Haiku Journey

Short, long, summary of a life

6°s, or… Something?

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                                                 April 20, 2015

Remember The Secret? Maybe it’s 6°s of separation, or precognition, or something? But…

Go back a couple of Sunday’s to when Yevgeniy Yevtushenko was the Sunday Guest and then I’ll tell you about this past Sunday, yesterday.

When I introduced Yevtushenko I mentioned that I first experienced his poetry through a Saturday Evening Post article in a 1963 edition. When I wrote that my youngest son and I were going to go to a huge outdoor flea market called The Elephant’s Trunk in New Milford the following Sunday. But, the ground  was still too wet so that market, the opening one of the year, was postponed until yesterday. And our trip yesterday resulted in this.

We’d just started down the many rows of vendors and were looking at a young woman’s eclectic collection of tools, antiques, knick-knacks, and a box of magazines… Saturday Evening Post? The sign taped to the box said it contained 1960 editions. What were the odds? I squatted down and began to work through the copies. Half way, flip, flip, flip, flip back… Lift the upper ones. There it was! POST, The Saturday Evening Post August 10 – August 17, 1964 20c.

Banned in Russia:

A Soviet poet’s brilliant story
of his life and fight for freedom
under Stalin and Khrushchev

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So maybe I’m making more of this than it just being a strange coincidence that right after I write about a poet who impacted my view of poetry and need to create poetry I’m reunited with the spark that ignited the fire.


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Sunday Guests: Ezra Pound

I don’t feel I can adequately introduce Mr. Pound. He and I have only just met. But, I feel that we’ll be getting along splendidly since what he’s said so far, strikes a cord within me.

And The Days Are Not Full Enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass

In A Station Of The Metro

The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
petals on a wet, black bough.

Excuse me now, I’m going off to have some quiet time and conversation with Mr. Pound. Before I go, let me tell you, don’t let his sour looks deceive you, he’s an intense fellow and intensely interesting. An expat you know, buried in Italy in ’72. Yes a long life from 1885 into and nearly through an entire century. He’ll say something that stops you short, rocks you back in wonder, if you’ll just take a minute to get to know him.

(And a very sincere “Thank you” to David Lanoue, HSA President, for waking me from my nap – surely, I must have been asleep at the switch to have missed the poetry of Ezra Pound up until now.)


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Sunday guests: Basho

Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694) was born during into a Samurai family during a tranquil period in the area of Iga (present day Mie Prefecture) and entered service as a Samurai to the son of a local noble. When Basho was about 22 his master died and shortly thereafter Basho entered Koyasan monastery. Poetry had been a leisure activity of the Samurai class and Basho had begun writing at an early age and continued to study and develop his art. He is today considered one of the major forces in the development and shaping of Haiku. Here are a couple of examples:

         A withered branch,
                  at a crow's alighting,
               nearly winter.

The Japanese for this is: Kare eda ni karasu no tomari keri aki no kure – note that there is not punctuation to help define this. And, ‘keri’ can either be an indicator of past tense or poetic emphasis. Please also consider that these are translations – Basho might be laughing at every one of these feeble attempts, especially mine.

         Now the New Year,
           two liters of old rice,
             to begin. Spring!

Look for more from Basho, and many of the other classic Haiku poets as future Sunday guests.