Billy Collins! Oh, I am reading his po’s and I’m in the throes of poetic worship. The man moves and amazed me.
His poem Japan left me gapping. A poem about haiku written in tercets that speaks of the nature of haiku? Gorgeous! And its joyfully and playfully and respectfully penned.
I wanted to play, too! So it took me FOUR DAYS but I wrote an ode to haiku. I was trying to capture why I love both traditional and contemporary haiku.
I send this to a gift to Our Bet and Charles and Tracie and PD all the poets here on Soup who enjoy haiku, whether it be the true haiku with its zen enlightenment, aha moment,seasonal word, two parts and careful cutting OR the post-modern attempt to embrace an observation of one moment and commit it to the page in rapt sloppiness. All, to me, can be art. All can be lovely.
I celebrate YOU, my soupers, and all your different ways.
Diversity just rocks my world.
By Billy Collins
Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.
It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.
I walk through the house reciting it
and leave its letters falling
through the air of every room.
I stand by the big silence of the piano and say it.
I say it in front of a painting of the sea.
I tap out its rhythm on an empty shelf.
I listen to myself saying it,
then I say it without listening,
then I hear it without saying it.
And when the dog looks up at me,
I kneel down on the floor
and whisper it into each of his long white ears.
It's the one about the one-ton temple bell
with the moth sleeping on its surface,
and every time I say it, I feel the excruciating
pressure of the moth
on the surface of the iron bell.
When I say it at the window,
the bell is the world
and I am the moth resting there.
When I say it at the mirror,
I am the heavy bell
and the moth is life with its papery wings.
And later, when I say it to you in the dark,
you are the bell,
and I am the tongue of the bell, ringing you,
and the moth has flown
from its line
and moves like a hinge in the air above our bed.
ode to two haiku
by Cyndi MacMillan
The perfumes compliment, jasmine and rose,
transcending centuries and continents,
two schools will not rob nor superimpose
for one preserves while one experiments.
Sweet, tiny buds in telegraphed blooms
which let life’s moments linger for hours,
each snatching observations from air,
oh, top notes infuse rooms,
leaving imprints like small, pressed flowers
that were precisely pruned with thought and care.
Senses and seasons, so much to compose
in a form that sailed from the orient,
enamored poets mean not to impose
while they waltz dragons without their consent.
Calligraphy calms though keyboards now boom,
toad lilies thrive beside ivy bowers.
Beauty knows no borders, art is ensnared
upon silk’s rigid loom
and Japanese Waxwings will not cower
from the loud chatter of British Fieldfares*.
I savor the snippets that scribes expose
those that kowtow and those who backwards bend
for the voice they use, the voice that ‘now’ chose
understands labels do not change content.
See, there a second that wept in the gloom ~
Hiroshima’s cloud engulfed two towers
and both Fuji and Snowdon lose views rare.
Himeji’s halls, Henry’s hooms*
still stand tall for history empowers,
but the future, too, has riches to share.
*A fieldfare is a bird of England.
*Hoom is an archaic spelling (Chaucer period, England) for home
Pictures are of Himiji, a famous castle in Japan, built in the 1300's