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Montage #30


Montage #30,
presented by Allan Burns,
is now up
on The Haiku Foundation website.

#30’s theme is “New England Sketches,” featuring the work of three New England haiku poets: Peter Yovu, Bruce Ross & paul m.

the uneven edge
of a quahog shell


                                                                      Thoreau’s gravesite:
                                                                      the smell of woodsmoke
                                                                      on the cold spring air

                                                                      — Ross

the mountain path
winding up
at a snail


“Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web of the finest silken threads suspended in the chamber of consciousness, and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.”

Henry James

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Thanks, Allan, Looks like my writing will have to wait…woke up with what appears to be the flu… When I look at what I posted I could see that it probably could have been a little clearer. One thing I love about haiku is that it understands backward walking…stopping when it’s time to stop…

  2. The other one about insect sounds is this by Bruce Ross:

    a yellow leaf
    motionless on the pool
    evening cicadas

    A good one for this time of year.

    And, Merrill, maybe you should write some haiku about those insect sounds and silences you have described so well…just a thought.

  3. Hi, Alan & Allan…(one of the reasons I have so much confusion with the name Allan/Alan…plus I have a friend Diane Allen which just tops the cake for me! 🙂 )
    I heartily agree with Alan that New England would make a great theme for haiku….we have so many wonderful haiku poets here. And when I read NE haiku from Maine it connects me to my ancestral roots…
    And Allan, the crickets and katydids at this time of year are so loud…although this haiku has the sky empty (which would imply daytime) so their songs are somewhat muted. They have different songs…daytime and bright sun…and if a cloud goes over head darkening the sky, they will start singing their night time songs. The sudden silence as the killing freeze sets in makes winter silence all the more profound.
    Another one I love is this:

    quick-running brook…
    a stone from the bottom
    lighter than imagined

    That has personal memories for me for when my son died John took me to one of the brooks around here to help me deal with my grief…I selected a stone from the bottom…and yes, it was a different color than it had been in the water… It was strange to me how perfectly it fit in my hand…something to hang onto.

  4. Also meant to note earlier that the progressively shorter lines of “the mountain path” seem to underscore the comic deflation. And Merrill has obviously cited one of the “sounds of insects” haiku.

  5. “the mountain path” is one of my own favorites by Peter Yovu. It’s a good example of an uncut haiku that nonetheless features a meaningful juxtaposition, obviously between the path itself and the snail — which are economically related together by the word “winding”. The comic element appeals also, with the expectation of a sublime vista at path’s end undercut by the fascination the tiny snail exerts. It first appeared in Frogpond 15.1, 1992.

    “New England Sketches,” btw, is an allusion to the title of an orchestral triptych by Maine composer Walter Piston (not to be confused with somewhat similar works by Charles Ives and William Schuman). The three pieces are “Seaside”, “Summer Evening” (in which woodwinds depict the sounds of insects), and “Mountains”. I selected haiku for the gallery that correspond with all these pieces and invite you to identify them. (The last we’ve already got covered.) It’s only one little aspect of the gallery, but I thought I’d mention it.

  6. the mountain path
    winding up
    at a snail

    Peter Yovu

    This is my favourite!

    It’s also a good example of a natural punchline instead of forced, often inverted haiku attempts to create an unnecessary punchline.

    But it’s much much than that one probably unintentional device, this just splendid as a reading joy to non-poets, it’s inclusive because it looks simple but has miles of meaning lying beneath it.

    This was an utter joy to come across.

    I wonder if there is a New England book of haiku? I think there should be.


  7. “…you ask as few questions as possible…” At the heart of every New Englander is silence…the deep silence of long winters. This haiku of Peter’s speaks volumes to me:

    coming out of the woods —
    the sound of crickets,
    the empty sky

    Many thanks…that’s a haiku I can dwell in.

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