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poet, technologist, cynic, father of five, child of chaos, punker, prankster, patriot, punster, leftist, latino, japanophile, audiophile, beer drinker, quiche eater, dog walker, soft talker, deep thinker, shallow sleeper, introvert, covert operative in a parallel universe.

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  •  

    extra special bitter
    hops are bitter. life is bitter. coincidence?

    Monday, April 25, 2005

    Time and a Season

    Traditional haiku are written in the context of a particular season. The primary subject that represents the body of the haiku is imbued with the rich imagery associated with that season, creating a natural setting in which the haiku can resonate with the reader.

    Modern haiku tend to focus on events and imagery that freeze time without regard to a natural context. September 11th resonates with us, not because of a sense of approaching autumn, but because of the horror of a collossal act of violence and the intensity of human suffering that followed. In these first few years of the 21st century, our seasons are defined by pre-emptive wars and color-coded terror alerts.

    Hence my dilemma as a haiku poet: to frame a unique moment as an extension of the timelessness of nature, or to rivet it into the granite of my own psyche, in which a certain universality is exchanged for a sense of personal relevance.

    Case in point: Sunday April 24th began the same as many other Spring days in New England—rain, fog, temperatures in the 40s. I drove from Boston to Bridgeport to pick up my two youngest sons as part of my perennial season as non-custodial dad. We had dinner at a local barbeque restaurant, where I noticed a row of blossoming trees. I didn’t know what they were. “Dogwoods?” I asked. “Cherry trees”, my wife replied, correcting the haiku poet.

    Later that evening, the phone rang. It was my eldest daughter’s boyfriend. Given the momentum of their rejuvenated relationship and the unique season of their own lives—less than two weeks until graduation—I had an inkling of what it was about.

    cherry blossoms —
    a shaky voice asks me
    for my daughter’s hand

    This is the first haiku I’ve ever written with the words “cherry blossoms” in the first line. It isn’t about cherry blossoms.

    3 Comments:

    Blogger haiku_girl said...

    I can see that moment. The cherry blossoms line makes me think it happened in a garden.

    10:31 PM  
    Blogger Seanachie said...

    I like the cherry blossoms line for idea that it symbolises the happiness and hope you felt with the news. If you had felt, say, sad and despondent you could have instead focused on the rain and fog. The seasonal context is a good chance to kill two birds with one stone: to create a natural setting for the reader and to provide insight into the writer's emotional state.

    10:40 AM  
    Anonymous kristen said...

    Now, see, I must have a dirty mind since I thought cherry blossoms referred to the way a father would see his daughter and her sexual innocence. I do love the contrast between that view, and the shaky voice of the caller.

    1:51 PM  

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