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

random haiku (and by the way, check out haikuverse)

it’s over
the singing in the twigs–
leafing maples


as if not enough
to bloom skin to skin–


from such a tangle
such primness in pink–


Queen Anne’s lace
on dog run’s collar


crow on cawing:
why grate
on each phrase?

This season just keeps bursting at me at each turn though I hardly stray from runnels of my days–same route to the bus stop, same side of the sidewalk, same crescent turn to the skytrain escalator. I even peek at the same display window, pass under the same now budding maples–the gingko flails its wavy twigs in the breeze already knobbed. I’ve counted tens of the dandelions from open-faced mini suns to those fearsome globes of hairy seeds, aha more threats to ruin seeded grass lawns. And yet and yet, without me looking up for stars, divining paths I may one day skid on, I do leap and be lifted often unaware by random gifts that turn into haiku.

This art certainly turns anyone who gives in to it into an “addict”, that is, if as defined by Webster not “one dependent on drugs” but one who “devotes or gives in” or in a ‘pejorative’ but to me, more truthful sense, one who “practices sedulously”. Once I woke up literally one day on lines burning into haiku that could work, some kind of a template engraved itself in my brain. The amazing nature of haiku is that once written, the template clears and the poet hardly recalls it. I used to wonder about this when meeting a poet I’ve read whose haiku I memorized and when I’d cite it to him would hang his head to scour what where when he wrote it, unless it won a grand prize. Not that I’ve attained any of that stature but perhaps because of my “sedulous-ness”–I must have written a couple of hundreds mostly “yikes haiku” by now–I’m beginning to forget what got published where or what has been written about this on this or that flower, bee, bird, star, moon.

It’s so easy to conclude that the universe is infinite because in the vastness, we turn into less than grit. In haiku, this truth is its essence. No wonder the ‘template’ self-erases like a magic slate because another truth soon has to imprint itself on it. What’s even more magical is how such truth reveals itself–no, not precisely at that moment when my feet, for instance, brush by the transmogrified dandelions but when in the dark I sink into space. Or like right now as I “sedulously” write into this void of a screen.

And voila some truths that ring in a greater haiku poet’s mind who picks it up multiply. Take my haiku “it has to end…” Friend Melissa Allen, truly turning out to be a haiku master who also diligently shares endless knowledge about the art and its many forms, has included that haiku in her latest edition of haikuverse! I’m thrilled no end. Check out Red Dragonly in my blogroll now!

May 19, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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