Thursday, September 3, 2009

The ongoing monologue

words form
a shallow pool
fallen cloud

* * * * * * *
I thought about putting a "dash" after the word pool, but Scott Metz has tended to enourage me away from dashes. W. S. Merwin uses them almost not at all, or any other punctuation, his idea being the reader can figure out where he or she wants to put them, if he or she needs or wants them at all.

I like the idea of a fallen cloud. Clouds are light, they don't fall, so "fallen cloud" has a kind of heavy awkward quality about it, which fits in with the shallowness of the pool. Also, I like the fact that we form words, and that in objective reality words don't form anything, words forming a shallow pool is surrealistic.

All in all, I'm quite happy with this haiku, and am commenting on it because of having received so few comments on this blog. I feel as if I am out somewhere in a far, remote hinterland without phone service, mail, T.V. or internet. So, until that changes I'll just talk to myself.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lettuce's Bliss: 5 Haiku


To die
in a hippo's jaws --
the lettuce's bliss


for tearing up a violet
so I ate it


On T.V. a spider
liquifies a frog --
spring in Kansas City


In spring
a stone mason --
servant of the endless wall


smooth and white --
the pyramid's youth

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Room in the Mirror: 3 Haiku


On the statues
the moonlight's
soft blue skin


My body aching --
wind is chilling
the spring mud


At twilight I hide
from a room
in the mirror

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Metaphysical Haiku

When I think of metaphysical writing, I think of the complex essays and expostulations of kabbalistic authors. The best of these are elaborate and clear mental constructs that can be difficult to understand, not because they are obscure, but because they are so carefully precise in their detail. I admire these writings, but I read them infrequently, because they take a lot of effort.

The same is true of many writings on Buddhism. The Tibetans have developed a metaphysical system which is vast, and like kabbalah detailed.

If I am going to read metaphysical writings, I much prefer to go to Rumi, or Hafiz, both Persian poets. Hilmi Yavuz is another one I love, though, unfortunately, I know of only one book of his in English, "Season of the Word."

At some time in the recent past I asked myself the question, "can metaphysical haiku be written?" and the answer, of course, is yes. But due to the nature of the haiku form, metaphysical haiku will be the exact opposite of kabbalistic and buddhistic discourse. A haikuist cannot embroider a thousand details with a tiny needle, or elaborate on the fine points of various types of energies or levels of existence

But what he or she can do is shine a ray of light into the subconscious of the reader -- sound a spiritual chord of resonance, so that the reader feels the metaphysical truth, even though they may not be able to clearly define it in conscious, intellectual terms.

I have come to believe that all poetry is metaphysical truth -- it's just that a philosopher prefers the term "metaphysical truth," and the poet prefers the term "poetry."

Just as the metaphysician says that everything has its source in love, the poet knows that all emotions are expressions of love, and all negative emotions the frustrations of love, and that poetry, to be true poetry, must have emotion, that is, love.

One of the most interesting things for me about writing haiku is that as I do it I feel I am actually two people engaged in the act: one is a person who is consciously and intellectually making word choices and trying to be objective and critical about what he's doing, and the other person is an inner voice that occasionally just blurts something out. Of the two, the blurter is the best poet, though the intellectual/critical one can play a positive role when he comes in to support or polish the blurtings.

Black Hole: 4 Haiku


At the Galaxy's center
a black hole cleanses
the suffering of stars


In autumn
falling from the Tree of Life --
thousands of diagrams


stretching upwards
a worm craving
a sip of moonlight


Floating in Saturn's rings
A diamond
big as a poet's head

Fog's Portrait: 12 Haiku


I'm painting a portrait
of the fog --
please hold still


The Queen of the Fairies!
Look! She's come
to bless the shoppers!


Carefully the surgeon
removes a ray of sunshine
from the troll


Even uncut
the dinosaur finds
the diamond quite beautiful


beneath our feet
a sea of flesh


a worm flies away!
(in a robin's belly)


Babbling brook
your presence is required
on Mars


landing on Mars
(they forgot trashbags)


the earliest memories
of dragons


For light
soil is
a vast labyrinth


For earthworms
is the destination


billows of pink gas
the peonies fade

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Wind: 3 Haiku


Deep in the mountain
layers of shadows
becoming stone


Falling toward the sea
a celestial fish --
the zodiac's gift


In Wales
the alchemist's girlfriend --
a giant cyclops