Monday, October 12, 2009
old friends consider
another morning, same says
one, the other nods...
I've been writing haiku since summer, for the first time in years (and years?). I wrote one for a challenge in Life is a Verb and it hit a nerve. I wrote a few more after completing the exercise and then a few more and the floodgates opened. I've been scribbling them in church (after the sermon of course), at traffic lights, the grocery store, in meditation and prayer for friends whose deep, troubling needs fill me with anguish.
So neat, so compact, like an ATC, a small collage, a photograph... an entire story conveyed in a glance. Or, in 17 syllables. Probably for the same reason that, when I wrote fiction, I focused on the short story. Not because it's easier; anyone familiar with the mechanics of a good short story knows that it has to do the job of an entire novel in a fraction of the space.
In my teens and early twenties I spent a great deal of time writing poetry and it was deeply meaningful as self-care; however, I must admit, it was quelled by my longing is to read a good poem. Now, every morning I scan my inbox for an email from Joe Riley, who under the Yahoo group name Panhala, pairs an amazing photograph with an equally compelling poem. Ahh, Joe, where were you twenty-some years ago?!
I do appreciate the fact that I created this collage using one of my photographs and a haiku I wrote, so I'm satisfied with what feels like an integrated expression.
In early days the challenge was to fit words that sounded good together into 3 short lines; now my goal is deeper. It's an attempt to phrase an emotion, maybe even cause a reader to stop and consider. Two old chairs that, upon closer inspection reveal coats of paint too numerous to count. A metaphor for the most sacred kind of friendship, one that endures an equal number of changing seasons, cycles of sun and snow, witnessing the passage of joys and sorrow, life stages and journeys that are not always predictable and never the same but weathered with the peace of kindred spirit. And, often without the need to speak.
Technical note: This haiku doesn't include a seasonal reference so I suppose it's not technically correct, but I did include the kireji, (no translation in English) the dash, or ellipsis placed at the end designed to bring the reader back to the beginning, forming a complete circle. Asleep yet?