Sunday, June 8, 2014

Sparsity - words & writing

I've been dipping my toes into the yet unchartered waters of social media and, for the most part, I've been having a good time. As in my "real" life I avoid politics and social issues/causes. Instead, I want the years left to me to find their focus in the creative endeavor - mine and others.

So, I've noticed that haiku - that sparse and beautifully light form of poetry - has returned. When I see the word Haiku I am immediately whisked back to my childhood when, at some point, it was introduced to me in school.  I remember that it held great fascination for me - like an exotic plant or the whispered memory of a faraway land.

The college library where I work has a new book on haiku:  Favor of Crows by Gerald Vizenor. With a title such as this I was drawn to it and the "aha!" of synchronicity went off when I read the cover and saw that word -again. Haiku.

Perhaps I was onto something worth exploring.

Vizenor writes briefly of his first encounter with haiku and quotes a few examples from the Japanese masters.

I like this one by Kobayashi Issa as he remembers the death of his daughter:

            the world of dew
           is the world of dew
                   and yet…
                   and yet…

Vizenor, in the introduction to his book, speaks of the essence of haiku:  "The heart of haiku is a tease of nature, a concise, intuitive, and original moment."  And this statement recalls the later poetry of Ella Young - her work now influenced by her new home in California.  I leave you with her words:

Artemis (1950).

The moon took off her mask for me
I saw her strange face

Crouching in the jungle, too,
The leopard saw:
And stretched in haughty greeting
A scimitar claw.

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