jornales

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

“With Cherries on Top” (a NaHaiWriMo ebook, the first of its kind haiku anthology)

“More than something to keep like journals we’ve been published in, for me this is a treasure because I have a small hand in it. Like the 30 other prompters, on whose prompts I, too, wrote, I also had the privilege to select more than five for the collection out of which Michael Dylan Welch made the final choice; in other words, I know the process that went into its making quite intimately.

But most of all, I’ll always read each haiku loving it as the work of a NaHaiWriMo friend, most of whom I’ve written with on the same page every day and still do. Thanks again, Michael, for the great work you’ve poured into this superb anthology—the first of its kind, I believe. And congrats to us all, NaHaiWriMo poets!

Definitely a treasure! Superb haiku by NaHaiWriMo poets and awesome images so apt together!” —Alegria Imperial  

The history of this book is a major part of my personal history of writing haiku. I’ve written most of it in this blog. I’m sure you have noticed how my haiku has taken shape since I signed up on Facebook because of National Haiku Writing Month (NaHaiWriMo). All it asked of anyone is to write a haiku a day. I joined in mostly because I’ve met Michael Dylan Welch, who is to me everything to a haiku, and from whom I keep learning.

His role in my haiku life started with my first ever haiku award in the 2007 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival (VCBF) Haiku Invitational, which was also my first published haiku. He was a judge that year and I met him at Van Dusen Gardens during the Cherry Blossoms Festival a year later. I had my first ginko walk with him, too, at the gardens. How could I not trust the Facebook site he created?

As well, Melissa Allen, who I met through our blogs, by then already on to her place in English haiku,  had announced NaHaiWriMo. Also at the fourth meeting of our then newly formed Vancouver Haiku Group, Jessica Tremblay, now of Old Pond Comics fame, also a VCBF winner, who came for her first member meeting,  reminded us of NaHaiWriMo.

It turned out NaHaiWriMo couldn’t end in a month. We, who hopped in, wouldn’t let up and so, it’s still on.  In August, Michael came up with this idea of a-prompter-a-day instead of just one for the month. This book is what it was.  I know, dear readers and followers of jornales, that you love haiku. Inflame it with this “With Cherries on Top”, a haiku anthology written by poets of varying haiku-writing stages, demonstrating the very essence of haiku which is: With senses wakened is how we find newness in the same things or what we think is the same day every day, and writing it down into a haiku renews the very thing as much as the poet and those to whom the haiku is shared. I’m sure our haiku will enrich you beyond its more than a hundred pages.

My haiku on ‘watermelon’ prompt by Stella Pierides

watermelon moon

our burdens lighter

than we thought

(Because I haven’t updated this blog to be able to encrypt a link, you might want to copy and past this on your browser or simply click on the link on my blogroll)

https://sites.google.com/site/nahaiwrimo/with-cherries-on-top 

November 24, 2012 Posted by | background, culturati news/views, event, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

deep in a pool (tanka though still not sure)

deep in a pool
a school of tadpoles wriggling
inveigles my thoughts
of a summer evening
to fall in love with a frog

It’s strange how thoughts take on an unintended form or lines simply write themselves out as if they simply ooze out of fingertips like this tanka-ish reflection. The image emerged from a ginko walk at the Chinese Buddhist Temple in Richmond we of the Vancouver Haiku Group had a month ago. The ‘pool’ is the bonsai pool but not tadpoles, instead a school of gold fish darted through moss covered stones. So why the frog? I had thought of Basho and the frog then out of nowhere or perhaps the stillness water always brings on in me as in that morning while gazing at the depth on the pool invited the frog to my lines…how strange and unexpected thought processes can be sometimes.

April 16, 2011 Posted by | poetry, reflection, tanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

spring panic

spring panic–
ruckus of the sparrows
over petals shedding

spring–
his promise in a box
i open too late

I better stop here or I start writing ‘yikes-haiku’! Panic over the ticking clock is what’s wrong with me. Nothing comes to mind. I need to wind down now for an early start to be at the Buddhist temple in Richmond tomorrow for a ginko walk with members of the Vancouver Haiku Group–us!

March 26, 2011 Posted by | haiku, poetry, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How a hole in the sky turned into a pair of wings in my heart: A Japanese haiku experience

The white gold moon: A Japanese haiku experience
Or how a hole in the sky turned into a pair of wings in my heart
(written for the Vancouver Haiku Group)

Not with the thought of learning more about haiku but more out of curiosity or perhaps an “ego-trip”, I had this really enlightening experience in October instead–I met Mutsumi. I didn’t know her but she kindly agreed to meet me through her friend, Diana, my friend who volunteers at the 411 Seniors Center in Dunsmuir; I volunteer with Women Elders in Action, a project of 411. One day a week before, knowing Diana is Japanese, I wrote a haiku on the cashier’s tiny table where she sat, pushed it toward her and asked her to try to translate it. I read it to her, gesturing what it meant:

cloudy day–
my thoughts caught
on a spider web

She demurred to even look at it at first, but did. She looked at it, no gazed at the scrap of paper on her table as she leaned far back in her chair, and then violently shook her head (I exaggerate, but it is how her head shaking struck me). “No! I don’t know English! I don’t know much about haiku (ha-y-kyoo)” she said.

I asked her to explain what she meant. “Not simple,” she says.
And she took my phone number so, she said, she could call a friend who knows more English, quite well read, intelligent who might want to help. She promised a phone call that evening. She did call but to tell me, her friend, Mutsumi will see me a week later.

Mutsumi and I did meet over spare egg sandwiches and coconut muffins at the 411 Seniors Centre Cafeteria. I was late. Mutsumi hardly smiled, hardly met my gaze in that known Oriental mien veiling the person, veiled of emotions. I sort of stepped back, forgetting for a moment as I’ve since been submerged in Western social gestures especially among Vancouverites that I too, in a way, am Oriental, a Southeast Asian, to be exact, a Filipino. Unease made me fidget as we munched our sandwiches. Then she asked for the haiku I had wanted her to read and translate, still naïve better yet, ignorant of what haiku is to one who has been brought up reading it. I laid the printed sheets out on the table, two pages of ten haiku. I had noticed her wince as she read them and then, she pushed the pages away.

“No, not haiku as I know it,” she had said. “I don’t know much about it. I don’t write haiku but these— these are something not like haiku.”

I wilted in my chair but I urged her on. “Tell me what’s wrong with them.”

She pointed to one of them and asked me, or to my mind, accused me, “Where is your heart?”

The haiku she had her forefinger on is this:

hole in dark sky?
but
the white moon

“What do you mean?” I had countered.

“When you wrote this how did you feel?”

“Well, in the dark night sky on a full moon, I looked up and there was the moon like a white hole in the sky.”

“So…”

“Seeing a hole although it was bright sort of scared me but it also delighted me because I realized it is but the moon.”

“And so…”

“That’s it.”

“That’s why, it can’t be a haiku. It cannot stop there. It has to stop right here,” she tapped her chest with her hand and to mine, finally a gesture which uplifted me, “in the heart, your heart.”

We plumbed the idea deeper. She focused on my delight to see the moon. What did I want to do about it? And how would I have wanted to reach the moon. I said the only I could would be “to fly”. She began to smile and latched on to the image, to the idea of flying. She asked how I would have wanted to fly. And I said with wings, of course.

“But you can’t have wings. Still you can fly with your thoughts, your thoughts of happiness,” she said. “Think of where these come from,” she urged me on.

“In my heart, of course!”

“There you are! There is your haiku!”

She took the piece of paper from my hand and began writing in Japanese, translating the characters into this:

gin-iro* tsuki no hikari*
kurai yoru watashi no kokoro
tsubasa

I asked what each word meant and the haiku flowed:

white gold moon
on a dark night in my heart
a pair of wings

As explained by Matsumi:
1. gini-iro* literally translates as white gold. She wrote down “silvery” first, but admitted she only thought of using the word in a Western way—as in silvery moon she has read about. “You could use, ‘gin’, meaning silver,” she said. I chose ‘gin-iro’, seeing in its solidity a contrast instead of a repetition in ‘gin’ the concept of sparkliness in the flutter of wings.

2. tsuki no hikari* literally translates as ‘light in the moon’. Apparently in Japanese, both words are not inclusive of each other.

She was smiling by then, a lovely smile. She had wanted to work on another haiku next: “against the sky/bare willow trees sag/under the full moon”. Again, she commented on my tendency to have a rather dark, heavy heart about nature as in the sagging branches of the willow that I focused on, which she said is their nature. To her, the willow trees speak of romance because where they grow their branches create sheer veils under which lovers may walk, whispering. Willows, too, move freely with the wind, hence, inspiring freedom, she had added.

By the time we said goodbye, Mutsumi and I felt like we’ve melded in spirit and we hugged. But before she left, she pulled me out to go see the three gingko trees in the park right on Dunsmuir beside 411 and across from the Holy Rosary Cathedral. I pass under these lean trees almost everyday and I know they are gingkos. But Mutsumi’s excitement that afternoon has since made me see them the way she did so much so that one of my haiku was chosen by Karina Klesko, editor of Sketchbook, in the journal’s Sept-Oct issue as third of the three best in the haiku thread. It goes:

a chill
seeps into the gingko leaves—
she folds the day bed

Mutsumi and I haven’t seen each other since then but there’s still our plan to meet in a Filipino restaurant from me and a session to demonstrate how to make miso soup from her. We also planned a ginko walk under the willow trees in the summer.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | haiku, language views, poetry, reflection | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

my first ever ginko walk/my 100th post

Still imitating Melissa’s ‘numbers’, I’m posting my 100th as a report and the haiku I wrote from my first ever ginko walk with the newly-formed Vancouver Haiku Group. Vicki McCullough of pacifi-kana has helped in its formation with Angela Naccarato as organizer and we’ve been meeting every 3rd Sunday since. Here is Vicki’s report on our first ginko walk in Vancouver:

“Alegria Imperial, Angela Naccarato, Carole MacRury and Vicki McCullough had a lovely wander through Strathcona and Cottonwood community gardens on October 3. The skies were grey, but not precipitating, and the temperature comfortably warm. We marvelled at the immense diversity of flora and of garden plot designs. A few hours later, tea/coffee and treats at an outdoor table a few blocks away in the heart of the Strathcona neighbourhood capped the afternoon. Everyone departed with a head—and in some instances, a camera—loaded with garden images.”

My take on the ginko:

“It was my first ginko walk. My senses had since been so awake and sharp I’ve been quite confident I’m finally writing haiku though some good some ‘yikes’. But not only the garden, I believe, worked like magic–mixed in the potion was Vicki, Angela and Carole. Like children, which I think, is the spirit of haiku with its constant wonder, we gushed at everything–the sound of wonder–such as the blush of huge blooms as well as the remains of the once-beautiful or the once-sweet. This must be how the haiku ‘haijin-s’ (I’ve ben using ‘sensei-s’ to mean master but I think it has something to do with music) drew out from the novices their ‘reflections on the moment’.

And two of my haiku Vicki included in her report:

grey skies
on opaque pool–
no secrets

hydrangeas–
the same whispers
the same sighs

November 8, 2010 Posted by | culturati news/views, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment