Category Archives: Haiku

All Boxed Out

The big move in 100+ degree heat is finally over.  The walkthrough of the old place is done and we’ve been given a thumbs-up.  Boxes are piled around us and the new challenge of re-organizing is before us.  We’re into our new place and we cannot get over how wonderfully peaceful it is here; no loud car noises, no yapping dog across the road.  Only the roaring of the summer cicadas to lull us into a nice meditative stupor.

We’re also exhausted.

I spent most of the week being outside and carrying large cardboard boxes full of items that were not mine.  (Oh, don’t get me wrong, my wife will happily explain how several of those crates were mine as well!)  It’s a sneaky thing the heat will do to you.  I was fine for the first few days but as we wrapped up and the week came to a close I became absolutely exhausted.

Sitting with the dawn
exquisite touch of a breeze.
Cicadas and crows.

Today, we’re resting and we’re doing so with all the passion and zeal in which we performed the move.  Part of that has been catching up on email and Twitter.  I was really pleased to see my post “On The Simple Haiku” made it onto the The Weekly World Haiku News page from Paper.li on the 24th!

It made my peaceful morning all the more sweet.

Summertime Haiku

I crafted these over the past few days as I was out in the heatwave, packing, moving and doing some grounds keeping.

Merciless heat,
treetops the only movement.
Grey clouds boil above.

Stifling Summer wind,
brown leaves skitterdance past.
The cicadas sing.

On The Simple Haiku

Yes, you saw haiku at the end of that last post.

I’ve danced around haiku for the majority of my life.  During my walk a few mornings ago, the desire to write a haiku was nearly unstoppable.  It came from a pressing desire to distill the essence of the moment so I might remember it and share it.  To me, haiku are verbal photographs capturing a snapshot of the moment.  Much like photography, if done well, you are able to share that moment with others and they “get it.”

After writing those haiku, I found myself at the local library with my daughter.  She headed to the manga section and I decided to pick up a few books by and about one of the classic masters, Basho.  I checked out a copy of “The Master Haiku Poet Matsuo Basho” by Makota Ueda.  It covers his life, his style and the different phases of his haiku writings.  I’m not even halfway through it and I’m even more fascinated with the art form and the man than before.

One particular phrase from the book spoke to me.

“Basho’s solution was based on the principle of “lightness,” a dialectic transcendence of sabi.  Sabi urges man to detach himself from worldly involvements; “lightness” makes it possible for him, after attaining that detachment, to return to the mundane world.  Man lives amid the mire as a spiritual bystander.  He does not escape the grievances of living; standing apart, he just smiles them away.”

I also found this wonderful article on “Sabi, Nature and Relationship.”

Since that morning, I’ve taken to using them as a tool to slow down, a meditative puzzle on how to see the world around me and place it into words.  They place me in a receptive and pleasant state of mind which is what I am going for after all, right?   I also see them as a journal, a way to mark the passing of my day by the interactions with nature I have experienced.

To that end I also checked out Basho’s “Narrow Road to a Far Province” which is a prose/poetry diary of his five month trip in the seventeenth century.  That’s up next as soon as I’ve completed the one I am currently enjoying.  I might even be a rebel and read them both at the same time.

And, yes, you’ll be seeing quite a bit more haiku on here.

I can guarantee you they will be nowhere near the quality of Basho’s.  At least not for the next ten or twenty years anyway.