection entitled: You Come Too. My copy has written in it:

To Nana on her Birthday: You are my favorite person and I love you always.
·

Oct 4th 1972

·

An ephemeral glimpse of life in and outside the book. I have other books signed and dated from the 17th century. They’re not valuable but I like them for their beauty. I think I should sign all my books for the next reader. Let them close their eyes as they hold them. Hear the music I listened to, tonight the Art of the Fugue, as I read, children close by, a blanket to keep me warm, a little while alive, curious and expressive.

·

snow
····on the crow’s shoulder—
········nightfall
········

·

65: January 10th 2016 | bottlecap

 

January 9th 2016

If I go outside, walk by the roadside, I fall back in love with the experience of living. I can almost put out of my mind the horrific cruelties inflicted by humans. I wonder if the kind of world I want to live in will ever be possible, but I visit such places in my dreams—like memories. They’re beautiful and I always have the feeling of returning to something elusively familiar. I vividly remember these dreams. I remember an open stone square with beautiful buildings, like the Louvre, on two sides. Behind the buildings was an ocean and a broad stone terrace with tables and chairs. They were full of people looking over the ocean, sipping drinks, enjoying the beautiful sunlight. As I walked diagonally through the stone square a flock of paper, origami birds dipped and cartwheeled around me before flying over the ridge of the nearest rooftop. All of it was familiar—the impossibly living birds, the balloons, the tables and their colorful umbrellas.

·

waking
····from dreams—snow trails the falling
················moon

·

·

64: January 9th 2016 | bottlecap

January 8th 2016

·

Sunday
·····morning—children sledding between
··········gravestones

·

Taking my daughters to school in the morning I’m endlessly amused by the sled marks on one of the best kept hillsides in Sharon, Vermont—the local cemetery. The children like to go sledding there on the weekends. I couldn’t imagine a better reason to mow the grass before the snow falls.

·

63: January 8th 2016 | bottlecap

January 5th 2016

At the new house I’m working in are two children. One of them is an eight year old girl I’m guessing. By the time I’m done they’ll have their own bedrooms, able to use rooms too long under construction. She wrote me a little note with that earnest and beautifully awkward penmanship of an eight year and taped a candy cane to it. She was thanking me for fixing the house because no other carpenter cared enough for the house. Nothing compares. There are some little gifts worth more than all the gold in Egypt.

 

·

January—
····the river’s icy steam in the hard
···········sunlight

·

In Robert Frost’s poem The Mountain, he describes a brook:

There’s a brook
That starts up on it somewhere—I’ve heard say
Right on the top, tip-top—a curious thing.
But what would interest you about the brook,
It’s always cold in summer, warm in winter.
One of the great sights going is to see
It steam in winter like an ox’s breath,
Until the bushes all along its banks
Are inch-deep with the frosty spines and bristles—
You know the kind.

·

I was reminded of it driving along the White River this morning. Ice closed in toward its middle and icy chunks flowed down. An icy steam unfurled in the white, morning air. You could almost imagine the water was warm.

·

60: January 5th 2016 | bottlecap