February 4th 2016

Out walking the dirt roads today. It smells like spring. The thaw continues. The brooks and rivers have broken. Water is pouring out of the hills. The dirt roads are soft to walk on. The remaining snow is thick and heavy.

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February
····on the lip of the horse trough—the bright green
········moss

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Every time I write a haiku I wonder at the same question: What am I striving for? And that question isn’t so different from asking what haiku I admire. Right now, it’s Basho’s haiku. I’ve been reading Buson, but there isn’t the same hard, clarity in his haiku as in Basho’s. More broadly though, I admire haiku that have some mystery in them—maybe a touch of the surreal. They almost seem to push us into another kind of world, one that doesn’t quite make sense. Impressionist paintings, if looked at too closely, dissolve into seemingly random colors and patterns. We have put some distance between them and ourselves. I think the best haiku may be like that. They’re a kind of imagery that is only the image. I’ll find some examples tomorrow and maybe begin to formulate my own theory of haiku.

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90 February 4th 2016 | bottlecap

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