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re:Virals 199

Welcome to re:Virals, The Haiku Foundation’s weekly poem commentary feature on some of the finest haiku ever written in English. This week’s poem was

 
     El alacrán

     Sale de un rincón
     en medio de un paréntesis
     y de una interrogación

     The scorpion

     Coming out of its position
     in between a parenthesis
     and an inquisition

 
          — Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz.
          Taken from the anthology Haiku from Iberia and Beyond, edited and translated by Danny Blackwell, MONO YA MONO BOOKS (2018)  

Petru Viljoen inspects the inquisition:

Leaving one state, becoming another. A moment of hiatus–the parenthesis–the curl of the tail with its poisoned tip ready to strike–the inquisition–one thing. One instance. A bracketed menace. A defence I think. ‘Inquisition’ leads to enquiry, even if a threatening one.

The stark contrast between parenthesis and inquisition is startling. The hiatus created (the fright, the intake of breath, the moment before action) in the actual encounter described here is relived as sure as if one has been there oneself. The break in line after parenthesis gives a bit of a tumble in the tummy suddenly arriving at inquisition. Only the line breaks serve as punctuation.

Vicki Miko poses some interesting interrogatives:

To say Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz’s poem is delightful may seem unexpected at first. If I’m getting its meaning right, his poem is delightful with a little twist. From my meager research, it’s been interesting to learn more about Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz. An early creator of Mexican haiku and a fierce humanist, his work connected with the working class people during rebellious times.

Looking at the poet’s message without the title, “The scorpion”, the poem would be a mystery. At twenty-six syllables, it seems closer to tanka than haiku. Plus, he tests traditional haiku norms by using rhyme and metaphor; a true prerequisite for an inventive revolutionary poet.

This poem came in several ahas for me. I was totally puzzled. After studying it as a whole, I got the biggest hint from the title and first line “The scorpion / coming out of its position”. It’s yoga! As a yoga devotee, I saw the connection. “The scorpion” yoga pose demands great strength and flexibility. Not only to move your body into position, but also to hold it there and transition out of the pose. Does Cruz’s poem imply himself trying the yoga pose and perhaps feeling the stinging stretch, or is he observing a yogi moving into the acrobatic pose?

My next aha was Cruz’s “parenthesis”. Could the wordplay be one right parenthesis; a fitting metaphor for the yogi’s convex backbend in the scorpion pose. Think of the scorpion’s strong claws as your forearms. On the floor, picture yourself balanced on your forearms, ready for a headstand. Now lift your legs above your head. Arch your back. Bend your knees a bit to capture the true scorpion pose. Hold the position. To transition, the yogi reverses out of the pose “in between a parenthesis / and an inquisition”. That last line was a questionable riddle for me “and an inquisition”. I will try to explain, but first:
How would the poet come to write about a yoga pose? Could it have been inspired by his friend and ally, Hispanic haiku pioneer, José Juan Tablada? As a result of their connection, Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz, became dubbed one of the leaders in the Mexican haiku movement. For starters, José Juan Tablada was immersed in Japanese culture, he also practiced Zen Buddhism for years. Buddhism and yoga are inseparable. Although I found no actual reference, wouldn’t it make sense for Cruz and Tablada to share experiences, including yoga? Further, both poets seemed to support nonviolence and self-discipline. Buddhism and yoga recognize suffering, above all, the ability to free oneself from it.

One of Cruz’s book titles seems to reinforce these same ideals: “Your Life Is In Your Hands: Haiku of a Revolutionary”. After the era’s continuing militant events, at some point, Cruz steered away from mostly animal haiku to socio-political themes, circa 1923. Here are three:

How confusing life is;
dogs like politicians
politicians like dogs

*

Bread,
for the rich a pleasure
for the poor an anxiety

*

Golden kernels of corn
the result of your labor of love
and you’re the corncob

Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz (tr. Ty Hadman)

The irony of “Golden kernels of corn” likewise in “The scorpion”, Cruz masterfully uses humor with sharpness. His engagement of the times forever saved in haiku. Cruz’s own revolution, his poems as his means to fight for equality for the workers and peasants.

