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

abducted fireflies (haiga7 for 19 Planets Art Blog)

haiga7 for haiga-a-day made with clip art on Microsoft Publisher

abducted fireflies
glowing in its eyes

Another post for Rick Daddario’s haiga-a-day challenge at 19 Planets Art Blog, which I created from a clip art on Microsoft Publisher.

And what’s behind the image of the frog? This…

Noticing what could be unseen or merely imagined, magnifying the significance of what would be otherwise, some speck lost in the swarm of air particulates, this is what poetry, especially haiku, does to me. My mind cannot seem to work within limitations of space and time, or even sensations. What’s beyond a simple object in a single moment becomes a truth that breaks through thought barriers. Take the frog.

Basho has immortalized its break out of anonymity with his famous haiku, ‘old pond’. Reading it again and again, one steps into the monastic peace of an old pond until a frog that one hardly notices among stones, plops, and animates the peace with the sound of water. In a moment, the old pond turns into a universal moment of any moment that once was lifeless, suddenly, breathing from the unexpected.

My haiga is hardly a takeoff from Basho’s frog. It does not have the quietness of it, nor of the objective quality that identifies the poet as the observer but in whose mind, reality is arranged into three lines that total into a truth. While an observation as well, mine is less objective in that I state what I suppose in what I see, namely, the glow in a frog’s eye–seen especially in the dark. Knowing what it feeds on, I imagine fireflies and connect it with that glow. In reality, it is far-fetched as we know that anything creatures eat ends up far from the eyes, in the stomach. If a glow ever shows in the eye, it is that of satisfaction. But what I have done here, or think so, anyway, is tweak reality and made it slide into poetic thought, some other truth.


September 16, 2011 Posted by | comment, haiga, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

the rose bud/under a sky/full moon (random haiku and what else I am learning about haiku)

rose bud
still tight in the rain–
the coming of summer

under a sky
bent by a rainbow
we ease for home

full moon
on an open cesspool–
the sun for me

full moon partially obscured by the Earth's atmosphere (21 Dec 1999 taken by austronauts aborad the Space Shuttle Discovery) courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I love how images work so well with haiku. And like paintings, they can be very compelling and draw out in their distance the deepest of emotions. Nothing should be overt in haiku. It must be hinted at, almost hidden or unnoticed.

For me, it could be something like a quiet reflection on the spit-notes of a waxwing or the epiphany of yes, a full moon on an open un-lidded cesspool. In the first, the notes for me feel like droplets of crystals that melt into a soft coating on my being, gifting me for a moment with the just-being-there-ness of a salmon berry blossom for a hummingbird; in the second, the moon sinks into my darkness– cesspool that I am in many ways of ‘pecadillos’, those daily pin pricks of rebellion from virtue and goodness–and turns on the light of the sun that is in me or what I believe to be my spirit, which at its core remains as powerful as the Sun from whom the moon draws its brightness.

Perhaps, I’m taking this too far but haiku works when it works for the poet–this is what I’m learning fast, though of course there are still the basic elements to go by. At the workshop of Michael Dylan Welch that I attended last Saturday right here in Vancouver in my neighborhood at the historic Joy Kogawa House, he emphasized a few key elements:

*not 5-7-5 syllables unless one is writing in Japanese
*must have a season (kigo) word (there are hundreds of them in a compilation by Japanese masters that differentiate for example mist and fog in spring and autumn have degrees of thinness, or even the moon is different in winter and autumn)
*must appeal to any or all of the 5 senses
*must be objective, meaning, not what is the emotion but what caused it
*precision (sharp focus), immediacy (of the moment not past or future both of which make it static), juxtaposition to make it ‘leap’ into a larger or higher perspective, which may be attained by contrast
*there’s a lot more than that, of course, and I’m still learning

Truly, reading haiku –and there’s thousands of them–and about the art may not be enough. Haiku has been for centuries some kind of a ‘group art’. It must be shared and worked at with others. For me, some kind of openness even humility are a must, a willingness to learn and be straightened out if what one has written seems vague or imprecise and the reader squints his eyes, knits his brows and says, ‘huh?’ instead of ‘ahhhh…’, clasps his hands and looks up to the heavens. Indeed, joining The Haiku Foundation that gave me access to Shiki Kukai, the Vancouver Haiku Group, and signing up for the NaHaiWriMo facebook site as well as submitting my haiku to and getting ‘acceptance’ and more often ‘declined’ mail from online haiku/tanka journals as well as other literary journals have been extremely rewarding.

Haiku’s most precise definition is ‘a short poem in one breath’. Ahhh…okay then, do these random haiku here make you say, ‘ahhhh’ or ‘huh’?

May 17, 2011 Posted by | background, haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments