jornales

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

first snow (should be so past tense by now but …)

first snow
in the willow grove–
the waiting begins

First published in Sketchbook 5-6 Nov-Dec issue

…the waiting should be over. Some shoots have started to show in the mulch bed at the courtyard. Vigorous chirping trailed me on my way home the other day when it wasn’t raining; it’s been wet and grey on grey again yesterday and today. Here where there’s more rain, I miss the blinding white snow I used to skim around filigreed edges of the harbor in Baltimore. Oh, last week, a light flurry sent me grabbing for my woolen hat on my way out. I had by then put on my boots–too hot for the day it turned out. The flurries faded in an hour left frozen on grass like belated words. I should bus up to the almost all-year-snow capped mountains that frame Vancouver like Whistler but…

The haiku came to me on a walk by the ball field lined by willows in the neighborhood, not quite a willow grove, really. But I imagine it is and the bent branches looking for their reflections on the water like women obsessed with their long hair. Since their hair like the bare, dried willow twigs have lost their sheen in the ‘winter of their years’, their waiting begins perhaps for their youth to come back like spring. I don’t know–I’m making it all up. But I guess what I’m trying to say is I never really know why I write a haiku the way it is written. I still need to learn to be aware why.

February 4, 2011 Posted by | critique/self-critique, haiku, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

revenant (three haiku that came back wilted I made to bloom again)

duck pair at lagoon
V-patterns on the water
and on the sky

against the haze
over bramble tips an
arc of budding twigs

and I against the blue
a strand of willow flailing
to touch the sky

First published in Issue 39—The Cortland Review
Copyright 2008

I know, these read like haiku. Yes, they are three haiku that didn’t work–one of the early suites I submitted to Peggy for The Heron’s Nest that came back to me with kind gracious words though very much wilted. I sort of buried them but one day, found them shooting. And so, I watered and let them out in the sun until they burst as blooms one day. I picked and strung them together into this poem that got accepted and published with a podcast, archived in TCR.

February 3, 2011 Posted by | free verse, poetry | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Unabashed (a sparrow speaks in three tongues)

unabashed–
a sparrow speaks in three tongues
twirling on willow twigs

It’s the subject of my post yesterday but I can’t seem to let it go! “My soul speaks in three languages” as in the three tanka I wrote from English, which I translated roughly into Spanish (and had it edited by Sr. Javier Galvan y Guijo, director of Instituto Cervantes in Oran, Algeria formerly of Manila where we met) and in Iluko, is an awarness that has been consuming me–this composing of words from three different dimensions that I believe are of my soul but not finding the right stage to unleash it, let it leap, dance, sing, sigh.

Finally, last month I dared to submit three tanka in three tongues to qarrtsiluni–an online literary journal where I’ve been reading awesome poetry–with an introductory essay I had posted here about the “willow” not having an equivalent in Iluko, the tongue I was born with. The editors accepted it, an honor I’m still riding on an upwind.

Unabashed, I would like to share here what Alex Cigale, translation theme editor, said as well as Jean who posted her comment on the qarrtsiluni site, and Patrick who sent it to my inbox. I hope you, dear readers, bear with me in this moment of exhilaration!

Alex Cigale (editor, translation issue, qarrtsiluni) January 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm | #1

What a treasure you sent our way, Alegria! So perfect for us, this window onto a language constructed according to logical grammatic structures that are yet so different from those we otherwise take for granted, qualities such as number, possession, direction, tense, intensity. And what a perfect illustration of the notion that there can be no words that do not represent real objects, so that such culturally-specific idioms are nearly ICONS, your example: “saning-i … portrays … usually a woman in a dark corner, splayed on the floor….” And the recording, the Iluko sounded last and thus echoing so musically, its music so liquid I am tempted to imagine that it was formed among the various sounds of water surrounding the islands. A big thank you!

Jean (tastingrhubarb)
January 13, 2011 at 6:47 am | #3

Oh, these are exquisite and exquisitely satisfying! Listening to the podcast is essential. This is a richness of experience of poetry and language and translation that no publication with only printed words could provide. So beautiful.


Patrick Gillespie (poemshape)
January 13, 2011, 7:14 PM

Finally, I get to hear your beautiful language. Such is the beauty of the language that I could fool myself into thinking that anyone who spoke it would write poetry such as yours. I have always loved the sound of the Mongolian Language, but I think Iluko is just as alluring and beautiful. I would love to speak it.

It’s also beautiful to see how you bring the sensibility of haiku into your longer poems. It’s something I’ve wondered about trying myself, but haven’t yet. Again, how wonderful to hear Iluko. There’s a Japanese expression which I can’t think of right now. It expresses the aesthetic of beautiful sorrow or beautiful sadness. Your poetry is so often imbued with it.

January 14, 2011 Posted by | culturati news/views, haiku, language views, poetry, tanka | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments