17 responses

  1. Hey Patrick! I read the introduction of The Penguin Book of Haiku and you were completely right. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense as most cultures try to delegitimize the “pauper” culture; it’s just more effective for us since we can’t read the unfiltered stuff. I think I am going to try even more than before to embrace humility (and fun) in my writing. Another thing that struck me: the critic said something along the lines of “haiku was always embedded in a context.” Be it renga, witty linked-verse, or haibun. Yours, for example, would be embedded in the entire Haiku year. With this thought, I tried my hand at prose since haibun has always attracted me, though I want to work on the prose first.

    Sitting under an oak gives it to you straight. The bark notches into your back; the branches gnarl out with sometimes tumors; and its shadow swirls around reading some outdated time.

    also, I have to say I was a little inspired by the Cliff/Bukowski mode :)

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    • Glad you read it. I think the book is worth it for the introduction alone. The translations are a bit too forensic and literal for my tastes (lacking poetry) but the overall collection is nevertheless worth it. One finally gets a sense for the breadth of Japan’s poetic tradition—it wasn’t all just Zen sublimity.

      And yes, I see my three year collection of haiku as one work. One of these days I’m going to gather them all up into a book.

      And I’m glad you were inspired by Cliff. He’ll really be happy to hear that—and possibly worried. :)

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  2. Inspiration? The feeling is mutual.

    This woods has no intent
    But my own
    To find in it comfort
    To rest in its shade.
    Speak to me tree
    I’m lonely and lost!
    It says to my longing
    Well, that’s tough shit,
    The next time you muse
    Bring Rillie & Pat.

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  3. Does the will/fate trope work here?

    Tree Talk

    This woods has no intent
    But my own
    To find in it destiny
    To rest in its shade.
    Speak to me tree
    I’m lonely and lost!
    It says to my longing
    You get what you will
    If years of bare branches
    Have roots in the ground
    Limit is only the Fate
    Of some leaves.

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  4. Pathetic fallacy?

    Tree Talk

    This woods has no intent
    But my own
    To find in it destiny
    To rest in its shade.
    Speak to me tree
    I’m lonely and lost!
    It says to my longing
    You get what you Will
    If years of bare branches
    Have roots in the ground
    Limit is only
    The Fate of some leaves.
    And should my rings of wisdom
    Wax pathetic to you
    Tough shit! Next time
    Bring Reillie and Pat.

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  5. I was thinking the fourth line from the bottom could use more compressing. Something like:

    “And should my rings’ wisdom”

    Does that strike you as an improvement?

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  6. Or just the r-r-r alliteration here might smooth out the shift—at least it reads better to me:

    The Fate of some leaves.
    And should my rings of wisdom
    Ring pathetic to you
    Tough shit! next time
    Bring Rillie and Pat.

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    • The problem isn’t in how you’ve arranged the parsley, it’s that the steak is poorly cooked. Given the bucolic beginnings of the poem, the fitful Turrets of the final lines is vintage Cliff—a peculiar sort of self-sabotage, as if you find any sort of poise, consistency or equanimity to be unbearable. You must destroy it immediately. It’s a peculiar feature of your poetry, one that you share, to a degree, with John Marston.

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  7. Thanks. Actually not so much masochism as welcoming the image of you and Rillie by the tree with me. But, yes, a little too “inside” for the general reader unless they follow your posts.

    Tree Talk

    This woods has no intent
    But my own
    To find in it destiny
    To rest in its shade.
    Speak to me tree
    I’m lonely and lost!
    It says to my longing
    You get what you Will
    If years of bare branches
    Have roots in the ground
    Limit is only
    The Fate of some leaves.

    So you would say that’s well enough alone and even worthy of Wordsworth? I ask because you suggested my nature poem previous to this could have been authored by an 11-year-old girl. Am I at least up to a 21-year-girl now, perhaps a recent Rhodes recipient on her way to Oxford to study Romantic poets?

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