for a moment of joy or moments no one pays for, i give myself a ‘jornal’. this makes me rich. try it.

white moonlight (edited)

white moonlight

seeps into my sadness–

 into a mulch bed

What was I thinking? Of course, moonshine  is something else–or it might as well be what it was considering the next line, hahaha. No wonder Jack Colllins showed up as a possibly related post!  Sorry about that. But I really meant white moonlight, the kind that lends the night a transformative power.

October 2, 2010 - Posted by | haiku, poetry | , ,


  1. The trick in this one might be to express your melancholy without saying that you are sad? The phrase “seeps into my sadness” is very abstract and departs from your usual sense of the real and earthen. Expressing ones emotional state without explicitly saying what it is (in a poem as short as the haiku) is one of the most difficult facets of the form.

    Comment by upinvermont | October 3, 2010 | Reply

    • True, true!!!

      The slide into sadness is careless. It creates a cold wind that melts the form. I’ve been trying to work around it like this:

      white moonlight
      seeps into the mulch bed–
      another solstice

      Comment by Alegria Imperial | October 5, 2010 | Reply

  2. I love the equation of the mulch bed (the summer crops died and tucked away for the winter) with sadness, and the image of the moonlight seeping into both — maybe cheering you up a little, maybe having the opposite effect?

    I don’t think it’s always a mistake to openly state emotions in a haiku. The great Japanese masters frequently did. The trick is in knowing when doing this creates greater emotional resonance and when it detracts from the emotional resonance. In this case I actually think hearing directly about the sadness works well, maybe because you have so many other strong images in the ku — the moonlight, the mulch bed — you’ve earned the right to speak directly and simply about your sadness.

    Comment by MLA | October 6, 2010 | Reply

    • So very perceptive of you, Melissa! Thanks again.

      I must reveal that this ku was a real experience with the moonlight on the terrace where three pots of herbs will soon die for the winter. In my first draft, the last line is “stays” (with me to soothe me in my sadness). But it wouldn’t be a ku because it would not have a pivot. And so, the mulch bed, which is actually my bed. I mentioned it in another comment that in the end, I focused on the transformative power of the moon rather on its tender light that soothes on stark cold nights. I’m dramatizing it, of course!

      But thanks for affirming my intuitive feeling about emotions in a haiku. Still, I also think that Patrick is right in pointing out that emotion in haiku could affect the form. As he says, it’s tricky. For you and me, it seems it’s not a trick but, I say it again, an intutitive feeling.

      Comment by alee9 | October 7, 2010 | Reply

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