The chill of Cruz’s last word almost made me not want to respond at all. In Cruz’s eyes could the painful appearance of the scorpion yoga pose reflect a direct likeness to the pain of the “inquisition”? Among the tortures, the inquisitors stretched, stabbed and poisoned their victims. A true metaphor for a scorpion.

Disregarding yoga though, with serious awareness does the poet refer only to the strike of a scorpion on its victim? Perhaps in the last word? I love the poem! It gave me unexpected resonance. Thank you, John Levy, for choosing it.

Editor Danny Blackwell performs an auto-da-fé regarding his translation:

This week’s haiku (chosen for discussion by John Levy in last week’s re:Virals) just so happens to be a haiku I myself translated. Since I have been editing re:Virals I have refrained from commenting on most of the selected haiku, but on occasions I have intervened. As this is a haiku I investigated for my project on haiku written in the languages of the Iberian Peninsula, I felt it would be good to point out one or two things. Firstly, the translation itself. A more literal rendering would be:

It comes out of a corner
in between a parenthesis
and an interrogation

I altered “corner” and “interrogation” (for “position” and “inquisition”), in order to maintain one of the key features in the original, namely the rhyme on line 1 and 3. Obviously when one aims to produce a rhyme one may have to make sacrifices. A non-rhyming translation is much easier but loses, I feel, part of the intrinsic charm that drives the poem in the original. Vicki’s comments, above, helped me see a reading I had not considered, that the haiku referenced a yoga pose, something which may potentially be a misreading facilitated somewhat by my use of the word “position” in the first line. That said, it is always worth considering new angles and even, as an exercise, to produce intentional, almost obtuse, misreadings (of which Alan Summer’s says he is rather fond). My instinct, however, was always to read it as a poetic description of an animal, with the haiku form displaying Cruz’s idiosyncratic interpretation of the genre (inspired no doubt by Tablada’s haiku). This haiku by Cruz is in keeping with most of his other animal-based haiku, which are generally metaphorical descriptions of varying creatures, in which the title solves the riddle of what the haiku is describing—a style that could almost be considered, however briefly, to have been somewhat of a trend in Hispanic haiku and which influenced, to a degree, haiku in the Iberosphere in general. These types of metaphorical haiku, so popular in the Iberoshpere, were initially inspired, it should be added, by the kind of early Japanese haiku of poets such as Sōkan and Onitsura, and these Spanish-language and Portuguese-language haiku take their inspiration from the kind of witty poetics and wordplay of early Japanese haiku; it is this kind of Japanese influence that has unfortunately been responsible, in part, for the perception that early Hispanic haiku practitioners had no idea about haiku, for while the English haiku world seemed to take Basho’s frog-pond haiku as the ideal template, many others were using haiku by Sōkan and Onitsura as reference points. Consider this, for example, by Sōkan:

月に柄をさしたらばよき団扇かな
The moon: give it a handle and you’ve a good fan!

(The fan referred to is an “uchiwa,” a round fan with a handle.)

Many poets also took a leaf out of Onitsura’s book and took inspiration from poems such as this:

花枝に帰ると見れば胡蝶かな

A fallen flower returning to the branch? A butterfly!

So the oft-repeated prejudice regarding the supposed inability or ignorance of many non-Japanese practitioners may rely too heavily at times on a limited corpus of haiku and a limited understanding of what the limits are of haiku historically (all of which paradoxically often leaves the critics looking more ignorant than the poets they are criticizing).

One other feature worth noting is that this haiku has appeared in other publications with very minor variations in the original Spanish (see Haiku from Iberia and Beyond p. 150 for more details). In my book I also go into some detail regarding some of the features, such as rhyme and titles, that one may often find in haiku written in Spanish, and I compare and contrast these features with Japanese haiku.

