What is it about compact poems?
What is it about compact poetry that makes it special? Makes it seem more charged?
For me, compact poems are all essence. Sometimes, a small poem can be a good sign that the poet put the pen down before the spirit left him. Most poets know this, but haiku is a process that tries to ensure it.
The following haiku by Gary Hotham are great examples of this:
tonight’s hotel room –
the stain on the rug
nothing to worry about
early in the night—
the stars we can see
the space for more
Both of these leave me at the edge of my seat. The compression in haiku is where the power comes from. As Tom Waits advises in his song, “Get Behind the Mule,” “Always keep a diamond in your mind,” especially when considering haiku.
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A compact reflection on the concept of revenge
by Dwight Isebia
The compulsion to desire revenge
for deeds causing pain and offense,
leading to damage and humiliation
in the course of social interaction,
is like the contraction of our bowels
to expel remains not to be digested
to feel cleansed and beyond peril,
acceptable if balanced , but destructive
if stimulated leading to bulimia
or being beyond control like diarrhea
So, when vindictive in any situation,
just exact revenge in moderation
Just three Haiku reflections in English and two in Dutch.
LOOKING AT LIGHT IN HAIKU FASHION
By Dwight Isebia
FASTER THAN LIGHT
I’m a neutrino
staying in the dark because
I’m faster than light
TO SENSE WITHOUT LIGHT
In absence of light
sight is impaired but the force
of hearing increased
TO SEE AND TO FEEL
by sight in bright light should lead
to sparks in the dark
ZIEN IS GELOVEN
Hetgeen niet zichtbaar
licht weerkaatst ontgaat ogen
maar blijft wel bestaan
Plotseling het licht
kunnen zien is verblindend
Dwight P. Isebia
Judging from discussions generated by haiku, which ofte reduce to hey that’s awesome, it could be that haiku are loved because they don’t ask very much from us or of us. If we expand the subjects to non haiku poems of less than say ten lines, we may get a new view of haiku. Take this short poem by Adam Zagajewsky
My father No Longer Knows Me
my father no longer knows me. not even
Those sparks of consciousness
That cheered us not long ago.
He lies submerged in darkness, sleeps, dozes,
As if he’d already taken leave.
There are still the brief moments, though,
When his real face is revealed.
We wouldn’t say that the power of this comes from compression.
Haiku is a form of short poetry and a haiku should not be praised for being short. We have to discuss what is being compressed. That is, we have to talk about ideas, concepts, traditions of meaning.
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