learning to live
with the dark
I’m continuing what has apparently become my Thanksgiving week tradition of saving myself the work of writing a whole new haiku every day by stealing from myself. Specifically, by stealing the haiku I have dribbled around in other places across the Interwebs, like Facebook and Twitter and other people’s blogs. (I did change the line breaks here a little from the original. Does that make me less pitiful?)
I might do this for a few more days, at least until I finish my stupid novel, or the 50,000 words of it I’m supposed to have written by the end of the month anyhow.
(In case you were suspecting me of violating my sacred vow to write haiku every day, I am still scribbling the things down, but I would not be so cruel as to force you to read anything I’ve written lately.)
the dark side
of the moon
spitting watermelon seeds the dark spits back
the grasshopper rises so slowly — I think I must be dreaming
the Buddha hides behind the fence where the chickens peck feed
In the last ten days I’ve seen five performances of “Macbeth” with four different casts. So many lines of the play have become earworms for me, especially those (and there are so many in this play) that use either sound or imagery (or both) to gorgeous effect. For instance (in no particular order):
• If the assassination could trammel up the consequence, and catch, with its surcease, success …
• Weary sennights nine times nine shall he dwindle, peak, and pine …
• Tonight we hold a solemn supper, sir …
• Stars, hold your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires …
• There’s husbandry in heaven; their candles are all out.
• It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood. Stones have been known to move and trees to speak …
• By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes. Open, locks, whoever knocks.
• Safe in a ditch he lies, with twenty trenched gashes in his head.
Some of the lines echoed in my head in the same way that some haiku does, which made me wonder if you could pummel iambic pentameter into haiku. I’m not sure how well these meet the technical definition of haiku (whatever that is), but they do seem to have something of the haiku spirit in them. And Shakespeare and Basho were (rough) contemporaries … so that must mean something.
the earth hath bubbles as the water has
the moon is down
I have not heard
the obscure bird
the livelong night
the shard-borne beetle
with his drowsy hums …
night’s yawning peal
light thickens …
the crow makes wing
to th’ rooky wood
untie the winds
and let them fight
against the churches
I have words that would be howl’d out in the desert air
I can’t remember where I got this scar, or that one, or that one.
streetlights switch on the child runs away from his mother
Cassiopeia she refuses to stand next to her lover
There are links to several other discussions of the subject, and several enlightening comments. Among other interesting points:
I keep finding more and more that if I am having a great deal of trouble with a ku, transforming it to one line frequently instantly solves my problem. This is when I say that the ku “wanted” to be one line.
Also, I think I am still treating American sentences and one-line haiku as more or less interchangeable, though they’re not, really. I mean, number 1 above seems clearly to be an American sentence to me; the other 2 one-line haiku. Must think more about this …
(See this post for an explanation of what’s going on here.)
“… Some say one should be able to read the first line and the third line to find it makes a complete thought. Sometimes one does not know in which order to place the images in a haiku. When the images in the first and third lines have the strongest relationship, the haiku usually feels ‘complete.’ For exercise, take any haiku and switch the lines around to see how this factor works, or try reading the haiku without the second line.
holding the day
between my hands
a clay pot”
– Jane Reichhold, Haiku Techniques
This was way harder than it looked. And it looked hard.
I think part of the problem was that I really loved Jane’s example and none of my efforts came anywhere near her standard. I even resorted to breaking down her ku into parts of speech hoping that would provide some sort of formula for success:
gerund, noun object
But now I am a little bit obsessed with making one of these work, somehow, sometime. Anyone else got anything?
one leftover cloud
watching your eyes
the summer stars
a tree full
squirrels making lists
our dark words