Haiku

 with Kevin McLaughlin

Sea turtles nesting along Florida’s east coast may occur as late as August.  The female exits the sea, trudges through the sand to a spot above the mean high tide line, digs the nest using her rear flippers, and deposits from 300 to 600 eggs.  During the process, the female is oblivious to her surroundings.  But she can be discouraged if the environment is not suitable.  Turtle watching during season is a popular activity for misguided people.

 

Tropical storm surge,

Floods the late loggerhead nests,

Below high tide line.

 

This verse demonstrates non-attachment.  The sea turtle eggs have been destroyed, but there is no sentimental attachment.  Nor is there cold hearted detachment.  Non-attachment can be practiced with caring and compassion.

-Kevin McLaughlin

 

An element seldom observed is the Kireji, the cutting word.  This powerful tool divides the verse into two parts, parts that can be either compared or contrasted.  I also can be the “grout” that ties together the 5-7-5 syllable lines.  The cutting words in the following should not be hard to identify.

 

Bees swarm in the grass,

Tasting the clover’s nectar:

Broad patches of sand.

 

Two lizards mating:

Sound of sanitation crew,

Hauling away trash.

 

Clear to the heavens

Blue sky teems with energy

Motionless tree tops.

-Kevin McLaughlin

 

Vera Ignatowitsch submitted a verse Matsuo Basho, himself, would have enjoyed.  She perceives cat-nature permeating the grasses; pure joy permeating the grasses.  Her cat nature is the motion and the stillness that undulates through the Cosmos.

 

grass grown undulates

as slinking feline delight

whispers its passage

-Vera Ignatowitsch

 

Jill Rivera began experimenting with haiku approximately two months ago.  A regular BTS reader, she strayed over to this page, and decided to see what she could do with 17 syllables. I encourage Ms. Rivera to continue her work, be it in haiku or one of the other forms.  Bhikku Bodhi has written that “Mindfulness clears the ground for insight into the nature of things by bringing to light phenomena in the now, the present moment, stripped of all subjective commentary, interpretations, and projections.”  Bodhi has unwittingly written a spot-on mission statement for haiku poetry.  I believe this insight into the nature of things, however mundane or commonplace is manifested in Rivera’s work.  Note she uses the Kireji effectively. 

 

A snapping turtle:

The spike on its carapace

Punctures the cosmos.

 

Long winter’s darkness:

Through the pines an orange moon,

Is quickly hidden.

 

The dead raccoon’s corpse,

Is partially decomposed:

Ants begin to feed.

-Jill Rivera

poetry magazine, kelly writers house

It is always a good day for the BTS haiku page when we receive a verse from  Angie Davidson, which accentuated my embarrassment even further when, in the June column, I identified her work as that of Angie DICKINSON!  Angie Dickinson may have been a celeb at one time, but it is Angie Davidson who writes the superior haiku.  This powerful piece is a straightforward reflection of the  300,000 years of our species has trod this planet.  “Past lives are unseen” is not only haunting, it can be interpreted in several different ways.

 

Men walking on bones,

Under earth, beneath their feet,

Past lives are unseen.

 

-Angie Davidson

Angie’s mate Joseph Davidson has tapped into the spiritual force that flows through all things, and is capable of expressing this life force in the way of someone who is working through his karma, and seeking nirvana within samsara.  Note that Joseph and Angie are two of the few poets who actually work within the classical 3 line, 5-7-5 format.  A subtle reader will also be able to appreciate the usage of  his cutting words.

 

Petals cast away,

Salty tears lost in ocean:

Sprinkling ashes.

 

Silent Sentinels,

Crows paying homage in boughs,

Leaves rustle in wind.

 

Shadowy forest,

Ribbons of light streaming down:

Earthworm  unaware.

 

-Joseph Davidson     

 

Glenn Ingersoll lives in Berkeley, California, where he works at the public library.  He and another poet take occasional haiku walks about town, stopping every block to record what’s to be perceived through the 5 senses.  This is a beautiful practice!  I know it was popular during haiku’s Golden Ages.  Two people working in tandem to view the world directly.

 

The lawn chair pillow,

So much warmer now that,

No one’s sitting there.

 

On the bowed

Face of the sunflowers

—shadows.

This is an exceptional image, worth absorbing like the sun’s warmth in late afternoon.

 

The clock’s numbers,

The only light,

Morning.

-Glenn Ingersoll

 Astrophysicist /rock climber Honorah Murphy has been occupied this month completing her post- doctoral work at Trinity University in Dublin.  But the good lass has been kind enough to send us two more meditations on what, for her, is the natural world. Having some of the blood myself, I can detect a quiet Celtic influence.  Good Craic.

Colorless photons,

Stream through suspended moisture:

Creates twin rainbows.

 

William Butler Yeats would have loved the above haiku.

 

Energized protons,

In the Hadron Collider:

The God particle.

-Honorah Murphy

Yet once more I encourage all haiku writers to share their work, their insights into the nature of all things, with fellow poets and BTS readers.  For those interested in haiku, I recommend you cast back into the BTS archives and reference the September column.  It provides a pretty thorough explanation of the basic format.

 

--  Kevin Mclaughlin

Kevin MacLaughlin, poetry magazine, haiku

MistyRose Bosworth sent in this stark, powerful piece.  It was written in honor of the Fukushima, Japan’s victims and survivors.  Cesium is one of the most reactive elements on the earth.  My understanding is cesium is extracted from the waste product of nuclear reactors.  The Fukushima disaster was a disastrous nuclear power plant accident caused by an earthquake that unleashed a tsunami.  Cooling systems failed and tragedy ensued.

Power water falls

Cesium rings seep sadness

Quake uproots blossom.

 

-MistyRose Bosworth 

The next four haiku, written by A.E. (Elizabeth) Faris as Four Seasons pays poetic homage to each of the seasons, a central haiku principle.  I hope you enjoy her seasonal vignettes as much as I did.

 

One reddish robin

Back to earth and poised for noise . . .

Juicy worms beware!

 

Two dogged diggers

Pails and hand, with ice cream beards . . .

Treasure is within.

 

Three paper flakes

Dangle, release, and land . . .

Nebulous no more.

 

Four silver sprigs

Glide across a glassy pane . . .

Mother Nature’s rink.

-A. E. (Elizabeth) Faris

 

Ms. Faris has grouped the following verse under a heading of Prosatory.  This gives the verse the ability to be read as “stand-alones,” or as linked verse, with each 3 line piece amplifying the sum of the parts.

Rows upon rows of

Neat and tidy characters

Occupy my page.

 

I strip them to skin

And nudge them with pen into

A tidepool of verse.

 

Then watch them cascade

Confounding an ambush of

 arbitrary lines.

 

And now my page teems

With mutinous morphemes all

Cummings and cobain.

 

Churning a pathway

Deep into barnacled shells

With a deft turn of phrase:

 

Sweet the elixir

Song pours into story and

Story sips from song.

-A. E. (Elizabeth) Faris

 

Joan McNerney has long been one of this column’s favorite poets.  I personally invite Ms. McNerney to send along more from her canon.  I am pairing up her last received piece with a compatible work by David Rosen, a dentist from New Jersey.

 

What does this cat think

Strumming his tail with such ease,

To fugues of Bach?

 

-Joan McNerney

 

Rimsky Korsakov’s

“The flight of the bumblebee”

Excites the heavens.

 

-David Rosen

 

Nice piece, Mr. Rosen.  May we all enjoy the bumblebees with your ardor!