6 responses

  1. This one I quite like. The stop just before “peeling” somehow perfectly captures it.. maybe the trailing syllable. Great stuff. Pointed– that is the real challenge, isn’t it? To make it sharp but dull, to make it point in a distinct direction but not only the mode of pointing but the thing itself be opaque. I see it in Basho too. That’s what I am missing in mine.

    overcast darkening-- a wind
                                        soft and full
    

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    • :( I think I am going to stop trying to format these things. It usually fails. let me try again

      overcast darkening-- a wind
                            soft and full
      

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    • Your second formatting seems to have gone better. :) Your haiku, if I’m going to put on my teacher’s hat, strikes me as a rough draft. “Overcast darkening” is visually concrete, but “soft and full” less so. The poet brings his own subjective experience of the wind into the poem—in that “soft and full” are abstract and conceptual adjectives rather than concrete. Nearly all the classical poets of the haiku avoided bringing their subjective experience into the haiku. That was then and this is now, one might argue, but I think the reason they did so (and the better writers of haiku still do, in my opinion) is because the form is too brief for subjectivity to be anything other than abstractions that remove the reader from a shared direct experience. I call it a rough draft because you know what effect you’re looking for. The next step (and I go through this process myself) is to draw on something visually (or any of the other senses) concrete that captures the idea of “soft and fall”. This means that the reader shares your direct experience rather than it being filtered through your subjective abstraction. Does that make sense?

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    • By the way, this haiku started in a completely different direction. Something like this:

      stripped
      ····before the winter’s fields—the newlywed’s
      ········house

      It’s not bad, but there was a bit of an erotic joke I was getting at, but felt remained too out of reach in such a short space. The notion of the house, the fields, and the newlyweds being stripped all winter long (in the sense of naked) before the rebirth of spring. I think that would have been a leap too far. But maybe that’s something to turn into a longer poem?

      I settled on the more straightforward touch of humor in the house and the birch, like two like-minded figures in the same landscape, both shedding their white bark, as it were.

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    • Yeah you’re spot on. I feel so out of it lately. I wanted to just write anything but nothing worthwhile is coming to me. But it works in cycles for me; I’m just out of the poetry cycle right now. Your advice is much appreciated; I won’t come back till I’ve written something decent.

      It’s funny but I didn’t read the initial haiku with a humorous tone, mostly pathos. Especially with the last word– I can see the curled strip of wood.

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    • I think you could read it that way too. That’s the beauty of avoiding the subjective self in haiku. If I had written something like this (which one sees alot of among other poets):

      winter
      ····pathos—the house and the birch both
      ········peeling

      Then it would have been the poet, in essence, stepping between the reader and what is being observed. Haiku, at their best, mimic real life in that we both see a relationship, as if we were both walking side by side along the road, noticing the birch and the house, and each drawing our own inferences. I see something light and humorous—the birch and the house like two like-minded neighbors, you experience pathos. I say to you: Oh, the karumi! And you say to me: Ah, the wabi sabi! And I think the best haiku allow that sort of multi-faceted experience. :) (At the risk of over-praising my own haiku.)

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