Finally, after waffling for way too long, I’d like to also take this opportunity to let readers know that next week’s re:Virals will be my last as editor, as I will be passing on the reins to a new team. It’s been a pleasure editing nearly 100 editions of this great feature (99 so far with this one included) and it would be nothing without all of your illuminating contributions, and I look forward to reading them after I have moved on. But for the time being I am going to focus more on researching and translating haiku (and hopefully continue to compose and publish my own). Thanks to all of you for making it such a rewarding experience.

お疲れ様です

virus2
As this week’s winner, Petru gets to choose next week’s poem, which you’ll find below. We invite you to write a commentary to it. It may be as long or short, academic or spontaneous, serious or silly, public or personal as you like. We will select out-takes from the best of these. And the very best will be reproduced in its entirety and take its place as part of the THF Archives. Best of all, the winning commentator gets to choose the next poem for commentary.
Anyone can participate. A new poem will appear each Friday morning. Simply put your commentary in the Contact box by the following Tuesday midnight (Eastern US Time Zone). Please use the subject
header “re:Virals” so we know what we’re looking at. We look forward to seeing some of your favorite poems — and finding out why!
re:Virals 199:

 
     maybe in my amygdala maybe a minefield

          — Eve Luckring, Bones 4 (2014) 

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Danny
    .
    Thank you for your commitment in and to re:Virals.
    .
    I do look forward to seeing more of your personal work in haiku in the Journals and Magazines.
    .
    Your recently published ku let me sore through those wheat fields on the lightest wings.

    (“You” you said)
    .
    More please.
    .
    Jan in Texas

  2. Thank you, Danny, for including my commentary. Here’s to your abundant publishing future! I can only imagine the delicate job of translating poetry.

    New to haiku, I have very little background with its history and I’m still learning about …well…the “haiku moment” and all its nuances. I love cherished tradition. I love the inevitability of evolutions and trends. Those who like the beauty of tradition and those who like the beauty of innovation seems to be the magic of expression in all its forms. For me it’s “to each his or her own”. Yes! I was struck by Danny’s words here:

    “These types of metaphorical haiku, so popular in the Iberoshpere, were initially inspired, it should be added, by the kind of early Japanese haiku of poets such as Sōkan and Onitsura, and these Spanish-language and Portuguese-language haiku take their inspiration from the kind of witty poetics and wordplay of early Japanese haiku; it is this kind of Japanese influence that has unfortunately been responsible, in part, for the perception that early Hispanic haiku practitioners had no idea about haiku…”

    For me anyway, Danny’s operative word is: “popular”. If something is popular, does it matter beyond that? My moments come when I read a poem. My moments come when I read the personal interpretations, the wisdoms and expert/academic study of poetry in general. Always learning beyond myself helps me think. I love to think!

    Danny also noted the translation may be, “worth considering new angles and even, as an exercise, to produce intentional, almost obtuse, misreadings…”.
    I love that!!! Here’s another interpretation:

    For what it’s worth, my husband is Mexican (with peripheral views of poetry) and after reading the Spanish version of “The scorpion”, his interpretation is this: An animal or human responds with fight or flight when cornered. The scorpion is backed into a corner. The parenthesis likened to the curl of the scorpion’s tail when it “comes out of a corner” and is about to attack. If the parenthesis is a metaphor representing, a second thought, maybe the scorpion changes its mind and cowers in retreat; perhaps because it has been injured in an “interrogation”. In the middle of “the questioning” the scorpion succumbs. After I explained a bit of Cruz’s activism of the time period, my husband immediately referenced the Mexican Revolution. Metaphorically the scorpion could be the good guy trying to defend himself/herself or the scorpion could be the bad guy dishing out the “interrogation” setting a deadly trap. I loved our exchange.

    Haiku is a short sweet way for me to capture a personal observation. A thought to myself, shared. A wish or collection of observations. That’s nice!

    I enjoyed all the commentary.

    1. Thanks for sharing your and your husband’s thoughts Vicki! They add another layer of possibility to the poem.

        1. Glads to see it got us all talking. It is also a fair interpretation just to see it as little more than a playful description of the shape of the scorpion described as the question mark (interrogative) of it’s stinging tail, and the parenthesis shape of its claws. But, as you said, the layers of biography attached to the poet can certainly add to the way we read and interpret it.

