The haiku moment may be defined as an instant
in which man becomes united to an object,
becomes that object and realizes
the eternal universal truth contained in being.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ~Joan Giroux~
I used to believe there was choice aplenty? in the poetry section of the Waterloo Public Library. Ha! The few shelves barely touch on some topics. Poets? Too few. And yet last week I happened upon a book that has kept me enthralled and brought me such pleasure.
HAIKU This Other World by Richard Wright.
Richard Wright (1908-1960) was an African American writer whose major body of work underscored the need for racial equality at a time when none existed. Novels, short fiction, non-fiction, all spoke of his hard life, his personal experiences and were a call for radical change.
During the last two years of his life, Wright became enamored with haiku. He wrote over 4,000 and carried a notebook everywhere he went.
In 1994, 817 of his favourite haiku were published by his daughter. There is a wonderful section at the back of the book by Yoshinobu Hakutani, Professor of English at Kent State University.
I’m enjoying reading the haiku and then the afterwords.
They are sumptuous, non-conventional, multi-layered and powerful, in my view. I savour one, slowly, like a? perfect truffle from a chocolatier.
Some (and only haiku devotees will understand this) left me oddly weak-kneed and stunned, for I felt so moved by what I was reading. I love when good haiku sees more than the surface, digs so deep that you somehow, magically, become ONE with the world. It’s like... hmmm.... a true haiku poet is nothing and everything (?Anyone getting me?)
I am not a haiku poet. Sure, I dabble, please myself and share my shorties with friends. One day, I may, just for the heck of it, send of a few to a slush pile on some hapless editor’s desk. For now, I’m content to explore the form. Knowing what I enjoy, I’ve gained confidence in staying true to my preferred style and voice. Opening this book had me sighing. There and there! Hundreds of haiku written the way I love to write haiku, the way I love to READ haiku, as one continuous thought, no grammatical severance... BUT (big but) with an INVISIBLE division made by the SOLID juxtaposition of two observations occurring nigh-simultaneously. The aha is profound. I wish I could? tell this man, THANK YOU. I do not need to change my style, only HONE it!
I thought I’d share a few that especially touched me...
I left the first word to each line capitalized for two reasons. One, I wrote this in Word. Two, this is how his haiku appear in the published book.
I am nobody:
A red sinking sun
Took my name away
The crow flew so fast
That he left his lonely caw
Behind in the fields
A bright glowing moon
Pouring out its radiance
Upon tall tombstones
Winter rain at night
Sweetening the taste of bread
And spicing the soup
Are searing the tree leaves
And singeing the grass
The blue of this sky
Sounds so loud that it can be heard
Only with our eyes
This said in frogpond, the haiku magazine published by the haiku Society of America, “It is gratifying to see Richard Wright’s haiku receive increased critical attention.”
Anyway, chums. I am barely writing a thing... life is topsy-turvy, here. I am so tired that I think brain cells have been slain. There have been days I can barely make it to 9 pm. Not whining! But I do so want to write. Thing is, first I need to THINK. HA!
Happy weekend to all.
Be well... write as your heart dictates... keep us posted!