June 27: Bees

new information
they dance intently
in the hive

a dance conjuring
pure sweetness
the cells shudder

a sweet day
my hands begin to buzz
as I approach the hive

draped in white
am I a moon to them
these burning suns

the messengers and I
stare at each other
there is so much to say


Yeah, there are more than there used to be. I started to write just one more in the comments in response to Rick’s ku … then something came over me and bees jammed my brain and the next thing I knew, there was a sequence … first worms, now bees, I wonder if I will be inspired by cockroaches soon …

7 thoughts on “June 27: Bees

  1. bee jam
    marmalade and honey
    on these ankles

    you’re welcome. …and likewise.

    (imo) tell the reader what is there, let the reader decide if it is sweet or if there is a lot to say (…erm… keep in mind that i dont always do what i think i should be doing… – yeah, i’m still figuring it out too.).

    if something makes a day sweet for you, just say what that thing is – or, what it is that is sweet in that moment of the day/night for you – may be it’s tea with honey – but it could be tea with lemon juice. let the reader decide if that is a sweet moment – or something else. the same thing might make a day sweet for one reader and sour for another – the reader can decide that – that way they come into the moment – they engage in the moment. cool on that. …and then of course writers dont have to tell their readers what to think or feel. the reader can do that on their own.

    i like some of the old fashioned (traditional) ways, so i often try to stay away from “me – the writer” in my haiku (and of course not always).

    modern haiku accepts the idea of “me” being in haiku better than it was accepted in the past… still… to me… it makes “me – the writer” important if i put me into the haiku. i like down playing that (which is personal…). so… when possible i prefer to change “me” to “bee keeper”, (yeah, third person – i’m sure you know all about that). imo – that distance allows a reader to become close to the moment in their own way without violating the writer’s space – the writer’s space may have been sweet – but the reader might find the same space bitter – or may be bitter sweet.

    i think a lot of options open up for a reader, once the writer steps out of the equation.

    • This is SUCH a fascinating subject for me, Wrick, because lately I have been consciously modeling my haiku on those of Basho and Issa, which are very, very often TOTALLY different from the modern-traditional-English haiku aesthetic as you have so clearly expressed it here. Issa’s haiku are FULL of himself, they constantly straightforwardly express his emotions, he says he’s happy, says he’s sad, says something is amazing … yes there are some that are just description, but I don’t think Basho or Issa ever thought that withholding the voice or the opinion of the poet from the poem was something that was necessary to constructing a good haiku.

      Where the “just describe the scene straightforwardly and let the reader decide what emotions to associate with it” aesthetic came into haiku was basically with Shiki in the 19th century. And where Shiki got it, ironically, was from his contact with European realist literature. And then English poets got ahold of these things and decided that this must be the real Japanese way of writing haiku. It’s very funny when you think about it. And kind of baffling to me, because these people also knew about Basho and Issa and to me, once you have spent more than a few minutes reading these guys, you know that there is not one monolithic Japanese haiku aesthetic. The classical haiku poets had a much, much looser sense of what the subject and tone requirements of the form were than many modern English haiku poets. Some are very formal and somber, some are joking and exuberant, some are simple descriptions, some are almost pure expressions of emotion.

      I think your ku are great and I hope you go on writing them in the way that makes sense to you. I am trying to work in a vein that makes more sense for me and also makes me very happy. πŸ™‚ I have a TON to learn about writing ku still but to me, learning about it by examining the work of the people who originated this form makes more sense right now than examining the “rules” that were basically invented in a haze of misunderstanding by people in another country writing another language hundreds of years later.

      Does that sound too harsh? I don’t know … I am just having so much fun reading the classical Japanese haiku (though oh how I wish I could read them in Japanese) and I find them so much more inspiring than most modern English haiku. So I guess this is more about me being excited about the work that is calling me than about dissing the work that others are doing — I hope that is the spirit in which you’ll take this.

        • oh dear, Wrick … I have reduced you to monosyllables. πŸ™‚ I hope you aren’t too offended or frustrated … when I get on my hobbyhorse sometimes I ride roughshod over people … you must tell me if I start trampling you underfoot.

          the other thing I wanted to say is that I don’t think I actually was being as prescriptive in these ku as you seem to think I was — the lines about “sweetness” weren’t intended to represent the poet’s feelings or to dictate the reader’s, they were a literal reference to the fact that bees make honey, so descriptive, really. for what it’s worth.

          And there is so much to say. πŸ™‚ Anyone who doesn’t agree with that shouldn’t be reading or writing poetry in the first place. πŸ™‚

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