    2. I am another fan of re:Virals who wants to thank Danny for his excellent 99 (with one more soon!) episodes of this fantastic THF feature. I also join with other members of the community of readers who wish Danny the very best for all his future pursuits!

  3. well, I have not read the other responses except for the three in the original post,
    Petru, Vicki and…and Danny…, and everyone else:

    parenthesis is usually an explanation or afterthought and can be left out, but is added in…as an afterthought …
    an inquisition, often an inquisition is prolonged questioning

    Based on these two words is a third word: position.
    Which means: between being an afterthought or being questioned intensively, there is this time-window where the “scorpion” can be comfortable enough to be out of its position; where position for me implies a point in a certain combat situation, or a certain posture, maybe a posture that is ready to strike, be it offensive or defensive.

    If the word : scorpion, is a nickname, then it is this person being none other than the self, because there is no situation that calls for either of the extreme stances.
    The middle is a peace path, or so it seems. The self is always a calm zone when uninfluenced by the world happening around. Not always possible…but true.

    Danny, thank you 🙂

    Especially, for your patience and non-interference with my oddly crazy responses. Sometimes, we need to be less high-brow with our responses and listen to a different drummer,…no?

    and Good Luck

  4. DANNY,
    This is a second attempt — the first did not go through.
    .
    I’ve loved reading re:Virals. Have learned a lot through the commentaries and commentaries on commentaries — including this week’s.
    .
    Before you leave, a grateful bow to you personally.
    .
    When, not a year ago, haiku was utterly new for me, I’d have turned from it except for your encouragement. Now, slowly, it has become almost a spiritual practice.
    .
    I wish you a glad and fruitful future, Danny.
    With my deep thanks,
    Christina

    .

  5. At the risk of being a curmudgeon or an opinionated old fogey, if this poem, as presented, is a haiku it is a weak one.
    .
    With my apologies — three points: My opinion is that if a haiku needs a title, it is weak. Telling all before the poem starts is not of high quality. Incorporating “scorpion” into the haiku is better. Without that word or title, this is gibberish. Re-written by others to be a four-line haiku poem is better … certainly if to be read aloud. The original presentation, by poet and or translator(?), with the double spacing and a title in bold is weak and awkward.
    .
    I question the use in English of “inquisition.” I can only guess but perhaps “question mark” is intended. This is also shorter. Saying a thing is to say it, and “inquisition’ refers to religious despotism. The Spanish Inquisition . . . etc.
    .
    The whole of the four lines is just a simile. “Love is like a red, red rose . . .” is fine poetry but not a haiku. Philosophically, telling the reader/listener what a thing is LIKE is weak and inartful. A scorpion looks like a punctuation mark. And so? What of scorpionness and resonance with some other half haiku, un-mentioned? Not the stuff of fine haiku.

