Simply with Guest Editor Craig Kittner
Simplicity is one gateway to a balanced mind.
The world sorely needs balanced minds to mitigate all this conflict.
Haiku is uniquely suited for the cultivation and dissemination of simplicity.
In this round of Haiku Dialogue I’m seeking works that invoke the simple perfection of a moment in time.
The successful haiku will be formed out of love for what is not everlasting, but impermanent.
next week’s theme: Simply a Daily Activity
Choose something you do regularly and portray it simply. Present any juxtaposing element, be it physical or mental, with the same level of simplicity.
The deadline is midnight Eastern Daylight Time, Saturday May 13, 2023.
Please use the Haiku Dialogue submission form below to enter one or two original unpublished haiku inspired by the week’s theme, and then press Submit to send your entry. (The Submit button will not be available until the Name, Email, and Place of Residence fields are filled in.) With your poem, please include any special formatting requirements & your name & residence as you would like it to appear in the column. A few haiku will be selected for commentary each week. Please note that by submitting, you agree that your work may appear in the column – neither acknowledgment nor acceptance emails will be sent. All communication about the poems that are posted in the column will be added as blog comments.
Below is Craig’s commentary for simply a winged thing too:
As I work on this week’s commentary the concept of implication keeps arising.
Consider that in any form of communication what we imply may have greater impact than what we say.
With its succinctness this is very true of haiku.
Now think on this: of the 91 haiku selected for the winged thing prompt, 19 (21%) mention butterflies. This is indicative of the overall prevalence of butterflies in the submissions received.
By choosing a butterfly as imagery for the winged thing prompt, did I unwittingly plant a seed?
—as a writing strategy, difficult to master
—as an event in the reader’s mind, impossible to control
—as an element of haiku, magical!
It comes down to word choice and with haiku, often hinges on which words one chooses to omit.
With that in mind let’s look at the first three haiku I selected for commentary:
butterflies he doesn’t want a grave
How are butterflies involved in this situation? Are we talking real-life butterflies, images or memories of them, or that fluttery feeling in your stomach?
The reader must decide and with the deciding collaboration occurs.
under the jackdaws
Wales, United Kingdom
What’s really occurring whenever we see a creature in nature and feel a connection?
Maybe the question should be what’s dancing.
Regardless, I feel joy radiating from this haiku.
Joy of the pure and simple, which haiku is uniquely suited to capture.
the ink painted flower
a tiny gnat
kris moon kondo
Kiyokawa, Kanagawa, Japan
The power of this haiku radiates from the juxtaposition of the gnat and the painting. Little insect that won’t last the season versus something handmade that can last indefinitely.
The specifics of the interaction are in the mind of the engaged reader, drawing them into the experience very personally.
As these three haiku indicate, there’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of ambiguity that arises from the use of a few coherent words that hold something back.
the angel mother kept
I sense an implication here that the angel is all the more treasured for its brokenness.
The object carrying the sign of its imperfection but held onto just the same, much like memory.
a grasshopper rests
on the car seat
A family connecting with nature. A peaceful scene. Yet at the point of physical connection, a reminder of how we must protect ourselves from our own creations.
Simplicity reflecting complexity.
disturbs river water
The tree stays calm
N W P Lal
Weligama, Sri Lanka
One may read this and think the writer is trying to humanize the river and tree, but is it so?
Disturbed water, a calm tree, this is common word usage. Laid out so baldly here, we can observe how we react and see our foibles clearly.
in the field
a mouse pulls down a falcon –
my bicycle bell tinkles
Guido De Pelsmaeker
This haiku turns everything on its head in a delightful way.
The mouse as initiator of the falcon’s action. Our cherished sense of human importance reduced to the sound of a bell.
a gray moth lays still
in the candle wax
Bona M. Santos
Los Angeles, CA
In fully experiencing one loss we see our connection to everything, for everything eventually ends.
on Buddha’s birthday
in a vernal pool
Hardwick, VT USA
For me haiku is inexorably tied to a zen-like sense of impermanence and renewal through the cycles of nature.
This one presents such sensibility with such an easy elegance.
The annual event of Buddha’s birthday calling forth remembrance that the person is passed, but the spirit is renewed, while ducks take refuge in a body of water that will disappear in a season.
migratory birds –
I and their shadows
Dan C. Iulian
A second haiku that describes shadows as earthbound (the first being Ron Scully’s “the shadow / of her wingspan / grounded” from last week’s post).
An interesting approach to juxtaposing human and bird. With one stroke it provides a connection while highlighting the distance between us.
clothes blown dry
touch butterfly wings
Michelle V. Alkerton
“Touch” is important here because the word implies so much.
We have been culturally conditioned to equate butterfly wings with something special.
So like an unexpected puff of breeze this moment feels magical.
If you are questioning the power of implication, just imagine how different this haiku would be if “butterfly” was replaced with “cockroach.”
Join us next week for Craig’s selection of poems on the theme of simply a daily activity…
Guest Editor Craig Kittner claims a round-earther identity as an alternative to the ones the world would impose. While their feet feel the earth, their ragpicker mind works the trash heap that’s their brain, pulling out words. Origami Poems Project, Shot Glass Journal, bottle rockets, and Acorn have recently hosted his work.
Lori Zajkowski is the Post Manager for Haiku Dialogue. A novice haiku poet, she lives in New York City.
Managing Editor Katherine Munro lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and publishes under the name kjmunro. She is Membership Secretary for Haiku Canada, and her debut poetry collection is contractions (Red Moon Press, 2019). Find her at: kjmunro1560.wordpress.com.
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