    1. I agree with much of what Paul has to say here. I hope it is not unfair of me to say that Paul is defender of haiku fundamentals. This is not a bad thing. I hope there will always be, and I suspect there will be, those who uphold fundamentals and those who question and test them.
      *
      On the matter of the translation, I think it is a big mistake to take the “corner” out of this little poem. One can imagine that the creature was somehow shaped by the right-angle meeting of walls (or anyway, hidden there) and now, coming forth, takes on other shapes, its own, perhaps sinister and shadowy ones. Here, the value of simile (or one value of it) manifests— in the moments when something is unnamed, nascent, and still unknown, the tendency is to see it as something else, or combinations of things which are familiar. (Hence, hundreds of years ago, when people first saw a giraffe, its strangeness prompted them to look to what was less strange. The referred to it as a “cameleopard”).
      *
      So, a familiar shape ( corner: a known place where unknown things may lurk) giving birth to the unfamiliar. It may be the first province and impulse of poetry to see things anew. Sometimes, of course, the impulse to name one thing in terms of another can seem to be an imposition. At other times, a revelation. In this case, I find the poem to be enough of a revelation to be charming. Though I agree that “inquisition” is heavy and loaded and “interrogation”, while carrying its own load, preferable.
      *
      For me, it long ago became apparent that many things I was writing and publishing in various places were, if not haiku, short poems that I probably would not have written but for my exposure to haiku. Maybe some day there will be an easy way to say what such writing is. “Influenced by haiku”, “haiku-like”, “derived from haiku” etc.— these are all awkward descriptors. I do think that a lot of what one sees in the magazines falls under the category of “maybe not haiku but influenced by it”. I like that there seems to room for such things. And personally, though I very seldom write anything even resembling haiku these days, when I did, I may have for a time thought I was stretching the genre (or form, or whatever it is) into new possibilities. I no longer have any interest in that. Haiku. Influenced by haiku. Good writing is what matters.
      *
      I have also been influenced by certain writers of aphorism. I sometimes come across haiku which, laid out a little differently, could be seen as aphorism. The poem in question here could easily be presented as one. (The writers of the two examples I’ll give might do it justice).
      *
      Space is the widest open of all mouths.
      Malcolm de Chazal
      *
      The owl is the table-lamp of the forest at night.
      Ramon Gomez de la Serna
      *
      Finally, I believe Paul is saying that simile has its place in poetry, presumably in poems other than haiku, but not in haiku itself. At least I hope that is what he is saying, as without simile, Shakespeare is but a castrato whose voice is consigned to only the higher registers.
      *
      I do think it is good to delve into writing which attempts expression free of
      certain devices. One may learn a lot by avoiding simile and metaphor, etc.,
      though such writing is not necessarily superior.

      1. Peter and Paul your comments are much appreciated. The Japanese language has equivalents to our English “like” for similes and, for the record, there are plenty of Japanese haiku with direct simile of the “A is like B” category. So I’d disagree on that point. While simile is often avoided in ELH, and may not be the most recurrent feature in Japanese haiku, to say haiku does not have similes is simply not true. The debate about how good or bad those haiku are is another matter. There are, to my mind, plenty of great classical haiku by the great haijin that have similes and, I feel, the poems to not suffer at all from this poetical device.

        1. My thought has always been that one should try everything. Start from the premise that anything is possible rather than certain things are forbidden. You might not end up with a haiku but you might end up with a poem. You might surprise yourself.

    2. well hello Paul, 🙂
      I like this poem muchly.
      there is a humour in there, and it made me laugh the first time I read it. And it is not just the scorpion that feels that way. Ignore the title.

      or, better still, what if the title: (please forgive my this response, poet and translator, both. )

      what if the title read: the lie

      or say: the morning after

      what does that do to the reading?

      Which is why I like the title so much, and it makes better sense of the poem I think.
      open poems are nice, but ambiguity can be tricky. Sometimes titles help the reader, don’t you think?

      1. Paul, gosh, I really am taken by this discussion, anyways thank you for making me think this out:

        my response to part(s) of your response ( quoted here) :

        “I question the use in English of “inquisition.” I can only guess but perhaps “question mark” is intended. This is also shorter. Saying a thing is to say it, and “inquisition’ refers to religious despotism. The Spanish Inquisition . . . etc”.”

        yes, initially, that is how I too read the poem. History leaves its marks on the human soul or so it seems…
        but then, …
        Mum, spare me the inquisition…etc etc, …you get the picture…

        (context is crucial in any given language, lingua franca especially…because we use it as a common culture, in that languages have evolved from the cultural needs of expression of any given culture. Which is why English is so interesting, it is differently enabled by each culture. I am not speaking about this poem here…you have in your response to Peggy raised some things very close to my heart. Each time I read a haiku, what registers is the subtle rendition, and also when I read some of the haiku written in native languages I am familiar with, I ask myself, how do we do a better thing of expressing what seems to be lost in translation.
        I am not an editor, Paul, but I care, I care enough to come here and discuss and sometimes make a fool of myself with my responses, because, why should the deconstruction of a poem or any literature be done only in a certain manner or only by a certain kind of a readership? )

        and when you mention simile…and the whole poem being one, I did not see the scorpion just as the the thing between the parenthesis and the question mark… I saw it as the actual thing between the catch and the sting, the heart of the being. I asked myself whether it could be a person? Why not? So there is the ohkaay, you are here and forgotten–> you are here—> darn, are you here and why are you here, what made you come here, what do you intend to do here…
        the registration of a presence quickly forgotten, the actual being and then the need to ask, enquire, enquire, choke with questions, the question mark…

        that the being is, in this moment the being is, from being an afterthought to being so immense that it is being probed, but in between, it just is left to be itself…

        is that not a beautiful statement of what life is like?

        I like you responses Paul, they make me react to them, here I am writing and my coffee has gone cold, but this was a good thing that transpired.
        cheerios

        1. just the two cents from someone who could never relate to most of the “poetry” in the western sense but fell in love with haiku from the word go.
          while the piece presented here may have merit as a poem (influenced by haiku or not; in any case it does very little for this reader), it is a failure as a haiku. yes, of course it is interesting to see what other cultures have made of the “form” and as such it merits inclusion in this column. after all, it spurred a lively discussion.
          while i think there is room for poetic figures in haiku as long as they are done subtly and skilfully, “show don’t tell” is still the way to go, not only in haiku but in most of the poetry.

          1. Peter Yovu.
            Always happy for your perspective.
            .
            Thanks for your input!
            .
            Jan in Texas

          2. hey Polona, 🙂
            I just discovered your compositions …

            as for the discussion: I just want to say:
            .
            .
            .
            ,
            ,
            ,
            ,

            tundra

            .
            .
            ,.
            .
            ,

            and then hide my head in the sand like an ostrich, but not before I throw this at all of you good people:

            we have the purists
            and the experimentalists and theorists
            and somewhere in between we have the —it—
            as in the poem

            whoosh

          3. hey Pratima 🙂
            .
            it’s cool, i enjoy reading others’ opinions and have always admired folks who could produce a dozen paragraphs from any poem (or, in fact, any literary work). i have always been on the minimalist side.
            .
            this, however, tells me little beyond, “look how clever i am! i compared an arthropod to not one but two punctuation marks”
            .
            yawn! 😉

            .
            .
            tundra ?
            .
            .
            hmmm, that’s an interesting one… 🙂
            .
            on the one side i can understand and admire it
            on the other, it makes me go, “WHAT?!?”
            no wonder it has acquited a cult status…

  6. Dear Vicky,
    Greetings, in your analysis, the yoga connection is
    amazing.

    “This poem came in several ahas for me. I was totally puzzled. After studying it as a whole, I got the biggest hint from the title and first line “The scorpion / coming out of its position”. It’s yoga! As a yoga devotee, I saw the connection. “

  7. Deaar Danny,
    Greetings. Very painful and saddened to know ;

    the following statement ,…. reins to a new team. How much encouraged, how much learnt and gained experience, beyond words. Good luck in your future endeavor.

    “FInally, after waffling for way too long, I’d like to also take this opportunity to let readers know that next week’s re:Virals will be my last as editor, as I will be passing on the reins to a new team. It’s been

    1. Thank you Danny for your 100 donations to my knowledge bank! I have thoroughly enjoyed your weekly virals contributions and those of the readers who take the time to respond to the haiku. I loved Petru’s and Vicki’s responses to this week’s poem, and particularly appreciated Danny’s explanation of his translation process. As a Spanish speaker I could see other possible translations, but must acknowledge Danny’s masterful work. It works beautifully to capture the essence of the poem. Paul, I understand your perspective from a traditional English haiku point of view. However, Danny’s explanation of the various sources that influenced the development of Iberian haiku, along with the unique character of the Romance languages combine to give us a fresh look at some beautiful haiku from a different perspective.

      1. Peggy (– and Peter),

        Since I know no Spanish beyond a few menu items, the poem escapes me. I had only the translation, which Peter points out lacks a key word, “corner.” I still find it lacking and unsatisfying (in English).
        .

        A simile (YES in Shakespeare!) has no direction beyond telling what one thing is like; it allows no place for the reverberation/resonance that is an essence of HAIKU. A haiku can be discovered by a reader/listener in the space between its parts. A haiku is to be shared, is formed by the experience of the reader/listener as partner. Telling or showing ALL about it doesn’t have any subtlety and is a weak haiku at best.

        .

        I do appreciate the many world cultural influences upon haiku, of course in addition to the original Japanese. In all instances of foreign-to-me languages I have to trust translators … who may or may not be fine haikuists. As a haiku editor I deal only in English, but regularly consider many poets from all over the world who write so well in my language — not their native tongue. I have very great respect for this ability.

  8. Contemplating the human and scorpion encounter – an anecdote: I had the good fortune once of saving a scorpion from a bunch of ants. The ants were maximum 5mm in length and a few attached themselves to the soft part of the scorpion’s body, busy dragging it to their nest. It’s sting completely useless in this instance. I scooped it up on a piece of cardboard, dislodged the ants and took it far away from their nest. I think it was a young scorpion although a fair size already. How I didn’t get stung I don’t know.

    1. Hi Petru Viljoen,
      “Contemplating the human and scorpion encounter” Yes! That’s wonderful! Your heartfelt experience touched me as a reminder of the reverence and wonder of all animals! They all live to survive. I freed a moth once from a cobweb flying between two trees. It was lovely to see the struggling moth fly away!
      Perhaps some haikus in there?! 😊

      1. Hi Vicky,

        Indeed, since this encounter with a scorpion I thought of composing a haiku. It may take a haibun though. There’s a world of pending action in the haiku we discussed. How I could live up to it in my own personal encounter will take some writing and editing and editing and … !

  9. Danny, with great regret do we hear your moving on. Good luck with your research and own writing! We look forward to meeting the new editors. Glad the feature will continue.

  10. Dear Danny,
    Greetings. Gong through your explanation, literal translation, rendition and other various influences of languages etc.
    very interesting, still reading line by line.
    with regards
    S.Radhamani

  11. Dear Petru,
    Greetings. The pictorial image presented in your description is strikingly appealing. appreciate.

    “Leaving one state, becoming another. A moment of hiatus–the parenthesis–the curl of the tail with its poisoned tip ready to strike–the inquisition–one thing. “

  12. The scorpion

    Coming out of its position
    in between a parenthesis
    and an inquisition

    — Carlos Gutiérrez Cruz.
    Taken from the anthology Haiku from Iberia and Beyond, edited and translated by Danny Blackwell, MONO YA MONO BOOKS (2018)

    Many thanks for giving us an opportunity to have wider exposure to haiku world and this week’s haiku’s distinct feature is that it clearly mentions a title and what follows is a tricky content of stinging part and at times a painful repetitive stings follow.

    Structure and debate and topography and action – all twined in this stinging poisonous creature. Why debate- don’t ask me, watch and wait – when to emit this string is the vial part of this scorpion.

    Way back some three decades ago, a scorpion came out of the tiles (for earliest occupation was in a titled house,) a sudden painful cry came; for it was from the sting of scorpion hiding in the sox of my young three year old child.

    The first line obviously refers to the location or place, from whence the scorpion came; either from layers of tiles, or soil dark where it is reportedly glows;
    it could primarily also mean the sting from its tail, hence “coming out of its position” …
    the second line, “ a parenthesis” obviously refers to the painful cry or reaction of the victim jumping and emitting cry of desperate helplessness.
    “ and an inquisition” possibly refers to search from where the insect or pain inflicting node arrives; The scorpion’s bite and victim’s reactions are described here.Animal and man- their doings and reactions form the core content of this haiku.

    1. Hi Radhamani,

      You have given a heartfelt meaning to the poem from your own experience and with your own “child’s” painful experience. Oucheee! Something both of you surely will remember. For me that is the magic of haiku. Being able to relate with an immediate personal memory or story, whatever the range of feeling. I also agree with Petru’s notice of your last sentence. It is a simple and perfect analysis of Cruz’s poem: “Animal and man- their doings and reactions form the core content of this haiku.” Thank you!

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